Carl Jung on “Suffering” – Anthology
Suffering is not an illness; it is the normal counterpole to happlness. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 179
Every real solution is only reached by intense suffering. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 233-235
… When I treat Catholics who are suffering from neurosis I consider it my duty to lead them back to the bosom of the Church where they belong. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 191
I’m terribly sorry X. has to suffer from cancer, in her case cancer really comes too early and it is a mean way of killing people anyhow. But nature is horrible in many respects. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 437-438.
Suffering that is not understood is hard to bear, while on the other hand it is often astounding to see how much a person can endure when he understands the why and the wherefore. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1578
Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 129
Yes, it is true, such a death and such suffering seem to be pointless if one assumes that this life is the acme of all existence. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 127
One shouldn’t attach the dead to the living, otherwise they both get estranged from their proper spheres and are thrown into a state of suffering. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Page 53
One must be able to suffer God. That is the supreme task for the carrier of ideas. He must be the advocate of the earth. God will take care of himself. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 65-66
Behind a neurosis there is so often concealed all the natural and necessary suffering the patient has been unwilling to bear. We can see this most clearly from hysterical pains, which are relieved in the course of treatment by the corresponding psychic suffering which the patient sought to avoid. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 185.
When we suffer from lack of psychic energy, we say we have a depression or an inhibition, not realising that part of our mental hierarchy has one away beyond our control, that we have, in fact, lost our soul. ~Carl Jung, Cornwall Seminar, Page 13.
The suffering God-Man may be at least five thousand years old and the Trinity is probably even older. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 46.
In earlier days the healing of the psyche was regarded as Christ’s prerogative, the task belonged to religion, for we suffered then only as part of a collective suffering. It is a new point of view to look up on the individual psyche as a whole with its own individual suffering. Carl Jung, ETH Lecture I, 20Oct1933, Page 12
While we are in avidya, we act like automatons, we have no idea what we are doing. Buddha regarded this as absolutely unethical. Avidya acts in the sense of the concupiscentia and involves us in suffering, illness and death. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture XI, 3Feb1939, Page 74.
We do not suffer from the delusion that a cherry could not hang on its stalk without our help, yet it never occurs to us that we are just as powerless in our own dreams. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 27Jan1939, Pages 65.
In other words, individuation, becoming conscious of the Self, is divine suffering. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 201.
There is a real salvation in these medieval ideas which can free a man and give his existence a meaning far beyond the sacred bank balance and which reaches as far as suffering. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 191.
The problem of crucifixion is the beginning of individuation; there is the secret meaning of the Christian symbolism, a path of blood and suffering. ~Carl Jung; Quoted in Aspects of Jung’s Personality and Work by Gerhard Adler
The reality of evil and its incompatibility with good cleave the opposites asunder and lead inexorably to the crucifixion and suspension of everything that lives. Since ‘the soul is by nature Christian’ this result is bound to come as infallibly as it did in the life of Jesus: we all have to be ‘crucified with Christ,’ i.e., suspended in a moral suffering equivalent to veritable crucifixion. ~Carl Jung; Psychology and Alchemy; Paragraph 470.
The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals .In our most private and most subjective lives, we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch. Carl Gustav Jung, The Symbolic Life, Collected Works 18, par.1400
A certain amount of suffering and unhappiness is our lot and no one can escape all the dark phases of life. ~Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 14.
I suffer from the fact that I can so seldom have a conversation with an adequate partner. The women in my circle understand me, but for women their home, their husband, and their children, come first. Only when this is all taken care of, does a woman still have a little time for the spirit; then it is interesting. Talking with a man, on the other hand, I get a response from the cosmic spheres of the spirit. ~ Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 67.
One must not avoid unhappiness. One must accept suffering; it is a great teacher. ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 51-70.
There, that’s the error, one must not seek happiness. The happiness that one seeks is a usurped one. Organic happiness, the bliss that comes from the center of the earth, that alone is fruitful and that simply comes. Sometimes it surges from the deepest suffering. ~ Carl Jung, C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 51-70.
Nature is awful, and I often ask myself, should one not interfere? But one cannot really, it is impossible, because fate must be fulfilled. It is apparently more important to nature that one should have consciousness, understanding, than to avoid suffering. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 1416.
There is nothing the emptiness can sacrifice, since it always suffers lack Only fullness can sacrifice, since it has fullness. Emptiness cannot sacrifice its hunger for fullness, since it cannot deny its own essence. Therefore we also need evil. But I can sacrifice my will to evil, because I previously received fullness. All strength flows back to me again, since the evil one has destroyed the image I had of the formation of the God. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 289.
Is there a suffering that would be too great to want to undergo for our God? ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 300.
Everything that becomes too old becomes evil, the same is true of your highest. Learn from the suffering of the crucified God that one can also betray and crucify a God, namely the God of the old year. If a God ceases being the way of life, he must fall secretly. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 241.
The God suffers when man does not accept his darkness. Consequently men must have a suffering God, so long as they suffer from evil. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 287.
The God suffers because you continue to suffer from loving evil. You do not suffer from evil because you recognize it, but because it affords you secret pleasure, and because you believe it promises the pleasure of an unknown opportunity. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 287.
You’re stubborn. What I mean is that it’s hardly a coincidence that the whole world has become Christian. I also believe that it was the task of Western man to carry Christ in his heart and to grow with his suffering, death, and resurrection. ~Carl Jung to The Red One, Liber Novus, Page 260.
Christ overcame the world by burdening himself with its suffering but Buddha overcame both the pleasure and suffering of the world by disposing of both. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 367.
Everything that becomes too old becomes evil, the same is true of your highest. Learn from the suffering of the crucified God that one can also betray and crucify a God, namely the God of the old year. If a God ceases being the way the zenith, he must fall secretly. The God becomes sick if he oversteps the height of the zenith. That is why the spirit of the depths took me when the spirit of this time had led me to the summit. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 241.
To live oneself means: to be one’s own task. Never say that it is a pleasure to live oneself It will be no joy but a long suffering, since you must become your own creator. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 249.
Because I also want my being other, I must become a Christ. I am made into Christ, I must suffer it. Thus the redeeming blood flows. Through the self-sacrifice my pleasure is changed and goes above into its higher principle. Love is sighted, but pleasure is blind. Both principles are one in the symbol of the flame. The principles strip themselves of human form. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 254.
When you step into your own Hell, never think that you come like one suffering in beauty; or as a proud pariah, but you come like a stupid and curious fool and gaze in wonder at the scraps that have fallen from your table. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 262
The Mysterium showed me the things which lay before me and had to be fulfilled. … What happened was my wandering with myself, through whose suffering I had to earn what served for the completion of the Mysterium I had seen. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 255.
You are the suffering heart of your one star God, who is Abraxas to his world. ~Carl Jung’s Soul, The Red Book, Page 371.
The death of Christ took no suffering away from the world, but his life has taught us much; namely, that it pleases the one God if the individual lives his own life against the power of Abraxas. ~Carl Jung, The Red Book, Page 371.
Every psychic advance of man arises from the suffering of the soul. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, par. 497.
The problem of crucifixion is the beginning of individuation; there is the secret meaning of the Christian symbolism, of blood and suffering. ~Carl Jung, unpublished letter, quoted in Gerhard Adler, Aspects of Jung’s Personality and Work, p. 12.
In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch. ~Carl Jung; CW 10; Para. 315.
If God wishes to be born as man and to unite mankind in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, He suffers the terrible torment of having to bear the world in its reality. It is a crux; indeed, He Himself is His own cross. The world is God’s suffering, and every individual human being who wishes even to approach his own wholeness knows very well that this means bearing his own cross. But the eternal promise for him who bears his own cross is the Paraclete. ~Carl Jung, A Psychological Approach to the Dogma of the Trinity,
. . . there are millions . . . who have lost faith in any kind of religion. Such people do not understand their religion any longer. While life runs smoothly without religion . . . when suffering comes, it is another matter. That is when people seek a way out and to reflect about the meaning of life and its bewildering and painful experiences. ~Carl Jung; Man and His Symbols; Page 75
Tears, sorrow, and disappointment are bitter, but wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering. Indeed, bitterness and wisdom form a pair of alternatives: where there is bitterness wisdom is lacking, and where wisdom is there can be no bitterness. ~Carl Jung; CW 20; Mysterium Coniunctionis; Page 246; Para 330.
The individual may strive after perfection . . . but must suffer from the opposite of his intentions for the sake of his completeness. [“Christ, A Symbol of the Self, ibid” par. 123.]
We suffer from a certain “development arrete”, our spiritual development stopped short, whereas that of the East is hypertrophic. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 197
You yourself are a conflict that rages in itself and against itself, in order to melt its incompatible substances, the male and the female, in the fire of suffering, and thus create that fixed and unalterable form which is the goal of life. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Page 375.
I am no more a black and endless sea of misery and suffering but a certain amount thereof contained in a divine vessel. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 449-450.
To round itself out, life calls not for perfection but for completeness; and for this the “thorn in the flesh” is needed, the suffering of defects without which there is no progress and no ascent. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Par 208.
Whoever can suffer within himself the highest united with the lowest is healed, holy, whole. ~Carl Jung; Letters Vol. 1; Pages 363-365.
Man has to cope with the problem of suffering. The Oriental wants to get rid of suffering by casting it off. Western man tries to suppress suffering with drugs. But suffering has to be overcome, and the only way to overcome it is to endure it. We learn that only from him.” [And here he pointed to the Crucified.] ~ Carl Jung, Letters, Volume 1, Page 236.
Tears, sorrow, and disappointment are bitter, but wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering. ~Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, Page 246, Para 330.
The ego participates in God’s suffering. ~Carl Jung, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, 336, 409, Letters II, 314ff.
We have become participants in the divine nature. We are the vessel…of the deity suffering in the body of the “slave”(Phil. 2:5). ~ ~Carl Jung, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, 336, 409, Letters II, 314ff.
Man’s suffering does not derive from his sins but from the maker of his imperfections, the paradoxical God. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Par. 1681
Suffering is the swiftest steed that bears you to perfection. ~Meister Eckhart cited in Edinger’s The New God Image, Page 162.
It is curious that the East has such a negative attitude to suffering, that it regards it merely as an illusion to be overcome, whereas to us it is the path par excellence to Christ, to the Self. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 194.
There is indeed a meaning in suffering, it is a sort of divine secret, for it is less the human being and more the divine man that suffers. God humiliated himself to become man and thus necessarily fell a victim to human suffering. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 189.
We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer. ~Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Pages 234-235.
Ad ”neurosis”: I mean, of course, that it is as a rule better to leave neurotics to themselves as long as they do not suffer and seek health. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 479-481.
Like Wotan’s oaks, the gods were felled and a wholly incongruous Christianity, born of monotheism. The Germanic man is still suffering from this mutilation. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 39-41.
I confess I am afraid of a long drawn-out suffering. It seems to me as if I am ready to die, although as it looks to me some powerful thoughts are still flickering like lightnings in a summer night. Yet they are not mine, they belong to God, as everything else which bears mentioning. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 449-450.
All “good people” suffer from irritability. ~Carl Jung, Jung-Ostrowski, Page 25.
To own a mystery gives stature, conveys uniqueness, and assures that one will not be submerged in the mass. Because a secret may cause suffering it is best to keep it to oneself. ~Carl Jung, Jung-Ostrowski, Page 14
The whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately springs as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. We make our epoch. ~Carl Jung, CW 10. Page 149.
I have suffered enough from incomprehension and from the isolation one falls into when one says things that people do not understand. . . . ~Carl Jung, MDR, Page p. xii.
The love problem is part of mankind’s heavy toll of suffering, and nobody should be ashamed of having to pay his tribute. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Page 125.
A life of ease and security has convinced everyone of all the material joys, and has even compelled the spirit to devise new and better ways to material welfare, but it has never produced spirit. Probably only suffering, disillusion, and self-denial do that. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1346.
Divine curiosity yearns to be born and does not shrink from conflict, suffering, or sin. ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, Para 283.
About a third of my cases are not suffering from any clearly definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and aimlessness of their lives. I should not object if this were called the general neurosis of our age. ~Carl Jung, CW XVI, Par 83.
Job did not have to suffer for his sins as his friends thought; it was rather that God required Job to look at His dark side as well. ~Carl Jung, Jung-Ostrowski, Page 49.
But the soul suffers great need, since outer freedom is of no use to it. ~Carl Jung, Liber Novus, Page 311.
One must be able to suffer God. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 64-66
One must be able to suffer God. That is the supreme task for the carrier of ideas. He must be the advocate of the earth. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 64-66
Knowing more about the soul and its mysteries you could free yourself from the fascination which makes you suffer. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 402.
The boon of increased self-awareness is the sufficient answer even to life’s suffering, otherwise it would be meaningless and unendurable. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 310-311.
Though the suffering of the Creation which God left imperfect cannot be done away with by the revelation of the good God’s will to man, yet it can be mitigated and made meaningful. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 310-311.
If a man’s life consists half of happiness and half of unhappiness, this is probably the optimum that can be reached, and it remains forever an unresolved question whether suffering is educative or demoralizing. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 248.
There is no comfort and no consolation anywhere except in the submission to and the Acceptance of the self, or you may call it the God that suffers in His own creation. ~Carl Jung, Letters, Vol. II, Pages 238-243.
Unfortunately the so-called religions have never proved to be vehicles of general human understanding, since with few exceptions they suffer from totalitarian claims and in this respect at least hardly differ from any other -ism, and actually disrupt human relationships at the critical point. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 189-191.
But theologians suffer from the fact that when they say “God,” then that God is. But when I say “God,” I know I have expressed my image of such a being and I am honestly not quite sure whether he is just like my image or not, even if I believe in God’s existence. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 151-154.
I see with regret from your letter that you are suffering very much from your noises in the ear. The unconscious often uses symptoms of this kind in order to make psychic contents audible, i.e., the symptoms are intensified by a psychogenic afflux and only then do they acquire the proper tormenting character that forces your attention inwards, where of course it gets caught in the disturbing noises. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 20-21.
Despite the blatant misjudgment I have suffered at Freud’s hands, I cannot fail to recognize, even in the teeth of my resentment, his significance as a cultural critic and psychological pioneer. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 358-359.
With no human consciousness to reflect themselves in, good and evil simply happen, or rather, there is no good and evil, but only a sequence of neutral events, or what the Buddhists call the Nidhanachain, the uninterrupted causal concatenation leading to suffering, old age, sickness, and death. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 310-311.
We want simplicity. We are suffering, in our cities, from a need of simple things. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking, Page 49.
The love problem is part of mankind’s heavy toll of suffering, and nobody should be ashamed of having to pay his tribute. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 219
In Ulysses a world comes down in an almost endless, breathless stream of debris, a “catholic” world, i.e., a universe with moanings and outcries unheard and tears unshed, because suffering had extinguished itself, and an immense field of shards began to reveal its aesthetic “values.'” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 586-592
Yahweh gives life and death. Christ gives life, even eternal life and no death. He is a definite improvement on Yahweh. He owes this to the fact that He is suffering man as well as God. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 471-473
Hoyle has the rotundum, the doctrine of the Anthropos, the cosmic wisdom of matter, which he naturally confuses with consciousness, and so fails to do justice to the problem of suffering. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 408.
The development of consciousness is the burden, the suffering, and the blessing of mankind. ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking, Page 248
The doctor has to cope with actual suffering for better or worse, and ultimately has nothing to rely on except the mystery of divine Providence. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 1578
We are like the sun, which nourishes the life of the earth and brings forth every kind of strange, wonderful, and evil thing; we are like the mothers who bear in their wombs untold happiness and suffering. ~Carl Jung, CW 17, Para 290
The united personality will never quite lose the painful sense of innate discord. Complete redemption from the sufferings of this world is and must remain an illusion. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Para 400
Yet every descent is followed by an ascent; the vanishing shapes are shaped anew, and a truth is valid in the end only if it suffers change, and bears new witnesses in new images, in new tongues, like a new wine that is put into old bottles. ~Carl Jung, CW 5, Para 533
We suffer very much from the fact that we consist of mind and have lost the body. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 251.
It is also the Eastern idea that through understanding one finds the roots of suffering. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminar, Page 524.
In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and its sufferers, but also its makers. ~Carl Jung, CW 10, Para 315.