C.G. Jung Psychological Reflections : A New Anthology of His Writings, 1905-1961

Every advance in culture is, psychologically, an extension of consciousness, a coming to consciousness that can take place only through discrimination.

Therefore an advance always begins with individuation, that is to say with the individual, conscious of his isolation, cutting a new path through hitherto untrodden territory.

To do this he must first return to the fundamental facts of his own being, irrespective of all authority and tradition, and allow himself to become conscious of his distinctiveness.

If he succeeds in giving collective validity to his widened consciousness, he creates a tension of opposites that provides the stimulation which culture needs for its further progress. 54: iii

It is just man’s turning away from instinct—his opposing himself to instinct—that creates consciousness.

Instinct is nature and seeks to perpetuate nature, whereas consciousness can only seek culture or its denial.

Even when we turn back to nature, inspired by a Rousseauesque longing, we “cultivate” nature.

As long as we are still submerged in nature we are unconscious, and we live in the security of instinct which knows no problems.

Everything in us that still belongs to nature shrinks away from a problem, for its name is doubt, and wherever doubt holds sway there is uncertainty and the possibility of divergent ways.

And where several ways seem possible, there we have turned away from the certain guidance of instinct and are handed over to fear.

For consciousness is now called upon to do that which nature has always done for her children namely, to give a certain, unquestionable, and unequivocal decision.

And here we are beset by an all-too-human fear that consciousness—our Promethean conquest—may in the end not be able to serve us as well as nature. 94-750

When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness.

We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness.

But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer. 94 : 752

If psychic life consisted only of self-evident matters of fact—which on a primitive level is still the case—we could content ourselves with a sturdy empiricism.

The psychic life of civilized man, however, is full of problems; we cannot even think of it except in terms of problems.

Our psychic processes are made up to a large extent of reflections, doubts, experiments, all of which are almost completely foreign to the unconscious, instinctive mind of primitive man.

It is the growth of consciousness which we must thank for the existence of problems; they are the Danaan gift of civilization, 94-750