C.G. Jung Letters, Vol. 1: 1906-1950

Carl Jung: “does man feel himself to have been created or not”?

“Homo creatus est” means that man was created.

We are inclined to turn our backs smilingly on such a statement, thinking naturally enough of the first chapter of Genesis.

But it is really a psychological declaration of the first importance: does man feel himself to have been created or not?

Natural science holds that man has developed, through long generations of pre-human ancestors.

This is, of course, a process of nature, not a human activity.

Do we feel that we have created ourselves or have we rather found ourselves?

Most people feel the latter, one day we found ourselves and said “I” for the first time.

But had that “I” been created or did it just happen?

This is quite a different question and a very difficult one. Our feeling gives us no answer.

We can only say that we gradually discovered ourselves with our gifts, our vices, our qualities and our imperfections.

No proofs lie to our hand whether this conglomeration had a purpose, an intention, behind it, or whether it was the result of blind chance.

Speaking generally, neither our own feeling nor natural science can assure us that there is any kind of purpose behind.

But if we leave general conclusions and seek out individuals with a long and ripe experience of life and ask them: “Do you feel you are the result of chance, or do you feel that something of some kind was at work in you, that created you as you are?”

Astonishingly many of such individuals will reply that they have the feeling of something at work which led them, of an inner meaning, an inner guidance, which curiously enough has made them what they are.

Is such a statement simply a subjective phantasy or are there scientific proofs?

We must answer: there is the fact that the unconscious, the unconscious psyche, is older than the conscious.

The child’s psyche is unconscious, an animal psyche if you like to express it that way, and very gradually a conscious condition develops.

Things which we do not know today, which we shall only know in the future, exist already in the unconscious.

There are actual proofs that this is so. If we follow a series of dreams through months or years, we can see a thought appearing of which the dreamer is totally unaware and which he cannot see till, perhaps years afterwards, it breaks through into his consciousness.

One is, therefore, justified in saying that the unconscious knew it long before the conscious.

Then the question arises: “Has the unconscious consciousness of its own?” ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Pages 212-213.