Carl Jung on “Psyche” – Anthology

Our age wants to experience the psyche for itself. It wants original experience and not assumptions, though it is willing to make use of all the existing assumptions as a means to this end, including those of the recognized religions and the authentic sciences. ~Carl Jung, CW 10. Page 85.

We do not know what an archetype is (i.e., consists of), since the nature of the psyche is inaccessible to us, but we know that archetypes exist and work. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Page 694.

The unconscious is, as the collective psyche, the psychological representative of society. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Page 453.

The communications of “spirits” are statements about the unconscious psyche, provided that they are really spontaneous and are not cooked up by the conscious mind. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Page 313.

Never forget that in psychology the means by which you judge and observe the psyche is the psyche itself. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 277.

Though dreams contribute to the self-regulation of the psyche by automatically bringing up everything that is repressed or neglected or unknown, their compensatory significance is often not immediately apparent because we still have only a very incomplete knowledge of the nature and the needs of the human psyche. There are psychological compensations that seem to be very remote from the problem on hand. In these cases one must always remember that every man, in a sense, represents the whole of humanity and its history. What was possible in the history of mankind at large is also possible on a small scale in every individual. What mankind has needed may eventually be needed by the individual too. It is therefore not surprising that religious compensations play a great role in dreams. That this is increasingly so in our time is a natural consequence of the prevailing materialism of our outlook. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 483

Much may be said for Freud’s view as a scientific explanation of dream psychology. But I must dispute its completeness, for the psyche cannot be conceived merely in causal terms but requires also a final view. Only a combination of points of view—which has not yet been achieved in a scientifically satisfactory manner, owing to the enormous difficulties, both practical and theoretical, that still remain to be overcome—can give us a more complete conception of the nature of dreams. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 473

What are religions? Religions are psychotherapeutic systems. What are we doing, we psychotherapists? We are trying to heal the suffering of the human mind, of the human psyche or the human soul, and religions deal with the same problem. Therefore our Lord himself is a healer; he is a doctor; he heals the sick and he deals with the troubles of the soul; and that is exactly what we call psychotherapy. ~Carl Jung, CW 18, Para 181

You see, in the actual functioning of the psyche, it does not matter whether you do a thing or whether it happens to you; whether it reaches you from without or happens within, fate moves through yourself and outside circumstances equally. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 896.

Without personal life, without the here and now, we cannot attain to the supra-personal. Personal life must first be fulfilled in order that the process of the supra-personal side of the psyche can be introduced. ~Carl Jung, The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Page 66.

It is the psyche which, by the divine creative power inherent in it, makes the metaphysical assertion; it posits the distinctions between metaphysical entities. Not only is it the condition of all metaphysical reality, it is that reality. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Para 856.

The archetypes are, so to speak, organs of the pre-rational psyche. They are eternally inherited forms and ideas which have at first no specific content. Their specific content only appears in the course of the individual’s life, when personal experience is taken up in precisely these forms. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 518.

Our psyche can function as though space did not exist. The psyche can thus be independent of space, of time, and of causality. This explains the possibility of magic. ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 51-70.

The psyche, which we have a tendency to take for a subjective face, is really a face that extends outside of us, outside of time, outside of space. ~C. G. Jung, Emma Jung and Toni Wolff – A Collection of Remembrances; Pages 51-70.

The only people you can’t treat are those who are born without a psyche. And of these there are not a few. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1; Page 95.

But religious statements without exception have to do with the reality of the psyche and not with the reality of physis. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 464.

If the psyche must be granted an overriding empirical importance, so also must the individual, who is the only immediate manifestation of the Psyche. ~Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self, Page 34.

The carrier of this consciousness is the individual, who does not produce the psyche on his own volition but is, on the contrary, pre-formed by it and nourished by the gradual awakening of consciousness during childhood. ~Carl Jung, The undiscovered Self, Page 34.

Thus the psyche is endowed with the dignity of a cosmic principle, which philosophically and in fact gives it a position coequal with the principle of physical being. ~Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self, Page 33.

Without consciousness there would, practically speaking, be no world, for the world exists as such only in so far as it is consciously reflected and consciously expressed by a psyche. Consciousness is a precondition of being. ~Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self, Page 33

. . . I simply want to point out that the capacity of the human psyche to produce such new material is particularly significant when one is dealing with the dream symbolism . . . ~Carl Jung; Man and His symbols; Page 26.

When I say as a psychologist , that God is an archetype, I mean by that the “type” in the psyche. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Psychology and Alchemy, Page 149

These fantasy-images undoubtedly have their closest analogues in mythological types. We must therefore assume that they correspond to certain collective (and not personal) structural elements of the human psyche…. These cases are so numerous that we are obliged to assume the existence of a collective psychic substratum. I have called this the collective unconscious. ~Carl Jung, CW 9I, para. 262.

Common is the view that spirit and psyche are essentially the same and can be separated only arbitrarily. Wundt takes spirit as “the inner being, regardless of any connection with an outer being. ~ Carl Jung, CW 9i, para. 386

A very widespread view conceives spirit as a higher and psyche as a lower principle of activity, and conversely the alchemists thought of spirit as the ligamentum animae et corporis, regarding it as a spiritus vegetativus (the later life-spirit or nerve-spirit). ~Carl Jung, CW 9i, para. 386.

Myths are original revelations of the preconscious psyche, involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings… But religion is a vital link with psychic processes independent of and beyond consciousness, in the dark hinterland of the psyche. ~Carl Jung CW 9i, para. 261.

It was then that I dedicated myself to service of the psyche. I loved it and hated it, but it was my greatest wealth. My delivering myself over to it, as it were, was the only way by which I could endure my existence and live it as fully as possible. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections; Page 192.

Nature, the psyche, and life appear to me like divinity unfolded – and what more could I wish for? To me the supreme meaning of Being can consist only in the fact that it is, not that it is not or is no longer. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 276.

Even if the whole world were to fall to pieces, the unity of the psyche would never be shattered. And the wider and more numerous the fissures on the surface, the more the unity is strengthened in the depths. ~Carl Jung; CW 10, Para 310.

This subjective knowledge of the self [is what is meant by]: “No one can know himself unless he knows what, and not who, he is, on what he depends, or whose he is (or to whom or what he belongs) and for what end he was made.” This distinction . . . is crucial. . . . Not the subjective ego-consciousness of the psyche is meant, but the psyche itself as the unknown, unprejudiced object that still has to be investigated. . . . “What” refers to the neutral self, the objective fact of totality, since the ego is on the one hand causally “dependent on” or “belongs to” it, and on the other hand is directed toward it as to a goal ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, para 252.

We know only a small part of our psyches. The causal factors determining [one’s] psychic existence reside largely in the unconscious processes outside consciousness , and in the same way there are final factors at work in [one] that likewise originate in the unconscious. . . . Causes and ends thus transcend consciousness to a degree that ought not to be underestimated, and this implies that their nature and action are unalterable and irreversible [to the degree that] they have not become objects of consciousness. They can only be corrected through conscious insight and moral determination, which is why self-knowledge, being so necessary, is feared so much ~Carl Jung, CW 9ii, Para 253.

As a doctor it is my task to help the patient to cope with life. I cannot presume to pass judgment on his final decisions, because I know from experience that all coercion-be it suggestion, insinuation, or any other method of persuasion-ultimately proves to be nothing but an obstacle to the highest and most decisive experience of all, which is to be alone with his own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation. ~Carl Jung, CW 12: Page 32.

The dream is specifically the utterance of the unconscious. Just as the psyche has a diurnal side which we call consciousness, so also it has a nocturnal side: the unconscious psychic activity which we apprehend as dreamlike fantasy. ~Carl Jung, CW 16, Page 317.

More especially the threat to one’s inmost self from dragons and serpents points to the danger of the newly acquired consciousness being swallowed up again by the instinctive psyche, the unconscious. ~Carl Jung; CW 9i; para. 282.

The part of the unconscious which is designated as the subtle body becomes more and more identical with the functioning of the body, and therefore it grows darker and darker and ends in the utter darkness of matter. . . . Somewhere our unconscious becomes material, because the body is the living unit, and our conscious and our unconscious are embedded in it: they contact the body. Somewhere there is a place where the two ends meet and become interlocked. And that is the [subtle body] where one cannot say whether it is matter, or what one calls “psyche.” ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 441.

It seems to be very hard for people to live with riddles or to let them live, although one would think that life is so full of riddles as it is that a few more things we cannot answer would make no difference. But perhaps it is just this that is so unendurable, that there are irrational things in our own psyche which upset the conscious mind in its illusory certainties by confronting it with the riddle of its existence. ~Carl Jung;, CW 13, Page 307.

More especially the threat to one’s inmost self from dragons and serpents points to the danger of the newly acquired consciousness being swallowed up again by the instinctive psyche, the unconscious. ~Carl Jung; CW 9i; para. 282.

My psychological experience has shown time and again that certain contents issue from a psyche that is more complete than consciousness. They often contain a superior analysis or insight or knowledge which consciousness has not been able to produce. We have a suitable word for such occurrences-intuition.. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 49.

There are no “purposeless” psychic processes; that is to say, it is a hypothesis of the greatest heuristic value that the psyche is essentially purposive and directed. ~Carl Jung; CW 8, para. 90.

In contrast to the meditation found in yoga practice, the psychoanalytic aim is to observe the shadowy presentation — whether in the form of images or of feelings — that are spontaneously evolved in the unconscious psyche and appear without his bidding to the man who looks within. In this way we find once more things that we have repressed or forgotten. Painful though it may be, this is in itself a gain — for what is inferior or even worthless belongs to me as my Shadow and gives me substance and mass. How can I be substantial if I fail to cast a Shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole; and inasmuch as I become conscious of my Shadow I also remember that I am a human being like any other. ~Carl Jung; Modern Man in Search of a Soul; Page 35.

It is in applied psychology, if anywhere, that today we should be modest and grant validity to a number of apparently contradictory opinions; for we are still far from having anything like a thorough knowledge of the human psyche, that most challenging field of scientific enquiry. For the present we have merely more or less plausible opinions that defy reconciliation. ~Carl Jung; Modern Man in Search of a Soul; Page 57.

Wherever there is a reaching down into innermost experience, into the nucleus of personality, most people are overcome by fright, and many run away. Such was the case with this theologian. I am of course aware that theologians are in a more difficult situation than others. On the one hand they are closer to religion, but on the other hand they are more bound by church and dogma. The risk of inner experience, the adventure of the spirit, is in any case alien to most human beings. The possibility that such experience might have psychic reality is anathema to them. All very well if it has a supernatural or at least a “historical” foundation. But psychic? Face to face with this question, the patient will often show an unsuspected but profound contempt for the psyche. ~Carl Jung; Memories, Dreams and Reflections; Pages 141-142.

In some way or other we are part of a single, all-embracing psyche, a single “greatest man.” ~Carl Jung, CW 10: 175.

When I was working on the stone tablets, I became aware of the fateful links between me and my ancestors. I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors. It often seems as if there were an impersonal karma within a family, which is passed on from parents to children. It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished. It is difficult to determine whether these questions are more of a personal or more of a general (collective) nature. It seems to me that the latter is the case. A collective problem, if not recognized as such, always appears as a personal problem, and in individual cases may give the impression that something is out of order in the realm of the personal psyche. The personal sphere is indeed disturbed, but such disturbances need not be primary; they may well be secondary, the consequence of an insupportable change in the social atmosphere. The cause of disturbance is, therefore, not to be sought in the personal surroundings, but rather in the collective situation. Psychotherapy has hitherto taken this matter far too little into account. ~Carl Jung; Memories, Dreams, Reflections; Pages 233-234.

There is nothing without spirit, for spirit seems to be the inside of things … inside is spirit, which is the soul of objects. Whether this is our psyche or the psyche of the universe we don’t know, but if one touches the earth one cannot avoid the spirit. ~Carl Jung, Visions Seminars; Pages 164-165.

Because a child is . . . small and its conscious thoughts scarce and simple, we do not realize the far-reaching complications of the infantile mind that are based on its original identity with the prehistoric psyche. That original mind is just as much present and still functioning in the child as the evolutionary stages of mankind are in its embryonic body. ~Carl Jung; Man and His symbols; Page 89.

Greater than all physical dangers are the tremendous effects of delusional ideas […].The world powers that rule over humanity, for good or ill, are unconscious psychic factors, and it is they that bring unconsciousness into being […].We are steeped in a world that was created by our own psyche. Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 747

What most overlook or seem unable to understand is the fact that I regard the psyche as real. ~Carl Jung, CW 11; Paragraph 751.

The collective unconscious is simply Nature — and since Nature contains everything it also contains the unknown. … So far as we can see, the collective unconscious is identical with Nature to the extent that Nature herself, including matter, is unknown to us. I have nothing against the assumption that the psyche is a quality of matter or matter the concrete aspect of the psyche, provided that ‘psyche’ is defined as the collective unconscious. ~Carl Jung; Letters II, Page 450

I have been compelled, in my investigations into the structure of the unconscious, to make a conceptual distinction between soul and psyche. By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. By soul, on the other hand, I understand a clearly demarcated functional complex that can best be described as a “personality.” ~Carl Jung, CW 6, para 797

Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. ~Carl Jung; Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 183.

Just as the “psychic infra-red,” the biological instinctual psyche, gradually passes over into the physiology of the organism and thus merges with its chemical and physical conditions, so the “psychic ultra-violet,” the archetype, describes a field which exhibits none of the peculiarities of the physiological and yet, in the last analysis, can no longer be regarded as psychic. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Page 420.

The highest and most decisive experience of all . . . is to be alone with . . . [one’s] own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation. ~Carl Jung, CW 12: P.32.

The unconscious . . . is the source of the instinctual forces of the psyche and of the forms or categories that regulate them, namely the archetypes. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, par. 342.

Nothing in us ever remains quite contradicted, and consciousness can take up no position which will not call up, somewhere in the dark corners of the psyche, a negation or a compensatory effect, approval or resentment. This process of coming to terms with the “Other” in us is well worth while, because in this way we get to know aspects of our nature which we would not allow anybody else to show us and which we ourselves would never have admitted. ~Carl Jung, CW 14: Page 706

The psyche does not merely react; it gives its own specific answer to the influences at work upon it. ~Carl Jung, CW 4; para 667

Every civilized human being, whatever his conscious development, is still an archaic man at the deeper levels of his psyche. Just as the human body connects us with the mammals and displays numerous relics of earlier evolutionary stages going back to even the reptilian age, so the human psyche is likewise a product of evolution which, when followed up to its origins, show countless archaic traits. ~Carl Jung; Modern Man in Search of a Soul; Page 126

Dionysus is the abyss of impassioned dissolution, where all human distinctions are merged in the animal divinity of the primordial psyche—a blissful and terrible experience. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Page 90.

But the principle of the unconscious is the autonomy of the psyche itself, reflecting in the play of its images not the world but itself, even though it utilizes the illustrative possibilities offered by the sensible world in order to make its images clear. ~Carl Jung, CW 12, Page 146

Gods are personifications of unconscious contents, for they reveal themselves to us through the unconscious activity of the psyche. Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 163.

The psyche is not of today; its ancestry goes back many millions of years. Individual consciousness is only the flower and the fruit of a season, sprung from the perennial rhizome beneath the earth; and it would find itself in better accord with the truth if it took the existence of the rhizome into its calculations. For the root matter is the mother of all things. ~Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation, Page xxv.

We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself . . . We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil. ~Carl Jung, BBC interview, 1959.

Consciousness is essentially the psyche’s organ of perception, it is the eye and ear of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures, Page 98.

Body and spirit are to me mere aspects of the reality of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 198-200.

Ask the modern physicist what body is, they are coming fast across to the recognition of the reality of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 198-200.

The psyche is distinctly more complicated and inaccessible than the body. It is, so to speak, the half of the world which comes into existence only when we become conscious of it. ~Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflection, Page 132.

The meaning of the dream is only that when the churches keep silent the psyche gives you food and drink. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 153-154.

I am indeed convinced that creative imagination is the only primordial phenomenon accessible to us, the real Ground of the psyche, the only immediate reality. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 59-63.

As I see it, the psyche is a world in which the ego is contained. Maybe there are fishes who believe that they contain the sea. We must rid ourselves of this habitual illusion of ours if we wish to consider metaphysical assertions from the standpoint of psychology. ~Carl Jung, CW 13Para 51.

If we consider the psyche as a whole, we come to the conclusion that the unconscious psyche likewise exists in a space-time continuum, where time is no longer time and space no longer space. Accordingly, causality ceases too. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 546-548.

The psychic seems to me to be in actual fact partly extra-spatial and extra-temporal. “Subtle body” may be a fitting expression for this part of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 522-523.

My eldest patient-a lady-has reached the stately age of 75. The psyche can be treated so long as a person has a psyche The only people you can’t treat are those who are born without a psyche. And of these there are not a few. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol 1; Page 95.

You see, in spite of being a man in advanced age, you still have a young soul, a lovely anima, and she is confronted with the dangerous lizard. In other words, your soul is threatened by’ chthonic poison. Now this is exactly the situation of our Western mind. We think we can deal with such problems in an almost rationalistic way, by conscious attempts and efforts, imitating Yoga methods and such dangerous stuff, but we forget entirely that first of all we should establish a connection between the higher and the lower regions of our psyche ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 95-97.

… it would seem to be more in accord with the collective psyche of humanity to regard death as the fulfillment of life’s meaning and as its goal in the truest sense, instead of a mere meaningless cessation. Anyone who cherishes a rationalistic opinion on this score has isolated himself psychologically and stands opposed to his own basic nature. ~Carl Jung, CWs, 8, ¶807.

The analysis of older people provides a wealth of dream symbols that psychically prepare the dreams for impending death. It is in fact true, as Jung has emphasized, that the unconscious psyche pays very little attention to the abrupt end of bodily life and behaves as if the psychic life of the individual, that is, the individuation process, will simply continue. … The unconscious “believes” quite obviously in a life after death. ~Marie-Louise von Franz (1987), ix.

We think we can deal with such problems in an almost rationalistic way, by conscious attempts and efforts, imitating Yoga methods and such dangerous stuff, but we forget entirely that first of all we should establish a connection between the higher and the lower regions of our psyche. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 95-97.

In spite of the fact that the majority of people do not know why the body needs salt, everyone demands it nonetheless because of an instinctive need. It is the same with the things of the psyche. That is the working of the intellect. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Pages 399-403.

But besides that there is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Pages 399-403.

Thus the archetype as a phenomenon is conditioned by place and time, but on the other hand it is an invisible structural pattern independent of place and time, and like the instincts proves to be an essential component of the psyche. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 538-539.

The psyche is therefore all-important; it is the all-pervading Breath, the Buddha-essence; it is the Buddha-Mind, the One, the Dharrjiakdya. All existence emanates from it, and all separate forms dissolve back into it. ~Carl Jung, CW 11, Page 482.

The psyche as such cannot be explained in terms of physiological chemistry, if only because, together with “life” itself, it is the only “natural factor” capable of converting statistical organizations which are subject to natural law into “higher” or “unnatural” states, in opposition to the rule of entropy that runs throughout the inorganic realm. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Paras 371-381

How life produces complex organic systems from the inorganic we do not know, though we have direct experience of how the psyche does it. Life therefore has a specific law of its own which cannot be deduced from the known physical laws of nature. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Paras 371-381

The “anima rationalis” is the reasonable mind of man, which is really the highest form of the human psyche, worthy of immortality. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Lecture XI, Page 96.

The snake is a personification of the unconscious, for, as early as the Gnostics, it was used as a symbol for the spinal cord and the basal ganglia, where the vegetative psyche is localized. ~Carl Jung, ETH, Lecture XIII, Page 111.