[Carl Jung and the “Decisive Question.]
The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life.
Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interest upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance.
Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty.
The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life.
He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy.
If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.
In the final analysis, we count for something only because of the essential we embody, and if we do not embody that, life is wasted. In our relationships to other men, too, the crucial question is whether an element of boundlessness is expressed in the relationship.
The feeling for the infinite, however, can be attained only if we are bounded to the utmost.
The greatest limitation for man is the “self”; it is manifested in the experience: “I am only that!” Only consciousness of our narrow confinement in the self forms the link to the limitlessness of the unconscious.
In such awareness we experience ourselves concurrently as limited and eternal, as both the one and the other.
In knowing ourselves to be unique in our personal combination that is, ultimately limited we possess also the capacity for becoming conscious of the infinite. But only then!
In an era which has concentrated exclusively upon extension of living space and increase of rational knowledge at all costs, it is a supreme challenge to ask man to become conscious of his uniqueness and his limitation.
Uniqueness and limitation are synonymous.
Without them, no perception of the unlimited is possible–and, consequently, no coming to consciousness either–merely a delusory identity with it which takes the form of intoxication with large numbers and an avidity for political power.
Our age has shifted all emphasis to the here and now, and thus brought about a daemonization of man and his world.
The phenomenon of dictators and all the misery they have wrought springs from the fact that man has been robbed of transcendence by the shortsightedness of the super-intellectuals.
Like them, he has fallen a victim to unconsciousness.
But man’s task is the exact opposite: to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.
Neither should he persist in his unconsciousness, nor remain identical with the unconscious elements of his being, thus evading his destiny, which is to create more and more consciousness.
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.
It may even be assumed that just as the unconscious affects us, so the increase in our consciousness affects the unconscious. ~Carl Jung and Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 326