Zarathustra Seminars

Mrs. Jung: What exactly is the difference between intuition and revelation?

Prof. Jung: Well, an ordinary intuition is really one’s own activity.

I can set out to have an intuition and it doesn’t come to me as a revelation; I can stare at a thing until something comes into my mind.

I can even provoke it. An intuitive type sets out to intuit-it is very much his own activity-whereas a revelation has of course a great similarity but it appears much more as a fact outside oneself.

It is true that the intuitive derives the authority for his intuition from the same source, so at times it seems to have the same autonomous character, and the more it has that character, the more it has authority of course.

It is amazing how sure he is of his intuition, so certain that he can convince people of the merest possibility, a potential which might come off, or it might not. It is utterly improbable that more than 50 percent of intuitions are true because we are surrounded by a large percentage of false possibilities.

You see, a potentiality can remain forever a potentiality, and it may also be a false possibility; something may seem to be possible yet it is not at all, although one has an intuition that it is already.

The more intuition has an autonomous quality, the more it takes on the character of a revelation; therefore the most intuitive people behave as if they were all the time inspired.

They are perfectly certain, and in consequence they fall from one hole into the other and never get anywhere.

You see, what happens to them is that they assume that authority to be their own; if they did not they would be critical-then they would discuss matters with God.

The prophets discussed matters first; they were disobedient because they felt there were other elements involved in it and perhaps God didn’t really know whether the thing was right or not.

But the moment the intuitive has an intuition, he runs away with it and therefore he falls into a hole.

Mrs. Sigg: Could one say a revelation comes from the self?

Prof. Jung: Well, whatever the phrase is, we don’t know the source.

We must be very careful. Yes, we could make such a theory-of the so-called self from which a revelation comes-but this is metaphysical speculation.

Mrs. Crowley: I would have thought it could start with intuition.

Prof. Jung: Of course it can have such a form, but you cannot provoke it.

Mrs. Crowley: Then I had the wrong idea of intuition. I thought that was just what could not be done with intuition; I thought it was autonomous.

Prof. Jung: That is just the trouble: that is what the intuitive thinks. The more one is intuitive, the more it just comes to one, but it is one’s own activity. There is a tremendous danger in intuition; the more it is differentiated, the greater the danger that it takes on that character of revelation. It is the same with the intellect; if one has a finely differentiated intellect one feels that it is almost infallible. So a philosopher once told me that thinking could never be wrong because it was right in itself.

Mrs. Crowley: I mean exactly the opposite; an intuition is so uncertain that it is no proof if it comes to you, but if it is revelation you would be absolutely convinced.

Prof Jung: It is true that revelation has authority but the historical fact is, that even if the revelation comes to you with great authority, you may not believe it.

Mrs. Crowley: Well, you would feel more convinced, I should think, if you could possibly realize that it was revelation.

Prof Jung: That is perfectly true: people are more convinced by a revelation than by an intuition; but it is also true that if they have a real revelation they may not believe it, while they might believe an intuition.

Mrs. Durler: Where can you draw the line?

Prof Jung: Yes, where can you draw the line between the very sharp intellect and error? That is just the difficulty. ~Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Page 878