The serious problems in life, however, are never fully solved.
If ever they should appear to be so it is a sure sign that something has been lost.
The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.
This alone preserves us from stultification and petrifaction.
So also the solution of the problems of youth by restricting ourselves to the attainable is only temporarily valid and
not lasting in a deeper sense.
Of course, to win for oneself a place in society and to transform one’s nature so that it is more or less fitted to this
kind of existence is in all cases a considerable achievement.
It is a fight waged within oneself as well as outside, comparable to the struggle of the child for an ego.
That struggle is for the most part unobserved because it happens in the dark; but when we see how stubbornly
childish illusions and assumptions and egoistic habits are still clung to in later years we can gain some idea of the
energies that were needed to form them.
And so it is with the ideals, convictions, guiding ideas and attitudes which in the period of youth lead us out into life,
for which we struggle, suffer, and win victories: they grow together with our own being, we apparently change into
them, we seek to perpetuate them indefinitely and as a matter of course, just as the young person asserts his ego in
spite of the world and often in spite of himself.
The nearer we approach to the middle of life, and the better we have succeeded in entrenching ourselves in our
personal attitudes and social positions, the more it appears as if we had discovered the right course and the right
ideals and principles of behaviour.
For this reason we suppose them to be eternally valid, and make a virtue of unchangeably clinging to them.
We overlook the essential fact that the social goal is attained only at the cost of a diminution of personality. Many—
far too many aspects of life which should also have been experienced lie in the lumber-room among dusty memories;
but sometimes, too, they are glowing coals under grey ashes. Carl Jung, CW 8,The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche,
The Stages of Life, Pages 394-395.