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Carl Jung: The conflict between nature and spirit is itself a reflection of the paradox of psychic life.

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Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche CW 8

The following reflections are my way of attempting to solve this problem.

The conflict between nature and spirit is itself a reflection of the paradox of psychic life.

This reveals a physical and a spiritual aspect which appear a contradiction because, ultimately, we do not understand the nature of psychic life itself.

Whenever, with our human understanding, we want to make a statement about something which in the last analysis we have not grasped and cannot grasp, then we must, if we are honest, be willing to contradict ourselves, we must pull this something into its antithetical parts in order to be able to deal with it at all.

The conflict between the physical and the spiritual aspects only shows that psychic life is in the last analysis an incomprehensible “something.”

Without a doubt it is our only immediate experience.

All that I experience is psychic.

Even physical pain is a psychic image which I experience; my sense impressions—for all that they force upon me a world of impenetrable objects occupying space—are psychic images, and these alone constitute my immediate experience, for they alone are the immediate objects of my consciousness.

My own psyche even transforms and falsifies reality, and it does this to such a degree that I must resort to artificial means to determine what things are like apart from myself.

Then I discover that a sound is a vibration of air of such and such a frequency, or that a colour is a wave of light of such and such a length.

We are in truth so wrapped about by psychic images that we cannot penetrate at all to the essence of things external to ourselves.

All our knowledge consists of the stuff of the psyche which, because it alone is immediate, is superlatively real.

Here, then, is a reality to which the psychologist can appeal—namely, psychic reality. ~Carl Jung, CW 8, Para 680