95 Carl Jung Quotes (to Help You Understand Yourself)
Carl Gustav Jung was one of the creators of modern depth psychology, which seeks to facilitate a conversation with the unconscious energies which move through each of us. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. He contributed many ideas which continue to inform contemporary life: complex, archetype, persona, shadow, anima and animus, personality typology, dream interpretation, individuation, and many other ideas.
In his memoir, “Memories, Dreams, Reflections”, Jung wrote that meaning comes when people feel they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama. That gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. Carl Jung considered spirituality a central part of the human journey and had a deep appreciation of our creative life. His method of interpretation of symbolic expression not only deepens our understanding of personal material, opening the psychodynamics of our personal biographies and dreams, but the deeper, collective patterns which develop within culture as well.
Short Quotes by Carl Jung
- For better to come, good must stand aside.
- The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
- Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.
- Shame is a soul eating emotion.
- What you resist, persists.
- Words are animals, alive with a will of their own.
- We cannot change anything unless we accept it.
- The true leader is always led.
- There’s no coming to consciousness without pain
Photo by Christopher Sardegna
- I don’t aspire to be a good man. I aspire to be a whole man.
- Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
- You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.
Carl Jung Inspirational Quotes
- The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.
- I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.
- Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.
- Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.
- The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.
- Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.
- It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.
- Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.
- Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Photo by Tom Barrett
Insightful Quotes by Carl Jung
- Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
- Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.
- The reason for evil in the world is that people are not able to tell their stories.
- Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
- The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.
- Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.
- Midlife is the time to let go of an overdominant ego and to contemplate the deeper significance of human existence.
- Intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside of the province of reason.
- The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.
- The highest, most decisive experience is to be alone with one’s own self. You must be alone to find out what supports you, when you find that you can not support yourself. Only this experience can give you an indestructible foundation.
- Faith, hope, love, and insight are the highest achievements of human effort. They are found -given- by experience.
- The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.
- Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
- The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.
- I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.
- If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.
- Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.
- Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
- Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.
- In each of us there is another whom we do not know.
- Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.
- The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
Spiritual quotes by Carl Jung
- The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others
- The gods have become our diseases.
- I am no longer alone with myself, and I can only artificially recall the scary and beautiful feeling of solitude. This is the shadow side of the fortune of love.
- Nobody can fall so low unless he has a great depth. If such a thing can happen to a man, it challenges his best and highest on the other side; that is to say, this depth corresponds to a potential height, and the blackest darkness to a hidden light.
- Explore daily the will of God.
- With a truly tragic delusion, these theologians fail to see that it is not a matter of proving the existence of the light, but of blind people who do not know that their eyes could see. It is high time we realized that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to teach people the art of seeing.
- The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith.
- There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
Intellectual quotes by Carl Jung
- Somewhere, right at the bottom of one’s own being, one generally does know where one should go and what one should do. But there are times when the clown we call “I” behaves in such a distracting fashion that the inner voice cannot make its presence felt.
- To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is
- If we feel our way into the human secrets of the sick person, the madness also reveals its system, and we recognize in the mental illness merely an exceptional reaction to emotional problems which are not strange to us.
- About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.
- Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.
- The sight of a child…will arouse certain longings in adult, civilized persons — longings which relate to the unfulfilled desires and needs of those parts of the personality which have been blotted out of the total picture in favor of the adapted persona.
- We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.
- It is my mind, with its store of images, that gives the world color and sound; and that supremely real and rational certainty which I can “experience” is, in its most simple form, an exceedingly complicated structure of mental images. Thus there is, in a certain sense, nothing that is directly experienced except the mind itself. Everything is mediated through the mind, translated, filtered, allegorized, twisted, even falsified by it. We are […] enveloped in a cloud of changing and endlessly shifting images.
- Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.
- Deep down, below the surface of the average man’s conscience, he hears a voice whispering, “There is something not right,” no matter how much his rightness is supported by public opinion or moral code.
- Mistakes are, after all, the foundations of truth, and if a man does not know what a thing is, it is at least an increase in knowledge if he knows what it is not.
Cynical Quotes by Carl Jung
- If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.
- Nobody, as long as he moves among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.
- Every human life contains a potential, if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted.
- The bigger the crowd, the more negligible the individual.
- People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.
- A creative person has little power over his own life. He is not free. He is captive and driven by his daimon.
- My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life.
- Sometimes you have to do something unforgivable just to be able to go on living.
Carl Jung Poetic Quotes
- In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
- As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.
- The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.
- We meet ourselves time and again in a thousand disguises on the path of life.
- How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.
- No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.
- Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away—an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.
- Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
- Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune.
- Nights through dreams tell the myths forgotten by the day.
- Sensation tells us a thing is. Thinking tells us what it is this thing is. Feeling tells us what this thing is to us.
- Every Mother contains her daughter in herself and every daughter her mother and every mother extends backwards into her mother and forwards into her daughter.
- I am looking forward enormously to getting back to the sea again, where the overstimulated psyche can recover in the presence of that infinite peace and spaciousness.
- There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.
- One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
- A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being
Long Quotes by Carl Jung
- It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.
- Be silent and listen: have you recognized your madness and do you admit it? Have you noticed that all your foundations are completely mired in madness? Do you not want to recognize your madness and welcome it in a friendly manner? You wanted to accept everything. So accept madness too. Let the light of your madness shine, and it will suddenly dawn on you. Madness is not to be despised and not to be feared, but instead you should give it life…If you want to find paths, you should also not spurn madness, since it makes up such a great part of your nature…Be glad that you can recognize it, for you will thus avoid becoming its victim. Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.
- I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears.
- An understanding heart is everything in a teacher, and cannot be esteemed highly enough. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feeling. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
- 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 interests 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.
- The fact that a man who goes his own way ends in ruin means nothing…He must obey his own law, as if it were a daemon whispering to him of new and wonderful paths…There are not a few who are called awake by the summons of the voice, whereupon they are at once set apart from the others, feeling themselves confronted with a problem about which the others know nothing. In most cases it is impossible to explain to the others what has happened, for any understanding is walled off by impenetrable prejudices. “You are no different from anybody else,” they will chorus or, “there’s no such thing,” and even if there is such a thing, it is immediately branded as “morbid”…He is at once set apart and isolated, as he has resolved to obey the law that commands him from within. “His own law!” everybody will cry. But he knows better: it is the law…The only meaningful life is a life that strives for the individual realization–absolute and unconditional–of its own particular law…To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being…he has failed to realize his own life’s meaning.
- We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of grater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our [forebears] sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Neitzche called the spirit of gravity.
- I am astonished, disappointed, pleased with myself. I am distressed, depressed, rapturous. I am all these things at once, and cannot add up the sum. I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness; I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions – not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems to me that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation or something I do not know.
- The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the whole moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life. That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ — all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself — that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness — that I myself am the enemy who must be loved — what then? As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; we say to the brother within us “Raca,” and condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.
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John Freeman interviews Professor Jung at his home in Switzerland
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