Jung Quotes

Quotes by C.G. Jung from the Collected Works

(published by Bollingen Press)

About Art……

“Non-objective art draws its contents essentially from “inside.” This “inside” cannot correspond to consciousness, since consciousness contains images of objects as they are generally seen, and whose appearance must therefore necessarily conform to general expectations…. Behind consciousness there lies not the absolute void but the unconscious psyche, which affects consciousness from behind and from inside, just as much as the outer world affects it from in front and from outside.” (CW15 § 206)

“As this “inside” is invisible and cannot be imagined, even though it can affect consciousness in the most pronounced manner, I induce those of my patients who suffer mainly from the effects of this “inside” to set them down in pictorial form as best they can. The aim of this method of expression is to make the unconscious contents accessible and so bring them closer to the patient’s understanding. The therapeutic effect of this is to prevent a dangerous splitting-off of the unconscious processes from consciousness. In contrast to objective or “conscious” representations, all pictorial representations of processes and effects in the psychic background are symbolic. They point, in a rough and approximate way, to a meaning that for the time being is unknown. “ (CW15 § 207)

“Although my patients occasionally produce artistically beautiful things that might very well be shown in modern “art” exhibitions, I nevertheless treat them as completely worthless when judged by the canons of real art. As a matter of fact, it is essential that they should be considered worthless, otherwise my patients might imagine themselves to be artists, and the whole point of the exercise would be missed. It is not a question of art at all-or rather, it should not be a question of art – but of something more and other than mere art, namely the living effect upon the patient himself. The meaning of individual life, whose importance from the social standpoint is negligible, stands here at its highest, and for its sake the patient struggles to give form, however crude and childish, to the inexpressible.” (CW16, § 104) [divider_top]

About the Unconscious….

” The unconscious is not a demoniacal monster, but a natural entity which, as far as moral sense, aesthetic taste, and intellectual judgment go, is completely neutral. it only becomes dangerous when our conscious attitude to it is hopelessly wrong. To the degree that we repress it, its danger increases. But the moment the patient begins to assimilate contents that were previously unconscious, its danger diminishes. The dissociation of the personality, the anxious division of the day-time and night-time sides of the psyche, cease with progressive assimilation.” (CW16, § 329)

“Freud’s original idea of the unconscious was that it was a sort of receptacle or storehouse for repressed material, infantile wishes, and the like. But the unconscious is far more than that: it is the basis and precondition of all consciousness. It represents the unconscious functioning of the psyche in general. It is psychic life before, during, and after consciousness. And inasmuch as the newborn child is presented with a ready-made, highly developed brain which owes its differentiation to the accretions of untold centuries of ancestral life, the unconscious psyche must consist of inherited instincts, functions, and forms that are peculiar to the ancestral psyche. This collective heritage is by no means made up of inherited ideas, but rather of the possibilities of such ideas-in other words, of a priori categories of possible functioning. Such an inheritance could be called instinct, using the word in its original sense. But it is not quite so simple. On the contrary, it is a most intricate web of what I have called archetypal conditions. This implies the probability that a man will behave much as his ancestors behaved, right back to Methuselah. Thus the unconscious is seen as the collective predisposition to extreme conservatism, a guarantee, almost, that nothing new wi1l ever happen.” (CW16, § 61)

About the Collective Unconscious….

“Whether primitive or not, mankind always stands on the brink of actions it performs itself but does not control. The whole world wants peace and the whole world prepares for war, to take but one example. Mankind is powerless against mankind, and the gods, as ever, show it the ways of fate. Today we call the gods “factors,” which comes from facere, ‘to make: The makers stand behind the wings of the world-theatre. It is so in great things as in small. In the realm of consciousness we are our own masters; we seem to be the “factors” themselves. But if we step through the door of the shadow we discover with terror that we are the objects of unseen factors. To know this is decidedly unpleasant, for nothing is more disillusioning than the discovery of our own inadequacy. It can even give rise to primitive panic, because, instead of being believed in, the anxiously guarded supremacy of consciousness which is in truth one of the secrets of human success-is questioned in the most dangerous way. But since ignorance is no guarantee of security, and in fact only makes our insecurity still worse, it is probably better despite our fear to know where the danger lies. To ask the right question is already half the solution of a problem. At any rate we then know that the greatest danger threatening us comes from the unpredictability of the psyche’s reactions. Discerning persons have realized for some time that external historical conditions, of whatever kind, are only occasions, jumping-off grounds, for the real dangers that threaten our lives. These are the present politico-social delusional systems. We should not regard them causally, as necessary consequences of external conditions, but as decisions precipitated by the collective unconscious.” (CW9i, §49)

About Complexes…

“Under the stress of an extreme abaissement the psychic totality falls apart and splits up into complexes, and the ego complex ceases to play the important role among these. It is just one among several complexes which are all equally important, or perhaps even more important than the ego. All these complexes assume a personal character although they remain fragments. It is understandable that people should get panicky, or that they eventually become demoralized under a chronic strain, or despair of their hopes and expectations. It is also understandable that their will-power weakens and their self-control becomes slack and begins to lose its grip upon circumstances, moods, and thoughts. It is quite consistent with such a state of mind if some particularly unruly parts of the patient’s psyche then acquire a certain degree of autonomy.” (CW3, § 521)

About Dreams…

“Since dreams provide information about the hidden inner life and reveal to the patient those components of his personality which, in his daily behaviour, appear merely as neurotic symptoms, it follows that we cannot effectively treat him from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about a change in and through the unconscious. In the light of our present knowledge this can be achieved only by the thorough and conscious assimilation of unconscious contents.” (CW16, § 326)

“From all this it should now be clear why I make it an heuristic rule, in interpreting a dream, to ask myself: What conscious attitude does it compensate? By so doing, I relate the dream as closely as possible to the conscious situation; indeed, I would even assert that without knowledge of the conscious situation the dream can never be interpreted with any degree of certainty. Only in the light of this knowledge is it possible to make out whether the unconscious content carries a plus or a minus sign. The dream is not an isolated event completely cut off from daily life and lacking its character. If it seems so to us, that is only the result of our lack of understanding, a subjective illusion. In reality the relation between the conscious mind and the dream is strictly causal, and they interact in the subtlest of ways.” (CW16, § 334)

“Just as the interpretation of dreams requires exact knowledge of the conscious status quo, so the treatment of dream symbolism demands that we take into account the dreamer’s philosophical, religious, and moral convictions. It is far wiser in practice not to regard dream-symbols semiotically, i.e., as signs or symptoms of a fixed character, but as true symbols, i.e asexpressions of a content not yet consciously recognized or conceptually formulated. In addition, they must be considered in relation to the dreamer’s immediate state of consciousness, I say that this procedure is advisable in practice because in theory relatively fixed symbols do exist whose meaning must on no account be referred to anything known and formulable as I concept. If there were no such relatively fixed symbols it would be impossible to determine the structure of the unconscious, for there would be nothing that could in any way be laid hold of or described.” (CW16, § 339)

“Infinitely varied are the contents of the initial dreams, that is, the dreams that come at the outset of the treatment. In many cases they point directly to the past and recall things lost and forgotten. For very often the standstill and disorientation arise when life has become one-sided, and this may, in psychological terms, cause a sudden loss of libido. All our previous activities become uninteresting, even senseless, and our aims suddenly no longer worth striving for. What in one person is merely a passing mood may in another become a chronic condition. In these cases it often happens that other possibilities for developing the personality lie buried somewhere or other in the past, unknown to anybody, not even to the patient. But the dream may reveal the clue.” (CW16,  § 87)

“The use of dream-analysis in psychotherapy is still a much debated question. Many practitioners find it indispensable in the treatment of neuroses, and consider that the dream is a function whose psychic importance is equal to that of the conscious mind itself. Others, on the contrary, dispute the value of dream-analysis and regard dreams as a negligible by-product of the psyche. Obviously, if a person holds the view that the unconscious plays a decisive part in the aetiology of neuroses, he will attribute a high practical importance to dreams as direct expressions of the unconscious. Equally obviously, if he denies the unconscious or at least thinks it aetiologically insignificant, he will minimize the importance of dream-analysis. It might be considered regrettable that in this year of grace 1931, more than half a century after Carus formulated the concept of the unconscious, more than a century after Kant spoke of the “illimitable field of obscure ideas,” and nearly two hundred years after Leibniz postulated an unconscious psychic activity, not to mention the achievements of Janet, Flournoy, Freud, and many more- that after all this, the actuality of the unconscious should still be a matter for controversy. But, since it is my intention to deal exclusively with practical questions, I will not advance in this place an apology for the unconscious, although our special problem of dream-analysis stands or falls with such an hypothesis. Without it, the dream is a mere freak of nature, a meaningless conglomeration of fragments left over from the day.Were that really so, there would be no excuse for the present discussion. Wecannot treat our theme at all unless we recognize the unconscious, for the avowed aim of dream-analysis is not only to exercise our wits, but to uncover and realize those hitherto unconscious contents which arc considered to be of importance in the elucidation or treatment of a neurosis. Anyone who finds this hypothesis unacceptable must simply rule out the question of the applicability of dream-analysis.” (CW16, § 294)

“The fundamental mistake regarding the nature of the unconscious is probably this: it is commonly supposed that its contents have only one meaning and are marked with an unalterable plus or minus sign. In my humble opinion, this view is too naieve. The psyche is a self-regulating system that maintains its equilibrium just as the body does. Every process that goes too far immediately and inevitably calls forth compensations, and without these there would be neither a normal metabolism nor a normal psyche. In this sense we can take the theory of compensation as a basic law of psychic behaviour. Too little on one side results in too much on the other. Similarly, the relation between conscious and unconscious is compensatory. This is one of the best-proven rules of dream interpretation. When we set out to interpret a dream, it is always helpful to ask: What conscious attitude does it compensate?”  (CW16, § 330)

“But since, according to our hypothesis, the unconscious possesses an aetiological significance, and since dreams are the direct expression of unconscious psychic activity, the attempt to analyse and interpret dreams is theoretically justified from a scientific standpoint. If successful, we may expect this attempt to give us scientific insight into the structure of psychic causality, quite apart from any therapeutic results that may be gained. The practitioner, however, tends to consider scientific discoveries as, at most, a gratifying by-product of his therapeutic work, so he is hardly likely to take the bare possibility of theoretical insight into the aetiological background as a sufficient reason for, much less an indication of, the practical use of dream-analysis. He may believe, of course, that the explanatory insight so gained is of therapeutic value, in which case he will elevate dream-analysis to a professional duty. It is well known that the Freudian school is of the firm opinion that very valuable therapeutic results are achieved by throwing light upon the unconscious causal factors- that is, by explaining them to the patient and thus making him fully conscious of the sources of his trouble.”  (CW16, § 295)

“Here we come upon something of the utmost importance for the applicability of dream-analysis: the dream describes the inner situation of the dreamer, but the conscious mind denies its truth and reality, or admits it only grudgingly. Consciously the dreamer could not see the slightest reason why he should not go steadily forward; on the contrary, he continued his ambitious climbing and refused to admit his own inability which subsequent events made all too plain. So long as we move in the conscious sphere, we are always unsure in such cases. The anamnesis can be interpreted in various ways. After all, the common soldier carries the marshal’s baton in his knapsack, and many a son of poor parents has achieved the highest success. Why should it not be the case here? Since my judgment is fallible, why should my conjecture be better than his? At this point the dream comes in as the expression of an involuntary, unconscious psychic process beyond the control of the conscious mind. It shows the inner truth and reality of the patient as it really is: not as I conjecture it to be, and not as he would like it to be, but as it is. I have therefore made it a rule to regard dreams as I regard physiological facts: if sugar appears in the urine, then the urine contains sugar, and not albumen or urobilin or something else that might fit in better with my, expectations. That is to say, I take dreams as diagnostically valuable facts.” (CW16, § 304)

“Initial dreams are often amazingly lucid and clear-cut. But as the work of analysis progresses, the dreams tend to lose their clarity. If by way of exception, they keep it we can be sure that analysis has not yet touched on some important layer of the personality. As a rule, dreams get more and more opaque and blurred soon after the beginning of the treatment, and this makes the interpretation increasingly difficult. A further difficulty is that a point may soon be reached where, if the truth be told, the doctor no longer understands the situation as a whole. That he does not understand is proved by the fact that the dreams become increasingly obscure, for we all know that “obscurity” is a purely subjective opinion of the doctor. To the understanding nothing is obscure; it is only when we do not understand that things appear unintelligible and muddled. In themselves dreams are naturally clear; that is, they are what they must be under the circumstances. If, from a later stage of treatment or from a distance of some years, we look back at these unintelligible dreams, we are often astounded at our own blindness. Thus when, as the analysis proceeds, we come upon dreams that are strikingly obscure in comparison with the illuminating initial dreams, the doctor should not be too ready to accuse the dreams of confusion or the patient of deliberate resistance; he would do better to take these findings as a sign of his growing inability to understand  – just as the psychiatrist who calls his patient “confused” should recognize that this is a projection and should rather call himself confused, because in reality it is he whose wits are confused by the patient’s peculiar behaviour. Moreover it is therapeutically very important for the doctor to admit his lack of understanding in time, for nothing is more unbearable to the patient than to be always understood. He relies far too much anyway on the mysterious powers of the doctor and, by appealing to  his professional vanity, lays a dangerous trap for him. By taking refuge in the doctor’s self-confidence and “profound” understanding, the patient loses all sense of reality, falls into a stubborn transference, and retards the cure.” (CW16, § 313)

“The analyst who wishes to rule out conscious suggestion must therefore consider every dream interpretation invalid until such time as a formula is found which wins the assent of the patient.” (CW16, § 316)

“This being so, it is imperative that we should not pare down the meaning of the dream to fit some narrow doctrine. We must remember that there are not a few patients who imitate the technical or theoretical jargon of the doctor, and do this even in their dreams, in accordance with the old tag, Canis panem somniat, piscator pisces. This is not to say that the fishes of which the fisherman dreams are fishes and nothing more. There is no language that cannot be misused. As may easily be imagined, the misuse often turns the tables on us; it even seems as if the unconscious had a way of strangling the doctor in the coils of his own theory. Therefore I leave theory aside as much as possible when analysing dreams-not entirely, of course, for we always need some theory to make things intelligible. It is on the basis of theory, for instance, that I expect dreams to have a meaning. I cannot prove in every case that this is so, for there are dreams which the doctor and the patient simply do not understand. But I have to make such an hypothesis in order to find courage to deal with dreams at all. To say that dreams add something important to our conscious knowledge, and that a dream which fails to do so has not been properly interpreted -that, too, is a theory. But I must make this hypothesis as well in order to explain to myself why I analyse dreams in the first place. All other hypotheses, however, about the function and the structure of dreams are merely rules of thumb and must be subjected to constant modification. In dream-analysis we must never forget, even for a moment, that we move on treacherous ground where nothing is certain but uncertainty. If it were not so paradoxical. one would almost like to call out to the dream interpreter: “Do anything you like, only don’t try to understand!”  “ (CW16, § 318)

“Every interpretation is an hypothesis, an attempt to read an unknown text. An obscure dream, taken in isolation, can hardly ever be interpreted with any certainty. For this reason I attach little importance to the interpretation of single dreams. A relative degree of certainty is reached only in the interpretation of a series of dreams, where the later dreams correct the mistakes we have made in handling those that went before. Also, the basic ideas and themes can be recognized much better in a dream-series, and I therefore urge my patients to keep a careful record of their dreams and of the interpretations given. I also show them how to work out their dreams in the manner described, so that they can bring the dream and its context with them in writing to the consultation. At a later stage I get them to work out the interpretation as well. In this way the patient learns how to deal correctly with his unconscious without the doctor’s help.” (CW16, § 322)

“No amount of scepticism and criticism has yet enabled me to regard dreams as negligible occurrences. Often enough they appear senseless, but it is obviously we who lack the sense and ingenuity to read the enigmatic message from the nocturnal realm of the psyche. Seeing that at least half our psychic existence is passed in that realm, and that consciousness acts upon our nightly life just as much as the unconscious overshadows our daily life, it would seem all the more incumbent on medical psychology to sharpen its senses by a systematic study of dreams. Nobody doubts the importance of conscious experience; why then should we doubt the significance of unconscious happenings? They also are part of our life, and sometimes more truly a part of it for weal or woe than any happenings of the day.”  (CW16, § 325)

“Since dreams provide information about the hidden inner life and reveal to the patient those components of his personality which, in his daily behaviour, appear merely as neurotic symptoms, it follows that we cannot effectively treat him from the side of consciousness alone, but must bring about a change in and through the unconscious. In the light of our present knowledge this can be achieved only by the thorough and conscious assimilation of unconscious contents.

“Assimilation” in this sense means mutual penetration of conscious and unconscious, and not-as is commonly thought and practised-a one-sided evaluation, interpretation, and deformation of unconscious contents by the conscious mind. As to the value and significance of unconscious contents in general, very mistaken views are current. It is well known that the Freudian school presents the unconscious in a thoroughly negative light, much as it regards primitive man as little better than a monster. Its nursery-tales about the terrible old man of the tribe and its teachings about the “infantile-perverse-criminal” unconscious have led people to make a dangerous ogre out of something perfectly natural. As if all that is good, reasonable, worth while, and beautiful had taken up its abode in the conscious mind! Have the horrors of the ‘World War done nothing to open our eyes, so that we still cannot see that the conscious mind is even more devilish and perverse than the naturalness of the unconscious? “ (CW16, §§ 326&327)

“If I have made the attempt to illustrate the principles of the psychoanalytic method by means of dream-analysis it is because the dream is one of the clearest examples of psychic contents whose composition eludes direct understanding. When someone knocks in a nail with a hammer in order to hang something up, we can understand every detail of the action; it is immediately evident. It is otherwise with the act of baptism, where every phase is problematic. We call these actions, whose meaning and purpose are not immediately evident, symbolic actions, or symbols. On the basis of this reasoning we call a dream symbolic because it is a psychological product whose origin, meaning, and purpose are obscure, and is therefore one of the purest products of unconscious constellation. As Freud aptly says, the dream is the via regia to the unconscious.” (CW4 § 334)

About Neuroses…

“Neuroses are still-very unjustly-counted as mild illnesses, mainly because their nature is not tangible and of the body. People do not “die” of a neurosis-as if every bodily illness had a fatal outcome! But it is entirely forgotten that, unlike bodily illnesses, neuroses may be extremely deleterious in their psychic and social consequences, often worse than psychoses, which generally lead to the social isolation of the sufferer and thus render him innocuous. An anchylosed knee, an amputated foot, a long-drawn-out phthisis, are in every respect preferable to a severe neurosis. When the neurosis is regarded not merely from the clinical but from the psychological and social standpoint, one comes to the conclusion that it really is a severe illness, particularly in view of its effects on the patient’s environment and way of life. The clinical standpoint by itself is not and cannot be fair to the nature of a neurosis, because a neurosis is more a psychosocial phenomenon than an illness in the strict sense. It forces us to extend the term “illness” beyond the idea of an individual body whose functions are disturbed, and to look upon the neurotic person as a sick system of social relationships. When one has corrected one’s views in this way, one will no longer find it astonishing that a proper therapy of neuroses is an elaborate and complicated matter. Unfortunately, the medical faculties have bothered far too little with the fact that the number or neuroses (and above the frequency of psychic complications in organic diseases) is very great and thus concerns the general practitioner in unusually high degree, even though he may not realize it. Nevertheless his studies give him no preparation whatever in this most important respect; indeed, very often he never has a  chance to find out anything about this subject, so vital in practice.” (CW16, § 37)

About Psyche…

“It was by recognizing these facts that medicine discovered the psyche, and it can no longer honestly deny the psyche’s reality. It has been shown that the instincts are a condition of psychic activity, while at the same time psychic processes seem to condition the instincts. (CW11 §495)

“SOUL. (psyche, personality, persona, anima,) I have been compelled, in my investigations into the structure of the unconscious, to make a conceptual distinction between soul and psyche. By psyche I understand the totality of all psychic processes, conscious as well as unconscious. By soul, on the other hand, I understand a clearly demarcated functional complex that can best be described as a “personality.” In order to make clear what I mean by this, I must introduce some further points of view. It is, in particular, the phenomena of somnambulism, double consciousness, split personality, etc., whose investigation we owe primarily to the French school, that have enabled us to accept the possibility of a plurality of personalities in one and the same individual.” (CW6, §797)

“The name’s people give to their experiences are often very revealing. What is the origin of the word Seele? Like the English word soul, it comes from the Gothic saiwalu and the old German saiwalô, and these can be connected etymologically with the Greek aiolos, ‘quick-moving, twinkling, iridescent’. The Greek word psyche also means ‘butterfly’. Saiwalô is related on the other side in the Old Slavonic sila, ‘strength’. These connections throw light on the original meaning of the word soul; it is moving force, that is, life-force. The- Latin words animus, ‘spirit’, and anima, ‘soul’, arc the same as the Greek anemos, ‘wind’. The other Greek word for ‘wind’, pneuma , also means ‘spirit’. In Gothic we find the same word in us-anan, ‘to breathe out’, and in Latin it is anhelare, ‘to pant’. In Old High German, spiritus sanctus was rendered by atum,‘breath’. In Arabic, ‘wind’ is rih, and rüh is ‘soul, spirit’. The Greek word psyche has similar connections; it is related to psychein, ‘to breathe’, psychos, ‘cool’, psychros, ‘cold, chill’, and physa, ‘bellows’. These connections show clearly how in Latin, Greek, and Arabic the names given to the soul are related to the notion of moving air, the “cold breath of the spirits.” And this is probably the reason why the primitive view also endows the soul with an invisible breath-body.” (CW8, § 663&664)

About Analysis…

“I would make myself guilty of a sin of omission if I were to foster the impression that specialized therapy needed nothing but a wide knowledge. Quite as important is the moral differentiation of the doctor’s personality. Surgery and obstetrics have long been aware that it is not enough simply to wash the patient-the doctor himself must have clean hands. A neurotic psychotherapist will invariably treat his own neurosis in the patient. A therapy independent of the doctor’s personality is just conceivable in the sphere of rational techniques, but it is quite inconceivable in a dialectical procedure where the doctor must emerge from his anonymity and give an account of himself, just as he expects his patient to do. I do not know which is the more difficult: to accumulate a wide knowledge or to renounce one’s professional authority and anonymity. At events the latter necessity involves a moral strain that makes the profession of psychotherapist not exactly an enviable one. Among laymen one frequently meets with the prejudice that psychotherapy is the easiest thing in the world and consists in the art of putting something over on people or wheedling money out of them. But actually it is a tricky and not undangerous calling. Just as all doctors are exposed to infections and other occupational hazards, so the psychotherapist runs the risk of psychic infections which are no less menacing. One the one hand he is often in danger of getting entangled in the neuroses of his patients; on the other hand if he tries too hard to guard against their influence, he robs himself of their therapeutic efficacy. Between this Scylla and Charybdis lies the peril, but also the healing power.”  (CW16, § 23

About Mid-life…

“The first phase embraces the first years of life; I call this period the presexual stage.It corresponds to the caterpillar stage of butterflies, and is characterized almost exclusively by the functions of nutrition and growth. “ (CW4, § 263)

“The second phase embraces the later years of childhood up to puberty, and might be called the prepubertal stage. Germination of sexuality takes place at this period. “ (CW4, § 264)

“The third phase is the adult period from puberty on, and may be called the period of maturity.” (CW4, § 265)

“It will not have escaped you that the greatest difficulty lies in assigning limits to the presexual stage. I am ready to confess my great uncertainty in regard to this problem. When I look back on my own psychoanalytic experiences with children-insufficiently numerous as yet, unfortunately-at the same time bearing in mind the observations made by Freud, it seems to me that the limits of this phase lie between the third and fifth year, subject, of course, to individual variation. This age is an important one in many respects. The child has already outgrown the helplessness of a baby, and a number of important psychological functions have acquired a reliable hold. From this period on, the profound darkness of the early infantile amnesia, or discontinuity of consciousness, begins to be illuminated by the sporadic continuity of memory. It seems as if, at this stage, an essential step forward is taken in the emancipation and centring of the new personality. So far as we know, the first signs of interests and activities which may fairly be called sexual also fall into this period, even though these indications still have the infantile characteristics of harmlessness and naiveté.” (CW4, § 266)

“Freud’s approach is not always mistaken, however, for consciousness is not always firmly established. This presupposes a good deal of experience of life and a certain amount of maturity. Young people, who are very far from knowing who they really are, would run a great risk if they obscured their knowledge of themselves still further by letting the “dark night of the soul” pour into their immature, labile consciousness. Here a certain depreciation of the unconscious is justified. Experience has convinced me that there are not only different temperaments (“types”), but different stages of psychological development, so that one can well say that there is an essential difference between the psychology of the first and the second half of life. Here again I differ from the others in maintaining that the same psychological criteria are not applicable to the different stages of life. “ (CW4, § 762)

“The conflict between horse and snake or bull and snake represents a conflict within the libido itself, a striving forward and backwards at one and the same time.It is as if the libido were not only a ceaseless forward movement, an unending will for life, evolution, creation, such as Schopenhauer envisaged in his cosmic Will, where death is a mishap or fatality coming from outside; like the sun, the libido also wills its own descent, its own involution. During the first half of life it strives for growth; during the second half, softly at first and then ever more perceptibly, it points towards an altered goal. And just as in youth the urge for limitless expansion often lies hidden under veiling layers of resistance to life, so that “other urge” often hides behind an obstinate and purposeless cleaving to life in its old form. This apparent contradiction in the nature of the libido is illustrated by a statue of Priapus in the archaeological museum at Verona: Priapus, with a sidelong smile, points with his finger to a snake biting his phallus. “ (CW5, § 680)

“The demands of the unconscious act at first like a paralysing poison on a man’s energy and resourcefulness, so that it may well be compared to the bite of a poisonous snake. Apparently it is a hostile demon who robs him of: energy, but in actual fact it is his own unconscious whose alien tendencies are beginning to check the forward striving of the conscious mind. The cause of this process is often extremely obscure, the more so as it is complicated by all kinds of external factors and subsidiary causes, such as difficulties in work, disappointments, failures, reduced efficiency due to age, depressing family problems, and so on and so forth. According to the myths it is the woman who secretly enslaves a man, so that he can no longer free himself from her and becomes a child again.It is also significant that Isis, the sister-wife of the sun-god, creates the poisonous serpent from his spittle, which, like all bodily secretions, has a magical significance, being a libido equivalent. She creates the serpent from the libido of the god, and by this means weakens him and makes him dependent on her. Delilah acts in the same way with Samson: by cutting off his hair, the sun’s rays, she robs him of his strength. This demon-woman of mythology is in truth the “sister-wife-mother,” the woman in the man, who unexpectedly turns up during the second half of life and tries to effect a forcible change of personality. I have dealt with certain aspects of this change in my essay on “The Stages of Life.” It consists in a partial feminization of the man and a corresponding masculinization of the woman. Often it takes place under very dramatic circumstances: the man’s strongest quality, his Logos principle, turns against him and as it were betrays him. The same thing happens with the Eros of the woman. The man becomes rigidly set in his previous attitude, while the woman remains caught in her emotional ties and fails to develop her reason and understanding, whose place is then taken by equally obstinate and inept “animus” opinions. The fossilization of the man shrouds itself in a smoke-screen of moods, ridiculous irritability, feelings of distrust and resentment, which are meant to justify his rigid attitude. A perfectexample of this type of psychology is Schreber’s account of his own psychosis, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness. “ (CW5, §458)

“Our life is like the course of the sun. In the morning it gains continually in strength until it reaches the zenith-heat of high noon. Then comes the enantiodromia: the steady forward movement no longer denotes an increase, but a decrease, in strength. Thus our task in handling a young person is different from the task of handling an older person. In the former case, it is enough to clear away all the obstacles that hinder expansion and ascent; in the latter, we must nurture everything that assists the descent. An inexperienced youth thinks one can let the old people go, because not much more can happen to them anyway: they have their lives behind them and are no better than petrified pillars of the past. But it is a great mistake to suppose that the meaning of life is exhausted with the period of youth and expansion; that, for example, a woman who has passed the menopause is “finished.” The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.Man has two aims: the first is the natural aim, the begetting of children and the business of protecting the brood; to this belongs the acquisition of money and social position. When this aim has been reached a new phase begins: the cultural aim. For the attainment of the former we have the help of nature and, on top of that, education; for the attainment of the latter, little or nothing helps. Often, indeed, a false ambition survives, in that an old man wants to be a youth again, or at least feels he must behave like one, although in his heart he can no longer make believe. This is what makes the transition from the natural to the cultural phase so terribly difficult and bitter for many people; they cling to the illusion of youth or to their children, hoping to salvage in this way a last little scrap of youth. One sees it especially in mothers, who find their sole meaning in their children and imagine they will sink into a bottomless void when they have to give them up. No wonder that many bad neuroses appear at the onset of life’s afternoon. It is a sort of second puberty, another “storm and stress” period, not infrequently accompanied by tempests of passion-the “dangerous age.” But the problems that crop up at this age are no longer to be solved by the old recipes: the hand of this clock cannot be put back. What youth found and must find outside, the man of life’s afternoon must find within himself. Here we face new problems which often cause the doctor no light headache. “ (CW7, § 114)

“The transition from morning to afternoon means a revaluation of the earlier values. There comes the urgent need to appreciate the value of the opposite of our former ideals, to perceive the error in our former convictions, to recognize the untruth in our former truth, and to feel how much antagonism and even hatred lay in what, until now, had passed for love. Not a few of those who are drawn into the conflict of opposites jettison everything that had previously seemed to them good and worth striving for; they try to live in complete opposition to their former ego. Changes of profession, divorces, religious convulsions, apostasies of every description, are the symptoms of this swing over to the opposite. The snag about a radical conversion into one’s opposite is that one’s former life suffers repression and thus produces just as unbalanced a state as existed before, when the counterparts of the conscious virtues and values were still repressed and unconscious. Just as before, perhaps, neurotic disorders arose because the opposing fantasies were unconscious, so now other disorders arise through the repression of former idols. It is of course a fundamental mistake to imagine that when we see the non-value in a value or the untruth in a truth, the value or the truth ceases to exist. It has only become relative. Everything human is relative, because everything rests on an inner polarity; for everything is a phenomenon of energy. Energy necessarily depends on a pre-existing polarity, without which there could be no energy. There must always be high and low, hot and cold, etc., so that the equilibrating process-which is energy can take place. Therefore the tendency to deny all previous values in favour of their opposites is just as much of an exaggeration as the earlier one-sidedness. And in so far as it is a question of rejecting universally accepted and indubitable values, the result is a fatal loss. One who acts in this way empties himself out with his values, as Nietzsche has already said.” (CW7, § 115)

“Obviously it is in the youthful period of life that we have most to gain from a thorough recognition of the instinctual side. A timely recognition of sexuality, for instance, can prevent that neurotic suppression of it which keeps a man unduly withdrawn from life, or else forces him into a wretched and unsuitable way of living with which he is bound to come into conflict. Proper recognition and appreciation of normal instincts leads the young person into life and entangles him with fate, thus involving him in life’s necessities and the consequent sacrifices and efforts through which his character is developed and his experience matured. For the mature person, however, the continued expansion of life is obviously not the right principle, because the descent towards life’s afternoon demands simplification, limitation, and intensification- in other words, individual culture. A man in the first half of life with its biological orientation can usually, thanks to the youthfulness of his whole organism, afford to expand his life and make something of value out of it. But the man in the second half of life is oriented towards culture, the diminishing powers of his organism allowing him to subordinate his instincts to cultural goals. Not a few are wrecked during the transition from the biological to the cultural sphere. Our collective education makes practically no provision for this transitional period. Concerned solely with the education of the young, we disregard the education of the adult, of whom it is always assumed-on what grounds who can say?-that he needs no more education. There is an almost total lack of guidance for this extraordinarily important transition from the biological to the cultural attitude, for the transformation of energy from the biological form into the cultural form. This transformation process is an individual one and cannot be enforced by general rules and maxims. It is achieved by means of the symbol. Symbol-formation is a fundamental problem that cannot be discussed here. I must refer the reader to Chapter V in my Psychological Types, where I have dealt with this question in detail.” (CW8, § 113)

“Our text is concerned with this way, and the same problem comes up with my patients also. There could be no greater mistake than for a Westerner to take up the direct practice of Chinese yoga, for that would merely strengthen his will and consciousness against the unconscious and bring about the very effect to be avoided. The neurosis would then simply be intensified. It cannot be emphasized enough that we are not Orientals, and that we have an entirely different point of departure in these matters. It would also be a great mistake to suppose that this is the path every neurotic must travel, or that it is the solution at every stage of the neurotic problem. It is appropriate only in those cases where consciousness has reached an abnormal degree of development and has diverged too far from the unconscious. This is the sine qua non of the process. Nothing would be more wrong than to open this way to neurotics who are ill on account of an excessive predominance of the unconscious. For the same reason, this way of development has scarcely any meaning before the middle of life (normally between the ages of thirty-five and forty), and if entered upon too soon can be decidedly injurious.” (CW13, § 16)

“The production and birth of this superior personality is what is meant when our text speaks of the “holy fruit,” the “diamond body,” or any other kind of incorruptible body. Psychologically, these expressions symbolize an attitude that is beyond the reach of emotional entanglements and violent shocks- a consciousness detached from the world. I have reasons for believing that this attitude sets in after middle life and is a natural preparation for death. Death is psychologically as important as birth and, like it, is an integral part of life. What happens to the detached consciousness in the end is a question the psychologist cannot be expected to answer. Whatever his theoretical position he would hopelessly overstep the bounds of his scientific competence. He can only point out that the views of our text in regard to the timelessness of the detached consciousness are in harmony with the religious thought of all ages and with that of the overwhelming majority of mankind. Anyone who thought differently would be standing outside the human order and would, therefore, be suffering from a disturbed psychic equilibrium. As a doctor, I make every effort to strengthen the belief in immortality, especially with older patients when such questions come threateningly close. For, seen in correct psychological perspective, death is not an end but a goal, and life’s inclination towards death begins as soon as the meridian is passed.” (CW13, § 68)

“What I have to say begins where the treatment leaves off and this development sets in. Thus my contribution to psychotherapy confines itself to those cases where rational treatment does not yield satisfactory results. The clinical material at my disposal is of a peculiar composition: new cases are decidedly in the minority. Most of them already have some form of psychotherapeutic treatment behind them, with partial or negative results. About a third of my cases are not suffering from any clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and aimlessness of their lives. I should not object if this were called the general neurosis of our age. Fully two thirds of my patients are in the second half of life.” (CW16, § 83)

“It is otherwise with a person in the second half of life who no longer needs to educate his conscious will, but who, to understand the meaning of his individual life, needs to experience his own inner being. Social usefulness is no longer an aim for him, although he does not deny its desirability. Fully aware as he is of the social unimportance of his creative activity, he feels it more as a way of working at himself to his own benefit. Increasingly, too, this activity frees him from morbid dependence, and he thus acquires an inner stability and a new trust in himself. These last achievements now redound to the good of the patient’s social existence; for an inwardly stable and self-confident person will prove more adequate to his social tasks than one who is on a bad footing with his unconscious.” (CW16, § 110)

“The ways that lead to conscious realization are many, but they follow definite laws. In general, the change begins with the onset of the second half of life. The middle period of life is a time of enormous psychological importance. The child begins its psychological life within very narrow limits, inside the magic circle of the mother and the family. With progressive maturation it widens its horizon and its own sphere of influence; its hopes and intentions are directed to extending the scope of personal power and possessions; desire reaches out to the world in ever-widening range; the will of the individual becomes more and more identical with the natural goals pursued by unconscious motivations. Thus man breathes his own life into things, until finally they begin to live of themselves and to multiply; and imperceptibly he is overgrown by them. Mothers are overtaken by their children, men by their own creations, and what was originally brought into being only with labour and the greatest effort can no longer be held in check. First it was passion, then it became duty, and finally an intolerable burden, a vampire that battens on the life of its creator. Middle life is the moment of greatest unfolding, when a man still gives himself to his work with his whole strength and his whole will. But in this very moment evening is born, and the second half of life begins.  Passion now changes her face and is called duty; “I want” becomes the inexorable “I must,” and the turnings of the pathway that once brought surprise and discovery become dulled by custom. The wine has fermented and begins to settle and clear. Conservative tendencies develop if all goes well; instead of looking forward one looks backward, most of the time involuntarily, and one begins to take stock, to see how one’s life has developed up to this point. The real motivations are sought and real discoveries are made. The critical survey of himself and his fate enables a man to recognize his peculiarities. But these insights do not come to him easily; they are gained only through the severest shocks.” (CW17, § 331a)

“The container, on the other hand, who in accordance with his tendency to dissociation has an especial need to unify himself in undivided love for another, will be left far behind in this effort, which is naturally very difficult for him, by the simpler personality. While he is seeking in the latter all the subtleties and complexities that would complement and correspond to his own facets, he is disturbing the other’s simplicity. Since in normal circumstances simplicity always has the advantage over complexity, he will very soon be obliged to abandon his efforts to arouse subtle and intricate reactions in a simpler nature. Andsoon enough his partner, who in accordance with her simpler nature expects simple answers from him, will give him plenty to do by constellating his complexities with her everlasting insistence on simple answers. Willynilly, he must withdraw into himself before the suasions of simplicity. Any mental effort, like the conscious process itself, is so much of a strain for the ordinary man that he invariably prefers the simple, even when it does not happen to be the truth. And when it represents at least a half-truth, then it is all up with him. The simpler nature works on the more complicated like a room that is too small, that does not allow him enough space. The complicated nature, on the other hand, gives the simpler one too many rooms with too much space, so that she never knows where she really belongs. So it comes about quite naturally that the more complicated contains the simpler. The former cannot be absorbed in the latter, but encompasses it without being itself contained. Yet, since the more complicated has perhaps a greater need of being contained than the other, he feels himself outside the marriage and accordingly always plays the problematical role. The more the contained clings, the more the container feels shut out of the relationship. The contained pushes into it by her clinging, and the more she pushes, the less the container is able to respond. He therefore tends to spy out of the window, no doubt unconsciously at first; but with the onset of middle age there awakens in him a more insistent longing for that unity and undividedness which is especially necessary to him on account of his dissociated nature. At this juncture things are apt to occur that bring the conflict to a head. He becomes conscious of the fact that he is seeking completion, seeking the contentedness and undividedness that have always been lacking. For the contained this is only a confirmation of the insecurity she has always felt so painfully; she discovers that in the rooms which apparently belonged to her there dwell other, unwished-for guests. The hope of security vanishes, and this disappointment drives her in on herself, unless by desperate and violent efforts she can succeed in forcing her partner to capitulate, and in extorting a confession that his longing for unity was nothing but a childish or morbid fantasy. If these tactics do not succeed, her acceptance of failure may do her a real good, by forcing her to recognize that the security she was so desperately seeking in the other is to be found in herself. In this way she finds herself and discovers in her own simpler nature all those complexities which the container had sought for in vain.” (CW17, § 333)

“This is what happens very frequently about the midday of life, and in this wise our miraculous human nature enforces the transition that leads from the first half of life to the second. It is a metamorphosis from a state in which man is only a tool of instinctive nature, to another in which he is no longer a tool, but himself: a transformation of nature into culture, of instinct into spirit.” (CW17, § 335)

“The transformation I have briefly described above is the very essence of the psychological marriage relationship. Much could be said about the illusions that serve the ends of nature and bring about the transformations that are characteristic of middle life. The peculiar harmony that characterizes marriage during the first half of life-provided the adjustment is successful-is largely based on the projection of certain archetypal images, as the critical phase makes clear. “ (CW17, §337)

“Modern psychology can affirm that for many people this problem arises in the second half of life, when the unconscious often makes itself felt in a very insistent way. The unconscious is the land of dreams, and according to the primitive view the land of dreams is also the land of the dead and of the ancestors. From all we know about it, the unconscious does in fact seem to be relatively independent of space and time, nor is there anything objectionable in the idea that consciousness is surrounded by the sea of the unconscious, just as this world is contained in “Orthos.” The unconscious is of unknown extent and is possibly of greater importance than consciousness. At any rate, the role which consciousness plays in the life of primitives and primates is insignificant compared with that of the unconscious. The events in our modern world, as we see humanity blindly staggering from one catastrophe to the next, are not calculated to strengthen anyone’s belief in the value of consciousness and the freedom of the will. Consciousness should of course be of supreme importance, for it is the only guarantee of freedom and alone makes it possible for us to avoid disaster. But this, it seems, must remain for the present a pious hope.” (CW18, §754)

“The activity of the collective unconscious manifests itself not only in compensatory effects in the lives of individuals, but also in the mutation of dominant ideas in the course of the centuries. This can be seen most clearly in religion, and, to a lesser extent, in the various philosophical, social, and political ideologies. It appears in most dangerous form in the sudden rise and spread of psychic epidemics, as for instance in the witch hunts in Germany at the end of the fourteenth century, or in the social and political utopias of the twentieth century. How far the collective unconscious may be considered the efficient cause of such movements, or merely their material cause, is a question for ethnologists and psychologists to decide; but certain experiences in the field of individual psychology indicate the possibility of a spontaneous activity of archetypes. These experiences usually concern individuals in the second half of life, when it not infrequently happens that drastic changes of outlook are thrust upon them by the unconscious as a result of some defect in their conscious attitude. While the activity of the personal unconscious is confined to compensatory changes in the personal sphere, the changes effected by the collective unconscious have a collective aspect: they alter our view of the world, and, like a contagion, infect our fellow men. (Hence the astonishing effects of certain psychopaths on society!)” (CW18, § 1161)

About Symbols….

“The symbol is always a product of an extremely complex nature, since data from every psychic function have gone into its making. It is, therefore, neither rational nor irrational (qq.v.). It certainly has a side that accords with reason but it has another side that does not; for it is composed not ‘only of rational but also of irrational data supplied by pure inner and outer perception. The profundity and pregnant significance of the symbol appeal just as strongly to thinking as to feeling (qq.v.), while its peculiar plastic imagery, when shaped into sensuous form, stimulates sensation as much as intuition (qq.v.). The living symbol cannot come to birth in a dull or poorly developed mind, for such a mind will be content with the already existing symbols offered by established tradition. Only the passionate yearning of a highly developed mind, for which the traditional symbol is no longer the unified expression of the rational and the irrational, of the highest and the lowest, can create a new symbol.” (CW6, § 825)

“If I have made the attempt to illustrate the principles of the psychoanalytic method by means of dream-analysis it is because the dream is one of the clearest examples of psychic contents whose composition eludes direct understanding. When someone knocks in a nail with a hammer in order to hang something up, we can understand every detail of the action; it is immediately evident. It is otherwise with the act of baptism, where every phase is problematic. We call these actions, whose meaning and purpose are not immediately evident, symbolic actions, or symbols. On the basis of this reasoning we call a dream symbolic because it is a psychological product whose origin, meaning, and purpose are obscure, and is therefore one of the purest products of unconscious constellation. As Freud aptly says, the dream is the via regia to the unconscious.” (CW4 § 334)