Carl Jung Quotes


Cartoon of Carl Jung

Carl Jung Quotes About Dreams

· There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.

· Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

· The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.

· It seems to be very hard for people to live with riddles or to let them live, although one would think that life is so full of riddles as it is that a few more things we cannot answer would make no difference. But perhaps it is just this that is so unendurable, that there are irrational things in our own psyche which upset the conscious mind in its illusory certainties by confronting it with the riddle of its existence.

Carl Jung Quotes on Life and Living

· 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.

· All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination?

· A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them.

· 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.

· Anyone who attempts to do both, to adjust to his group and at the same time pursue his individual goal, becomes neurotic.

· A particularly beautiful woman is a source of terror. As a rule, a beautiful woman is a terrible disappointment.

· 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.

· As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.

· As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

· Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.

· Deep down, below the surface of the average man's conscience, he hears a voice whispering.

· 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. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

· Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.

· Every human life contains a potential, if that potential is not fulfilled, then that life was wasted...

· 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.

· Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

· Faith, hope, love, and insight are the highest achievements of human effort. They are found-given-by experience.

· Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own.

· From the living fountain of instinct flows everything that is creative; hence the unconscious is not merely conditioned by history, but is the very source of the creative impulse. It is like Nature herself - prodigiously conservative, and yet transcending her own historical conditions in her acts of creation.

· Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off.

· I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.

· 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.

· I have never since entirely freed myself of the impression that this life is a segment of existence which is enacted in a three-dimensional boxlike universe especially set up for it.

· I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those in the second half of life - that is to say, over 35 - there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.

· If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.

· If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.

· 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.

· In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

· In my case Pilgrim's Progress consisted in my having to climb down a thousand ladders until I could reach out my hand to the little clod of earth that I am.

· In such doubtful matters, where you have to work as a pioneer, you must be able to put some trust in your intuition and follow your feeling even at the risk of going wrong.

· It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.

· It is a fact that cannot be denied: the wickedness of others becomes our own wickedness because it kindles something evil in our own hearts.

· 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.

· 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.

· It seemed to me I was living in an insane asylum of my own making. I went about with all these fantastic figures: centaurs, nymphs, satyrs, gods and goddesses, as though they were patients and I was analyzing them. I read a Greek or Negro myth as if a lunatic were telling me his anamnesis.

· Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

· Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also.

· 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.

· Man can try to name love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and still he will involve himself in endless self deceptions. If he possesses a grain of wisdom he will lay down his arms and name the unknown by the more unknown - ignotum per ignotius - that is by the name of God.

· Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.

· Man's task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.

· Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics.

· 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.

· My whole being was seeking for something still unknown which might confer meaning upon the banality of life.

· Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.

· Nobody, as long as he moves about among the chaotic currents of life, is without trouble.

· Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of the parents.

· Observance of customs and laws can very easily be a cloak for a lie so subtle that our fellow human beings are unable to detect it. It may help us to escape all criticism, we may even be able to deceive ourselves in the belief of our obvious righteousness. But 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 by the moral code.

· Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.

· One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

· One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. 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.

· Our heart glows, and secret unrest gnaws at the root of our being. Dealing with the unconscious has become a question of life for us.

· Philemon and other figures of my fantasies brought home to me the crucial insight that there are things in the psyche which I do not produce, but which produce themselves and have their own life. Philemon represented a force which was not myself. In my fantasies I held conversations with him, and he said things which I had not consciously thought. For I observed clearly that it was he who spoke, not I. He said I treated thoughts as if I generated them myself, but in his view thoughts were like animals in the forest, or people in a room, or birds in the air, and added, “If you should see people in a room, you would not think that you had made those people, or that you were responsible for them.” It was he who taught me psychic objectivity, the reality of the psyche. Through him the distinction was clarified between myself and the object of my thought. He confronted me in an objective manner, and I understood that there is something in me which can say things that I do not know and do not intend, things which may even be directed against me.

· Protection and security are only valuable if they do not cramp life excessively.

· People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.

· Resistance to the organized mass can be effected only by the man who is as well organized in his individuality as the mass itself.

· Seldom, or perhaps never, does a marriage develop into an individual relationship smoothly and without crises; there is no coming to consciousness without pain.

· Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.

· Shrinking away from death is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose.

· Sometimes, indeed, there is such a discrepancy between the genius and his human qualities that one has to ask oneself whether a little less talent might not have been better.

· So they speak soothingly about progress and the greatest possible happiness, forgetting that happiness is itself poisoned if the measure of suffering has not been fulfilled.

· That which compels us to create a substitute for ourselves is not the external lack of objects, but our incapacity to lovingly include a thing outside of ourselves

· 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.

· The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.

· The bigger the crowd, the more negligible the individual.

· The Christian missionary may preach the gospel to the poor naked heathen, but the spiritual heathen who populate Europe have as yet heard nothing of Christianity.

· 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.

· The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.

· 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 gods have become our diseases.

· The greatest and most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.

· The greatest tragedy of the family is the unlived lives of the parents.

· The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

· The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.

· The majority of my patients consisted not of believers but of those who had lost their faith.

· The man who promises everything is sure to fulfil nothing, and everyone who promises too much is in danger of using evil means in order to carry out his promises, and is already on the road to perdition.

· The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

· The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results.

· The only thing we have to fear on this planet is man.

· The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.

· The primary cause of unhappiness in the world today is ... lack of faith.

· The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.

· The psychotherapist learns little or nothing from his successes. They mainly confirm him in his mistakes, while his failures, on the other hand, are priceless experiences in that they not only open up the way to a deeper truth, but force him to change his views and methods.

· There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion.

· 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.

· 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 favour of the adapted persona.

· The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.

· The sure path can only lead to death.

· The unconscious has no time. There is no trouble about time in the unconscious. Part of our psyche is not in time and not in space. They are only an illusion, time and space, and so in a certain part of our psyche time does not exist at all.

· The true leader is always led.

· The wine of youth does not always clear with advancing years; sometimes it grows turbid.

· The word "belief" is a difficult thing for me. I don't believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it - I don't need to believe it.

· The word "happiness" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

· There is no coming to consciousness without pain.

· The years... when I pursued the inner images were the most important time of my life. Everything else is to be derived from this. It began at that time, and the later details hardly matter anymore. My entire life consisted in elaborating what had burst forth from the unconscious and flooded me like an enigmatic stream and threatened to break me. That was the stuff and material for more than only one life. Everything later was merely the outer classification, the scientific elaboration, and the integration into life. But the numinous beginning, which contained everything was then.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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.

· Understanding does not cure evil, but it is a definite help, inasmuch as one can cope with a comprehensible darkness.

· Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.

· We are born at a given moment, in a given place and, like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season of which we are born. Astrology does not lay claim to anything more.

· We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.

· We deem those happy who from the experience of life have learnt to bear its ills without being overcome by them.

· 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 greater freedom is cancelled 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.

· Were it not a fact of experience that supreme values reside in the soul, psychology would not interest me in the least, for the soul would then be nothing but a miserable vapour.

· We should know what our convictions are, and stand for them. Upon one's own philosophy, conscious or unconscious, depends one's ultimate interpretation of facts. Therefore it is wise to be as clear as possible about one's subjective principles. As the man is, so will be his ultimate truth.

· We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect. The judgement of the intellect is only part of the truth.

· Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.

· What if I should discover that the poorest of the beggars and the most impudent of offenders are all within me; and that I stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I, myself, am the enemy who must be loved -- what then?

· When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.

· Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.

· Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.

· Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?

· Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.

· With a truly tragic delusion,” Carl Jung noted, “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.

· 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.

· Words are animals, alive with a will of their own.

· You are what you do, not what you say you'll do.


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