Jung: On Knowledge
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Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but on error also.

"Freud and Jung: Contrasts" (1929) In CW 4: Freud and Psychoanalysis. P.774


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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.

Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P. 429


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Widely accepted ideas are never the personal property of their so-called author; on the contrary, he is the bondservant of his ideas. Impressive ideas which are hailed as truths have something peculiar about them. Although they come into being at a definite time, they are and have always been timeless; they arise from that realm of creative psychic life out of which the ephemeral mind of the single human being grows like a plant that blossoms, bears fruit and seed, and then withers and dies. Ideas spring from something greater than the personal human being. Man does not make his ideas; we could say that man's ideas make him.

"Freud and Jung: Contrasts" (1929) In CW 4: Freud and Psychoanalysis. P.769


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It would be a ridiculous and unwarranted assumption on our part if we imagined that we were more energetic or more intelligent than the men of the past. Our material knowledge has increased, but not our intelligence. This means that we are just as bigoted in regard to new ideas, and just as impervious to them, as people were in the darkest days of antiquity. We have become rich in knowledge, but or in wisdom.

Symbols of Transformation (1952). CW 5: P. 23



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I believe only what I know. Everything else is hypothesis and beyond that I can leave a lot of things to the Unknown. They do not bother me. But they would begin to bother me, I am sure, if I felt that I ought to know about them.

"Psychology and Religion" (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East P.79


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We see colors but not wave-lengths. This well-known fact must nowhere be taken to heart more seriously than in psychology. The effect of the personal equation begins already in the act of observation. One sees what one can best see oneself. Thus, first and foremost, one sees the mote in one's brother's eye. No doubt the mote is there, but the beam sits in one's own-and may considerably hamper the act of seeing. I mistrust the principle of "pure observation" in so-called objective psychology unless one confines oneself to the eyepieces of chronoscopes and tachistoscopes and suchlike "psychological" apparatus. With such methods one also guards against too embarrassing a yield of empirical psychological facts. But the personal equation asserts itself even more in the presentation and communication of one's own observations, to say nothing of the interpretation and abstract exposition of the empirical material. Nowhere is the basic requirement so indispensable as in psychology that the observer should be adequate to his object, in the sense of being able to see not only subjectively but also objectively. The demand that he should see only objectively is quite out of the question, for it is impossible. We must be satisfied if he does not see too subjectively

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.91


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One can, it is true, understand many things with the heart, but then the head often finds it difficult to follow up with an intellectual formulation that gives suitable expression to what has been understood. There is also an understanding with the head, particularly of the scientific kind, where there is sometimes too little room for the heart.

"The Psychology of Eastern Meditation" (1943). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.934


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One of the greatest obstacles to psychological understanding is the inquisitive desire to know whether the psychological factor adduced is "true" or "correct." If the description of it is not erroneous or false, then the factor is valid in itself and proves its validity by its very existence. One might just as well ask if the duck-billed platypus is a "true" or "correct" invention of the Creator's will.

"The Transcendent Function" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.192


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Never do human beings speculate more, or have more opinions, than about things which they do not understand.

Mysterium Coniuntionis (1955). CW 14: P.737


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Doubt alone is the mother of scientific truth. Whoever fights against dogma in high places falls victim, tragically enough, to the tyranny of a partial truth.

"In Memory of Sigmund Freud" (1939) In CW 15: The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature. P. 70


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Again, no psychological fact can ever be exhaustively explained in terms of causality alone; as a living phenomenon, it is always indissolubly bound up with the continuity of the vital process, so that it is not only something evolved but also continually evolving and creative. Anything psychic is Janus-faced: it looks both backwards and forwards. Because it is evolving, it is also preparing the future. Were this not so, intentions, aims, plans, calculations, predictions, and premonitions would be psychological impossibilities.

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.717


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Rational truths are not the last word, there are also irrational ones. In human affairs, what appears impossible by way of the intellect has often become true by way of the irrational. Indeed, all the greatest changes that have ever affected mankind have come not by way of intellectual calculation, but by ways which contemporary minds either ignored or rejected as absurd, and which were recognized only long afterwards because of their intrinsic necessity. More often than not they are never recognized at all, for the all-important laws of mental development are still a book with seven seals.

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.135


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We do not devalue statements that originally were intended to be metaphysical when we demonstrate their psychic nature; on the contrary, we confirm their factualcharacter. But, by treating them as psychic phenomena, we remove them from the inaccessible realm of metaphysics, about which nothing verifiable can be said, and this disposes of the impossible question as to whether thev are "true" or not. We take our stand simply and solely on the facts, recognizing that the archetypal structure of the unconscious will produce, over and over again and irrespective of tradition, those figures which reappear in the history of all epochs and all peoples, and will endow them with the same significance and numinosity that have been theirs from the beginning.

Mysterium Coniuntionis (1955). CW 14: P.558


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All the true things must change and only that which changes remains true.

Mysterium Coniuntionis (1955). CW 14: P.503


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To speak of the morning and spring, of the evening and the autumn of life is not mere sentimental jargon. We thus give expression to psychological truths, and even more to physiological facts.

"The Stages of Life" (1930). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P. 780


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The high ideal of educating the personality is not for children: for what is usually meant by personality - a wellrounded psychic whole that is capable of resistance and abounding in energy-is an adult ideal. It is only in an age like ours, when the individual is unconscious of the problems of adult life, or-what is worse - when he consciously shirks them, that people could wish to foist this ideal on to childhood.

"The Development of the Personality" (1934). In CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P.286


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If there is anything that we wish to change in our children, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves. Take our enthusiasm for pedagogics. It may be that the boot is on the other leg. It may be that we misplace the pedagogical need because it would be an uncomfortable reminder that we ourselves are still children in many respects and still need a vast amount of educating.

"The Development of the Personality" (1934). In CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P.287


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Our whole educational problem suffers from a one-sided approach to the child who is to be educated, and from an equally one-sided lack of emphasis on the uneducatedness of the educator.

"The Development of the Personality" (1934). In CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P.284


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An inferior man is never a good teacher. But he can conceal his pernicious inferiority, which secretly poisons the pupil, behind an excellent method or an equally brilliant gift of gab. Naturally the pupil of riper years desires nothing better than the knowledge of useful methods, because he is already defeated by the general attitude, which believes in the all-conquering method. He has learnt that the emptiest head, correctly echoing a method, is the best pupil. His whole environment is an optical demonstration that all success and all happiness are outside, and that only the right method is needed to attain the haven of one's desires. Or does, perchance, the life of his religious instructor demonstrate the happiness which radiates from the treasure of the inner vision ?

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.665


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Aestheticism is not fitted to solve the exceedingly serious and difficult task of educating man, for it always presupposes the very thing it should create-the capacity to love beauty. It actually hinders a deeper investigation of the problem, because it always averts its face from anything evil, ugly, and difficult, and aims at pleasure, even though it be of an edifying kind. Aestheticism therefore lacks all moral force, because au fond it is still only a refined hedonism.

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.194


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The fact that by far the greater part of humanity not only needs guidance, but wishes for nothing better than to be guided and held in tutelage, justifies, in a sense, the moral value which the Church sets on confession. The priest, equipped with all the insignia of paternal authority, becomes the responsible leader and shepherd of his flock. He is the father confessor and the members of his parish are his penitent children. Thus priest and Church replace the parents, and to that extent they free the individual from the bonds of the family. In so far as the priest is a morally elevated personality with a natural nobility of soul and a mental culture to match, the institution of confession may be commended as a brilliant method of social guidance and education, which did in fact perform a tremendous educative task for more than fifteen hundred years. So long as the medieval Church knew how to be the guardian of art and science-a role in which her success was due, in part, to her wide tolerance of worldly interests-confession was an admirable instrument of education. But it lost its educative value, at least for more highly developed people, as soon as the Church proved incapable of maintaining her leadership in the intellectual sphere-the inevitable consequence of spiritual rigidity.

"The Theory of Psychoanalysis" (1913). In CW 4: Freud and Psychoanalysis. P.433


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Today we are convinced that in all fields of knowledge psychological premises exist which exert a decisive influence upon the choice of material, the method of investigation, the nature of the conclusions, and the formulation of hypotheses and theories. We have even come to believe that Kant's personality was a decisive conditioning factor of his Critique of Pure Reason. Not only our philosophers, but our own predilections in philosophy, and even what we are fond of calling our "best" truths are affected, if not dangerously undermined, by this recognition of a personal premise. All creative freedom, we cry out, is taken away from us! What? Can it be possible that a man only thinks or says or does what he himself is?

"Psychological Aspects of the Mother Archetype" (1939). In CW 9, Part I: The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. P.150


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Reduction to the natural condition is neither an ideal state nor a panacea. If the natural state were really the ideal one, then the primitive would be leading an enviable existence. But that is by no means so, for aside from all the other sorrows and hardships of human life the primitive is tormented by superstitions, fears, and compulsions to such a degree that, if he lived in our civilization, he could not be described as other than profoundly neurotic, if not mad.

"On Psychic Energy" (1928). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.94


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No one can make history who is not willing to risk everything for it, to carry the experiment with his own life through to the bitter end, and to declare that his life is not a continuation of the past, but a new beginning. Mere continuation can be left to the animals, but inauguration is the prerogative of man, the one thing he can boast of that lifts him above the beasts.

"Woman in Europe" (1927). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P. 268


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Sooner or later it will be found that nothing really new happens in history. There could be talk of something really novel only if the unimaginable happened: if reason, humanity and love won a lasting victory.

"Return to the Simple Life" (1941) In CW 18: P. 56


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The idea wants changelessness and eternity. Whoever lives under the supremacy of the idea strives for permanence; hence everything that pushes towards change must be opposed to the idea.

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.153


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Never in any circumstances should one indulge in the unscientific illusion that one's own subjective prejudice is a universal and fundamental psychological truth. No true science can spring from this, only a faith whose shadow is intolerance and fanaticism. Contradictory views are necessary for the evolution of any science, only they must not be set up in rigid opposition to each other but should strive for the earliest possible synthesis.

Der Organismus der Seele (1932) Review by Carl Jung (1933). Included in CW 18: P.639


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Theories in psychology are the very devil. It is true that we need certain points of view for their orienting and heuristic value; but they should always be regarded as mere auxiliary concepts that can be laid aside at any time. We still know so very little about the psyche that it is positively grotesque to think we are far enough advanced to frame general theories. We have not even established the empirical extent of the psyche's phenomenology: how then can we dream of general theories? No doubt theory is the best cloak for lack of experience and ignorance, but the consequences are depressing: bigotedness, superficiality, and scientific sectarianism.

"Psychic Conflicts of a Child" (1910). In CW 17: The Development of the Personality. P.7


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Our psychology is a science that can at most be accused of having discovered the dynamite terrorists work with. What the moralist and the general practitioner do with it is none of our business and we have no intention of interfering. Plenty of unqualified persons are sure to push their way in and commit the greatest follies, but that too does not concern us. Our aim is simply and solely scientific knowledge, and we do not have to bother with all the uproar it has provoked. If religion and morality are blown to pieces in the process, so much the worse for them for not having more stamina. Knowledge is a force of nature that goes its way irresistibly from inner necessity.

Essay Included in CW 18: P. 314


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Until recently psychology was a special branch of philosophy, but now we are coming to something which Nietzsche foresaw-the rise of psychology in its own right, so much so that it is even threatening to swallow philosophy. The inner resemblance between the two disciplines consists in this, that both are systems of opinion about objects which cannot be fully experienced and therefore cannot be adequately comprehended by a purely empirical approach. Both fields of study thus encourage speculation, with the result that opinions are formed in such variety and profusion that many heavy volumes are needed to contain them all. Neither discipline can do without the other, and the one invariably furnishes the unspoken-and generally unconscious-assumptions of the other.

"Basic Postulates of Analytical Psychology" (1931). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.659


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There is not one modern psychology-there are dozens of them. This is curious enough when we remember that there is only one science of mathematics, of geology, zoology, botany, and so forth. But there are so many psychologies that an American university was able to publish a thick volume under the title Psychologies of 1930- I believe there are as many psychologies as philosophies, for there is also no single philosophy, but many. I mention this for the reason that philosophy and psychology are linked by indissoluble bonds which are kept in being by the interrelation of their subject-matters. Psychology takes the psyche for its subject, and philosophy - to put it briefly - takes the world.

Psychological Types (1921). CW 6: P.655


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Dogma and science are incommensurable quantities which damage one another by mutual contamination. Dogma as a factor in religion is of inestimable value precisely because of its absolute standpoint. But when science dispenses with criticism and scepticism it degenerates into a sickly hot-house plant. One of the elements necessary to science is extreme uncertainty. Whenever science inclines towards dogma and shows a tendency to be impatient and fanatical, it is concealing a doubt which in all probability is justified and explaining away an uncertainty which is only too well founded.

Secret Ways of the Mind (1932) Introduction by Carl Jung In CW 4: Freud and Psychoanalysis. P.746


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The danger that faces us today is that the whole of reality will be replaced by words. This accounts for that terrible lack of instinct in modern man, particularly the city-dweller. He lacks all contact with life and the breath of nature. He knows a rabbit or a cow only from the illustrated paper, the dictionary, or the movies, and thinks he knows whatit is really like-and is then amazed that cowsheds "smell," because the dictionary didn't say so.

"Good and Evil in Analytical Psychology" (1959). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P.882


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When I speak of the relation of psychology to art we are outside [art's] sphere, and it is impossible for us not to speculate. We must interpret, we must find meanings in things, otherwise we would be quite unable to think about them. We have to break down life and events, which are selfcontained processes, into meanings, images, concepts, well knowing that in doing so we are getting further away from the living mystery. As long as we ourselves are caught up in the process of creation, we neither see nor understand; indeed we ought not to understand, for nothing is more injurious to immediate experience than cognition. But for the purpose of cognitive understanding we must detach ourselves from the creative process and look at it from the outside; only then does it become an image that expresses what we are bound to call "meaning."

"On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetry" (1922). In CW 15: The Spirit in Man, Art and Literature. P.121


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Disappointment, always a shock to the feelings, is not only the mother of bitterness but the strongest possible incentive to a differentiation of feeling. The failure of a pet plan, the disappointing behaviour of someone one loves, can supply the impulse either for a more or less brutal outburst of affect or for a modification and adjustment of feeling, and hence for its higher development. This culminates in wisdom if feeling is supplemented by reflection and rational insight. Wisdom is never violent: where wisdom reigns there is no conflict between thinking and feeling.

Mysterium Coniuntionis (1955). CW 14: P.334


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We understand another person in the same way as we understand, or seek to understand, ourselves. What we do not understand in ourselves we do not understand in the other person either. So there is plenty to ensure that his image will be for the most part subjective. As we know, even an intimate friendship is no guarantee of objective knowledge.

"General Aspects of Dreams Psychology" (1916). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.508


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Only a fool is interested in other people's guilt, since he cannot alter it. The wise man learns only from his own guilt. He will ask himself: Who am I that all this should happen to me? To find the answer to this fateful question he will look into his own heart.