“It terrifies me, the fragility of these moments in our lives.”
Monday, 21 November 2016
Thirteen quotes on the Shadow by Carl Jung
shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality,
for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable
moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark
aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the
essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
CW 9, Part II: P.14
the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of
Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the
world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining
figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.
Philosophical Tree” (1945).In
CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335
change of character brought about by the uprush of collective forces
is amazing. A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a
maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on
external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not
been there. As a matter of fact, we are constantly living on the edge
of a volcano, and there is, so far as we know, no way of protecting
ourselves from a possible outburst that will destroy everybody within
reach. It is certainly a good thing to preach reason and common
sense, but what if you have a lunatic asylum for an audience or a
crowd in a collective frenzy? There is not much difference between
them because the madman and the mob are both moved by impersonal,
and Religion” (1938). In
CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.25
contents of the collective unconscious become activated, they have a
disturbing effect on the conscious mind, and contusion ensues. If the
activation is due to the collapse of the individual’s hopes and
expectations, there is a danger that the collective unconscious may
take the place of reality. This state would be pathological. If, on
the other hand, the activation is the result of psychological
processes in the unconscious of the people, the individual may feel
threatened or at any rate disoriented, but the resultant state is not
pathological, at least so far as the individual is concerned.
Nevertheless, the mental state of the people as a whole might well be
compared to a psychosis.
Psychological Foundation for the Belief in Spirits (1920). In CW
8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche.
there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he
imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the
less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker
and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a
chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with
other interests, so that it is continually subjected to
modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from
consciousness, it never gets corrected.
and Religion” (1938). In CW
11: Psychology and Religion: West and East.
know that the wildest and most moving dramas are played not in the
theatre but in the hearts of ordinary men and women who pass by
without exciting attention, and who betray to the world nothing of
the conflicts that rage within them except possibly by a nervous
breakdown. What is so difficult for the layman to grasp is the fact
that in most cases the patients themselves have no suspicion whatever
of the internecine war raging in their unconscious. If we remember
that there are many people who understand nothing at all about
themselves, we shall be less surprised at the realization that there
are also people who are utterly unaware of their actual conflicts.
Paths in Psychology” (1912). In CW
7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology.
is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him,
consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a
positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of
this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever
in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless
creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each
individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for
better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even
assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim
possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human
nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original
sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to
admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.
the Psychology of the Unconscious” (1912). In CW
7: Two Essays on Analytical Psychology. P.35
you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his
projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty
thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and
conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now
unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they
must be fought against… Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in
the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own
shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in
shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved
social problems of our day.
and Religion” (1938). InCW
11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.140
it in its deepest sense, the shadow is the invisible saurian tail
that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the
healing serpent of the mysteries. Only monkeys parade with it.
Integration of the Personality. (1939).
carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with
his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that
we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis,
we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow.
And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way
in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.
to Job” (1952). In CW
11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.1
world is as it ever has been, but our consciousness undergoes
peculiar changes. First, in remote times (which can still be observed
among primitives living today), the main body of psychic life was
apparently in human and in nonhuman Objects: it was projected, as we
should say now. Consciousness can hardly exist in a state of complete
projection. At most it would be a heap of emotions. Through the
withdrawal of projections, conscious knowledge slowly developed.
Science, curiously enough, began with the discovery of astronomical
laws, and hence with the withdrawal, so to speak, of the most distant
projections. This was the first stage in the despiritualization of
the world. One step followed another: already in antiquity the gods
were withdrawn from mountains and rivers, from trees and animals.
Modern science has subtilized its projections to an almost
unrecognizable degree, but our ordinary life still swarms with them.
You can find them spread out in the newspapers, in books, rumours,
and ordinary social gossip. All gaps in our actual knowledge are
still filled out with projections. We are still so sure we know what
other people think or what their true character is.
and Religion” (1938) In CW II: Psychology and Religion: West and
East. P. 140
the demons are not banished; that is a difficult task that still lies
ahead. Now that the angel of history has abandoned the Germans, the
demons will seek a new victim. And that won’t be difficult. Every
man who loses his shadow, every nation that falls into
self-righteousness, is their prey…. We should not forget that
exactly the same fatal tendency to collectivization is present in the
victorious nations as in the Germans, that they can just as suddenly
become a victim of the demonic powers.
Postwar Psychic Problems of the Germans” (1945)
confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once
one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly
between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the
self. Anyone who perceives his shadow and his light simultaneously
sees himself from two sides and thus gets in the middle.
and Evil in Analytical Psychology” (1959). In CW
10. Civilization in Transition.
man who is unconscious of himself acts in a blind, instinctive way
and is in addition fooled by all the illusions that arise when he
sees everything that he is not conscious of in himself coming to meet
him from outside as projections upon his neighbour.
Philosophical Tree” (1945). InCW
13: Alchemical Studies.