Saturday, 30 October 2010

The wisdom of Carl Jung

I might have mentioned - once or twice - my interest (obsession) with the teachings of Carl Jung - both his conscious and sub-conscious psychology. I have some of his quotes on the wall in the upstairs bathroom. (Einstein is downstairs giving a speech about humankind - it's good to toilet with great minds).

Anyway - here are some of my favourite snippets of Carl Jung.......

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to a better understanding of ourselves A very wise woman called Nuala Ronayne taught me this when I was about twenty six. I have grown to understand and explore its meaning more and more with age. Of course it's all about the sub-conscious rumbling and giving us clues to its existence. The same action can irritate one person and not another. That's a clue to our individuality. The irritated person therefore has an opportunity to learn something - if they choose the take it. It's also about knowing to own your own irritations rather than just blaming the person that irritated you. That could stop wars!
N.B. I have heard the subconscious described in many ways but the most accessible description I paraphrased in a post on: The subconscious

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed A good one to remember! There's learning everywhere if we are inclined to look for it.

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. Idealism sometimes searches for the single solution. The one glove that fits all is different for everyone!

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. This is one of my favourites and something I have grown to appreciate after years of training people from a variety of viewpoints. e.g. rather than condemn the prejudice, accept it and then coax it along to a better place, otherwise it becomes hidden and then unable to address. There are many examples this quote can evoke...

Where love rules, there is no will to power, and where power predominates, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. or power corrupts! Those that hanker after power and attain it are often the worst people to be making decisions on behalf of others! Einstein says (in the downstairs toilet) "My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one man must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality...

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. Which is similar to 'just because everybody is doing something doesn't mean it's automatically right.'

It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves. I know this is obvious but I think it is regularly forgotten. We can never assume others have received what we have -even when we are looking at the same thing. I have just paraphrased!

If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool. Evidence of this aplenty. We are not generally very good at appreciating differences in others. Our ego can hold onto our viewpoint and convince us that it's the correct and only one.

In studying the history of the human mind one is impressed again and again by the fact that the growth of the mind is the widening of the range of consciousness, and that each step forward has been a most painful and laborious achievement. One could almost say that nothing is more hateful to man than to give up even a particle of his unconsciousness. Ask those who have tried to introduce a new idea! The massive wheel of human consciousness moves under the power of the few cycling crazily at its edges - is my response to the last sentence of that quote. Our subconscious does appear to have an automated response of resistance and we go to great lengths to deny its contents.

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 That's how Hitler could do what he did: mass sub-conscious projection!

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. Bring the subconscious to the conscious and you become a more complete person. It's the task of the latter half of our lives according to Jung. Nice to have a task. Which brings us to....

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

All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy. What right have we then to depreciate imagination. When my playfulness, fun, imagination, silliness, excited and enthusiastic slightly 'out there' explorations are's usually other people's fear (and safety through convention and what they already know) I'm coming up against. Creative, excited, silly and unusual 'play' appears to unsettle some! I think creative playfulness is therapeutic and about freeing up something deep inside! I play best with my 'deepest' and most 'open' friends and family members.

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. Ha! I embrace my inner necessity. Do you?

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent. Jung is referring to his mother. This provides me with an excuse to explore my passions and not feel guilty about not spending all my free time with my children!

Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism. I am addicted to idealism - I know that!

Happy Saturday!


  1. Perhaps that was all a bit much for a weekend!

  2. I have a picture of the Chippendales in my upstairs toilet. The shoe that fits one person... xxx

  3. The Chippendales is so not your shoe!!!!
    Did you read ALL of that post????? After I'd published it I thought I should have done one quote at a time....

  4. I had to make Jung smaller. He was looking too much like Dick Van Dyke.

  5. I'm addicted to Life and also my pipe thanks to Walter Raliegh :)

  6. morning:i have nicked something off your blog and put it on mine. i thought i should fess up. i've linked it to you tho'. please say you don't mind. i just happen to think it's pure genius and that's why i saved it after you posted it.
    p.s. your shoes also hurt me.

  7. I have to confess I did not read all that post...perhaps half before I faded away - I coul have coped with one quote at a time.

    It IS my know me...phases. xxx

  8. Heron - ah - a pipe man. Happy addictions.

    Clipster - how could I mind?
    My shoes also hurt me. Imagine being excited by Carl Jung!!!!!! Bunions, corns and blisters! I am happiest barefoot. (staring into space empty headed?)

    Claire - not reading it all - I knew I knew you - Chippendales is a phase that must mean your horizons are broadening to areas beyond the box I have you in!!!! The day you have Chippendales in your bathroom might happen when you have just the one marble. xxxx

  9. I could become addicted to DAOSY!

  10. She was better when she had a jet engine!

  11. Hi MollyP
    If Jung is in the upstairs bathroon and Einstein in the loo, would Plato be in the kitchen?

    I really enjoyed reading these. They forced me to think a little as well as examine how I tend to react to people around me.

  12. I was first introduced to Jung when I was about 18. His ideas have sent me on an astonishing trajectory of self discovery ever since. Great quotes, thanks.

    I like the idea of Jung on the toilet wall. There is something strangely appropriate about contemplating ones own path to individuation whilst having a dump!


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