Quotes from, ‘The Symbolic Life’

Photo: Symbolic alchemical watercolour drawings. This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom.
Jung, C. G. (1977). The Symbolic Life: Miscellaneous Writings. (G. Adler & R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Quotes on Symbolic Life

  1. You find the least or smallest number of complex manifestations in practicing Catholics, far more and Protestants, and the most and Jews. p268
  2. For many years the Catholic clergy have studied psychotherapy; they have followed it up very closely. p269
  3. The heart of the Mass contains a living mystery, and that is the thing that works. p270
  4. Man expresses his most fundamental and most important psychological conditions in this ritual, this magic, or whatever you call it. And the ritual is the cult performance of these basic psychological facts. That explains why you should not change anything in a ritual. A ritual must be done according to tradition, and if you change one little point in it, you make a mistake. p271
  5. You must not allow your reason to play with it. For instance, take that most difficult dogma, the dogma of the virgin birth: it is absolutely wrong to rationalize it. If you leave it as it is, as it has been handed down, then it is true; but if you rationalize it, it is all wrong, because then you shifted over to the plane of our playful intellect, which does not understand the secret. p271
  6. If the ritual and dogma do not fully express the psychological situation about individual, he can’t be cured that is the reason why you have Protestantism, and that is why Protestantism is so uncertain, why it splits and splits. p273
  7. You see, man is in need of a symbolic life – badly in need. p273
  8. Have robbed the churches of their mysterious images, of their magical images, and we put them into art galleries. That is worse than the killing of the 300 children in Bethlehem; it is a blasphemy. p274
  9. These things go pretty deep, and no wonder people get neurotic. Life is too rational, there is no simple existence in which I am something else, in which I am fulfilling my role, my role as one of the actors in the divine drama of life. p274
  10. But if she could say, “I am the daughter of the moon. Every night I must help the moon, my mother, over the horizon” –, that is something else! Then she lives, then her life makes sense, and make sense in all continuity, and for the whole of humanity. That gives peace, when people feel that they are living the symbolic life, that they are actors in the divine drama. Gives the only meaning to human life; everything else is banal and you can dismiss it. p275
  11. Cannot turn the wheel backward; we cannot go back to the symbolism that is gone. No sooner do you know that the thing is symbolic then you say, “Oh, well, a presumably mean something else.” p276
  12. I know it is the truth, but it is the truth in a form in which I cannot except it anymore. I cannot say “This is the sacrifice of Christ,” and see him anymore. I cannot. It is no more true to me; it does not express my psychological condition. My psychological condition want something else. p276
  13. If the patient succeeds, he has lost his soul. Every time you except that explanation you lose your soul. You have not helped your soul; you have replaced your soul by an explanation, a theory. p277
  14. Atman or the complete man, the original man, the “all–around” man of Plato, symbolized by a circle or a drawing with circular motives. p280
  15. That is, in ourselves we have a shadow; we have a very bad fellow in ourselves, a very poor man, and he has to be excepted. p.280
  16. God is a symbol of symbols! p283
  17. The church is absolutely right, holy right, and insisting on that absolute validity, otherwise she opens the door to doubt. p283
  18. When the intellect does not serve the symbolic life it is the double; it makes you neurotic. p284
  19. Neurosis is a transitory phase, it is the unrest between two positions. p284
  20. Religion is careful observation of the data. He now observes all the things that are brought him by his dream; that his is only guidance. p285
  21. When you are in the darkness you take the next thing, and that is a dream. And you can be sure that the dream is your nearest friend; the dream is the friend of those who are not guided anymore by the traditional truth and in consequence are isolated. p286
  22. 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. p287
  23. That is how we know the truth: the truth is that which helps us to live – to live properly. p288
  24. Science cannot establish a religious truth. A religious truth is essentially an experience, it is not an opinion. Religion is an absolute experience. A religious experience is absolute, it cannot be discussed. p289