Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Memories, Dreams, Reflections

By Carl Jung

Jung began working on this autobiography of his inner life in 1957 when he was 82 years old. At first very resistant to the project, when he decided to focus on his interior rather than exterior life, it took on a passion so strong that if he neglected it for just one day, he would suffer painful physical symptoms that immediately vanished when he started writing. He vividly describes his dreams and visions; explains how the outward events and people in his life have faded into the background while the events of his inner journey became more and more meaningful.

Themes

Themes: Dream

Quotes from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

“'Yes,' I thought, 'this is it, my world, the real world, the secret where there are no teachers, no schools, no unanswerable questions, where one can be without having to ask anything'... In real life, I have promised myself this splendor again and again, but I have never kept my promise.”

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Faust—as I now realized with something of a shock—meant more to me than my beloved Gospel according to St. John. There was something in Faust that worked directly on my feelings... I was convinced that he was the answer which Goethe had given to his times.”

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Thus Spake Zarathustra—this like Goethe's Faust, was a tremendous experience for me... his No. 2 and my No. 2 now corresponded—though this was rather like comparing a molehill with Mount Blanc. And Zarathustra—there could be no doubt abut that—was morbid... Just as Faust had opened a door for me, Zararthustra slammed one shut, and it remained shut for a long time to come.”

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“a dogma, that is to say, an undisputable confession of faith, is set up only when the aim is to suppress doubts once and for all. But that no longer has anything to do with scientific judgment; only with personal power drive.”

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Themes: Doubt

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“All other memories of travels, people, and my surroundings have paled beside these interior happenings... Recollection of the outward events of my life has largely faded or disappeared... bouts with the unconscious are indelibly engraved upon my memory; everything else has lost importance”

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Themes: Memory Travel Forget

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“as in all metaphysical questions, both are true; Life is—or has—meaning and meaninglessness. I cherish the anxious hope that meaning will preponderate and win the battle.”

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“as in the past, so in the future, the wrong we have done, thought, or intended will wreak its vengeance on our souls.”

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“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. We must beware of thinking of good and evil as absolute opposites.”

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“Fate had punished her enough! It seemed to me more meaningful that she should return to life in order to atone in life for her crime... She had to bear this burden.”

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Themes: Punishment

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“Freud was emotionally involved in his sexual theory to an extraordinary degree... Sexuality evidently meant more to Freud that to other people. For him it was something to be religiously observed... He was blind toward the paradox and ambiguity of the contents of the unconscious... I see him as a tragic figure; for he was a great man, and what is more, a man in the grip of his daimon... his work had obviously brought him so little that was pleasurable and satisfactory that he took a sour view of the world.”

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“Freud's greatest achievement probably consisted in taking neurotic patients seriously and entering into their peculiar individual psychology... For us, then young psychiatrists, it was a source of illumination, while for our older colleagues it was an object of mockery. Like an Old Testament prophet, he undertook to overthrow false gods, to rip the veils away from a mass of dishonesties and hypocrisies, mercilessly exposing the rottenness of contemporary psyche... By evaluating dreams, he gave back to mankind a tool that had seemed irretrievably lost... I became an open partisan of Freud's and fought for him.”

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“Goethe became, in my eyes, a prophet... At last I had found confirmation that there were or had been people who saw evil and its universal power and—more important—the role it played in delivering man from darkness and suffering... My godfather and authority was the great Goethe himself... But I could not forgive him... I was deeply sorry that Goethe too had fallen for those cunning devices by which evil is rendered innocuous.”

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“he did not know the immediate, living God who stands—omnipotent and free—above His Bible and His Church... In his trial of human courage God refuses to abide by traditions, no matter how sacred”

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Themes: Golden Chains God

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“Here at last was a philosopher who had the courage to see that all was not for the best in the fundamentals of the universe, to be the first to speak of the suffering of the world which visibly and glaringly surrounds us, and of the confusion, passion, evil—all those things which the [other philosophers] hardly seemed to notice and always tried to resolve into all-embracing harmony and comprehensibility.”

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Themes: Confusion

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“I always knew that I was two people—One was the son of my parents who went to school and was less intelligent attentive hard-working, decent, and clean than many other boys The other was grown up—old in fact—skeptical, misrustful, remote from the world of men, men but close to nature, the earth, the sun, the moon, the weather, all living creatures, and above all close to the night, to dreams, and whatever 'God' worked directly in him.”

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“I am incapable of determining ultimate worth or worthlessness... There is nothing I'm quite sure about. I have no definite convictions—not about anything, really”

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Themes: Openness

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“I had to do certain yoga exercises in order to keep my emotions in check. But since it was my purpose to know what was going on within myself, I would do these exercises only until I had calmed myself enough to resume my work with the unconscious.”

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“I hated all competition, and if someone played a game too competitively I turned my back on the game. Thereafter I remained second in the class, and found this considerably more enjoyable.”

Chapters: 8. Like Water

Themes: Competition

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“I have offended many people, for as soon as I saw that they did not understand me, that was the end of the matter, I had to move on. I had no patience with people—aside from my patients. I had to obey an inner law which was imposed on me and left me no freedom of choice.”

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“I read seven volumes of Swedenborg... what was burning interest to me was null and void for others and even a cause for dread.”

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“In spite of all uncertainties, I feel a solidity underlying all existence and a continuity in my mode of being.”

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Themes: Continuity

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“In the Red Book I tried an esthetic elaboration of my fantasies, but never finished it. I became aware that I had not yet found the right language, that I still had to translate it into something else. Therefore I gave up this estheticizing tendency in good time, in favor of a rigorous process of understanding.”

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“It is a widespread error to imagine that I do not see the value of sexuality... Sexuality is of the greatest importance as the expression of the chthonic spirit. That spirit is the 'other face of God,' the dark side of the God-image.”

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Themes: Sex

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“It is important to have a secret, a premonition of things unknown... A man must sense that he lives in a world which in some respects is mysterious... Only then is life whole. For me, the world has from the beginning been infinite and ungraspable.”

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Themes: Emptiness

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“It was an entry into the monastery of the world, a submission to the vow to believe only in what was probably, average, commonplace, barren of meaning, to renounce everything strange and significant, and reduce anything extraordinary to the banal... only surfaces that hid nothing, only beginnings without continuations, failures that claimed to be problems, oppressively narrow horizons, and the unending desert of routine.”

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“Jesus never became quite real for me, never quite acceptable, never quite lovable... a god of death, helpful, it is true, in that he scared away the terrors of the night, but himself uncanny, a crucified and bloody corpse. Secretly, his love and kindness which I always heard praised, appeared doubtful to me”

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“Lao Tzu is the example of a man with superior insight who has seen and experienced worth and worthlessness, and who at the end of his life desires to return to his own being, into the unknowable meaning. The archetype of the old man who has seen enough is eternally true.”

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“Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. It's true life is invisible, hidden... What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”

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“My experiences with human beings, too had taught me anything rather than a belief in man's original goodness and decency... On the other hand, man and the proper animals were bits of God that had become independent.”

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Themes: Basic Goodness

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“My life is a story of the self-realization of the unconscious... my personal myth... I know that in many things I am not like others, but I do not know what I really am like... The difference between most people and myself is that for me the 'dividing walls' are transparent. That is my peculiarity... To some extent I perceive the processes going on in the background”

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“My own understanding is the sole treasure I possess, and the greatest Though infinitely small and fragile in comparison with the powers of darkness, it is still a light my only light.”

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Themes: Wisdom

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“Nietzsche had been on my program for some time, but I hesitated to begin reading him because I felt insufficiently prepared... I was held back by a secret fear that I might perhaps be like him... In spite of these trepidations, I finally resolved to read him and I was carried away by enthusiasm... He was moved by the childish hope of finding people who would be able to share his ecstasies... But he found only educated Philistines. That was the reason for the bombastic language—all a vain attempt to catch the ear of a world which had sold its soul for a mass of disconnected facts.”

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“No one is more sensitive to companionship than the lonely man, and companionship thrives only when each individual remembers his individuality and does not identify himself with others.”

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“Not the least of what I have learned has come from my errors and defeats.”

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Themes: Mistakes

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“Nothing could persuade me that 'in the image of God' applied only to man. In fact, it seemed to me that the high mountains the rivers, lakes, trees flowers, and animals far better exemplified the essence of God than men with their ridiculous clothes, their meanness, vanity, mendacity, and abhorrent egotism”

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“Of the 19th century philosophers, Hegel put me off by his language, as arrogant as it was laborious; I regarded him with downright mistrust. He seemed to me like a may who was caged in the edifice of his own words and was pompously gesticulating in his prison.”

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“Only in Meister Eckhart did I feel the breath of life—not that I understood him.”

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“She was a murderess, but on top of that she had also murdered herself. For one who commits such a crime destroys her own soul... Sometimes it seems as if even animals and plants 'know' it.”

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Themes: Karma

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“The 'natural mind' is the mind which says absolutely straight and ruthless things. That is the sort of mind which springs from natural sources, and not from opinions taken from books; it wells up from the earth like a natural spring, and brings with it the peculiar wisdom of nature.”

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Themes: Ordinary Mind

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“The daimon of creativity has ruthlessly had its way with me... When the daimon is at work, one is always too close and too far. Only when it is silent can one achieve moderation.”

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“The finest and most significant conversations of my life were anonymous.”

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Themes: Anonymity

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“the great find resulting from my researches was Schopenhauer... Here at last was a philosopher who had the courage to see that all was not for the best in the fundaments of the universe... [his] somber picture of the world had my undivided approval, but not his solution of the problem.”

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“The life of man is a dubious experiment... so fleeting, so insufficient, that it is literally a miracle that anything can exist and develop at all... We are a psychic process which we do not control, or only partly direct.”

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“The mandala is an archetypal image whose occurrence is attested throughout the ages. It signifies the wholeness of the self. This circular image represents the wholeness of the psychic ground or—to put it in mythic terms—the divinity incarnate in man.”

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“The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things... that alienation which so long separated me from the world has become transferred into my own inner world, and has revealed to me an unexpected unfamiliarity with myself.”

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“The naïve person does not appreciate what an insult it is to talk to one's fellows about anything that is unknown to them. They pardon such ruthless behavior only in a writer, journalist, or poet. I came to see that a new idea, or even just an unusual aspect of an old one, can be communicated only by facts.”

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Themes: Skillful Means

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“The past is terribly real and present, and it catches everyone who cannot save his skin with a satisfactory answer... It exerts a mighty suction which greedily draws everything living into itself; we can only escape from it—for awhile—by pressing forward.”

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Themes: History

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“The play and counterplay between two personalities... plays out in every individual. In my life, No. 2 has been of prime importance... but he is perceived only by the very few. Most people's conscious understanding is not sufficient to realize that he is also what they are.”

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“The stone has no uncertainties, no urge to communicate, and is eternally the same for thousands of years while I—like a flame that flares up quickly and then goes out—am only a passing phenomenon which bursts into all kinds of emotions. I was but the sum of my emotions, and the Other in me was the timeless, imperishable stone.”

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Themes: True Self

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“there were no philosophers in my father's library—they were suspect because they thought”

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Themes: Philosophy

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“This expanse of water was an inconceivable pleasure to me, an incomparable splendor... without water, I thought, nobody could live at all.”

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Themes: Water

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“This is old age, and a limitation. Yet there is so much that fills me: plants, animals, clouds, day and night, and the eternal in man.”

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Themes: Old Age

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“This was called the 'Christian religion,' but none of it had anything to do with God as I had experienced Him... that is not religion at all. It is an absence of God; the church is a place I should not go to. It is not life which is there, but death.”

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Themes: Christianity

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“today as then—because I know things and must hint at things which other people do not know, and usually do not want to know—I am a solitary”

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“Trees in particular were mysterious and seemed to me direct embodiments of the incomprehensible meaning of life. For that reason, the woods were the place where I felt closest to its deepest meaning and to its awe-inspiring workings.”

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“We must, therefore, never succumb to anything at all—not even to good. A so-called good to which we succumb loses its ethical character.”

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“We stand face to face with the terrible question of evil an do not even know what is before us, let along what to pit against it... Touching evil brings with it the grave peril of succumbing to it... Recognition of the reality of evil necessarily relativizes the good, and the evil likewise, converting both into halves of a paradoxical whole.”

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Themes: Evil

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“when no answer comes from within to the problems and complexities of life, they ultimately mean very little. Outward circumstances are no substitute for inner experience.”

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Themes: Medicine

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“when no answer comes from within to the problems and complexities of life, they ultimately mean very little. Outward circumstances are no substitute for inner experience.”

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Themes: Problems

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“Wherever there is a reaching down into innermost experience into the nucleus of personality, most people are overcome by fright, and many run away.”

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Themes: Fear

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“Words butter no parsnips; nevertheless, this futile procedure is repeated ad infinitum... the reality of life is covered up by so-called clear concepts. Experience is striped of its substance, and instead mere names are substituted, which are henceforth put in the place of reality.”

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