Carl Jung on the Archetypes from the Book Psychological Reflections

These are quotes by Carl Jung on the Archetypes of the collective unconscious. Read from the book Psychological Reflections which is an anthology of his writings from 1905 to 1961.

I highly recommend this book as it is a wonderful reference of Carl Jung’s writings spanning his entire career and covering such concepts as the psyche, consciousness, the unconscious, the Archetypes, dreams, and more.

By Jared Chan

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Video Transcript

So I’ve just got a few more quotes from Carl Jung from this book: Psychological Reflections. It’s an anthology of his writings from 1905 to 1961 and it’s great. It’s basically just got little bits of his writing on different topics. So in this video, I’m going to be talking about the archetypes.

This is a quote from Carl Jung: “Do we ever understand what we think? We only understand that kind of thinking which is mere equation, from which nothing comes out but what we have put in. That is the working of the intellect. But besides that, there is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols, which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, and eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols. Wisdom is a return to them.”

“Sooner or later nuclear physics and the psychology of the unconscious will draw closer together as both of them, independently of one another, and from opposite directions, push forward into transcendental territory. The one with the concept of the atom and the other with that of the Archetype.”

“The Archetype, or the primordial image, might suitably be described as the instincts perception of itself, or as the self-portrait of the instinct. In exactly the same way as consciousness is an inward perception of the objective life process.”

“Our personal psychology is just a thin skin. A ripple on the ocean of collective psychology. The powerful factor, the factor which changes our whole life, which changes the surface of our known world, which makes history, is collective psychology. And collective psychology moves according to laws entirely different from those of our consciousness. The Archetypes are the great decisive forces, they bring about the real events, and not our personal reasoning and practical intellect. The Archetypal images decide the fate of man.”

“All the most powerful ideas in history go back to Archetypes. This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form, they are variants of Archetypal ideas, created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness, not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses but to translate into visible reality the world within us.”


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