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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carl Jung on Science



Carl Jung on Science:

Why is psychology the youngest of the empirical sciences? Why have we not long since discovered the unconscious and raised up its treasure-house of eternal images? Simply because we had a religious formula for everything psychic — and one that is far more beautiful and comprehensive than immediate experience. Though the Christian view of the world has paled for many people, the symbolic treasure-rooms of the East are still full of marvels that can nourish for a long time to come the passion for show and new clothes. What is more, these images — are they Christian or Buddhist or what you will — are lovely, mysterious, and richly intuitive. ~The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious p.7-8

This grasping of the whole is obviously the aim of science as well, but it is a goal that necessarily lies very far off because science, whenever possible, proceeds experimentally and in all cases statistically. Experiment, however, consists in asking a definite question which excludes as far as possible anything disturbing and irrelevant. It makes conditions, imposes them on Nature, and in this way forces her to give an answer to a question devised by man. She is prevented from answering out of the fullness of her possibilities since these possibilities are restricted as far as partible. For this purpose there is created in the laboratory a situation which is artificially restricted to the question which compels Nature to give an unequivocal answer. The workings of Nature in her unrestricted wholeness are completely excluded. If we want to know what these workings are, we need a method of inquiry which imposes the fewest possible conditions, or if possible no conditions at all, and then leave Nature to answer out of her fullness. ~Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle p. 35

My interests drew me in different directions. On the one hand I was powerfully attracted by science, with its truths based on facts; on the other hand I was fascinated by everything to do with comparative religion. [...] In science I missed the factor of meaning; and in religion, that of empiricism. ~Memories, Dreams, Reflections p. 72

• 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. ~"The Structure of the Psyche" (1927). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.342

• "We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise. We refuse to recognize that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is canceled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our [forebears] sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Neitzche called the spirit of gravity. (p.236)" — C.G. Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

"Science is not... a perfect instrument, but it is a superb and invaluable tool that works harm only when taken as an end in itself." (from "Commentary to The Secret of the Golden Flower", 1929)

• If we do not fashion for ourselves a picture of the world, we do not see ourselves either, who are the faithful reflections of that world. Only when mirrored in our picture of the world can we see ourselves in the round? Only in our creative acts do we step forth into the light and see ourselves whole and complete. Never shall we put any face on the world other than our own, and we have to do this precisely in order to find ourselves. For higher than science or art as an end in itself stands man, the creator of his instruments. ~"Analytical Psychology and Weltanschauung" (1928). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.737

• The 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, rumors, 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. ~"Psychology and Religion" (1938) In CW II: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P. 140

Our psychology is a science . . . Plenty of unqualified persons are sure to push their way in and commit the greatest follies . . . Our aim is simply and solely scientific knowledge . . . If religion and morality are blown to pieces in the process, so much the worse for them . . . Knowledge is a force of nature that goes its way irresistibly from inner necessity. - Essay Included in CW 18: P. 314

Every science is a function of the mind, and all knowledge is rooted in it. The mind is the greatest of all cosmic wonders. - "On the Nature of the Psyche" (1947). In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. P.357