Carl Jung: Ten Quotations on Individuation

I will try to explain the term “individuation” as simply as possible.

By it I mean the psychological process that makes of a human being an “individual”-a unique, indivisible unit or “whole man.

from a lecture at the Eranos Meeting at Ascona
The Meaning of Individuation

Prometheus bound
C6th B.C., Vatican City Museums

What is it, in the end, that induces a man to go his own way and to rise out of unconscious identity with the mass as out of a swathing mist?

It is what is commonly called vocation: an irrational factor that destines a man to emancipate himself from the herd and from its well-worn paths. … Anyone with a vocation hears the voice of the inner man: he is called.

The Development of Personality
Paragraph 299f

The Alchemist in Search of the Philosophers Stone
Joseph Wright

Alchemy has performed for me the great and invaluable service of providing material in which my experience could find sufficient room, and has thereby made it possible for me to describe the individuation process at least in its essential aspects.

Mysterium Coniunctionis
Paragraph 792

“Insofar as society is itself composed of de-individualized human beings, it is completely at the mercy of ruthless individualists. Let it band together into groups and organizations as much as it likes – it is just this banding together and the resultant extinction of the individual personality that makes it succumb so readily to a dictator. A million zeros joined together do not, unfortunately, add up to one.

Ultimately everything depends on the quality of the individual, but our fatally shortsighted age things only in terms of large numbers and mass organizations, though one would think that the world had seen more than enough of what a well disciplined mob can do in the hands of a single madman… People go on blithely organizing and believing in the sovereign remedy of mass action, without the least consciousness of the fact that the most powerful organizations in the world can be maintained only by the greatest ruthlessness of their leaders and the cheapest of slogans.

The Undiscovered Self

A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the species.

The afternoon of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.

The significance of the morning undoubtedly lies in the development of the individual, our entrenchment in the outer world, the propagation of our kind, and the care of our children.

This is the obvious purpose of nature.

But when this purpose has been attained -and more than attained-shall the earning of money, the extension of conquests, and the expansion of life go steadily on beyond the bounds of all reason and sense?

Whoever carries over into the afternoon the law of the morning, or the natural aim, must pay for it with damage to his soul, just as surely as a growing youth who tries to carry over his childish egoism into adult life must pay for this mistake with social failure.

In CW 8: The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche
The Stages of Life
Page 787

The discovery of the value of human personality is reserved for a riper age.

For young people the search for personality values is very often a pretext for evading their biological duty.

Conversely, the exaggerated longing of an older person for the sexual values of youth is a short-sighted and often cowardly evasion of a duty which demands recognition of the value of personality and submission to the hierarchy of cultural values.

The young neurotic shrinks back in terror from the expansion of life’s duties, the old one from the dwindling of the treasures he has attained.

CW 4: Freud and Psychoanalysis
Page 664

To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality in fact is.

Collected Works:Two Essays on Analytical Psychology.
Relations between the Ego and the Unconscious
Page 242

Vajrayogini Mandala, Tibet; 18th century, Rubin Museum of Art

I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self.

Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Page 196

The images of the unconscious place a great responsibility upon a man.

Failure to understand them, or a shirking of ethical responsibility, deprives him of his wholeness and imposes a painful fragmentariness on his life.

Memories, Dreams and Reflections
Page 192

Source of Image

You cannot individuate on Everest.

cited in Jung: His Life And Work
Author Barbara Hanna
Page 290

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