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August 30, 2004

'Whatever is not conscious will be experienced as fate' - Carl Jung

histor1

When I read this yesterday in the Washington Post Book Review, where it was noted to be the epigraph to Craig Nova's new novel, "Cruisers," I stopped reading.

I couldn't quite get the meaning of what Jung was expressing.

Was he saying that everything that happens to us without our conscious intent is thus an accident?

That we should simply accept the very limited field of action we have in determining our direction and outcome?

Or was he making things easy for us, saying that the sum of our conscious acts and everything else is always unity, totality, one, regardless of the shifting proportions of will and fate within the zero-sum equation/game he calls life?

August 30, 2004 at 03:01 AM | Permalink


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Comments

"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will control your life and you will call it fate." I recently saw a documentary on Jung & I think that the above quote was also quoted there. I think that the meaning is obvious. When one's choices are determined by unconscious motives, fears, illusions, etc. then one tends not to be aware of the fact that one could have chose otherwise. It is, therefore, perceived as fate -- that is, as inevitable rather than contingent. It is a denial of freedom. Can anyone tell that I'm an existentialist?

Posted by: Mark Richardson | Oct 12, 2009 3:59:19 PM

What is the source of this quote? In which of Jung's books does he say this? Does anyone know?

Posted by: Donna K. | Aug 12, 2008 8:03:21 AM

I first saw this quote, on a classroom hallway, as "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will control your life and you will call it fate." - at least I think it is the same quote. It is much more understandable. It says to me, if you would truly understand and control your life, try to learn what is in your unconscious and accept it, then you can make more beneficial choices. I love this quote and think of it often.

Posted by: Tricia | Oct 1, 2006 2:05:06 PM

Each individual life exists in its totality,from birth to death,in the nothing(unconscious).The individual life is projected(dreamed).The gradually awakening subject(conscious)experiences new aspects of his own being linearly in time-space.The action always comes first.It was always eternally present.We dream ourselves and experience ourselves as fate.

Posted by: mike | Apr 27, 2006 12:43:13 AM

It all roots back to Jung's concept of the collective unconcious: A universal unconcious (that some refer to as the soul) that utilizes certain archetypes as methods of transfering awareness, which is healing to the psyche. Dreams are commonly discussed as one architype. Archetypes arise spontaneously in the mind, especially during crisies.
When I mentioned synchronicity in my previous post, I was refering to events that have a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially.
We attribute meaning to these coincidences, which links the psyche to the outside world of the perception.
The point is that we are all more unconcious and out of control than we would like to admit. However, the collective unconscious contains archetypes that are inherent from the past, present and future. By examining these archetypes, we are given clues about the outside world. These clues allow us to act more consciously, and therefore make life seem less fated and more meaningful.

Posted by: Matthew Brent | Sep 2, 2004 9:45:37 PM

http://www.bookofjoe.com/2004/08/whatever_is_not.html
Out of context Karrie is completely right about focusing on the relative term experienced. However within context, the notion of acausal synchronicity needs to be explored.

Posted by: Matthew Brent | Sep 1, 2004 2:30:35 AM

I do not know the context for Jung's quotation, but the word "experienced" seems important. If we experience something as fate, that does not mean - or even imply - that fate actually exists or happens. It just means we experience the sensation or idea of fate - that something feels like fate - or that we believe it to be fate (mistakenly or no). Whether fate actually exists is another question entirely.

But again, I do not know the context. Just some thoughts ...

Posted by: karrie | Aug 30, 2004 11:39:23 AM

I do not know the context for Jung's quotation, but the word "experienced" seems important. If we experience something as fate, that does not mean - or even imply - that fate actually exists or happens. It just means we experience the sensation or idea of fate - that something feels like fate - or that we believe it to be fate (mistakenly or no). Whether fate actually exists is another question entirely.

But again, I do not know the context. Just some thoughts ...

Posted by: karrie | Aug 30, 2004 11:39:22 AM

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