Jung on Sacred Egoism

“Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest art to be simple, and so acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the acid test of one’s whole outlook on life. That I feed the beggar, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ all these are undoubtedly great virtues. What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ. But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea the very fiend himself that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved what then?

If I wish to effect a cure for my patients I am forced to acknowledge the deep significance of their egoism, I should be blind, indeed, if I did not recognize it as a true will of God. I must even help the patient to prevail in his egoism; if he succeeds in this, he estranges himself from other people. He drives them away, and they come to themselves as they should, for they were seeking to rob him of his ‘sacred’ egoism. This must be left to him, for it is his strongest and healthiest power; it is, as I have said, a true will of God, which sometimes drives him into complete isolation. However wretched this state may be, it also stands him in good stead, for in this way alone can he get to know himself and learn what an invaluable treasure is the love of his fellow beings. It is, moreover, only in the state of complete abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful powers of our own natures.”

Carl Gustav Jung, Psychology and Religion, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Bollingen series XX, volume 11, translated by R.F.C. Hull, pp. 339-342


Cathy McClelland, “Meditation

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18 Responses to Jung on Sacred Egoism

  1. Pingback: Jung on Sacred Egoism | lampmagician

  2. herongrace says:

    Thank-you for these insightful paragraphs from Jung. I feel that they are really timely and speak to Wednesday’s lunar eclipse in Aries, observing our “sacred egoism” followed up by the 23rd/24th October solar eclipse of death, rebirth and transformation at 0* Scorpio, with Mercury the messenger leading us back into this terrain, to make sure we have absorbed our necessary lessons here.


    • My intention for this blog is to post about “things eternal” but at the same time I always think astrologically because this is just how I think naturally. So I did think of the Moon/Uranus conjunction in Aries and also about the Grand Fire Trine when I was choosing that quote. I know that some readers make these connections to. I am really happy you noticed.


  3. Excellent. I have 2 Jungian critics to do on 2 fairy tales this week. Have you read “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? It is a beautiful story.

    I am also going to do a short essay with psychological critic on, “Little Red Cap,” the original Grimms Brothers, “Little Red Riding Hood.”


  4. Dewin Nefol says:

    Hey Monika,

    I read your seasonally autumnal post as I might a tarot card reading…that sense of being presented with a past, present, and future scenario, which also delineates the experience of passing through processional states of earthy absorption, gestation evolution, the cards of Death and/or the Horned God and Judgement respectively, and finally, achievement, integration and/or rebirth in the wholeness of the World Card.

    In response to the first half of the post…a word from Rumi….

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.
    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.
    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.
    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.
    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.
    ~ Rumi ~

    In response to the second half of the post, and perusing Herongrace’s insightful comments here, together with deriving an additional perspective on other recent posts you have blogged, I was put in mind of Georgia O’Keeffe’s, Ram’s Head, Blue Morning Glory, 1938: http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/art–exhibitions.html


    DN – 06/10/2014


    • Would you believe I looked at the major arcana for an apt image for this post? Yes, it is about the quest for individuation. I have seen that Rumi before – it is magnificent – each person we are in contact with should be treated as a guest of honor, a guide from beyond.
      And Georgia O’Keeffe – always sublime. I am surprised I have never featured her.
      Thank you, Dewin.


      • Dewin Nefol says:

        Hey Monika,

        Curiously, yes, I had a strong feeling that you’d seek an apt image from the tarot deck to compliment your words.

        The silken threads that perpetually flow, entwine, connect with others and sculpt a Blog seem to cast their own shadow when given over to the light. One only needs to engage deeply with the mysteries revealed to see a rainbow of arcing colour unfold…whilst an attentive ear to the stars listens for the quiet voice speaking from within the spaces between every word.

        I shall look forward to reading Passionate Longing for Dialogue (1): Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.


        DN – 07/10/2014


  5. Thank you for sharing .. Wise words… 🙂 xxx Have a beautiful week.. Sue


  6. Soul Fields says:

    There is this inexplicable sense of warmth I always experience of Mr. Jung. Thank you for a reminder of the simple-complex truth of self acceptance.


  7. Ah — things sacred and eternal. I love this theme. 🙂


  8. acceptance of oneself …. is the acid test – wow – and then Rumi saying greet them at the door – a crowd of sorrows – as a guide from beyond – the beggar, the insulter, the enemy within you – I myself need the alms of my own kindness = so beautifully true – quite overwhelming in its depth of thought – indeed, therefore, all trials are a balm to our immoral wounds, self inflicted – a kind of grace and compassion is a kindness unto ourselves rather than a superior charity – thanks monika for arousing such worthy thoughts – whenever i visit your blog i marvel at the complexity of your symbolic mind.

    Liked by 1 person

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