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Carl Jung on “Goethe” “Faust” – Anthology

Faust II has been my companion all my life but it was only 20 years ago that certain things began to dawn on me, especially when I read Christian Rosencreutz’s Chymical Wedding, which Goethe also knew but, interestingly enough, did not mention among the alchemical literature of his Leipzig days. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 246-247.

So far as we know, Goethe used only the relatively late alchemical literature, and it was the study of the classical and early medieval texts which first convinced me that Faust I and II is an opus alchymicum in the best sense. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 246-247.

As in Goethe’s Faust, here too it is the feminine element (Eve) that knows about the secret which can work against the total destruction of mankind, or man’s despair in the face of such a development. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 386-387

Goethe’s Faust almost reached the goal of classical alchemy, but unfortunately the ultimate coniunctio did not come off, so that Faust and Mephistopheles could not attain their oneness. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 453-454.

We must not forget that even Goethe is not the absolute authority but a human being who, as far as his unconscious is concerned, is just as small and impotent as any other insignificant person. ~Carl Jung, Jung-Schmid Correspondence, Pages 74-86

It was from the spirit of alchemy that Goethe wrought the figure of the “superman” Faust, and this superman led Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to declare that God was dead and to proclaim the will to give birth to the superman, to “create a god for yourself out of your seven devils.” ~Carl Jung, CW 13, Para 163.

You can find a detailed exposition of the transcendent function in Goethe’s Faust. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 267-269

I would give the earth to know whether Goethe himself knew why he called the two old people “Philemon” and “Baucis.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 309-310

Goethe’s Faust aptly says: “in the beginning was the deed”.” “Deeds” were never invented, they were done; thoughts, on the other hand, are a relatively late discovery of man. First he was moved to deeds by unconscious factors; it was only a long time afterward that he began to reflect upon the causes that had moved him; and it took it him a very long time indeed to arrive at the preposterous idea that he must have moved himself . . . his mind being unable to identify any other motivating force than his own. ~Carl Jung; Man and His Symbols; Page 70.

Beyond that I have had experiences which are, so to speak, “ineffable,” “secret” because they can never be told properly and because nobody can understand them (I don’t know whether I have even approximately understood them myself), “dangerous” because 99% of humanity would declare l was mad if they heard such things from me, “catastrophic” because the prejudices aroused by their telling might block other people’s way to a living and wondrous mystery, “taboo” because they are “Holy” protected by “Fear of the Gods” as faithfully described by Goethe:

Shelter gives deep cave.
Lions around us stray,
Silent and tame they rove, And sacred honors pay To the holy shrine of love. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 140-142

The problem of my destiny goes back a hundred and fifty years. Indeed it appeared as early as the twelfth century, as I have now discovered. Formerly I believed it only went back to Goethe’s Faust. (Jung now told the dream of his ancestors in which the last was only able to move his little finger.) The problem that appeared as a question in the twelfth century became my extremely personal destiny. Already Goethe had found an answer a hundred and fifty years ago. My father was so tormented by it that he died at the age of fifty-four. ~ Carl Jung, Conversations with C.G. Jung, Page 67.

Biographies should show people in their undershirts. Goethe had his weaknesses, and Calvin was often cruel. Considerations of this kind reveal the true greatness of a man. This way of looking at things is better than false hero worship! ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking, Page 165.

My mother drew my attention to Faust when I was about 15 years old. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 88-89

Faust is out of this world and therefore it transports you; it is as much the future as the past and therefore the most living present. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 88-89

You have hit the mark absolutely: all of a sudden and with terror it became clear to me that I have taken over Faust as my heritage, and moreover as the advocate and avenger of Philemon and Baucis, who, unlike Faust the superman, are the hosts of the gods in a ruthless and godforsaken age. ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 309-310

There was quite a crowd there and Barker, the professor of English from Cambridge, said, ‘Now Jung, you must know the famous passage in Faust about the setting sun!’ And Jung did know it, and recited it. ~E.A. Bennet, Meetings with Jung, Page 284

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Carl Jung on “Goethe” “Faust” – Anthology


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