Religion #3 – C.G. Jung – Good & Evil

There is always the battle between what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’, when in fact, they are both a state of mind, based on generational ties, culture, and internal/external beliefs. Enjoy, observe, explore, and debate until you find your self-understanding.



“We must no longer succumb to anything at all, not even to good. A so-called good to which we succumb loses its ethical character. Not that there is anything bad in it on that score, but to have succumbed to it may breed trouble. Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. We must beware of thinking of good and evil as absolute opposites. The criterion of ethical action can no longer consist in the simple view that good has the force of a categorical imperative, while so-called evil can resolutely be shunned. Recognition of the reality of evil necessarily relativists the good, and the evil likewise, converting both into halves of a paradoxical whole.” 

“The relativity of “good” and “evil” by no means signifies that these categories are invalid, or do not exist. Moral judgment is always present and carries with it characteristic psychological consequences… Only the contents of judgment are subject to the differing conditions of time and place and, therefore, take correspondingly different forms. For moral evaluation is always founded upon the apparent certitudes of a moral code which pretends to know precisely what is good and what is evil. But one we know how uncertain the foundation is, ethical decision becomes a subjective, creative act. We can convince ourselves of its validity only Deo concedente – that is, there must be a spontaneous and decisive impulses on the part of the unconscious. Ethics itself, the decision between good and evil, is not affected by this impulse, only made more difficult for us. Nothing can spare us the torment of ethical decisions. Nevertheless, harsh as it may sound, we must have the freedom in some circumstances to avoid the known moral good and do what is considered to be evil, if our ethical decision so requires. In other words, again: we must not succumb to either of the opposites.” 

Individuality and the Opposites 

“The individual, who wishes to have an answer to the problem of evil as it is posed today, has need, first and foremost, of self-knowledge, that is, the utmost possible knowledge of his own wholeness. He must know relentless how much good he can do, and what crimes he is capable of, and must beware of regarding the one as real and the other as illusion. Both are elements within his nature, and both are bound to come to light in him, should he wish – as he ought – to live without self-deception or self-delusion.” 

“In general, however, most people are ill equipped for living on this level, although there are also many persons today who have the capacity for profounder insight into themselves. Such self-knowledge is of prime importance, because through it we approach the fundamental stratum or core of human nature where the instincts dwell. Here are those pre-existent dynamic factors which ultimately govern the ethical decisions of our consciousness. This core is the unconscious and its contents, concerning which we cannot pass any final judgment. Our ideas about it are bound to be inadequate, for we are unable to comprehend its essence cognitively and set rational limits to it. We achieve knowledge of nature only through science, which enlarges consciousness; hence deepened self-knowledge also requires science, that is, psychology. No one builds a telescope or microscope with one turn of the wrist, out of good will alone, without knowledge of optics.” 

C.G. Jung – Collective Works, vol. 3

4 thoughts on “Religion #3 – C.G. Jung – Good & Evil

  1. Pingback: Year 6 | Inside A Soul

  2. Pingback: Religion #4 – Pre-Christianity – the Trinity | Inside A Soul

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