All Haste is of the Devil

stairway-to-heaven-julie-hamiltonOnce the past has been breached, it is usually annihilated, and there is no stopping the forward motion. But it is precisely this loss of connection with the past, our uprootedness, which has given rise to the ‘discontents’ of civilisation and to such a flurry and haste that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present, with which our whole evolutionary background has not yet caught up.

We rush impetuously into novelty, driven by a mounting sense of insufficiency, dissatisfaction, and restlessness. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise?

We refuse to recognise that everything better is purchased at the price of something worse; that, for example, the hope of greater freedom is cancelled out by increased enslavement to the state, not to speak of the terrible perils to which the most brilliant discoveries of science expose us. The less we understand of what our fathers and forefathers sought, the less we understand ourselves, and thus we help with all our might to rob the individual of his roots and his guiding instincts, so that he becomes a particle in the mass, ruled only by what Nietzsche called the spirit of gravity.

Reforms by advances, that is, by new methods or gadgets, are of course impressive at first, but in the long run they are dubious and in any case dearly paid for. They by no means increase the happiness or contentment of people on the whole. Mostly, they are deceptive sweetenings of existence, like speedier communications which unpleasantly accelerate the tempo of life and leave us with less time than ever before. Omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est – all haste is of the devil, as the old masters used to say.

Memories, Dreams, Reflections, C.G Jung


Naturally every age thinks that all ages before it were prejudiced, and today we think this more than ever and are just as wrong as all the previous ages that thought so. How often have we not seen the truth condemned!

It is sad but unfortunately true that man learns nothing from history. This melancholy fact will present us with the greatest difficulties as soon as we set about collecting empirical material that would throw a little light on this dark subject, for we shall we quite certain to find it where all the authorities have assured us that nothing is to be found.

Reports of remarkable isolated cases, however well authenticated, are unprofitable and lead at most to their reporter being regarded as a credulous person. Even the careful recording and verification of a large number of such cases, as in the work of Gurny, Myers, and Podmore, have made next to no impression on the scientific world. The great majority of “professional” psychologists and psychiatrists seem to be completely ignorant of their researches.

The results of ESP and PK experiments have provided a statistical basis for evaluating the phenomenon of synchronicity and have at the same time pointed out the important part played by the psychic factor. This fact prompted me to ask whether it would not be possible to find a method which would on the one hand demonstrate the existence of synchronicity and, on the other hand, disclose psychic contents which would at least give us a clue to the nature of the psychic factor involved.

I asked myself, in other words, whether there were not a method which would yield measurable results and at the same time give us an insight into the psychic background of synchronicity. That there are certain essential psychic conditions for synchronistic phenomena we have already seen from the ESP experiments, although the latter are in the nature of the case restricted to the fact of coincidence and only stress its psychic background without illuminating it any further.

C G Jung, Synchronicity