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Reply To: The Shadow


    I want to bring up something concerning why I created this topic I think has a major connection to Jung’s Shadow and Joseph’s articulations about understanding it. We are in the middle of a global mental health crisis concerning man’s ability to come to grips with what is in front of the human community. What I see developing refers not just to the virus pandemic; or the coming Climate Change and Global Warming issues facing the planet; but the human lack of ability to understand itself within this larger landscape of global concerns. Some will say this is an age old problem; (and yes this is true); but there is more going on than just political or economic or religious conflicts.

    Carl Jung saw coming down the road that Man’s Shadow had the potential to destroy the planet and all life on it unless he looked inside; which in his view is where man’s real problems reside. And until the human animal begins to address this side of his nature and come to grips with it in his view the future looked very dark indeed. (It was his greatest fear and he said so here.)

    I’m sure many who read his work and that of Joseph’s are more than aware of these concerns; and it is my feeling that the more time we spend just getting a basic understanding of the interplay of how some of these Jungian themes affect our lives the benefits are more than worth it. I can only speak for myself in how any of this knowledge has affected my life for the better; but I want to add a couple of other points that might be worth considering as we each go about our daily lives.

    Every day I read the news and see more and more heartache and suffering that many of these ideas can be of help. Think of the number of suicides, the opioid, drug, and alcohol addiction cases; the violent crime punished by our prison systems; the domestic abuse of women and children and elderly; the homeless; the people thinking only of money and the things it will buy as a substitute for self-worth. These are just a few examples of how the dark side of the Shadow can influence peoples lives.

    Religion for many is not the answer; only a substitute crutch for meaning. (Yes; of course helping others is one of most noble ideals of concern); but without understanding what’s ticking inside a person this does not adequately address their problems. And by understanding these internal dynamics and how they might pertain to an individual life one is finally able to understand some of their causes and address them. The Shadow also has positive aspects and values to offer as well; but make no mistake this is Shadow country; and Joseph knew this and profoundly understood it’s relevance.

    If this virus pandemic has had any kind of positive side in my humble opinion it would be that it’s forced us to stop and re-evaluate many of the things we feel are important. This is where the Shadow lives; and we should get to know and understand it better; and as Joseph suggests we will be the richer for this internal dialogue.