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Reply To: The Shadow


There is a lot of great material you’ve included in your 2 posts Mars; so I’ll try to address how some of these ideas connect with what I was attempting to articulate concerning my understanding of Joseph’s themes.

As human beings we live on timeless ground that has been layered over the centuries of man’s attempt to understand his/hers meaning of existence in one form or another. And one of the understandings that Joseph continually brings up is life has no meaning within itself; (you bring the meaning to it). And the Hero theme of the Adventure is the expression of this eternal quest for meaning and understanding against a backdrop of a universe so large and overpowering in it’s scope that within it’s contemplation alone from microscopic to macroscopic a metaphor is probably the best we can do.

Joseph explains that there is no conflict between religion and science because science is itself a manifestation of this wonder and at the same time nightmare we as living creatures are participating in. And the great myths and stories that influence our lives are vehicles of insight into a dimension for which there are no words. Yet here we are and we must try to make sense of this great Opera of which we play a part in our brief gift of time.

Carl Jung tells us that as humans: “we are in a constant state of becoming”; and Joseph’s interpretation of this is that over the course of a human lifetime it is like the Arch of the Sun that travels from the horizon of the morning to the horizon of night. And as a metaphor this represents the life journey of an individual from that of a child to that of old age; with separate life stage tasks that must be undergone whether we are aware of them or not. And within each stage there are psychological realizations that must be assimilated for the individual to understand where they are. And one of these realization tasks has to do with assimilating and integrating the Shadow; which is the unknown and unrealized dimension of the individual of which the Ego is unaware and has been repressed down into the unconscious. And in the last half of life it starts to push up towards the conscious level or threshold demanding to be addressed.

As you stated; these are two dimensions of the same thing; or put another way: “the union of opposites”. And because the child is now an adult many of the symbols that have informed the child have begun to change meaning; some of which are no longer relevant; and others their messages now confer very different meanings. One of the best examples Joseph uses of how a symbol can confer many different cultural interpretations is the Jewish double triangle: “Star of David”; which in Indian symbolism refers to the Chakra system of realization; (which in Jungian parlance represents the upcoming of “repression”); so the way one religious system defines something may be totally different from another. But Joseph’s point is that these are devices that throughout human history have to do with spiritual transformation or transcendence. They help human beings give meaning to something that has no meaning; (being alive “is” the meaning; or put another way: “Joyful participation in the sorrows of the world within the rapture of existence against a backdrop of life eating life; also known as the: “Ouroboros”). This is the integration principle addressing the later life task of “individuation” Jung’s theme addresses that Joseph is talking about in many of these Shadow clips.

One of the main task ideas at work here is Shadow rejection; (which has to do with assimilation of one’s Shadow side with how one responds to life); but what makes this so difficult is becoming aware of it because it’s our blind side; (we don’t know it’s there; it’s the dark side of our light side; and we have little control over it “unless considerable effort is put forth to know it and integrate it; (which brings us back to the “Paralax system”); and trying to attain some kind of balance within both sides of our nature.

Mars; those were very nice posts; so I hope you’ll pardon my rather clumsy attempt concerning my description about this; (at least as I understand it); and maybe Stephen, Mary, yourself, or anyone else may have something else to offer that will help shed even more light on it.