I am terrified of the bad wolf in me. Are you, of yours?

Carl Gustav Jung suggested that we all have a shadow side in us. A dark to our light. He wrote in Modern Man in Search of a Soul:

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also If I am to be whole.”

We are often shocked when we watch the news or hear a story about something ghastly that someone did and we swear that that could never be us.

It scares us to death just what human beings are capable of doing to each other and it is hard and terrible to imagine ourselves doing this crazy things. Yet we sit glued to horror movies, action films, violent video games, crime and detective shows. Why?

I am not endorsing violence. On the contrary, I believe in the absolute sanctity of human life. Everyone on earth has a right to live well into old age, a right to be, to exist.

But life is so complicated. People walking around are hurt beyond comprehension. People are carrying burdens you and I could never imagine carrying. The human psyche has been corrupted and overtaken by trauma and grief.

Yes, hurt people hurt people. It is cliche but that does not make it less true.

It is a real shame that the violent criminal, spouse, employer, employee, mother, father, sibling; it is a shame that these people are suffering from psychopathologies so intense, so grotesque in nature, so sharp and painful, that the only way they know how to feel better is by inflicting the same pain on others.

What I’m I trying to say today?

I am saying that people are hurt. Humanity is burdened by cycles of abuse, and unless we break these cycles, unless we learn to recognize the darkness within us, nothing will ever change.

We need to face the dragons and the demons that reside in us, so that we stop seeing them in the faces of our loved ones

Carl Jung wrote:

It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses- and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature. Blindly he strives against the salutary dogma of original sin, which is yet so prodigiously true. Yes, he even hesitates to admit the conflict of which he is so painfully aware.

And he also wrote:

If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against… Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.

And I would be a fool to disagree with him.


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