Projections of the Shadow Self

Projections of the Shadow Self

“You can take away a mans gods, but only to give him others in return. The leaders of the mass state cannot avoid being deified, and wherever crudities of this kind have not yet been put over by force, obsessive factors arise in their stead, charged with demonic energy- for instance, money, work, political influence and so forth. Hence, it is quite natural that with the triumph of the goddess of reason a general neuroticizing of man should set in, a disassociation of personality analogous to the splitting of the world today by the Iron Curtain. This boundary line bristling with barbed wire runs through the psyche of modern man, no matter on which side he lives. And just as the typical neurotic is unconscious of his shadow side, so the normal individual… It has even become a political and social duty to apostrophize the capitalism as one and the communism of the other as the very devil, so as to fascinate the outward eye and prevent it from looking at the individual life within (pg, 78, The Undiscovered Self). -Carl Jung

Carl Jung in Man and His Symbols spoke in great detail on the concept of the Shadow Self. In his studies of dreams, he discovered that the individual became more acquainted with their shadow self while in dreamtime. The Shadow in essence represented the unconscious part of the personality which is often personified in dreamtime. Jung also describes how the shadow self is personified unconsciously during political conflicts, especially the rise of Hitler. Can the example of the rise of Hitler and other problems plaguing our world be due to the unconscious projections of “The Shadow Self” onto the stage of political players of the time, and in the current predicament’s?
Before I get into projections, there must be a distinction between conscious and unconscious projections.
Conscious projections represent the programmed belief systems which all cultures possess, for instance a man thinking he is falling in love with a woman whom the culture has deemed acceptable to fall in love with. An unconscious projection could represent the idea that just because a mate is culturally acceptable, the individual has an underlying un-confronted suspicion (shadow self) that the relationship will not succeed due to the fact that unconscious problems have not been worked out or confronted. So, unconscious projections are projected without the conscious knowing because they have not been confronted through finding one’s life purpose.
The unconscious projection which I discuss in this essay is the projection of our shadow self onto political leaders and tyrants. Carl Jung discusses the realization of the shadow self:
“Through dreams one becomes acquainted with aspects of one’s own personality that for various reasons one has preferred not to look at too closely. This is what Jung called: the realization of the shadow. (he used the term shadow for this unconscious part of the personality because it actually often appears in dreams in a personified form).
The shadow is not the whole of the unconscious personality. It represents unknown or little-known attributes and qualities of the ego- aspects that mostly belong to the personal sphere and that just as well could be conscious. In some aspects, the shadow can consist of collective factors that stem from a source outside the individual’s personal life. (pg.178, Man and His Symbols)”.

This is the shadow self or the individual’s inner demons which many people do not want to confront because of various belief systems that are just easier to go along with than to actually examine.
Jung argues that because humanity is not aware of their “shadow self” it will play out in political conflicts similar to how it plays out in our dreams.
“Obviously, the problem of the shadow plays a great role in political conflicts. If the man who had this dream had not been sensible about his shadow problem, he could easily identified with the “dangerous Communists” of outer life, or with the “grasping capitalists”. In this way he would have avoided seeing that he had within him such warring elements. If people observe their own unconscious tendencies in other people, this is called a “projection”. Political agitation in all countries is full of such projections, just as much as the backyard gossip of little groups and individuals. Projections of all kinds obscure our view of our fellow men, spoiling all possibility of genuine human relationships.
And there is an additional disadvantage in projecting our shadow. If we identify our own shadow with, say, the Communists or the Capitalists, a part of our own personality remains on the opposing side. The result is that we shall constantly (though involuntarily) do things behind our own backs that support this other side, and thus we shall unwittingly help our enemy. If, on the contrary, we realize the projection and can discuss matters without fear and hostility, dealing with the other person sensibly, then there is a chance of mutual understanding or at least of a truce. (pg. 182)”.

Jung points out that these warring elements in the human psyche both play off of each other. So even if we associate with the Communists or the Capitalists, or today Liberals and Conservatives, the very act of identifying with a side empowers the other side because that is the side which our shadow self is projected onto.
Media manipulates the shadow projection by demonizing one or more opposing sides. This is a method talk show hosts are trained and encouraged to utilize to increase ratings, and thus advertising revenue. In this way a Bill O’Reily (Fox) has his audience which demonizes the alleged opposite view of those who identify more with a Rachel Maddow (msnbc) perspective or personality. The effect of this manipulation is the ultimate division of the people into opposing special interest groups, but this division of market share benefits the corporate media, who have a financial interest in keeping us ignorant of our shadow projections.
If we face the problem without fear and hostility, and with solutions that come from the individual rather than the culture, then perhaps we can come to a truce.  Facing and empowering others to face their own individual demons, is the solution.
“The shadow becomes hostile only when he is ignored or misunderstood (pg. 182)….So, whatever the form it takes, the function of the shadow is to represent the opposite side of the ego and to embody and just those qualities that one dislikes most in other people…. It would be relatively easy if one could integrate the shadow into the conscious personality just by attempting to be honest and to use one’s insight. But, unfortunately, such an attempt does not always work. There is such a passionate drive within the shadowy part of oneself that reason may not prevail against it. A bitter experience coming from outside may occasionally help; a brick, so to speak, has to drop on one’s head to put a stop to shadowy drives and impulses. At times a heroic decision may serve to halt them, but such a superhuman effort is usually possible only if the great man within (the Self) helps the individual to carry it through.” (pg.182)
Due to the fact that most of humanity has not faced their inner self. The shadow self is being projected onto both sides of political battles. No matter what side we choose, the very idea of choosing a side projects our inner demons and part of our personality onto the other side.
It is possible to integrate the shadow into conscious personality and thus use it for the individual’s benefit, but it seems that human nature is so passionate about blaming others for staged problems (combing the mirror). The “shadow self” can be reasoned with, but only if the “Self” has to be willing to have a overwhelming realization (Brick) and therefore reason with the shadow. The heroic decision is plausible in the sense that the “Self” can take responsibility for every decision and action in life, therefore halting the shadow.
I have to note what Hermann Rauschning, an aide to Hitler said in his book, Hitler Speaks:
“One cannot help thinking of him as a medium. For most of the time. mediums are ordinary, insignificant people. Suddenly, they are endowed with what seems to be supernatural powers, which set them apart from the rest of humanity. The medium is possessed. Once the crisis is passed, they fall back into mediocrity. It was in this way beyond any doubt, that Hitler was possessed by forces outside of himself- almost demoniacal forces of which the individual man, Hitler, was only the temporary vehicle. The mixture of the banal and the supernatural created that insupportable duality of which one was conscious in his presence… it was like looking at a bizarre face whose expression seemed to reflect an unbalanced state of mind coupled with a disquieting impression of hidden powers.”
Shakespeare said, The world is a stage, a stage performance is only judged by its viewers, the viewer judge’s whether or not the characters are good or bad, and whether the performance was good or bad. The performance is planned before hand, the performance relies on its viewer or observer to react and interpret the situation in a certain way, or even show up to the performance at all for that matter.
It seems as though Hitler was a performer as was all the other political players at that time. In the attention given to the stage, the citizen’s then turned it into a reality. The world is but a stage… the observer needs to realize the performers are only medium’s to project our demons unto, i.e. political leaders, political party’s, etc, and the entire show exists because of the attention we give it. The discovery of the “Self”, is the power to look at political conflict and realize it is only a play and when the observer refuses to observe then all illusory political power is no more.

The shadow self could be personified in many ways in both the dream time and in modern day events. I see it as part of the unconscious which has yet to be confronted and thus is projecting evil. Human’s are stuck in a duality, choosing between Good and Evil, Capitalists and Communists, and so this allows for the projection of the “Shadow Self”, the giving away of part of our personality to political power continues. The shadow becomes hostile only when he is ignored or misunderstood (pg. 182).

In essence, we are projecting part of our personality, part of our psyche, onto political leaders and onto other medium’s. We give our power away to politicians, leaders, and governments because we feel that they will take care of the creative endeavors of the world for us, and lead humanity toward  a reasonable destiny. Subsequently, a part of our personality is being mirrored back to us, due to an unconscious projection.

“It takes alot of courage to take the unconscious seriously and to tackle the problem’s it raises. Most people are too indolent to think deeply about even those most moral aspects of their behavior of which they are conscious; they are certainly too lazy to consider how the unconscious affects them (pg. 185, Man and His Symbols).”

The discovery of The Undiscovered Self through The Hero’s Journey is one which humanity as a whole has been putting off.  Beliefs that the stage is reality keep the various institutions running that are leading us to questionable future;s. Beliefs make up this world, and if we truly want to change this place into a paradise, it involves changing where our belief’s and our faith is. It is important to note that you are the observer, the individual has the choice to perceive the fictional performance of politics’ and cultural mechanation, but the “Self” also has the choice to simply not perceive, and instead examine his own perceptions of the world.
What is needed is a cultural shift to examine the “Self”, in light of making the shadow more conscious. This process would lead to greater psychological sophistication among the collective consciousness. This would allow the full potential of the human being to explore issues without the shadowy distortions of the unconscious projections. In this way, when the human being has attained greater insight and clarity into the nature of the unconscious, the human being is less easily manipulated by those who profit from manipulation.
As individual human beings evolve through inner spiritual work (making the unconscious conscious) it reaches a tipping point, where the challenges, complexities and difficulties of the unconscious are more easily accessed and brought to the illumination potentially of all human beings world wide.
In the meantime, I’m doing my inner work to withdraw my projections and realize that I am the origin of my projection, so that on an individual level shadowy parts of the unconscious do not manifest in my human experience. Only in this way can my authentic Self manifest as a self-realized human being.

Written by Kane Dice

Edited by Cooke Fisher M.A. E.D.

To be Continued and touched upon in future ARTicles…

One Response to “Projections of the Shadow Self”

  1. […] Projections of the Shadow Self […]

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