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Violence of the Collective Shadow

Projecting the Shadow

One of the most dangerous aspects of human society is the rampant tendency to project one’s own shadow onto “the other,” onto other states, cultures, individuals, groups or societies, rendering onto them all of the worst, most vile characteristics that lie hidden in one’s own shadow. While this certainly happens at an individual level, it has created horrific consequences when it involves the projection of the collective shadow: wars, genocides, torture, rape and more are the consequences of shadow projection.

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What is Consciousness?

Edward Edinger, in his seminal work, The Creation of Consciousness: Jung’s Myth for Modern Man, notes that Dr. Jung felt that “the experience of consciousness is made up of two factors, “knowing” and “withness,” i.e., knowing in the presence of an “other,” in a setting of twoness.” Essentially, Jung is saying that consciousness emerges from the experiencing of opposites.

Using the language of psychology and psychoanalysis, he further defines the concept of individuation as the “process whereby a series of psychic contents – complexes and archetypal images – make connection with an ego and thereby generate the psychic substance of consciousness.”

Consciousness is our awareness of our existence within this realm of duality. The degree of our awareness is of key importance as it allows us to transcend our more base needs and behaviors and eventually allows us to operate from the heart and soul.

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Knowing the Shadow

Our Persona is how we wish to be seen by the world, the so-called psychological clothes we adopt that mediate between our true selves and what we show to the world. That part of us that we fail to see or know, that which hasn’t entered into our consciousness adequately, is called the Shadow, a term coined by the eminent psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung.

How the Shadow Originates

Jungian Analyst and author Robert A. Johnson shows that, while we are all born whole, we enter into the world of duality and so we begin to divide our lives into culturally acceptable and unacceptable parts. The refused and unaccepted parts don’t go away; instead, they take on a life of their own. If they go unacknowledged, they can accumulate and erupt with terrible effect.

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Arthur Schopenhauer

Schopenhauer’s notion of the Will comes from the Kantian things-in-itself, which Kant believed to be the fundamental reality behind the representation that provided the matter of perception, but lacked form.

Schopenhauer pointed out that anything outside of time and space could not be differentiated, so the thing-in-itself must be one and all things that exist, including human beings.

Schopenhauer also argues that ideas (i.e. representations) may be either primary or secondary. Primary ideas include perceptions and intuitions. Secondary ideas include concepts and abstract representations.

Thus, concepts are “representations of representations.” All representations are objects of possible experience, and all objects of possible experience are representations.

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Sacred Space

The Gospel of Matthew 5: 3-12, in the Bible

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are the teachings of Jesus shared from his Sermon on the Mount. The teachings are comprised of eight blessings (in the Gospel of Matthew), and form the core of Christian teachings: love, humility, mercy and compassion. The Beatitudes are:

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

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The Wisdom of Buddhism

Atisha (11th century Tibetan Buddhist master)

About Buddhism

The greatest achievement is selflessness.
The greatest worth is self-mastery.
The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
The greatest precept is continual awareness.
The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
The greatest patience is humility.
The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the first great epic story of mankind. Written thousands of years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets. It tells th story of the great king Gilgamesh, ruler of Uruk, and his companion, Enkidu, the “Wild Man” of the forest. Written millenia before the Iliad, the Bible or the Odyssey, this epic passionately explores Gilgamesh’s struggles with the power of nature, the will of the gods, his own mortality and his relationship with his shadow (represented by Enkidu).

The Story of The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh’s stature as a special creation of the gods: he is the son of a goddess and a human and thus partly divine. The strongest and wisest of all humans, he is also the renownedd builder and king of the great city of Uruk. The story is located in the distant past, in “the days before the flood” when Gilgamesh himself etched the whole story in stone.

The Coming of Enkidu

Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the strongest of all men, but he is a harsh and unkind ruler. The people of Uruk describe his abuses to Anu, god of Uruk, who asks Aruru, goddess of creation, to create an equal or “second self” to oppose Gilgamesh and leave them at peace. Aruru creates Enkidu out of the raw stuff of nature. Enkidu is a fearfully strong, uncultured “wild man” with long hair and coarse features who runs with the beasts and eats grass. A trapper sees Enkidu at a watering hole, and tells his father about the wild man who disrupts his snares. The father advises the son to tell Gilgamesh about the wild man. Gilgamesh gives him a temple courtesan to tame th wild man. The woman embraces Enkidu, cleans and clothes him, and teaches him civilized behavior. When Enkidu is brought to Uruk, Gilgamesh puts off his pending marriage to Ishtar, the goddess of love, and meets Enkidu, who has challenged him, in the street. They fight, and after Gilgamesh throws Enkidu, they embrace and become friends.

The Forest Journey

Enlil, father of the gods, establishes Gilgamesh’s destiny to be king and achieve great feats, but Enkidu is “oppressed by the idleness” of living in Uruk. In order to establish his eternal reputation, to “leave behind me a name that endures” Gilgamesh purposes to travel with Enkidu to the Land of the Cedars and kill its guardian, the fearsome giant Humbaba. Gilgamesh prepares for the journey both by making a sacrifice to Shamash, who gives him the nature elements as allies; by forging a set of formidable weapons, including an axe, bow, and shield; and by seeking the intervention of his mother Ninsun, who adopts Enkidu as her own. Now brothers as well as companions, Gilgamesh and Enkidu begin their journey. On the way, Gilgamesh ahs three dreams, which though frightening portend a successful end to his quest. Humbaba, the guardian of the cedars, can hear an animal stir from many miles away, and he has seven fearsome “splendors” as weapons. After they arrive at the grove, Gilgamesh and Enkidu send Humbaba into a rage by cutting down one of the sacred trees. After a fierce battle, Gilgamesh defeats Humbaba, who begs for his life.

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The French Revolution

Its Impact on Human Consciousness

On July 14, 1789, a mob of angry Parisians stormed the Bastille and seized the king’s military stores. A decade of idealism, war, murder, and carnage followed, bringing about the end of feudalism and the rise of equality and a new world order.

The French revolution was a very significant period in our western civilization.

The French revolution vividly unfolds in a maelstrom of violence, discontent, and fundamental change. (King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Maximilien Robespierre, and Napoleon Bonaparte). In the French Revolution we need to explore the legacy that — now more than ever — stands as both a warning and a guidepost for this new millennium.

The French Revolution is without question was one of the most important events of the 18th century if not in world history. It’s ultimately tragic end, culminating in the reign of terror and the execution of even its own outspoken creators, add to the drama of what was to be the crowning achievement of the age of reason and enlightenment.

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Evolution of Consciousness

The central idea of the purpose of human existence is the creation of consciousness. Our purpose, I think is to bring light into the darkness of being, to increase consciousness by becoming aware of what is hidden in the unconscious.

Carl Jung developed a new myth for modern man, one based around the idea that man is indispensable for the completion of creation. Existence is only real when it is conscious to someone and this, he argues, is why the divine needs conscious men – whoever knows the divine has a moderating and loving effect upon it. Once the union of opposites is attained, man and the divine are reconciled. In psychological terms, the Ego and Soul are finally aligned, an the creation of higher consciousness changes not only the individual but the nature of creation itself.

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The Mystery of the Coniunctio

The Coniunctio is a medieval, alchemical concept regarding the union of opposites, king and queen, male and female, to create a complete, whole entity. The historian Mircea Eliade and psychologist Carl Jung were both aware of the religious, symbolic and archetypal significance of this concept with respect to the union of ego and soul within the individual.

The urge to individuatioin, the process of becoming a whole and harmonious individual as expressed in depth psychology, requires that one undertake a dangerous – and glorious – journey to elevated consciousness, where one can simultaneously experience and accept the opposites in one’s life – good and bad, light and dark, male and female. The highest measure of an individual’s worth is the ability to carry the opposites, so that one will not damage the psyche but will carry one’s own shadow.