June 16, 2012 – 5pm to 7pm
Presenter: Alvaro Giraldo, MD, MA, Jungian Analyst
The Jungian Shadow and Politics
CG Jung did not write a big essay on politics but as a psychologist always kept attentive to the deeper meanings of the political life. Jung was the first to use the terms “collective psyche” “collective unconscious” and “archetypes.” These concepts have become important in understanding of the functioning of politics.
Jung stated that in the psyche the layer of “culture” of our humanity is rather thin and lying over a very primitive and animal psyche. Based on these facts Jung concludes that “mankind is, in essentials, psychologically still in the state of childhood stage that cannot be skipped. The vast majority needs authority, guidance, law.” These facts, couple with the tendency for a lack of development of individual consciousness and the permanency of the collective, have significant implication for the understanding of politics.
The archetype of the shadow plays also a significant role in politics. The shadow is one of the main concepts of Jung psychology and is both individual and collective. The individual or personal shadow composed of hidden aspects of oneself is either repressed or unrecognized in the unconscious. For the shadow to become conscious one has to recognize the dark side of the personality as present and real. These aspects usually emerge as undeveloped and crude. However the collective shadow is more destructive and usually described as “evil.” We have seen it at work in such events as the Holocaust and wars. However, there is hope, Jung says “Even though the individual may often feel consciously that he is more or less meaningless and the victim of uncontrollable forces, in fact he harbors within himself a dangerous shadow and adversary who is involved as an invisible helper in the dark machinations of the political monster.”
We will examine all these aspects, the individual and the collective, the archetypal and the personal, the good and the evil and will try to relate to the present time.