up with that? "It is good that you grasp one thing (righteousness),
and also not let go of the other (wickedness);"
years than I can remember, I'd thought about tackling this odd and
seemingly spurious quote from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes
(traditionally attributed to King Solomon). It's a quote that various
Jungian thinkers have long been fascinated with.
hang in there with me, as we take a slightly circuitous route in order
to make it back there...
Light Constellates the Dark
Being a lifelong fan of rocker musician Neil Young, I not too long
ago came across a BBC documentary on Young "Don't
of cult leader Charles Manson came up during the interview and how
Neil Young, living in Topanga Canyon, had encountered Manson in the
late 1960s. It was when he [Manson] was desperately trying (with some
success) to become involved in the late 1960s California music scene.
and his "Family" committed their horrific crimes, Neil Young
had written the, at the time, very controversial "Revolution
Jump Back To Ecclesiastes
is a long held Jungian depth psychological concept that says overly
identifying with "The Light" constellates (brings about)
its compensatory opposite, shadow and darkness. Without the light,
there'd be no shadow. This psychological (spiritual) principle applies
on both an individual and a societal level.
just vividly (perfectly) described this spiritual/psychological concept
in that interview:
side of the peace loving 1960s hippie culture can be archetypally
represented by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that introduced Transcendental
Meditation to the Western World; the dark side, Charlie Manson. (And
yes, the Maharishi had his own personal shadow.)
the light... the darker the shadow... and on both an individual and
a societal level, overly identifying with the light constellates its
compensatory opposite, shadow and darkness.
principle is more than a wee bit disconcerting and/or downright disturbing
in many spiritual (traditional and New Age) circles.
But the fact
is that identifying only with "The Light" can shockingly
be just as dangerous as identifying only with "The Dark."
On a personal
level, when identifying with the light, our personal shadow is projected
onto those around us. The "purer" we (and our little group)
are... the darker everyone else, that isn't a part of our group, becomes.
We true believers are the only ones going to heaven, and everyone
else is going to hell.
easiest to see and identify how the principle applies to large groups
of people, movements, religions, cultures, and entire countries.
Back In Tme
historical example of overly identifying with the light and with purity
is that of the early Christian church desert monks chosing to cut
themselves off (often literally with castration) from the sensual,
sexual, and seductive archetype of Venus and her fleshly carnal desires.
out into the desert (both figuratively and literally) that these holy
men moved - and the more fiercely they worked at exorcising and purifying
themselves of any, and all, of their worldly and lustful desires for
the flesh and for women – all the more these holy men were then
plagued and tempted with disgusting, impure, and polluted thoughts
that they then attributed to attacks of the "evil one."
the archetype of Venus likewise enjoys plaguing fundamentalist tele-evangelists
and celibate priests with desires for sexual acts and/or fetishes
that are most often much more repulsive, ugly, and sick than what
they so zealously fight, preach, and/or guard against.
it's relative child's play to see this "shadow casting"
thing while hard at work in others... but it's a downright herculean
task to see and recognize it when you're the one engaged in a lttle
"shadow casting" of your own... Orthodoxies of all varieties,
shapes, and sizes focusing on the light and absolute purity, inevitably
cast incredibly long and ugly shadows.
In the spirit
of John Lennon, imagine for a moment all peoples everywhere embracing
the credo contained in Ecclesiastes 7:15-18?
one hold on to one (righteouness) without letting go of the other
(wickedness)? How does one stop "shadow casting?" There
is no clean and simple formula for how one goes about doing it...