Carl Jung – his theories – the Shadow

5 parts of the mind in Jungian psychology, called complex/archetypes:
-the Self : the regulating centre of the psyche
-persona: the mask we present to the outside world to protect the ego from negative images.
-anima-animus: the female part of a male’s psyche and the male part of a female’s psyche. Some modern Jungians think instead that individuals of both genders have both an anima and an animus inside.
-Shadow: repressed content, the opposite of the ego image, often containing qualities that the ego does not identify with but possesses nonetheless.

There are other complex/archetypes. Jungian psychology is extremely esoteric and obscure, so this description is extremely simplified and focusing on the bit that interest me in the context of art.

More on the shadow

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”
Jung, C.G. (1938). “Psychology and Religion.” In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131

The subject is prone to projecting their “shadow” onto other persons, so as to dissociate their dark part from themselves. The goes back to the idea of the double.

‘the shadow…is roughly equivalent to the whole of the Freudian unconscious’
Anthony Stevens, On Jung (London 1990) p. 43

‘the result of the Freudian method of elucidation is a minute elaboration of man’s shadow-side unexampled in any previous age’
C. G. Jung, The Practice of Psychotherapy (London 1993) p. 63

“in spite of its function as a reservoir for human darkness—or perhaps because of this—the shadow is the seat of creativity.”
Kaufman, C. Three-Dimensional Villains: Finding Your Character’s Shadow

‘the dark side of his being, his sinister shadow…represents the true spirit of life as against the arid scholar’
C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (London 1983) p. 262

The shadow may appear in dreams, often as a dark figure of the same gender as the dreamer.
Jung, C.G. (1958-1967). Psyche and Symbol. (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. (Published 1991).

“the gold in the shadow”: Though the shadow is popularly referred as the “dark side”, is is merely everything that the Ego does not identify with and represses FOR ANY REASON WHATSOVER.

Individuation: integrating one’s shadow

Confrontation with the shadow is important in the process of individuation, but for this to be fruitful, the result must be that the conscious integrate the shadow into itself, rather than the shadow takes control of the conscious. For Jung, if the conscious (the ego) represses the unconscious (the shadow and other complex/archetypes such as the anima/animus) too hard, then the unconscious may backlash and take over the conscious: this is a psychotic episode. Therefore the core goal of Jungian analysis is to become aware of one’s unconscious, and integrate parts of it into the self while maintaining control over it. This process is called Individuation and can be achieved through Jungian analysis but also other methods: interpretating one’s dreams, studying myths, or making art for example.

John Weir Perry’s book The Far Side of Madness: a psychological description of a psychotic episode.

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