“Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants himself to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” – Carl Gustav Jung
For millennia mankind has grappled with the question: “If there is a God, why does he allow evil?” Defining evil and recognizing evil can also be a difficult undertaking where the lie is sold as truth and truth gets turned into a lie.
Self-love and the acceptance of the human condition
What Jung tried to tell us is that if you don’t accept this duality of light and shadow within, you will soon find yourself on a path of much self-created pain and suffering.
Only in unconditional acceptance of the imperfect human condition, and self-love of all aspects of the personality can grow the seeds of forgiveness, tolerance, and compassion. This is at the heart of the teachings of Jesus and the ancient Mystics. The fundamentalist Christian concept of original sin meanwhile has been distorted into a culture of guilt and self-mortification. It is the perfect breeding ground for hypocrisy and intolerance.
The enemy is also the teacher
In the pull between the identity of the opposites, spiritual growth and the evolution of character takes place. Are you kind, generous, compassionate, and loving? Or are you rude, greedy, inconsiderate, spewing hate and anger? The decisions and habits we make on a daily and hourly basis can tip the scales in either direction.
Are you nurturing the God in your heart or feeding the demons in your head?
We need the enemy, and the opposite perspective to gain clarity on our own core values and choices. Humankind has been given the power of choice. Are you falling into the shadow or going with the light?
The tragedy is that the character once held by the stranglehold of the shadow demons finds himself incapable of self-reflection. The phenomenon is widespread in some of the populist leaders of our time, trapped by their own egos and narcissism.
An individual unable or unwilling to transmute the shadow within becomes a very dangerous person when handed the control of an entire nation.
Such leaders easily get subsumed by the darkest parts of their character if they have not transmuted their shadow. Going back to the early days of Vladimir Putin’s rule we hear a man propounding democratic values and freedom of expression. From what is said, he was a good listener and open to advice – a far cry from the chilling autocrat, emotionally cold to the suffering of millions of people.
Other profoundly evil leaders such as Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler had similar grievances that were expressed politically but probably stemmed from childhood trauma. All three dictators had bullying and abusive fathers. Putin grew up in poverty as a street kid and was often bullied.
South African leader Nelson Mandela by contrast, although having every reason to hate his white persecutors who locked him away in prison for 27 years, was able to transmute his anger and hate into wisdom, saying:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
Evil does not come from God. It manifests itself where there is the complete absence of God. Every minute of every day we have the power of choice. Do we choose the God in our heart or the Devil in our head?
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
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