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inclinations of theirs. A human being comes into the world as an incredible mixture of hereditary factors, and among these are often conflicting traits that are very difficult to make work together. In the case of a person who acts out his natural affects and emotions too strongly, the shadow can also appear as a cold intellectual. It then embodies venomous judgments and evil thoughts that have been repressed. In brief, the shadow always represents the ego’s “other side” and embodies for the most part those character traits one most dislikes in other people. It would be relatively simple if the shadow could be made conscious by sincere efforts to gain insight into it and then incorporated into our lives. Often, however, attempts at insight are “useless,” that is, there is such strong passion and such an intense sense of compulsion connected with the shadow that reason’s efforts have no effect. Sometimes what may help is a bitter experience coming from the outside. In other words, a brick has to fall on our heads before we are able to “turn off” the shadow’s constant pushing. Either that, or it takes a heroic resolve, which can come about with the help of “the great man.” But we should not take the view that the intense drivenness of the shadow is always to be heroically sacrificed. For it is sometimes the case that the reason the shadow has become too powerful is that behind it, the great man within us, the Self, is pushing in the same direction. In such a case we do not know whether it is the Self or the shadow that is producing the inner pressure. Unfortunately, the unconscious is like a landscape in moonlight: all its contents are vague and melt into each other, and we can never know for sure where anything begins and ends. This is called contamination (interfusion) of the contents of the unconscious. When Jung called a certain aspect of the unconscious composition of the personality the shadow, he was referring to a part that was only relatively clearly defined; for often everything that the ego does not know about itself is mixed up with the shadow, even very valuable elements. For example, who could have said with categorical certainty that the Frenchman in the dream given above was a ne’er-do-well or a valuable bit of introversion? And the runaway horses of the previous dream—should they be allowed to run away or not? Whenever the dream itself is not clear on this point, it is the ego consciousness that must make the decision. When the shadow contains elements that are valuable for life, they should

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

Marie - Louise Von Franz - Archetypal Dimensions of the Psyche -  

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