Dualisms, evil,The Shadow

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Radical Mormons : One Thread

Here's something i wrote in response to a question about darkness, personal evil, etc -- hope someone finds it interesting --

I'm going to have to review some info for those who might not be familiar with all this, so for those for whom it's old stuff, please pardon the review --

Most everybody learns in grade school that our modern culture is based on Greek culture and philosophy. Classical Greek philosophy had many positive elements, but there were also some problems that we've inherited.

Classical Greek philosophers saw the entire universe as being divided between two sets of opposites called "Dualisms":

LIST A LIST B light - dark high - low Spriit - matter mind - body logic - emotion heaven - earth culture - nature order - chaos sun - moon above - below reason - intuition

Everything in the first column ("A") was said to be superior to everything in the second column ("B"), and it was said that for the universe to function properly, everything in column A must rule over and "hold in check" everything in column B. NOw, guess who these (most male) philosophers associated with List A -- right, males. Females were consigned to List B. This was the philosophical rationale for white males "ruling over" dark-skinned people, earth and women... (See Rosemary Reuther's _Sexism and God-Talk_)

Christianity incorporated this dualistic view of the universe through "Saint" Paul, who was quite enamored of Greek philosophy. Thus Christian theology exalts spirit, heaven, the sun, the mind, etc. and demonizes matter, intuition, the earth, the physical body, emotion, women -- and darkness in general. The "dark arts" were things like divination, magick, and shamanic journeying. Metaphysics, having fed from the same philosophical "plate", similarly demonizes (or at least discredits/ trivializes) the physical body, the earth, emotion, etc. For example, Madame Helena Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy and author of many of its basic texts, wrote of the "Great White Brotherhood". And NewAgers, having grown from the blending of these two, call themselves "Lightworkers" who constantly seek "the white Light", and look forward to heading off to the stars, leaving behind this boring Earth, which by then will have been raped clean of all its crystals.

Paganism, having developed from a different source than patriarchal, dualistic Christianity, has a very different perspective -- and this is one of the MAJOR differences between Paganism and New Age. Paganism recognizes and values the other ("B") side of the Dualisms! It sees darkness as merely the "other" (not the inferior) half of the cycle of renewal. It knows that a seed must be planted in the dark earth in order to sprout. For a human being to be healthy, s/he must rest during the dark part of the diurnal cycle. Unremitting light is as deadly as unremitting darkness; unchecked life is what we call "cancer."

Further, Paganism recognizes the human Shadow. "The personal shadow develops naturally in every young child. As we identify with ideal personality characteristics such as politeness and generosity, which are reinforced in our environments, we hsape what W Brugh Joy calls the New Years Resolution Self. At the same time, we bury in the shadow those qualities that don't fit our self-image, such as rudeness and selfishness. The ego and the shadow, then, develop in tandem, creating each other out of the same life expereinces. "The shadow acts like a psychic immune system,defining what is self and what is not-self. For different people, in different familiies and cultures, what falls into ego and what falls into shadow can vary. For instnace, some permit anger or agftression to be expressed, most do not. Some permit sexuality, vulnerability, or storng emotions; many do not. Some permit financial ambiotion, or artistic expression, or intellectual development, some do not. All the feelings and capacities that are rejected by the ego and exiled into the shadow contribute to the hidden power of the dark side of human nature. However, not all of them are what we consider to be negative traits. According to Jungian analyst Liliane Frey-Rohn, this dark treatsury includes our infantile parts, emotional attachments, neurotic symptoms, as well as our undeveloped talents and gifts. The shadow,, she says, "retains contact with the lost depths of the soul, with life and vitality -- the superior, the univerally human, yes, even the creative can be sensed there." (Connie Zwieg and Jeremiah Abrams, "The Shadow Side of Everyday Life", in _Meeting the Shadow_, Zweig and Abrams, ed, pp xvi-xvii.)

Not only individuals, but groups, cultures, countries, movments -- all have Shadows.

Now, instead of denying, discounting, demonizing, trivializing, ignoring, or "killing" the Shadow -- as Christianity, New Age, and many other (Patriarchal) religions do; nearly every Pagan path has *built into it* a way in which the Seeker/ practitioner must eventually confront, work through, and incorporate the Shadow. This is one of the major strengths of Paganism. In Wicca, especially if you train under a *good* Elder High Priest/ess, you eventually must confront your Shadow. Traditionally this is done most intensively and consciously during study/ preparation for the Second Degree. (Many people indicate that even if they are solitary, somehow the Goddess brings them to this stage).

(For those who would like a bit of a hint about how to proceed to contact the Shadow: think about the people who drive you *crazy* -- people or qualities that make you nuts, irritate the heck out of you, or who you feel are utterly despicable. They are most likely carrying some aspect of your Shadow. -- I know, this is a tough one {rueful grin} that's why it's frequently reserved for Second Degree work! )

A few warnings: Failure / refusal to do Shadow-work, ensures that eventually it will come back and bite you! THIS, btw, is what gets a lot of people into trouble when they first begin metaphysical/ magickal work - they try something that accesses their Shadow, and they are unprepared for it. [This is generally what's going on when a beginner reports contacting "evil demons" with a seance or Ouija board -- a beginner simply does not have sufficient power or knowledge to actually conjur a demon -- what they have "conjured" is their own dark, dangerous, hungry, untamed Shadow.] And one more hint: the "brigher" your "light" side, the darker and deeper your Shadow will be. If you have aspirations of being a Great Lightworker, your Shadow's aspirations will be equally powerful and profound.)

-- Gaia (Gaia_d@yahoo.com), August 10, 2002


Dualism/good and evil

Good and evil are constructs of the human mind. The Universe is perfect. All things are as they should be. Without a human mind to perceive it, there can be no evil.


-- Rocket Jam (rocketjam@ananzi.co.za), August 18, 2002.


You wish...

-- emptymind (a@b.com), October 08, 2002.

good and evil was dualism

An excerpt from Robert Anton Wilson's "Wilhelm Reich in Hell":

(The scene: Wilhelm Reich is on trial in Hell. The trial looks in all respects like a 3-ring circus, complete with jugglers, acrobats, fire-eaters, etc. The prosecuting attorneys are the Marquis de Sade and Count von Sacher-Masoch, both of whom are dressed as clowns. The Ringmaster (Satan) presides as judge. Early on in the trial, Dr. Reich introduced as evidence a Computer which continually monitors the growth of the worldwide nuclear weapons stockpile. The Computer emits an ear-splitting whistle every time there is an increment in firepower equivalent to the original Hiroshima bomb.....)

SADE: Why did you rebel against Freud?

REICH: (slowly) I rebelled against Freud because he was a coward.

The Computer whistles again.

SADE: A coward? The man who challenged all the taboos of his age?

REICH:He back-tracked, he evaded, he weaseled. He would not say flatly what his theories all implied.

The Computer whistles again.

SADE: (shouting over whistle) You mean he did not share your Utopian fantasies.

REICH:Look at the photos of him; look at that jaw.

The Computer whistles again.

REICH:Look at his expression, those clenched teeth. He was holding back -- and I tell you, all of you, that is why he got cancer of the jaw finally. He wouldn't speak what he knew. He held it in, behind those clenched teeth, until it killed him.

SADE: And what is the truth Freud dared not speak?

REICH:Everybody knows it by now. Look at the crime news on TV --

Computer whistles again.

REICH:or go into the emergency clinics and talk to the rape victims. Talk to the battered wives and the abused children. Our whole species is mad, emotionally plagued. We have been mad so long that every attempt to break out of the Trap just unleashes unconscious rage and increases the violence.

Computer whistles again.

REICH:We all know we're in the Trap, but nobody knows how to get out of it. We attack each other thinking that's the way out.

SADE: What? That is the truth Freud dared not speak? I thought he said all that in Civilization and its Discontents.

REICH:He would not say there was a way out of the Trap -- one way only --

SADE: Your way, of course.

REICH:The way I discovered, gradually, after many mistakes.

SADE: Which is?

REICH:Work on the breathing and the muscle tensions. And tell people frankly that there is no metaphysical Good and Evil in the human world any more than there is in the animal world or the chemical world or the physical world of gravity and mass.

SADE: Hedonistic materialism, in short. The permissive society.

REICH:Not permissiveness. Sanity. If a child is a nuisance, tell him so. Tell him his behavior is annoying. But never, never make a metaphysical moral issue out of it. Never, never say anything is sinful or wrong in a cosmic sense. Never pass on the lunacey, the Emotional Plague, that has come down to us from ages of superstition and barbarism.

SADE: A world without morals. Anarchy. That is what you mean?

REICH: It is not anarchy. It is what every person with an ounce of sanity knows. Nobody is to blame for anything. We are all in the mess together because our ancestors were mad and a mad society has passed on their repression from generation to generation.

SADE: And the things I did before I was brought here and cured? They were not Evil?

REICH: You enjoyed feeling Evil because it made you seem heroic. The humiliating truth, Marquis, is that you were merely ill.

SADE: And Hitler was merely ill?

REICH: That is the horror of the situation. We all know it by now, but we cannot remember. We repress it and go on blaming one another -- we forget what we know, because remembering it means remembering that we are robots, too -- that we have all been crippled in different ways by trying to live in the imaginary world of morals instead of the real world of nature.

SADE: So we just teach people how to breathe properly and relax their muscles and we will have Utopia?

REICH: No. I never said it was that easy. I said it was almost impossible, but we had to try, if there was to be any chance of survival at all. Removing the Emotional Plague is just like removing bubonic plague. It will take decades of work all over the world by thousands of specialists. But if we don't try --

Computer whistles again.

REICH: We must understand that every moral idea is strictly a hallucination. It creates guilt which creates muscular tension, which creates rage. That leads to further armoring, to hold the rage in. That leads to all the psychosomatic illnesses that orthodox medicine can't cure and to all the social pathologies around us. Rape. Child-beating. War.

Computer whistles again.

REICH: (excited, beginning to harangue) You compared me to Rousseau. Yes, in the Age of Reason, he had to recreate the myth of Eden again; he called it the Noble Savage. A hundred years later, Marx had to recreate it: he called it the primitive matriarchy, before private property. Eden is always recreated, because we know there is a natural grace and a natural way of life we have lost. We lost it through the invention of Good and Evil. As soon as we believed we were sinners, the Trap closed on us. We accepted the sin and punished ourselves. Or we projected the sin outward and punished scapegoats.

Computer whistles again.

REICH: (rage bursting through) Masochism or sadism -- those were the only choices once we believed in Good and Evil, once we believed in Sin. We are animals. We are no more guilty than a dog, a cat, a horse, a chipmunk. Everybody has known it since Darwin. But we are still in the Trap.

SADE: You really hate the Morality that caused you to kill your parents.

REICH: It is causing the whole human race to kill its children! We cannot see what we are doing. We have been robbed blind by our damned Morality.

SADE turns away sharply.

SADE: Your Almightiness, the prosecution rests. We believe it is obvious, out of his own mouth, that the defendant is a menace to civilization as we know it.

Note: This doesn't actually pass judgment on whether good and evil are "real" or not....

-- Rocket Jam (rocketjam@ananzi.co.za), October 20, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ