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No. 45 – Our Protective Immune System

October 19, 2011

Last post we discussed the Shadow, which represents all of the qualities that, we find unacceptable and have repressed in ourselves. These qualities may be negative, such as lust, greed, dishonesty, avarice, or hatred, etc. or positive such as great oratory, leadership abilities, philanthropy, spirituality, or feeling, which we say we can never achieve.

Our shadow acts like an immune system to define what is self (ego) and what is non-self (unacceptable) to protect us as we grow up and live in society. As our ego (who we believe we are) grows so also does our shadow. The disowned non-self is a natural by-product of the ego building process. We do not accept that which does not fit into our developing picture of who we are. That which we do not accept becomes our shadow.

The unacceptable qualities pushed into the shadow depend upon our culture. Some allow anger, most do not. Some permit sexuality and emotions, most do not. Some permit financial ambition, artistic expression, spirituality, or intellectual development, while some do not. These rejected, unaccepted and neglected qualities accumulate in our unconscious and become our inferior shadow personality. These disowned parts of ourselves do not go away. They live on within us, out of sight and out of mind, hiding just below the threshold of awareness as an alter ego. This alter ego or shadow may erupt unexpectedly leading to surprising behavior completely out of character for our normal selves.

For example, those who normally rely upon their five senses for acquiring information (70% of the U.S. population), such as warnings of danger, can become excessively alarmed in emergencies where data are not available. This situation is typical of nuclear incidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. At the early phase of such incidents, when specific data are not available, those who seek such data are forced to rely upon their imagination or intuition. Since intuition is a repressed shadow function for primary sensing types, it is not developed and trustworthy. The result is that sensing types will imagine the worst possible consequences. The repressed intuition can project dark prophecies with jags of irrationality, suspicion, and fanatical beliefs that are totally unlike the normal sensible, rational, practical, down-to-earth sensing types. Under the stress of an emergency the shadow can take over and lead us to over react and do and say things that are not normal for us. Even a normally calm person can panic, when the shadow is hooked.

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