In 1986, the Tenth International Congress of Analytical Psychology met in West Berlin to examine the collective mental health of global society. The theme of the meeting was "The Archetype of Shadow in a Split World."
Divided Berlin was the perfect setting for Jungian psychologists to ponder the archetypal split personality at the societal level, the Wall representing the psychological division over which East and West projected their respective disowned shadows.
The shadow is a central concept in Jungian psychology, explaining functions on both the individual and collective level. The personal shadow is a dark closet of repressed, undesirable, potentially destructive traits, frozen by guilt.
The collective shadow has the potential for great evil: war, genocide, racism, economic and social apartheid.
Uwe Langendorf, chose lines from a poem by Hölderlin ("Patmos" - the place where apostle John purportedly wrote the "Apocalypse") for the title of his presentation "Where There Is Danger, Salvation Is Also On The Increase." He explained the east-west gulf as a reciprocal projection of envy and desire.
"Behind the Russian image of the greedy western gangster there is an envy complex based on the Russians' repressed greed. Behind it there is the negative Great Mother who is gluttonous and devouring. In the western enemy image I see the envy of the Russians being closer to the nourishing Great Mother. A negative father complex underlies the enemy image of the Communist who destroys everything. The destroyer and rabble-rouser is the rebellious son who protests against the father but who remains dependant on him and therefore is stuck in negation. Thus, the Communist represents the repressed rebellious impulses of the West."
In "The Pathological Shadow of the Western Cultural Self," Carlos Byington examined European colonial history in Latin America, where, "the institutional distortion of the Christ symbol" paved the way for the patriarchal "organization of society characterized by class privileges that include private property." The power drives underlying the colonial "cultural self" demand release "through scapegoating and cultural power expansion."
Christian Europe, suffering the psychotic episode unleashed in the collective unconscious by the collision of religious orthodoxy and the natural sciences, stumbled into the rich New World. "The black and Native American joi de vivre, perhaps the greatest of these riches, was answered with catechizing, genocide, and slavery by Inquisition-dominated Europeans."
Release from the prison of patriarchal hierarchy can only be achieved, Byington concluded, when the I-Other polarity can be transformed, willing to expose its own shadow symbols at the same time as detecting the shadow of the Other. In April, 2001, rebellious impulses manifested in Quebec City, around the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations. At the concurrent Second Peoples' Summit of the Americas, human and environmental rights advocates from around the hemisphere gathered to imagine an alternative to the elite, exclusionary "trade" architecture proposed by 34 government leaders, to bolster and expand corrupt colonialist models of mercantilism.
Pulling down the "wall of shame" - the hated 4 kilometer chain-link fence erected to keep protesters away from the secretive negotiations - was seen by rebels as a symbolic act of exposure, baring the secret machinery of the capitalist Oz grinding up democracy.
Collectively, Byington noted in his thesis, "the otherness pattern of consciousness expresses the search for the social democratic state, and its great ideal of freedom, equality and full human development" - ironically, the original essence of the corrupted western Christ symbol and natural science.
Ideologues in the West saw the pulling down of the Berlin Wall as an endorsement of U.S.-style capitalism and the associated blessings of "democracy." But the loss of a receptacle for the US's undifferentiated shadow contents has afforded little relief to the restless monsters hiding in the dark basement of the American psyche.
Ronald Reagan's "evil empire" and George Bush Sr.'s Saddam Insane, has enlarged to demonize a more paranoid, amorphous "rogue state," ready to attack the cradle of Disneyland from the heavens.
George W. Bush - dark clarion, storm cloud of the great American psychosis - is the envoy of unexamined Cold War imperatives, sent to Europe to exhume the dead urges of the Old Regime. Impotent, paranoid commanders in its subterranean bunker scramble to draw cover for the House of Blood. Rebel son returns rich with potent treasures to pledge allegiance to Fatherland, to the Grande Inquisitors of Geneva. Reconciled with daddy, but boiling with failed impulses, the enraged offspring will savage the wicked Mother who cast him naked among wolves.
But unwanted light is shining, through a widening crack, into the haunted house of Dark Christ Inc. A sleepy collective are peering down into the darkness. What do they see in the shadows, as the smoke clears and the cobwebs are swept aside? They see the tarnished nameplates on the dusty cabinet of false gods: Johnson. Revealed! Nixon. Revealed! Kissinger. Revealed! Thatcher. Revealed! Pinochet. Revealed! Casey. Revealed! Bush. Revealed! Cheney. Revealed! While the unquiet dead are rising, rising from their graves.
The triumphalists of the post-democratic world are the scions of the transnational military-industrial complex, who have always been - long before Eisenhower warned of their ascension, before Columbus launched the Holy ark of globalization - Angels of Death. Their rise to global rule parallels the revelation of the dark, claustrophobic territories they inhabit. When light reaches its apogee, shadows recede, and danger is also at its zenith, for evil branded looks for weapons.
We live in an apocalyptic time, a time of great danger. A new paradigm is emerging - new in the sense that dim consciousness is struggling to be born amidst a dying regime. Those privileged at twilight invest enormous resources to reinforce the wall casting deep shadows over their intentions.
The former Soviet Union, now subsumed in its own rejected shadow - the self-absorption of private profiteering - mourns the loss of the all-embracing "mother" state, while the inheritors of the West come face to face with a corporate politburo unmoved by protest or election.
As urgent, and important, as the need for justice, it will not be enough to unmask the criminal perpetrators of the post-war Holocaust. Kissinger's indictment for the slaughter of Cambodia and the feral brutality unleashed on Chile will not launch a mass "individuation" process, though it might lead to the collapse of a few unstable personalities.
Furthermore, alternatives to the psychopathology of colonialist hierarchies must be examined for lurking dysfunctions ready to re-constellate in absolutist tendencies. As the Inquisition's bloody purges, Russia's failed social revolution and America's delusional anti-Communist hysteria show, theories cannot be applied with thumbscrews to the unwilling, and evil cannot be exorcised, Zeus-like, with lightning bolts cast from the heavens.
The face of our dilemma lies hidden - in the dark corner we fear most.