In Jung’s writing the dichotomy of ego and shadow is perhaps the most interesting one, as this is the split between those behaviors that a man uses as part of his identity and those behaviors he rejects. I briefly covered Jung’s preference for figurative dichotomies in an earlier essay, and perhaps more important than the feminine/masculine is the Dark side and the Light side. Take one of the “Good Boys” for instance, he has adopted those behaviors which society has overly communicated as desirable in a “good man”, and rejected those that he has perceived society and deeming unfit in a civilized world.
However, as I outlined those behaviors, while carrying some benefits also have detrimental aspects to them, as they are a trade-off, where the good boy gets social validation, because his behavior benefits society more than it does himself. Thus, these behaviors are venerated by society in theory, but in practice those that engage in them sacrifice their own best interest for the best interests of the community in which they live. This has been popularized in the meme “You vs. The Guy She Tells You Not To Worry About“, and is very symptomatic of the super-ego completely dominating his psyche.
Perhaps the most famous example in literature is “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, however a more interesting exemplification comes in the Star Wars series. In this series “turning to the dark side” meant giving in to those emotions that are deemed negative by the Jedi, such as fear, anger, passion and strength, but more importantly determining your own path, rather than the one determined for you by the force. This is an interesting allegory to the ego and the shadow, where the ego are those conscious behaviors that make up much of our identity, such as being dutiful, polite, nice, rule-abiding and various pro-social behaviors that a man has adopted due to social conditioning, and the shadow represents those behaviors that a man has rejected from his personality.
Adopting the Red Pill requires to some extent the negotiation between the shadow and the ego, for the former’s inclusion into conscious identity. A man is incomplete without those shadow behaviors in his arsenal. Yet “The Good Boys” have had those aspects of their personality hidden by defense mechanisms all their life. Continue reading