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
A while back I wrote a post on how our society is engaged in the mass-production of Beta males and female narcissists, in essence creating men weak of will and women with dogged determination. This translates into men that act more female than male, often being submissive, lacking decisiveness and rejecting the very notion that there is such a thing as “male behavior”. Likewise, the women reject the notion that there is such a thing as “unfeminine” behavior, which often manifests in behaviors such as being argumentative, decisive and insistent. This has often been pointed out in the manosphere as a case of attempting to make a sexually dimorphic species into an androgynous one, with which I agree.
In the present social climate I would argue that a misinterpretation of Jung is at fault for the concept of “Get in touch with your feminine side”, where the underlying meaning of the statement is “If you get in touch with your feminine side, you will adopt my perception“. However, this is not the meaning, nor is it the role of the anima and the animus in Jungian psychology. What characterizes and somewhat sets Jung apart is a writing style based on imagery and his use of dichotomies. For those familiar with psychological types, the dichotomous pairs of “Thinking and “Feeling” and “Sensing” and “Intuition” will be familiar, and this is something that characterizes most of his psychological work in “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious” as well. (If you are interested in learning more about Jung’s psychological types, The Artful Man has a blog dedicated to it that is linked in my sidebar.)
The man is the bearer of logos, represented by rationality, logic and a preference for empiricism, whereas the female represents the concept of eros, the emotional, instinctive and relationship oriented. Thus, this dichotomy in some regard mirrors Jung’s thinking and feeling functions, the former which is more prevalent in men, the latter which is more prevalent in women statistically speaking . However, as explained by many MBTI writers, attempting to turn a thinker into a feeler or vice versa is not a very good idea. Likewise, attempting to turn women into men and men into women, does not create a race of androgynous superhumans, finally free from oppressive social norms and expectations, it creates one group of left-handed people attempting to write with their right hand, and another group of right-handed people attempting to write with their left hand. Continue reading