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The Shadow of the Human Psyche

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The Shadow of the Human Psyche

A guest post by Colin E. Davis

These last six months have been a treat. Two books have come to my attention citing Political Ponerology. The first was Arthur Versluis’s American Gnosis: Political Religion and Transcendence. The second is Colin E. Davis’s Transforming Darkness: A Shadow Work Toolkit for the Red Pilled Initiate, which was published just last month. Both utilize Lobaczewski’s work thoughtfully and creatively, and while they are very different books, they complement each other very nicely.

Versluis’s book covers the varieties of gnosticism: from the political to the transcendental (as discussed in my conversations with Arthur here and here). Davis’s book is geared towards the “red-pilled initiate,” that is, the political gnostic discussed by Versluis. But where to go after a political awakening? We had a discussion with Colin recently for MindMatters on these topics. Check it out below:

Today’s post is a very slightly edited version of a chapter from Transforming Darkness on the shadow. As you’ll see, Colin excels at taking complex material and transmuting it into a form that is clear and easily accessible. I have added a handful of footnotes to Colin’s text pointing out the parallels with Lobaczewski’s work and vocabulary. So, next time you pick up Political Ponerology, you’ll be able to connect the concepts and enrich your understanding of both.

You can support Colin’s work by visiting his website, Shadow Tech Alchemy, and picking up a copy of his book.

“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it…But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.” —C.G. Jung, Psychology and Religion (1938), CW 11

“It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow side of human nature.” —C.G. Jung, On the Psychology of the Unconscious (1912), CW 7

“The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche. This is the World Power that vastly exceeds all other powers on earth. The Age of Enlightenment, which stripped nature and human institutions of gods, overlooked the God of Terror who dwells in the human soul.” —C.G. Jung, Civilization in Transition (“Epilogue To ‘Essays On Contemporary Events’”), CW 10

Carl Jung, the great mystical psychologist of the last century was the progenitor of the theory of the shadow as the socially incompatible dark side of the human mind that we will discuss here. It was an evolution of Freud’s conceptions and others’. Jung’s insights are strewn across decades of work, but Jungian scholars have brought together his writings on the subject and contextualized them to help us understand this difficult aspect of the human psyche. I hope this article can serve as a usable introduction to the Jungian shadow of the psyche.

The Territory of the Psyche

First let’s frame the psyche itself. Although we cannot objectively see the mind by using our minds as the instruments of perception, we can create analogies to give us working models. Jung’s descriptions and diagrams of the structure of the psyche are perhaps more complex than what we need for our introductory purposes, so we will use an older analogy to portray the basic structure of the human psyche. Note, I use the words psyche and mind interchangeably.

Imagine an iceberg in the ocean with the tip rising above the water. The tip represents the conscious aspect of our minds while the majority of the ice and everything in the ocean below the surface is unconscious and unknown to our awareness. Even though the light of the sun (our self-awareness) is incredibly bright, it can only penetrate a few feet below the ocean’s surface. If you want to discover the deep-sea environment, you must wait for its life forms to come to the surface or else plunge down into it, and this is the same for discovering the operations of the unconscious mind.

All that we know about ourselves, our memories, imagination and our continuous waking state of awareness that we call “I” or “me” is the ego, also called ego awareness or consciousness. Please note that the Eastern negative connotation with the word ego is absent in Western psychology.

At the same time, our conscious ego may be just 5% of the totality of the mind, with the other 95% being unconscious most of the time. From here we can subdivide the conscious and unconscious into many parts, but for our purposes we will just introduce the areas that are needed for understanding our subject of the shadow.

The human psyche has developed over eons to reliably transport information from the unconscious into the conscious ego as needed. When we think, talk, imagine or dream, we don’t consciously ask for the information to come up. It just shows up automatically in our awareness. When we need to remember something, it usually just appears. When we need intuitive information about an important choice or when we need to express empathy for a friend’s loss, the psychic material we need just shows up and it does so on its own without the ego commanding it.1 So all is well.

But then we have a special category of unconscious material that Jung called the shadow. The shadow is unconscious psychic material that could (and should) come up and be integrated into the ego for our consideration, but it can’t because it’s being repressed.

The reason for this is because our particular ego patterning isn’t compatible with this shadowy material. Our shadow thoughts, feelings and impulses go against the way we think we ought to be and the way our parents, family and society have conditioned us to be. Additionally, when this material has to do with old wounds, we reject it because to touch it would be too painful.2

Contents of the Personal Shadow

The contents of the shadow are usually considered to be primal energy like raw aggression or rage, drives for power or social status, sexual drives, selfishness and greed, grandiosity and narcissism, feelings of inferiority, shame, fear, guilt, grief, envy, jealousy and the like. In a biblical context, behavior that is considered sinful leads back to energies that we repress into the shadow. There is an energetic price for social order.

Much of our shadow is natural human impulses restricted by moral boundaries, but some of it is the emotional leftovers of childhood trauma and the difficulties of growing up. It can also be destructive patterns and traits that we have inherited from our parents and ancestors genetically, which is triggered epigenetically.3

The shadow is what lies in our blind spots. This is one simple way to think of this concept. More accurately, it’s the unconscious energies that we don’t want to face, so we look away from important areas of reality, creating blind spots in our view of ourselves and the world. We can have personal blind spots, family or relational blind spots, peer group blind spots or cultural, ethnic, national, and species-wide blind spots.4

The shadow is deep-seated feelings and impulses that drive neuroses and dysfunctional behavior. But it also manifests by way of cyclical “complexes” that cause chronic relational conflicts, physical symptoms, compulsions, addictions and disease. Pretty much everything we would consider to be unhealthy in the mind or body has links to the shadow of the psyche—and yet who talks about this? So here lies the most essential problem. As a species, we are in massive denial of our shadows.

Notably, there is also the category of the golden shadow, which is the stuff of our genius, our creative talents and our highest capacities as human beings. Coming to terms with our unique brilliance or “soul path” can be just as difficult as coming to terms with our rage, fear, or buried grief.

As mentioned above, our internal moral structure, or super-ego in Freud’s terminology, is a primary source of the shadow because we repress energies and behavior that society deems evil or unacceptable. But, a closely related source of shadow material is the persona, which is our self-image that we show to others. It’s not who we are at a deep level, but it’s our public identity. The things that we have the hardest time dealing with, and therefore shove into the shadow, are often those things that we believe others wont accept about us or that would disturb our place in society. Shame is a major shadow emotion.

And while this may be the case, it might also be said that in our modern day society where moral constraints have been relaxed, shadow material also forms in us because it represents the psychic remnants of wounding that comes from growing up in difficult family situations.

This could mean living with parents who are addicts or have mental issues, single parents who are overwhelmed, or simply the result of growing up in an atomized, materialistic, and distracted society. Our modern society wounds many of us to some degree by default.

Also, and very importantly, the shadow contains dark primal animalistic drives that no society can deal with. Much of our brains and physical bodies are still very close in construction to those of primates, and even reptile structures are operational within us. Our conscious egos have to contain and channel the energies of wild animals that still live within us at the biological level. This energy has to be converted or go somewhere.

Every day, all over the world, we see reports of humans destroying others in the most brutal and psychotic ways. Our animalistic shadow drives find their way out into the world one way or another. Some people “act out” in very sophisticated but still deadly ways, while others do so much more crudely, especially if they have been psychologically wounded in childhood and therefore have low ego strength.

As we mentioned, most unconscious material does not need to come into ego consciousness and it presents no problem by being held back. But the category of the shadow is the psychic material that “should” or even “must” come forth to be used in some productive way. But it can’t come forth because it’s too dark and hot for the ego to handle, so it grows in power and requires periodic release of some kind. There are several ways that the psyche deals with the problem of our toxic shadow energy.

Shadow Displacement

Clearly, criminal violence, revolutions, and war are the most extreme forms of shadow displacement, but we’ll work up to that. Our shadow material is naturally held in cognitive dissonance with our egos because it’s out of phase with our self-image and worldview. The more energetic or potentially destructive, the more the psyche represses it. Ego defense mechanisms work for a while, but as we grow older our shadow material presents an increasing problem to our lives and health.

It’s well known that the first time an individual may seriously consider working on their personal darkness is when they have a major life crisis or what has been called the “dark night of the soul.”5 It’s usually when we’re “down and out” that we gain enough humility and enough of a reason to actually go into our unconscious “garbage.”

So we repress our shadow garbage for a while but then it starts to leak. It comes up when we least expect it and surprises us. The most innocuous way might be the so-called “Freudian slip” where we accidentally say something embarrassing that reveals something dark we had unconsciously been holding back. Sometimes we laugh to ourselves when we think of doing something crude or socially destructive.

We ultimately end up running into our shadows in all kinds of ways that seem to be random but this is actually the unconscious mind seeking a way to find resolution for this material. Grandiosity or hubris is tied to our shadows and “pride cometh before a fall.”6 Our arrogance eventually comes back to bite us when we don’t take a hint from the clues that are always being shown to us by our unconscious and the world, before things get out of hand. And then when they do, we say “Karma’s a bitch.”

Our shadow material also leaks out into all kinds of small acts of rudeness, selfishness, aggression, and bullying or sexual promiscuity that we engage in unconsciously. As we can all see, many modern people are now leaking shadow material out into the body politic at very high levels.

Not all forms of shadow displacement are unhealthy though. We also move this energy through physical work, exercise, sports, sex, comedy, music, dancing, and other activities, which can be healthy forms of shadow displacement or sublimation, as it’s sometimes called.

Political activism online or in the street is a big shadow displacement activity. War is often thought of as pathological, but to those who prosecute it, it’s a major form of shadow displacement that the entire society participates in. Societies also relax laws pertaining to sexuality or substance use as a controlled release of social shadow material.

In the extreme, people can positively identify with their own shadows and enjoy acting criminally. This is actually a trait of psychopaths who get a rush out of conning or abusing people, but many people can get swept up into criminal behavior, enjoying their dark activities especially when they do so with an ideology as a cover story and a social peer group that protects them. This is discussed more below and this phenomenon is ubiquitous today. We are currently seeing a lot of political group-based criminal behavior where people’s shadows are inflating their egos and driving toxic political activism.

Finally, our repressed shadow energy is displaced by way of complexes, which we discuss in another chapter of Transforming Darkness. These “deep state” programs of the psyche channel our shadow energy into destructive behavior as well as addictions, chronic illness, neuroses, syndromes, psychological symptoms, and health disorders of all kinds. Our society doesn’t yet realize that our repressed shadows are at the root of our chronic health issues.

Shadow Projection

With the above said, the most subtle (and destructive) way we manage the energy of our shadows is by projecting them onto other people and then following up with toxic displacement. The way this works is that our psyche defends our egos from our unconscious shadow material by projecting what we are repressing onto an outside person or group. When we project our shadows, we see in other people the exact same dark traits that we are harboring deep within ourselves! We cannot see this material in ourselves because it’s held in cognitive dissonance below the threshold of awareness, but when an opportunity arises, we project it onto other people or events in the outside world.

When we project, we perceive others as narcissistic and vain, ugly, evil, immature, stupid or primitive, for example. And while our judgments may in some cases have some basis in reality, what really triggers us is the fact that the problems we perceive in them are really our own issues that we have not worked out for ourselves.

We might recall the biblical quote where Jesus tells his followers to remove the log from their own eye before they attempt to remove the speck from another’s eye. This is actually an ancient command to rescind one’s shadow projections from the world. In other words, don’t be a hypocrite! But you can’t stop being a hypocrite if you can’t see your own hypocrisy because it’s in your shadow.

Recently I have heard people in the red-pilled political sphere using the term projection or “confession by projection” to describe how activists, politicians, and pundits reveal their own corruption through the accusations they project onto their political enemies. What they accuse their enemies of is exactly what they themselves are guilty of. Political activity today is so filled with shadow projection that we might now recognize politics as a shadow projection sport more than it is the process of governing. But it’s good to hear the term projection now being used in common parlance.7

Whenever someone or some thing about another person emotionally triggers us, it’s actually because that negative trait we see in them is acting as a hook, in Jung’s words, to hang our own shadows onto. We then amplify this negative aspect that we see in them to larger proportions and an energetic field of conflict is created between “us and them.” We all walk around in life to some degree or another projecting our own faults and insecurities onto other people, whom we see as bad or evil, so as to protect our own egos from those same disowned aspects that we carry deep within ourselves. This phenomenon of projection is so ancient, simplistic, and primal, it’s really laughable, but it’s built in to our nature and we’re all doing it to some degree, all of the time. It’s like little kids calling each other names and responding back, “no you are, no you are!”8

We demonize other people as we project our own shadows onto them and then they do it back to us. In this way we all together create a theater of conflict which is in fact a fake, projected, movie-like horror show caused by our inability to metabolize our own shadow material. This is not to say that those we accuse of evil deeds are always innocent. But it is to say that those who obsessively and energetically throw aspersions onto others are most likely repressing something dark within themselves that they are projecting as a self-defense mechanism.9

But projection is just the first step because after we project demon onto another person or group; we now have the moral standing to take physical action to stop them. Now we can displace, as we discussed above. Now we are righteously empowered and our lives take on a sense of purpose. We think we are stopping evil in the world but if we were to become aware of how we are projecting, much of our energy for “social justice” would deflate.10 We would then be left having to work on our own darkness, which is what we were trying to avoid by projecting in the first place!

I don’t mean to say that when an individual or group is clearly pathological that we don’t take protective action or that there is no reason for activism. Not at all. But I am saying that effective social action that does not simply stir the pot and increase the destructive energy in the field requires a self-reflective capacity that limits our actions to measured behavior as free of shadow projection as possible. That doesn’t mean passivity, but it means removing the log from our own eyes first. Perhaps something half way between Yahweh’s punitive overkill and Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” is the proper balance point in dealing with social evil. And I do realize that this is far easier said than done.

The Archetypal Shadow

In Jung’s system an archetype is a structural pattern in human consciousness (and in nature) that orients our behavior towards ancient modes that have been running for all of evolutionary time. Jungians talk about archetypes such as the king or queen, the warrior, magician, lover, trickster, hero or martyr, but also shadow archetypes like the victim, the tyrant, or the evil queen. God is an archetype, but so is the devil. Our ancient mythology personifies and portrays these foundational patterns of life as deities, characters, and story types. The genetic library of human archetypes is called the collective unconscious.11

The most energetic and universal shadow material that gets summoned, often when we group together in a mass, but also in psychotic fits, is the archetypal shadow, also called the collective shadow. The archetypal shadow is said to be the dark side of the Self, Jung’s term that relates to the God image within us all.

Although our Christian theology has split good and evil into a dualistic God and Devil model, Jung tied them back together and believed that we all possess this dark side of Deity in our genetics that we mythologize as Lucifer, Satan, Kali, and other mythic characters that represent our darkest potential.

Jung pointed out that when we identify with a group, we become unconscious cells of the group body and our personal level of consciousness is lowered down to a primal level. Then our most base, shadowy drives can be acted out collectively and we can rely on the group for protection. This occurs when people identify with any group, whether it be a political movement, an ethnic or religious affiliation, or that of a government agency, corporation, or any group with its own internal culture.

“A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology. If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.” —C.G. Jung, “The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious,” CW 9 pt.1

Every political mass movement in history that resulted in genocide, including the fascist and communist revolutions of the 20th century (which collectively killed over 170 million people), were examples of collective shadow projection and displacement.

Ethnic pogroms and witch trials are also classic examples. This is often called scapegoating. In these scenarios, people’s egos become inflated with the archetypal shadow from deep in the unconscious, converting them into true demons.

Today in the West we can see the same collectivist ideological phenomena trying to emerge again. The recent pandemic was a very educational experience for those with “eyes to see” to recognize where we are in this regard. The archetypal formula of mass hysteria that leads to tyranny was triggered by the psychopaths in charge, but there was too large of a dissenting minority for the actual virus of the collective shadow to infect us all. But it’s still back there, pushing on us, always trying to emerge.

Sociological experiments such as the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment show how unconscious group-think as well as overt pressure from authority figures in the service of the group can degrade the morality of most humans down to the basest levels.

Covert and subtle group-based shadow activity was famously called “the banality of evil” by Hannah Arendt, who reported on the trial of a Nazi bureaucrat named Adolf Eichmann. To the annoyance of many, she reported that he was not the monster they thought, but was himself a victim of a larger group consciousness that he had no conscious ability to push back on. He just did his job like everybody else and felt good doing it. We could say that cowardice and social status were in his personal shadow while the archetypal shadow was pushing for release from below.

“When Germany went to the devil in Nazism, the people fell into it through their personal shadow. For instance they didn’t want to lose their job because they were clinging to money. That was their personal shadow. But then they joined in with the Nazi movement for that reason and did much worse things than they would have done under normal conditions.” —Marie Louise von Franz, assistant of Carl Jung, from A Matter of Heart, film, 1981.

I recently heard psychologist Sam Vaknin explain very well how war creates “dichotomous splitting” in the psyche where each side of the conflict sees themselves as righteous and godly while at the same time seeing the other group as demonic and lower than human. Every global ethnic conflict today is showing us how this works. Through mass shadow projection we create a theater of war to play the game of good vs. evil.

The idea of an archetypal shadow that embodies the most base and horrific traits of human potential is also helpful to explain how and why our civilization is currently self-destructing and how covert groups of so-called elites conspire to poison and degrade the public who in turn implicitly agree to their own destruction. The type of collective destructive behavior that would be explained as the work of the devil in Christian terms is the movement of the archetypal shadow through the collective human psyche.

There appears to be an ancient “format” for the way in which humans collectively self-destruct that’s built into our genetics. When the body politic is weakened and in need of a reboot, the archetypal shadow is summoned and the unconscious cells turn on each other and self-destruct.

The archetypal shadow is actually a major key to understanding the darkest values of evil that we all know and feel when we see represented, but which is so difficult to put our finger on. Even if we don’t believe in an actual physical devil, the characteristics of Satan or his related incarnations as Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Baphomet, Moloch, or any of these personas are shadow energy formulations that are very real within the collective unconscious of humanity.

When possessed by collective unconscious archetypes, human beings have the potential to think, feel, and behave as if they are these archetypes. The mythic form of extreme hubris and grandiosity, Lucifer is a just an imaginary image until that pattern starts running in the psyches of a group of human beings and then it becomes as real as can be. These archetypes are written into the human genome and continue to re-present themselves to the human mind and body. One of the formulations of the archetypal shadow that the red-pilled researcher is attuned to is the archetype of the parasite—the devil as parasite or virus.

We see this type of profile in the so-called “conspiracy community,” where we have even created myths about reptilian energy vampires that feed on the energy of human conflict. This is a mythic version of what autonomous complexes actually do in our own psychology, which we discuss further in Transforming Darkness. The Matrix is a story of human energy parasitism. Jungian Marion Woodman also spoke about the “death mother” archetype which we might see as the feminine side of the archetypal shadow.

While Jungians speak of the personal and archetypal shadow as the two primary categories, it might be helpful to see the shadow on a spectrum. Personal—familial—sub-cultural—societal—archetypal.

At one end you have your personal shortcomings and inferiorities that perhaps your siblings don’t have. As you move across the spectrum you come to the familial shadow traits shared by others in your family and your ancestors. Beyond that, we find cultural shadow material that’s common to many in one’s cultural or racial demographic, and beyond that, all of one’s society. Then at the far end you have the archetypal shadow which is shared throughout humanity.

Personally, I think the terms that Jung used to describe the shadow need to be updated a bit and integrated with newer models, some of which I touch on below. There really needs to be an entire scientific field that focuses on the human shadow in all domains.

Grandiosity as a source of evil

Another very useful way of understanding human evil within the Jungian framework is that of ego inflation or so-called grandiosity. This was taken up deeply by the late Robert L. Moore who mapped human libido energies as four main archetypal flows that he called the Royal (King or Queen), the Warrior, the Magician, and the Lover. He sometimes referred to them as high voltage lines of energy that run through every human psyche. If any of these flows is distorted by trauma or overused by immaturity, it causes ego inflation that we see as pathological acting out, narcissism, hubris, risk taking, addiction, and all the ways that human beings become “possessed” by their own archetypal energy.

He also mapped the shadow manifestations of these four archetypes. For example the King becomes a bi-polar tyrant-weakling, the Warrior becomes a sadist-masochist, the Magician becomes a manipulator-denier, and the Lover becomes an addict-impotent. Moore has descriptions for all four shadow archetypes in both adult and childhood modes. His lectures and book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover are highly recommended.

In the Christian worldview, Lucifer actually represents this problem. He is the “light bearer,” corresponding to the ego and a “little god”—an egomaniac by definition. He represents inflation, arrogance, or grandiosity, attempting to usurp God or steal his fire like Prometheus and give it to man.

It’s very helpful to recognize this ancient human problem of ego inflation—our inability to keep our psychic energies in check. This is a perennial source of evil. Inflated, grandiose characters can be very powerful for a time, but ultimately they burn up in their own hubris. We might recall the Greek myth of the flight of Icarus, who flies too close to the sun, burning his wings of wax and falling into the sea. This pattern is also how we know that the New World Order will never come to fruition and why all similar attempts are destined to fail.


Ponerology is a term coined by the late Andrew Lobaczewski, which translates to the study of evil. His book Political Ponerology: The Science of Evil, Psychopathy, and the Origins of Totalitarianism describes the psychological mechanism whereby a small group of psychopaths and related defective personality types ascend to positions of power and proceed to spellbind, gaslight, and bully the public into a totalitarian “pathocracy.”

It is now known that a sizable minority of the global population can be classified as having a personality disorder which interferes with their ability to live symbiotically. Up to 6 percent are classified as being in the so-called “dark triad” category of psychopaths, machiavellians, and narcissists. Then we can add the many other types of personality disorders such as borderline, paranoid, schizoidal, and others.

Lobaczewski claimed similar numbers during times of pathocracy in Europe in the 40’s and 50’s. Many social problems and the transmission of evil are due to the influence of dark triad types in power who use others with less severe disorders as their agents. The author also frames large-scale cycles of the rise and fall of societies with this lens. This is completely applicable to our current-day predicament.

With this said, we can’t place all the blame for mass atrocities or social decay fully at the feet of psychopaths. I suspect that Jung would probably argue that these people are the triggering agents within a larger play that requires the unconscious participation of everyone involved. Responsibility also must be placed on the public for walking around unconscious of their own shadows which are seeking release.

Organized psychopaths facilitate the release of the public’s shadow material, but if the public were awake to their game, the deviants would have no real power. This said, it seems obvious and essential that we develop more awareness of these dark triad types in positions of power and do so quickly.

It’s also important that we help these people recognize their condition. They do not experience the same moral conflicts that we do, but they have the same libido energies that all of us have.

Most personality disorders are due to traumatic upbringings, inherited epigenetic markers from trauma in the family line, or neurological birth defects. Finally, most normal people have the capacity to act psychopathically when group pressures are in place, as we discussed above.

Mass Formation “psychosis”

Mattias Desmet, a Belgian psychologist, has recently proposed a theory that essentially describes the same groupthink phenomenon that leads to political atrocities that Jung described as the collective shadow and Lobaczewski described in Political Ponerology, with some new angles. He names a number of sociological inputs that lead to the “formation of a mass,” in other words, a cult of human beings who have substituted their own critical thinking for a group ideology that drives them into psychosis.

These possessed groups become the power block that political deviants use for their own purposes while the entire society breaks apart in the process. Desmet is also critical of the modern West’s replacement of religion with scientific materialism or so-called “scientism,” which leaves human beings morally and spiritually bereft. Desmet says that there are several factors that lead to the formation of totalitarian movements.

The first condition is that a segment of the public feels an overall sense of loneliness and lack of social bonds. Secondly, they feel a lack of meaning in life. For example working jobs they don’t like or being unable to find truly meaningful reasons for living and contributing to society. Third is that this group emotionally feels what Desmet calls “free-floating anxiety,” which is the result of their disconnected, meaningless lives. Fourth, the individuals become frustrated and aggressive due to their life conditions. Finally, the government and mass media (stocked up with deviants) gives them a narrative that provides them with a convenient but fraudulent answer for why they feel the way they do and an outlet for their frustration and aggression.

In other words, they are given scapegoats to project their shadows onto, which is the power dynamic that the political psychopaths need for their agendas. And while this hypnotized mass assaults the targeted scapegoat class, they feel a sense of shared purpose and meaning. At the same time, the lack of social bonding that they suffered from is remedied, as they become members of a righteous in-group.

With this new description of the phenomenon of mass hysteria and political atrocities to add to those of Jung, Arendt, and Lobaczewski, as well as those we discuss in Transforming Darkness, we have more than enough models to understand how collective evil works. Now it’s time for us to apply these teachings to ourselves and our way of life.

Buy Colin’s book here.

Pathopolitics, psychopathy, and mass hysteria

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