A shadow exists because one is blocking the light, which can be fine unless unrealized. An unconscious exists to protect an ego that has not realized how to consciously face reality. Hoo-nōs
Terminology (subject to professional disagreement):
Reality: Everything and No-thing. One reality, many descriptors/adjectives. When one’s subjective reality is not in touch with objective reality or vice-versa, belief and behavior are incongruous.
Ego: The reality principle. Weak ego: unable to consistently face reality. Mature ego: Largely accurate objective and subjective view of oneself, others, and the environment. Able to recognize errors and to recover.
Unconscious: Not available to conscious recognition except in symbol-form, as in dreaming or via a deliberate effort to uncover personal discrepancies.
Shadow: The dark-side principle. Governed by the shadow: Incompatible, unrealistic view of oneself, others, social relationships, and the environment. Largely incapable of recognizing errors or recovering. The shadow as ally: A recognizable helpmate.
Defensive mechanisms: barriers blocking growth and reality, yet serving as protective features until one can face the discrepancy between behaviors and belief.
Defensiveness: Two kinds—one obfuscates, the other clarifies. The first is a defensive mechanism, the second is not.
Disorder: Maladaptive responses negatively affecting oneself or others.
Facets of Intimacy: Oneself, Significant Other, Civility, Environmentally, Death.
Neurotic: Emotional instability driven by unrealistic fear.
Intimacy: The (mostly) stable ability to be appropriately alone-alone, alone-together, and together-together; realistic recognition of the self, the other, and the we and how attention to each facet of the triad will need to shift; the ability to unscrew screw-ups.
Whether a fragile or arrogant ego or negative points in-between or beyond, it is an ego unlearned. Whether a stealthy or blatant shadow or negative points in-between or beyond, it is a shadow-presence beckoning for its way.
Whether we speak of the unconscious or shadow in individual or cultural terms, it seems in our way, like an impassable fissure between belief and reality, yet avoidable if we recognize the danger. Both the unconscious and the shadow are warning signs about our fragility, not meant to frighten, but to enlighten, if one or the we can face them. If so, the ego becomes grounded in reality, not haunted by it and the shadow ceases to be alpha and becomes an ally.
The need to protect is like using fire as it can warm or burn. Yet intimacy seems to grow well when protection and neurotic fear are not the alpha. Mistakes are inevitable whether one or a we is well-grounded or not. However, recovery is difficult if the ground is unrealistic fear. Perhaps this is one reason the failure of intimacy is so ubiquitous.
Intimacy can be frightening. Defensive mechanisms can be very sophisticated, serving to hack ourselves and our opportunities. We may hope kindness and civility is the way, yet their misuse only serves to put them in our way. Yet, kindness and civility are not the problem, only our mis-definitions, misbeliefs, and mis-practice that arise when neurotic fear largely runs the show.
Whether we learn or not, there will come a time when we are out of time, at least in these physical bodies and on this planet. If intimacy is not and has not been successful, we are still left to face our exit. Recapitulation will surely bring lament. But lament without a “thank you” is death coming like a trainwreck instead of us taking our last physical breath with gratitude for the journey, whatever that journey is or was. Knowing this before that exit, can individuals, couples, families, and civilization take another path? If we are talking about one who knows themselves, yes. If we are talking about two involved in personal intimacy, one alone cannot make it happen. If we are talking about families, one can help, but it is easier with more actual help. If we are talking about environmental or civil intimacy, we are talking about a critical mass of folks who are needed.
Whether individual, coupledom, civilization, or environmental intimacy, death itself is intimate, whether we like it or not. Death does not steal us; death relieves and reveals us. If we think about that, it is hilarious that we let neurotic fear lead us. It is ridiculous that we war, that we dehumanize, that we fail to see sentience in other life forms, that we assume earth’s treasures are there to take. It is ridiculous that we tout intimacy, but behave otherwise. These paths will continue to beckon each one of us and the we, until one or the we will not have it anymore.
So says a man deeply considering his hour-glass running out of sand, his last breath, and the now likely scenario that what is left of life will not be intimately shared on all levels in that most weird and wonderfully intimate relationship with an unrelated other.
I am not the first. I will not be the last. I came not to conquer, but to engage. I have loved. I have been loved. Oddly, perhaps, my life is working out, mistakes and all. Whatever is and whatever will come, may I meet it with a smile, a gleam, and aplomb. The smile begins, once again
Life, Love, Lament and Thanks
You are out of time for me
And I am out of time for you.
Hope you find time for you.
Hope I find some time for me.
So much said, so little heard,
Love buried in
All the weeds and all the turds.
The words and noise
Still recede and swell.
A penny or two
Tossed into an empty wishing well.
We are nearly out of time for us
And I am nearly out of time for you.
Hope you find time for we.
Hope I have time to see.
The moats grew
Few dragons slew.
The castle crumbling
And us still a’bumbling.
Now I am nearly out of time for me.
Still hoping you have time for you.
Still hoping there is time for we.
Thank you for the mess,
Thank you for all the rest.
Hopes for life and love aside,
Gratefulness and thanks
Remains to provide,
In all ways, always on our side.