Taking a break. I’m reading Joseph Campbell’s new book Pathways to Bliss. It’s a fascinating compliation of all his lectures and essays on mythology and personal transformation.
“Those things you’d like to do, which are really not very nice things to want to do, those get placed down in the unconscious, too. This is the center of the personal unconcious. The shadow is, so to say, the blind spot in your nature. It’s that which you won’t look at about yourself. This is the counterpart exactly of the Freudian unconcious, the repressed recollections as well as the repressed potentialities in you. The shadow is that which you might have been had you been born on the other side of the tracks: the other person, the other you. It is made up of the desires and ideas within you that you are repressing…the shadow is the landfill of the self. Yet it is also a sort of vault: it holds great, unrealized potentialities within you…”
This is a cool idea that I’ve never really thought about before—Campbell goes on to say that we should look closely at the people we take an instant dislike to, because our unconcious recognizes them as the people we could have become, had we been allowed to fulfill our “unacceptable potential.” Otherwise, those people we don’t like wouldn’t mean very much to us. People who excite us either positively or negatively have caught something projected from ourselves.
Which makes me think about all the people in my life who really tick me off, and what, exactly, that says about me. Yikes.