The Dark Shadow Of Corporations
By Wanda Marie Woodward, M.S.
03 June, 2010
It was Jung who introduced the word “shadow” into psychology which, in turn, made its way into colloquial lexicon. He also introduced the term “collective unconscious.” There is a personal shadow and a collective shadow. The personal shadow is unique to an individual whereas the collective shadow consists of contents that are shared by a family, group, organization, institution, or nation. This article is about the collective shadow of the corporation.
In Jung’s (1959) Aion, he tells us the shadow is one of the contents of the collective unconscious (an archetype) which has the most disturbing aspects on the ego. While there is a favorable shadow (what Jungians call “the golden shadow”) that contains normal instincts, appropriate reactions, realistic insights, creative impulses, etc., I am focusing on the dark shadow. The dark shadow consists of all those hidden, unwanted, repressed traits and qualities in our unconscious. Typically, these are the part of one’s nature counter to the sociocultural customs and mores (Stein, 1998); what June Singer (1994), noted Jungian analyst, refers to in Boundaries of the Soul as “all those uncivilized desires and emotions that are incompatible with social standards” (p. 165). Robert Johnson (1991) in Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche, refers to it as “the despised quarter of our being” (p. 5).
Jung (1959) highlights the noticeable emotional aspect to the shadow. Marie von Franz (1995), one of Jung’s most noted protégés, tells us in Projections and Re-collection in Jungian Psychology: Reflections of the Soul that the shadow consists of “laziness, greed, envy, jealousy, the desire for prestige, aggressions, and similar ‘tormenting spirits’” (p. 123). The ego usually defends against knowing what is in the personal shadow because of the disturbing effect it has on the ego. This is what keeps the shadow contents repressed in the unconscious.
The persona, our public personality that greets the world with charm and a hospitable attitude and protects the ego, is the counterpart to the shadow in the psyche. The persona forms as a result of education and adaptation to social and cultural norms. We conceal and reveal conscious thoughts and feelings as a way to fit into society. It can be thought of as “the psychic skin between the ego and the world” (Stein, 1998, p. 120). Its dual function is to relate to external objects while also protecting the inner ego (Stein, 1998). The ego is, more or less, identified with the persona, yet, on the other hand, the persona is also alien to the ego since it does not represent the authentic person. Shadow and persona are opposites in the psyche.
The corporation became a legal entity---essentially, a person with due process rights---as a result of the 1886 U.S. Supreme Court case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company. It set legal precedent by issuing a statement that corporations would be entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment which declares citizenship and conveys certain constitutional rights. Justice William O. Douglas wrote in 1949 that the Santa Clara case was a momentous decision because it gave corporations constitutional prerogatives.
Corporations have an ego, persona, and a shadow. The persona is the mask that is presented to its employees who work in it, the investment community, the community, and the world, at large. The corporation---certainly large ones----spend millions of dollars to carefully craft, develop, maintain, and present their persona to these groups. It is the ego-ideal that is carefully crafted and presented to each of these groups. When the ego-image or ego-ideal of the corporation is tarnished by some scandal which threatens the favorable image of the persona, public relations campaigns are utilized to combat it. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, is attributed as the father of public relations. Some would call these public relations campaigns, but it is, essentially, little more than propaganda. The dark shadow of the corporation, its Mr. Hyde, is kept hidden from all these groups.
Edward Bernays, nephew to Sigmund Freud, was born in 1891. He was a prominent businessman who wrote extensively on propaganda prior to WWII. He was hired by the U.S. government to manipulate the mind of the American public. Bernays, considered the father of public relations, was also hired by large corporations to generate higher profits through consumerism. Consumerism is defined by Widipedia as “a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods or services in ever greater amounts.” Free market capitalism is an economic system that is predicated on consumerism, thus, corporations are among the largest supporters of capitalism. In his most famous book, This Business of Propaganda written in 1928, Bernays extolled the manipulation of public opinion stating that it was essential to overcome social chaos and conflict. He believed the manipulation of the public was necessary as he felt that the collective psyche of society was irrational and dangerous as a result of the “herd instinct.” The narcissistic ego of corporations seized upon Bernays talents for manipulating this psychological phenomenon, the collective psyche. Bernays made a large fortune from his self-proclaimed role as “public relations counsel.”
Robert Bly (1988), in A Little Book about the Human Shadow talks about how, starting in childhood, we put all these shadow aspects of ourselves into “the long bag we drag behind us” into adulthood. Victorian society taught women to put sexuality in the bag. Contemporary society still teaches men to put the feminine aspect of their psyche in the bag. When I was young, my mother taught me and my siblings that it wasn’t nice to be angry, so I learned to put anger inside my bag. To this day, I struggle with how to present that in healthy ways within legitimate and justifiable contexts. Corporations use advertising, marketing, and public relations campaigns, among others, to help put their shadow contents into their “long bag.” To the extent that corporations are able to hide their shadows from the employees who are exploited to do their bidding, these brainwashed employees are also helpful in keeping the shadows hidden from the public.
Because these contents of the shadow are not favorable to society, we usually project our shadows onto others. It takes considerable moral courage to bring the shadow into conscious awareness and to take it back or what Robert Bly refers to as “eating the shadow.” Perhaps four of the most infamous and heinous historical examples of the collective shadow are the Catholic patriarchy projecting its dark shadow onto so-called heretics and witches during the Holy Inquisition, Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the shadow projected onto Jews, gypsies, and the mentally and physically disabled, the European and American White nations and the shadow projected onto Blacks, and the American White man’s shadow projection onto Native Americans. In all four of these examples, the shadow was so dark, it sought to completely destroy (murder, annihilate) Jews, imperfect people, Blacks, and Native Americans. Contemporary examples are the equally strong dark shadows projected between Jews and Muslims. Israelis project their dark shadows onto Palestinian Muslims and keep them tragically oppressed while various Muslim groups such as Hamas project their shadow onto Jews. Both Jews and Muslims are projecting their dark shadows onto each other---yet neither side can see the evil within his own dark heart. I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s saying, “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools” and Gandhi’s adage that “an eye for an eye leaves both blind.” When we project our shadows and go to war, as we stand and shoot our rocket or gun or as we bludgeon someone to death or gang rape a woman as a way to bring dishonor on the enemy, we project evil onto the victim. That’s what projection of the shadow does---it blames “bad” or evil on the victim when the bad or evil is in the heart of the destroyer.
As stated previously, there is a personal shadow and a collective shadow. The personal shadow is difficult enough to take back. To take back a projected shadow of the collective unconscious is particularly challenging. It’s because we look into the face of “other” and we see an enemy---we somehow cannot see the similarity, the fact that we are all part of the same human race and that, as the Dalai Lama consistently repeats, we all are seeking the same thing---to be happy. If humankind could finally come to that momentous realization, we would have the hope of taking back our collective shadows. Can you imagine the Jews and Muslims coming to the realization that both parties are human and deserve to live a life of peace regardless of their different beliefs? How about if all the wealthy people in the world awakened and realized that every person on this planet is, essentially and fundamentally equal in value, and that poor people are not “the lepers and scourge of the earth” so the decision was made to share all resources and, ostensibly, end poverty, hunger, and homelessness on this earth? How difficult would that be? I would say damned difficult. But not impossible.
After studying psychology for 15 years, I have come to the conclusion that all people and all things have a shadow. No one and no thing is exempt. Not even me. The goal really lies in making this shadow conscious and integrating it so we no longer unconsciously project it onto others.
More recently, however, I have been thinking of what is the largest, most pernicious dark shadow that affects contemporary social affairs. Although I consider myself a spiritually oriented person, I long ago eschewed organized religion. I once thought the most harmful shadow was any organized religion that denigrates and devalues the feminine principle. Now, I believe it is the Corporation with the pathological greed and the malignant desire to allow free market capitalism to destroy every ounce of natural and mineral resource from Mother Earth as a means to achieve its goal. In fact, “corporation” and “greed” are now wedded terms. It is no distance from truth to say that the psyche of the corporation is malignant and poses a threat to the Common Good.
Corporations have what Otto Kernberg (1975; 1998), respected psychoanalyst and prominent researcher on narcissistic personality disorder, refers to “malignant narcissism” as resembling sociopathy, a more morbid and frank psychopathology than narcissism. Malignant cancer cell destroy the good, healthy cells. Similarly, malignant corporate pathology is a harmful, destructive disease that is eating away at the Common Good. This increasingly sociopathic and psychopathic corporate pathology hides behind the persona and projects its shadow into the world. Perhaps the most common overall shadow projection tactic used by corporations and banks today is to lobby government to support legislation which privatizes profits and socializes losses. Increasingly, corporations are using the legal precedent of the Santa Clara case of 1886 to become more powerful “legal persons.” One of the most recent key examples of the projection of the shadow is the bail-out of banks (which are intimately allied with corporations and governments as a way to sustain pernicious capitalism) like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Bank of America. These banks would not have to be responsible for their dark deeds and, instead, project the blame onto the victim---the American taxpayer. Banks and corporations used a common tactic that is prototypical of narcissistic, sociopathic, and psychopathic pathology. That is, they externalized blame---they projected their dark, evil shadow onto innocent people. They blamed the deceived victim---the American people---on the mortgage crisis when, in truth, it was prompted by a concerted, widespread effort by banks and corporations to reap quick, sleazy profits. Other examples of dark shadow projection are the use of genetically modified foods to foist onto the unwitting public, the use of the rbGH growth hormone in milk, the patenting of human DNA, and cloning. These organizations present their persona, Dr. Jekyll, to the public in an effort to preserve their power, maintain their ability to manipulate the social-public psyche to make choices that is against the best interest of the people, sustain their ability to exploit humankind for its cheap labor and give ever lesser amounts of compensation and health benefits in return, and so as to continue to reap profits which maintain the enormous schism between the handful of the wealthy elite and the billions of others whose income levels and lifestyles continue to decline. The projection of the corporate shadow is a way to avoid responsibility, accountability for egregious moral and ethical acts. Corporations can keep their shadow in the unconscious.
In Joel Bakan’s brilliant book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, he compares the psyche of the modern day corporation to a psychopath. Bakan exposes the dangerous and enormous pathological power structures---corporations----that wield their control over society. Another outstanding book that talks about the psyche of the psychopath in corporations is Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work by Paul Babiak, Ph.D. and the noted psychologist, Robert Hare, Ph.D., who has spent 40 years researching and studying psychopathy. He exposes the web of manipulation and deceit of psychopaths in corporations and warns us how easily they rise in positions in corporations because most people cannot see through the deceptive games. A third exceptional book is Hare’s Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us where he refers to “white collar psychopaths” in the corporate world. I have spent 20 years working in Corporate America, 15 years studying psychology, and six years working in the mental health field. I’ve seen and felt the brunt of the psychopathology---the dark shadows---in corporate life. It is very much a real aspect of business. Goddess willing, I will one day escape it. Once corporations begin replacing human labor with androids (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4714135.stm), their transformation into archetypal evil will be virtually complete. Mary Shelley’s prescient story of Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde will have played themselves out in corporate regalia. With examples of Kenneth Lay (Enron), Dennis Kozlowski (Tyco), Bernie Ebbers (WorldCom), and Bernie Madoff, I would estimate that there are likely tens of thousands of these pathological characters currently running corporations. They just haven’t been caught. And it is left to another article to discuss the fact that governments around the world are now mistresses to these toxic corporations. Thus, governments are in bed with the devil and are unable to save humanity. Humanity will save humanity.
There are always three collective psyches involved when discussing organizational shadows. There is the psyche of the organization itself, the psyche of the followers/members of the organization, and the psyche of the opponents/detractors. The psyche of those who are in the highest echelon of the organization usually most closely resemble the psyche of the organization itself. Our outside world is always a mirror of the inside world. So the organization is a mirror of the psyche(s) of those who hold the most power in the organization with the highest person, that is, CEO or President, serving as the prototypical organizational psyche. The psyche of Enron most closely resembled Kenneth Lay’s psyche, the psyche of Tyco most closely resembled the psyche of Dennis Kozlowski, Lloyd Blankfein’s psyche most closely resembles the psyche of Goldman Sachs, and so forth.
There have been numerous theories about the structure, dynamic, and nature of the psyche. Freud posited a tripartite structure with an id, ego, and superego. The id is that part of the psyche that is a cauldron of seething desires and wishes. The superego is the moral conscience. The ego mediates between the two. If we use this view of the psyche, then we can say that the psyche of these organizations have undeveloped superegos. They have little or no conscience. They have inflated egos and their id is on steroids. That is the psyche of a narcissist, sociopath, and psychopath. Without a corporate conscience, there is no compassion. There is only the desire to gratify the corporate ego and it is done with various mendacious means in a corporation such as public relations, advertising, and marketing campaigns and through their now-famous “shell games.” Philanthropic advertising is merely a way to deceive the public into thinking the corporation really has a heart. The corporation saves millions of tax dollars when they give to charity and this is always done at the suggestion of the corporate accountant. The advertising campaign with a heart is a ruse for a campaign for the corporate coffers. When employees give their donations to their employer (United Way, etc.), the corporation gets millions of dollars in tax breaks. It’s a PR and marketing sham to convince the employees and the public that the corporation is compassionate.
Most people have partially accurate understandings of narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissus was a Greek hunter who had disdain for those who loved him. He fell in love with his image in a pond and pined to death because he could not depart from the beauty of his image. First, there is no coincidence that Narcissus is a male. Just like there is no coincidence that Venus, the goddess of love, is a female or Diotima, the personification of Wisdom, in Plato’s Symposium is a female.
The masculine principle in Occidental mythology represents domination, separation, objectivity, certainty, and predictability. The world of these phenomena can only exist in a world of physical matter. Jung argued that the masculine principle is consciousness, mind or Logos. When speaking of a psyche, the rational mind is the mind which embraces the material world. The feminine principle represents receptivity, union, mystery, collaboration, interdependence. The non-rational, intuitive, unconscious world best represents this world. Jung asserted that Eros and the unconscious are feminine principles.
The masculine and feminine principles are ubiquitous; they have existed since time began and will forever exist. They are recognized in biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and other hard sciences. Although they are opposites, they are, paradoxically, complementary. One cannot exist without the other. When domination is a common force, the world, the psyche, and the cosmos is out of harmony, out of balance. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching is perhaps the most eloquent, succinct, and brilliant renditions of the world of the feminine and masculine principles. They both are subsumed in the Tao which includes, yet is beyond, feminine and masculine.
Narcissus’ staring at himself in the water tends to distort as much as it informs. It is true that narcissistic individuals are self-absorbed and act as though the world revolves around them. But there is much more to this clinical personality disorder. Christopher Lasch in The Culture of Narcissism writes about the pathological Western society. I would argue that the psychosocial pathology is now leeching over into Eastern societies such as India and China. We should be very afraid.
Narcissism is a personality disorder in which there is a stable, chronic pattern of projecting the dark shadow onto others. Narcissistic personality disorder is marked by an inflated sense of self, a sense of entitlement, and grandiosity. Arrogance displays the sense of superiority. The person with this disorder does not have the capacity to authentically love someone. People with narcissistic personality disorder idealize people who give them what they want and then devalue anyone who inhibits their desires. Pathological mendacity is a means to achieve goals at any cost. There is no moral conscience, no sense of guilt or shame in wrong-doing that follows his trail of deceit, treachery, abuse, and the pain and suffering that his actions inevitably cause others. Blame is always externalized onto “other” (the victim). The rapist or judge who says “it’s the victim’s fault she got raped because she wore sexy clothes” is externalizing blame. The husband who beats his wife and says “but you made me do it because you nag me all the time” is externalizing blame. The CEO of a tire company who lies to cover up for his company’s gross negligence which results in thousands of people being killed due to unsafe tires is externalizing blame. In his book on corporate psychopaths, Hare cites how these pathological loons, when caught or charged for crimes, will blame the victim. This pathological mendacity and externalization of blame is now standard operating procedure for multinational corporations.
Hare and Babiak (2007) call the psychopath “a near-perfect invisible human predator” (p. 39) to emphasize how most people cannot detect the psychopath’s pathology. Researchers who work with psychopaths refer to the latter as “social chameleons” (Babiak & Hare, 2007, p. 38). The narcissist or psychopath sometimes does not have the communication skills to deceive, so they rely on threats, coercion, intimidation and violence to dominate others and achieve their objectives. But other narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths, present as charming and with a gift of oratory skills, saying all the things that enamor, fascinate, lure, and compel. Hare refers to the psychopath’s gift of “impression management” (Babiak & Hare, 2007, p. 38) and makes a comparison between the classic features of leadership (taking charge, making decisions, and getting others to do what you want) and the qualities of a psychopath. Hitler had these gifts. They could sell heaters to desert dwellers—and make them glad they bought them. This is what most of the CEOs of corporations are invested in---telling the consumers and employees what they want to hear. Here is the cycle. It’s about manufacturing desire in consumers so that people will buy goods and services they don’t need. The profits in the corporations soar so that the pockets of the CEOs and the 1% who owns the stock in these corporations will fill up more. This allows the wealthy elite to remain in power and the corporate elite to continue to pay millions of dollars in advertising to deceive consumers into buying something they don’t need (which speeds up the rate at which natural and mineral resources are depleted) and to exploit the employees who work in the corporation for ever lower levels of compensation and benefits. The vicious cycle just keeps going.
Corporations are invested in keeping people ignorant, overworked or apathetic or all of the above. Billions of dollars are spent on public relations and marketing campaigns which is nothing more than propaganda to be used as an assault on the Common Good. These narcissistic individuals tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. What we need to hear would threaten the powerful elite----the wealthy pathological masculine power structure in the world. As Hare rightly says, the social, economic, physical, and psychological damage done by these psychopaths far outweighs their relatively small numbers (1% of the general population).
People with narcissistic personality disorder flock to positions of power in corporations like iron fillings seek a magnet. The hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder, according to Joan Lachkar, Ph.D., in The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple, is the obsession with control, power, and perfection. The desire to dominate and control is a high. Serial rapists are addicted to the will to power. Sadistic killers are assuaging their desire to have control over and completely dominate “the other.” Interestingly, 87% of sadistic killers are white males. When the rapists in the Congo stick their penis inside the woman and gang rape her, then sticks a gun inside her vagina and fires, he is obsessed with power and control. It is not so much the sexual act as it is the will to absolute power.
When these corporations lie, cheat, and steal from the coffers of the public and then refuse to accept responsibility, this is a pathological system that is bleeding into every aspect of human life. It is the goal of narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths to deceive, dominate, exploit, and destroy. The shadow is projected onto the innocents. In wars where the goal is to steal another’s resources, the instigating country presents the people in the other country as less than human. Increasingly, corporations are invested in war to increase profits. When a handful of people at the top of the food chain live a life of comfort, ease, and luxury while the masses struggle with hunger, poverty, homelessness, and lack of adequate healthcare, the people in ivory towers simply project their shadow onto the masses by saying that poor people are “lazy.” I ask: Who is lazy? The person who is being exploited for their cheap labor and who works 6 days a week on barely enough wages to feed their family or the person who lives a life of ease and has no means to be productive? I ask you: Is it the rich or the poor who are lazy? And what does “lazy” mean? If that refers to the lack of desire to work insane hours per week (50, 60, 70 hours) and the lack of the shallow desire to amass needless worldly possessions, then many who have meaningful and spiritual values might refer to that definition of “lazy” as a good thing. I say the question to ask the lazy wealthy is: “How much is enough for you?”
This masculine psychopathological spectrum of narcissistic personality disorder, sociopathy, and psychopathy is the source of the dark, evil shadow that has always defined modern Western civilization ever since the dawning of the Iron Age in 1,500 B.C. when male warriors took over and destroyed the peaceful matriarchal society and devalued the feminine principle (Campbell, 1964). Replacing the worship of the feminine moon and the Goddess, masculine ideologies of the worship of the masculine sun and the male God dominated society. Science and its disdain of mystery, uncertainty, unpredictability, subjectivity---in other words, all things feminine---is a bastion of masculine ideology of objectivity, certainty, predictability, and measurability. The mantra of science is noticeably masculine: If it can’t be measured, it’s not valid, meaning it is not useful or even real. Aggression, violence, and war stain society; the fear, devaluation, and loathing of all things feminine (mystery, intuition, gentleness, kindness, compassion, rest, collaboration, interdependence, etc.) has become the fabric of society as a result of these male warriors.
I define masculine psychopathology as the split psyche which lacks the capacity for authentic empathy and love and which, through intentionally deceptive tactics, seeks to dominate, exploit, and destroy others as an obsessive means to have control and power over others. If you apply this to corporate ideology, it is chillingly appropriate. This masculine psyche can exist in both males and females. An apt example of a woman having a particularly morbid pathologically masculine psyche (we would call it psychopathy today) is the late 16th century Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory de Ecsed. She is called the “Blood Countess” because she kidnapped, tortured, and killed allegedly as many as 600 hundred peasant girls. She would bathe in, and drink, their blood believing this would make her skin beautiful and give her immortality. One particularly gruesome type of murder was placing the peasant girl in a large cage and hanging it from the ceiling of the dungeon. There would be large, long knives around the cage so that when the Countess gave the instructions to her servants, the cage would be tossed back and forth causing the knives to mutilate the victim in the cage. Standing underneath the age, the Countess would bathe in, and drink, the blood from the victim. Of course, there is “Bloody Mary,” Queen of England, who had a particular affinity for burning religious dissenters at the stake.
It is perhaps an annoying and unwelcome truth to males in contemporary society that the vast majority of people who have masculine pathology are males. These are only a relative few of whom history books have noted, but I suspect the names of every person—famous and not---are legion: Caligula, Attila the Hun, Caesar, Herod, Nero, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Vlad the Impaler, Napoleon, Ivan the Terrible, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Franco, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc), Pinochet, Mugabe, Mobutu Sese Seko, Milosevic, and Hussein. Vlad the Impaler killed his opponents by impaling them while alive and leaving them for the public to view. Idi Amin had six wives. One wife he ordered to be murdered and dismembered. She was found in the back of a car with her head sewn on backward. If one were able to count all the males from the beginning of dawn who chronically abused their spouses, children, pets, and who murdered and raped indiscriminately, who knows how many would be on that list?
Lest the reader begin to think that I hate males, let me say I am deeply grateful for those males who risk much in order to fight the imbalance of feminine and masculine principles in the world. They are courageous, compassionate, loving, gentle men who use their power to defend the Common Good. The world desperately needs them and I honor every one of their androgynous Souls. But this paper is about exposing the dark side, the shadow, which stands against the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
Approximately 75% of the individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are males. The majority of individuals with paraphilias (pedophilia, pederasty, pirophilia, voyeurism, exhibitionism, frotteurism, etc.) are males. These are perverted minds. Virtually all people who start wars and who seem to enjoy going off to war and engaging in acts of war are males. Virtually all serial killers (psychopaths) are males. I always can recognize a male who has a tendency toward narcissism by the reaction I receive when I explain this subject. It’s the externalization of blame and the intrapsychic ego defenses that always give him away. It’s analogous to showing the man that his DNA results were all over the crime scene, yet what does he say? “That’s not me! Someone else who has my DNA did it!” I am reminded of what Shakespeare says: “Me thinks thou doest protest too much!”
Returning to the topic of corporate shadows, it’s not necessarily that these individuals at the top of corporations have shadows that are darker or larger than those in the lower levels or those who stand in opposition to the corporation although that certainly can be the case. Rather it is that the shadows these leaders cast have a much larger projection, a much larger sphere of influence because the millions of employees who work in them are paid (sometimes handsomely) to ally themselves with the psyche and behavior of the corporation. The corporation responds to the employee by abusing them (being ignored or demoted, given poor performance evaluations, terminated) if there is a failure to comply. Also, the corporations are now all in league with each other, more or less. “Thick as thieves” as they call it. Meaning that there are now thousands of corporations whose pathological psyches are all allied with each other---and that casts a truly large and pernicious dark shadow upon the entire globe and upon all life on this precious planet. Yes, it would be quite painful for everyone to stop the psychosocial pathology. We humans are, after all, addicted to that which is bringing about our own demise---material possessions. Everyone would feel it---some more, some less. But we would be unfettered from the malignancy that is spreading across the globe like a cancer eating at the life support system of the earth. It would take millions of people to stop spending money on anything that was not essential and start living a simple life connected to nature. It would require relinquishing some of the conveniences of life. We would have to buy acreage, grow our own vegetable garden, start our own community banks, and give up, among thousands of other things, SUVs, plastic bags, and bottled water. Did you know that Americans eliminate 247 million tons of municipal waste and 8 billion tons of industrial and hazardous waste every year? Think of how giving up consumerism would help alleviate landfill usage and the pollution that stems from them.
Since the desires and behaviors of these multinational corporations---and, yes, of the public---are threatening all life on the planet in the mineral, plant, animal, and human arenas, this issue of the dark shadow is no small or joking matter of which Jungian analysts are so intimately aware. Would that we could all be so aware.
Wanda Marie Woodward, M.S. is author of The Anatomy of the Soul: An Authentic Psychology which posits an original theoretical model of the Soul or Transcendent Psyche. She has plans to publish her next book, Malignant Masculine Power, which posits an original model of gender psychopathology and psychosocial pathology. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in psychology at Saybrook University. Her passions in reading are psychology, philosophy, spiritual transformation, gender studies, and social and economic justice. She loves reading, writing, gardening, and listening to classical and easy listening music. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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