I have spent a great deal of time studying and reflecting on these matters in an attempt to understand what is really driving human society and how one might address the deeper causes of our current difficulties, rather than attempting to treat the symptoms.
One thing I have considered is the difference between masculine and feminine shadows. In my understanding masculine shadows tend to manifest fairly directly and imposing. They usually take the form of intimidation, violence, brutalization and terror. They are not very subtle. The feminine shadows however, are much more subtle. They generally take the form of manipulation, veiling the truth, making things appear as they are not etc.
When looking at the 20th century and dictators like Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Mussolini, and the way in which they made millions of men and women march to their tunes, I find this to be first and foremost a powerful manifestation of the collective masculine shadows. Thus, one of the positive fallouts of the war, is that we have collectively speaking, been inoculated against this particular kind of madness. Not that these madmen no longer exist. But it is much more difficult for them to gain traction. We recognize them for what they are.
When we look at the situation today, what is characterizing the political and cultural dynamics bears the hallmark of confusion, misinformation, manipulation and distortion far more than violent intimidation. And these are in many ways the hallmarks of the feminine shadows.
Consider for a moment that, in the midst of #meetoo, #ToxicMasculinity and the great changes we face, the real dynamic ruling us may actually be the feminine shadows far more than the masculine shadows. Not that the latter are not powerful. But they may actually not be in the drivers seat. If this is true, it is not because the feminine shadows are more powerful than the masculine shadows – but because we are much less aware of them. We do not see them as clearly as we see the masculine shadows, hence they are given much more space to unfold, much more fertile ground in which to make roots.
I offer this as a reflection, and will conclude this by pointing to one shadow that I personally find quite insidious: The individualization of collective challenges. Or the notion that we are able to deal with needed cultural changes as individuals. One manifestation of this is seen in relation to climate change: Trying combat climate change by getting everyone to buy greener products and pollute less. While it is better than doing nothing, it is also largely useless as long as the huge corporations are allowed to continue business as usual.
Recognizing the planetary perspective, and seeing nations and the world as a WHOLE, is needed to affect any meaningful change.
Institutions are to our civilizations what habits are to the individual human being. And we need new habits, individually and collectively. And hence we need new institutions. Without seeing this clearly, and addressing the institutional issues effectively, the narrow window of opportunity we still have may slip past us, and what will result will make the current Brexit mess (March 2019) look like an emblem of order and civilized conduct by comparison.
On the other hand – if we were able to develop the art of dealing with cultural and planetary shadows as intelligently as the best therapists today are able to deal with individual shadows, a whole new order of civilization would likely appear. It would be like another floor of consciousness would be accessible to us, and one can only speculate as to how the view of mankind’s past, present and future would look from that vantage point…