Call for Papers – Emergence of the Shadow in American Culture

It’s time for some Jungians and other professional psychologists to weigh in on our societal Shadow!


Call for Papers – Emergence of the Shadow in American Culture

It’s time for some Jungians and other professional psychologists to weigh in on our societal Shadow!  For those readers who don’t know what I mean, here is a brief definition from Wikipedia:

“In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts. It is one of the three most recognizable archetypes, the others being the anima and animus and the persona. "Everyone carries a shadow," Jung wrote, "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is."[1] It may be (in part) one's link to more primitive animal instincts,[2] which are superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind.

“According to Jung, the shadow, in being instinctive and irrational, is prone to projection: turning a personal inferiority into a perceived moral deficiency in someone else. Jung writes that if these projections are unrecognized "The projection-making factor (the Shadow archetype) then has a free hand and can realize its object--if it has one--or bring about some other situation characteristic of its power." [3] These projections insulate and cripple individuals by forming an ever thicker fog of illusion between the ego and the real world.”

My reason for this call at this particular time is what I am seeing related to the “KONY 2012” video.  You may have heard of this by now, but if not let me bring you up to date.  On March 5, 2012 an organization called Invisible Children posted a video on YouTube about a global effort to arrest the most wanted man on the International Criminal Court's list of indicted war criminals, Joseph Kony, who has abducted more than 30,000 children in Uganda and Congo, and made them fighters or sex slaves.  In the process, for no good reason that any normal human being can accept, he has mutilated the faces of many of these children, with horrific results.  

The video has had over 74 MILLION hits in just the last 1 week. The strategy exemplified by the video is interesting and probably a precursor to strategies that will be followed by many others with causes, with vast and rapid evolution of our species the result. Kony would be bad enough, but that's not what this call for papers is about.

This call is about the comment stream, beneath the video on YouTube™. Just in the time between when I began typing this call and this sentence there were 400 *new* comments on the video, and the total number of comments on the video have now reached 627,812.  One recent comment, which is representative of a very large proportion of the overall comments: "if i get 100 likesª within 3 minutes, i will nuke my classmate's house".  Most of these comments are anonymous, of course.  

I have to tell you that I find this emergence of our national and internet shadow quite frightening, and as my wife rightly says, it's time for a few Jungians to weigh in on what is going on in our society with a little community therapy. This is palpable evidence that our societal shadow is out of control, and somehow it needs to be attenuated.  

We intend to make this an issue with the mainstream media, so those who write on this will get some exposure, but the dark side is that the fire hose of approbation can also be turned on anyone who responds to this call, at least in a comment stream, so the question will be who has the courage to face that and respond.  If you believe Mark Twain, who said, "I don't care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right," then perhaps that kind of approbation is acceptable, but this won't be a process for the faint of heart.  

Here are a couple of links: 

KONY 2012

Piers Morgan interview on CNN of the two leaders behind the KONY video answering criticism

You can send your papers to our Administrator, Venus Milano at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Skip Conover is an international businessman, author and artist. He is a Founder of the Archetype in ActionTM Organization and Golden Seeds of Wisdom.  You can follow him and his work on Twitter using @skip_conover.

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