In Heroes Journey class we had a guest teacher discussing psychology. This discussion applied perfectly in the Heroes Journey because we had been talking about “the shadow self”. Our conversation about “the shadow self”, turned into a discussion on the difference between dualism and monism. This conversation even seeped into our after class fellows time. Both series are very well grounded. Personally I lean more to dualism. Monism is extremely logical and makes a lot of sense, however the one flaw in this theory that I personally have a problem with, is that of thought. Humans have the ability to find things beautiful. This is one of the things that separate us from animals. We have a sense of morality and justice, regardless of where these concepts come from. Our complex personalities are far more intricate than just impulse. Just the fact that we, as humans, have higher thought processes is proof enough for me that dualism fits better for me then monism.
This topic took most of our class time but we also went over different parts of the brain and discussed what their functions are. After learning so much about the human brain and how in this day and age we know so much about it. I had to remind myself that we know less about the ocean then we do about outer space, and we know less about the human brain then we do the ocean. It is fascinating to me that we use our brains every single day for all of our lives but yet we know so little about them.
More on the shadow self.
“I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole” – Carl Jung
The shadow self is something that everyone has inside of them. Whether developed or from birth everyone must come to grips with their shadow self. The shadow self is the deepest darkest part of all of us. It is the part of our identity that we do not want to acknowledge. What most people do in dealing with the shadow self, is ignore it. This can be dangerous and unhealthy. Why must the shadow self be faced? Just like the quote by Carl Jung stated above, the dark side of us or the shadow self is a part of our identity. So we need to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way so that we can better control it. We need to be able to control the shadow self so it doesn’t control us.
In the Heroes Journey class we have discussed the significance of listening to your heart. Why is it important to listen to our hearts? Well, we should listen to our hearts because if we don’t, our hearts would stop talking to us and we would become numb. I think sometimes even if our hearts are in pain we should still acknowledge that pain. Having pain in our lives and embracing that pain allows us to feel joy in it’s complete form. If we stifle our hearts then the numbness will not allow us to feel the pain. So we would have to sacrifice joy as well as pain. Our hearts are also very useful for keeping our brain in check. Sometimes the most logical decision is not the most compassionate decision. Fact and calculating truth is important but we have to have a balance of emotion and feeling. Otherwise we would be no better than a computer or a robot.
So I guess with both the shadow self and the heart, ignoring those two things is never the answer. The shadow self and the heart both have to be faced even if it is frightening and a little painful. The mental and emotional growth will be well worth the discomfort.