The Inner Jew
The best political, social and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.
The quote above is attributed to Carl Jung by Laurens van der Post in his book, Jung and the Story of Our Time. Even if it’s not Jung in his own words, it sums up a wide spread idea in psychodynamic psychology, namely that we project our own inner problems onto the outer world and then we tend to fight in the external world wars which actually belong to our internal world. The projection is a psychological defensive mechanism and it is clearly described and well known in psychoanalysis and the schools of psychotherapy emerging from it. It emphasizes that there is a moment when we simply cannot afford to see ourselves in a dark perspective, so there is a failure of assuming our own shadow (basically, we cannot accept that we’re stupid, evil or “less” than what we imagine ourselves to be); the result is the mechanism of projecting from our psyche that part (or parts) we deem impossible to portray us (given their negative nature). These negative parts are not simply projected outside (repressed or isolated), but are also glued to persons or situations that resemble to our inner structures we cannot accept. Then, our mind is tricking us into believing that those persons or situations are truly evil or worthy of contempt (therefore also worthy of punishment or destruction), and so we feel ourselves relieved of the pressure that we might be such an evil and negative person. There is, undoubtedly, an emotional benefit: we feel better about ourselves. But there is also a disadvantage: we move a conflict, which should be inside us, into the exterior world.
This is how wars are born. By defensive projection. Instead of killing (or solving, or healing) that part of us which we deem problematical, we go outside in a killing spree. And then we ask ourselves – just like Germans asked themselves after the Holocaust – what the hell just happened!?!
For some days I keep seeing the awakening of the anti-Semitic sentiment, following the seemingly forever-lasting Gaza conflict. We can remain at the lowest level of understanding and take sides, or we can move a bit deeper (or higher) and see everything from a different perspective.
At the lower level, the Jewish people has managed to make itself hated by the entire world, which is something truly remarkable. The Jews are hated even by people with whom they have no common history, people who have nothing to share with them. And everyone is asking: why this hate? Why non-Jews hate Jews? Several answers could be given. An emotional answer could be that the Jews have the pride and the nerve to declare themselves the Chosen People (by God), and since the Christianity is based on the Bible, this “impertinence” annoys almost everyone. A more rational answer could be that Jews are generally rich and well-educated, and people know instinctively that high education and more money is linked to corruption, duplicity and dirty deals. I mean, a people killed by thousands by pretty much everyone, instead of disappearing, still thrives and apparently rules the world, both through finances, political power (linked to the United States) and religion. Simple logic tells people that the Jews should be gone by now, should have disappeared from history; yet, they’re still around, stronger than ever. And ready to corrupt and poison the humanity, if we are to believe the abundance of conspiracy theories. Faced with this situation, pretty much every “good citizen” feels it’s their duty to “fight the spread of evil” and “save the world”, sometimes saving the “intoxicated”, “bewildered” or “brainwashed” world from… itself…
So this is the lower perspective, widely found everywhere on all continents and on the internet. It’s a reductionist perspective because it forces everyone to be either for or against the Jews. We can therefore say that this is a polarizing perspective. And we can also say that this perspective leads to only one outcome: the War. Or the Conflict. And if it’s not a generalized war (another World War perhaps), then the conflict buries itself and smolders deep in the collective unconscious mind (from where it erupted recently), waiting for the next favorable time to resurface... or reignite… As long as we use this divisive perspective, this extreme dichotomous thinking of “black or white”, there cannot be peace.
We can use however a higher (or deeper) perspective. And for this we need to remember what a scapegoat is (credits go to… well… the Bible). Basically, a scapegoat is a real goat on which, metaphorically, all the sins of a given population were cast upon (or projected, so as to use the contemporary term); subsequently, the goat was either sent (banished) into the desert so as to die, or was sacrificed. Psychologically, it was a relief to escape (so easily) of one’s sins.
Question: aren’t we doing the same thing with the Jews?
Aren’t the Jews nothing but our own and private scapegoat that can be blamed for all the things that we couldn’t solve (or accept) in ourselves?
Just think for a moment!...
We say that the Jews are rich; why aren’t we rich as well?!? What prevents us from becoming rich?!?
We say that the Jews help each other and they thrive together; why aren’t we help each other then?!? Why can’t we gather together just like the Jews do?!?
We say that the Jews have political power and lead the world; why aren’t we bold enough to take the lead of the world or at least the lead of our own individual lives?!?
Take some time to ponder on what you blame the Jews for. And then ask yourself why you can’t do the same thing they apparently seem to be able to do. Don’t “scapegoat” them! Reflect on the possibility that you project on the Jews some nasty things you don’t accept about yourself!
Connect your conscious mind with that unconscious “Inner Jew” that lies in yourself, undiscovered or neglected, definitely unaccepted! And after – only after you have dealt with your own shadow – come back to start a war with the outer world… if there is any war left to fight…
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