God always speaks mythologically[i]
~C. G. Jung
C. G. Jung continually pointed out the importance of recognizing the deeper archetypal, mythic process being enacted, be it in the life of an individual or the collective species. Jung saw that recognizing the deeper archetypal pattern unconsciously playing itself out was the key to transforming it. Jung felt that the major archetypal, mythic process happening in our world today is the death and transformation of the old King, the senex. Symbolically, the aging, sick and dying King is the negative patriarchy, the dark father (Darth Vader). This figure of the mythic, terrible father has become egocentric, and abuses its power over others so as to protect itself and feed its own narcissism. It is important to recognize, therefore, that the negative patriarchy is the deeper, archetypal process that has seized hold of George Bush and is unconsciously playing itself out through him.
Malignant egophrenia is expressing itself in the symbolic, mythic dimension as the archetype, or myth of the negative patriarchy, the wicked father. Bringing the mythic aspect of malignant egophrenia into focus adds depth to our understanding of the multi-dimensional nature of this disease. The negative father, the pale criminal, and the malignant narcissist are all interdependent aspects of malignant egophrenia’s multi-faceted nature that, when seen together, illumine the deeper contours of the disease.
George Bush has become addicted to power. When people are seduced by dominance and power, they inevitably make a Faustian pact with the devil. They satiate their unending hunger for more power by getting into bed with the devil. Of course, they find out too late that what they have given up in the bargain is their soul. Jung added, “…whoever prefers power is therefore, in the Christian view, possessed by the devil. The psychologist can only agree.”[ii]
Interestingly, as Freud pointed out, the Devil is symbolically related to the archetypal figure of the negative father. The negative father is a power-intoxicated devil, so to speak, who wants to control, dominate, and dictate to others (a form of Mad Emperor disease). The figure of the dark father is traumatizing to others, as it traumatizes everyone under its dominion. Because it is attached to the position of power it finds itself in, this figure is not interested in change, and therefore has become calcified and rigid. As Bush told Tim Russert of Meet the Press, he knows he’s right (no matter how much the evidence indicates otherwise) and he’s not going to change his mind. There is simply no arguing with the figure of the negative father. This figure is an expression of an old paradigm, macho (“bring ‘em on”) mentality whose modus operandi is force. It does not learn from its mistakes, and has wounded, tortured, terrorized, and killed millions over centuries. The terrible father secretly and sadistically enjoys sending others to their death. This archetypal figure is a criminal and a real “murderer,” which is one of the inner meanings of the word “Devil.” Seemingly strong and powerful on the surface, at the root of this figure is extreme fear and weakness, as it is threatened by anyone who challenges its dominance.
This figure of the terrible father is dissociated from and threatened by eros, from feeling, the feminine, the heart, relatedness, even from mother nature and the environment (which it objectifies and tries to dominate, instead of being in relationship with), and from love. Concerned about nothing other than itself, this figure is indifferent to other people’s suffering, all the while professing its compassion. George Bush has become unconsciously taken over by this archetype, which is acting itself out through him in a death-creating way.
Every archetype has a positive and negative aspect. The positive aspect of the father archetype is a protector of his children. Bush has even invoked this image himself, for political purposes, saying that he identifies with this image of the loving, protective father, while he sees all America as his beloved children. Many Americans have become hooked by Bush’s projected image of being the positive father leading the fight against evil, as it touches something deep in their unconscious. By unconsciously identifying with only the positive side of the father archetype, Bush charms and entrances people who have a propensity to give away their power to someone who will play the role of the positive father for them. However, Bush is embodying anything but the positive aspect of the father archetype, which is based on true love. Bush is playing with people’s fears so as to gain their trust and control them, a process not based on love but on power over others. The fact that Bush is unconsciously playing out not the positive father but its polar opposite, the terrible father, could not be more obvious for all who have eyes to see.
By embodying the archetype of the terrible father, Bush is picking up a role in the unfoldment of a deeper, mythic drama. We have all dreamed up George Bush to play out this archetypal role, an embodied reflection of a figure existing deep inside the collective psyche of all of humanity. If Bush and Co. weren’t around, there would be someone else who would pick up and play out these very same archetypal roles. It is not a personal thing.
An archetype such as the father archetype has eternally re-created itself and played itself out over the course of history, be it in our personal relationship with our actual father or collectively on the world stage. Archetypes, as Jung points out, are of a “transcendental” nature, meaning they exist in the eternal or atemporal (outside of time) dimension. When an archetype is activated and ready to be metabolized, it “irrupts” into our world and manifests in linear time. To quote Jung, “…every archetype, before it is integrated consciously, wants to manifest itself physically, since it forces the subject into its own form [it is “dreamed up” into materialization].”[iii] An emerging archetype drafts people into its service, as its “field of force” literally absorbs and possesses people, acting itself out through them. Archetypes become visible by arranging and attracting events into themselves like atemporal, self-organizing fields, which is to say that they organize, in-form and give shape to our experience.
Recognizing this deeper archetypal process happening right in front of our eyes, however, is the key to whether the activated archetype is integrated or continues to be unconsciously acted out in a destructive manner. Jung said, “…a catastrophe can be avoided only if the effect of the archetype can be intercepted and assimilated by a sufficiently large majority of individuals [at least a certain critical mass].”[iv] Recognizing the deeper archetypal process playing out through us, we can connect with each other in “lucid” awareness, the very act that transforms the archetype. Getting in phase with ourselves in this way is the very re-solution of our collective dilemma.
The myth of the negative father is considered to be the highest tester: One either attains liberation or becomes totally imprisoned. This means that the figure of the dark father is initiatory, in that it either destroys us or propels us to have an expansion of consciousness.
If we have all dreamed up George Bush into actual materialization and he is a reflection of ourselves, then our only response once we recognize this is to have compassion. True compassion, unlike idiot compassion, however, is sometimes fierce and says “No!” Contemplated symbolically, as a dreaming process, the archetype of the terrible father that is playing itself out through George Bush is provoking and prodding us to step into our true authority, or else. We liberate ourselves from the grips of the dark father by connecting with our true power, by creatively speaking our truth mediated through the heart of compassion.
What do we do when we recognize that the leader of our country is very sick? What do we do when we recognize that the person who is supposed to be protecting us is the one from whom we need protection? What do we do when we recognize that the head of our nation is a madman? The entire Bush administration is suffering from a form of criminal insanity which we are all complicit in by allowing it to happen.
We need to see through our illusions and realize the dangerous nature of our situation. And, then we need to creatively express this realization in the world in a way that meets the challenge we are facing. The universe is asking us to do nothing less.
To engage with the mythic figure of the negative father, we need to step out of being powerless children and step into our true authority. This involves stepping out of the child-like stance of blaming anyone or anything outside ourselves for our situation. Jung’s position on this was that, “…the man who is really adult will accept these sins [of the Bush Administration, for example] as his own condition, which has to be reckoned with.”[v] Jung is pointing to the profound importance of recognizing that what is outside ourselves is not separate from us, that we are dreaming everything up as part of our “own condition.” The pathology of the Bush Administration is our own pathology. Instead of blaming Bush, we need to look inside of our own hearts and recognize what this condition is showing us about ourselves.
We all would prefer to remain in the protection of God the Father, as little children, never leaving the Father’s house, so to speak. But, as Jung said, “By remaining with the Father, I deny him [God] the human being in whom he could unify himself and become One, and how can I help him better than by becoming One myself?”[vi] The best and most loving thing we can do for God is to become adults, to become “One” ourselves, which is to become truly whole and empowered. This is to connect with our true, God-given authority and stand up for ourselves. This is a truly blessed state, which is to say we are supported by the Divine in stepping into ourselves and speaking our true voice.
Jung said, “To become man is evidently God’s desire in us…. God has quite obviously not chosen for sons those who hang on to him as the Father, but those who found the courage to stand on their own feet.”[vii] The emergence of the negative father archetype in this waking dream of ours is an invitation─make that a demand─to step into our true strength and power. Seen as a dreaming process, the negative father embodies the very process we need to engage with so as to build up our muscle of realization. That the archetypal myth of the negative father is incarnating itself in our world is an expression that this deeper process is available for conscious assimilation in a way that was simply not available before. Whether we are destroyed by the negative father or empowered is up to no one but ourselves. We collectively bear the responsibility for our current situation, and we also have within us the power to change it. The responsibility is ours. Someone’s gotta do it. Might as well be us.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at email@example.com; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010
[i] Jung, Letters, vol. 2, p. 9
[ii]Jung, Symbols of Transformation, CW 5, footnote #52 on page 337 (for par. 523).
[iii] Jung, Letters, vol. 1, p. 336.
[iv] Jung, Civilization in Transition, CW 10, par. 461.
[v] Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, par. 152.
[vi] Jung, Letters, vol. 2, p. 28.
[vii] Ibid., p. 28.