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Fig 1.4 – The Unconscious Shadow

Text: Page 8

The Shadow is Always Present

In the 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll, and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886/1922), In an attempt to deny his shadow, Dr. Henry Jekyll, a kind and respected doctor, developed a type of serum to mask his dark feelings and instead turned into Edward Hyde, the physical and psychological manifestation of his shadow. As the serum became ineffective, the shadow consumed him, and he said, “I bring the life of that unhappy Henry Jekyll to an end.”

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde shows how the shadow can overwhelm, shock, and paralyze the conscious mind. When possessed by a shadow, Jung believed there was emotional entrapment, self-destructive behavior, and a lack of psychological development. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde remind us that when the conscious Jekyll personality cannot integrate the Mr. Hyde shadow, the conscious Jekyll creates a separate destructive autonomous shadow that leads to psychological death.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in a Rorschach symbolize the conscious ego and the unconscious shadow integrated. When this occurs, there can be numinous, awe-inspiring, and spiritual feelings because the mask of conventional adaptation is broken. These feelings can be fleeting because ensuring that Mr. Hyde is under the conscious control of Dr. Jekyll requires the ongoing psychological challenge of shadow integration.

The symbol also applies to societal shadow because history has shown dire consequences when societies or professions like psychology deny shadow. In terms of societies, the shadow of racism, sexism, or authoritarianism has shown not only the risk to the physical health of individual lives but also how shadow denial creates a psychological death for both the oppressor and the oppressed.

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