Our dark sides

  • Often I have wondered what does it really mean when we refer to our dark sides. Does it simply mean the so-called 'cardinal sins' of greed, jealousy, laziness? Are they simply the negative traits of selfish-ness, small-minded-ness and venegefulness? These by far, are an equal part of our conscious lives and although destructive not potent enough to consume all that is good in yourselves. They are, for most part not difficult to control or subilmate. At whatever level, I believe they do not have enough potency to overcome our Godselves even if given maximum latitude.

    Or does the dark side refer to a deeper DNA wiring of traits embedded in the sub-conscious such as liking to inflict hurt, enjoying chaos and anarchy, a certain quotient of evil, aspects that do not appear on the surface but lie quietly underneath waiting to be triggered? I'd assume they need some prodding to surface, wouldn't it, given the larger collective conscious / unconscious of good vs bad, love vs hate that we have built for ourselves...So when we refer to our dark sides what is it that we are really referring to?

  • Interesting question, Saggigirl! You may want to read Jung on the subject of shadow selves…but I'll try to sink my teeth into it a little here ; )

    My understanding is that fear is the underpinning of our shadow, or dark, side, which encompasses any trait we manifest or action we take that is rooted in fear instead of in love.

    Based on history and research, it seems clear that the larger, collective conscious/unconscious can certainly have an enormous effect on individual shadow selves. Yet individuals together form that collective, so the reverse is also true.

    Take, for example, the experiments done wherein groups of people are faced with the option to "punish" a person wired with electrodes for a wrong answer with a (simulated, but they aren't told this) electric shock, which they are at first assured is very small, just a little more than static electricity. But the machine supposedly administering the shock has a dial that increases the severity of the supposed shock, and subjects are told that with each wrong answer they must increase the level of the shock. At the extreme of the dial, the shock administered, they are told, can be fatal. When grouped with others who insist on "following the rules" and "shocking" the wired person with increasingly damaging levels of electric current, even up to potentially causing death, it has been found that fewer than ten percent of individuals will stand on principle and refuse to participate.

    And this is even without thinking themselves at risk of personal harm for making such a stand. BUT when someone does stand on principle and refuse to join in, others in the group are vastly more likely to join in that refusal.

    [As Arlo Guthrie wrote in Alice's Restaurant about conscientious objection to the draft for the Vietnam war, which he recommends voicing by walking into the draft office, "singing a bar of Alice's Restaurant, and walking out: If one person does it, they'll think he's crazy and they won't take him. If two people do it, in harmony, they'll think they're both faggots and they won't take either of 'em. And if three people do it… if three people do it, well, friends, they may think it's a movement. And that's exactly what it is…]

    The consequences of this collectivization of the "shadow side" impulse can be seen in real life in many situations—take Nazi Germany as an obvious example, when the vast majority of the country's population closed their eyes to or actively went along with the evils being perpetrated all around them. It's a scary statement on the power of mob psychology.

    Of course we each hope that we, faced with such a situation, would be one of the staunch and resolute minority who cling to our "light" side—i.e., to integrity, to conscience, to what we know to be right, even in the face of fear for our own personal safety. But evidence is that most of us will not. [See the movie "Sophie Scholl" for an powerful example of someone who did.]

    And although the "negative traits" in themselves are, as you say, not necessarily potent enough to consume the good in ourselves, when we choose NOT to control or sublimate them, then they do gain sufficient power to overwhelm our "light" side.

    In fact, we are constantly choosing between dark and light, fear and love, and every one of us has the ability, and responsibility (primarily to ourselves), to make that choice in ways both large AND small, every day of our lives. It's always a mistake to underestimate the power of our dark side, or to think ourselves free of it: It's a fundamental part of us that we can never eradicate: our task is to recognize it in ourselves, accept it, subdue and channel it—because it is there for good reason, and can be used to good purpose, and therein lies its beauty. Our righteous anger, for example, is exactly what fuels our ability to cling to the light in times when light is challenged. Only when we understand the shadow side's power can we integrate it in ways that are constructive instead of destructive.

    Not the most direct response to your question, I know, but that's what comes up for me when I think of shadow sides! Thanks for the meaty topic : )

    love & light (and well-channeled dark, lol),


  • Ah, the site did not like my historical reference: N@zi Germany

  • Negative and positive, yin and yang; they are a part of everything and this dual nature causes movement. If all was light, there would be nothing to strive for or against; if all was dark; no reason to live.

    Embracing one side and running/fighting against the other gives one something to overcome or surpass so there is an investment of your energy and this provides meaning to the struggle. This is growth and expansion.

    One needs both in order to go anywhere. Without both there would be no movement whatsoever; we would all sit around complacently.

    When two police officers play good cop/bad cop; they are working together towards the same goal.

    Why would your dark side/light side be any different?

    Definitly something to think about.

  • Gracefuldaisies and Ibelieve I hear you! Agree...the purpose of our dark sides is so that our light shines brighter...but I still wonder...where does our weak sides end and where do our dark sides begin?

  • It's a moving scale. The light tries to move you forward and your dark side adds resistance. The more you push the greater the resistance. It does this by raising your fears and or worries, your weaknesses.

    The goal of both sides is to overcome your weakness. As you face them and push forward you finally overcome them, you decide it is not worth it and live with them pulling back any time you encounter them or you give in to them and leave the light behind. Free will, your choice.


  • I forgot to add that forgiveness is a huge piece. Forgiveness of oneself and forgiveness of others. If one can not forgive their own weaknesses, they tend to give up on trying, they want to blame their weakness for not moving past their fears, this gives them an excuse for not moving forward. Why try? I can't do it. I'm not strong enough or good enough.

    Forgiving oneself for inherant built in weaknesses that are there to push you beyond your comfort zone and into a new range of strength; gives one the ability to release these bonds and find the next level.

    If you can't break the chain, one needs to find a key for the lock. Forgivness is that key and the bonds fall away effortlessly.

    Hint: The chains are placed on one by themselves and they can be just as easily released. But it all happens inside.

  • Ibelieve those were some powerful words. And do they resonate with my mindstate right now! Just a day back my fb status said 'We make our boundaries and limit ourselves when we can re-draw them and become freer than we can imagine'. Thanks for this!

  • Your welcome, I'm glad it spoke to you. I'm playing with it myself and trying to understand how negatives can produce positive results. Usually it is only in providing impetus for movment, like when you get to the last straw and say the heck with it and do something anyway. Take a chance and branch out.


  • Duality. The Nature and very purpose of our existence here on Earth. At least in this stage of our evolution.

    Great discussion by the way!

  • Funny thing only us humans believe in good and evil. Nature knows no such things. Nature accepts only what functions well. A successful individual or species thrives, the weak perish. We are the only species that know duality. If there is really such a thing. I may believe i am virtuous, only until i find myself in the middle of a war wherei just forget my "good" side and bring forth the beast within to mercilessly kill to survive. Or i'm a doormat and suddendly decide not being anyone's doormat again. Sometimes embracing and accepting our "dark" side can be so liberating.

  • Don't know that I totally agree on humans being the only species. I'm a cat person. Ask any cat person about the vindictive, revenge driven side they have. lol

    Now they are rather narcisitic (okay mostly narcisitic) but it takes true thought to know exactly how to work your house mate and what will push their buttons. They ultimately work it out. Quite creatively at times. Very rarely am I a doormat for people but when it comes to cats...definitely a doormat most of the time. They also know how to get on my good side!

  • Hey Seehorse!!!

    We finally found something to debate! lol

  • lol i don't know if it is a debate actually ! I think that human population just demonstrates the same variety as nature, herbivores=naive people and carnivores, predators=well, people who pray on the sheep. Maybe there is greater diversity. Many people are narcissistic they just don't know it or make the mistake of just suppressing their dark side, thinking happy thoughts all the time, believing they got rid of the dark side by forcing themselves not to think of it. This way it lurks in the deep but remain alive and active. Maybe enlightenment really means to invite the light on our soul so we can be aware of what's down there....and yes aknowledging and accepting our true selves is the key to spiritual progress. As long as we have the guts to really look in the mirror...

  • Well, guess I'd tend to agree with ibelieve.The distinctions of good and evil are man-made depending on what works for us and what doesn't. We have a purpose for existing and hence need these distinctions to take us forward. What purpose do animals live for beyond survival even though they are highly perceptive, sensitive and have emotions? Then from the point of view these distinctions being man-made aren't they suitable to be applied to us humans only? The duality of herbivores and carnivores is preceived as a duality for us because we have a choice beyond survival. Does a lion have a choice or the wherewithal to choose to become a herbivore? His survival depends on meat and his identity on being a predator. He is wired that way but for us, we still have a lot of control over our wiring, if no to change then to guide and mould. Hence our duality comes into play, because we have a choice. The animals do not have a duality (or at least one defined as per our human world) because their identities are set and they do not have the power to change it.

    Seehorse, your example of narcissism is very interesting. Guess our dark sides are all buds of weaknesses waiting to bloom into full blown evil if given a chance. But if controlled and kept in check remain mere weaknesses...but do you think if duality is our nature any amount of light can eliminate the darkness completely? Well, complete enlightenment can of course, like Buddha. But on a you and me level? Won't darkness always lurk no matter who much light we let in? I suppose the light will only expose the darkness so as not to do damage and so that it can be controlled?

    Your thoughts?

  • I am so sorry I got the names all wrong! I meant to say I agree with you Seehorse about humans being the only ones to have duality.

    ibelieve many apologies!!! 🙂

  • No apology needed, it a common mistake and it did not offend me in any way. Your thoughts are quite valid and interesting to boot. I still think cats are an alien intelligence and don't fall into the normal animal human equation.lol

    I agree with you that no amount of light will remove the darkness; only allow one to see why it is there in the first place. The purpose.

  • Oh and as omnivors we have a choice.

  • So true...

    And this cat thing remind me of something. A week back at my mom's place I was meditating and was in a deep trance. I fell asleep after that but as usual with sleeping after meditation it is never a deep sleep in the sense I get a very floating kind of sleep like I am very aware in some dimension. Maybe it was in that phase or during my meditation but I kept seeing / thinking of a cat. An hour later my mom and sister woke up because a cat had entered the house and none of us had an idea how...it was quite freaky, kept thinking if I manifested it or something...jeez!

  • Saggigirl you, me everyone are members of Humanity. We're all boats journeying the great ocean of life. .And yes as Ibelieve says we have a choice. That's the only true power Spirit gave us.

    "I suppose the light will only expose the darkness so as not to do damage and so that it can be controlled?" I think so too. Then the amount of Light is irrelevant. It cannot erase the darkness, but it can reveal it to us. I think the important moment in our lives is the one we realize the darkness and choose to do something about it. Complete enlightenment may take several lifetimes to be achieved, but the moment we turn the wheel is the most important. Because it's the moment our boat changes course. Many difficult miles to the harbor, but what's important is the boat's course, not the time needed to complete the journey.

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