Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bill Crawford: Dwell more in the light

History tells us when those who yield to their shadow selves choose leaders of their ilk, calamity, often war, follows.


Carl Jung labeled the dark side of self as “the shadow.” His psychiatric research into personality found people to have inner shadows associated with feelings of guilt, fear, hate, anger, selfishness, etc.

Upon looking deeply into himself, C.S. Lewis said “And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion.”

Parker Palmer, founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal, teaches we must know and confront our inner shadows to become whole or “authentic”.

“In critical areas like politics, religion, business, and the mass media, too many leaders refuse to name and claim their shadows,” says Palmer. “With shadows that go unexamined and unchecked, they use power heedlessly in ways that harm countless people and undermine public trust in our major institutions.”

He was echoing Plato who said, “In all of us, even in good men, there is a lawless wild-beast nature.” Plato cautioned that tyrants begin as “protectors,” then “the lion and serpent element in them disproportionately grows and gains strength.”

How many times have we seen leaders pretend to virtuousness only to see their dark sides rear up to bring them down?

Then, there are those who manipulate our dark sides to gain power. They play to our fears, anger, and selfishness. As they rise to power, they breed more followers of like mind. “A leader,” Palmer explained, “is someone with the power to project either shadow or light” and who “shapes the ethos in which others must live, an ethos as light-filled as heaven or as shadowy as hell.”

In today’s world, more and more leaders are rising up who play to the shadow selves of their people – Putin in Russia, Netanyahu in Israel, Erdogan in Turkey, Sisi in Egypt, Duterte in the Philippines, Trump in the U.S., and more on the rise in Europe.

We can see it at the state and local levels, too, where the politics of division and self-interest overwhelm the good of the whole.

When we allow our shadow selves to guide us, we open the doors of government to the “looters” and “moochers” that Ayn Rand wrote about. We set up the pathways to tyranny that Plato warned us about.

“Alexis de Tocqueville, put it eloquently,” said Ronald Reagan, quoting the historian in his famous “evil empire” speech -- “Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America. America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Our challenge, then, is to dwell more in the light than in the shadow and become like the teachers whose inner light stimulates young people to grow and flourish and the pastors whose guiding light does the same for their congregations.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Guess it will depend on what a person thinks their shadows might be. One person's shadow may not be the seen as a shadow at all to another person.

Anonymous said...

What a clown. Yeah, let's lump in Bibi - leader of the Middle East's only functioning democracy - and Sisi - who took his country back from the Muslim Brothwrhood - with murdering tyrants like Putin and that fanatic Erdogan.

Crawford lacks judgment and credibility.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish: Did Bill Minor turn down your offer to be a guest correspondent?

Anonymous said...

I agree. There is a dangerous trend in the world toward more hateful and violent politics. I know it's cliche and not entirely applicable, but the mood reminds me a lot of what I understand the Weimar Republic, or even the Roman Republic, was like prior to the rise of strongmen able to capitalize on the discontent and anger. I hope I'm wrong, but it sure seems like the cycle of world history is moving closer to the next huge conflict. I think the human collective just yearns for that every so often. God help us.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Bill. Those who are but dimly aware of what you speak are squirming, but don't know why.

Anonymous said...

"The human collective". Neat. Speaking of cliche.

Of Foot Candles and Lumens.. said...

4:26; Methinks you have confused the posting rants of a dim bulb with the awareness level of those who covet true light.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the leaders who are calling for a halt to the invasions(s) (and violence) from the savages of the 7th century are the folks with the dark side to be concerned about. I guess submitting to the continuation of the invasion(s)/violence from the "peaceful" savages of islam is a sign of a lack of a dark side. Interesting. (Is that you Barack?)

Anonymous said...

Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For those who really are concerned about being a Christian and truly loving your fellow man, you would see that what is being said is the truth. Yet we keep listening with itchy ears to those who will destroy the body and the souls.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:28pm

well said!

51 North.. said...

As I reread this again on New Year's first day at 3:30 a.m., in the simplest of correlations I could not help but see Madison County politics. When good men are consumed by their inner serpent in order to achieve their compelling shadow-goal of selfish, personal achievement.

Give a good man a little power and he becomes a tyrant...To often this is our reality.

Anonymous said...

5:48 pm: You went for the slam dunk but your words got in the way.

Anonymous said...

Trump IS the Honey Boo Boo of the Wealthy.

Anonymous said...

No, Trump is the next president of the United States.

Anonymous said...

President Tic Tac I'm not a puppet, You're the puppet. With quick incisive Chuchillian wit like that at the helm, we're in good hands.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at how many of those commented missed the point entirely.
I'm saddened by the inability to comprehend what the great philosophers through history were trying to warn us about.
I'm horrified that those who probably see themselves as Christians don't make the connection with the 7 deadly sins and the importance of looking into one's own heart to recognize those temptations in ourselves.
That one of doesn't understand history and doesn't see that what Israel is doing would be like Mexicans coming here as the policy of Mexico to outnumber us and claiming Texas, California, Arizona,and New Mexico as Mexican because they had " ancient " rights. Oh wait, you do worry about being outnumbered.
At what point in time do you want international boundaries and treaties and agreements to be honored?
What would be your view of North Korea building large settlements in the zone between North and South Korea? What should South Koreans do? These settlements aren't tit for tat for violent actions. It's seizing territory.
If you don't look at this from a world view and look at Crimea or Ukraine or South Korea and what this acceptance of such a policy could mean to them, then you are being deliberately blind.
That's why Bibi is on the list.


I Will Lead You From Darkness.. said...

12:29....Read it until you get it. Be patient, Grasshopper.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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