There’s nothing new about scandals and our unflagging interest in them. Their manifestations shift focus from one interest group to another but the shame and guilt of what they’re trying, sometimes quite successfully, to hide, remains much the same. Whether it be intelligence agencies hiding torture, Boy Scouts, churches and public broadcasters hiding pedophiles, or athletes and their organizations hiding the doping, we seem to see the same cast of characters, fictional constructs and fanatically ruthless ambitions at play.
If by concealing the shadow activities success is either achieved or maintained, then the concealment will continue for years. and maybe decades, until some courageous critics or victims step forward to expose the deceit. Why does it take such overwhelming courage to allow light in on the shadows? Is it the power of shame and guilt? I think it is. Ruthless ambition, lust for sex, power, money, celebrity and influence are all generated in the shadow self and shared with co-conspirators in their shadow selves. It’s the darkness of unseemly desires that guides us to hide in that darkness, afraid to emerge.
And it’s all the unsavory details currently emerging about the Lance Armstrong and Jimmy Saville scandals that have conjured up my interest. One can see, even at this early stage of the unfolding, that silent or silenced witnesses became enablers of the conspiracy. No-one wanted, or dared, to speak out or up. No-one wanted to see the elephant in the room, no one wanted to state that the emperor had no clothes. Everyone conspired, either actively or by silence, to conceal. Just like all the other public scandals where everyone seems to have status, power, or money to lose, or some much vaunted organization to protect.
Do organizations have a being above and beyond their current members, a sanctified existence worth preserving? Well, while outsiders may consider them either expendable or well-worth extinguishing, their members inevitably think so. And its those members, scuttling about in the darkness of their cover-ups, who strive mightily to keep the shadow where they think it belongs: in the shadows.
Of course, these public, or shared shadows, are merely extensions of the personal shadow, which has been delineated often and well by other writers. As journeyers along the inner path of unfolding we are constantly discovering other blobs of shadow in what we thought was well lit. There are depths and there are further depths. Past lives where the lower chakras, with all their fears and desires, ruled. Where the sanctity of self-preservation justified all manner of ruthless and selfish behaviour. We know we have to embrace the totality of these shadows to emerge, fully formed from our chrysalis into the radiance of illumination.
We know that each thought of vengeance and vitriol must be expressed and acknowledged, if only in the imagination. We know that each violent impulse, each destructive behaviour pattern must be fully embraced so that it will not be projected unconsciously onto ever-so-guilty others. We know that we contain every unpleasant emotion and thought, and that they are a functioning part of our completed self, that being who will, one day, graduate from this Earth experience to find new adventures elsewhere. As will those who yet dwell in their shameful, guilty, shadow selves.