The “Hero” versus the “Villain”

This past weekend I went to the movie theater to see “The Dark Knight Rises”.  Along with this I, along with many other Americans, have heard the news about the shooting that took place in Aurora, Colorado following one of the late opening shows for this movie (or at least I think it was one of the opening shows — someone in America who has followed the news more closely is very welcome to correct me).  Naturally, the comments from the public I see are all relatively similar with making comments of “How could somebody do something like that” and other comments of basically condoning the shooter and considering him “evil”.  After watching this movie based around this imaginative idea of a “superhero” and then seeing this circumstance unfold it provoked a realizations on the concept of “hero” versus “evil”.

I’m sure that everyone can relate to having dreams of being chased by some scary figure — either in childhood and, in some cases, still in adulthood.  We’ve all had this scary figuring chasing us up and hill and through a scary building and fearful of ever actually confronting this person and trying to test if something bad will actually happen.  Some people that have done studies on dreams do actually encourage the dreamer to confront their chaser because often the underlying purpose for dreams like this is a fear of being attacked.  Though, like in all disturbing dreams, the reality is that you are laying peacefully in your bed and there is nobody attacking you.  The only thing that is trying to “attack” you is an aspect of your own self.  It is something that exists within you and you react to it with fear.

Perhaps this “scary figure” could be symbolized as a person’s “shadow” as Carl Jung calls it (and I strong encourage readers to read “The Shadow Effect” by Debbie Ford and Deepak Chopra for greater understanding than my vague explanation).  The shadow is basically the part within each of ourselves that we have repressed and considered “bad” based on the beliefs that society and our culture has taught us.  For example, you may have a politician who is an advocate of banning prostitution, yet one day he gets caught for sleeping with prostitutes.  Naturally, society would call him a “hypocrite” and so on but there’s truly a very deep and, in fact, enlightening realization that we can learn from this: He was an advocate for banning prostitution because, more than likely, his family and culture told him “This is bad”.  This caused and continued to cause him to repress himself and then look to himself as “bad” for even having a desire to go against what is socially “good”.  As a result rather than being honest, accepting, and loving for himself he hides this part and then sneaks away with prostitutes to satisfy his drive but does it secretly in hopes to not feel the shame.  The trouble is, it eventually catches up to him.

It’s likely that this same exact thing happened to the shooter in this tragedy in Aurora, Colorado.  Now, I’m not saying that he was repressing the part of himself that said “I want to kill people” but rather that he was likely his own inner depression, lack of self-love, lack of feelings of love and support from his environment, financial pressures, occupation pressures, and just overall lack of satisfaction of life which was caused by feelings that it isn’t okay to simply be himself.

Is the shadow something that only people that kill, cheat, steal, etc. have?  Certainly not, as it is a part of every signal one of us and when the public reacts to these situations in now calling such a person a “hypocrite”, “villain”, “evil”, etc. it only reinforces the initial: Judgement.  And I can say that from what I’ve learned in doing tarot for myself, for others, and my own experiences is this: Love and judgement cannot co-exist.  If you are judging a person, you are preventing yourself from loving them.  If you are loving a person completely, you are free of judgement.

This is not an easy thing to do, but it is certainly something that we should keep in mind and remember in our day to day lives and we will make our lives easier for ourselves.

Now, jumping back to the “Superhero” and “Villain” concept: Because of our shadow selves, this collective view of a “hero” and a “villain” that we see in dreams, and along with our instinctual “fight or flight” response we have the tendency to always view things as a competition.  I will comment that this can be more of an issue for men than women, with the reason being that men instinctively react with a “fight” (offensive) response while women more often react  in “flight” (defensive) response.  It makes sense when you think back to the days when we had to fight for our food, but its not quite as necessary in our now technologically advanced societies.

Because of all this, we have the tendency to live our lives with a “us” versus “them”.  Or a “good” versus “evil”.  Or a “hero” versus “villain”.  But how can we define a person as being “good” or “bad”?  And does that give us any justification for judgment onto them?  Does it actually cause any ultimate good?  No — it only continues a cycle of competition, of one blaming another and no genuine love in existence.

The idea of a “hero” and a “villain” is only an illusion that we have created in our human minds, which ultimately just limits us.  Of course, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t conflict in the world but rather that we are the cause of the conflict — each and every day.  After all, who else exists and “runs” this world other than humans?  The truth is that there is no competition, there never was and there never will be — because from a universal and spiritual perspective we are all equals. 

My prayers go out to the families of the victims and well as for the shooter himself.  It is my only hope that these tragedies influence others to realize this cycle of stagnancy and pain we have caused ourselves by choosing judgement over love.

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About Jennifer Twardowski

Jennifer is a graduate student in transpersonal counseling psychology. Her interests are in personality typology (MBTI, Enneagram, Jungian typology), expressive arts, dreams, yoga, tarot and oracle cards, world religions, dance, photography, gardening, floral design, and more!

Posted on July 23, 2012, in Dreams, Love, Mind, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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