Jungian Shadow in movies and games

You know the feeling when you are watching a movie and it just catches your attention — a bad guy against the good guy, a “chaos vs order” fight is going on, a yin-yang fight for the harmony. There is a reason why that happens —manifestation of Jungian Archetypes, that stimulate primordial parts of your psyché. We are gonna take a quick look at one of them.

Shadow

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Facing your shadow. You win only if you don’t fight it. Prince of persia (1989)

You can see the concept most easily in the movie Fight Club (1999). Materialistic capitalistic man is not capable to attain his higher ideals (if he even has any), so he develops an alter ego — except the “person” was in him all along. He just suppressed that part of himself for so long that it had to get out in some way. Tyler Durden is created. Only after a long struggle the main hero “comes to terms” (well, kind of) with his Shadow side and integrates it. Only then he becomes his true individual Self (with a hole in his cheek — that symbolism shows you that you cannot “just integrate” your Shadow without sacrificing a piece of yourself).

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Fight Club (1999)

The Dark Knight (2008) — an absolute classic. The manifestation of chaos, the “Joker” (who is also a very clearly the “Joker” archetype…) faces his polar opposite, Batman. Batman is so called “superego”, Bruce Wayne is “ego” and Joker is the “Shadow”. Bruce Wayne aims to be his ideal Self, the Batman; at the same time, Joker has very interesting ideas that Bruce has to accept in himself in order to become his fully authentic Self. The conversation between them is a honorable compliment to Heat (1995), where a very similar conversation takes place (chaos vs order — in the middle is Tao, the Way to be; the silver lining; state of harmony and individual Being).

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Heath Ledger got so immersed into the chaos/Joker/Shadow, that he got lost in the Abyss.
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Heat (1995) — Al Pacino vs De Niro. Order vs Chaos. I believe that the ketchup bottle got sold in an auction afterwards.

Another classic “Shadow integration”, (SPOILER ahead!) or perhaps multiple-personality movie, is Who Am I — No System is Safe (2014). It is about a computer hacker with a similar aim as Tyler Durden.

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Who Am I, ready to break into German “NSA”

“If we want our witch back we write about her; if we want our spiritual guide back we write about the spiritual guide rather than passively experience the guide in another person” — Robert Bly, Little book on human shadow

Writing about your Shadow will help you see it more clearly and befriend it. Notice your resentments, analyze your dreams and create art — all of those things will put you on a way to individuation.

Let your deficiencies burn off like dead wood. Shed the unnecessary parts of yourself like a snake sheds its skin. Burn your old self like a phoenix and rise from the ashes.

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Rise and shine, Mister Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes. Half Life (1998)

Written by

INTP, Master’s degree in comp-sci, Creator, indie game developer, director, writer, photographer. I like BJJ, Jungian psychology, mythology and memes.

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