The dark side

I was talking with a friend the other day about how freeing it can be to explore the dark side: the evil, rage, hatred, violence, ugliness that dwells just below the surface of things, ourselves too.

But it’s hard to explore it with openness, equanimity, passion. Dangerous to our self images and the images we have of others and the world. Scary!

Are we up to the challenge, or would it be better to leave Pandora’s Box unopened?

Why think of it as a challenge or Pandora’s Box? If I can’t bring the brain to order, relieve it of its limited condition, who am I to descend into the dungeon of darkness without a light? If I can open Pandora’s box, why, knowing what it is, would I be tempted to do it?

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Well there’s great energy in Pandora’s Box. And potential insights waiting to happen, insights now prevented by repression. (I know that, to whatever extent, from experience peering into the Box and from reading people like Jung who shared their explorations and findings in the Box.) The mix that I feel of curiosity and anticipation of learning make the prospect of exploring the Box very appealing.

But I get why you might not want to join me, reminds me a bit of why I won’t risk psychedelics.

Now that’s Pandora’s Box! You dare no go into it without Love.!


Apologies for the rather lame cartoon, but it made me chuckle :smiling_face:

I feel it is a valuable conversation to have, as long as we don’t completely neglect discussing the other business of pure attention elsewhere.

They may be related too: K sometimes talked about bringing the energy and vitality of pure attention into the ‘darkness’ of fear, loneliness, sorrow, etc.

Me too! Pure dark, pure light, and everything in-between: Kinfonet!

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I remember mentioning this on an older thread somewhere, but Pandora’s Box can also be understood to be a story about hope.

In the Greek story Zeus trapped a number of spirits in a jar before giving it to the first female human being, Pandora.

When Pandora opened the jar all the spirits at once flew out, bringing terrible destruction to the world.

All except for one spirit, Hope (in Greek ‘Elpis’, a young maiden bearing flowers :bouquet:), who stayed behind to give hope to humanity.


Is one way of approaching this topic to consider the difference, the gap, the tension, between the image or ideal of how we want ourselves to be (including how we want others to see us), and how we actually are?

Sounds like it’s a good way in, how about you get this foray started?

Doesn’t it depend on our awareness of how we actually are?

The less self-knowledge, the more inflated the ego and one’s expectations.

Yes, self-awareness is a must here.

In reflecting on fear, envy and jealousy (over on the ‘time-thought’ thread), it seems to me obvious that I would rather have an image of myself as someone who does not feel fear, envy or jealousy.

So feeling these feelings is a threat to my self-image. Because they undermine the preferred image of myself there is a tendency to ignore, or unconsciously avoid, fully being aware of these states.

Isn’t it this habit - which is reinforced by the judgements of wider society - that creates what is being called here ‘the dark side’?

It is the side (or sides) to oneself of which one is usually unaware, or about which one avoids awareness. Which is why it is left in the dark.

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Even the pleasure and comfort side of the Dark/Evil side?

I don’t know. Shall we step up for the challenge, and stop when it’s not a challenge anymore?

Definitely! The whole spectrum.

Have we started already? Are we aware of our dark side in the present moment?

As James explained, our dark side is what the brain’s PC conditioning chooses to be less self-aware of, so would the brain propose to explore what the brain chooses to be unaware of, or would it begin the exploration peremptorily?

I think that depends on the brain. The act of proposing and diving in is nontrivially* different.

* for James

Of course, and the brain that proposes to explore what it is hiding from itself is hesitating to do what obviously needs to be done.

Does the brain need to hide anything about itself from itself? If so, who/what authorized the brain to do this?

Are you talking about my proposing to journey into the deep end of the pool in this thread, saying that the proposing is an indicator that I don’t really want to do the deep dive? If you are, my response would be: How else am I going to start a group discussion about individual and collective darkness? How are any specific discussions started here or anywhere else without intention?

If starting a discussion matters more to you than finding out what you’re hiding, how serious can you be? Unless, that is, you’re not hiding anything; that you have no dark side and you’re selflessly acting to help us…