I believe archetypal evil exists, based on my experience in helping people navigate the depths of the human psyche. For evil to exist as an archetype means that it is part of the innate structure of the psyche. Jung’s position on archetypal evil remains unclear. “Evil is not quite, or not always, archetypal for Jung . . .” (Jung on Evil selected by Murray Stein, p.7). However, more and more modern Jungians postulate archetypal evil’s existence, hence the book The War of the Gods in Addiction: C.G. Jung, AA, and Archetypal Evil by David E. Schoen.
Monks in Disguise
Through Jungian theory and convenient psychologizing, demons have been reduced to autonomous complexes. However, ancient Christian monks took evil and demons seriously. “The opponent of the monk was the unambiguously evil demon” (Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity by David Brakke, p.5).
Are all writers with a deep spiritual calling monks in disguise? As writer monks, is the following Bible verse the essence of our struggle? “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12, KJV).
In the film No Country for Old Men Anton Chigurh is the personification of archetypal evil. This movie is a gripping, horrific tale that portends worse things to come. It is rich with symbolism and darkly brilliant. My daughter, Christina, wrote a fascinating essay on No Country for Old Men for her film class at Sheffield Hallam University in England. She thoroughly examines many different facets of the film including archetypal evil. Read her essay for insights about archetypal evil and enjoy the essay in its entirety. Christina’s essay will be the guest post next week.
Photo Credit: REMBRANDT Harmenszoon van Rijn Titus in a Monk’s Habit by Ochus B at Flickr Creative Commons.