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Mod. 4.3 - I Am You Are We

The Indian sage, Ramana Maharishi, was once asked, "How are we to treat others?" He replied, "There are no others".

Take a moment to read Carl Jung and the Shadow: The Hidden Power of our Dark Side. What can the ways in which we see others and the world teach us about ourselves? Could what strikes us about others and the world offer valuable clues regarding our less-examined self-perceptions and shadow-projections?

  • What do you particularly like, admire, and appreciate in others?

  • What do you especially dislike, or get aggravated by in others?

Reflect on what these observations tell you about yourself in the forum below.


As I get older, I see how my worldview differs greatly from those around me. My assumptions about others are regularly proven wrong and as a result, I am forced to look at people as they are, rather than how I perceive or desire for them to be. For example, last night someone in my 4-unit apartment building spilled a beverage in the common-shared hallway and didn’t clean it up. My assumption that a delivery person spilling the drink would either find towels to clean up the spill or that my neighbor would see the spill and clean it up were both proven incorrect. If I were to view this example through the lens of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or the frame of a shadow self, I wouldn’t claim this spill as a nefarious, evil plot by which one’s shadow self is validated through evil actions, but it still serves as an illuminating personal reminder for me to view people based on their actions, not my assumptions of who they might be.

There are many qualities I admire in others, but I’ve learned that what I truly look for in others are the qualities and values I try to uphold myself. Standing up for the marginalized, being brave in spaces where bravery doesn’t appear needed or valued, empathy, etc. It is when I see these qualities on display that I truly gain admiration for someone. By contrast, anyone who acts in a manner that demonstrates a desire to control or dominate a space, lack of self-awareness, and a lack of appreciation for those around them, garner my disapproval and often my judgment.

I try to live by the idea of “Be the person you want to see in the world” and in comparison, I also try to call out the areas or examples in which others demonstrate how the person they are demonstrates the type of world they want to see, and how pure self-interest and greed create a limited mindset that more and more is seen as incorrect and out of touch. The concept of Teal Organizations functioning like an ecosystem as theorized by Frederic LaLoux has many parallels here to one’s personal morality. If we view ourselves as focused purely on one goal either in pursuit of self, or even family, we fail to see the bigger picture and ecosystem of people striving to do the exact same thing. As Mary McCarthy famously stated “We are the hero of our own story.” This framing of our individual lives being a heroic pursuit necessitates that every other character in our lives is either on our side as the hero’s ally or an enemy on the other side. The first four layers of LaLoux’s five layered organizational framework encompasses and demonstrates the limitations of this understanding and suggests a more organic viewpoint in which individuals move away from viewing themselves as “heroes” and move towards seeing themselves as part of a larger ecosystem. Consequently, I believe this framework also suggests a shift in how individuals move away from judgment to a space of curiosity, because we see ourselves in others, rather than as strangers or enemies.

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