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Kelley Harrell

Kelley Harrell

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Osama Bin Laden: In the Light of the Shadow

Posted: 05/ 4/11 02:40 PM ET

"Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected."
--Jung1

So, he's dead. After a near-decade of terror on the run, Osama bin Laden is dead. The bitter irony is that the announcement came the same day that the death of Adolph Hitler was made public in 1945. I remember watching the second tower when it was struck. I remember watching the ego and hopes of a nation reduced to rubble in seconds. We will never forget it; we can never forget it. I also remember feeling distinctly attuned to "doing the right thing" in how we responded -- that our reactions honor those who died in the cultural shadow that is the twin towers. I remember feeling very let down by our response. I remember not wanting the days of war that spawned shortly after, or how those days have now turned into years.

I don't celebrate death -- anyone's -- not even that of a sociopathic criminal intent on the subjugation of those who didn't support his ideologies, nor the deaths of those who died on 9/11 and through the years of terror before and after, nor those who died trying to find him and end his horrific reign. Yet, I clearly feel no guilt over the loss of him, and no grief for the loved ones who survive him. I don't even feel guilty for that lack, and this perhaps, should bother me most. Only in that uncomfortable realization do I find compassion and remember that I am as human as he, even if I struggle to believe that. I am also as human as those whom he hated and killed.

Amidst the many paths we take to reach spiritual enlightenment, the reality is that we live here, in the formed realm. As much as we may dislike it, we can't avoid its rules. In the Earth plane, there has to be regime change, and it's not born of polite handshakes, the changing of guards or the moving in of new furniture. It would be nice if we had that peaceful negotiation and promise of bliss, and if everyone got along. The thing is, if taking this guy out puts us a step closer to having that, so be it. I don't judge the hope of that possibility anymore than I judge those relieved by his death.

It's not so much that he's dead. It's that in the absence of his polarizing and commanding fanaticism, a few more people will live.

References:
1. "Psychology and Religion" (1938). In "CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East," p. 131.

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This piece originally appeared on Intentional Insights.com and Kelley Harrell.com.

 

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