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By Trevor Malkinson

“The root of our restlessness is the whole evolution of the cosmos itself. When we think about ourselves and our destiny, we can't dissociate them from the destiny of the whole universe." – evolutionary theologian John Haught

At the 2010 Integral Theory Conference, I attended a presentation by Dr. Marc Gafni where he explored the core dimensions of masculine and feminine shadow. As Gafni went through his list of eight essential characteristics of masculine energy - and their attendant shadow possibilities - an explosive series of connections started to fire in my wee brain; the penny dropped, the slot machine alarms started to sound, and suddenly a hundred drinking nights from my life started to pass rapidly before my eyes. There were beer bongs, shot gunned cans, AC/DC, road trips and hazy mornings on unknown couches. Then scenes from the cult movie Fubar started to flash in my mind too, and at once I thought I'd understood the deeper motivations of the characters Terry and Deaner. In a sudden revelation, in an apokalupsis of sorts, I realized what had so often driven so many of us to just given'r (1).

But before getting to that story, a little legwork needs to be done. Firstly, for those who may be unfamiliar, what is meant by the word shadow in the paragraph above? Generally speaking, the shadow is a psychological term for aspects of our self that have been disowned or repressed by our conscious mind. To do ”˜shadow work' is to bring this material into our awareness, hopefully relieving us from its negative unconscious disruptions and re-integrating the suppressed aspects of ourselves into the totality of our conscious being. There's a rich psychological literature on the shadow, with different schools offering differing views, and it's not my intention to summarize or evaluate that body of work. For this article, I'm concerned solely with Marc Gafni's original contribution to that lineage of thought, and the important insights that I think can be drawn from it.

For Gafni our shadow is intimately related to another dimension of his work, the unique self. Somewhere on the continuum between personal ego and eternal Atman, Dr. Gafni has introduced a third dimension that he calls the “unique self”. You might say that the unique self is the flavor and character of the eternal as it pours through our own unique constellation of characteristics and into the world as form. If we can open up and be a vehicle for the animating depths of the cosmos that run through us - if we can put ourselves in alignment with Thy will- we can express this evolutionary thrust through the unique forms and capacities that make up our own (unique) perspective. We can serve the divine with the particular form that has arisen as us; we can become, as Gafni puts it, one of the divine's “infinite faces”.

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4 Responses to “Unique Shadow, Fubar Culture and the Evolving Cosmos by Trevor Malkinson”

  1. Frey

    Love your article, thank you for that. Where can I read more about the 8 shadows?
    Thank you

  2. Sebastian

    Great article brother. One of the best I have read since some time. makes me want to praise it in a million ways : ) Best wishes to you and all of us as we are rising to this new perspective upon life and the universe and our role in it.

  3. Hannah Main - van der Kamp

    A well written synopsis. But too many abstractions. Cosmogenesis: what does it mean for us today in practical terms, in the place where we are? Consciously and willingly de-stimulate our lives. Create vibrant local cultures in the Arts, agriculture, barter systems, community worship events. Reconnect with the spiritual/religious tradition of your ancestors. Study that tradition and practice it; re-imagining those aspects that no longer have voice. Reclaim the health of your body. Honour your true friends. Give utmost attention to the health of the soil. Celebrate the great occasions your journey
    from birth to death. Vote whenever possible. A prayer a day keeps you honest.

    Keep your passion and focus as you prepare for VST. best wishes, H

  4. Trevor Malkinson

    Thanks for the words everyone. Frey, I’m not sure if Marc Gafni’s work on eight shadows of the masculine and feminine are published anywhere or not. Perhaps you could drop a line to the folks here at iEvolve, and (if there’s not already something available) maybe Dr. Gafni could be persuaded to write a piece on it or something. It’s pretty rich material in my estimation, and would actually probably work well as a short book treatment too.

    Sebastien, thanks for saying “best wishes to all of us”. That statement of collectivity and solidarity warmed my heart when I read it.

    Hannah, as to abstractions, you have a point there. In this article I was trying to mainly set a mental framework or cognitive container to hold, support and embolden the cosmocentric worldview. I was also trying to make a point about shadow and where it might be showing up in our world. At the end I point to teachers offering practices for developing a cosmically oriented inner alignment, but I didn’t have the space to go into those practices or to develop a pattern for practical action in the world as you yourself offered above. I really liked what you laid out there though; my only caveat would be that I’d like to see all of what you describe informed and infused by this cosmic or evolutionary attunement.

    In terms of cosmogenesis and its practicality for our lives, as one example, you might be interested in the work of the architect Charles Jencks (whom is cited using the term above). He’s been bringing the cosmic orientation into his architecture for awhile now and is doing some really interesting stuff. You can check out his work here:
    http://www.charlesjencks.com/current.html, and- http://bit.ly/jKd8Hs

    Thanks for the engagement, best wishes to you too!

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