Osama Bin Laden – In the Light of the Shadow

“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.” ~Jung[1]

Twin Towers

Twin Towers

So, he’s dead. After a near-decade of terror-on-the-run, Osama Bin Laden is dead. 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 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 anyone who didn’t support his ideologies. 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.

Amidst the many paths we take to reach spiritual enlightenment, the reality is we live here, in the formed realm. In the Earth plane there has to be regime change, and it’s not polite handshakes, changing of guards, or moving in of new furniture. It would be nice if we had that peaceful negotiation and promise of bliss, and if everyone got a long. The thing is, if taking this guy out puts us a step closer to having that, so be it.

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

[1] “Psychology and Religion” (1938). In CW 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East. P.131