XII. Evil and the Singularity Archetype — Five Aspects

Zap Oracle Card #423
Stencil graffiti found in underpass walkway in Boulder

“There is no such thing in nature as an H-Bomb, that is all man’s doing. We are the great danger. The psyche is the great danger.”

– C.G. Jung69

MANY encounters with the Singularity Archetype and many creative manifestations of the Singularity Archetype as cultural products like novels and movies are infused with darkness that often intensifies into virulent evil. The problem of evil and a survey of the numerous philosophical positions concerning it is, of course, beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say that dark and light seem to be inextricable aspects of human experience. Since the Singularity Archetype is part of the human experience, it should come as no surprise that it, too, has dark and light aspects. For the purposes of this section, I will put aside the general philosophical, spiritual, and ethical questions involved in the problem of evil, dualism, etc, and focus on five aspects I’ve observed about the relationship between evil and the Singularity Archetype.

69 From Jung on Elementary Psychology (1979).

I. Archetype Possession

The first aspect, becoming possessed by an archetype, was discussed in the two previous chapters on the Book of Revelation and Heaven’s Gate. When people become possessed by archetypes, they will often act out in ways harmful or fatal to themselves and others. They are living out the collective unconscious while walking around in the waking, surface world. While still able to navigate the 3D world of physical objects, they may also project onto the world a dream or nightmare playing itself out deep in their psyche.

One of the classic signs that someone is possessed by an archetype is that he or she feels an intense need to proselytize. As Jung pointed out, the need to proselytize tends to indicate a severe psychic imbalance and the need to spread the contagion. Archetype-possessed people tend toward both megalomania and messianic fervor. Archetypes are highly energetic, so when one bubbles up into the waking personality, a tremendous amount of energy comes with it. Remember the description of Applewhite and Nettles as “magnets.” The intense infusion of archetypal energy typically causes a huge ego inflation. The archetype-possessed person feels he has been selected for a special destiny and has been shown something no one else has seen before. This may set him off on a mission to “save the world.” Once Freud was asked if, when he was younger, he thought he would save the world. “No,” replied Freud, “the sadistic part of my nature was never that strong.” For many archetype-possessed people, the sadistic part of their nature is that strong, and the archetypal energy may light up a power complex in them which will allow them to become crusaders feeling morally virtuous as they attempt to violently remake the world to accord with their archetype-possessed vision.

As Jung put it,

“More than one sorcerers apprentice has drowned in the waters called up by himself — if he did not first succumb to the saving delusion that this wisdom was good and that was bad. It is from these adepts that there come those terrifying invalids who think they have a prophetic mission. For the artificial sundering of true and false wisdom creates a tension in the psyche, and from this there arises a loneliness and a craving like that of the morphine addict, who always hopes to find companions in his vice. When our natural inheritance has been dissipated, then… with Luciferian presumption the intellect usurps the seat where once the spirit was enthroned.”

Turn on the evening news or scan newspaper headlines and you are bound to find numerous people, religious or secular, who perfectly fit Jung’s description: “those terrifying invalids who think they have a prophetic mission.”

When I first began writing about the Singularity Archetype in 1978 at the age of 20 in a philosophy honors paper70, I recognized that I was somewhat possessed by the archetype myself. I wasn’t fully possessed, of course, because I was conscious of it. In fact, I included the above Jung quote in my paper and cautioned the reader:

“This could obviously be applied as a note of warning against taking the phenomenon observed in this paper, or my own interpretations, too literally. I, like most or all of those who have created the works I analyze, am a product of modern society and am relatively out of touch with the archetypes. Having glimpsed only a single archetype and approaching it with my intellect, I am in danger, according to Jung, of becoming one of those ‘invalids who think they have a prophetic mission.’ Therefore, the reader, who is no doubt equally a product of modern society, and out of touch with the collective unconscious, must be cautioned against accepting the phenomenon observed, or my own interpretations, as in any way prophetic.”

I took my own warning quite seriously, and shortly after I graduated, during a phase of intensified research into the Singularity Archetype, I began a six-year Jungian analysis. I knew that I needed to sort out what aspects were related to my personal unconscious and what parts were universal aspects of the phenomenon.

II. Novelty Intensifies Light and Darkness

Many years ago, I formulated a key principle: When novelty intensifies, when there is a time of great transformation, the outer edges of light and dark both tend to intensify. As Sophocles said, “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” Or, as a Tom Robbins character put it: “You don’t get a big top without a big bottom.” When this novelty intensification occurs, change, in the form of punctuated equilibrium and shock, is unavoidable.

III. Xenophobic Immunology

One of the reasons why shock is necessary is that organisms tend to be, and usually need to be, conservative. They need to defend homeostasis to survive. If something novel or unknown enters your bloodstream, your white blood cells are programmed to attack it. When the ego and the–

70 The full text of this essay, “Archetypes of a New Evolution,” is available at ZapOracle.com.

–existing social order encounter the Singularity Archetype; they correctly register it as a potent mutagen. Mutagenic forces, such as radiation, are usually toxic, and therefore the ego and the social order are likely to have an immunological response to mutagenic forms of novelty. While some people will follow and be magnetized by those possessed by the Singularity Archetype, others will recognize them as a threat and have an immunological response. An immunological response to archetype-possessed persons is often warranted. Unfortunately, many people will also have an immunological response to genuinely valuable aspects or personifications of the Singularity Archetype. For example, many people come back from NDEs spiritually transformed and imbued with priceless wisdom. Doctors, friends, and family, however, will often respond to these offerings with dismissal or derision, and many experiencers will retreat into silence.

Sometimes the xenophobic immunological response comes from the very psyche that brings forward a manifestation of the Singularity Archetype. We saw this, for example, in John Wyndham’s novel, The Midwich Cuckoos. The ego fears that the metamorphosis signaled by the Singularity Archetype will destroy or transform it beyond its ability to recognize itself. We can glance at the news and find many examples of this sort of reactionary immunological response. For example, modernity allows more empowered roles for women, but this positive form of novelty has also become a key force motivating Islamic fundamentalists who would like to bring the world back to a Seventh Century Caliphate.

After a caterpillar has built its cocoon and begun the process of metamorphosis, the new cells it generates are called “imaginal cells.” They resonate at a different frequency and are so drastically different than the old cells that the caterpillar’s immune system attacks them as if they were foreign invaders. Eventually, the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough, and they begin to take over.71 Much of the evil associated with the Singularity Archetype is actually competition between old and new life forms.

IV. Patriarchal/Military-Industrial Complex vs. The Mutant

This aspect is really just a subset of the one above, but it is such a consistent mythological theme that it deserves special mention. The variations of this theme are endless, so I’ll give a few key examples. The Medusa Touch is a novel and also a popular movie about a man with great paranormal powers. He is deeply resentful of the existing social order and uses his abilities to destroy iconic representations of the patriarchal order, such as a space mission and a church where British royalty and high government officials are in attendance.

71 For more on this process, see the oracle card, “Metamorphosis,” available at ZapOracle.com.

The film Akira is a classic of Japanese anime that is filled with every key aspect of the Singularity Archetype, including Homo gestalt and Logos Beheld. Akira, the eponymous mutant of the story, is so powerful and mutagenic that his cells must be stored in an underground vault at absolute zero. If even a single one of his cells reanimates, it threatens the military-industrial complex of post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo. A common variation is that the military-industrial complex will create mutants or attempt to harness the power of spontaneously occurring mutants but will tend to lose control of them as they become more aware of how they are being exploited. The novel and movie The Fury and the movie Scanners are classic examples. Yet another variation is that there is a society where a military-industrial complex is in control but is threatened by the awakening of a mutant or mutants. The ruling power will often be portrayed as a parasitic force that needs to keep the host asleep so that it can continue harvesting its energy. An excellent example of this variation is the cultural-milestone movie The Matrix, where artificially intelligent machines have taken over the planet and keep human beings alive only to harvest their energy. An illusory matrix is created to keep humans from becoming aware of what is going on. A single awakened mutant named Neo threatens the entire power structure.

V. Power Corrupts and Weaponized Parapsychic Power Corrupts Absolutely

Many Singularity Archetype stories are variations on this theme. When mutants discover they have parapsychic powers, the temptation to use them for unworthy aims is often irresistible. This tendency combines with feelings of superiority until the mutant becomes a diabolical puppet master. Because their ability to control others does not require the use of any external agency but is something they can do directly from their psyches, what might otherwise be an internal neurotic power complex instead becomes externalized through unconscious or conscious processes. The boundary or firewall that normally exists between dark impulses and acting them out is nonexistent, and the outer world becomes an extension of the psyche.

As I described in “Archetypes of a New Evolution,” Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy involves a mutant who becomes a conqueror of the universe and calls himself “The Mule ” — a name that has, in my mind at least, an association with “the Beast” of Revelation. The Mule, we learn, is capable of adjusting human emotional balance. He can, for example, create the emotion of blind loyalty in an entire world. In a reflective moment, the Mule describes his powers,

“The whole notion of my unusual power seems to have broken on me so slowly, in such sluggish steps. Even toward the end, I couldn’t believe it. To me, men’s minds are dials, with pointers that indicate the prevailing emotion. It is a poor picture, but how else can I explain it? Slowly, I learned that I could reach into those minds and turn the pointer to the spot I wished, that I could nail it there forever. And then it took even longer to realize that others could not.” [Foundation and Empire, 214]

One character, assessing the power of the Mule, makes a succinct case for the competition of old and new life forms that we discussed earlier: “If the Second Foundation should not beat the Mule, it is bad — ultimately bad. It is the end, maybe, of the human race as we know it… If the Mule’s descendants inherit his mental powers… Homo sapiens could not compete. There would be a new dominant race — a new aristocracy — with Homo sapiens demoted to slave labour as an inferior race.” [214]

Movie poster prototype painting by Gary Morrow

The Power is a novel by Frank M. Robinson that was also made into a popular movie in 1968. A heroic protagonist named Tanner, played by George Hamilton in the film, is in pursuit of an evil man named Adam Hart, who has powerful mutant abilities. Tanner realizes that Hart “had one simple terrible gift. He could make people do what he wanted them to.” In the denouement, Tanner wins a life-or-death parapsychic battle with Hart. At that point, Tanner realizes that he possesses similar powers to Hart. In my 1978 paper, I describe this denouement as follows:

“The book’s conclusion speaks for itself, but note especially how Tanner refers to Marge, his former fiancé, who is now sobbing on the ground and looking at him with an expression that ‘was a curious mixture of loathing and repulsion and desire and awe .’

It was funny, Tanner thought. Human beings, when they thought of the superman, invariably gifted him with superhuman morality, a lust for personal power was not supposed to be one of his vices. But it hadn’t applied to Adam Hart.

And it didn’t apply to him.

He stood there in the darkness and shed his human identity like a snake shed its skin. He glanced at the animal that was crying a few feet away from him, then turned on his heel and strode towards the entrance, ignoring the wind and the rain and the exhaustion that had, after all, been only a human exhaustion.

Outside was the sleeping city, the lights glowing dimly in highways and across the continents until they spanned the whole vast globe itself.

The thought occurred to him, then as it must have to Adam Hart years before.

It was going to be fun to play God.

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