Hero or the Victim

Foreground and the background

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407


April 15, 2020

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst



Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist

In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.

Something that strikes me about the object may very well be a real property of that object. But the more subjective and emotional this impression is, the more likely it is that the property will be a projection…. Here it frequently happens that the object offers a hook to the projection, and even lures it out. (Jung, 1960b, p. 273)

When I look at this photo, I struggle to focus on the stamen of the hibiscus. My eyes habitually pay more attention to the petals behind it. The subjective leads me away from the foreground and pulls me to the familiar background. When I admire flowers, my admiration leans to the petals’ shapes and colors. It is only when I photograph them that I pay attention to the fullness of the blossom and its parts.

In contrast to what I do, I imagine the bees and butterflies have an opposing view. They are looking for nectar and pollen to be harvested. The petals are a guide but not the destination. Their attraction to the flower leads them to physical nourishment. My attraction feeds my desire to witness and photograph beauty.

I appreciate the interaction between foreground and background. There are times when everything can be in focus, but I often blur one or the other. It depends on the ‘hook” and the “projection” lured out.

Life is a screen. Our Soul projects its’ program onto our outer life and our inner life. The Archetypal GPS, or the personal myth we live by currently determines our subjective and our objective worldview. If we are confronted by a crisis or a challenge that calls for an archetypal program outside of our default program, we regress to using the scripts of the impersonal, Collective Unconscious. Once the forces of the Deep Unconscious are at play, they are usually Bipolar; and only one pole can be the Sovereign. The other pole would be Subservient. It takes Ego Consciousness and the power of Will, Choice and Courage to unite them optimally to respond to the crisis.

This Archetypal drama is playing out in the current COVAD-19 Crisis for each one of us. Some of us may be living out of the Lover archetype, others from the Mentor and yet others from the Mother or the Father archetypal program. But when all is said and done, a crisis response calls primarily for the HERO ARCHETYPE. This Heroic response must be supported by the symphony of the other archetypes: e.g., the Lover, the Parent, the Leader, the Mentor and the Trickster/Diplomat etc. However, those who have to brush up their inner HERO from the depths of our Psyche must do so for Survival and Altruism; protecting themselves and others. While those of us who get caught in this Hero/Victim archetypal Split may regress to the Victim mode. This would be detrimental to their adaptation and decimate their value-added contribution to the Society in crisis. To claim access to the INNER HERO, must be a conscious choice. Then we will get the tail winds of the Gods.

While it may be tempting to focus on the beautiful petals of a lovely flower, it is time to go to the Stem of our inner HERO and respond from that program to the current crisis. Then we will be able to protect the beautiful flower, the precious and the best of Humanity. If we respond from the other side of this coin from a place of the VICTIM, we will regress to our lowest instincts and trample the flower, the sense of community, the interrelatedness that is the foundation of the family, community and this human clan.

Each one of us has an INNER HERO in us. This is the Time for the Hero to step into the Foreground. Let us respond from that archetypal program. United there is little we cannot do.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. What projection is lured out by Covid-19?
  2. How are foreground and background influenced by it?
  3. How do you stop your usual view to refocus?
  4. How has the pandemic affected your self-perception?
  5. What influence has Covid-19 had on your emotional connections?
  6. Is your Inner Hero or the Inner Victim in the drivers’ seat of your response to the COVAD-19 pandemic?
  7. How is the Inner Hero manifesting in your choices and actions?
  8. Is the Inner Victim lingering about: and how is it sabotaging your response to the crisis?
  9. Can you put your Inner Hero in charge? (Note: you may Fake the Hero, till you sprint your way to the inner Hero program in you!)

Photo taken in Los Angeles, CA.

Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche. New York: Pantheon Books.


© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.