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  • Writer's pictureJanika Byington

Splitting Yourself

Updated: Sep 3, 2022

Overcoming dualism allows you to become a whole person.

Culture has an obsession with human duality. The story of Jekyll and Hyde is about isolating and eliminating the "evil" self that is driven by violence, base passions, and desires. Another representation of that duality is an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, whispering temptation and conscience. The Incredible Hulk is an alternate incarnation of the struggle between animalistic (unintelligent) force and controlled reason. All these archetypes are similar to Freud's Id versus Superego.


Repressed Desires

All of this implies that there is a drive, or force within humans that is inherently evil or dangerous that must be strictly controlled, whether by potions, will/reason, or religious / government regulation.

In rigidly moralistic societies, the duality battle is about isolating and eliminating the evil force so the person can be entirely good. For example, if the person does what the angel says, *poof* the devil disappears. Jekyll and Hyde was a late Victorian Era novel that explored the idea that the evil element may be more difficult to control when isolated and repressed. This reflected the extreme moral rigidity of the Victorian era and the social repercussions that were becoming evident from a repressive society.


Repressive Governments

On the other hand, cultures that still assume this duality, but tend toward the nature of man as being predominantly evil, will regulate through guilt or by appealing to comfort, pleasure, or safety to prevent uprisings or maintain social structure. Where cultures view humans as evil, more government regulation and policing is required. "People suck." "Humans are greedy. They rape the earth of natural resources and take advantage of their fellow human beings."


But What if that's all Wrong?

People are driven by four different need types. None of them are evil in nature.

To be clear, there is such thing as evil, and many humans do evil things. And every person has done wrong things. However, all of those problems come from misdirected, misunderstood, or violated needs.


On the biological level, there are a variety of ways needs networks can experience poor development, damage, and disorder that will negatively impact individual well being and the sense of capacity to meet personal needs. It is these functional flaws that cause disruption and moral error.


But when we attach moral error to disorder, we amplify damage and disorder


When Jesus was asked, "Who did sin, this man or his parents?" of a man born blind (John 9:2). Jesus insisted that the flaw was not a manifestation of anyone's sin.


For the ages of humanity, science and medicine have had a hard time pinpointing the origin of mental and emotional disorders. So evil forces have been the scapegoat. The profound flaw in that reasoning is that it implies a person is infected or possessed because they are morally flawed. This adds shame and guilt to disease and disorder. Having something wrong with you does not make you bad. But when emotional needs for belonging and spiritual needs for identity and purpose are violated by attaching them to physiological flaws, the problems are amplified.


Please. Let me look into your eyes and hold your hands as I say in the full depth of sincerity, "Your struggles do not condemn you or make you unworthy of love, belonging, and meaningful purpose. You are worthy because you are infinitely valuable. Your life matters."


Even if some of your struggles are the result of your own bad choices, you are not a prisoner of your past. Eliminate black and white thinking that you and others are "all good" or "all bad." Do not split yourself. Accept that even your weakness show your strength. Your errors lead to wisdom. Perfectionistic isolation prevents us from recognizing and accepting our flaws. Ultimate growth requires radical acceptance of the whole self. (Usually it is our early life experiences that teach us to feel unworthy or shameful, so we have to let go of voices from the past that taught lies.)


Instead of splitting ourselves in a battle of good versus evil, we can recognize that we are whole. We are not one part good and one part evil. We have four parts. One part emotional. One part physical. One part intellectual. One part spiritual.

1. Learn what each of those parts of you need.

2. Believe you have the personal capacity to meet those needs.

3. Accept that all of those needs can be satisfied without contradicting the other needs, or violating the needs of others.


If you can do this, you will not be plagued with false moral dilemmas. If a large number of us can do this, we can become more whole as individuals and societies. I think it's worth a try.


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