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We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

by Gadfly McLellyn


This past summer I happened to come across the book MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS by Carl Gustav Jung. From that book I postulated the theory that the ending of the Harry Potter books would be that Harry Potter and Voldemort had to merge into one being (post 65). Most of us are aware that Jo Rowling likes to foreshadow what is coming. The sorting hat saying the houses have to unite might be foreshadowing the unifying of opposites -- Harry and Voldemort. Also, Paracelsus is mentioned twice in the books. Once in the first book as a chocolate frog card and in THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX when Peeves is going to drop a bust of Paracelsus on the next person to go up to the owlery. In another C. G. Jung book called ALCHEMICAL STUDIES, he writes about Paracelsus and behold one of the sections is named "The Union of Man's Two Natures".

In MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS, Carl Jung stated that in dreams we become aware of parts of our personality that we prefer not to acknowledge consciously. Dreams are peppered through the Harry Potter series and in ORDER OF THE PHOENIX the dreams are becoming more important. Go back through the series and see how often Harry's dreams are foreshadowing some event in the books. Carl Jung goes on to say that the unconscious and the conscious "implies the existence of two ... personalities within the same individual ....And it is the curse of modern man that many people suffer from this divided personality." (page 23 MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS) Before you dismiss this as only people in mental wards are like this, have you ever had someone complain to you about someone else and think why can't this person see they are exactly like the person they are complaining about? Oh, hi Mom. Now, if my Mom were to realize she is like the person she is complaining about then Carl Jung would call it the "realization of the shadow"; the philosophers would say "know thyself" or "an unexamined life is not worth living"; Jesus would say "take the log out of your own eye before you try to remove the sliver from your neighbor's eye." The wisdom is similar. Is it any wonder there are so many mirrors in the Harry Potter series? Mirrors are used to examine yourself.

"Dr. Jung has pointed out what the shadow cast by the conscious mind of the individual contains the hidden, repressed, and unfavorable (or nefarious) aspects of the personality ....Ego and shadow, although separate, are inextricably linked together in much the same way that thought and feeling are related to each other" MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS p118. This, I believe, is how Harry and Voldemort are linked. Realizing that there is the aspect we do know about ourselves (the ego conscious) and the aspects we refuse to recognize about ourselves (the shadow unconscious), I thought if I say symbolically that Harry is consciousness and Voldemort is unconsciousness then this would tie many things together from the Harry Potter books. For example:

1.) The prophecy makes more sense. MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS explains why neither is truly alive while the other survives. Carl Jung's basic message is a person "becomes a whole, integrated, calm, fertile and happy when the conscious and unconscious have learned to live at peace and to complement one another." (page 14 MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS) It is interesting in ORDER OF THE PHOENIX p835 when Dumbledore is about to tell Harry about the prophecy that Dumbledore says, "Five years ago you arrived at Hogwarts, Harry, safe and whole, as I had planned and attended. Well -- not quite whole." Harry and Voldemort are only surviving and not truly living. It is hard to live a calm, fertile, happy life when you have a mortal enemy to worry about constantly and haunting your dreams. According to Jung, neither is whole as long as they are divided and not assimilating the important qualities and powers of the other. In other words, neither is truly alive.

2.) This gives some insight why in ORDER OF THE PHOENIX Dumbledore says in his office, "But in essence divided?" after Harry tells him about Mr. Weasley being attacked by the snake. Harry, the conscious, and Voldemort, the unconscious, were briefly united in the relaxed state of Harry's dreams. Exactly where Jung says the unconscious visits us.

3.) This theory of Voldemort being the unconscious explains some characteristics about him. Voldemort being the unconscious explains why he knows everyone's hidden thoughts detecting everyone's lies and fears. Voldemort is part of the "collective unconscious" in Jungian terms and that is why Voldemort always knows. If someone made a potion or performed a charm to turn Harry's attacker into the unconscious self, with no body, then he isn't quite mortal and isn't able to die. You could say that the Avada Kadavra curse hit both Harry and Voldemort killing something in each of them. Perhaps killing Harry's shadow unconscious and Voldemort's physical being? Killing half of each equals killing a whole? Only book 7 will tell.

4.) Dumbledore didn't kill Voldemort in the lobby of the Ministry of Magic because he knows that Harry's task is to become whole with his shadow unconscious - Voldemort. I believe that Dumbledore may have gone through the uniting of the unconscious shadow with his ego consciousness when he defeated the dark wizard Grindelwald. Notice it doesn't say Dumbledore killed Grindelwald on the chocolate frog card. I believe Jo Rowling is foreshadowing the fact that Harry and Voldemort will not die when Dumbledore tells Voldemort in Phoenix p 814 that "We both know there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom." Maybe you can defeat them in the magical world by fusing with them -- assimilating their powers. MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS states it this way: "Even evil must not be a triumphant or degrading enemy, but a power collaborating in the whole." p270 . I believe we see this evil being a collaborating power in Dumbledore. He has a frightening and powerful rage that we see in PHOENIX, "An awful voice filled the kitchen, echoing in the confined space, issuing from the burning letter on the table. "REMEMBER MY LAST, PETUNIA." (p 40). Later in the book, "He was so angry," Hermione in an almost awestruck voice. "Dumbledore. We saw him. When he found out Mundungus had left before his shift had ended. He was scary." (p 64). I believe these awful and scary parts of Dumbledore are the Grindelwald within - so to speak.

If the plot device is that Harry and Voldemort are aspects of the same person then it is logical to say that the theme of Harry Potter is we are our own worst enemy. So many times we put limits on ourselves. We don't see all we could be capable of. Think of when Harry is sitting in Mad Eye Moody's office as the fake Mad Eye is trying to give him hints on how to get by the dragon. Think of what you are good at. Nothing but quiddich Harry thinks. Yet he is a young wizard who earlier in the book got in trouble because he can produce a powerful Patronus. Harry doesn't acknowledge the part of himself that is powerful. Perhaps it would seem too much like the wizard who says there is only power and those too weak to use it? Harry, like all of us, needs to expand his view of himself. For those prone to the alchemical philosophy and believe Harry will be decapitated, perhaps decapitation is symbolic for letting go of your old ideas of who you are. That is the true liberation. I believe this is Harry/Voldemort's final journey: "In the case of an adult, a sense of completeness is achieved through a union of the consciousness with the unconscious contents of the mind. Out of this union arises what Jung called "the transcendent function of the psyche," by which a man can achieve his highest goal: the full realization of the potential of his individual self." p149 MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS. Hmm, so Harry can grow old, have twelve children, and become the Minister of Magic? I think Trelawny got that one right.

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