|This week I’m reading Dispelling Wetiko by Paul Levy, which explores the collective psychosis now gripping our culture and challenges us to look inside ourselves for answers.
Wetiko represents a collective nightmare that we are all dreaming together. It is an archetype arising from the collective unconscious – a psychic virus that eats into the soul.
The name ‘wetiko’ comes from Native American cultures who have tracked its development and spread over centuries, and refers to a wicked person or spirit who terrorises others through its evil acts.
Wetiko is a psychospiritual disease of the soul which reveals our blind spots by causing what is unconscious to manifest in the world around us: through our relationships, our obsessions and compulsions, our fears and our dramas. It is a function of the shadow and operates through projection.
Paul Levy calls this disease ‘malignant egophrenia’. It is a product of our separate sense of self, the dualistic thinking that puts a boundary between ‘me’ and ‘the world’, or ‘me’ and ‘others’. This split in our psyche can create an inflated ego consciousness or narcissism, which leads to a contraction around a false identity.
Levy also calls this problem ‘ME disease’, with the ME standing for Malignant Egophrenia, as well as various other things: the obvious ‘me’ (as in ego); Mad Emperor disease – a kind of inflation; and, less convincingly, Middle East disease. (I’m not convinced by this last one because these problems are rampant everywhere, not just in the Middle East conflict; although that situation does provide good examples of blind self-destruction.)
ME disease then, is a disease of our malfunctioning civilisation which is looking less and less civilised by the day. Western civilisation is still very primitive on an emotional level and amounts to what Paul Levy calls an ‘institutionalised form of barbarism in modern drag.’ This is caused by our one-sided intellect which reveres rationality and disconnects us from our roots in nature, destroys our ability to be truly empathic, and makes us strangers to ourselves.
Paul Levy is an artist, a wounded healer, and a pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence. Dispelling Wetiko was written as a result of his own experience battling the disease, which he shares in the Afterword. The book takes an unflinching look at the nature of evil and asks challenging questions. We are all complicit in this mass delusion and Levy doesn’t pull his punches. Other areas covered in the book include:
Paul Levy doesn’t just hold up a mirror to our collective psychosis; he shows us how to overcome our blindness. In visionary and imaginative ways, he demonstrates what happens when our natural creativity is overtaken by our shadow. Leaning heavily on Jung and archetypal psychology, he also takes a look at Christian symbolism and Buddhist philosophy.
This book is essential reading if you want to challenge yourself to wake up from the collective nightmare now engulfing the planet. I cannot recommend Dispelling Wetiko highly enough.
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