Through a Jungian Lens

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Not The Average Modern Man

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Self portrait - George Bernard Shaw

Self portrait – George Bernard Shaw

“We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.” —George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, 1903

Freedom from shame, a state of being that can best be thought of as a free spirit, a person who rises above the collective, or as Friedrich Nietzsche called this type of person, an overman, a superman. Today we all credit the beginnings of modern social nudism to the FKK movement. In reality, nudity was a normal part of life in Europe until the 18th century. Driven underground and declared an act of deviancy, it took a rebellion of youth encouraged by Nietzsche to live in harmony with nature, to embrace nudism, meditation and natural healing to bring nudism to the modern world, in spite of modern man who was and remains, ashamed of his naked body.

George Bernard Shaw embodied this rejection of shame, rejecting sublimation to the collective unconscious which brings out the worst in humans in communities across the world. It doesn’t take much for neuroses to become embedded into a culture. We gather together in communities, primarily out of fear of being alone. We view the others outside of our communities as inferior or even enemies. Within our communities, those who don’t accept the collective neuroses as moral truths are shamed with the intention of having conformity, unity. In the end, no one naturally fits into the collective paradigm and as a result we end up with individuals who suffer in shame, in self-doubt and expend a lot of money and energy to hide their natural differences from the average modern man.

Shaw wrote the words above more than a hundred years ago. As I read them, I realised that nothing has changed, unless we have moved even deeper into a collective culture of shame and being offended by differences.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 15, 2014 at 9:18 am

3 Responses

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  1. Shame is such an archaic emotion; studies show it is downright innate. I think we can’t get rid of shame. I is part of the Shadow, and you know we can’t get rid of Shadow. Best to be conscious of it and put Shame it its place. It needs room but can’t be exiled.


    April 15, 2014 at 10:53 pm

  2. Three or four things:

    1) To Urspo: I find it very helpful to read your comment about “how primitive” the feeling of shame is, and a part of the shadow; I take from that that part of learning to live with the shadow is to live with the sense of shame, as uncomfortable and even painful as that might be. We make our way forward through a labyrinthine mystery of ambiguity.

    2) That said: Robert, I’m very grateful that you are free to write about your own history of dealing with shame, to include how it brought you to naturism, with all the ambiguity that is there: and how naturism, while it raises the spectre of shame, none the less also heals from shame. Bless you in particular for your sense of freedom to be open about about the naturist aspect of your life. I find your honesty encouraging, inspiring, liberating.

    3) Thanks also for including in this post the quote from George Bernard Shaw and the picture: which I also encouraging and inspiring and liberating, as it is the thought AND the self-portrait of one who is critical of a (might one say, “neurotically?”) shame-bound culture and who has, at least for himself, moved beyond (or through and then beyond?) that, and is also willing to be open to the public and who he is and how he thinks and feels.

    4) So, finally, thanks for writing. I hope the blog continues. I, for one, read it with much solidarity and sympathy — and appreciation.



    April 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

    • Thank you, Allen for finding something of value in my efforts here. You are a good friend. 🙂


      April 26, 2014 at 6:49 pm

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