False Goddess, image by AC Evans
FEAR OF THE DARK
Fear of the Dark is a Modernistic tendency in culture and the arts that rejects subjectivist forms and movements such as Confessional Poetry, the workings of the Lyric Ego and Romantic Individualism more generally.
Fear of the Dark is a phobic fear of introversion and inwardness, sometimes disguised by would-be ascetics with moral arguments against ‘self-indulgence’, 'egotism', the 'worship of false gods' or ‘ivory tower’ aestheticism. In truth Fear of the Dark is a fear of the psychic depths, fear of the uncanny, fear of the Shadow and the shadow world, fear of the dark-side.
Anxious critics and commentators who suffer from Fear of the Dark tend to privilege the Apollonian over the Dionysian, the abstract over the figurative and to value the Classic over the Romantic. At the same time they promote high-brow ideas of ‘elevated’ taste, ‘great’ traditions and cultural superiority. This fear is sometimes projected onto the products of consumer society, of mass entertainment and mass production. Such products are often treated with disdain, defined as Kitsch, denigrated as ‘decadence’ or, even condemned as idolatry.
Radical nonconformists may well feel they are on an iconoclastic mission to cleanse the world of distracting images and the products of the imagination. However, as Jung says, the Shadow 'cannot be argued out of existence or rationalized into harmlessness'. Furthermore, this fear can also be transformed into hatred because it reminds us of our 'helplessness and ineffectuality' in the face of the unknown – hence the zealotry of puritans driven by a compulsive phobia – Fear of the Dark.