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Dark matter and psychology

Psychological Perspectives


January 27, 2022

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Columnist Ken Silvestro, PhD. 406-677-7282 •

What does dark matter have to do with psychology? Most likely not much but it does enable us to take a new approach to understanding the unconscious (our hidden psychology).

Dark matter is everywhere in the universe and makes up a large percentage of physical matter but it cannot be seen. It is considered to be over six times more abundant than the matter we can see, but, again, it does not reflect light. Scientists discovered the existence of dark matter by its affects; that is, its gravitational influences on other objects in the universe.

Nature, which includes dark matter, began many millions of years ago with the Big Bang, or in some similar way, and remains full of mysteries waiting to be uncovered. Dark matter is but one such mystery.

So, what's my point and what does this have to do with psychology? Nature does not only include the universe with its planets, stars and dark matter. Nature also includes all of life with its microbes, plants, animals and us, human beings. People, however, are more than physical nature with their bodies, brains and chemicals. People are also psychic nature with their minds, emotions, personalities, consciousness, unconscious and more. It's the unconscious part of human nature that is highly similar to dark matter in the physical universe. We could say that dark matter and the unconscious parallel each other in many ways.

The unconscious is comprised of psychological characteristics. Many have never seen the light of day. There are, however, characteristics that were once conscious (in our awareness) but eventually were suppressed, oppressed or repressed into the unconscious and out of consciousness.

Unconscious characteristics are simply not part of the "light" of consciousness. Just as scientists discovered dark matter by noting its influences on observable objects in the universe, the unconscious was discovered by noting its influences on peoples' conscious awareness, personalities, relationships and interactions in life.

As a result, numerous unconscious elements were discovered. I've described many of these elements in previous columns, for example: shadow, ego, psychological complexes, masculine and feminine characteristics, various archetypes and the deep Self. Just as dark matter influences stars, planets and galaxies, each unconscious element influences our daily lives, our consciousness and personalities.

We can be our own scientists, attempting to uncover and discover our own inner worlds, our natures. But just as science must never stop investigating, experimenting and discovering, we, too, must never become complacent and unwilling to discover who we are, especially from within the mysterious and unseen influences of our psychology – the unconscious.


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