In ecology, there is a  spectrum of relationship profiles  which extend from predation on one end to mutualism on the other.  Parasitism, is a type of symbiosis which exists on the predation side of the spectrum.  It’s a way in which organisms survive by taking advantage of other organisms against their knowledge or ability to reject.      Well known parasites include ticks, fleas, leeches, tapeworms and also microscopic parasites like viruses. But in the planetary biosphere, it is  estimated  that actually 40 percent  or more  of all organisms are parasitic – including humans. Like predation, which we are generally more familiar with, parasitism is an archetypal pattern in living systems.    Parasites use   trickery   and   subterfuge   as their primary methods for attaching themselves to a host and gaining energy from its life cycle.  Except for the most extreme form of parasitism, called  Necrotrophic Parasitism , parasites do not kill their hosts, but dwindle their energy over time as they feed.      Parasitism has always shown itself in our mythology.   The Christian Devil is essentially a parasite.       “No wonder, for even  Satan disguises  himself as an angel of light. “ – Corintians 11:14      “and he threw him  into the abyss , and shut it and sealed it over him,  so that he would not deceive  the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. “  - Revelation 20:03     The devil lives in darkness and presents himself in many forms tricking his victims into behaving in ways which dwindle human life and “goodness”, while gaining energy for himself in the process.      Folklore in all traditions speaks of demons, goblins, vampires – tricksters and impersonators which hide in darkness and live off of human life energy.  Its no wonder when we realize how prevalent parasitism is in nature.        “The Devil of this world might be more properly described as a virus” – Shadow Tech      Viruses are the most populous organism on the planet.  A virus survives through either the Lytic Cycle or the Lysogenic Cycle. Either way it uses trickery and subterfuge as its primary mechanisms.  A common way a virus enters a cell membrane is to attach a false protein mask to its outer shell to trick the cell’s input cites into letting it in.  Once in, it penetrates the cell’s nucleus and either sits quietly in darkness, waiting for the cell to reproduce, along with its toxic code, or it actively manipulates the DNA into making the cell hospitable for its own life cycle, and then it breeds furiously.      Besides being a  Trickster , the archetype of the virus is also related to the  Scapegoat .  When we go back to the early history of life, single celled organisms made the jump to multi-cellular organisms, but when that occurred, some organisms stayed on the outside of the emerging communities and instead thrived through parasitism.  Those were the viruses.  From the point of view of a virus, they were excluded, left out, unassimilated.    Like Cain in the biblical story of Cain and Abel, one child was included and the other was rejected and marked.  The correlation between evil and exclusion is clear.  Those on the inside are friendly and good.  Those on the outside are evil and often the scapegoats of the society – those banned and sent outside the tribe.       In human societies, criminal behavior is related to parasitism.  Career criminals almost always begin as traumatized children who are left out of the family or the community.  They survive on the outside of the community membrane, using trickery and subterfuge to meet their needs.      The work of Carl Jung and Jungian theorists has also shown us the relationship between the shadow of the psyche and demons and devils in folklore.  One Jungian, the late Robert L. Moore, even made the connection between the shadow of the psyche and vampirism and modern fictional stories and movies like The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Alien.  Each of these is telling a story of parasitism.       Looking more closely at the shadow of the psyche, the authors have found a close correlation between destructive psychic complexes and parasitism.  When a psychological element is wounded or unable to develop coherently it can become autonomous, split off and parasitic to the greater mind-body.  The shadow is not just a passive domain where we store away our fears and unwanted impulses.  It’s a domain of active parasitism.     This is explained more fully in “The Shadow 2.0”. The correlation between parasitism as cultural evil is described in Cultural Parasitism. This article is also based on the chapter  “Parasites Abound”  in   Shadow Tech  .
prev / next