Homo Demens’ Shadow

Ioana C. Nicolae
4 min readDec 26, 2021

In my last article I wrote about the collective shadow, its actualization as a personal neurosis that can become a social neurosis; I explained everything in detail there so there’s no sense in telling it here again. Since I stopped where the collective shadow became a dictator here I want to discuss more on what those individuals of the crowd are when each deals with an unintegrated shadow. I’ll speak about the root of social madness that occurs frequently, not only when an infamous character takes the shape of everyone’s shadow. I’ll also explain what madness signifies and why it is different from mental illness.

I’ll refer here to a psychiatrist and a philosopher Constantin Enăchescu who discusses about a different form of madness, one that plagues the homo demens that I find similar to the individual still possessed by his shadow; his description of the homo demens matches that of Jung’s regarding the person that still carries his shadow. I find that this situation of social neurosis, unintegrated shadows and homo demens applies today.

I’m going to start with one of Michel Foucault’s ideas, namely that madness is not natural and we have to analyze the cultural, economic and intellectual structures of a society to see how and why it emerges. I think it’s a good idea to look at today’s world. Since the collective is formed from each of us and we can change only ourselves, we have to look at the individual and this is where Enăchescu theory comes in. He says that mental illness is considered as a state of abnormality of the psyche, while madness is a state of alterity of the inner life, that is opposed to reason; if it is opposed to reason, then it means that it’s opposed to what is considered to be normality that is the agreement of intellect with reality. So the cultural madness emerges and we see an important similarly between the two philosophers. Here Enăchescu proposes a philosophical view and ‘treatment’ to analyze the individual, not only from normality’s viewpoint, but from alterity’s.

This distance that we create from psychiatry leads to what our thinker calls ‘metaphysics of madness’. We want to use it solely when referring to the individuals that still have a shadow (most of us), not mentally ill persons. This means removing the label of the pathologic and morbid that insanity has acquired in time. According to Enăchescu this also means to consider it a human phenomena and explain how and why the individual negates himself. Madness thus becomes a different way of being and her metaphysics…

Ioana C. Nicolae

Philosopher, writer, poet. My main area o research is the human unconscious and how it can be affected by trauma. We are all alchemists, we are ONE!