The psychologist Carl Jung posited the concept of the “Shadow” self, which carries our unconscious animal urges. It harbors desire for sex, for violence, and for … candy corn. “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself,” Jung wrote.
You might try to fight this unconscious urge for candy corn. You might fancy yourself too good for its sweet, gummy allure. But the harder you push these feelings down, the darker and stronger they become. Give into your dark side. Give into your Shadow. Buy seven pounds of candy corn and go fucking nuts.
According to Jung, the urges of The Shadow are superseded in childhood as the conscious mind takes over. “I don’t like candy corn,” our conscious, adult, minds say. “It’s gross.” But The Shadow bubbles and roils underneath these rationales, carnally craving candy corn with dangerous intensity.
Say you’re at a Halloween party and suddenly find yourself munching on a handful of candy corn. What happened? You “don’t like” candy corn – why did grab a whole fistful of the confection? You didn’t, but your Shadow did while you were distracted. You denied an essential part of yourself, and it plotted and schemed its revenge in the darkest recesses of your soul.
You might feel embarrassed to bring 6 bags of this much-maligned candy to a party. People might laugh. They might judge. They might go out of their way to tell you how much they dislike it. But deep down – in their very hearts of tar-black darkness – they will be elated to see that somebody brought that which they so desperately crave. You will feed your friends’ Shadows, and for that they will thank you in time.
And wouldn’t it be sad if we gave into our conscious selves and banished Candy Corn from Halloween? It’s not the best candy, but Christmas songs aren’t the best songs yet we still want to hear them every year. Those Valentine’s heart candies are the worst, yet it wouldn’t be February without their odd chalky crunch.
Maybe you are one of those enlightened few who have embraced their Shadow and can acknowledge that they love candy corn. Jung considered this assimilation of the ego and Shadow the highest stage of human development. Spread your wisdom: Become the Johnny Appleseed of candy corn, strewing your multicolored, triangular seeds across the collective unconscious.
Maybe you’re rushing to the forum to proclaim how much you “HATE CANDY CORN!” But the more you protest, the more obvious your unconscious desires become. Like a man who mentions his heterosexuality every time Ryan Gosling appears onscreen, this pathetic demonstration of the ego only illuminates that which lies below the surface. Decry this seasonal sweet until you’re blue in the face – we all know what you really mean.
More likely, you are one of those who maintains a complex relationship with candy corn. You know you want to eat it, but you know you’ll regret how much you’ll eat. You crave that sticky, wax-like texture, but you want to be taken as a serious adult. All you can do is acknowledge who you are and what’s inside you – a candy-corn-craving Shadow that is slowly dragging your cursor toward the “Buy It” button.