Fictive Kinship

“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter.” 


Hemingway’s quote uncovers the dark side of humanity.

Like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Jack London’s Call of the Wild, Hemingway’s On Blue Water adds another chapter to the monstrous Zeitgeist of Western man.

His analogy between hunting and war is a subtle yet powerful joke about humanity's tendency to kill our species deliberately, an aberration that the Colorful Prince sweeps aside.


Psychologist Carl Jung also tackled this cosmic riddle from the perspective that “war” represents the absurd idea that the conflict between good and evil, light and darkness, can never be reconciled. On the contrary, he concluded that all opposition has its resolution in an underlying Unity and that the "real war" was a psychic event needed to get to know ourselves and learn lessons of forgiveness.

Regarding learning ourselves, he points out that to the degree we condemn others and find evil in them, we are unconscious of the same thing in ourselves or at least to the potentiality of it. And by inference, the hunting of armed men and liking it is the finding of sadistic pleasure in committing suicide since we are the other. 

To accept and understand the evil in ourselves, the thrill of committing violent acts, and surviving them, we must accept our dark side and do it without the negative aspect of the Shadow becoming an enemy.

Do it without being led into those thoughts, feelings, and violence towards others, which are characteristic of people projecting the devil in themselves upon the scapegoat.

Fictive kinship is one of the more potent social agencies that supply self-knowledge and forgiveness while addressing relations with the Shadow.


The concept isn't new; it's ages-old. Still, in its modern application, as proposed here, a slight twist plunges to the core of how an authentic human family operates. For example, here is a fictive “case study.”