The Wisdom and Depth Psychology Behind Police Scotland’s Hate Monster Campaign 


On the 14th of March Police Scotland launched an awareness campaign to let the public know that a hate monster was operating in everyone’s psyche. They drew it as a cartoon.

When the public saw this they erupted with fury and anger. There was a feeling of being insulted and treated like children because the Police were using cartoons to communicate with adults. Some even suggested there was something sinister about the campaign.

The police also told us where the hate monster is most active:

“We know that young men aged 18-30 are most likely to commit hate crime, particularly those from socially excluded communities who are heavily influenced by their peers.”

The Hate Monster following young men aged 18-30 are most likely to commit hate crime, particularly those from socially excluded communities who are heavily influenced by their peers.

Why Did People Get Angry About the Hate Monster Campaign?

Before we get into the concepts behind the campaign let’s first try and understand why the public and press reacted with fury and anger.

Evil does not want to be known. If you shine a light in the face of evil it will act to protect itself.

Further, evil cannot ever be truly comprehended by us mere mortals in an absolute sense.

So we will only ever have a relative concept of evil, limited by our perceptions and understandings.

If at any point your perception and conception of evil crystallises into one definitive form, evil will outwit you.

Because it will take shape and work through everything you think it isn’t and it will operate in your blind spots.

Stay loose with definitions of that which is undefinable. It’s fine to have working definitions in order to orientate but treat definitions of evil more as coordinates, less as absolutes.

If you are successful in tracking evil. And you lock onto it. And you directly call it out as being operative in you: e.g. give it the name of “Hate Monster” as Police Scotland did; then you will trigger what is known as ego defence.

Ego defence will activate when your concept of self is questioned. It can feel very threatening and it will activate fight or flight. By telling people they have a hate monster inside of them they are essentially telling people that there is an aspect of them that is bad. People don’t want to conceptualise themselves as bad so their ego will kick in to defend itself and reject this idea.

Further, we have to add into the mix that because we are dealing with evil; there are two further defences that need to overcome:

1. Intellectual laziness
2. Narcissistic defences

Intellectual laziness stops people from exploring new knowledge and considering new perspectives. Evil keeps people thinking they know it all. So that it can operate in the areas they know nothing about.

Narcissistic defences ensure the preservation of the self concept so that you don’t question yourself as harbouring potential evil. You think of yourself as good.

With the above in mind you can why evil constellated and activated a furious and angry reaction to the hate monster in order to try and destroy the awareness campaign.

Now let’s get into the wisdom and psychology behind the campaign.

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times

Firstly, The idea that you have monsters inside of you that want to act is not a new idea dreamed up by Police Scotland.

It has its roots in many wisdom traditions around the world.

One of the most practical books I’ve read about working with inner demons comes from the Buddhist leader Tsultrim Allione. In her book Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict she draws on the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Chöd and uses the same technique Police Scotland used in their campaign. That of naming a demon and imagining it into form so it can be worked with.

I doubt however, Police Scotland consciously used Chöd as inspirational source material for their campaign. Rather it was probably dreamt up by someone connected to the same wisdom streams.

Further, Police Scotland’s advice opposes Buddhist teaching. Police Scotland’s advice is “Don’t feed the hate monster” whereas Tsultrim Allione writes in her book:

“When you feed rather than fight your demons, you create a space for transformation. Instead of using your energy in battle, you learn to nurture, understand, and transform that energy into wisdom and compassion”.

This doesn’t mean you go around in real life unleashing the hate monster. What Tsultrim Allione teaches is a safe process for bringing your hate monster into conscious awareness by imagining it, then working with it to restore calm, harmony and peace within.

Making the unconscious conscious through Shadow Work

In modern times, in the West, the idea that there is a hate monster in every one of us was explored by Carl Jung the Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology in 1912.

Jung taught that within the human psyche exist personal complexes and collective archetypes. Some of these are conscious. Some operate in what he called “the shadow” The shadow contains all the complexes (hate is a complex) that we would rather not be.

Jung taught that in order to work with complexes you need to bring them to conscious awareness, either through active imagination or dream work (or during psychoanalysis) and then dialogue with them. The process of analysing and integrating unconscious complexes is called shadow work.

Jung taught:

“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious”

In order to do this you have to shine a light within and bring it to life by imagining what you find. Personifying it as a hate monster. This is a well known principle in psychology and is put to use in art therapy where you draw your emotions and struggles.

Police Scotland’s campaign is based on sound theological and psychological methods and ideas. The public’s reaction is a typical response when you shine a spotlight directly on evil.

The Path to Self Awareness

In light of the uproar and misunderstanding surrounding Police Scotland’s hate monster campaign, it becomes clear that the path to self-awareness and transformation is both complex and fraught with resistance.

The public’s reaction, steeped in defensive mechanisms and a reluctance to confront inner darkness, underscores a universal struggle against acknowledging the less savoury aspects of our nature.

However, this campaign, despite its controversial reception, opens up a crucial dialogue about the importance of recognizing and engaging with our inner demons, not as enemies, but as opportunities for profound personal growth and healing.

The wisdom of ancient traditions and the insights of depth psychology suggest that the journey towards enlightenment and self-realisation is not about denying or defeating our shadows, but rather about integrating them into our consciousness with compassion and understanding.

By personifying these aspects as the hate monster, Police Scotland inadvertently tapped into a deep psychological truth: that we all harbour darkness within us, and it is only by acknowledging and working with this darkness that we can truly achieve inner peace and societal harmony.

This campaign, though met with initial backlash, serves as a potent reminder of the transformative power of facing our shadows.

It challenges us to reflect on our own inner monsters, not with fear or disdain but with the intention of fostering a deeper understanding of ourselves and, by extension, each other.

In doing so, we embark on a path not just towards individual healing, but towards creating a more compassionate and empathetic society.

Through the wisdom of our ancestors and the insights of modern psychology we can navigate the complexities of the human psyche, turning our inner turmoil into a wellspring of strength, wisdom, and compassion.

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