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A Young Person's Guide to Individuation
on 28 February 2010
In his third work, Mr Happy, Hargreaves takes us on a Jungian journey to the integrated self.
The story starts by introducing us to the supposedly perfect life that our eponymous hero appears to live - the tranquilized bliss and counterfeit euphoria of Happyland. Yet what is it that leads Mr Happy to wander away from an existence that, if truly flawless, should suffice to satisfy and sustain him? Why this need to venture deep into the mysterious unknown of the forest? To open a door in a tree-trunk and descend a staircase beneath the ground to the deepest recesses of the unconscious?
Here lays the crux of this exploration of analytical psychology - the defining happiness of our central character is revealed as nothing more than a persona. His name and outward appearance are a mask to the outside world and from himself. It is the very inauthenticity of this state of affairs that drives him on the voyage to seek out and confront the root of the dissonance that this generates within him.
For indeed, what does he come face-to-face with at the foot of these stairs but his own repressed sadness? This comes in the form of his miserable alter ego - physically identical, polar opposite in mood. It is only through this confrontation with the shadow that his unsustainable persona can find authentic resolution and true integration of the self be achieved. These archetypes are quite literally brought to light as Mr Happy coaxes Mr Miserable up to the surface and into view of the conscious mind in a climax of now genuine peace and bliss.
In a knowing nod to his source material, Hargreaves depicts Mr Happy as round - a shape he shares with the mandala.