The other day I hit a quandary. Maybe you can help me resolve it.

A little background will help you understand how I got to the quandary. Ten years ago I wrote a book. It gives people a way, drawn from ancient spirituality, to change from the inside out so they can bridge divides. Before and since writing the book, I’ve gotten to know and learn from a pantheon of brilliant people in such fields as dialogue and listening. So there’s a lot of data in my head and heart around the idea of reaching across the proverbial aisle.

Based on all this, you might suppose I have an outlook on America’s current polarization. I do, and here it is:

I have no idea how we get past this.

I won’t bore you (not too much, anyway) with the current national conditions that have brought us here: a widespread disregard for facts, a deep rage from many quarters, a fear, just as deep, of engaging anyone in this uber-hostile environment. Not to mention all the actors that, intentionally or not, stoke this environment: social media, talk radio, inflammatory (often fact-free) websites. Amidst it all, a president who marshals these forces for his own ends.

Now the opposite poles cannot even agree on one of America’s most fundamental underpinnings: who won the presidential election. There are indications that each pole will act on its own narratives. As several commentators (notably Barton Gellman in The Atlantic) have noted, we could end up with two men showing up to be inaugurated on January 20, each claiming a right to the presidency.

I have no idea how we get past this.

Since the election, I have seen many messages of hope, a desire for unity, relief that maybe we can get back to political normal. I’m sure my dialogue and listening colleagues are marshaling their time-tested strategies for healing relationships. I probably should be re-touting my book.

But, with the utmost respect and affection for everyone with hope, I am not sure any of this will work—because I don’t see the collective will for it.

It’s impossible to overstate the stakes here. You know that. We’re all terrified that America is devolving into something dark. Yet I don’t know that, as an aggregate, we care enough to reverse course.

What should we do? I’m not sure, but I keep coming back to my understanding of Carl Jung: it is vital to take a long, honest look at our collective “shadow side”—the hidden part of us, which we typically repress or try to ignore. I see too many folks trying to jump right to the positive stuff—healing and reconciliation and all that—without honestly grappling with our darker selves. Without that grappling, I gather from Jung, there is no wholeness or reconciliation.

That’s my quandary. I would dearly love to hear your thoughts.