Friday Philosophy on Archetypes

I’ve only thought of archetypes in terms of the virgin/whore archetype for women. Or, as was so eloquently stated by John Irving, “…you are either someone’s wife or someone’s whore, or fast on your way to becoming one or the other.”

But why do we like to think in opposites? It would be so much easier if people were either/or, but they’re usually a very confusing mix of everything – with good and bad winning the battle at different moments. Unless you’re a serial killer. In that case, I hate to tell you, evil has won all the battles and the war. (I can judge serial killers, right?)

Laura Dern summarized what seems to drive us. “We like our archetypes and heroes to be what they are at face value. And life doesn’t work out like that.”

Right?! But if we could simply take life and people at face value, what would be the point of instinct and intuition? That discernment the Church used to talk about as a gift from God?

Even as we look to ourselves, we might find a mass of contradictions that seem as though they should be separate people. No, I’m not saying we are all suffering an identity crisis, just that we are so much more than a type.

“In archetypes, there is a Nurturer and a Warrior. Different kinds of strengths that, ideally, complement each other and are equally respected.” ~ Anne Bishop Ask any stay at home Mom, she will tell you that Nurturers are not equally respected with Warriors. Then, ask any single parent, and you will be told that parenting is being both at the same moment.

“Maidens who stay maidens turn into saints. Old women become sorceresses. Tough jobs, both of these.” ~ Tanith Lee

Challenge the categories. If we are going to break the status quo, and give up on the idea that there is a damn box to begin with before we learn to “think outside the box” we have to shift our thinking.

Learn to see each other.

Blessings to you all.

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