The hero. The classic undertaker of chaos, ventures out to confront the unknown, and returns with the treasure.
The tragedy. The destructive choices lead to destructive circumstance, until catastrophe, failure, and reconstruction… if possible.
The old wise man. Often accompanied by the long white beard, dishes out knowledge like he’s chef Ramsay. Sought out for advice, often an underground influence of much of the soul of any group.
On and on (there are many), these “archetypes”, as Jung coined, possess the minds of men. Yung noticed these patterns of being within the strands of ancient mythology across cultures. They can be found everywhere, even in any one of us.
Jung pointed out that in gaining a civilized life, we have lost our souls. We have sacrificed them to our goddess Reason. We have abandoned the ancient traditions which raised our hearts towards the heavens. Which endowed us with a depth of meaning now unknown. What if Christ thought of himself as a mere homo sapien carpenter, instead of the son of God. Or what if Odysseus had not the support of the Gods. Mere humans, they would have remained. Instead, they rose above the weak plain of mortal man into the heavens. We have dispensed with the spirit at our peril.
I suspect that the ancient stories were, in fact, our first means of observing and teaching these habits of being, these archetypes. Often in rituals when boys became men, stories of the heroes and gods were taught, truly transforming the individual into something greater. The archetypes were not mere creations or delusions, but they contain observed facts and are taught through stories.
Without these, Jung warns, we face consequences incalculable. Without our spirit, without the connection between our unconscious and our conscious mind, we will drift from one archetype to the next. At one stage we may live out the hero, conquering the unknown and triumphing over the chaos to gain the treasure. The next stage we are living out the tragedy, destroying ourselves, making awful choices until we unravel completely. Without our souls, without our foundation, we are left to wander to and fro through the wasteland of life. Carried around by our emotions and “reason”.
We once believed the thunder was the voice of an angry god, and the lighting his arrow, we once believed we were bound by fate, destined for great things, we once believe we were children of God. Now we are left as empty vessels, fooling around with economics and technology, with no room for the soul. We glide from the office to the dinner table in our automobiles, we work at jobs we hate and consider trivial so we can retire and suffer on the couch instead of the assembly line. With no room for the soul.
How do we fix it? Well, I’m not exactly sure yet. But I’ll let you know when/if I find out… I have thoughts and ideas, but my vessel isn’t yet strong enough to yell “all aboard”!
Hustle it up!