Editor’s note: Original blog was published on: Jun 7, 2017
Before you start thinking this as a post with "obscure title" and "questionable subject." I would state, "Hold your steeds! I don't think I have written anything like this till now," thanks to my restless mind that dragged the original story "Leading Like a Superhero- The leadership skills you can learn from the modern superheroes" to this (present title).
Before we begin, I must say that I yield no intention of grouping anything closely similar under the same umbrella. Nevertheless, both these titles have a familiar ground, with the addition of Jungian psychology, this story would bloom into its entity.
In Jungian science, Archetypes are the old patterns or forms or the elements of the collective unconscious which have been there since an endemic period and recollected as myths. They are the inherited potentials of humans which are realized when they enter cognizance as images or manifest in behavior on interaction with the outside world. (Wiki)
We humans need stories (or myths) to thrive- stories of hope, stories of deranged wars and the heroes who rose from there, tales of immense magnanimity or the depictions of tyranny. We sought all kinds of stories, and we also tell all sorts of stories. What are stories anyway? And why do we tell them?
Stories are the events on a particular subject matter that you tell to the listener. It can be anything- your regular workplace gossip, local news, and it can be about your current mood, a fling from the past. As I said, it can be anything and everything. The day we learned distinct patterns of communication, something inside us instigated to pass down the things we have seen, felt, heard, and experienced. If there are reasons for it- one would be the human instinct to protect.
For instance, when the family elders sit around a campfire and tell their grandchildren the stories of their hardship to survive. How each year the climate is getting rough. Winds are getting stronger, and the temperature is dropping. Half the year, fields are covered in snow and icy rivers. Without having sufficient warmth, the plants are dying. The land is becoming more unsuitable and barren. How would you think the children will feel? Some of them might start thinking- how difficult it would be for them after 10 or 20 years? Some even think to relocate and find a land where they can survive with their family and cattle. Some children may aim to resurrect the dead area which his ancestors called home for generations.
The second reason is another human instinct- to say that we were there. We were saying as we lived. We lived here at this time. Our lives were like this. There is a saying, "You can't be immortal, but your story can be told for a thousand years." When we carved our lives on the stones, we hoped someday someone would come and find the way to our lives. In those ruins, we left our hidden gem of immortality.
So, why do we sought the myths?
According to Jung, the myths are the reference structures of our psyche. We can evaluate these and discover the correlation between the collective consciousness and collective unconsciousness. In simple words, we share conscious social patterns through a collective unconscious. And our personal experiences are categorized through the shared experience of our species' biology.
Think about it. The way we perform art, the way we dance, the music we listen to, the things we watch, the books we read--in every single event we follow some culture pattern or the archetypal behavior-- we follow stories that may or may not be accurate. We admire the heroic deeds of individuals who may or may not exist, for the most part. And along with these, we have been connecting ourselves with the society as a storyteller or a listener or as a carrier of the traditions. That is how the archetypes passed to us through the collective unconscious.
Jungian Psychology and the Modern Demigod Archetypes
Before jumping into the whirlwind, I must say we all are connected in one way or another. There was one Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy -who proposed the "Six degrees of separation" theory. According to him, everyone and everything on this planet are connected in a maximum of six steps. You can think of it as a chain of chains that has uncountable joints, who knows where and how magically it connects us to the other person. That is why this story I am writing is indeed connected with you-- just as you're connected with me now as a reader and I am with you as a writer.
There's no puzzle we can't solve like there's no no-man' s-land that we set eyes on and can't conquer. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this compelling melodramatic presentation of individuals that you don't come across often. It's caliber and ambiance of refinement quite deserving of the attention (for better or worse).
As I am a book lover, so do a game and comic lover too. There are times I thought are these things only meant for entertainment? Because I have been greatly influenced by some of these superhuman characters for their unique heroic and evil ways. And I look at them as this century demigods coming from virtual reality. I intend to define their archetypes and correlate them with us. Even if we can't fly, breathe fire, shower thunder-- regardless of any of this the messages these mythical beings bring are primal and clearly say what it means to be human.
Archetype 1 - The Shadow
To define this archetype, I would like all of us to travel to the nightmarish city of Gotham. Yes, you guessed right. The protagonist of our show and the man who stimulated the popularity of western superheroes- Bruce Wayne the alter ego of Batman.
A hero but unlike any superheroes. This Dark Knight does not possess any superpowers; instead, he relies on his genius intellect, combat prowess, martial arts abilities, detective skills, science and technology, and vast wealth. Besides, he is a rebellious, very brave, insanely handsome, super strong-- we all scream about this on and on.
But have you ever thought- how does he keep his hold against those crazy psychopaths? What is the mental state he carries when he fights with them? Above all, I used to wonder why the mask?
Jung's theory (Wiki): In Jungian psychology, the Shadow is an unconscious aspect of the personality which is outside of the conscious ego. While our consciousness is mainly made out of behaviors and memories, we judge as positive, and our Shadow differentiates by holding emotions, behaviors, and memories we label as adverse or painful. In a shadow, constructive perspectives might be incorporated, but most of the parts remain camouflaged under the thumb points of low self-esteem ness, anxieties, and false beliefs.
"Everyone carries a shadow," stated Jung "and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. To know yourself, you must accept your dark side. To deal with others' dark hands, you must also know your dark side.
Coming back to the story, Bruce's parents died in the hands of a no-named robber in the Gotham City's notorious Crime Alley. He witnessed it when he was too small to understand what a crime even is. Even though the ongoing events triggered his dream to be a justice hero… We have seen how tormented he is for not being able to forget that cursed night. That is his Shadow-- it overwhelms his psyche.
He is the epitome of heroes. Why? How can he fight with his other self?
He doesn't fight. He accepts it. Thence he ventures into the night, being played with a bat costume and mask. That represents his inner subconsciousness -the Shadow (Note: Go back a little and read how the archetypes get manifested).
Nobody knows who is behind that mask nor care about it, but the citizens of Gotham believe the symbol of Batman. They define him for the work he does as a protector. The conclusion is, if a person can understand and accept the part of the psyche that he self-conceptualizes as "That's not me or that can't be me," he can bring out the unimaginable courage, strength. And that is the real power of a shadow archetype.
My Last Note:
Shadow is no other self, and it's you- It's your weak, repressed, rejected side that you see everywhere. In his thesis, Jung mentioned we are very much incapable of seeing the other person. What we see is the traces of ourselves that gets projected over others. Intriguing, isn't it?
He also adds- a person looks at a shadow from many different angles. You may see it as the right side of the wrong person that he/she is trying to hide. It can also be a right side of a good person that other people think is good (morally) but can't be followed because of many human-made reasons. Therefore, a shadow can be a good ally and also can be a worthy opponent to bring out your desired self.
Archetype 2: The Mirrored Hero
I don't know if there's such a concept like this one exist in Jung's discoveries. I just thought this title is perfect for the archetype I'm going to talk about. You can take the meaning of the "Mirrored Hero" as it is -- I mean literally to understand some extent to it.
Mirror invokes the reflection, the trace of your soul, the parallel-self also means the pellucidity or clearness. This is an archetypal behavior of a person who is courageous enough to show what he is. Ladies and gentlemen, here we go again, delving into the world of another kind- The Iron Man. As I'll refer to going forward, in Ironman, we're introduced to Tony Stark, a wealthy patriot with a wounded heart. Similar to Batman, he doesn't possess any power, if I say in one line- he is part human and partial machine.
Unlike Batman, he is not persistent enough to keep his identity secret (he blurted it out at a press conference). Well, many of you would argue -- that's because he is a narcissist also a bit attention seeking. In my viewpoint, that is the confidence he shows on himself.
If you can trust yourself and you also can be trusted by others- transparency gives you that power. If you think that makes you vulnerable, not being mysterious makes you unguarded or you lose your gravitas then you need to consider once again- how you're presenting yourself to the world. You need no secret identity to become a superhero, and you need no mask to become a trailblazer, all you need is the unwavering confidence to move forward.
The upcoming archetypes:
The trickster, The Conqueror, The Sage, The Magician, The devout, The fervid, The Wolf, The Creator, The Adventurers, The wise old man, The Persona, The great mother, The self, The Anima, The animus, and many more (may not entitle the same because I do like to experiment, so the real post will be very different).
It may not be one of those business or tech-savvy posts you wanted to read, but this has the worth to request some of your time. And I am entirely confirmed, this will positively alter your brainwaves and show you the many different aspects of “yourself” and ''Psyche."
One more thing, the next parts will be published in the coming weeks, so you don't have to wait too long to read more... Do quick check-ins through our social channels, website, and Emails (if you're a subscriber) to find our blogs.