Experimentation: The Wild One and the Researcher

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The next two Archetypes mark a transition. The previous seven Archetypes depict the content and movements of mind, the love story between self and other, self and world, and self and self. Conversely, the Wild One and the Researcher are the first two Archetypes of the seven Archetypes that describe the growth and movement of the body. Where the concerns of mind revolve around interpretation, intention, meaning, and mental commitment, the concerns of the body revolve around action, consequence, construction, and destruction. In the next set of Archetypes, we will see none of the romance that marked the previous set. Instead, there will be pragmatic concern and physical exploration. Curiosity and pleasure replace romantic yearning and fulfillment.

There are seven Archetypes in a cycle or sequence (hence the numbering of the Archetypes). Each of the seven Archetypes in a sequence is a member of a specific classification. That is, the Archetypes can be theoretically divided into three groups of seven and seven groups of three. The three groups of seven (cycles) split the Archetypes according to the arena of their concern: mind, body and spirit. The seven groups of three (classifications), however, split the Archetypes according to their function. Now that I’ve written about a complete cycle, I can compare the body cycle to the mind cycle to bring out the essence of the classifications.

All 22 Archetypes describe the natural growth or maturation of human beings. The first two Archetypes in a sequence describe the relevant arena of experience in pre-maturation terms as a separation between conscious and unconscious self. The Suitor and Débutante represent the conscious and unconscious mind prior to any interaction between them. The moment the two meet and share what each brings to the table, a new set of Archetypes activates and the cycle progresses. The first Archetype, the Suitor, represents the stage on which the maturation will take place. The conscious mind is what changes, not the unconscious, for the unconscious contains everything within it and merely responds to the conscious mind’s attitude toward it. Hence, the second Archetype, the Débutante, represents the vast resource in which all possible directions of growth are contained.

The maturation of the body mirrors that of the mind. The word “mirror” is carefully chosen. In the first classification, call it the Stage, the mind Archetype is conscious and unmoving, while the body Archetype is unconscious and always moving. In the second classification, call it the Empowerer, the mind Archetype is unconscious and hidden, while the body Archetype is conscious and cannot be avoided.

The Wild One, like the Suitor, is the stage of change. She is the unconscious body whose robust mutability eventually responds to long-term conditioning. The Researcher, like the Débutante, has within him the resources that can redirect the movements of body in useful ways. His conscious attention to detail allows him to pick up on the patterns of the Wild One and to conceive of hypothetical changes that produce interesting results.

Archetype #8: The Wild One

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Osha, a wildling from Game of Thrones.

The Archetype I’ve named the “Wild One” is usually known as the Wild Woman. I chose against the term “woman” as part of her name in an effort to distinguish between feminine (i.e. Archetypal) and female (i.e. incarnate human being). The Wild One is a living manifestation or symbol of Mother Nature. Her mind and body ebb and flow with the natural cycles, her tenderness and ire both traceable to nature’s complicated rhythms. She views herself simply; in fact, she spends very little time in reflection as the mind is not especially interesting to her. The Wild One walks barefoot into the forest while the birds and beasts cluster around her as if she were a blooming flower or a nourishing pond.

The Wild One has a youthfulness of appearance that comes from her complete conformity to the cycles within her. She does not fight herself, nor does she expect anything of herself. To her, living and moving gives the utmost pleasure all on its own without any need for quest or excursion. The Wild One is famously sexual and sensual, the two almost indistinguishable to her. The nymphs of Greek lore, who were personified instances of the Wild One, were known for their sensuality—but not for their romanticism. The Wild One has within her none of the romance and fantasy of the Débutante or the Bride. She is bored by Stories. To her, every motion and every touch is an adventure which renders the mind and its imaginings almost superfluous.

The Wild One moves according to cycles, but those cycles are governed by laws. Although she may not have any interest in the mind, she is nevertheless bound by the rule of the metaphysical where natural laws exist and exert their force. Researchers observe this link between the two of them and find even greater beauty in the Wild One for her utter adherence to these laws. The Wild One is an instrument for the expression of the mathematical elegance in the complex pathways of energy fields and matter forming the totality of our physical world. Her grace comes from a wisdom beyond her own awareness, each movement, if studied, revealing symmetry, efficiency, ecology, and poise. None of these concepts are interesting to her, though, because she simply goes where impulse leads.

The Wild One, though graceful and balanced, is also utterly unrestrained—as her name suggests. Her fluid inner world can awaken with either passion or fury if the circumstances are right. She will ruthlessly hurt or maim anyone who upsets the balance of her cyclic dance, just as she will astonish those who are unfamiliar with her carnal sensuality. If nothing else, the Wild One is unapologetic.

The Wild One is often instantiated by women attending to their domicile. In contemporary society, we find nature within our homes because that is where we spend our time. The Wild One is not especially uninterested in housekeeping—that is the domain of the Damsel or the Sophisticate (haven’t decided what to call her yet)—rather, the household becomes a space where nature begins to grow wild. She can feel the movement of subtle energies to which the masculine component of the household is often insensitive. She knows whether the natural cycles call for company or solitude, activity or rest. When pressed, she cannot explain how or why she knows; she just knows. The most obvious outward manifestation of this “moodiness” (a rather derogatory term for the Wild One’s intimate presence to natural law) is a woman’s menstrual cycle. Her very chemistry forces her to adhere to the demands of nature, keeping her in constant communion with it.

Archetype #9: The Researcher

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Classic scientist.

The Researcher is the very most faithful representation we have of humankind in relation to our natural environment, but prior to any intervention. The Researcher’s aim is to observe the world around him as honestly as possible. I very nearly named this Archetype “the observer,” but decided the term wasn’t rich enough. There are many ways we can go about acting in the world, but there is no question that action informed by observation yields superior results. At the center of the Researcher Archetype is the decision to withhold action, to stave off conclusions until the evidence has first been assessed.

We are referring to the Researcher when we encourage others to think before they act. In this sense, the Researcher is the locus of wisdom. The method by which he assesses the advisability of any specific action is itself his wisdom. While the total compendium of data that the Researcher records is what we usually mean by “wisdom,” the Researcher’s method does not come from experience. The Researcher already approaches the data with a set of attitudes about the world he observes and measures. First and foremost, the Researcher is invested in detecting patterns in the world. His preoccupation with observing data carefully and honestly is directly tied to his desire to identify patterns. The Researcher is searching for a clear grasp of the natural laws by which the entire physical reality moves, but in order to find these natural laws he must assume that they exist.

The Researcher acts but does not intervene. Researchers set up experiments which are designed to reproduce a specific physical event in controlled conditions. The purpose of an Archetypal Experiment is to observe, not to affect a lasting change in the environment acted upon. The Researcher’s intention is to act only as much as necessary to produce an observable response. The ethical questions that certain experiments can raise (such as the Nazi experiments on hypothermia) indicate that there are other Archetypes at play beyond merely the Researcher. In his own right, the Researcher does not want to interfere; he merely wants to watch. Although this may on the surface sound like a glorified voyeurism—for the Researcher certainly finds pleasure in his observation—his interest is in the pattern to which the events he observes points, not in the immediacy of the event itself. The experiment, then, is a form of observation that requires some action in order to isolate the event to be observed. Hence, when the Researcher constructs an experiment, he is actually building an environment that he hopes will produce an event that he may then observe as faithfully as possible.

The Researcher does not limit himself to observing isolated events. Whereas we normally think of scientists as specialists who look to drill deeper and deeper into a specific niche of the physical reality, the Archetypal Researcher is interested in observing patterns both broad and specific. He is the generalist as well as the specialist. As such, even philosophers fit neatly into the ranks of the Researcher so long as their target is an accurate description of the physical world in terms of its underlying patterns. The Researcher is a discursive rational thinker, a kind of intellectual who wants to understand the world with as little bias as possible. He is the representative of that part of us that refuses to believe the world is anything but intelligible, rather than incomprehensibly random.

The Interpersonal Wild One

Interpersonal dynamics are, as I have often reiterated, most easily observed in romantic unions. The Wild One, to whom romance is foreign, still finds herself in romantic unions because we human beings are never relegated to a single Archetype (so much the worse for us if we become so). The Wild One must live have access at least to the edge of the wilderness or else sacrifice losing touch with her very identity. This Archetype, a feminine one, comes far more easily to women than men, so I’ll rely on female tropes to express it.

The Interpersonal Wild One is an uncontrollable yet awe-inspiring force of femininity. She is often called a “tomboy” because she is always barefoot, climbing trees, picking flowers, riding horses, and digging in the dirt. Her energy and passion are a part of her very constitution which she could not change even if she wanted to. Anyone in a relationship with the Wild One knows that he is along for the ride, that he will pay dearly for attempting to civilize her. Her sudden outbursts and anger seem unprovoked and irrational—and they most probably are, but this arational abruptness does not make her outbursts any less relevant. Indeed, it is her passionate unpredictability that makes the Wild One so enticing a partner.

In contrast to crass stereotypes about women, the Wild One prefers silence. She has little use for language except as a means of expressing the song of nature for which she strives ever to be an instrument. The Wild One is often an animal whisperer, a Snow White to whom all the many languages of the natural world are instinctively known. Human languages are just one kind among many, and its distance from the flow of nature is ipso facto repellent to the Wild One.

In a romantic relationship, she is simple and unassuming. She will not be told what to do, but she will happily share her sensuality. She is lavish in her affection and indulgent in her pleasures, so the partner who brings the most pleasure to the table is often the one she prefers. The Wild One sometimes seems independent and uninterested, but at her deepest level she wants to be of service to her partner. Like Mother Nature whom she symbolically represents, the Wild One is abundant and nourishing. She wants to see her partner fed and satisfied. She also wants him to make good use of what she offers. The Wild One is aware that she is not a strategist or a planner and, when balanced, looks to the her opposite and counterpart to soften her rough edges and prune her so that she may blossom further.

In non-romantic relationships, the Wild One is most easily found in working relationships of some kind. Gardening together, playing improvised music together, and painting together are all ways of sinking interpersonally into the wild. We become the Wild One to each other when we set aside mind and spirit for the sake of a nourishing bodily rhythm whose movements are not governed by thinking. The great virtue of the Wild One is her ease of motion and compliance to the deeper forces that move her. She has no restraint whatsoever, following always the path of least resistance.

The Social Wild One
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Setting aside the complications in describing an indigenous culture as “wild” or “uncivilized,” such cultures are often what these terms call to mind.

My distinction of Archetypes into three levels is in some ways artificial. I say this, not as a means of backpedaling, but because there are really many more levels than just three, though I arrange them as sub-levels. The Archetypes of Body (of which the Wild One is the first) allow us to broach a hitherto unconsidered level much more readily. This level is the grandest and most far-reaching level, in which the conscious self is represented by humankind as a species, and the unconscious self is represented by the world in which we live. On this level, (can’t think of a good name for the level right now…Teleological? Species? Civilizational? Cosmic?), the Wild One is what we call Mother Nature herself.

The Species Level

Mother Nature is constantly growing, moving, turning. She is the stars and planets who revolve endlessly, the Moon and tides, the Sun and trees. She is the mountain, the ocean, the wind, the water. Her breath is a season and her body is always warm. Mother Nature, however, operates according to rules, many of which we can describe.

She never wastes, finding a use for everything. Wherever there is an excess in Mother Nature, a part of her emerges to make use of the excess. Thus, whatever substance you name, no matter how synthetic, a bacteria will eventually emerge which eats it.

She tends toward homeostatic balance. Whenever her cyclic balance is upset, she quickly responds to restore balance. Thus, Nature’s first response to catastrophe is to begin anew: after an earthquake, rocks settle, water bodies find their new levels, scavengers and pioneer plants (i.e. weeds) colonize the decaying ecosystem that preceded, and perennials begin to move in once the soil is ready.

We often imagine to ourselves that there is a sharp distinction between the animate and the inanimate (perhaps to our detriment), but as far as Mother Nature is concerned, these are merely two different tools for establishing a flourishing garden. Although biological sciences have a strict definition of what does and does not count as life (somehow viruses do not count), Mother Nature is wholly indifferent. Her currents and forces gradually find a stability such as we enjoy on Planet Earth, where we are even protected from solar flares and meteors. In this cradle of stability “life” emerges, starting the drama of existence all over again on a new and smaller level, the interactions of organisms reiterating the grander dynamics between celestial bodies. Into this cradle, humankind is born.

The Social Level

In more palatable terms, the Social Wild One is a barbarous and uncivilized culture. Although barbarity and civility are terms relative to the Stories we tell ourselves, the concepts nevertheless describe a genuine pattern in our world. If barbarity is defined as unthinking acquiescence to rhythmic customs and ongoing subjection to the raw elements, we can observe in at least our own recent history instances of these kinds of cultures, including those who employ human sacrifice, cannibalism, and orgiastic episodes riven of consciously employed symbolism. The mark of a barbarous culture is the violent and unsteady turns that it takes.

The Social Wild One is simply unaware that life does not have to be lived so vigorously and dramatically. In response to murder, a barbarous society demands death. In response to a stingy harvest, a barbarous society demands harsh payment. Barbarity as such does not recognize that the Body is the Creature of the Mind, and so it is not aware that most of the work targeted in Body may be safely done in Mind.

Subtlety is the direction of maturity, so the Wild One always indicates a form of immaturity in the same sense that the Suitor’s desire indicates a form of inexperience. To be a Wild One is to be barbarous in ways not yet recognized; it is to be wanting civility without even knowing it.

The Inner Wild One
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The Justice card. Her footstool indicates nature’s stability, as the scales indicate its balance. The sword strikes whatever offsets the balance of the scales. The lion indicates the raw violence of nature, while the flying turtle indicates her constant and steady motion. The protective winged figure behind her, the base on which she rests, and the fan above her indicate her complete encapsulation within the governance of natural law.

On the inner level, the Wild One marks a transition from the psyche to the vehicle. Despite this transition, however, there are elements in the Wild One (and all the Body Archetypes) to which we sometimes ascribe a mental capacity. The Wild One in each of us is the purely instinctive self. Call it Instinct for short. It is the body whose heart unconsciously beats, whose nerves communicate without effort, and whose sensations and cravings arrive at our doorstep entirely unbeckoned. Like grass and brush that will creep up across the walkway unless carefully tended, the cravings and sensations of the body always find us.

Instinct is more potent than we tend to give her credit for. We often imagine that we have control over ourselves, or that we know how we would act in any given situation, but Instinct is not so easily set aside. Or words and actions surprise us, just as the potency of our cravings for a specific nourishment or sensation may be well beyond our ability to predict. “Who knew that the chocolate cake would be so tempting?” we say in the midst of indigestion.

Human instinct is malleable. The Body is shaped and molded by the Story of Mind out of which it springs. A chair may be put to ingenious use, but its function is always limited by its design. Cravings (i.e. for food, drink, sex, rest, activity, etc.) are a normal expression of the Body’s cyclic mode of existence, but they conform to the Story by which we live our lives. I associate coffee with comfort. Consequently, when I sit down to write, unconscious programming kicks in and I start craving coffee. The physical substance does not chemically render my limbs more restful or my mind more peaceful, but it does in the Story I tell myself, so my Body conforms to the programming.

Instinct, whose expressions are little more than pathways of energy expenditure in the unconscious mechanisms of the body, must contend not only with its own raw and unrefined expressions (such as the wobbly motions of the baby and the unsteady hand of a child), but also with the distorted commands of the Mind. The Body’s function is to act as the Creature of the Mind, physically manifesting that which in mind was only conceivable. It is a receptive vehicle for adopting the various Stories that the Mind demands of it. The purpose of maturity and evolution in Body is to confirm to the Mind the precise ways in which it, also, is maturing and evolving. Hence, the dynamic movements of Body described by the second cycle of Archetypes are a reflection of the movements of Mind. Where the desire of the Suitor (the Ego’s Will) dictates the direction of experience the Mind prefers, this desire finds expression in the unconscious actions we take which move us toward that desire whether we know it or not. The Instinctive self becomes a willing object in this relationship, allowing its energy expenditures to adapt to needs of the Story. The Body unconsciously sings the tune the Mind has consciously keyed into it.

Insofar as our desires are unrefined, so our Instinctive self will also be crude. This may not seem obvious at first, but we have all witnessed it. How often do we discover that a healthy body was impossible without a healthy set of attitudes about both self and body? How else do we learn that our habits, cravings and inclinations were uncivilized except by witnessing a different approach? The Mind must signal to the Body that a new configuration is appropriate before the Body can make any headway. Our culture consistently fails to appreciate the priority of the experience of Mind over the experience of Body. We seek moral uprightness through doing the “right” thing, we conflate the trappings of success with genuine mastery, we are fooled by personalities who look wise, and we twist our bodies and words to fit the designated configuration that purportedly leads to enlightenment. The Body is primarily a source of information and experience; it is not the realm where direct action can move us toward greater maturity and evolution.

The Inner Wild One is a tendency within us that returns us to equilibrium, identifying through the Body the steady inner balance that already exists beyond the Body. Where we find ourselves enslaved to certain cravings and habits, we will invariably find that the Body was merely responding to the dictates of the Mind.

The Wild One moves according to a fixed set of principles.

1. Constant motion.

Whether we are considering a human body, a physical environment (like the workplace or the home), Planet Earth, or even the entire universe, the Wild One never stops moving.

2. Homeostasis.

The Wild One’s motion finds stability. As a rule, all motion within the physical reality seeks a homeostatic balance. Physical sciences employ a number of conservation laws (such as energy and momentum) and polarized relationships (such as electricity and magnetism) that push the physical world in the direction of homeostatic balance.

3. Path of least resistance.

The Wild One follows the path of least resistance, not because she is lazy, but because the physical reality has a specific structure according to which her movements adhere. Deviation from this structure is not the domain of the unconscious body; rather, it is only an intelligence that deviates from the path of least resistance.

4. Limited randomness.

It is somewhat paradoxical that the natural world moves in observable patterns, but that it is also subject to a logical fuzziness. The inclusion of random occurrences makes variety easy to come by within the natural world, but it also makes predictions very difficult. A more poetic way of describing the principle of limited randomness is “surprising variety”.

5. Gravitational centers.

The Wild One is semi-centralized, which means that there exist gravitational centers around which motion revolves, but that these centers are many and not one. An oasis begins with a plant that succeeds in taking root where the land was previously barren. Once there exists some vegetation, that vegetation will increase the fertility of the soil to attract more. We can observe the same with organic (i.e. unplanned) city establishment. When a few persons decide to settle in a previously unsettled area, they attract more attention to that area as a gravitational center for social interaction grows.

6. Divided labor.

The Wild One will naturally divide her labor within a gravitational center. Given the great variety inherent in the physical world, certain elements within a Wild One are better suited to certain tasks than others. Thus, the human body separates its functionality into organs to whom specific tasks are assigned by sheer virtue of efficiency. The same applies to a functional ecosystem in which each element has a job that maintains the homeostatic balance of the entire system.

7. Holographic layers.

A human cell has organelles within it. Each of these microscopic elements of the cell has specific functions which allow the cell to move in more complex patterns. They are called organelles because, in principle, they are identical to organs except they manifest on a smaller holographic level. Similarly, we sometimes refer to various interlocking institutions within our society as “organs.” We do this because, in fact, that is how they operate. Thus, we can observe within the physical reality (especially among the biological part of it) a consistent tendency for patterns to repeat in holographic layers. These patterns, however, are not ideal like the fractal patterns we can mathematically draw based on formulas. In the physical reality, there is no ideal pattern because the limited randomness inherent in the physical reality prevents it.

The Interpersonal Researcher

The Researcher is a good listener. He will often seem cold and distant because he does not let his emotions interfere with his judgment, but there is no question that he is paying attention. Introverts, especially males, often find themselves instantiating the Researcher. They know the if they learn the rules of action (norms) before setting out to act, they are more likely to be accepted. Applying this to interpersonal relationships, such Researcher-introverts will tend to ask questions when they first meet others rather than go out on a limb themselves. The Researcher does not want information to flow in both directions because if it did, the experiment might be tainted. This is, naturally, a distorted attitude because it is impossible to avoid interacting with he environment. Like all Archetypal pairs, the Tai Chi relationship (a mote of the feminine in the masculine and a mote of masculine in the feminine) is embedded into the experience. Even so, the Researcher does his best.

The Interpersonal Researcher has the wisdom to recognize the consequences of action, though he does not on his own have any resolve to act. Wisdom alone has no ethical content because there is no intention. I might be wise enough to know that convincing others to buy a product based on an emotional or instinctive drive is a profitable venture as long as I can maintain the charade, but even so I have not yet revealed my moral hand to show what I am actually willing to do.

In a romantic relationship, the Researcher can be an infuriating partner because he is not willing to reveal his hand. The one-way flow of information between the two in a romantic union prevents the relationship from deepening because the Researcher’s partner often feels that he is unwilling to share himself with her. In this sense, a romance is impossible with the Researcher. His erotic tendency is pattern-observation, so the perfect partner for the Researcher is one who enjoys being observed but not changed. In a romantic union, then, the Researcher does not serve the purpose of deepening the romance—the Archetypes of the Mind serve this function—rather, his contribution is a keen awareness of the likely results of action. If I, as the Father, find myself infuriated with my lover, as the Mother, I may find myself turning momentarily to the Researcher to reflect on the patterns I’ve already observed from my lover and to weigh the likely outcomes of any specific action before I do something I regret. The Researcher, then, is a good consultant, but he knows little of romance.

We’ll call the Interpersonal Researcher a Consultant. He is not a confidante in that emotional support is not his game (a Mother is better for that), nor is he a moral guide because he has no interest in right or wrong (a Father is better for that). Rather, he is an unbiased third party, a sounding board to help us determine whether we are in danger of doing something stupid. That is why we turn to the Consultant: we want to minimize the consequences of our actions, and the best way to do so is to ask someone who has been paying attention to the patterns of motion in the field where we intend to act. Thus, a man who has already decided to break up with his girlfriend but is concerned that she will retaliate will seek a Consultant, someone who is level-headed, intelligent and perceptive. He will seek a Researcher to help minimize the collateral damage.

The Social Researcher
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The classic and most obvious instance of the Social Researcher: an anthropologist.

We all know the Researcher. In web-forums he is known as a Lurker. Everyone appreciates that he lurks before posting because that means he is attempting to learn the rules by which the forum operates, observing the forum in its natural habitat without attempting to change anything about it. If the Lurker never becomes anything else, we begin to see him as rather creepy. Why doesn’t he say anything? If his mind is sound, then he is probably a Social Researcher. If his mind is not sound, then there are a great many possible explanations for his lurking that may have little to do with the Researcher.

The Researcher, in his broadest macrocosm (the species level, if you will), is the capacity of humankind to observe, record and connect the patterns of his environment. Thus, the Social Researcher is easy to identify in our world: research organizations and the various groups of people we call “scientists.” There is, however, a non-trivial element of imbalance in many of these persons and institutions. When the scientist has an agenda driving his research the Story he is endorsing undermines his observation and he becomes primarily a Propagandist. This tendency reveals the extreme dependence of the Researcher upon the Storyteller.

The Researcher is limited by the Story within which he operates. Theoretical scientists are often engaged in expanding the available Story so that Researchers can begin to observe in new directions with a new vocabulary. Theoretical science, then, insofar as it outstrips the data is actually a kind of Storyteller rather than a Researcher. This phenomenon is most prominent in the outer rim of theoretical science where string theory still seems to be active, despite its distance from experimental observation. The Story within which the Researcher operates provides him with the a blueprint for the kind of patterns he should be looking for.

In more familiar terms, the Khunian paradigm within which the Researcher operates delineates the possible avenues in which his observation can move. Hence, a Ptolemaic astronomer would have observed the difference between observation and prediction in celestial movement, but he would not have ascribed this difference to a problem in the fundamental conception of the geocentric model. Instead, he would assume that the celestial body he is observing has a more complicated path (with more epicycles) than he originally thought. Additionally, because he does not have the theoretical means by which to improve his predictions, he would not be able to observe the anomalies in Uranus’ orbital patterns that ultimately led to the discovery of the planet Neptune. While the same raw data is available to both the Ptolemaic astronomer and the Newtonian astronomer, the Newtonian has a more powerful Story which allows improvements in both predictive and measuring tools, whether theoretical and mechanical.

In Kuhnian terms, then, the Archetypal Researcher is actually a “normal” scientist who is engaged in refinements and elaborations to the existing theoretical framework. “Revolutionary” science is a matter of retelling the Story, an action appropriate to the mind (what we imagine to exist) rather than the body (what we perceive). The Researcher records patterns. He takes in data and assembles it into a set of claims about the recurring events in the physical world. If the Storyteller should eventually take notice of the deeper implications of the data, then a scientific revolution is at play. The Researcher, then, is concerned primarily with the trees while the Storyteller is concerned with the forest.

The Inner Researcher
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The Hermit card. He observes nature with only the light of a small lantern: the limits of his perception. The robe that shields his lantern suggests the separation between observer and observed. In his right hand are the tools he uses to explore his reality as he steps slowly and carefully forward.

On the surface, the above description of the Researcher seems to attribute strong mental capacity to him, but that is not so. The mind seeks understanding. It wants to grasp the conceptual nature of reality in both rational and emotional terms. To the mind, memorization and raw data collection are often seen as tedious if necessary events. Although memorization demands brain activity, those who must engage in it regularly will describe it as a “mindless” activity. This description is not incidental. The Researcher is interested in the very specific details of the events he observes. He is active when we find ourselves counting the pattern that the dripping of a leaky faucet drums or noticing the different color patterns in bird feathers. There is nothing clearly theoretical going on here; rather, it is a kind of memorization. It is pattern recognition and recording, saving the data for later analysis.

In a course on philosophy, economics, or literature, sheer memorization and detailed pattern-recognition won’t be enough. We might notice, for example, that in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, there were distinct and apparently intentional similarities between the many different characters who appeared in the books. On its own, the pattern on its own lacks meaning. As soon as we ask, “Why did Asimov write these similarities into his characters and plots?” we cease to be Researchers. It is the Storyteller who must stand up to the challenge of ascribing meaning to the patterns, interlacing these patterns through this ascription. Without an active Storyteller, our efforts in these kinds of courses are doomed to mediocrity at best. The Researcher, then, demands only brain activity, while the Storyteller demands the involvement of the mind itself, for which the brain is but a crucial tool.

Given this distinction between brain and mind, we can best characterize the Inner Researcher as the pattern-recording self. The Researcher is the human brain at its best, but without much help from the mind. It watches the motions, from breathing patterns to health patterns, from bowel movements to headaches. This pattern-recording self pays attention to the correlations between events and, if it is careful and disciplined, literally records the data in a journal. A “headache journal” is the common recommendation to migraine sufferers who do not know what physical conditions are causing their headaches. Although the science is imprecise, a journal can often reveal specific migraine “triggers,” such as foods and weather conditions, which tend to induce the headaches.

If the Inner Storyteller is the Interpreter, and the Inner Father is the Super-Ego, then the Inner Researcher is a Tactical Consultant. It detects the patterns of physical movement and can register specific changes to these patterns that might be useful. Thus, the Tactical Consultant notices that breathing deeply before going underwater allows you to hold your breath longer. The Tactical Consultant notices that certain foods digest more easily while others give gastric trouble. The Tactical Consultant’s observations are also not limited to your physical body. You might notice that developing specific behavioral traits strongly correlates with getting promoted.

While the Tactical Consultant recognizes potentially useful patterns, this part of the self is not, as stated previously, invested in morality. The Superego (the Inner Father) is the firm representative of morality within us, and the Tactical Consultant is subordinate to it. The Superego needs to know which modes of action are potentially useful, but it is not the business of the Tactical Consultant to make a judgment about their moral acceptability, just as it is not the business of any consultant to make judgment calls for his client. We can see this clearly whenever we think about the possible options for action in a situation. Suppose I want to get promoted. A number of options might come to mind: work hard and ask frequently for responsibility, tow the party line and suck up to superiors, undermine my immediate superior to his superior, or look for ways to blackmail when the opportunity presents itself. These strategies for promotion each seek to offer a useful manipulation of the patterns of movement in the workplace, but by themselves they are morally silent. As soon as we think up all these strategies, our Superegos will kick in with feedback on whether they are acceptable. “No blackmail,” this Superego self might say, or “I refuse to brown-nose.” In any case, these two aspects of self are distinct from each other and must communicate in order for a course of action to be decided upon.

The Tactical Consultant is the interface between brain and mind. The mind operates entirely on concepts and the subtle thought-patterns and emotional layers that fill those concepts with content. The Storytelling tendency of the mind is an interpretive affair that contributes purpose, significance, and emotional aesthetic to the experience of being human. While these mental events are unique to each individual who dreams up a Story for herself (which is all of us), the interface through which the mind can contact the body is the link between universalized concepts, or languages, and patterns observed in the world. Language names the patterns that we experience and classifies these patterns into rough groups so that further patterns can emerge within the classifications.

When we notice that colors and shapes are similar to each other, we name them, “black,” “red,” “white,” etc. Then, as conversation about these colors continues, we discover that there are further distinctions to be made within the color “red,” such as “mahogany,” “maroon,” “fire engine,” etc. The Tactical Consultant observes similarities, differences, and relationships. It then wields the existing vocabulary to manage these various observed patterns and to build new observations upon the old. The feed between brain and mind is the motion from (1) raw sensory input to (2) pattern recognition to (3) language association and finally to (4) interpretive content. The Interpreter (the Storyteller) then expands the vocabulary to which the Tactical Consultant (the Researcher) has access, allowing new observations to be made. The limits of the Tactical Consultant to identify patterns are the limits of the tools at his disposal to register them. Those limits begin with vocabulary and end with sensitivity. The Researcher’s two primary tools, then, are the existing theoretical structure within which he works (vocabulary) and the available instruments for observing and recording physical interaction (sensors).

The Researcher upholds a fixed set of principles

1. Non-ideal conditions.

The Storyteller bequeaths a Story to the Researcher. Khun called it a “paradigm.” The Researcher operates within the ideological confines of this Story, not necessarily as a means of testing or even expanding the Story; rather, it offers the Researcher a vocabulary with which to approach his observations, a means of measuring and recording the data. The Story, however, imparts a vocabulary constructed in ideal conditions. The Story is an artifact of mind and so it reflects the tidy and non-random phenomena that we encounter in the non-physical experience of thought, emotion, and imagination. That is, the Storyteller models the physical reality in his imagination and buttresses this model with a rules that govern its operation (i.e. mathematical formulas). These rules, however, only approximate the interactions of the physical reality because in the physical world there is always random fluctuation. The Researcher knows at all times that the Story he relies upon is ideal while the conditions of his observation are non-ideal. He uses statistics as a means of accounting for this disparity.

2. Statistical meaningfulness.

The Researcher expects that his data will be subject to random deviation. Despite this deviation, he also expects that patterns will emerge from the baseline static of random interaction. Statistics is the Researcher’s primary tool for detecting patterns amidst randomness, but he must be careful about wielding this tool. Standard deviations, for example, are a means of quantifying statistical meaningfulness by assigning ranges of values at increasing hierarchical deviations from the expected range of statistical meaninglessness (SD-0), in which minute changes may occur but we do not expect these changes to signify anything noteworthy. The Researcher knows that he must measure background noise and use the normal fluctuations in that noise as a measuring stick against what counts as a significant data point. Thus, our measurements are always rough because the Researcher meets with random fluctuation at virtually every stage of measurement.

3. Repeatability.

The goal of Research is to observe and record new patterns, and the more potentially useful a pattern is, the better. The central criterion of the Researcher, then, is repeatability. If a scientist wants to be taken seriously by the larger scientific community, his observations must be repeatable.

4. Controlled Conditions.

The Researcher is a kind of control-freak. His obsession with control is not morally charged, as are the obsessions of the Tyrant and Pimp are; rather, they are a necessary feature of honest observation. Academic honesty is the central virtue of the Researcher because without it data is useless, the product of mere wishful thinking. In order to preserve academic honesty, the Researcher must carefully separate the many variables that may be involved in any given observation. Did lights turn on because I said the magic words, because I touched a switch on the wall, or because I willed them to turn on? In order to be sure, each of these possible causes should be tested individually.

The Virtuous Wild One and Researcher

In my treatment of the Suitor and Débutante, I first wrote about them as if they were not subject to pure Good or Evil expressions. Two paltry weeks later, I recanted my position and expounded upon their pure moral expressions. Having completed the cycle of mind (from Suitor through Groom), I now realize that the pure moral expressions I attributed to the Suitor and Débutante were in fact more proper to the Bride and Groom, what difference is there between Temptress and Maiden (Débutante) and Prostitute and Virgin (Bride), except the choice I might make to consciously endow these concepts with differences? I knew this at the time in a cursory way because I had to distinguish the Suitor and Débutante as such from the many iterations of the entire cycle of mind that must occur before we can return to these Archetypes with a morally polarized perspective. That is, we can only learn to approach the Débutante as a Maiden once we have already progressed through the Archetypes sufficiently to perceive this moral expression which is not present in the Suitor’s absolute lack of experience.

This brings me to my next subject. Although this particular section may not be the best place to cover the subject, it is suddenly relevant. Perhaps what follows can serve as an apology to the reader that I will not be exploring the pure moral expressions of the Wild One and the Researcher. The twenty two Archetypes neatly divide into three categories (as suggested in the Table of Contents), outlining three arenas of experience. With the completion of the Bride and Groom Archetypes, the first of these three arenas has now been covered in full and you can appreciate the cyclic nature of the Archetypes as we experience them.

One does not simply live happily ever after. I don’t have to tell you this; you know it. Yes, we seek (Suitor), we find (Débutante), we explore the relationship (Mother and Father), and we ultimately decide whether to commit (Bride and Groom). These are the basic elements of the Storyteller’s Story, but every Story is nested. Every ending, as the cliché goes, is a beginning. Once the honeymoon is over, the Bride and Groom become again the Suitor and Débutante, but this time in a more refined pattern. The Groom is the baseline upon which the new expression of the Suitor rests. The Suitor that emerges from the Groom is not going to divorce the Bride in order to seek a new experience. If he did, he would never have been a Groom in the first place. When the Groom Archetype activates within us and we commit to something from the bottom of our hearts, that commitment cannot be undone unless some more fundamental Archetype activates within us to call the commitment into question (for the record, it would have to be a spiritual Archetype, usually the one I’m currently calling the Prophet). The newly emerging Suitor does not undo what the Groom has done; rather, he finds new vistas of novelty within the experience to which the Groom has committed. The Suitor becomes more refined, more focused, and more effective because his target has narrowed due to the Groom’s commitment. Similarly, the Débutante’s forms of attraction become purified and ever more subtle through the Bride’s resolution to be perceived as Virgin and not Prostitute.

What makes the attribution of measurable moral quality to the first two Archetypes in a cycle (Suitor and Débutante, Wild One and Researcher, Outcast and Missionary) artificial is that moral purity is the harvest of the process. We only acquire moral purity by moving through the sequence of Archetypes (dynamically and multi-dimensionally), culminating in the transformations of the final two Archetypes of the sequence, upon whose completion the next cycle of experience is predicated. The Marriage between Bride and Groom is a movement into an entirely new Story in which there will still be Suitors, Débutantes, Fathers, Mothers and the like, but only within the context of the Story to which the Bride and Groom have agreed. All personal development moves in these patterns: we change and we grow, but no form of maturity truly sticks unless it is the result of a conscious choice rooted in a resolute and undivided will to embark upon a specific kind of experience. No man is ready to marry who yet has doubts about whether he wants to marry. Because crossing the threshold is difficult, you are not likely to return to the place you once were. When we find out what it’s like on the other side, we can’t imagine going back. The final Archetypes in a cycle (Bride and Groom, Revolutionary and Utopian, Prophet and Spirit) describe the crossing of the threshold in each of the three arenas of experience. Once these Archetypes activate within us and we follow their dictates faithfully, we cannot easily return to the place we were before they activated. To do so would necessitate abandoning a part of ourselves that will have become important to us. Once you meet your Dream Girl, how can you settle for anything less?

This is the nature of the Architecture. The human experience is in motion. We grow; we mature. The Archetypes will find us whether we choose to grow or not, but their pure expressions can only meet us when we embrace the inevitable pull that we all feel toward moral coherence. In each and every case of a person or a fictional character who experienced genuine and lasting change, the inner moral compass of that person or character becomes either more finely tuned and more faithful to the chosen moral alignment (in the case of maturity), or more distorted and more dramatically oscillating (in the case of disintegration). Although moral coherence is not the end result of all (or even most) lives lived, movement toward or away from moral coherence is fundamentally bound to all profound changes we experiences within ourselves and our world.

The Vicious Wild One and Researcher

The undisturbed wilderness is the proper macrocosm of the Wild One. Morality, on the other hand, is a distinctly human conceit. Trees, insects and animals have no sense of morality, for they never ask themselves questions about right and wrong, Good and Evil. Nature is naively innocent, more innocent even than a child. Therefore, in the Wild One’s purest expression there is no concept of morality whatsoever. There is only pure, raw, undisturbed instinct.

What, then, could imbalance in Nature look like? A strange question, since Nature always seems to self-correct. To suggest that there is any imbalance at all in the Wild is to misinterpret the Wild; the discussion will never even get off the ground. The Wild is abundant in balance. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Positive and negative charges attract to neutralize each other, and matter and anti-matter combine to annihilate each other. For every animal, there is a predator. For every dead organism, there is another that will consume it. Et cetera. In the wilderness of Nature, there is no imbalance, though there are cycles. The only way to throw Nature out of balance is to intentionally disrupt her activities by exerting effort to divert her natural flow. In scientific terms, this means that the entropy of the system must be reduced by a conscious agent—a human being.

The Wild One bears all the marks of Mother Nature herself. She does not have sex out of either rebellion or love, but out of sheer instinctive drive. She eats when she is hungry and plays when she is energetic. For her, there is no space for morality because there is nothing out of place. She does not mature into anything civilized, nor does she spend any time at all in self-reflection. The Wild One exists in the immediacy of the physical experience and nowhere else. Until a moral thought is introduced to her, she remains as innocent and pure as they come, despite her raw and bestial inclination. And once a moral thought is introduced, she is no longer the Wild One. She no longer has her instinctive innocence. If a bee were to begin weighing its own survival against the survival of the hive, its very act of questioning its own instincts might introduce morality into bee-kind.

Fair enough. Perhaps we can pin imbalance upon the Researcher. As the Wild One’s great macrocosm is Nature herself, so the Researcher’s great macrocosm is humankind. It is surely easier to discover Nature undisturbed by humans (though it becomes more difficult as the years pass), but it is virtually inconceivable to discover humans inexperienced in Nature. Even so, we can approximate. The Researcher is wise. He has a keen sense for how a Wilderness may be tamed and to what use it may be put, but he has not yet intervened. Like the Wild One, the Researcher’s wisdom has no moral tint to it. His power may be used for either Good or Evil, but as a Researcher his power is yet unused. The Researcher has know-how, but no action. His forte is observation.

How can wisdom be imbalanced? If it were negatively imbalanced, it would not be wisdom and so the Researcher Archetype simply would not be activated. Positive imbalance, on the other hand, is impossible to grasp. What could it mean to be overly wise? How can one have too much understanding of the function of the physical world? Like the Wild One in her naivety, the Researcher in his inaction is guiltless. Until some action is taken, there can be no condemnation. Action, however, will find us quickly. Even inaction in the face of a morally charged even counts as action, rapidly moving us from the Researcher Archetype into another entirely.

Despite the clear absence of morality in these two Archetypes, you’ll find a treatment of them in their unbalanced states below. Vice does not necessarily have to be morally charged. In the case of these two Archetypes, their vicious renditions are a matter of overactivation or underactivation of the Archetypes. It is, in fact, possible to commit too much or too little of your resources to the Wild One or the Researcher without a specific moral attitude that comes from the Archetype itself. That is, imbalance in these two Archetypes is a matter of functionality rather than morality.

The Unbalanced Positive Wild One
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Zombies, man. Rabid as it gets.

The Wild One in overabundance is overgrown. Something has seized her that makes her less responsive to the changes in her movement. Illnesses are often an inner expression of the positive unbalanced Wild One, or the Rabid One, as I call her. She has a kind of affliction which amps up her normal proclivities. Suddenly her primal drives become urgent; she has no choice but to attend to these drives because they command all of her energy. When we are sick with a flu or cold, a virus enters the wilderness of our unconscious bodies to upset all of the carefully balanced interactions that were there prior to its introduction. In the midst of the experience of an illness, all of our drives are overridden by the needs the body communicates to us. We must rest, stay hydrated, and eat only certain foods.

Rabidity, however, is not necessarily a pathogenic illness. More often we see rabidity in persons who have become insensitive to the satisfaction of a meeting a physical need. The Wild One relies upon this feeling of satisfaction in order to know when to move on to the next thing, but if the balance of her inner functioning is turbulent, satisfaction won’t come. She will sleep but not feel rested. She will eat but not feel full. She will have sex but still be horny. Like any imbalance, the roots of the experience are typically traceable to the Story we tell about ourselves and the relationships between ourselves, the Story, and the world we experience, so Rabidity as such is not in the nature of the Wild One; rather, it appears to emerge when morally charged conditions obtain. She does not, of course, actually feel hungry when she continues to eat, but feels some other drive that she associates with eating, and so such a person’s ability to instantiate the Wild One is sent out of balance. The Rabid One is the wild that has become so treacherous that it cannot be safely observed.

The Interpersonal Rabid One voraciously consumes the energy of her partner. She exists in a state of survival-crisis, always obsessed with getting and securing her livelihood—something that a balanced Wild One would feel she always has. In her thirst, she jumps into a lake, risking drowning to sate her primal thirst. Her rabidity makes her hard for anyone, including her partner, to be around long enough to learn how to remedy the absence. Her whirlwind motion through life leaves a trail of casualties populated by those to whom she is dearest.

The Social Rabid One is what Hobbes had in mind when he described the state of nature for human beings as “a war of all against all.” In this desperate state, people do whatever they have to in order to secure the precious morsels that get them through this day and on into the next. The Social Rabid One arises in a starving thief, just as she does in post-cataclysmic looting. The most iconic image of the Social Rabid One is actually a fictional fascination: the human race in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately, the Social Rabid Ones are usually the first casualities due to their unthinking impulsiveness, so they do not commonly star in zombie outbreak stories except as the zombies themselves.

The Unbalanced Negative Wild One
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

I know this isn’t light-hearted, but Barrenness never is.

Barrenness is the overriding trait of a Wild One that is inaccessible. Just as Rabidity is a result of something amiss within the Wild One’s natural movements, so also with Barrenness. When the Wild One does not have access to sufficient resources to replenish her environment, she begins to wither at the edges, shrinking her activities into smaller and smaller cycles and spaces.

The Barren One loses touch with her natural inclinations, one by one. She sits in a corner, starving, sleepless, delerious. If she were but fed properly, she might become as capable as anyone else. Instead, the sheer scarcity of resources leaves her survival instincts impaired, lacking even the energy to prepare food for herself. She is in a downward spiral toward which complete extinction is the inevitable result unless someone intervenes very soon.

In the largest macrocosm, the Barren One is an ecosystem that continually shrinks due to mere scarcity. It is a negative feedback loop such as the shrinking of the ice caps. If Mars were once populated, then her death throes before becoming a total desert must have been the quiet sighs and gasps of the Barren One. This unbalanced Archetype is possibly the most difficult to watch because survival in extremely scarce conditions is nearly impossible. Our deserts boast precious few plants and animals. In this kind of environment, the elements are not buffered by the life that might put them to use. In the desert, the Sun is hotter, the wind is stronger, and the ground is drier.

Interpersonally, the Barren One is literally the starving person you see on the street. You walk past this person sometimes and you can see a very specific kind of desperation. It is not desperation for the next drug hit, but desperation for permission to live. We are not always able to recognize the distinction between the two, though. The desperation of the starving has no dignity to protect and no cover story to tell. It is completely bald: “Please help me because I am starving and cannot pull out of this alone,” is the message this kind of desperation gives.

Socially, the Barren One arises in any group that, for whatever reason, lacks the resources to contribute to the social wellbeing around it. In so-called third-world countries (a term desperately in need of replacement), the resources indigenous to the area have been sold to a corporate interest that takes advantage of lax regulations to export cheap goods through exploiting labor. Starving communities then form around these invading companies, communities that are fully dependent upon the company for their livelihood, but still unable to scrape together enough to get by.

The Unbalanced Positive Researcher
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Gotta love the Mad Scientist

The overactivated Researcher is evident when a person fails to enter into a different Archetypal mode when a change is appropriate. He is emotionally distant, an observer who never contemplates the morality of the subject in question because he is too preoccupied with observation. The conditions surrounding his removal from involvement with the rest of the world are, themselves, morally charged. The Archetypal space in which he takes refuge, however, is not. We withdraw from involvement with the world for different (usually spiritual or mental) reasons.

The overactivated Researcher—whom we usually know as the Mad Scientist—is still interested. Whatever his other motives might be, he is singularly focused on data collection, pushing all other needs to the side. In fact, like the Rabid One, this callous Researcher tends to feed unrelated needs through a single channel. In his case, that channel is endless data collection. He is the would-be entrepreneur who spends all his time reading and taking courses, refusing still to either take any action or learn by doing.

Interpersonally, we often meet the Mad Scientist in tandem with the Nice Guy. The Nice Guy is obsessed with picking up women, but afraid of rejection. Instead of making himself vulnerable, he reads endlessly about how to talk to women from the safety of his home. By spending all his time as the Researcher, he never has to go out on a limb as the Suitor, but he still feels like he is moving in the direction of his desire. Similarly, when he actually does experiment, he’ll do so in controlled ways that do not open into the other dynamics of the experience. He’ll “practice” flirting with women he’s not attracted to, a cruel attitude from the woman’s perspective, but entirely lacking moral consideration from his perspective. The Mad Scientist does not feel safe occupying any Archetype but the Researcher

Socially, the Mad Scientist was most obviously manifest in the Nazi scientific experiments. Those scientists were without question genuine Researchers, but they failed to step outside the experience of the Researcher to recognize the moral implications of experimenting on human subjects at the cost of their health and survival.

The Unbalanced Negative Researcher
experimentation the wild one and the researcher

I’m supportive of the idea of non-random evolution, but “creation science” is a project I definitely do not want to be associated with.

The Researcher is famously beneficial to our society. He probably gets more credit than he needs, considering the collective love affair we currently have with the enterprise of science. The underactive Researcher, however, gets more credit than he deserves. He is the Sham Researcher who carries the trappings of genuine data collection and academic honesty, but has none of the intentions of the Researcher.

The external condition for the Sham Researcher is an ulterior motive—whatever it may be. A person cannot possibly be a Researcher unless honesty is his highest value. Without honesty, there can be no growth or advancement in the subject Researched. Instead, the Sham Researcher will carefully sift out data that discredits his position—a position that, for one reason or another, he is invested in validating. The most common Archetypal influences that underlie Sham Research are Propaganda and Tall Tales, two modes of the Storyteller Archetype. In both cases, Story gives its Researcher incentive to massage the data to tell a specific Story. Such a person becomes too invested in the Story to enter fully into the Researcher Archetype and so cannot access his academic honesty.

The Interpersonal Sham Researcher is convinced that he understands the people around him much better than he really does. He has committed himself to a specific Story, so his Inner Researcher is barred from finding any evidence that might challenge his Story. If he is convinced that a woman is attracted to him, she can bluntly tell him that he has no chance with her and he won’t hear the evidence of her sincerity. Instead, he will only perceive the evidence that corroborates his Story (i.e. that she’s playing hard to get, no matter how scant that evidence is. He is, in short, cognitively biased toward a specific interpretation of his relationships with other people.

The Social Sham Researcher is easy to spot. Cleve Backster, who was instrumental in implementing polygraph testing, accidentally discovered that plants have feelings. The conditions of his experiment were far from controlled, but somehow the concept took off and has remained embedded within our culture despite controlled experiments that revealed his data to be bogus. Backster did not intentionally deceive anyone, but he was still engaged in Sham Research because he became too excited about his initial findings to test them properly. The New Age community is highly susceptible to this pitfall due to their willingness to rely upon intuition and resonance. A healthy and accessible Researcher is one of the only counterbalances to a strong intuition.

Relationship #5: Experimentation

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The famous Collider Detector at Fermi Lab.

How do we find out what works? There isn’t really an easy way. Our parents and guides try to teach us the ways of the world so that we might avoid some of the mistakes they made, but we still all learn the hard way. I grew up in homes that my parents owned, homes that my dad presumably kept in decent repair. I assume that he understood the ins and outs of home ownership well enough to know how to check for maintenance issues before they became catastrophes. Perhaps he even taught me some of that stuff. I can’t really remember. If he did, I guess it didn’t stick. None of that seemed to have prepared me for my first home (owned by my fiancée). In the year and a half since I’ve been here, nearly every appliance has needed attention that I had no idea how to provide. I had to search for and find (in the last place I expected) the main water kill switch. I had to guess at which circuit breakers cut power to what. And I had to contend with a water heater that began gushing water onto and eventually through the floor. I didn’t even know I was supposed to open the vents to the crawlspace in the summer and close them in the winter. Home ownership is an experiment for me and the data are the many events that occur in the house.

The house seems to have a life of its own. I’m not sure how old it is, but in many ways it acts like an old house. The deck and fence in the back have decayed to the point that they need to be torn down. Although the house itself is a product of civilization, its tendency is wild: it will slip back into an overgrown jungle if we allow it to do so. When I first stepped foot into the house, it had already become overgrown due to the working single-mother overwhelm my fiancée had been experiencing. Unsure of what the results would be, I attempted to beat back the jungle. We cleaned and painted rooms, moved furniture around, hung décor, and eliminated whatever didn’t seem to work anymore. We did this many times in rapid succession because what we thought would work didn’t always work.

We were the Researcher experimenting with the Wild One. We had a sense for the kind of abode that the house could offer, but did not yet know the best approach for manifesting that abode. We understood the basic method of taming the wild, though: observe patterns in how well the house handled our dwelling there, record the changes in our living experience based on the changes we made to the house, and come to conclusions about the usefulness of our efforts.

Feng shui, a Chinese practice often accused of being superstitious, is actually a kind of experimental science when considered from this perspective. Although it lacks a mathematical theory behind it, it nevertheless reaches for something we are all familiar with: the way you organize your home affects how you feel inside it. The theoretical premise of Feng Shui is that there is, in fact, a consistent pattern to the experience. Certain configurations of our couches made us more or less likely to use the room and invite guests over. If my banjo were not hanging on the wall, I would probably never play it (though as things stand I only play it rarely). We had to go through three iterations with the extra bedroom before we were able to render it into an appealing workspace.

The experimentation in our relationship with this house extends beyond mere furniture. We have to make judgments about the quality of materials we use, from replacement parts (like the water pressure regulator I installed last year) to the paint on walls. Time will tell how durable these things are, and if we’re not satisfied with the results we’ll buy something more expensive. Folk wisdom says to buy only high-quality tools, but, as an experiment, I’ve broken that rule.

Experimentation in an Interpersonal Relationship

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

I would have loved these as a kid, though memory tells me I was pretty happy with Legos.

Children begin experimenting early. Little boys start tinkering with their toys and looking for ways to build things or to make them better. They repeated ask that ubiquitous question, “What happens if I do this?” The Researcher in them tends to awaken early as they move from the fantasy of early childhood to the curiosity of the tween years. Little girls, on the other hand, tend to become fascinated by immersion in a physical experience, whether it is dancing, cooking, or just enjoying a field of flowers, they become drawn to the Wild both within and without.

The meeting between these two personalities is always fruitful, though it is often disharmonious. Little boys and girls tend to self-segregate, not merely as a matter of social influence, but because their interests have begun to diverge. The tinkerers don’t understand what the big deal is with flowers, while the flower girls don’t understand why machines are so interesting. Cultural stereotype no doubt influences us here, but stereotype is rooted in Archetype (as the toy preferences of primates suggest). Despite their divergent attitudes toward the world around them, they turn their focus upon each other at the onset of puberty. Knowing no other way to manage the world, they transfer these two attitudes directly into their interpersonal relationships.

The boys continue to tinker, but they tinker with girls. At these tender ages, boys become curious about girls as they wonder to themselves what it would be like to kiss a girl, or to hold her hand, or to lay down with her. Their curiosity catapults them into actual attempts. Little boys become goal-oriented. Where the goal when they were tinkering was to figure out what kinds of cool things they make happen, the goal when they are fixated upon girls is to figure out how to round all the bases. Boys experiment by trying different pick-up lines or different gestures that they think help them score points with the girls. They share their tips and engage in a community discussion about what does and does not work, which sometimes results in dispelling urban myths and folk lore.

Girls, on the other hand, continue to walk in rhythm with nature, but this rhythm draws them closer and closer to boys. They feel the ebb and flow of their new hormone chemistry and respond to it fluidly. If a little girl discovers that being touched or kissed feels good, she will want to be touched or kissed. The Wild One, however, is an Archetype that is discouraged in our society, so little girls do not tend to gather to speak about their experiences with this Archetype as much as little boys. The Débutante is a much safer Archetype for them. Nevertheless, they all feel it. And if the boys only knew how clunky and disjointed their efforts were and how much the little girls have to forgive them for it, they might abandon their Experimentation altogether and slip into the Wild One too. Perhaps grown Researchers should take note: nature has its own form of refinement, and our dabbling is always clumsy and unskilled until it becomes informed by something smoother than the Researcher who pokes and prods.

We get older, but we never stop being experimental in our interpersonal relationships. Men still tend to be sexually goal-oriented, so as Researchers they still expend effort observing their mates, Wild Ones, to grasp the patterns in which they move. The Researcher sees that his crude jokes turned her off and the result was no sex. Even beyond sex, he notices that approaching her with certain attitudes has direct consequences to their relationship: criticizing her, for example, may lead to an unpleasant evening. A mature man will have access to a subtle enough vocabulary and broad enough experience to register small changes in his mate’s demeanor. He will recognize immediately when she is upset about something, and he will examine his actions to see if this is an additional instance in a previous pattern.

Women, as Wild Ones, still tend to exist in a state of fluid presence. The Interpersonal Wild One becomes very sensitive to the word and touch of her Researcher. She is accustomed to and happy with a certain cyclic flow, but his tinkering tends to interrupt that flow. Sometimes an interruption is just what she needed, such as when her Researcher suddenly appears with flowers for no apparent reason. Other times the interruption ruins the entire mood, such as when the Researcher experiments with a new sexual technique that proves to be painful for this particular woman. Regardless, the Wild One does not know in advance how she will respond to the Researcher’s actions, but she does know exactly how she feels about them once he has acted.

Trial and Error: Looking for Something New

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

This is what my brother and I always hoped for in the kitchen but never got.

When we were 12 or so, my brother and I used to perform “science experiments” in the kitchen. We would mix together as many ingredients from the kitchen as we thought we could get away with using to see what would happen. In retrospect, I assume this is a common household event with 12 year olds. Of course, just about anything that was chemically active would have been kept from our grasp, but we didn’t know that.

In many ways, the transition from alchemy to chemistry must have been something like this. Alchemy, once stripped of the dogma that supported it in the Middle Ages, is the early phases of the Researcher’s Experimentation. In these early phases, so little is known about the Wild One (in this case, the chemicals) that they are thrown together in trial and error fashion. They, like my brother and I, were putting together compounds whose chemical reactions were not as dramatic or as potent as they had, in their ignorance, hoped.

Trial and error is an unremarkable mainstay in the scientific community; indeed, it is at the heart of the Relationship between Wild One and Researcher. There is no telling what the Wild One could produce if handled in just the right way. Fortunately for him, the Researcher is uniquely qualified to discover just what the Wild One is capable of. In his academic integrity, the Researcher is bound to unearth many wonderful and useful discoveries about the nature of the Wild One. Had the alchemists a Researcher’s integrity, they’d have been chemists from the start and their noodling with chemicals would have begun to produce interesting results much sooner.

Although the Father is the moral authority, there can be little or no Experimentation at all under the influence of dogma, which itself is the product of a Rigid Father. The alchemists were dogmatists and insofar as they were, they couldn’t possibly be chemists because of their conviction that the secret method they employed could transmute lead into gold. Had they been Researchers instead, they’d have quickly learned that this was not a useful avenue of Research.

Chemists approach their work with as unbiased an eye as possible. They, as we, cannot help but employ a Story, but it is a Story in which belief is suspended. The Researcher employs the Story as a tool whose vocabulary helps him formulate a Hypothesis. The Hypothesis is a pattern that the Researcher suspects he will find in the Wild One based on preliminary (i.e. unaided) observation. The Hypothesis is a hunch. One the basis of this hunch, the Researcher then devises an Experiment whose purpose is to test the Hypothesis to see if the pattern emerges.

The birth of chemistry awaited our consistent willingness to try new things and then to make many errors before registering a success. All interaction between Wild One and Researcher is characterized by extended periods of recording statistically meaningless data punctuated by the often accidental discovery of a new replicable event. While the wheel may have been a fairly obvious invention for humankind, electricity took a long time to even imagine, much less consistently employ. Patience, then, is characteristic of the Researcher. He knows that there is always more to learn and that if he watches long enough he’ll pick up on a pattern that can be tested. He also knows that if his tests isolate the event he’ll have something replicable.

We all experience the trial and error of the Researcher. Students who enter college with no clue about what they want to do or even what they are good at must often engage in trial and error methodology. They cannot know for sure what really excites them without actually dipping their toes into the water. They must take courses in all manner of studies before finding something that really resonates with them, that moves them on a deep level. The necessity of actually experiencing what’s out there rather than just imagining it is the plight of the Researcher in relation to the Wild One. He cannot be certain until he’s seen the pattern and repeated it. For instance, if my first economics course was interesting to me, but the next three were boring, then perhaps I just really liked the professor.

The Impact of a Story

Small children don’t know not to trust strangers. Unless they have been subject to trauma, they have no realistic sense of the manipulative nature of Evil. According to the crude Story of a typical child, those who are Good seem nice and those who are Evil seem horrifying. Within this Story, it is easy for a child to recognize whom to trust and whom to avoid.

We, as Storytellers, participate in cultivating this immature Story in the minds of our children because we do not want them to stop trusting us. To compensate for the dangers in this story, we also tell our children (ad hoc) to stay away from strangers. Until either experience shocks them into discovery or we inform them otherwise, children who are not inclined to deceive and manipulate others do not know to look for the cues and red flags of deception and manipulation.

For children, the potential threat of a stranger or—as sexual abuse data suggests—a trusted acquaintance does not register in any way until a moment of trauma, when the experience is too intense to ignore. The Story we teach them prevents them from looking for patterns suggesting that a person does not genuinely care about their wellbeing. The moment these Dupes become Orphans, their Stories become more robust (if less optimistic), and their inner Researcher is endowed with the proper vocabulary with which to form hypotheses based on observed patterns in persons who are not trustworthy. Naturally Orphans, in their imbalance, are imperfect in their endeavor. They are often just as resisting to trust as Dupes are willing. The major difference between them, however, is the change in Story.

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

The way we raise our children often leads them to have no context for suspicion until they are old enough to combat the suspicious.

The benefit of the Story to the Researcher is that it forms conceptual links between categories of experiences. Through these conceptual links, such as the link between possible trauma and the suspicious activity of a stranger, we are able to identify patterns within the world based on the robust conceptual core that we associate with the experience. Without the Orphan’s Story, we have no experience through which to give an extensional definition to the term “suspicious.” What could “suspicious” even mean to us if we adopted a Story in which everyone was genuine? Adopting this naive Story invites a rude awakening, but then a rude awakening is often the impetus behind a change of Stories.

Once we link a term to its extension (or the set of things the term refers to), we are able to amass as set of connotative associations within our conception of the term. That is, our sense for the term becomes deeper and richer when we experience actual instances of what it is attempting to refer to. The instances can’t help but be very specific and unique in their outward characteristics, but the Researcher, if he is attentive, can still observe patterns that are consistent. Only with this element of the Orphan’s Story in hand will the Researcher have some idea of what a “suspicious person” could be.

Although the Orphan will tell us about suspicious persons, we are better off with the Story of an Innocent. The Innocent knows that some people are trustworthy and others are not. The Innocent also knows that untrustworthy people will act suspicious because they are hiding something. A person who instantiates the Innocent might have no experience whatsoever with a suspicious person and still have the ability to detect suspicious activity because her Story accounted for them and she therefore had some idea of what to expect. The Orphan only becomes an Orphan because zhe was once a Dupe—that is, zher Story could not account for suspicious activity so it came as a traumatic surprise.

Ideally, the Researcher’s Story is chosen by an Innocent. Only the balanced open-mindedness and critical analysis of the Innocent can select a Story whose vocabulary is robust enough to be used as a system of categorization for pure Research purposes. Such a Story allows the Researcher to navigate new data without being totally blindsided. A scientist who is sent directly into existential crisis or moral outrage by the shock of discovery will not be able to effectively remain a Researcher. Moreover, he will be aware of the kinds of patterns to expect based on the rough outcome predicted by the Story. A Researcher never really knows what will happen, but a robust and functional Story can give him a very good idea.

Mindfulness and Behavioral Experimentation

The Inner Wild One is the natural functioning of our bodies without conscious interaction. While this sounds like nothing more than the autonomic nervous system, it actually includes behavior. The Inner Wild One governs all physical motion—not just the physical motion that sustains your body, but also the motion that sustains your environment.

Suppose certain people tend to attack you or avoid you. When I was younger and rougher around the edges, people with good hearts but poor vocabularies either didn’t speak to me or told me I was a jerk. I had a habit of arguing people into the ground relying primarily on my own proficiency with human reason to overwhelm them. I was an aggressive rhetorician who refused to be disproven. People learned to avoid intellectual debate with me. The root of the behavior was that I was invested in defending a Story I wasn’t comfortable with and that within this Story I had associated correctness and intelligence with absolute value. The behavior itself, however, was completely unconscious. I didn’t realize that people didn’t like me or avoided me because of it; I just thought I’d proven them wrong.

The argumentative tendency I had was an expression of my Inner Wild One. It was part of how I acted in the world and I didn’t ever think twice about it. It wasn’t until my Story changed and I was capable of entertaining world-views that were not my own that I recognized this behavioral pattern. I started to notice that certain approaches to conversation, such as assuming I knew more about someone else’s perspective than I really did, caused others to exclude me from conversation. I would normally only recognize after the fact that I had alienated a group of people through intellectual combativeness, so I would then have to review my actions to determine a potential cause.

Eventually, I detected specific behavioral patterns in myself that caused other people to feel alienated. My investment in detecting these patterns also caused me to pay more attention to all of my behaviors during intellectual discussion so that I could observe myself alienating others in real time.

At this point, of course, intervening in my behaviors so that I no longer alienated people became appropriate. This, however, leads into a different Archetype, the Developer. When experimentation leads to conscious action, a new Archetype activates and the cycle moves forward. Experimentation is a matter of collecting data to be interpreted and used by someone else.

Experimentation designed to observe and assess our own behavior is fundamentally necessity to any of us who hope to mature and grow as individuals. It demands that we pay careful attention to exactly what we do and how our unconscious actions are perfectly suited to our environment. We think of this relationship very simply, usually in terms of “causation,” but the actual relationship can only report on patterns, most notably patterns that, when an event is carefully isolated, repeat consistently. That is what we mean when we say that something “causes” something else in the physical reality. Thus, I may discover through careful Experimentation which of my behaviors is “causing” other people to avoid me.

Mindfulness, for the Researcher, is the way of things. To be a Researcher is to be mindful of the movements of the Wild One. Conversely, to be mindful as the Wild One has no meaning. The Wild One is ipso facto not mindful; rather, she is unthinking and instinctive.

Specialization and the Frontier

Like all other Archetypal Relationships, Experimentation has infinite depth. The scientist, in his observation of nature, must carve out a specific arena in which he does is work. While it was possible in the early days of science to straddle all fields, to contribute equally to optics and electricity as to mechanics, those days have passed. The modern institution of science, which is one of the most poignant examples of a Social Researcher, has dug too deeply into the natural laws of the physical reality to avoid specialization. The process of Research takes time, and we cannot even begin to Research until we’re familiar with the most up-to-date vocabulary (i.e. theory), as well as the most recent experimental findings. That is, good Research takes place at the Frontier.

experimentation the wild one and the researcher

Space. The final Frontier.

On the inner level, the Frontier is simply the limits of your ability to grasp the patterns at play in the physical reality. We have limited perspectives whose bubble can expand but never be penetrated. This is a brute fact of the human experience. In the course of our lives, we Experiment in all directions: we dabble in the job and career markets, we bumble our way through romantic relationships and childrearing, and we slowly learn what society expects of us and whether/how we are actually capable of meeting those demands if at all. Our Experimentation pushes the bubble of our limited perception outward first into new and uncharted provinces of discovery and later into specialized areas in these provinces, aka niches. For the explorers of early Euro-American history, as long as the Frontier was the uncharted West, there was no need to learn more about what the colonies had to offer. Only after all the limits of the land were established, did exploration turn to the details of the land. This same attitude translates unilaterally to our personal Frontier, the limits of our individual perspectives.

Experimentation, characterized by constantly pushing on the Frontier, has a very specific pattern of movement that always repeats itself. In biology we see this pattern most obviously in tree leaves. At the center of the leaf is a large channel that traverses its way across the entire length of the tree. The channel moves longways so that it takes less lateral movement to extend to the rest of the leaf. From this central channel, smaller channels branch off to direct movement to and from the leaf both efficiently and consistently. Finally from these smaller channels capillaries branch off until the leaf reaches lower limits of replicability, the baseline microcosmic (i.e. the cellular) level. If we imagine our gardens as leaves (as the author of Gaia’s Garden did), the central channel in a leaf garden is a wheelbarrow path. From this path smaller paths extend, paths small enough for a person to walk into and tend a particular grow bed. Then even smaller paths, dotted stepping-stone paths, allow us to reach deep into the garden to give special attention to a tree in the back or harvest a cabbage from the hind row.

This leaf pattern goes beyond characterizing the relationship between the Wild One and the Researcher; it is the song to which the two dance and ultimately make love. The leaf doesn’t just happen to have a central channel from which descendingly smaller branching levels emerge. That is the way it grows. The Wild One, an unconscious Archetype, doesn’t actively choose anything. She goes about her way without a second thought for it, dancing the steps she never even had to learn because she was born with them. The pattern of nature’s movement is what makes nature nature. It is a force in our world that grows, blossoms, replicates, diversifies, and adaptively responds. If it did not do this, it would be a different nature and not the nature we observe. Apparently, given the rules by which nature exists in the first place, the leaf pattern of movement is the most efficient way to meet these drives inherent to nature.

Similarly, the Researcher, often without knowing it, finds himself drawn to the Wild One in just the same pattern as the Wild One herself moves. His avenues of exploration start out large and rough-hewn because his Story does not yet register subtlety. In our course of education, elementary school serves this basic role. In those formative years we learn to chart the territory of the human experience in the roughest and vaguest way. Only when we have a complete view of the patterns of the whole can we begin to specialize. In the case of a child moving on to secondary school or college, it is impossible to appreciate the fields of Indonesian history or macroeconomics without first having a reasonably complete Story about the history of the world and the way it operates. The Researcher, bounded by his Story, can only explore the rough hewn-areas of the physical reality until the Story, forged from the patterns the Researcher returns to the Storyteller about his discoveries, is complete enough to start specializing.

While Experimentation always has a Frontier, the realm explored on the Frontier is not infinitely large; rather, it is infinitely deep. Imagine if the tree leaf were not limited by the size of its cells. It might branch into ever smaller capillaries in infinitely small detail. Infinite detail is a central feature of fractal patterns. Nature appears to only mimic fractal patterns due to her inherent fuzziness: the frequent but random event of electrons and positrons emerging and annihilating ad infinitum. The Researcher, whose is well suited to observing fractal patterns by disposition, finds himself similarly limited. His ability to detect patterns is quantized by uncertainty principles (such as Heisenberg’s) which set a minimum size to the units of his measurement. As nature can only emerge in atoms, molecules and cells, so the Researcher can only detect units of measurement so small without the fuzziness of his subject interfering. Interestingly, when the two combine into Experimentation, there still appears to be infinite depth. There is no subject that Researchers agree has been fully explored and all of its limits exhausted. Like a fractal pattern, the Frontier of human Research seems to have an infinite surface area that, despite the limited universe in which the Experimentation takes place, still manages to reveal an infinite experience.

Our physical theories approach completion as we learn that most of the major forces that appear to impact physical bodies are now accounted for, though unification still eludes our theorists. Scientists say “we still know so little,” but not because they suspect that there is a giant hole in our physical theory, as if there were an entire region of the leaf to which the main channel forgot to extend to. Their characterization of our ignorance refers to the smaller channels and capillaries that have not yet wound their way to the smaller regions of the leaf. We know so little because our experimental observations are still so very rough and unrefined. That said, some studies, such as psychology, are still carving out their main channel, stumbling upon surprising new evidence that dramatically changes our perspective of the human psyche. I hope to contribute.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is currently a buzzword in communities concerned with collegiate pedagogy. The standard story is that high school students arrive to a college or university as a freshman but have never been encouraged to “think critically.” We’re in this boat because existing primary and secondary schooling techniques tend to “teach to the test.” Academics, who prefer to work with creative minds that are aware of the rules of thinking but not imprisoned by them, find that their freshmen are incapable of writing decent papers or coming up with plausible argumentation. Somehow sloppy thinking has become common among incoming college students.

The Mother, the Father, the Storyteller and the Researcher share the duties of critical thinking. The Father’s concern is deductive integrity. He adopts the premises he interprets in the actions of the Mother, via the third-party process of the Researcher’s pattern detection within the Wild One. Once the Father interprets a set of rules, that set of rules is subject to dispute by the Researcher. Thus, the Father is responsible for deductive reasoning while the Researcher is responsible for inductive reasoning. They Storyteller then combines all the information together into a complete whole within which the Father identifies who is playing which roles and whether they are doing a good job of it, while the Mother introduces new concepts to be integrated. This Story depends upon on information provided to the Father by the Researcher who Experiments with the Wild One. In terms of Archetypal relationships, such is the shape of critical thinking. Given this shape, the best definition of critical thinking I can offer is something like this: reasoning according to logical rules whose foundation is a carefully considered set of criteria, while maintaining a receptive mind capable of adapting, reformulating, and interpreting in new and creative ways.

Why do we need an Archetypal analysis? Because critical thinking is not a homogenous entity whose boundaries are easy to pinpoint. Human beings are constantly subject to cognitive biases whose activity we are not even aware of. While we grow in awareness of our own biases, the spectre still remains, hiding just around the corner of conscious perception, waiting to sabotage our thinking. Insofar as we are subject to cognitive biases and we grow in our ability to detect and avoid these biases, critical thinking changes. We can become better at it, though we are always at risk of approaching our Stories dogmatically rather than critically. From the perspective of Story creation and concept-building, it is difficult to say whether there exists even one pristine critical thinker out there who is capable of ordaining other critical thinkers. We’re all at the mercy of our unconscious biases. From this perspective (the perspective of the mind), critical thinking is a nebulous construct that might rest upon mere sand.

From the perspective of the body, however, critical thinking is firm and unshakeable. The Researcher doesn’t change. If he did, then we would not have nearly as much respect for historical figures as we do. Rather, he represents the unchanging capacity of humans to register and organize data in the world. The data on hand and the tools with which he works are always changing, which is why we continue to improve our technology and our Stories, but the substance of his rational capacity does not change or else Aristotle might not still seem a genius to us because our intellectual capabilities might have changed observably. Thus we can say, “if Aristotle had thought to separate physical translation in space from telos, his description of motion would have looked completely different.” That is, his Story needed an upgrade, not his thinking. The virtues of the Researcher are available to any human being who is capable of instantiating that Archetype. Critical thinking, which at times may seem only a phantasm, is a real and teachable entity as long as we know how to access the Researcher.

Psychosomatic Illnesses

The Wild One and the Débutante are intimately connected. Whereas the Débutante’s mysterious allure is the origin of all Stories (we explain because we are curious), the Wild One’s repeating patterns are the substance out of which all discovery is made. The mind and body communicate intimately through the interface between these two Archetypes. The body gives the mind a malleable substance upon which to imprint its symbolic content through pattern. We call these symptoms. Suppose your body lacks energy, your skin and hair are brittle, your mouth is dry, and your mind is foggy. The symptoms might indicate water or mineral deficiencies. That is, the Researcher has consistently found that there is an association between this set of symptoms on one hand, and mineral and water levels in the body on the other. He recognizes this pattern in the Wild One. On a purely physical level, the Researcher’s final word is a Diagnosis. While the Diagnosis suggests that a change in these deficiencies ought to remove the symptoms, the cause might be deeper than not drinking enough water.

If you are not drinking enough water or not eating enough food due to an attitude you hold (the water is poisoned), then the Story is a necessary ingredient here. Until you find a way to drink water that coheres with your Story (such as discovering that the water is not poisoned after all), your body will continue to exhibit symptoms of dehydration. The Researcher, however, cannot dig any deeper because his Diagnosis is physical. Alleviating the symptoms rests in the hands of the Father, who diagnoses the mind and its Story, not the body and its functioning. Once the Father sifts through the emotional blockages in the Mother, the dysfunctional element of the Story that caused the symptoms to appear in the first place can be extricated.

The unexceptional example of mistrusting the local water illustrates a common dynamic of our experience: the patterns we detect in the physical world (most especially in our own bodies and environments) indicate information to us about the Stories we adopt and our roles within those Stories. By being a reliable servant through whom the Débutante may invite her Suitor and the Mother may give of herself to the Father, the Wild One becomes handmaiden to the Débutante and the Mother. The tendency of the Wild One to serve the purposes of the Mother is so common that we have developed a clinical term for it, “psychosomatic illness,” in which a condition of the mind inflicts an imbalance upon the body. Where we observe symptoms of illness within us, often a Story element is associated with that illness that encourages its onset within us, regardless of whether the symptoms arise from natural bodily imbalances (such as hormone or neurotransmitter levels) or from a pathogen to which we have become susceptible. Sickness is, without a doubt, a somewhat random occurrence, but our general tendency to become ill is not.

I, for example, have been subject to headaches ever since my early teens (and possibly earlier). I’ve since discovered that a whole slew of attitudes was behind the affliction. Among the causes I’ve identified: (1) disinterest in caring for my body, (2) a tendency to plan rather than allow experiences to unfold spontaneously, and (3) the belief that I’m not acceptable as I am but must be perfect before I can be acceptable. None of these are physical phenomena, but they all contributed to the headaches. While improving my diet has undoubtedly helped, no other physical remedy has been especially effective, nor would I expect a physical remedy to have as lasting an effect.

Labs in College

When I was an undergraduate taking a quantum physics class, my first lab assignment was to measure the speed of light. This experiment was astounding to me at the time because I had never seen equipment that was capable of measuring something so inconceivably fast. The equipment was, in fact, simpler than I would have guessed. It consisted of a sensor, a laser, and a tiny mirrored post that spun very rapidly. We determined the speed of light by calculating the difference in the direction the light was moving (as detected by the sensor) against the speed that the post was spinning.

In retrospect, two aspects of this experience stand out to me. The first is a rude awakening. My amazement at using such sensitive equipment gave way to the frustration that the equipment seemed to be only just barely sensitive enough, and possibly not even that. We were university students re-using equipment that was made specifically for course labs and not for research. We fudged some of our results just to be done with it. In principle this might sound like academic dishonesty, but we ceased to feel like Researchers when we discovered that our equipment wasn’t up to the task that was asked of it. Interestingly, that lab report was the only report I ever fudged and it was also the only one I ever plagiarized. The history section seemed irrelevant to me, so I had no moral qualms whatsoever with lifting a chunk of text about the origin of the experiment out of the Internet.

The second is the rather disjoint relationship between that particular lecture class and the lab associated with it. In the lecture, we learned a motley assortment of things that generally related to subatomic physics and to relativistic physics, the twin brothers born of early twentieth century physics in its most revolutionary phase, twin brothers who have yet to stop fighting. I can’t remember very many of the lab experiments, but I do remember that they seemed to revolve around (1) attempting to make cool stuff happen and (2) figuring out mathematical relationships. What made the experience seem disjoint is that the connections between what we learned in the lecture, which was entirely theoretical, and what we did in the lab, which was entirely experimental, were not always clear. Perhaps the labs were limited by the amount of cool stuff we could make happen or by the kinds of equipment we had on hand. In any case, the dramatic difference between theoretical physics and experimental physics was evident.

Amorality in Experimentation

When I was about 11 or 12, my brother and I shared a bunk bed. He slept on bottom and I slept on top. Once, I was laying in my bed, playing with the remote to my new CD player. It was a small and simple remote, so I wondered if it would hurt to be hit with it. I noticed that my brother was laying on the bottom bunk with his head just in perfect range for me to drop it two or three feet onto him. So I did. I will never forget the way he recoiled in pain. I lied about it and told him it was an accident, which saved me from his wrath.

Despite intentionally dropping something on him that I thought might hurt and then lying about it, the experience still had a generally positive effect upon me. I knew from that moment forward that I never wanted to intentionally hurt someone again. The strangest aspect about the whole experience is that I was not operating in a place of moral awareness or consideration leading up to the act of dropping the remote on my brother’s head. There was no malice, no specific reason to do so except sheer curiosity about what would happen. No part of me objected to say, “Wait! This is wrong!” It was only after the fact that the moral dynamic of the situation impacted me. I had stepped into the unadulterated observerhood of the Researcher, where morality does not step onto the stage until the results are in.

Teenage Sexual Experimentation

Sex, whether in the teenage years or later, is informed primarily by the mental Archetypes. The experience, however, still has strong bodily influences and can have strong spiritual influences, depending on the persons involved. The Wild One, for whom sex is just another pleasant experience, usually activates in females at a very young age (I’ve heard many stories of girls discovering masturbation as young as 5). In the teenage years, when their bodies flood with sex hormones for the first time, the Wild One, who previously found expression only occasionally, suddenly becomes urgent. For females these are usually the most promiscuous years, whereas promiscuity among males tends to last much longer due to the Suitor’s fixation upon novelty. The Wild One combined in the same youth with the Débutante (especially the Rapid One combined with the Tease) is a powerful sexual force that is usually labelled “slut”. A culture is growing around this term that is attempting to reclaim it as a positive term rather than a negative one. This culture recognizes the potential for both moral coherence and promiscuity. And why not? Sexual desire is a normal human drive out of which many beautiful experiences can emerge.

Teenagers crave sexual Experimentation. As the Wild One moves in tandem with the Débutante, so the Researcher moves in tandem with the Suitor. As curiosity in a female typically comes from the Débutante, so curiosity in a male typically comes from the Researcher. The Suitor himself is not curious; his interest is much stronger and more direct than that. In a male it is the Researcher who, when approached by a Wild One who is blatantly revealing her interest (as teenagers and twenty-somethings do), is likely to respond, “Why not? Let’s see what this is like.”

Conservative minds often worry that if we allow our children to experiment with sex to their heart’s desire that they will never develop a mature sexuality whose hallmark is selectivity and exclusivity. Unfortunately, just the opposite is true. When an Archetype activates within us for the first time, it demands attention. Before puberty, I remember spending hours in my room alone building with Legos. If I wasn’t doing that, I was out in the neighborhood playing with other kids. After puberty, I don’t remember much besides which girls I was chasing or seeing at the time. My parents efforts made no difference in terms of what I cared about, though it did make a difference in terms of what I did. My own sexual Experimentation was somewhat aborted (due to Church-related repression), which left that part of me underdeveloped and unsatisfied. My Inner Researcher still wanted to know what it would be like to engage in certain types of sex acts. It is the Researcher, after all, to whom niche pornography often appeals in its variety of superficial sex fantasies such as body shape and position. The Researcher looks not for a Story but for the physical nuances of the act. Had this Archetypal drive been satisfied when I was younger, the first four years of my first marriage would have been far less dramatic.

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