Stewardship: The Warrior and the Lady
An Archetypal “cycle” consists of seven Archetypes describing a specific domain of experience (mind, body or spirit) plus the relationship of these seven Archetypes to the central Archetype, the Fool or the Self. The first cycle considered in The Architecture was the Mind Cycle. The two Archetypes treated in this essay are the third and fourth members of the Body Cycle. There exists a symbiotic relationship between Body and Mind, in which the two are inextricably linked to each other, bound in ways that make it impossible to identify a mental pattern (narrative) without a bodily one (event) associated with it—and vice-versa. Architecturally speaking, this is due to the relationship between the two cycles: the Mind and Body Cycles are mirror-reflections of each other, casting the same essential dynamic substance in two diametrically opposed ways whose interconnections cannot be unwound.
The first Archetype in a cycle (e.g. Suitor and Wild One) names the stage upon which the Self experiences change. The second Archetype names the resource within the Self that is capable of affecting change upon that stage (Débutante and Researcher). The third Archetype in a cycle names the element of self that relates the first two to each other. This third element is the catalyst that translates the potential for change that bound up in the second Archetype of a cycle into a form that directly interacts with the players upon the stage of experience. Thus, in the Mind Cycle, the Mother’s expressive emotionality is the raw unconscious content that answer’s the Suitor’s desire for experience. He wanted to witness himself in the midst of a dramatic narrative and the Mother accommodates. In the Body Cycle, this third element is captured not by the unconscious self, but by the conscious. The Warrior is the emissary between the Researcher and the Wild. He is the conscious self who trains, suits up, and makes actual changes upon the face of the Wild.
The fourth Archetype in a cycle is the adaptive response that the original stage of experience adopts in order to account for the newly introduced material. In the Mind Cycle, the Father listens to, takes responsibility for, and gives order to the swirl of emotional drama and narrative sequence that emerges from the Mother. He establishes a coherent expression of the Mother’s narrative content and reorganizes his desires according to this orderly expression. In the Body Cycle, the Lady is the capacity of a physical system to respond adaptively to the new inputs consciously planted by the Warrior. The patterns of movement change within her without her intentionally doing anything (for she is unconscious after all), her every movement reflecting back to the Warrior the consequences of his actions.
The first four Archetypes in a cycle are what I call the “Minor Cycle.” These four Archetypes name the normal flow of experience in our daily lives without reference to upheavals, catastrophes, catharsis, or any other liminal moment. The Minor Cycle is the gradual progression from a stage of infancy to a stage of maturity in any specific realm of possible experience. As we move from Suitor to Father and from Wild One to Lady we undergo the fleshing out of possible experience into manifest reality, our narratives take shape and the events of our lives reveal the hidden nuances that can only come with direct experience. In arriving at a newly adapted stage (Father and Lady), we discover for ourselves the next set of possible experiences along the same dimension. Thus, a Suitor meets his Débutante and establishes a relationship. She becomes Mother to their Story and so reveals to him the dramatic elements coiled within his desire for drama. Out of this living, tangled mass of narrative content, the Father constructs and refines the prevailing Story by which he approaches reality and gives shape to his desire for experience. Upon this vessel, the Suitor sets out once again in search of new experience. Similarly, the Wild One is observed by a Researcher whose data eventually crystallizes into the Warrior’s decision to act. Once the Warrior takes action, all the unexpected consequences of action emerge from the dynamic event that the Warrior and his environment produce, presenting the Lady to the Warrior. In the Lady, the Wild becomes visible in ways previously unimagined before the Warrior’s action, which sets the stage for new Research and new action.
Archetype #10: The Warrior
The word “Warrior” is a mixed bag. It has a very sturdy conceptual background, dating as far back as history remembers, but that means it’s loaded with plenty of peripheral or even extraneous conceptualization. I chose the term because it hits close to home and because it is probably the most prominent example of this particular Archetype. Prior to writing this essay, I had named him the “Developer” in the sense that an institution develops land that was previously wild. The very fact that I’m identifying in warriors and developers the same root Archetype ought to help reinforce the nuanced way in which I’m using the term “Warrior.”
The Warrior cannot even exist without a complex social context. As some of my readers might have realized by now, the word “context” entails narrative: Storytelling. Every Warrior has a code of honor or a code of ethics. The Father, whose act of claiming responsibility also endows him with the privilege of judging, is the inventor and dictator of the Warrior’s code of honor. This much is probably obvious to us since a military (Warrior outside the wall) and a police force (Warrior inside the wall) never choose their own law, but rather serve the law of their state. Thus, there can be no Warrior unless there is also a law for the Warrior to uphold.
The Warrior is as dependent upon the Storyteller as the Father. The Wild One has no notion of the Story into which she somehow gets caught up, though the Researcher depends upon the Story in order to measure the Wild One. Like the Researcher, the Warrior’s entire range of activities are first circumscribed by the Storyteller. The Warrior must have a sense of the world in which he lives and moves in order to judge how to act. As the Researcher is endlessly interested in how the Wild works, the Warrior is endlessly discriminating about the cause toward which his energy is spent. The Warrior always has an intention, otherwise he would not act. That intention, however, does not come from him but from the combined efforts of the Father, Mother and Storyteller who determine the nature of both the players and the stage. The Warrior’s mission always originates in the sovereign he serves.
Finally, the Warrior is dependent upon the Researcher for the information that allows him to effectively execute. The Warrior always has a plan. Without careful Research, however, the Warrior would have no basis for making a judgment about which actions will have which effects. The Warrior is the physical agent self, the causal mechanism within the human body. He is the self that decides to actually do something. How can he possibly come to this conclusion without information? The Warrior, then, is a careful culmination of the Father’s moral authority and the Researcher’s discovery. He is the self-conscious hand of justice.
Only with these conceptual dependencies in mind can we appreciate the Warrior’s relationship to the Adversary. The Adversary is not, on its own, an independent Archetype. The persons who instantiate the Adversary to the Warrior are also Warriors; they are simply on the “other side”. The Warrior’s very existence is predicated upon his ability to cut the world of his experiences into two parts: the preferred and the discarded. Between these two the Warrior raises a Border which he takes as his missions to guard. Within the Border is the City, at the Border are the other Warriors, and beyond the Border lies the Adversary. Regardless of how the discarded manifests in the world, the Warrior’s directive is to carefully separate it from the preferred. The Adversary, then, is anything the Warrior chooses to discard from the world in his effort to preserve the preferred. The Adversary can be either an element of the conscious self (an enemy Warrior), or an element of the unconscious self (an unpredictable savage), suggesting that the Adversary is most often a shadow instance of either the Warrior himself or the Citizen he protects.
The Warrior is at all times aware of his mission: he lives on the Border. In this awareness, his way of life is constant training and preparation for action. Every human being alive who prepares for action is a Warrior; similarly, every action is an attempt to guard the City Border from the Adversary.
Archetype #11: The Lady
This was a difficult Archetype for me to name. My first name for her was the Damsel. While this name accurately captures the essence of the Archetype, it does so in the most uninteresting and one-dimensional way. The Damsel trope is not privileged in our world with many multifaceted treatments the way the Warrior is. This term conveys not a personality, but a blank and pretty face who is more of a trophy or a prize than anything else. She has barely changed since Achilles’ Briseus. Even so, there are certain instantiations of this Archetype for which the Damsel is the only name.
I also considered naming her the Sophisticate. This name would have given her far more personality and respect to the eyes of the reader, but far less familiarity. What exactly is a Sophisticate and when do we ever use the term? This term invokes grace, nuance, and exquisite taste, but lacks robust cultural connotations. The benefit of this term is that it signifies the dramatic difference between her and the Wild One. It also clearly identifies what the Warrior has in mind when he acts, especially in his capacity as a Developer.
I almost landed on the Citizen as a compromise. I very nearly chose the Civilian, too, a term which has many of the same connotations but is more specific. However, I don’t want to reduce this Archetype to “that which is not militarized.” While in practice warriors are also citizens, I am attempting to use the two terms as if they are exclusive of each other. As the Warrior’s focus is maintaining the Border, the citizen’s focus is occupying the City. When the citizen leaves the City or visits the Border, she does so either as a tourist or as another Archetype altogether. Similarly, when a warrior returns on leave, he is not acting in his capacity as Warrior. Ultimately, however, I rejected “Citizen” because it lacks a clear gender affiliation and is thus too broad.
The Lady is, above all else, civilized. She has a keen sense of appropriateness, which is usually exhibited externally by etiquette. She knows all the subtle cues and rules of her society. By virtue of her extreme adeptness with these cues, she wields a worldly power that is as penetrating as it is graceful. She has many, many connections and must do and say very little in order to call in a favor.
When a Wild One is introduced into the City, she is baffled. She is rude and unkempt. She offends the sensibilities of those within the City without even knowing it. Everything is difficult for her and she doesn’t even know why. The Lady is her polar opposite. If the Wild One should find herself face-to-face with a Lady, she will be astounded at how very differently everyone treats the Lady than they do her. To the Wild One, the Lady is just wearing pretty clothes and speaking pretty words, but what the Wild One fails to grasp in the Lady’s comportment is that the Lady complies with all the rules of the City. We can find no fault with her. Thus, as the Wild One is an embodiment of the Wild, so the Lady is an embodiment of the City.
The Lady relies upon the subtle authenticity of the Mother. The Lady emphatically does not memorize the rules of society. Following the rules must become a part of her authentic expression of self so that when she steps she need not think about whether she is breaking etiquette. If the Lady must pretend in order to follow the rules of the City, then she is bound to find herself in embarrassment. Thus, only by adopting the Mother’s living expression of the Story of the City (i.e. the culture), can the Lady become a living, breathing expression of the City at its finest.
The Lady also draws upon the Wild One’s unconscious connection to nature. The Lady was once Wild herself. What distinguishes her from her immature self is grace. The Lady has trained the inner maelstrom of her cyclic wild into a temperate abode, a comfortable vehicle. Where she was once dominated by craving and instinct, now she is concerned with sophistication and refinement.
The Interpersonal Warrior
In the context of a single household, the Warrior is the Provider/Protector. These two roles can be made distinct, but their distinction is not Archetypal; rather, it is a distinction between the arena of the Warrior’s concern. In his role as a Protector, the Interpersonal Warrior recognizes a separation between human beings: value and threat. Wherever there is value, there is a threat upon that value, and the Warrior emerges as a force to maintain the boundary between them. The Interpersonal Warrior, often instantiated by the “man of the household” becomes responsible for warding off any threat that might endanger the household. For him, the household is the City and is of the utmost value.
In his role as Provider, the Interpersonal Warrior locates the adversary not in a human threat but in the more basic threat of impoverishment. The Provider fights against hunger, thirst, and the elements. The boundary between his charge and the outside world is precisely the boundary of his household, and it is his job to maintain a secure perimeter by venturing out into the world to retrieve resources for his domicile. The major difference between the Protector and the Provider is therefore a matter of skill and training. Whereas the Protector is trained and able to handle the threat of damage, especially at the hands of another human, the Provider is trained and able to handle the threat of bodily deprivation.
The Interpersonal Warrior is, however, more complex than this. The “man of the household” is disciplined. Where the Father’s domain is authority, responsibility, and moral rectitude, the Protector/Provider’s domain is careful preservation of a civilized household. He is a gardener who prunes and shapes his garden, consistently enforcing the directions of acceptable growth. He is a father who keeps his children orderly through consistent meting of consequence. He is a lover who won’t be pushed around. The Provider/Protector knows the importance of carefully limiting resources and delivering consequences where necessary. The Father judges our moral integrity, but the Protector/Provider judges what is rewarded and what is penalized. The concept of punishment is a product of combining these two separate Archetypes into one figure: the Judge. The Judge thus identifies our moral status and then assigns consequences that match our moral status.
The Social Warrior
On one hand, the Social Warrior, also known as a Champion, needs no introduction because he is the one we think of when we hear the word “warrior.” On the other hand, relying only on popular narrative to inform our understanding of an Archetype would be a grave mistake. The Social Warrior is, in fact, anyone who has both a cause and a plan and then acts according to them. It is easy for us to understand causes because there are so many of them these days. Every special interests group has a cause that they champion. Some Champions are environmentalists, while others are religious advocates. Some speak out about the homeless or hungry, while others advocate for the oppressed. Some fight the constant threat of burning buildings (firefighters), while others respond to internal human-on-human violence (police).
The concept of the Champion is exceptionally broad. It is so broad that it even includes literally every single business venture, and, in fact, every single human institution. While this may not seem obvious from the mere concept of a Warrior, the principle that underlies institutional formation is that there is some exigency motivating the establishment of an organization specifically designed to act in the world. A teacher may teach without being a warrior, but the moment the teacher decides that something needs to be done in the world so that the teaching can take place, that teacher becomes also an advocate, a Warrior. A teacher can only maintain her distance from being a Warrior if she passively allows her teaching opportunities to find her, choosing to teach only when and where the atmosphere is naturally conducive to doing so. This willy-nilly teacher is actually quite common: she is any teacher who has no interest in “politics” and administration but who simply signs up because she loves to teach. Archetypally, then, the teacher is not the same as the teaching institution. It is the institution and its advocates who are the Champions.
Insofar as the Champion is an institution, its code of honor can vary dramatically, as we see in the very different motivations underlying non-profit organizations versus for-profit organizations. Nowhere is the distinctively human moral dichotomy (Good and Evil) easier to see than in the drives that motivate our institutions. Even a corporation that transforms South American rain forest into cow pasture is a Champion of some cause; it’s just that that cause is entirely self-serving. Similarly, the charity is an institution whose cause is (at least purportedly) other-serving.
The Champion looks at the world through the lens of the Story handed to him from above. He then decides that he can make good use of that world, that he can effectively serve the ends of his Story by consciously acting within the world. Whatever “good use” he sees in the world is the cause he will Champion. His picture of what is valuable in the world motivates him to take hold of that treasure, to preserve it while combating everything that would destroy it. The Champion’s job is simply to separate the wheat from the chaff. If an environmentally destructive developer does not see himself as destroying something valuable when he cuts away rain forest, he is no less a Warrior thereby. Rather, it only entails that the Story he maintains is dramatically different from the environmentalist’s Story.
The Inner Warrior
The Inner Warrior is the habit-forming self. Previous philosophical generations have named it the “agent intellect” or simply the “agent,” intending to identify that self that somehow moves from a decision made to an action taken. Whatever the connection between these two, the Warrior is the locus of conscious and intentional action. All of the myriad artifacts our culture has produced are the fingerprint of this inner Agent who is not content to merely think about what is possible, but seeks also to make that possibility a reality.
In relation to the physical body, the Agent is responsible for implementing the Inner Researcher’s findings. Consider two examples from my own life. I religiously make a cafe latte for myself (and my lady) every morning. On a normal day, this will be the only coffee I drink. My body responds well to it, and it appears to have no negative impact on either my digestion or my comfort levels. On an indulgent day, however, I opt for a second latte later in the day. My decision to do so is typically a response to an unconscious emotion: reaching for comfort. Coffee is one of my preferred symbols of comfort, especially when I sit down to write. My body, however, does not usually respond very well to the second cup of coffee. My stomach quickly begins to feel acidic, while my body begins to feel strung out from the caffeine. Moreover, the second cup of coffee also endangers my ability to fall asleep at the appropriate hour. The Inner Warrior, when active and balanced, observes the unconscious call for a physical symbol to signify comfort, but declines coffee as a viable avenue. The Agent knows the second latte is a threat to the ideal functioning of my body, so he firmly maintains his discipline.
On to the second illustrative example. Anyone who knows me well knows that I care very much about my posture. There is a reason for that. I’ve been subject to headaches ever since puberty (and possibly before that), but it wasn’t until my early twenties that I perceived them as a serious problem. I began to get rebound headaches from the painkillers I would take to ward them off, which meant that I could no longer fight the headaches that way. I responded by attending to my diet, my attitude, and my posture. To this day, posture is still prominent cause that my body-oriented Agent champions, working always to instill and improve my habit of good posture. In this example, the Agent clearly saw headaches (and general discomfort) as the Adversary, and good posture as the Border to protect.
The Interpersonal Lady
The most familiar interpersonal expression of the Lady is the Homemaker. She neither builds nor protects her home; rather, she occupies it. Where a Wild One would not have either the patience or the interest in careful maintenance of a household, the Lady feels a sense of fulfillment therein.
The Feminist Movement once decried females as homemakers because the role appears to prevent them from leaving the household. In response, women entered the workforce (though not always by choice). In rejecting gender roles enforced by either social stigma or divine command, the feminists ended up abandoning a noble career whose rewards are genuinely felt by those who choose it for themselves. Only recently are self-declared feminist women beginning to discover that they actually enjoy being homemakers, and that it is not something to be ashamed of. What these level-headed feminists are experiencing is the awakening within themselves of the Interpersonal Lady. As women, they have readier access to the feminine Archetypes, so they can more easily enter into the a state of mind that finds domestic upkeep fulfilling.
As the Mothers of our world would do well to reclaim the word “emotional” as a positive term, and the Débutantes would do well to reclaim the word “promiscuous,” so the Ladies of our world are reclaiming the word “domestic.” At the interpersonal level of human experience, the domicile is analogous to the City. It must be kept tidy, cozy, attractive, and nourishing. No one is better suited to this task than the Homemaker, whose sensitivity to the way her environment makes her feel allows her to make determinations about details of the household whose significance would be lost on anyone else.
The Homemaker is very selective about her mate. Whereas the Wild One will romp with anyone who satisfies her most visceral impulses, the Homemaker has developed a taste for a stable household. She wants to experience the many pleasures of the world, but she is not willing to sacrifice stability for them. She is practical. For her, pleasure must exist within the space of a civilized abode, so whereas the Wild One will go for anyone who knows which buttons to press, the Lady prefers a proven Protector/Provider. We tend to describe this natural feminine tendency in terms of human instinct, but fail to recognize that human instinct precisely is Archetypal.
The Social Lady
I nearly chose the term “Citizen” for this Archetype because it accurately reflects the Lady in her broadest social context. She is not, however, the citizen we think of as being a productive member of society; rather, she is the “women and children” whom the Warrior class must protect from an outside threat. Her Archetypal function is not to build the City, but to be the City. She is the pristine product that the City produces, the fundamental purpose for the City’s existence.
Within the City’s Border, the Citizen is free to pursue her many projects, all of which revolve around maintaining the quality of the City. The Citizen is both a producer of art and entertainment and a caretaker of the nuances of domestic comfort. She is the academic and the artist, the comedian and the writer, even the banker and the civil engineer. While these persons are all instantiating more than just the Lady Archetype, they are all Citizens insofar as their interests and concerns would not be possible outside the City. They receive safety from the Warrior, just as the Warrior receives the comfort of a pleasant home from the Citizen.
The Citizen is also the product of enterprise. She is an educated and healthy populace. She is a finely tuned instrument whose value is the beauty of its song. For the love of this instrument we invest our time, money and energy. The Citizen is the living representative of all that is worth fighting for. Even the piano is a Lady to the piano-tuner, whose delicate effort is a labor of love.
In institutional terms, the Social Lady is the institution itself. She is the living product of the labor that yields a functional system. She is the hand and foot that moves in response to the institution’s leadership, the social unit whose activity has become both habitual and finely tuned. The institution does not ask questions about either its direction or its values; rather, the institution simply has direction and value imparted to it and it maximizes its capacity to meet these parameters.
In an even broader context, which I’ve called the “Species Level,” the Lady is the union of nature and civilization. She is the well-kept garden. Instead of thorns and brush, she produces flowers, fruit and vegetables. She is the epitome of the natural capacity of the world when combined with human influence. We cannot say that a garden is better than a wild forest in any absolute sense, but we can say that it is better suited to human needs. The Citizen, then, is not merely the people who live in the City; it is the City itself, the entire world in which we live.
The Inner Lady
What is this physical self we act upon? When we establish a habit within ourselves, whether through gentle guidance or aggressive chastisement, who is the self that takes the pattern imposed? This is the Inner Lady. The Agent (the Inner Warrior) has as his counterpart the Habitual Self or Programmed Self, whose most famous instance is what we often call “muscle memory.” The Inner Lady, however, is more than a mere neuron loop operating independently of the brain. She is the physical self that willingly takes the shape she is assigned through the Agent’s choices.
The Programmed Self is the athlete’s strength as well as the couch-surfer’s girth. She is the health-nut’s liveliness and the Epicurean’s illness. The Habitual Self is the body’s unconscious response to every action we may take. She is not, however, a purely passive recipient of whatever pattern that Agent might select. As in all relationships between the masculine and feminine self, the two are partners in their interaction, sharing a kind of equality that we often fail to recognize in our clumsy conceptions of the active and passive elements of self.
To be passive is not to be without input; rather, it is to respond to input. If the Programmed Self were not an equal partner to the Agent, then we would easily become the things we want to become. Fitness and diet would be easy. Discipline would be a simple matter of deciding to be disciplined. The fact is, however, that we all have vices. We are all weak in one way or another to some physical comfort that stymies our intentions of discipline. The Habitual Self is not so easily habituated. The Wild One resists our efforts to refine her into the Lady when those efforts are not carefully suited to her needs. How does a smoker quit smoking? How does an overeater find temperance? How does a workaholic learn to rest? These habits take root within us, and those roots extend beyond the merely physical. The Agent and the Programmed Self are not the only players in this game. The mind and spirit are intimately connected to the habitual cycles our bodies unconsciously perpetuate.
It is not the responsibility of either the Agent or the Programmed Self to address the roots of addiction. They are merely the pieces that move upon the board at the command of something greater. The Lady does not claim to be a Queen, nor is she interested in being one. She answers to the Queen (Mother) as the Warrior answers to the King (Father). In turn, the Queen and King answer to their spiritual superiors. The Programmed Self is merely responsible for adaptation. On all occasions she feels the influences around her, influences that would move her in one direction or another, and she answers these influences as a unit, reconfiguring her entire dynamic apparatus to respond to the net force of those influences. The human body is resilient and strong, with multiple redundancies for almost every function. Where one system in the human body might fail, another takes up the slack. The same applies in microcosm to the human brain where brain damage can be mitigated by the adaptive re-programmability of the brain.
The Programmed Self is responsible for the total dynamic flow of the physical vehicle. At this very moment, your body is regulating all of its systems simultaneously in response to whatever conscious actions you might be taking. If you are exercising, your heart beat and breathing speed up so that blood can fill your muscles. If you are resting, your eliminative, restorative, and detoxifying systems are more active so that they may allow future bursts of energy. The Programmed Self is a continuous housekeeper whose actions are usually below the radar of the conscious self. When her motions are redirected through conscious activity, it is almost never through direct means. The Agent does not say to the Programmed Self “heart, beat faster!” Rather, he exercises frequently so that the Programmed Self learns to commit more resources where they are needed. Where the Wild One, the Instinctive Self, engages these unconscious bodily processes without discipline, reserving no resources for the future, the Programmed Self learns over time that there are consequences to every resource expenditure. When the Agent chooses to starve the body for an extended period of time, the Programmed Self learns to store resources in fat cells. When the Agent chooses to expose the body to artificial chemicals, the Programmed Self reinforces her eliminative systems or else finds a place to save the toxins for later disposal. Etc.
Although she makes use of whatever the Agent provides her with, the Agent’s future actions are limited by the capabilities of the Programmed Self’s entire system. The Inner Lady can be seen as a complex system of energy pathways, a process that has real existence. Each of these pathways affects all the others and they are constantly being augmented in response to the demands being made on the system.
The Virtuous Warrior and Lady
If you have read Chapter 3, “The Crisis of Direction,” then you are already familiar with my usage of the terms “virtue,” “vice,” “good,” “evil,” “right,” and “wrong.” If you have not read this, then I’ll very briefly recap: Right and wrong depend entirely on subjective desire (or will or inclination, whichever word you prefer). Good and Evil are the two internally coherent moral directions, characterized by how you treat both yourself and others. If you view yourself and others as having value, autonomy, and beauty just by virtue of existing, then you align with moral Good. If you view yourself and others as objects to be subjected to your ideas, ideals and attitudes, then you align with moral Evil. Neither direction is inherently “right,” because we must each choose which of these morally coherent directions matches the inner inclination. Virtue and vice name the functionality or dysfunctionality of the Self in response to the presence or absence of moral coherence. Hence, to be virtuous is to choose either Good or Evil to the exclusion of the other; whereas, to be vicious is to fail to choose. Virtue and vice are not an on-off switch because the purity of our choice of moral direction is a sliding scale. Although we do tend to choose in an absolute sense (we unequivocally prefer one to the other), we have difficulty committing to this choice to the exclusion of the other. I assume that everyone reading this article has chosen Good (because those are the sort I attract), but there are still parts of us that incline towards Evil. Those of us who love and respect others but sometimes try to control them are morally Good, but lack some purity. The Virtuous Archetypes show us what it looks like to choose a moral alignment purely, without inclusion of the elements of the opposite moral alignment.
The Good Warrior
What makes a Warrior morally Good? Comic books have had plenty to say on the matter. From Captain America to Wolverine, superheroes run the gamut in both personality and intention. These figures and our feelings about them reflect back to us our own intuitions about what a Good Warrior looks like. Superheroes, however, are merely a subset of Heroes. That is, they are endowed with supernatural powers. The more fundamental rendition of this well-known Archetype is the Hero.
A virtuous Warrior has traits that are very well known to us. He must be loyal to his cause. Any superhero who betrays his cause can instantly switch from Hero to Villain in the eyes of those he had sworn to protect. A Good Warrior must also be trustworthy, which entails transparency. A Warrior who has ulterior motives is not a Hero at all, but a Villain disguised as a Hero. A Good Warrior, then, has a code of honor to which he us unwaveringly loyal, and a clearly defined cause which he does not hide from the public.
The Hero uses only the force necessary for achieving his goal. Being a Warrior means consciously choosing what to cultivate and what to destroy. In the comics, superheroes always lose credibility and trust when they cause excess damage. It may look good in action movies, but no one admires a Warrior who disregards the weak and forgotten.
The above traits all point to the most important aspect of a Hero: his heart is in the right place. There is no set of actions that can ensure you are a Good Warrior because being morally good is not a matter of action. If it were, then we wouldn’t care about ulterior motives. The Hero must first attend to his Story, carefully examining his own motives, his emotional hangups, examining and exploring both the self that seeks its own gain and the self that seeks the benefit of others. This is mental work, not physical work, which reinforces the subordinate nature of the body: there is no Good action that is not predicated upon Good intention. As long as a Hero’s intentions are in the right place, we forgive him for the mistakes he will undoubtedly make. The first step to positive moral coherence is upright action, but this quickly gives way to upright intention.
The Interpersonal Hero is the classic man-of-the-household who sacrifices everything for love of his family. His mission is to provide and protect and his commitment to this cause is unwavering. He does not, however, take care of his family out of mere duty any more than a soldier fights for his country out of mere duty. His love and his loyalty are aligned. For the Interpersonal Hero, there is nothing more satisfying than providing a good life for his family: when asked what he cares about most, he says “my family.” He is disciplined and consistent in his habits, meting out consequence but not punishment, for the former cultivates strength of character while the latter cultivates resentment.
Most comic book superheroes are Social Heroes; however, these characters do not exist in our world. The Social Heroes who do exist are typically social justice role models who unwaveringly championed a particular cause—whether they won or not. Of course, history typically only remembers the winners. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of the most prominent examples of a Social Hero. His total commitment to non-violence and his willingness to sacrifice everything for racial equality (exemplified by his martyrdom) demonstrated both strength and restraint. He was a herald of moral purity in his refusal to resort to violence—which he saw as unnecessarily destructive—but he was simultaneously an effective Warrior in his willingness to suffer injury or imprisonment for his cause.
The Inner Hero is a mindful gardener. He observes his behaviors and the movements of the environment around him, and he carefully removes or blocks only those elements which threaten the integrity of the whole he seeks to preserve. The gardener pulls weeds, not because he hates weeds, but because they threaten the survival of his crop. He is mindful to eliminate only what is genuinely destructive to his garden, so he relies heavily on the Researcher’s information. A Good Warrior cannot be effective without accurate intel and a long, rigorous training program. The mindful gardener, then, knows which plants and insects seem like pests but in fact are not. That is, he knows that the apparent culprit is not always the actual culprit. Likewise, the Inner Hero is discriminating about his judgments concerning which behaviors are genuinely destructive, such as excessive addictions, and which are only apparently destructive, such as giving in to an unmet need. Through this discriminating eye, the Inner Hero can be disciplined and effective, but also gentle. So often we fail to separate the discipline of the Warrior from the judgment of the Father
The Evil Warrior
The Evil Warrior is the enemy that the Hero sees at the gates. He is a Villain. I nearly named him the Adversary, but the role of the Adversary is slightly different from that of a Villain: one needs not be morally coherent to be an Adversary. One only needs to threaten the Border.
The Villain’s intention is to enter a foreign land and claim the resources of that land by whatever means necessary. He has no respect for the sanctity of life unless that life belongs to him. Even the lives of those who assist him in his conquest are not sacred; rather, he keeps them around because they are useful. Like all Evil Archetypes, the Villain’s interest is himself alone, as he finds a visceral pleasure in exerting power and domination over others. This pleasure of domination is the hallmark of Evil. Just as the pleasure of love and intimacy reinforces our inner attraction to moral Goodness, so the pleasure of power and domination compels us further along the path of Evil.
Like any other Warrior, the Villain typically does not answer to himself. He answers to the command of a Tyrant or Warlord (Evil Father), whose position the Villain strives to one day occupy. When the Villain responds to the Tyrant’s commands, he does so only because he has been shown either a carrot or a stick or both. Since he has abandoned the concepts of loyalty and devotion, the Villain can only be motivated by potential gain or loss. This deeper moral alignment of the carrot/stick attitude of motivation is only beginning to emerge in institutional dynamics in the last half-century or so, as the Good find the attitude repulsive, the Evil find it promising, and the morally incoherent unconsciously abide by it.
The Interpersonal Villain is responsible for the remorseless child abuse horror stories that we all find ourselves drawn to if simultaneously repulsed by. The Interpersonal Villain, considered in the context of family life, sees his companion and his children as tools for his use. What is theirs belongs to him and he will use it as he sees fit. The only things that can stop him from taking what he wants from his nuclear family are if one of them overpowers him or if some other Warrior (whether Villain or Champion) intervenes. Whereas the Interpersonal Tyrant seeks to control his family, the Interpersonal Villain abuses them for the sheer pleasure of power that it gives him. Particularly aggressive instances of the Interpersonal Villain might raise some or all of their children as slaves for personal enjoyment and use.
An attentive reader might balk at my placement of this particular figure (a ruthless and abusive child-slave owner) as a “virtuous” instance of this Archetype. But such is the nature of Evil. Our culture tends to disbelieve in Evil, to interpret such events as cases of complete and utter dysfunction. Considered from an amoral stance, though, the method of Evil can produce a thriving human being and a thriving human culture just as the method of Good. There is, indeed, no wound for which the Evil person seeks balm. And this is precisely why we find the very concept of Evil so horrifying: there is no known cure for it.
Our world is riddled with Social Villains. Every hostile corporate takeover is spearheaded by ruthless Villains who have no concern for the well-being of those who fall underfoot. The Social Villain will burn crops and poison wells; he will ruin the lives of others just to make a dime. He is the “corporate assassin” sent into an undeveloped country to bend the local government to the will of the resource-hungry corporation. He is the development company who looks at a forest and sees not a beautiful ecosystem but trees to sell and land to build upon. Abusive managerial environments also fall under the banner of the Invader, who seeks to milk every last ounce of work out of his employees before they quit, lifeless and spent. The Inner Invader is the purveyor of carrots and sticks to the self that the Inner Tyrant would seek to repress. Wherever a habit exhibits some kind of weakness, the Inner Invader physically punishes himself to eliminate that habit.
The Inner Villain rewards himself only for a job well done. Dieting, especially in America, is typically executed by the Inner Invader. It begins when your Tyrant informs your Invader that your body is ugly and needs to be changed. The Villain establishes a brutal diet along with a series of punishments and rewards to ensure that you stick to the diet. Your Inner Tyrant is responsible for insulting you when you fail and praising you when you succeed, while your Inner Invader is responsible for executing your punishments. If your punishment for binging is to purge, it is the Villain who does so. If your punishment for eating too much is to shame yourself, the Villain is the one who moves your feet and your mouth. If your reward for starving yourself and exercising non-stop is a single hard candy, your Inner Villain is the one who stops your hand from taking another.
The Good Lady
It may readily be conceived that by thus attempting to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded, and from so preposterous a medley of the works of nature nothing could ever result but weak men and disorderly women.
– Alexis de Tocqueville.
Although Tocqueville is referring here to men and women, what he is really describing is the Warrior and Lady Archetypes, substituting men and women for the masculine and feminine insofar as the former tend to be fair representations of the latter. The most damaging aspect of the Damsel trope is that all function has been stripped from her. Like Helen of Troy, she serves no positive purpose except to be a living example of beauty, the best the City has to offer. What, indeed, does Helen do at home when she is not being kidnapped or rescued or wooed? The answer to this question is left only to those actively curious about a character accorded no personality of her own. She can only exist in the eyes of a Warrior. The Good Lady is what the Damsel ought to have been. She is what Tocqueville wanted to preserve when he warned against “disorderly women.”
The Good Lady is a Secretary. As appallingly sexist as the characterization may sound, the underlying substance of the sexism such a statement calls to mind is our collective denigration of the secretary’s actual job. What makes her less important than the person whom she assists? She is the nameless stronghold we are attempting to credit when we say, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” It is sexist to assume, as Tocqueville can be interpreted as assuming, that a woman cannot do what a man does as well as he can. Call this sexism against the person. It is also sexist to assume that the masculine role, in this case the Warrior, is superior to the feminine role, in this case the Secretary. Call this sexism against the Archetype.
While the Secretary is not charged with acquiring resources and protecting the Border, she is charged with managing the resources brought within the Border. Without her, the City is a rotting pile of meat behind a stone wall. The whole point of having a Secretary is, of course, so that she will handle what an executive (a Warrior) doesn’t have either the time or the patience to attend to himself. What we do not understand about the work a brilliant Secretary actually does is that the Executive’s accomplishments would not have been possible without her. His accomplishments are also her accomplishments. Moreover, a brilliant Secretary is as hard to find as a brilliant Executive. It is a testament to our Archetypal sexism that secretaries are paid so much less than executives.
At home, the Secretary is a generous and competent Homemaker. She keeps the household close-knit and happy through her many, many duties and her eye for detail. She always remembers special occasions for her Warrior and her children, celebrating them lavishly. Her abode is both beautiful and tidy. She has good financial sense where her household is concerned. Often the Protector/Provider turns over all his earnings to her so that she can put them to good use. He knows her budget will be cleaner and better rounded than his. She always does the very best with what she has on hand. This generous Homemaker relishes her work and takes joy in having created a welcoming and comfortable home. She has no interest in a stellar career or social accomplishments because she knows that all of it would come at the sacrifice of the home she works so hard for. No one else can create this small, private paradise but she.
On the social level, the Secretary becomes a literal title. She is a Lady active in society, around whom all social dynamics revolve. She is a top-notch wedding planner and an interior designer whose work is in demand by all. She is a key member of the Rotary club and a philanthropist. She is even the First Lady at the Whitehouse. My grandmother was a Secretary to her extended family. She used to mail a birthday card with $20 in it to each of her 30 or so grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Somehow, the card always arrived on our birthdays. She actively inquired into her family tree, hosted yearly family reunions and enormous holiday celebrations. She raised nine children and learned to marshal their services in the kitchen and household during these occasions. She religiously tended her garden and always had candy in the candy dishes when we visited. And all of this occurred (in my memory) during her 70’s and 80’s. It wasn’t until her death that I appreciated just how many of these experiences were borne out of her boundless energy, and that while my grandfather had the ability to veto her initiatives, he was incapable of replicating her work alone.
In inner terms, the Secretary is the competent unconscious self. This self is trustworthy. It knows what is good for it and does not need to be told what to do. As we mature and seek to grow in health and stability, we find that our natural inclinations themselves become civilized. What need is there for dieting and conscious exercising if the body itself craves these things in proper proportion? Charles Eisenstein wrote a book called Transformational Weight Loss, whose target audience is the obese. His primary thesis in this book is that our bodies already know what they need and do not need us to command them. That is, he is a proponent of what some have called “intuitive eating.” In order to get to a place where an obese person can learn to trust her intuitive appetite habits, she must learn to transform her inner Wild One into a Lady through cultivating morally positive renditions of both the inner Lady and the inner Warrior. In his account, the Warrior’s job is to stock the shelves with healthy food, while the Lady’s job is to decide when to eat what. Eisenstein’s picture of the self that knows what it needs is a pristine model of the Inner Secretary. This model can and ought to be multiplied into all our other activities, from exercise to housework, from correspondence to lawn care, even sexual activity. Once provided with the proper resources and a secure Border, the Inner Lady—the Brilliant Programmed Self—is capable of managing these things far more competently than the conscious Agent could ever dream of doing.
The Evil Lady
In her Evil expression, the Lady is an Accomplice. The Lady Archetype, as such, exists in the context of—and as the embodiment of—a civilized order, which I’ve called the City. The underlying directive of the City is to improve itself. Here we are assuming, of course, a set of criteria according to which one measures improvement. These criteria cannot be explicitly stated without exploring all 22 Archetypes because improving the City entails making a place for them all. From a different perspective, then, we can see the City as the manifest space where all the Archetypes find functional expression, just as the Story is the conceptual space where all the Archetypes are actors in a narrative.
The City, then, has an agenda. The Lady’s role in the City is to move that agenda forward within the confines of the City. She organizes the community and manages its resources. In the Evil moral polarity, the agenda of the City belongs to the Tyrant. His purpose is to enhance his own power. In exchange for fidelity to his rule, the Tyrant shares some of his power with others. The Villain is his trusted hand at the Border, while the Accomplice is his trusted hand within the City.
The Accomplice is no stranger to threats, bribes, and even murder in order to maintain the integrity of the agenda. From this perspective, she can seem invincible. Her tendrils reach into the deepest layers of the City and her eyes seem to see all. The only way to escape a potent Accomplice is to leave the City. As the Villain is the executor of the Tyrant’s agenda, the Accomplice is the machine through which that agenda is carried forth.
Interpersonally, the Accomplice encourages and makes possible the Villain’s conquest. Some of the most horrifying cases of carefully premeditated child abuse occur at the hands of both parents who, in their own ways, derive pleasure from power over another. Whereas the Villain has brute force and the direct threat of violence at his disposal, the Accomplice has both a network and a plan at her disposal. The Villain is wears the face of Evil, but the Accomplice attends to the details without which no power could be effectively exerted.
The Social Accomplice is a ruthless support staff that is not only indifferent to the costs of their institution’s lumbering mission, but takes joy in being a part of the collective social power the the institution promises. The Social Accomplice is not a cowering set of servants, but a gleeful group of minions. They are the representatives of the self-serving world the Villain seeks to create. Such Accomplices are known to exist—we see them in cinema and literature—but they hide their efforts well behind their Propagandist’s Story.
On the inner level, the Accomplice is a learned physical response to power. Where the Inner Secretary has learned to feel pleasure at the flourishing of those around her, the Inner Accomplice has learned to feel pleasure at the dominance she can exert over others. Moral coherence, whether Good or Evil, does not happen by accident. We have all felt at some point in our lives the thrill of power and dominance. Those of us who have chosen the Good, however, have learned to abandon the thrill of power in favor of the joy of emotional connection. The two are, of course, mutually exclusive. The Inner Accomplice is that self that has learned to abandon the joy of emotional connection. To her, any spark of compassion or empathy is unpleasant; it feels like weakness because it exposes a vulnerability. Through the Inner Accomplice, one can unconsciously avoid all actions and environments that arouse that feeling, while pursuing actions and environments that arouse the thrill of power. With the Accomplice on our side, we become impervious to the dangers of conscience. The Inner Accomplice is truly the psychopath within us all.
The Vicious Warrior and Lady
An Archetype can become viciously distorted in two ways: over-expression or under-expression. Because virtue lies in the balance between these two polar opposite vices, I call over-expression “positive unbalance” and under-expression “negative unbalance.”
We become vicious when our moral attitudes are confused. Confusion most often takes the form of perceiving ourselves as Good but employing Evil methodology. Our moral attitudes become confused (a) in response to the confused environment into which we are born, and (b) as an expression of our inborn personality dynamics (which I have elsewhere called the “Daemon”). In short, we are confused beings entering a confused world, so we all end up vicious. This is a natural state of affairs, which is why the Zen Buddhists constantly remind us that nothing is wrong.
The Unbalanced Positive Warrior
In unbalanced excess, the Warrior Archetype begins to see enemies all around. A healthy Warrior can easily distinguish between friend and foe, switching instantly from a protective fighter to a gentle watchman as circumstances demand. However, if he fails to shut off the fighter or fails to recognize the Lady he has sworn to protect, he will observe enemies proliferating. A Warrior who falsely perceives himself to be surrounded by enemies becomes a Brute.
The Brute does not see himself as Evil. He doesn’t even intend to be destructive. His actions are not to be interpreted so far from his nose. Quite simply, the Brute is always responding to exigency. Whether due to a Negligent Inner Mother, a Rigid Inner Father, or some other mental imbalance, the Brute consistently sees threats multiplying around him. Some Brutes, such as veteran soldiers who brutalize their families upon returning, were so traumatized by their wartime experiences that when they returned they remained intensely vigilant, with hair-trigger readiness to attack the perceived threat. Others, such as those who populate the current SJW phenomenon, become activated by a sudden sensitivity to micro-aggressions that they perceive to be laced in our ordinary way of speaking.
The Brute is so named because he is the most common source of brutality in our world. In a society such as ours that punishes brutality, a Villain would not be well served by beating people senseless. The Villain is intelligent, disciplined, and composed. He would not allow his anger to get the best of him, so he rarely finds himself in a position to be incarcerated. The Brute, however, is not nearly so composed. Although he sees himself as doing what is best for his charge—the Lady—his methods are too destructive, so the results he gets usually backfire. The Brute may not have a heart of gold, but he does have a heart. He means well, but feels unappreciated when people complain that he was too violent, too aggressive, or too pushy.
To the Brute, everyone is either a Victim or an Assailant. The Brute’s judgment serves only to determine which side an individual is on and how to act once the determination is made. One of the Brute’s favorite adages is “you are either with us or against us.” Because he is always acting on behalf of a victim, the Brute cannot conceive of himself as victimizer. This perceptual chasm between the Brute and the Adversary is matched by the growing difficulty that a third party has in distinguishing the difference between the two.
On the interpersonal level, the Brute is famous. He is the abusive husband who will kill another man for threatening his wife, but beats her when she appears to threaten him. At one moment, his wife is the Victim whom he must champion. At another moment, his wife is the Adversary against whom he must protect himself. Although popular thinking doesn’t express the thought, men are as afraid of women as women are of men. In moments of stress, the Brute reverts to his shadow-side, the Coward or the Bystander. The abusive husband’s hair trigger is not a stressful experience for him. What is truly stressful is when his wife, the Victim he is attempting to protect, becomes vicious with him. In those moments, he fails to stand up to her because without her he would have no prize to guard. The abusive husband doesn’t become abusive until he has solidified his perspective of himself as the Warrior and his wife as the Adversary. However, because these kinds of relationships are volatile, the abusive husband will move from relationship to relationship, carrying his ascription of the Border on to each new wife may, though she have done nothing whatsoever to provoke his attacks.
The Social Brute is also famous. Broadly speaking, he carries himself with bravado, throwing his weight around on a whim. He assumes that his aggressiveness is always beneficial to those around him and he has an unclear sense of the actual value of his efforts. He is the collective police force (in whatever US city it exists) that has formed an identification between dark skin and criminal activity. Because the police force accepts the law of the land as given, the traits of the Adversary are identical to the traits of a criminal. This Social Brute does not ask whether heavy drug use is actually a sickness that has been mistakenly labelled a crime; he simply assumes that the law has it right and that the Adversary must be brought to justice according to the law. He also does not ask why the dark skinned people he is so accustomed to targeting seem so aggressive toward him. What concerns him is only the law, his service to it, and the people he perceives himself to be protecting. Policemen who engage brutality are not capable of perceiving themselves as victimizers because they have already identified themselves as Champions. This distinction, however, is not nearly so apparent to the American public.
The Inner Brute is the self that overestimates its own accomplishments. Our Inner Brute assumes itself to be smarter, more capable, and better equipped than anyone else, so it sees no need to change its habits. When we instantiate this Archetype, we are, above all, self-satisfied. In our self-satisfaction, we fail to recognize the destructive patterns our habits create within ourselves. We unconsciously allow our diet to remain poor and our daily work unproductive. The Inner Brute is the self that respects neither its body nor its environment, but becomes angry and resentful when its health wanes and its environment deteriorates.
The Unbalanced Negative Warrior
For better or worse, our society glorifies the Warrior. This glory, however, only accompanies a Warrior who can live up to our collective projection of him as a Hero. Those who cannot live up to this picture, the unbalanced Warriors, become the recipients of scorn equalling the glory we accord Heroes. As the Brute alienates himself from his City through his excessive destructiveness, the Coward is ostracised by his own impotence. For most of us, the opportunity to “stand up for what you believe in” is a rare occasion. In a rare moment, we find ourselves surrounded by a bigoted mob or a person being victimized. How do we respond in that moment? If the threat is not even recognized, then the Warrior Archetype never activates within us. If, however, the threat is identified but avoided, the Warrior has become a Coward.
In our society there is no fate worse for a Warrior than to be identified as a Coward. Far better to be a Brute. The Coward not only recognizes the threat of the Adversary upon the City, he chooses to do nothing because he is not willing to make the sacrifices necessary for defending his City. The Coward’s tragic flaw is not that he does not care enough about his City; rather, it is that he does not recognize that his inaction fails to achieve its purpose. The Coward chooses to avoid confrontation because his sincere belief is that confrontation itself is the greatest threat to his realm. Whereas the Brute perceives non-intervention as the great threat, the Coward holds precisely the opposite perspective. Although both the Brute and the Coward are Tragic Heroes, the Coward is in some ways the more tragic of the two because his intentions are no less sincere than the Brute’s, but we so often fail to acknowledge them.
The Coward’s docility is also his virtue in all phases except those that are most central to his concern. People find him pleasant and agreeable, but his resources (his City) are consistently plundered. It is easy to take advantage of a Coward because he is afraid that defending himself will lead to an even worse outcome. The Coward was probably either raised by another Coward or experienced a series of traumatic childhood events that confirmed for him the devastating effects confrontation. His cowardice is, for him, a virtue: he sees himself as a peacemaker. Others, however, clearly perceive that his failure to defend his City may cost him everything he holds dear, that peace cannot exist in a bellicose world unless it has a defender.
On the interpersonal level, the Coward is a workhorse who knows how to provide but is terrified to protect. He gives to his family everything that he has and he takes upon himself the constant stress of increasing demands both at home and at work. The Interpersonal Coward is tormented by both his friends and his inner voice because he is afraid to stand up even to his family, but he does not see any other way to keep his family together. He is afraid that if he does not do what the Lady of the household tells him to do, she will leave him. Similarly, he is afraid that if he is firm and resolute with his children, they will resent him. Every act of intervention, every confrontation appears to the Coward as an act of excessive force. As the Brute’s touch is far too heavy, the Coward’s touch is far too light. The Interpersonal Coward is a Chump, an easy target.
The Social Coward refuses to ask for a raise. He does everything anyone asks of him, but does not ask for anything in return. He feels like he deserves more respect than he gets from his coworkers, but he is afraid to tell them so because he does not want to lose their favor. The Coward Archetype instantiates in non-unionized laborers from whom too much is asked and not enough is given. They feel it is impossible to speak up for themselves because if they were to do so, the very act would threaten their livelihood. So they continue to punch in and simply take the abuse.
The Inner Coward is the self that gives away all of our resources without ensuring that the exchange is equal. When we give in to the demands we make upon ourselves, the things we expect ourselves to live up to, trudging forward day after day to continue the grind of existence, we allow the Inner Coward to continue his tendency of non-intervention. The Inner Coward is the reliable self who is terrified of standing up to his own inner expectations, for fear that he will not measure up, that his accomplishments will somehow fall short. As the Inner Brute is overly pleased with himself, the Inner Coward fails to acknowledge the value of his own achievements. He must always do more and gain more because he is unwilling to firmly say to himself, “My actions are enough. My work is good and I deserve to live a comfortable life without giving everything away to others.”
The Unbalanced Positive Lady
The Lady is distinct from the Mother insofar as her concern is the City whereas the Mother’s concern is the Story. In her overactive state, the Lady’s area of concern grows beyond her appropriate domain, not into the Mother’s, but into the Warrior’s. The Unbalanced Positive Lady is a person whose support role begins to overwhelm and stifle the lead role whom she supports. She is not a usurper—that role is traditionally considered masculine—but she often supports a usurper’s rise to power. Perhaps we can call her a Nag.
The Nag does not pursue power acquisition for the sheer joy of dominance. Rather, she sees herself as doing what is good for the City. In her mind, her decisions and actions are warranted because she finds herself to be in a unique position to determine the needs of the City. She is Clytemnestra who ran Argos in Agamemnon’s absence and who, upon his return, decided that Agamemnon was not fit to rule the kingdom.
The Nag does not see that her actions undermine the strength of those she supports because what she sees is an absence of strength, an absence of capability, or even an absence of intelligence. She steps beyond her support role because she feels it necessary in order to prevent the City from falling into ruin. She is a Nag because she cares. Unfortunately, the leaders she undermines and the breadwinners she sidelines are a telling casualty of her aggressive Stewardship. She does not appreciate the strengths of others well enough to accept that each has an appropriate role and that efficient management of a City is a shared task between persons who respect and trust each other. Instead, she is overcome by concern for what she sees as the best interests of her City.
The Lady’s actions and concerns, however, are entirely a product of existing habits. She cannot grow except in response to someone or something that challenges her status quo. Because of this inability, she cannot properly address the City’s needs alone. Her effort to do so will always leave parts of the City either impoverished or ostracized because the patterns of her unconscious resource management are not yet balanced. Without a conscious element to pinpoint the imbalance of her approach, her City is effectively ruled by the mob, a mob personified by the Nag.
Interpersonally, she is the Lady of the household whose whim and desire supersedes that of the Provider. Her will governs all expenditures. Sometimes she is a “gold-digger” who spends the Provider’s money as quickly as he makes it. Other times she simply extends her energy into every crevice of the household so that when the Provider returns home, he feels that it is not his own home he is returning to, but hers. The Hag, however, need not be a woman. She can also be a child or even a pet insofar as that one member of the household dominates all decisions for expenditure. Regardless of how she is instantiated, the Nag represents a misuse of resources through her complete reactiveness. She is typically paired with the Coward, who hasn’t the courage or the discipline to stand up to her explosive reactions, often over what seem to be the smallest details.
Socially, the Nag is a Mob. While the first images that the term “Mob” calls to mind are images of a protest-turned-riot, the Mob is actually a very active force in our world. Social media shaming, for instance, is reactive response to some event in the City. The Mob unconsciously adopts a prevailing set of habits in response to situations, based usually upon an equally unconsciously adopted Story about that situation (thank you, Mother). When an event triggers one of the Mob’s programmed habitual responses by activating a specific Story element, the Mob reacts without prior consideration. The Mob paradigmatically lacks a “voice of reason” because its actions are entirely unconscious.
On the inner level, the Nag is the Reactive Self whose outbursts are uncontrollable. From afflictions like Tourette’s and autism at the extreme end to embarrassing moments of truth on the moderate end, this is the self that responds to situations through uncontrollable habituated response. This Reactive Self is more than merely instinct because its reactions are developed over time. She appears most prominently in response to childhood trauma. In these cases, the inner Father is not developed enough within the child in order to sort out the powerful emotions that arise from traumatic experiences. The child’s Inner Warrior cannot properly identify the Border to be defended because he does not have a functional law to serve. Instead of consciously programming a set of habitual responses within the traumatized child, the Inner Warrior gives way to the Reactive Self, whose outbursts are undisciplined and erratic. She resembles the Wild One in her unpredictability, but lacks the Wild One’s contact with the natural order. The Reactive Self attempts to compensate for a weak Agent through her bilious responses to the smallest of offenses.
The Unbalanced Negative Lady
The under-active Lady is a Submissive. While this word is typically taken as a description of sexual activity, it has much broader Archetypal application. Interestingly, where dominance and submission are concerned in sexual circles, the Archetypes generally expressed are the Brute, the Coward, the Nag (or Dominatrix), and the Submissive. The sexual preoccupation is, apparently, a means of exploring and acting out imbalances in these two Archetypes.
The Submissive feels like a captive in her own home. Her actions are highly regulated, even controlled, and she feels like she can never escape the watchful eye of her captor. She is concerned with the well-being of her City, but she feels like she can only tend the City insofar as her captor allows her to. Whereas an unbalanced Mother is emotionally dependent upon the masculine influence in her life, the Submissive longs to escape from the clutches of her captor and she wants to take the rest of the Citizenry with her, but she is afraid to do anything about it. In the broader Archetypal sense, then, the Submissive does not enjoy her position. She is aware of the rules that she is expected to abide by and any violation of those rules is met with disproportionate abuse.
Interpersonally, she is a battered housewife or an abducted child. That is, she is a Victim. She is an unwilling slave to the will of her captor, hoping always for a means of escape. In genuine cases of imbalance, however, she will not leave because she is convinced that he will discover her plan and punish her for it. She submits to his authority because she believes that he will always find her and will surely punish her. She resents those who try to help her but fail, because they always make her situation worse.
On the social level, the Submissive is an oppressed population. The current #BlackLivesMatter movement seeks to express the existence of continuing black oppression at the hands of racist police forces. The masculine elements of these populations often militarize, which exacerbates the situation. The feminine elements of these populations, however, become docile and submissive. They prefer to make themselves completely vulnerable and submissive to the possibility of police abuse because whatever might happen at the hands of an overly suspicious policeman is better than getting shot. This submissive element of these (typically) inner city communities resents the militarized element because they see the militant blacks as making things harder on everyone else.
The Inner Submissive, on the other hand, is the self that does its very best to comply with the demands of the conscious. She is the Inner Good Girl. Unlike a Mother or Bride, she is not striving to be acceptable or morally praiseworthy; rather, she is striving to be rewarded rather than punished. This is the unconscious self that responds to carrots and sticks. This Inner Good Girl does her very best not to be noticed by anyone. She is to be the hand of the Agent, the passive and uncomplaining servant to his decision. We see her especially in women who have “learned their place in the world.” They go beyond merely acting out the Submissive Archetype on a social level: they have internalized it. Even within themselves they perceive breaking the rules as worse than allowing themselves to pursue the pleasures of their choosing. She is the mother who refuses to leave an abusive husband because her children would have a split family. She is well aware that she would love to lead a different life, but she sacrifices herself for the sake of the City. She internalizes the command of the Brute who holds her captive, shutting off the possibility of escaping to a better life.
Relationship #6: Stewardship
As the Mother incubates and bears a Story (which I previously referred to as the “Creature”), the Warrior establishes and protects the Border of the City. Both circumscribe the space in which the new can grow and flourish. Similarly, as the Father hones and elucidates the Story through responsibility and analysis, so the Lady civilizes and prunes the City through her diffuse care. Whereas the Mother and Father Co-create their Story, the Warrior and Lady establish and keep the City. What is conceived in Mind then manifests in Body, but just as the Story has a life of its own, so too does the City.
On the most obvious level, a City is a large community of people who collectively tend to all the various functions necessary for maintaining a civilized experience. The City keeps the Wild at bay and establishes a space in which we may have both comfort and the luxury of pursuing ends not related to survival. It is only in the City that we can learn to become more sophisticated whether in art, trade or quest.
The City has everywhere microcosms and macrocosms that feed into each other. Within the City there are institutions and households. At the helm of an institution there is an executive, as at the helm of the household there is a Protector/Provider. These Warriors within the City gates guard the Borders of their microcosmic Cities. Institutional executives have missions or directives given to them by investors and boards of directors. These directives provide the Warriors at the helm with law which they must serve, a Border to guard and a means of doing so. It is no wonder that institutions, once founded, seek to preserve their own existence: that directive is typically at the top of the list of laws handed to the executive from the board of directors. Moreover, the Warrior always assumes that if he serves the law he is also protecting the Border. Behind the Border lies that which is dearest to the Warrior’s heart: his City, his company, his family.
The smaller microcosm of the City within the City is, of course, the family unit—whatever shape that might take. The City at large is composed of family units as the human body is composed of cells. Each of these family units has a Border protected by a Warrior, including single-mothers on whom the responsibility of Warrior-hood so often falls. These Warriors must be breadwinners for their families, accumulating both resources and shelter in order to establish the Border of the household (typically the front door). Each of these Protector/Providers, however, must cross the Border in order to acquire resources. In doing so, they exit the smaller City (household) and enter into the larger City (community), where they often cease to be Warriors.
If we lived in a world filled exclusively with Warriors, our Cities would look like Sparta and our homes would look like bachelor pads. To the Warrior our human Architecture accords the responsibility of provision and shelter. Upon the Lady, on the other hand, all other responsibility falls. It is ironically disproportionate that we should give so much glory to Warriors (often deserved) but so often take Ladies for granted. Indeed, the Lady represents every Citizen, every human being who enjoys the benefit of safety and provision. With resources collected and the Border established, the Lady turns her attention to “the finer things in life.” If these things also have value—and to a Warrior they always do, for where else shall he find his repose?—then so too does a Lady’s work have value.
There are those who say that there is no explanation unless it begins with evolutionary necessity. In turn, “evolutionary necessity” is understood under this interpretation to mean “necessary for survival,” since this attitude generally assumes a Darwinian concept of evolution. This attitude about the natural directives of life fails to appreciate the Lady’s offering. The Lady offers us something more than mere survival. She offers exploration and discovery, beauty and horror. She offers the opportunity to explore ourselves not merely in imagination, but in reality. The deepest trouble with bare survival is that it fails to grasp what the Warrior is fighting for. He does not fight for survival. If he did, he wouldn’t be so willing to sacrifice his life. The Warrior fights for his City’s way of life. He fights to maintain and preserve the privilege that his Lady and his family have to pursue their dreams.
The Declaration of Independence declares that every human being has an unalienable right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These terms are, of course, exquisitely vague, but they were meant to be so. The Warrior, contrary to the Darwinian perspective, fights for all three of these things, and not just life. The Lady, invested with the liberty to pursue happiness, then sets about bringing into the world the kind of City she would enjoy. The values cherished by the Warrior and the Lady extend well beyond the mere corporeal. That is, there is no consideration of manifest or Bodily concerns that can escape simultaneous consideration of both Mind and Spirit. When the Lady pursues her happiness, she is acting out a role in her Story according to which the actions she takes will bring her happiness. Similarly, she is also seeking to dwell within the Temple that promises to bring her a sense of fulfillment. As the Story is congruent to the City in the mental arena, so the Temple is congruent to the City in the spiritual.
We all know that an executive would not get very far without his secretary, or at least we should know considering literature and film frequently reminds us. The Lady knows that her Warrior would not get very far without her. She makes decisions he does not have time for; she organizes and prioritizes his appointments; she keeps his finances in order; she maintains a healthy relationship between him and the rest of his family (or institution). In general, the Lady knows much more about the details of the City than the Warrior does, as his job is to manage the broader social relationships between his organization and other organizations, whereas her job is to tend to this one organization. He depends heavily on her familiarity with the organization, just as the Provider depends upon the Homemaker’s constant presence within the domicile to inform his decisions.
The Principles of Permaculture
A Warrior is an agent whose action is informed by observation. In practice the Warrior often relies upon someone else’s observation—it is not necessary that the Warrior and the Researcher be the same person. But on the inner level, of course, we are all of these Archetypes. The observations that the Warrior relies upon are observations about the function of nature. He needs to know how the Wild One operates in order to draw a Border in just such a way that she becomes civilized. The Warrior acts to establish the City amidst the Wild. Where it is the Researcher’s job to grasp the nature of the Wild, it is the Warrior’s job to implement a plan based upon this information.
The recent rise of permaculture as a new method of establishing a relationship between the City and the Wild is a shining example of the relationship between Warrior and Lady in their most morally positive alignments. The Warrior—in this case a gardener—begins with the harvest of the Researcher’s observations: a set of natural tendencies in the Wild. In response to these three principles, the a Good Warrior will formulate a plan of action that accounts for the Wild One’s existing tendencies. Translating permaculture ideology to the greater Archetypal scene in which it occurs: the garden is the City, the living organisms in the garden are the Lady (indeed, the City and Lady are ultimately different micro/macro-cosmic levels of the same Archetype), and the gardener is the Warrior.
The three primary principles of permaculture are as follows.
The Wild is uneven. There are boggy wetlands and there are deserts. There are thick forests and there are rocky hills. In this uneven physical environment we human beings find ourselves strewn about, like seeds cast into the wind. The natural tendency of the Wild is to locate a void and then to fill that void. If there is fertile soil, something will begin to grow there. If there is clean water, something will drink it. If there is tender greenery, something will eat it. There are even fungi that slowly break down rocks to harvest the mineral elements in it. Nature is opportunistic and efficient; she finds niches and fills them. She moves in the path of least resistance, so her energies will be drawn wherever resources are rich.
Instead of attempting to grow corn anywhere and everywhere because the government subsidizes it, the wise gardener will appreciate that his particular stretch of land may be more conducive to say an orchard or an herb garden. He will identify the specific garden styles that can find a niche in his land. Then, having decided what his land is best suited for, he will design his garden so that each element serves a niche purpose within the overall ecology of the garden. He will plant greens for the deer to eat and clover to prevent weed overgrowth on bare soil. He will plant trees and bushes to shade sensitive plants and allow a detritus layer to form for worms to feast upon and to prevent moisture from evaporating in the sun.
The Lady’s many capacities are all best executed when they exist in dynamic synergy with each other. Moreover, each Lady is different. A wise Warrior knows that his Lady is always in flux, always growing. An even wiser Warrior knows that her every need will seek fulfillment somehow, whether he provides it to her or not, just as surely as nature fills every niche. As they say about a neglected wife: if she can’t get it from you, she’ll get it where she can. The Homemaker of the household will find some purpose for every space in her household, whether the Provider approves or not. She will choose a comfortable setting for the thermostat and lovely colors for the interior, and his quibbling over cost means little to her. Her taste is unique, as every Homemaker’s ought to be, so the wise Provider will learn to make suggestions to her that both serve his purpose (to improve functionality) and appeal to her inclination (to be more pleasing).
Nature grows and expands from the center outward. There are always realms that are barren or yet under-colonized by nature because the earth is always shifting, tilling the soil, changing the environment. Old growth dies in the winter and new growth appears in the spring. The method nature chooses to propagate herself, though, is through a careful succession. The first plants to enter an uncolonized area are weeds. These pioneer plants thrive where others would die because they are hardy and their roots reach deep into the soil to bring buried nutrients to the surface. After the weeds come the bushy perennials that only take a couple of years to grow. They benefit from a soil improved by the pioneer annuals that have already been around for a few seasons. In the shade and nutrients that these plants provide, soil life such as worms and mites can flourish and small land animals can establish shelters. Finally, larger perennials such as trees will begin to grow in the stabilized environment established by a healthy wild ecology.
The wise gardener will be mindful of the succession of organisms. If he were to plant fruit trees in barren soil, he would find himself beset with difficulties keeping his trees alive, needing to constantly water and fertilize these plants that need large quantities of nutrients to survive. Instead of overwhelming himself and his plants, he will start small. He will slowing improve the soil by introducing hardy annuals whose cover will help the soil retain moisture and whose roots will help loosen the soil. Once worms, micro-organisms and other soil life have a strong presence, he will introduce perennials into his garden. The mindful gardener knows to move slowly. A strong and efficient ecology does not happen all at once.
The wise Warrior does not demand dramatic change of either his City or his Lady. He is aware that her deeper layers must be cultivated in order to be conducive to grand vision he has in mind for his enterprise. The Provider is also the Builder, but he cannot build his City all at once. If he does, he runs the risk of a high-maintenance City whose design failed to grasp the subtler demands of a complex ecology. One may build a house in a few months, but a home takes years to cultivate. This principle of succession applies in all areas of the City. The wise Warrior must remember that his Lady will take care of the hidden details that transform a shelter into a home, so long as he introduces change to her gradually. An overwhelmed and stressed Lady leads to a starving City.
When left to her own devices, nature does not grow in expansive rows of single crops. There are no cornrows in the wild. Rather, species symbiotic to each other will grow interspersed with each other. One may provide shade while the other wards off pests. One improves the nitrogen content of the soil while another improves water access. Soil life is similarly biodiverse. Where one species eats dead leaves, another will eat the droppings from the one. Even mosquitoes rob blood from animals like us to feed the frogs.
The wise gardener will be careful to include variety. Given principles (1) and (2), it would be impossible to avoid biodiversity, but even so he is conscious of the necessity. When he composts, he makes sure to collect soil from numerous different environments so that his compost heap is seeded with a richly diverse set of soil bacteria. When he saves his seed, he will be sure to collect from many different plants to preserve a strong genetic pool.
The third permaculture principle is a description of the Lady’s taste. While a Warrior can easily stand to wear the same clothes everyday and eat the same food every day, this spartan attitude is a form of desolation to the Lady. She finds life without variety insufferable. The Warrior is not aware enough of the great benefits that diversity brings to appreciate what he is missing when he sacrifices it. He is always too focused on the task ahead. It is the Lady’s responsibility to bring him back to the pleasant richness of the moment. It is she who knows the importance of a fragrant flower.
Action and Consequence
Newton’s third law of motion: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The Warrior, over and above all other Archetypes, is the harbinger of action. His intervention always brings consequence with it. Conventional military wisdom often supports the ideology that one must make a decision about how to handle a situation and then live with the consequences of that decision. Or, in other words, we give it our best effort and face the music if our intervention leads to disaster.
Where the Warrior brings action, the Lady brings consequence. My fiancée reminded me recently that the incense we burn was probably made by 6 year old Indian children. On the face of it, that fact is rather horrifying. Popular activism suggests that we ought to boycott purveyors of incense that employ children who ought to be playing instead of working. This simplistic thinking, however, does not respect the reason these 6 year old children are working in the first place. Where are their parents? They are, of course, supervising. An Indian family that employs its 6 year old children is probably a family on the verge of destitution. They depend upon that income to make ends meet.
What, then, is the most appropriate action to take? What is a Warrior to do? To consciously act in this situation is to intervene. That is to say, if I intentionally buy more incense because it employs 6 year olds, I would seem to be supporting a system that does not respect children. However, if I intentionally stop buying incense to starve a system that exploits child labor, I would seem to be participating in taking away what little employment a poor family can access. In this situation, there does not seem to be a clear path for intervention. In my case, then, I can only conclude that the appropriate action is to not allow the matter to affect my decisions. If I choose to change my incense purchasing habits, the fact that it is made by 6 year olds can’t be a factor that affects my decision because there is no clear Border for me to defend. The consequences of any action in this case are not necessarily appealing. I’d prefer not to see 6 year olds working, but the suffering of families if there were a mass boycott is a consequence that I do not want. In this case, if I were to take up as a Warrior the cause of exploited child labor, I must understand that the Lady herself has a say in all this. What do the 6 year olds want?
As the Warrior is committed to service, he cannot rise to moral Goodness unless his service is actually called for. When we champion a cause without first carefully observing what the Lady would like for herself, we run the risk of making matters worse. This is tantamount to establishing a garden on land without taking into account the existing ecology and conditions of that land: what is it suited to? What would it respond well to? The land can only suggest answers, but a human being can actually provide them.
As the Mother is the representative of her Creature, the Story, so the Lady is the representative of the City. It is in this capacity that we commonly refer to this Archetype as the Damsel. A Damsel in distress indicates that an Adversary is attacking the City and the Hero must act to protect it. His rescue of the Damsel indicates his success in protecting the City and keeping the Adversary at bay. To die protecting either the City or the Damsel is the epitome of glory for the Hero.
While this Archetypal narrative is neat and clear, it is found ever so rarely in our actual experience. Genuine Adversaries rarely find us within our normal lives. I’ve never met a person I thought was genuinely Evil. I know they exist, but their appearances are not nearly as common as their sightings. Two months ago, my fiancée and I discovered that there are termites eating the decaying fence and shed we inherited with the house. Although they are not eating the house itself, termites constantly forage so their discovery of it would only be a matter of time. We found ourselves in a City under attack. The Warrior immediately surfaced and we were prepared to spend $900 that we could have used elsewhere to install bait stations for termites.
While my termite story may sound to some like a clear case of appropriate Warrior intervention, the situation itself is not so clear. The bait is poisoned with a synthetic chemical that, if successful, will eventually end up in the ground where the termite colonies are. Moreover, our act of protection comes at the cost of a beneficial insect who was innocently doing its job: to break down dead wood. I looked for more natural methods of keeping termites at bay, but, while keeping the wood dry is a deterrent (termites are drawn to moisture), nothing will stop them when they find wood to eat. I am still uncomfortable with the introduction of chemical poison stations in our yard, but I also don’t see an alternative for protecting our household.
The moral of this story is that, in the long run, the Damsel is everyone and everything. All of Planet Earth is our City, which means that our microcosmic acts of Warrior aggression look less and less righteous the broader our view becomes. The Warrior’s fight is noble, but the Border he draws always cuts across the body of the Lady. He must always decide which part of Nature is to be preferred and which to be rejected. Only this awareness allows the Warrior to become a Hero: his gentle touch is only just strong enough to effect change. This and no more is the Warrior’s path to victory.
Vicious Stewardships and Mindfulness
Addicted Victimizer and Enabling Victim
Whenever a positive unbalanced Warrior and a negative unbalanced Lady meet, there is a high likelihood of a Victim/Victimizer relationship. These two unbalanced Archetypes attract each other irresistibly. The Victimizer, a Brutish Warrior, does not see himself as a Victimizer, for if he consciously Victimized others he’d be a Villain. Rather, the Victimizer consciously sees himself as a Warrior whose efforts are fixated upon securing the Border.
What defines a Victimizer is that the collateral or cost of his act of protection is precisely that which he meant to protect. The Victimizer is, in his own eyes, a Tragic Hero. The Tragic Hero’s great irony and tragedy are his utter failure and demise, despite his apparently pristine intentions. Oedipus, for example, seemed to have intentions as blameless as anyone in the world, yet he committed fratricide and incest. His abysmal failure to have achieved the greatness that his story, at least as told by Sophocles, seems to warrant is what makes this fellow so profoundly sad and what invokes compassion within us.
The Victimizer, however, seems to have lost his appeal in our culture as a Tragic Hero. Instead, we see him more as an unconscious Adversary, an evil that is not yet so sinister that it knows itself to be Evil. We cannot see the Victimizer’s lofty intentions. We do not see that he beats his children so that they grow to be strong and his wife so she learns not to put herself in danger. We do not realize that he demoralizes and insults them so that they improve their weaknesses. We might, however, be aware that he thinks the objects of his unprovoked sexual aggression actually want the attention. Those who do not find themselves stuck in this Archetype fail to grasp just how wholly convinced the Victimizer is that his actions are oriented toward moral coherence. He thinks he is a good person. And that is precisely what makes him a Tragic Hero. What, after all, did Oedipus do that is left out of the plays? How could he have brought this situation upon himself? He has all the marks of a shoot-first-then-bed-the-girl protagonist. Although Sophocles did not paint him this way, that might indicate a failure of Greek culture to recognize this Archetype’s questionable morality.
The Victim, however, is not any more noble than the Victimizer, though she tends to be treated as such. We all occasionally meet with the destructive habits of a Victimizer, but we do not all become deeply involved with them. I use the term “Victim” in a technical sense to specifically indicate the person who is not merely affected by a Victimizer, but drawn to one. As the Victimizer protects an inefficient Border whose placement is all wrong, so the Victim has allowed herself to be crudely split in two by his Border.
When we speak about establishing or drawing boundaries, we are referring to the Archetypal Border. Our boundaries are the limits of appropriate interaction between the Warrior and the Lady. All the action happens at our boundaries, for our boundaries are where we meet with others, they establish the depth to which we allow them into our lives. For the Warrior, the Border is a porous membrane; it is the filter through which that needed supplies may enter and waste may exit. When we interact with others, our experience is the same: we welcome certain kinds of experiences and persons into our lives, while we push others out. If we do not maintain healthy boundaries, we allow too much in that is destructive and push too much out that is constructive. This is the position in which a Victim finds herself.
A Victim does not want to be Victimized anymore than a Victimizer wants to Victimize. Rather, she has a weak inner Warrior who cannot protect her own boundaries. This inner Warrior must learn from an equally strong outer Warrior, so she attracts to herself a Victimizer who will guard her boundaries in place of her weak inner Warrior. Through the experience, she will have the opportunity to strengthen her own Inner Warrior so that she no longer attracts Victimizers to her.
The Victim’s inability to guard her own boundaries, however, is a symptom of Victimhood, but not the essence. The absence of a masculine trait does not on its own equal a feminine trait. In order for a Victim to strengthen her own boundaries, she must learn to recognize value within herself. The Victimizer attempts, through his force, to change his Victim into something that she is not. The Victimizer sticks around because there are no consequences to his brutality. If the Victim could perceive that the parts of herself the Victimizer attacks are actually valuable and worth preserving, then she would stand up to him. She would meet his aggression head-on, and the Tragic Hero’s tragedy would commence.
“Mindfulness” is the name I have given to the methods that lead any unbalanced Archetype to greater moral coherence in the positive (Good) direction. These methods always involve awareness and acceptance of the self through the experiential channels specific to the active unbalanced Archetype. Mindfulness for the Victim (or the Submissive), then, is a carefully practiced attention to the ecological balance of her relationships. Do you give more than you receive? Do you have the freedom to choose for yourself what is pleasing and appropriate in the moment, or does someone else demand pleasure from you without return or consideration? The Lady wants to bring pleasure to all, but she must have the space to do so in her own unique idiom. Are you afraid that if you shut out the person or persons who demand from you without return that you will no longer have the resources to live? We all know what he abused housewife needs: she needs to trust that there is a gardener out there who will love and appreciate her garden as it is without tormenting and plundering it. She will never arise to this trust, however, unless the awareness first builds in her that nothing good comes from being a Victim. The mindfulness that the Victim needs is a mindfulness of the actual cost of every pleasure that comes from her relationship with the Victimizer. She must stop making excuses for him and face head-on the totality of destruction he wreaks in her life.
Conversely, the mindfulness of the Victimizer is a cultivated awareness of the consequences of each action. The Victimizer shoots first and then asks questions. This attitude can only exist in a person who assumes that he is shooting the right people. How do we respond when we tear into someone who didn’t have it coming? Do we look for reasons why they might have deserved our assault? This is the Victimizer rationalizing his destructive habits. He is avoiding coming to awareness of the consequences of his actions. If he paid careful attention to the many different costs of his actions, he would learn that at every turn he is too aggressive, too violent, and that his actions have a net destructive effect rather than a net constructive effect. The Victimizer is a Tragic Hero because he sees himself as a builder. His tragedy is that he is unconsciously afraid to reflect on his actions because his unconscious self (the inner Victim) knows that he will discover how much of a failure he has been. The Victimizer’s mindfulness is a carefully cultivated courage to accept at any given moment that he has been an agent of destruction and suffering. Only in this state of mindfulness will the Victimizer’s actions soften and his touch lighten.
Gold-digger and Chump
The other imbalanced form of Stewardship is between an unbalanced positive Lady and unbalanced negative Warrior. In each case of imbalanced Stewardship, one member of the union overpowers the other member. In the first case, the Victimizer’s addiction to the Victim’s resources leaves the Victim starved and out of place. In this second case, the Gold-digger’s addiction to the Chump’s resources leaves the Chump emasculated and subservient.
The key to Virtue is functionality, as the symptom of Vice is dysfunction. In a Virtuous Stewardship Relationship, both parties are aware of their own and the other’s strengths. They do not compete or battle each other for dominance over a specific arena of action. The Warrior knows that he is at his best when he has an adaptable plan to affect change with the smallest intervention possible. Similarly, the Lady is at her best if she responds to change gracefully, trusting herself to send resources where they are needed without excess use. A Warrior whose intervention is well beyond the golden mean of efficiency (call it the “light touch”) Victimizes his Lady. Similarly, Lady whose resource consumption is unbalanced and excessive makes a Chump out of her Warrior by demanding more from him than necessary.
As in all cases of imbalance in Archetypes of the Body (i.e. the second cycle of Archetypes of which the Warrior and the Lady are the third and fourth members), the root of the imbalance runs deeper than the body itself. That the Victimizer abuses his Lady is certainly a problem, but the cause of his abuse is not itself bodily, but mental and spiritual. The same applies to the Gold-digger and the Chump.
The Gold-digger sees her Warrior primarily as a Provider. She likes to expend resources lavishly, whether on parties or trinkets. Her excess expenditures are, by their very nature, frivolous. For the Gold-digger, it is impossible to satisfy her need for resource expenditure. She, however, does not see it this way. Rather, for her every expenditure is motivated by her desire to improve her City’s comfort and appeal. All Ladies want to be comfortable and pleased. Extend this claim to the microcosmic Lady (the unconscious body) and we have the obvious on our hands: all human bodies want to be comfortable and to experience pleasure. It is the Lady’s specific responsibility to ensure that this is the case, as it is the Warrior’s specific responsibility to ensure that the basic needs of the City are attended to.
For the Gold-digger it is impossible to feel satisfied with the existing level of comfort and pleasure available. She is a perfectionist who has forgotten how to enjoy simple pleasures. In her lavish expenditures, she is reaching for pure aesthetic appeal and for a pristinely comfortable dwelling. In many cases of Gold-diggers, the immediate motivating factor is status. The Gold-digger’s attitude about status is a specifically feminine desire: she wants the lifestyle that comes with high social standing. Her partner, the Chump, will often find himself climbing the corporate ladder in a constant effort to maximize resource acquisition so that his Gold-digger can achieve the level of status she desires.
The Gold-digger, whom I referred to as the Nag earlier in this essay, does not see value in the Chump’s efforts to contribute to the household, because he never measures up to her perfectionistic taste. When he goes grocery shopping, he demonstrates his inattentiveness by purchasing the wrong items. When he washes clothing, he ruins some of them because he doesn’t know exactly how she wants it done. When he does even the simplest of tasks in the household, he inevitably fails to measure up to the Nag’s pristine standards. He judgment, then, is that he is incompetent to do anything but bring home money. In relegating her Warrior to so narrow a function, the Nag reduces him to a mere benefactor and thus becomes a Gold-digger whose perfectionism cannot be satisfied except through the most lavish expenditures.
The great irony of imbalanced Archetypes is that they always appear together, all four in one place. The Chump who seeks ever higher paying positions finds himself of necessity becoming an Addicted Victimizer to those beneath him in his company. The company is his City and his subordinates are the Lady of the City. The need he feels to climb the corporate ladder is an addiction: he is addicted to being a Chump to his Gold-digger. Through this addiction, he victimizes his subordinates so that they will submit to his authority, thereby helping him to move up the ladder. He is not typically conscious of either his Chump-hood or his Victimizer-hood. Rather, he finds himself unconsciously compelled to tighten the leash at work and to fork over the resources at home.
This same analysis can be turned upon the Gold-digger. She feels a necessity to maintain dominance in the household through excess resource expenditure because she feels like a Victim in the social world. She depends entirely upon her Chump’s Provision, lacking the power to acquire resources on her own. Her situation makes her bitter: she is a Victim to society which victimizes her by demanding that she bond herself to a Provider whose incompetence she resents. That she enables herself to be victimized by social norms by failing to cultivate her own ability to contribute to society does not occur to her. How commonly we see repeated the trope of the housewife who, resentful that she is a mere housewife, turns to frivolity to appease her discontent. As the Chump would be best served by recognizing that his Gold-digger’s demands are wholly out of proportion with a sustainable economy, so the Enabling Victim’s impotence would best be remedied by carefully whittling down her dependence upon the Victimizer’s provision.
For the Coward/Chump, like the Brute/Victimizer, mindfulness is a form of cultivated courage. And like the Submissive/Victim, the Chump must pay careful attention to the ecological balance of his relationships in order to cultivate this courage. The Chump tragic flaw is his belief that non-intervention will eventually lead to a happy union. He is the gardener who casts seeds into his yard without first clearing the soil. His seeds are choked by weeds which he must constantly pull. The Chump must put endless effort into his domicile for minimal return because none of his efforts seem to be sufficient. What the Chump lacks is the courage to intervene aggressively. Do you get taken advantage of by people who are happy to live on your dime but don’t respect you otherwise? If so, then, like the Chump, you need to trust that by drawing and defending your own boundaries, you will not lose your City and your Lady. That which is most valuable to you will only be glorified and improved by your commitment to a firm stance on what does and does not belong in your garden. The Chump must learn to pay careful attention to the consequences of his inaction, to identify the specific moments in which action would have been appropriate. Only through successive experiences of the self-loathing that comes with a failure to defend your own boundaries can the courage to defend them crystallize within you. Eventually, the pain associated with inaction will surpass the fear of potentially losing your Lady and your City through over-aggression.
The Gold-digger/Nag must come to terms with her perfectionism. At the center of her imbalance is overexposure to the pleasure of fine living. She has lost confidence in her Warrior and so turns to a form of hedonism in an effort to replace the absence that her Warrior’s weakness leaves. She does not realize that her endless quest for lavishness and fine pleasure send her City out of balance: it expends too many resources and is thereby unsustainable. As the Chump must learn to stand up to the Gold-digger, so the Gold-digger must learn to see value in the Chump’s satisfaction with simple pleasures. The tragic flaw of the Gold-digger is that, for all her obsession with pleasure, she cannot be pleased. Her standards are too high and her taste is too refined. She aims for something completely out of her reach and so she finds herself disgusted by the Chump’s crudeness and lack of subtlety. In devaluing her Warrior, she also sacrifices her ability to appreciate simplicity. A sustainable garden is one that requires minimal care but yields a maximal harvest. The Gold-digger’s demand for constant expenditure sacrifices sustainability for ever diminishing returns. Do you demand perfection in your partner’s contribution? Do you nit-pick small deviations from your detailed vision? Do you trust no one but yourself to do it right? If so, then you have become a Nag/Gold-digger. The mindfulness that she needs is to pay attention to when returns diminish. Is the slightly higher grade of gemstone really worth quadruple the price? Is satin that important or will cotton do? As she pays attention to the difference in the way these differences of quality make her feel, she will discover that she can better maximize her overall pleasure by becoming accustomed to the highest quality pleasure prior to diminishing returns. In doing so, she will discover that her Warrior has better taste than she realized and that, in fact, he has a better sense for when and where returns diminish than she does.
The Artist and the Medium
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
There are many ways to imagine oneself as an artist. We call famous musicians “artists” as a matter of course, though we tend to be much more careful about the term when we discuss art-forms that are less popularly consumed. Typically, the term “artist” is reserved as a compliment, such as when was say that someone is a “true artist,” or when we describe someone as an artist in reference to some activity that we don’t usually imagine as art, like accounting or road paving. It is this usage of the term that I’m reaching for in describing a morally Good Stewardship.
For the true artist, the medium is already perfect. In the medium, all possibility is already there awaiting the artist’s effort to reveal that perfection. This can be difficult for a graphic designer or a writer to see when faced with a blank screen, but that is precisely the point: every artist knows that a completely blank screen is a wholly different creative experience than a screen with something on it already. Hemingway is reported to have said that the most frightening thing he’d ever encountered was “a blank sheet of paper.” In reality, however, the artist’s medium is not always so obvious. We think that a writer’s medium is a pen and paper, but this is wholly misguided. The fiction writer’s medium is a vast repository of experience about human interaction, and a familiarity with the written word. The writer’s medium is word and action, thought and deed.
The true artist does not force his medium to meet the outcome he has in mind. The writer must enter an attitude in which the story seems to write itself and his intervention is only demanded on occasion. When we speak, for example, how commonly do we plan and calculate every single word? Do we conjure our conversations before they happen, envisioning every possible outcome and then attempting to engineer the conversation to move according to the predestined avenue? Perhaps. But that is not artistry. The true artist allows his medium to express itself naturally. He develops skill in manipulating the medium, but he does not force it. If a hairdresser forces a particular style in a head of hair that resists it and a face that does not compliment it, we would call him a shabby hairdresser: not because he is unskilled, but because he did not pay attention to his medium.
The true artist, then, intervenes as little as possible: like Michelangelo, he only cuts away that in his medium which hides the jewel within. The medium herself is a thing of beauty; indeed, her natural expression emerges in an infinite array of interwoven ecological splendor, regardless of whether that medium is the fiction writer’s entire corpus of experience, or the hairdresser’s client. The value and abundance of the medium is assumed in the artist’s very act of employing the medium. He does not choose a poor medium, but one equal to his talent.
That the artist is a Warrior can be difficult to perceive. That center of the Warrior Archetype is his directive to act in the world. His job is to do something for a specific purpose. He has a mission and a code of ethics. The artist’s code of ethics is his loving relationship with the medium. His mission, however, is the end to which his art is oriented. We speak of art for art’s sake, but most of us know better than that. Even if art serves the purpose of self-expression (a feminine purpose), it is not done for its own sake, though it is beautiful as it is without interpretation. Any act of creating something in the physical world, of transmuting that which was first conceived into that which is now tangible, is itself an intervention. The artist consciously intervenes in the world by bringing into it something which was not there before. His method of doing so is to gently reorient the patterns of movement within the world. He builds the City not out of nothing, but out of the Wild. The Wild is his medium and the City is his artwork. His moral quality, i.e. his value as an artist, can be observed in the respect and care he has for his medium.
The artwork herself has no need of intentional action. She is always alive and always changing. Even a written work of fiction is alive in the effects it has upon our society and the many different responses we may have toward it. The Iliad of today is not that same Iliad it was 3000 years ago because we interact with it differently today. We still read it and write about it. The film Troy (which I dislike) would have been impossible to produce even 200 years ago because we would not have dreamed of viewing the Iliad in that specific idiom. While interpretation is, indeed, the work of the mind (Suitor, Débutante, Mother, Father, Storyteller, Bride, Groom), practical effect lies squarely in the body. The interpretations we take away from the Iliad demonstrate to us that this particular artwork is still alive, and that our response to it is the impact that this work has in the world.
The Lady, in her highest expression, is a work of art whose production would be impossible without a cooperative interaction between the artist and the medium. She is the most honest manifestation of that which was dormant within the Wild and which could only be seen by a mindful Researcher and could only be brought out by a mindful Warrior. The mindfulness of the Lady is thus to allow herself to be pruned and curated. She is both the subject and the medium. She is the living expression of comfort and pleasure, beauty and value. In her most morally polarized form, she becomes a vehicle for spiritual expression. Thus, we find ourselves in awe at the resplendence of high art.
This relationship can indeed manifest between two persons in a romantic union. The Warrior must learn to be a true artist and the Lady must learn to become his artwork. In order to approach this kind of union, the Warrior must learn to accept that the statue is already in his Lady somewhere, and that his job is not to change her, but only to chip away the ore that hides the existing artwork. Similarly, the Lady must learn to trust that her Warrior does not mean to merely paste his own ideation upon her, but appreciates her as she is and through his efforts seeks only to find more of her unique expression. The Warrior-become-Artist is eager to see the natural beauty and glory of his Lady highlighted and sharpened, while the Lady-become-Medium takes joy in watching herself become a more and more genuine manifestation of what she had previously only imagined herself to be.
The Villain and the Accomplice
Why is a monarchy famously difficult to remove from power? In ancient Rome, the Republic was founded upon the tombs of previous monarchs and oligarchs, whom the Romans called “tyrants.” In Renaissance Europe, monarchs were often removed only to be replaced by other monarchs. This sneaky tendency toward absolute power is embedded into the human Architecture thanks to the Evil version of the Stewardship Relationship.
A City accustomed to tyranny and abuse will tend to prefer the tyranny and abuse to continue. This is the simple inertia of the Victim/Victimizer relationship. However, in a City whose top tiers are purely oriented toward power (a true tyranny), the Victim/Victimizer relationship only exists at the lower tiers of the City. At the upper tiers, there are only Villains and Accomplices. In our fiction, whether crude or refined, the Villain always seems to have assistance from someone who depends upon his power. We call them cronies, minions, lackeys, etc. Like our attitudes towards secretaries, these diminutive terms fail to appreciate the central importance of an Accomplice. Without her, the Villain cannot accomplish his aims.
One of the deepest failure in our popular fictional narratives is that they do so often not give adequate respect to the Evil moral perspective. Harry Potter, for example, had an excellent Villain in its narrative until the very end of the tale, when we discover that Voldemort was really just a weak person attempting to hide his weakness. This is, of course, largely felicitous to the Archetypal nature of Evil morality, but it highlights the vice of Evil without the virtue. The virtue of Evil is that in purging weakness, strength and dominance will abound. In the City, purging weakness takes place through the Villain’s determination of who lies within and who lies beyond the Border of the City. Because the Accomplice is committed to the Villain’s quest for power, the Accomplice is always inside the City. Just outside the Border of the Villain’s City we find the oppressed, the victimized. These persons do not see in the Villain a master to serve; rather, they see only a Victimizer and so become Victims themselves. The mechanism for governing a City under this moral attitude, then, is to cut the City in two: haves and have-nots.
We can apply this despotic Stewardship analogously to previous examples of the Warrior/Lady dynamic. In the garden, the despot employs only those parts of nature that suit his end: cash crops, synthetically engineered pesticides, and petroleum-based fertilizers are standard fare for despotic gardeners. Interestingly, this Archetypal dynamic indicates that the Green Revolution, though beneficial to many people the world over, was a fundamentally Evil approach to agriculture. We did not perceive this Evil in the early stages, but we now see that the costs of the Green Revolution are many: soil quality, species diversity, ecological stability, animal habitation, and product quality. In our quest for quantity, we sacrificed quality. Insofar as we are stewards of this planet, we have placed far too many elements of the Wild outside the Border of our City and so cannot achieve a harmonious, Artist/Medium-type Stewardship with nature until we reincorporate old foes such as pests and weeds.
Although the Artist and the Medium are the clearest lens through which we can perceive morally Good Stewardships, the involvement of money and prestige has muddied things. In the case of Olympic gymnasts, for example, coaches are often abusive and controlling because their absolute strictness does actually achieve results. The gymnasts, however, must allow beloved aspects of their lives (such as family and education) to be shorn away from them in order achieve the goal set out by the coach. Where there is something valuable to be gained, there will always be Villains who show up to snag it (in this case, coaches) and Accomplices who help him do so (gymnasts).
A Stressful Workplace
As the Warrior has a cause to fight for, so the Lady has a job to do. Translated, for example, to the level of the household, the Provider must brave the greater world to keep the household stocked, while the Homemaker must tend to all the daily necessities that keep the household functioning.
In times of stress, these two Archetypes become destructive, but each in a different way. We see this regularly in work environments. The more stressful and demanding the work environment is, the each person in that environment will feel like either a Victim or a Wimp, because each gives to the workplace in greater measure than she receives. In response, then, each such person is likely to instantiate the opposite unbalanced version of the Archetype wherever they feel it possible, thus the Victim becomes a Dominant Hen and the Wimp becomes a Brute.
Because physical sex inclines us toward the associated gender Archetypes, the typical scenario is familiar: the men in the workplace become so competitive with each other that they cease to treat each other as human beings and instead see each other as Adversaries. Conversely, the women in the workplace become so callous and vindictive that they, likewise, fail to see each other as anything but obstacles.
We are tempted to downplay the distinctions between the masculine and the feminine because they so often resemble each other. This temptation, however, can only cripple our abilities to identify the natural separations of strengths and weaknesses in individuals who so often instantiate one gender Archetype more intensely than another.
Nevertheless, this shows that the more stressful a workplace is, the more it inclines us toward instantiating unbalanced Warrior and Lady Archetypes. Attributing unbalance to stress, however, puts the cart before the horse. In reality, we choose stressful workplaces for ourselves, and this can only be because we are somehow imbalanced within ourselves, certainly unbalanced in these two Archetypes, but probably also in others. We tell ourselves that the stressful environment is necessary because of some phase in our lives that demands either constant resources (in the case of the Warrior) or constant maintenance (in the case of the Lady). In the mind, we tell ourselves a Story in which we are somehow insufficient as we are, so we are driven to validate ourselves. The imbalance of the mind transmits itself to the body. In the spirit, we cannot accept the experience that meets us on its own terms. We are afraid that if we do not control the environment around us, our livelihoods will wither or collapse. This spiritual fear transmits itself into the mind where it first impacts the Story and then the body.
We go to work and we see obstacles, tools, and adversaries. We could see human beings, each of which has her own concerns, her own household to support and maintain, her own family to feed. And yet we are too concerned for ourselves because the environment is stressful. I remember once when I was working as a waiter, in the midst of a dinner rush I found myself so frustrated and stressed (as it goes in that industry) that I said “Fuck off” to another waiter who had spoken to me. I said that to her, not because she had done anything to me at all, but merely because she was slowing me down by interacting with me at all. At the time, I didn’t think much about the experience. In retrospect, however, I am astonished that I had forgotten so thoroughly that this was another human being before me, one whose concerns were no less valuable than mine.
Enough to Go Around
This world is difficult to get by in, and if you are reading these words, you’re among the most fortunate. No matter which segment of society we find ourselves in, it is increasingly difficult to provide for ourselves. I, for example, work three part-time jobs because the full-time job to which I had access was a low-wage and an increasingly lifeless experience. My fiancée and I are able to make ends meet, but she is the primary breadwinner between the two of us.
My father has been a stalwart Provider his entire life, sometimes to the point of excessive sacrifice (in my view, anyhow). I inherited this tendency from him. I am only just now learning to accept that I do not need to be the primary Provider in order to contribute equally. The Warrior in me must learn to see the honor in choosing when and where to exert his energy. She consciously encouraged me to switch to my current work situation so that I would feel more fulfilled at work and have more time to think and write. For her, my job is to be a philosopher and anything I do that leads me further down that path fulfills my function as a Warrior.
My situation, however, is atypical. Much more commonly we find that a Provider like myself who is inclined toward self-sacrifice (i.e. a Chump) is happily taken advantage of by a Gold-digger who demands ever more from him. This attitude is not exclusive to resource acquisition, either. The Warrior is the one who has to make tough decisions. He is in the fray and does not always have the opportunity to deliberate for very long over his choice. An executive must always be able to make decisions on the fly. The Protector must come to an instantaneous judgments of action in an emergency. The Gold-digger, however, does not fail to criticize the shortcomings of his decision-making. She does not appreciate that he did the best he could in a pinch; rather, what he sees is the ways in which his judgment was not perfect. She is the Monday morning quarterback. While it is easy to blame the Gold-digger for emasculating the Chump, it is the Chump who is already emasculated before the Gold-digger found him. His expression of the Archetype is as unbalanced as hers and so each is equally culpable for the state of their relationship.
Social Media Shaming
The Internet is becoming an ugly place. Social media, that rapidly changing phenomenon whose buzz-word status is beyond question, is becoming a cruel place. Where previously it was only the trolls we needed to be cautious of, now the mob has become a force to be reckoned with. On Twitter, we can see thousands of members suddenly lashing out on another member because he or she said something that the group latched onto as unacceptable.
Somehow, perhaps by the sheer interconnectedness and speed with which information can travel, social media has become the modern stockade. The psychology of this phenomenon has its complexities. As Jon Ronson points out, we all have our own secrets that we are terrified will ruin us if they became public knowledge. Our terror at this prospect is driven primarily by the possibility of public outcry. While I have publicly announced my own seedy past as a creep, I am the exception to this rule—and I still keep secrets from the public.
Despite the ubiquity of shameful secrets, we have learned to latch onto even the slightest suggestion that someone else might be a jerk. The more clout and authority these persons have, the more intense the backlash is likely to be. Justine Sacco’s life was famously ruined because she tweeted a tasteless joke about white privilege. The irony of her joke was that she was aware of herself as the recipient of privilege. It was a joke that would not have been made in front of those less privileged than her because to do so would be cruel. The social media Mob, however, did not grasp this subtlety. Instead, they targeted all of their moral outrage upon her as a representative of the kind of racism that is most dangerous to our society.
There can be no doubt that anyone who unconsciously joins a Mob has her own inner demons which she stifles by projecting them upon someone else. This, however, is the prerogative of a different set of Archetypes entirely. The Mob, as an unbalanced social Lady, is motivated by maintaining and preserving an existing order. This can be hard to see since the Mob is so violent, but the target of the Mob’s violence is precisely an invader of some kind. The Mob identifies somethings that does not belong within its society, so all of its energies focus upon eliminating that foreign entity. The Mob is like an overactive immune system. It is allergic to all manner of things that, for anyone else, might seem fairly normal and healthy to consume.
Like all Mobs, there are ring-leaders. Justice Sacco only had 170 Twitter followers (more than me!), but her offending tweet was attacked by hundreds of thousands. So how did they find out? It turns out that Sam Biddle recognized the potential for backlash in her message and had retweeted it to his 15,000 followers. When interviewed about it, he said, “It’s satisfying to be able to say, ‘O.K., let’s make a racist tweet by a senior IAC employee count this time.’ And it did. I’d do it again.” This one man took up the Warrior’s sword and shield. He consciously chose to expose another person’s poor etiquette to his massive following, knowing how they were likely to respond.
As Ronson says about his own experience participating in social media shaming, “[I]n those early days, the collective fury felt righteous, powerful and effective. It felt as if hierarchies were being dismantled, as if justice were being democratized. As time passed, though, I watched these shame campaigns multiply, to the point that they targeted not just powerful institutions and public figures but really anyone perceived to have done something offensive.”
The Mob prefers a target that has power. The reason for this preference is that the Mob is devoted to preserving and protecting the vulnerabilities it perceives as valuable. In the case of standard social media shaming, those vulnerabilities are usually minority groups of some kind. This, however, effort never rises to the level of the Revolutionary (though, as Ronson points out, it sometimes thinks it does), because the shaming machine operates entirely within the context of an existing social order. That is, nothing is being overthrown in this act. The Warrior who commences the attack and the Mob who piles shame upon the target contribute no new ideology to the social order; rather, they throw their weight behind an existing ideology in an effort to express to the rest of the population that it is the preferred and acceptable ideology.
More recently, we’ve seen Walter Palmer vilified in an even more extreme way than Sacco was, largely because his offense was seen as more acute than Sacco’s. Palmer’s case is, of course, an example of arbitrary enforcement, a practice well known to be unjust. While those who call for Palmer’s head act under the guise of justice, Palmer is only a living expression of a common event. Paying to shoot wild animals in foreign countries is considered normal and acceptable enough that not only are there are legal protections for the practice, but a blind eye is frequently enough turned toward infractions of these protections that Palmer never would have guessed that this would be his fate. To put the same differently, had he known that killing a lion was such a big deal, he would never have done it.
Social media shaming is effectively the decision to make an example of someone else. The horror of this practice is that it utterly nullifies the individual value of the human being we are sacrificing for the sake of the example. The Mob’s standard practice is to reduce human beings to obstacles and tools, just as the ringleader’s practice is to perceive and attack an Adversary. Lost in the mix is the hypocrisy if the entire affair: we all have shameful secrets. The Mob’s version of justice only pacifies that Mob’s own inner demons for a time until the ire of the Mob is again stirred against a new foe.
The newly standard practice of public shaming shows us that we give in too frequently and too readily to the Mob’s arbitrary punishment. We are the Chump husband who bows his head when his Gold-digger insults him. We have allowed ourselves to be led by the nose by an unconscious social machine whose gears will grind up any who do not conform to its hyper-sensitive norm. We see the same expressed in college campuses where professors are becoming more and more afraid that they are perpetrating “micro-aggression” upon their students. Whether this is expressed as fear of the liberals or fear of the conservatives, the central message is the same: on campus it is the Mob that rules. Insofar as administrative officials on campuses bow to the wrath of the Mob, thus far will professors become the scapegoats of that wrath. In this sense, then, it is the administration that must choose whether to be a Chump or to “man-up” and draw boundaries against the excesses of the Mob.
Role-Reversal In Social Justice Warrior Culture
The term “SJW,” short for “Social Justice Warrior” is, in fact, used as a pejorative term. There is nothing in the term itself that necessitates the diminutive, but the substance of the pejorative connotation is that, like hipsters, SJWs do not typically refer to themselves as SJWs. The term stereotypes a group of liberal-minded persons who are becoming ever more vocal about minority oppression. The term is used in the pejorative because often an SJW’s moral outrage does not match the offense.
SJW culture goes hand-in-hand with the culture of social media shaming, as the two of them have risen in prominence together and have overlapping membership. Moreover, as in the case of public shaming, SJW culture is dominated by the Lady Archetype rather than the Warrior Archetype. This dominance makes the term “Social Justice Warrior” somewhat ironic, which perhaps contributes to the pejorative nature of the term.
SJWs share a carefully constructed culture designed to harbor the vulnerable. They establish “safe spaces” for those who might otherwise find their natural modes of expression suppressed or outright attacked. The moral center of SJW culture is that individual expression is of paramount importance, and that any affront to individual expression is a form of violence. Given this moral center, SJWs typically have hair-trigger sensitivity to any action deemed unacceptable.
SJWs are often preoccupied with subtle forms of unconscious expression that reveal in us an attitude of disregard for the underprivileged. While the very concept of privilege is a confused one (privilege is not one-dimensional), SJW sensitivity does not appear to need a nuanced version of privilege: it is enough to identify a specific dimension of privilege and to then divide any community according to this specific dimension (e.g. race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity). Having so divided the community, we find a natural split between the privileged and the underprivileged. The cause of the SJW, then, is to form safe spaces for the underprivileged to express themselves, and to challenge the assumptions of the privileged in an effort to move toward a more egalitarian society.
What I find most fascinating about SJW culture is that, to my knowledge, its ringleaders are primarily female (Black Lives Matter is a prime example). In SJW terms, this is as it ought to be since along the male-female dimension, females are the underprivileged. In Archetypal terms, however, it indicates that a role-reversal is at play. Within SJW culture, men commonly take responsibility for maintaining the safe space (keeping the household), while women commonly take responsibility for challenging those beyond the safe space (defending the Border). Regardless of how ubiquitous this role-reversal is in SJW culture, it is unquestionably prominent.
BLM is a particularly crystallized version of SJW culture, one whose moral coherence is uncommon. In other areas, especially gender and sexuality issues, the culture tends to be far less balanced. SJWs mount their cases against causes without recognizing the collateral. We’ve seen a recent surge against so-called “hate speech” which cannot distinguish between unconscious assumptions and conscious irony. Thus, humor becomes collateral in the war against hate speech. Is this the City we want for ourselves? A humorless one?
Moreover, the concern among those who maintain safe spaces is primarily a concern about discomfort. The sharp divide SJWs draw between the Damsel (underprivileged) and the Adversary (unconsciously privileged) elicits the Victim/Victimizer relationship far too readily. Even BLM often responds with imbalance in these contexts: too often, we are told that the underprivileged person is innocent and unblemished whereas the privileged person’s lack of awareness is as bad as malice. This reversal of moral high-ground is the substructure that has allowed a prominent role-reversal to take place. Because women have the moral high-ground in SJW culture, they can occupy the active role of the Warrior. Similarly, because men have the moral low-ground in SJW culture, their appropriate role is to maintain safe spaces. Interestingly, concern for comfort belongs primarily to the Lady. The reason we have sanitation today is that women were tired of smelling shit.
I nearly wrote about the Islamic State as a reflection, but then I discovered that this matter fell far more neatly under a different set of Archetypes: the Revolutionary and the Utopian. Police brutality is likewise an urgent issue, though less emotionally jarring.
Like soldiers and firemen, the police force is a group of Social Warriors par excellance. They, like everyone instantiating any Archetype, are reaching for moral coherence but tend to fall short. Our police force tends toward the Brute Archetype. How they got there is not always clear and seems to differ from officer to officer. Some find in the force an opportunity to switch their inner unbalanced Warrior from one pole to another: having been a Coward or a Chump as a youth, they find in the police force an opportunity to experience being a Brute. Others appear to be moving in the direction of moral coherence, lacking only a conscious decision to do so. Thus, they appear to relish the experience of power over other human beings. Still others, firmly locked into the Brute Archetype, do not perceive themselves as deviating from moral coherence.
For the third group, the police force’s method of drawing and protecting the Border is where the problem lies. Somehow, our police have become enthralled by a Story in which the underclass are criminals. Because the underclass (the poor) are often members of minority racial groups, it is easy for a policeman to operate under the assumption that a racial minority is far more likely to perpetrate a crime than a white person. This Social Warrior has unconsciously identified those who manage themselves according to acceptable social norms (middle-class docility) as the Damsel whom they are protecting from the those who express themselves in raw and often desperate ways. To put the same differently, the dominant etiquette of white culture inclines them to be perceived by policemen as non-threatening, while elements of other cultures are perceived as threats to this pristine example of civilization. Even among whites, the lower classes (“rednecks”), once identified by their behaviors, are treated with roughly the same brutality as racial minorities.
Lost in a Border so established is the benefit and value of less docile cultures: the possibility that vigor and aggression are a healthy part of a civilized culture. We have imagined the Lady as too prim and proper for her own good, perhaps for our own good. In doing so, we’ve allowed everyone who does not match this set of social norms to become collateral for the enforcement of this particular mode of behavior. Moreover, because we have unconsciously associated racial features with a less acceptable set of cultural norms, we have made it impossible for racial minorities to be any more than second-class citizens.