Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize, said, “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.” He was speaking, of course, of DNA, those impossibly long threads that organize every type of life on our planet.
Your DNA contains the archetypal pattern of your physical body, but the world around you is bigger than your body.
The world around you contains an infinite number of archetypes.
An archetype is any recurrent pattern recognized by the pattern-seeking right hemisphere of the brain.
Archetypes exist in our minds and in the physical reality that surrounds us. Archetypes are the interface that allows us to interpret, understand, and catalogue what we are experiencing.
Archetypes are the basis for all similes and metaphors. Carl Jung understood this.
If you Google “Jungian archetypes” you’ll find that most writers list the archetypes as twelve basic characters: Lover, Magician, Explorer, Creator, Sage, Outlaw, Hero, Jester, Everyman, Caretaker, Ruler, and the Innocent. These 12 characters populate the movies, television shows, novels, myths, and award-winning ad campaigns we experience on a daily basis.
But what Jung actually taught is that archetypes are the psychological structures that allow us to recognize recurrent patterns in the world around us. They are the unconscious organizers of perceptions and ideas, since they spring from the systemic order that transcends both the external world and the human mind. Jung claimed there can be no master list of archetypes because there are an indefinite number of them, one for every recurrent pattern we observe.
And not just patterns of personalities, but patterns of events, as well. Examples of events that follow an archetypal pattern include: Reproduction, Substitution, Reconfiguration, Following a Path, Entrapment, Collapse, Renewal, De-alignment, Re-alignment, and the Investment Bubble that always precedes delayed gratification.
Every introduction of change requires a Pattern Shift, a transition from one pattern to another.
Although most events could be called “transitions,” an Archetypal Transition is a specific type of event, like the ritual of Initiation (baptism or loss of virginity) the ritual of Union (marriage or a merger) or the ritual of Casting Out (divorce or firing an employee.) Other examples of Archetypal Transition include being parented, courtship, a sudden change in status, and preparation for death.
An Archetypal Transition is a portal to a new identity, a door that opens to allow a new and different person to experience a new and different world.
As a writer, you create new realities in the imaginations of your readers, so it is perfectly reasonable that you should observe and name new archetypes. You are not limited only to those named by Jung and popularized by tradition.
In fact, I have invented names for several recurrent patterns that I have observed, and have mentioned several of them to you already.
And now I officially give you permission to do the same:
1. Go. Observe the world around you.
2. Recognize and name the recurrent patterns that you find.
3. Keep a list of them.
Indy Beagle and I look forward to reading about your discoveries.
Ciao for Niao,
Roy H. Williams
PS – Today’s soirée was inspired by my partner, Vi Wickam, who sent me the Richard Feynman quote that opened today’s Monday Morning Memo.
When Victoria Pelletier sets her mind to achieving a goal, she won’t let anything or anyone stop her. Nor will she blame anyone but herself when things don’t go the way she planned. Those two personality traits — being unstoppable and making no excuses — have been a recipe for success since she became the chief operating officer of a multinational corporation at age 24. Decades on, after holding senior roles at American Express, IBM, and Accenture, she now advises owners, CEOs, and board members on how to adopt her approach to business and life. Victoria tells roving reporter Rotbart that anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic background or the adversity they may have faced, can achieve professional growth and inspire others to do the same. MondayMorningRadio.com