Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Pearson, Carol S., Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform the World, New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco, 1991, ISBN 0-06-250678-1, 333 pp.

At the APT Conference in 1999 Carol Pearson was one of the keynote speakers giving an address called Archetypes: the Next Step After Type. Listening to her talk got me interested in archetypes. I really didnít have a very good idea about this Jungian concept, but Carolís comparison of psychological type to the brain hardware and archetypes as the software put it in terms I could begin to understand. It is like getting a new computer and the dealer has loaded all of these programs onto your hard drive to sweeten the deal. Perhaps you only use a couple of the programs such as word processing and a card making program. However, you always have these other programs that you can learn to use when the need arises.

With archetypes you know how to respond to things in a certain way, but then you either want to change that way or are forced to, and you find that you begin to use another archetype program. Nearly all of us begin with the Innocent archetype. The world provides all that we need. Then the Fall occurs and we are faced with a loss of innocence and the Orphan archetype comes into play. We didnít need to learn how to play the Innocent or the Orphan. They just came up out of our collective unconscious. Of course we each played out these archetypes in different ways from anyone else, but the patterns were clearly there.

Carol looks at twelve archetypes that most people use from time to time. These are not the only ones, of course, but they are ones we can all relate to. She groups them into three sets of four each. She relates each set to one part of our psyche. She also relates each set to the stages of a journey and uses many examples from the search for the Holy Grail to illustrate her ideas. The Ego relates to the preparation for the journey and includes: Innocent, Orphan, Warrior, and Caregiver. The Soul (the unconscious) relates to the journey itself and includes: Seeker, Lover, Destroyer, and Lover. The Self (individuation) relates to the return from the journey and includes: Ruler, Magician, Sage and Fool.

We use the various archetypes at various times in our lives, but we can also use all of the archetypes within a day or even within a few minutes.

Archetypes add a new dimension to psychological types. For example, looking at a group of people all with the same type, e.g. INFP. Each INFP will have similar type characteristics but will also seem quite different depending on the archetype they are using. Someone who is using the Warrior archetype is going to come across quite differently from someone who is using the Caretaker archetype. (Carol has a book relating type to archetypes in the works.)

There is also a Heroic Myth Index quiz that helps you see the relative strengths of the twelve archetypes in your life. Younger people are more likely to have higher scores in the Ego archetypes, while those of more mature years are likely to have higher scores in the Self archetypes. We use and need to use all of these twelve archetypes, so it is not a matter of which ones are better than the others. There is a time and place for all of them.

My Appreciating Differences group studied this material this fall and found it very helpful in explaining aspects of themselves and others. You can imagine a couple where one is usually in the Destroyer archetype and the other is usually in the Caregiver archetype. It is not likely to be a very democratic relationship.

Overall, this was a very worthwhile book, one that helps you understand Jung a bit better, and adds a further dimension to psychological type.

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