Posts tagged ‘Archetypes’
All of us work really hard to stay stuck. I know it sounds crazy but there is probably some unconscious belief in your head that is blocking you from fulfilling your greatest potential. It reminds me of that great Tibetan proverb that says
“No matter how far you are down the wrong path – turn back!!”
This is what Gives Up WHat Kept Her Stuck is all about. It is becoming conscious of your limiting belief. Notice that this is story beat number 8. The reason your protagonist can become conscious of her limiting belief is because she has been in her secret world and grown in her connection to her authentic self. This connection gives her the solid grounding to be able to see things from a perspective of independent thought.
My favorite classic example of this moment is in Ever After when Danielle directly asks her step mother if she has any feelings of love for her. She has been working like a slave in the hopes that she could please her step mother and earn love for she has never known the love of a mother. Her step mother smirks and questions why she would feel love for a pebble in her shoe. With great sadness, Danielle gives a firm nod and accepts the truth that has been before her all the time – this woman will never love her unconditionally. From her face and her actions from that moment forward you know she is no longer limited by her belief that her step mother might love her, and her step mother has lost power over her.
Finding this moment in your story is a key factor in the transformation of the Virgin. You can often find what the limiting belief was by looking back at beat number 2 – Price of Conformity. Ask yourself why your protagonist felt she had to conform to her dependent world and then give her a reason, based on love, that she understands that is not her best option.
In About A Boy this moment happens when he hits rock bottom and it occurs to him that island living is not the answer. To be happy he has to care about someone besides himself. Similarly, in Wedding Crashers John is at a funeral and realizes it is better to have loved and grieve than to never have loved at all. These moments clear the way for the Virgin to grow into her authentic self.
What is the light bulb moment for your protagonist where she realizes that she has a belief about what she deserve in life and it is not working for her? Once she is conscious of the falseness of the belief she can just let it go.
I’m about to commit movie review suicide and say the new James Bond has a major story flaw, despite its major box office success. The theme of overcoming a mother complex is brilliant but the point of success has to be that a man needs to evolve from a mama’s boy (coward) to a warrior king. When James allows Severene to die without a significant reaction, I disengaged from the movie.
Here’s how I see the story from an archetypal level. The villain is a coward with serious mother issues. He is also a tyrant who knows his masculine power and uses it to inflict pain which he feels justified in doing because he has not dealt with his wounded child issues. Orphans make great agents, but at a cost.
James is also an orphan but he has dealt with his child issues and developed a healthy mother relationship where he recognizes being a man is upholding your chosen values and not being controlled by your wounds.
The flaw in the storyline for me occurs when the woman the two “brothers” have slept with is tied up for target practice and James plays the game knowing he is a lousy shot. He doesn’t even negotiate her safe release if he is successful. He seems to be only thinking about proving himself in some kind of sibling rivalry. I would have loved it if he took his shot to do the unexpected, ie. kill the guards and aim his gun at his brother, a close range shot he couldn’t miss.
If I get to be the writer, the brother would have anticipated James going in this direction, foreshadowing his skill at predicting and manipulating situations, and with a gun in each hand, killed the girl right away (because he has complete disregard for women as lovers, he is so obsessed with his mother complex) and held a gun on James looking for praise for his cleverness.
James would have gone to Severene, to hell with the risk, hoping beyond hope he had not failed her and she is still alive. She uses her last breath to tell him this is better (implying that the life of living with a man who is working out his mother issues on you is a living hell) and she is glad to have known at least one good man. He stays to be of some comfort before she dies while the brother goads him to come play or die.
The flaw in Skyfall is that James wasn’t affected by the death of Severene, who he just slept with. I thought the point of this Bond is that he values women, would die for them, because it is the highest calling of a man. This is why women fall into bed with him. Not because they are cheap and easy, but because intuitively they know this about him and honor and celebrate it.
The question now is Moneypenny. Is James going to show a casual disregard for her and completely destroy the archetypal power he held as a warrior king?
This would have been a much more powerful movie for me if it was about more than overcoming a mother complex. I wanted to it be about being a grown man and valuing the feminine on your own terms.
Probably everyone has seen Argo but me. It had even come and gone to Whitehorse before I saw it. The advantage is I get to talk about it openly (warning, spoilers) and see if you noticed what I did.
First I liked it. I loved that it makes moments of my childhood come back to me, like the yellow ribbons and those fabulous clothes and hairstyles, and that it fills in the details. This untold story is more fascinating than fiction.
It is also a story well told. I couldn’t believe how tense I felt given I know how it ends. Great writing and directing.
What makes it a really great movie for me is that it includes a personalization of the ordeal as Joe Stafford regrets that he didn’t listen to his wife when she wanted to go home. He stayed because he wanted to prove he was a man, impress his boss. He thought sticking it out would be a great career move. His self reflection is really powerful because he gave so little consideration to his wife’s fear and his role to protect her and he suffers in regret.
I was so pissed off with him when he kept playing the skeptic, working aginst Tony, as if this was a good role for him. Had he learned nothing?!
And then it happened. At the airport when they were stopped, it was as if something clicked in Joe’s head and he decided to step up to the plate and do whatever it took to bring his wife to safety. And he did it with a passion that made me tingle to watch. He sold that crappy screenplay as if he wrote that baby himself. They were not going to fail because he didn’t show up and do all that he could do. This was the Warrior King in action and I loved seeing it. Great character transformation.
I also have to say Ben Affleck was great. Hopefully it’s not because he reminds me of an ex-boyfriend, but I think he is very charismatic on screen. He echoed the same message. When the warrior king in you is called to a challenge you use your discernment and you follow through. Despite having a lot to lose, and an easy out, Tony Mendez acted out of integrity. It is a beautiful thing to witness and I am grateful for the inspiring movie and the insight into the real life warrior kings that were involved in that moment in history.
Loved this movie! The thing that sets the Bourne movies apart from other action films, in my opinion, is that the Hero does everything he does in recognition of the value of a woman. He goes against the masculine power machine and uses his incredible skill to provide for, preserve, and protect her life. He is both a Hero and a Warrior King. It is wonderfully archetypal.
The action scenes were interesting. Great camera work, obligatory market scene, chasing, speed. Nice touch when Aaron Cross leaps onto the handrail rather than mow down a bunch of people. It was a great symbolic representation of his humanity. They even gave Marta some action. But let’s face it, without the archetypal message of the Warrior King, this would have been a pretty run of the mill action film.
What I really liked in this movie were the moments where Aaron’s primary concern is Marta. I’ll be a bit cryptic for those who haven’t seen it – he takes care of her emotionally when her actions may kill him. That speaks volumes. He holds her hands against him to keep her safe in a chase scene, and he comes for her when he could have gotten away.
Even the driving force of his actions (he needs the meds to make him a better man, because that’s what she needs to stay alive) emphasizes the value Aaron places on Marta. This is what makes him an interesting character.
Other main characters have capitalized on this emotional pull such as in Cowboys and Aliens, where Jake carries the woman out of the dessert and apologizes for falling down. It is in Monster Ball when Hank puts his father in a home because the father is detrimental to Leticia. Hank doesn’t ask Leticia to understand that the father is old, he just makes the problem go away, for her. It is what he judges to be the right thing to do.
They could have been playing Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man, or had the Proclaimers walking 500 Miles. There are many movies and songs with this message. I personally never get tired of it. That’s a hallmark of an archetypal character. You know generally how they will/should rise to the challenge and you look forward to seeing it, every time.
Is there a veiled message here for men? In the final scene Aaron allows Marta’s instinct to be the leading force. Otherwise, if he wasn’t going to give her power a place why did he bother risking his life for her? A real man allows his woman to be a central value in his life and trusts her sense of meaning. It doesn’t make him less of a man, it elevates him from Hero to Warrior King.
If you want to tell a story about following your dream you have to leave the fear based world and follow the rules of the Love driven world. They are not the same. We instinctively push away from fear but we pull towards what we love. You can’t do both at the same time. Stories of being authentic, recognizing your unique gift and bringing it to the world, following your passion, and coming of age are all told from the love-driven world.
Here are the rules of operation in the love based world:
1. The people around the protagonist, her community, don’t see her true potential. They see her as a pawn in their desire to further the fear driven world, if they see you at all. Even if their intention is to be benevolent they are not allowing her to be herself. Love is conditional which isn’t really love at all. SOmetimes everything is all very comfortable and safe as long as you fit in. The motivation to go on this journey has to come from inside you and it is a Virgin’s journey – the road to recognizing that you are of value for being yourself.
2. Some belief you hold in yourself is holding you back such as “I should be helping others”, “who am I to be beautiful, talented, spectacular?”, or “other people’s happiness is more important than mine.” Notice again this is coming from inside the protagonist and we can see it on the screen.
3. Virgins do not flourish through mounting fear. In a state of fear their focus becomes very narrow and uncreative. The Virgin needs a Secret World where she is safe and appreciated. For a while she must believe her secret is safe. This gives her the freedom to grow into her potential. She can follow what brings her joy in this world. Put lots of joyful moments in the middle of your movie, not setbacks! Let the audience watch her grow the way we marvel at flowers or butterflies emerging. She must also go back and forth between her two worlds because she is not ready to exist on her own. In the moment of moving back and forth there can be fear (or comedy) just not in the Secret World.
4. The Virgins world is full of relationships. People are connected to each other and the growth of one will inspire the growth of another. The antagonist in this story can grow out of love for the Virgin. Fathers come to understand that their role is not to control their child but to love them and build a place of safety when they are being authentic. Bosses see the error of their ways. You don’t have to kill off or exile your antagonist in a story of following your passion. It is better if you see them grow to become a better person for having known the Virgin.
5. Unexpected outcomes happen in a Virgin story. Billy does not set out to become the first male lead in Swan Lake. But he was and it was magnificent. The key is for the Virgin to stay connected to what s/he loves and follow it wherever it takes her. S/he opens herself to the play of the universe. When the Virgin is being true to herself, shining her light, the world becomes brighter. Art, connection, growth and change are all possible, in ways beyond what you initially imagined. If your character dreams of being a dancer she may not get into the school she applied to but she danced in the streets igniting a new dance craze and dancing becomes part of our everyday lives. The goal was not as important as finding a connection to what she loves. The rest is luck, synchronicity, or dare I say, destiny.
I did an interview for the Seekers Journey which focuses on how we follow hero’s journeys in our lives. I expanded it to talk about the Virgin’s journey in life as well (second half of the interview). It was fun to muse on life and our journeys. I think I will try video blogging, if I can figure out the technology. here’s my first video post co-opted from youtube…
Video is humbling. Technical difficulties and all…
I saw the Avengers last night and I think it was a new look at a hero movie. It wasn’t all about how bad the villain was and the need for the Hero to face his fear. The villain was fascinating to look at, moved with a creepy placoid scale articulation but didn’t pose a threat much greater than a mosquito to our heroes. The problem was there were so many of them and they just keep coming. But every arrow, every tactic to kill one, worked perfectly.
The real question of the movie was what does it mean to be a hero? And what does it mean to be a leader? It was an exploration of the essential nature of the archetypes of The Hero and The Lover King. And then it did an interesting thing. The movie connected itself to our real lives in many subtle references making us think about how our Hero nature and our Lover King nature plays out in our real lives.
Let’s look at these three aspects one at a time. The Avengers takes a collection of super heroes and shows you the various incarnations of being a hero. Is heroism fueled by your blind rage which causes you to completely ignore fear and really assert you will against the will of others (The Hulk). If you can harness it you can give shape to your world – make things happen. Is that being a hero?
Iron Man has tons of resources and smarts which he can use to change the world, which he will do as long as it makes him look good to the girl or entertains him. Is doing the right thing for self aggrandizement being heroic?
Captain America would argue it is not. To him being a hero is to attach to the power of knowing you would lay your life down in the service of others because it is the right thing to do as a man. In the end this is what Iron Man does, so the message of the movie is that a true hero is one who is willing to self-sacrifice for the good of others. And then they make these super heroes do everyday things like crack jokes and plan to go out for dinner. Is this a message that we, the ordinary people, are able to be heroic, just like the agent who collected baseball cards and the old man who refused to bow down to a bad leader.
Next let’s look at what it says about being a Lover King. The Hero is told what his people need from him and does it. The Lover King assumes the responsibility of knowing how to lead his people to safety and prosperity. Here we have a panel of Leaders who fire a missile on New York, the heart of art and culture in America. They approach leadership from a mechanistic standpoint coldly determining that containment is their priority. They favour the development of weapons of mass destruction (the mechanical option) or the collective ability of people with super Human qualities. This is the real villain of the story. Bad leadership over good leadership. There is a profound message in this movie and even more so in the prequel, Thor, that being a king is not about having people bow before you. It is stepping up to the responsibility of providing good people with your protection, your promise to provide for them, and your pledge to preserve what is good with all your power. In so doing you become a better man.
Lastly, there are numerous references to previous movies and comic strips (Thor and The Wizard of Oz), references to 911 (images of police with a backdrop of flames and crumbling buildings, planes or flying creatures crashing into buildings, chaos in the streets of New York as the world as we know it comes to an end, a cell phone call to a loved one while your death is imminent) and several human universals like people care about each other, people joke, people eat, people are jealous of each other. All of this links the viewer of the movie from what’s going on in the story to what is going on in their real lives. Is there an intentional message here to have us all think about being a hero or being a good leader in our everyday live?
I watched You’ve Got Mail last night and there are two scenes in it that explain really well the essence of the Lover King archetype.
The Lover King is the aspect of ourselves that knows the power to shape our world and survive. the task now is to learn how to use that power well with others. This happens when you find something of value and and allow your heart to exist outside of yourself. If you find something you value and you control and protect it to the point of smothering it or damaging others you are in the shadow side of this archetype, the Tyrant.
The Lover King will take a bullet for what he values. Maybe you can recall the moment in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks won’t let Meg Ryan sit in the cafe alone waiting to meet her online friend. He holds the power in that he knows who she is and she does not know who he is. In self interest he would simply walk away and let it die, but he has found something he values more than his ego so he keeps her company. He then takes full responsibility for her being rude to him. He does this because he is willing to absorb the pain to take hers away. He is viewing the situation on a higher plane. He is thinking about his relationship to others (her) because he is certain of, powerful in, his relationship to himself. This what makes him a Lover King.
The same energy is active when he comes to her home with daisies when she has lost her shop. He recognizes that he wants to be her friend, discerns her value to him, and shapes the world to create the conditions where that could happen. The Lover King discerns things of value and then holds the space for it. He does this despite hardship and obstacles. There are several tests of his ability to hold the space in this scene. The masculine thrives on tests.
Another great scene for understanding the Lover King archetype is seen in The Incredibles. Mr. Incredible has been captured and is in chains when his wife and kids show up to save him. When confronted by Elastigirl as to why he went it alone he said he couldn’t risk her – living without her and the kids was worse than death to himself. It didn’t register for him that with her they create something new. This is the point. Heroes face the possibility of their own death and learn they can live in a bigger world. Lover Kings identify what is of value in another person and face the possibility of losing what they most value and having to carry on living. What they learn is that giving their life in the service of enabling what they value to fully live takes their life to a whole new level – from black and white to technicolor.
Let me know if you can think of any other scenes that capture the Lover King archetype. I’m collecting them.
I will never be the same. This is the real power of film. I’m in Whitehorse attending the Available Light Film Festival and I saw The Whistleblower last night. It was amazing! Now I just have to recover.
It is the story of a Nebraska policewoman, Kathryn Bolkovac, who goes to Bosnia on a post war peacekeeping mission and uncovers a sex trade industry driven by UN workers with Diplomatic Immunity. It is horrific and mobilizing. Someone should have been in the theater accepting donations to the cause because I was so moved I was ready to cash in my kid’s education savings plan.
I talk about the shadow archetype, the Victim or Whore, in my workshops and I feel I failed to portray the true horror of it. The Victim is in an environment that is an assault to the sacredness of her body, and her soul. The people around her have no feeling for her pain or suffering, and it is impossible for her to maintain a belief that she is of value in the environment of debauchery. She is detached from any idea of her intrinsic worthiness of love.
The tyrant is also very well portrayed here. The UN members use and abuse the girls for their twisted pleasure without a grain of conscience. They feel entitled. It is horrifying. It is about money – that trumps all feeling for the girls they are using. The fact that it is sex, the very act that can bond a man and a woman – makes it even worse.
The Whistleblower is a great example of a female hero – a heroine. All the beats are followed except the triumphant ending. It is a thriller/horror story after all. This is a great movie but be emotionally prepared.
I had the opportunity to ask the director/co-writer, Larysa Kondracki, what the highest purpose was for the film. She said diplomatic immunity is being abused by UN workers and it needs to be amended. I definitely support that.
Being that I am Canadian, I would like to highlight some good Canadian Virgin movies. With Christmas coming you might be looking for a good virgin movie for a reminder of the importance of being authentic. New Waterford Girl, Better Than Chocolate, Bollywood Hollywood, Lars and the Real Girl, and District 9 come to mind.
Here’s a thumbnail in case you are interested in checking them out.
Mooney Pottie lives in Cape Breton and dreams of being an artist. Her family, however, sees a future for her as a nurse which she can do right there in Cape Breton. Moonie crafts a plan to fake a pregnancy and be sent away that sends the whole community on a journey.
Better than Chocolate is a Coming out of the Closet coming of age movie based on a time in Vancouver when a lesbian bookstore was censored by books being blocked from crossing the border. Maggie lives in Vancouver and works in a Lesbian Lit store as means of expressing her true self. She falls in love with Kim and the real comedy starts when her mother shows up to visit.
When Rahul’s white rock star girlfriend dies his mother decides to assert their East Indian values and insists he marry a nice Indian girl. He must at least be engaged before his sister can marry. When he learns she is pregnant, Rahul sets out to pretend to be engaged so his sister can have a timely wedding. He meets a beautiful girl on her own journey to be authentic despite her parent’s wishes that she marry an Indian man who will secure her father’s retirement.
When I first heard the premise of Lars and the Real Girl I thought it was a set up for a string of raunchy jokes. It turns out it is a heart warming story with some light comedy. Lars is a person who has known heart ache and isolates himself because of it. When the isolation gets to him he discovers he can get an inflatable girl that is all of the company and none of the dangers of being close to someone. He goes for it and the community is required to respond.
District 9 is a science fiction set in a time when a huge space ship settles over the continent of Africa casting a shadow. The ship is full of crustacean like beings of human intelligence who are refugees from their planet. They are confined to ghettos and used in experiments. One day a bureaucrat is forced to see the crustacean perspective and comes to know it is his authentic self. I’m not a big Sci Fi fan but I found the archetypal elements of this story REALLY interesting.