“There is no lunacy people under the domination of an archetype will not fall prey to.”
Archetypes are active in all aspects of our lives. Each day, every day they drive why we do things and how we do them both at an individual and at a collective level. In any conflict, from war through to civil, corporate, and community disputes they drive and shape the conflict cycle. They are discernible through language and behaviour – a kind of archetypal code.
Whether they realise it or not, mediators and other ADR practitioners are actually working with and shifting archetypal patterns during the dispute resolution process. But, archetypes are deeply hidden actors. Consequently, those working to resolve disputes are unaware not just of the influence that archetypes exert on the process but also of the impact that they, the ADR practitioners themselves, have on moderating their effect.
By gaining awareness of archetypes and being able to spot their level of activity through the language and behaviour of the parties in dispute, ADR practitioners can accurately track them on the road to resolution – The Hero’s Journey as Joseph Campbell famously called all our challenges. Put another way, by learning the archetypal codes practitioners gain deeper insight into the core drivers of the dispute and can, therefore, use this to effect better outcomes.
Powerful forces hidden deep within the human psyche, Archetypes shape our world view and determine how we react to events. We are surrounded by archetypal energy. It’s everywhere. Behind every major magnetic brand sits a powerful archetype pulling at our own archetypal harp strings. Little do devotees of Starbucks realise that it’s The Explorer that has drawn them in; or the acolytes of Apple products or Harley Davidson motorcycles know that it’s The Rebel in them that’s excited. Archetypes determine our preferences in almost every aspect of life. Why are some people drawn to romcoms, yet others to horror? They determine not just why we do what we do in life but how we do it – our style, if you like.
But, what are they, these archetypes?
The clue is in the name, as they say. Archetype means ‘the original pattern from which copies are made’. The ancient Greek noun archétypon (ἀρχέτυπον) is derived from two words: archḗ (ἀρχή) meaning ‘beginning’, ‘original’ or ‘first’ and typos (τύπος) meaning ‘pattern’, ‘model’ or ‘type’. Archetypes can, therefore, be described as the original patterns or blueprints for human behaviours that are common to us all, from fighting to loving, creating to destroying, learning to achieving.
Archetypes are eternal and transcendent in the sense that their codes – think powerful apps preloaded at birth, working deep in our psyche and common to everyone – have been recognisable for eons across all geographic, ethnic, religious, linguistic and temporal divides. They are the lingua franca of human existence, unconsciously driving our behaviours and choices. We may not speak someone’s language, or even ever have had exposure to their culture, but we certainly know when they are angry or their fighting spirit is up. How? Because we recognise the behaviour and know the driver, the archetype, behind it.
When our archetypes are balanced they act as useful guides in helping us navigate smoothly through life. When they’re out of balance they create utter chaos for us. For the most part we remain blissfully unaware of their existence and influence. But, once we become aware of their activity and learn their codes we gain control over them and can harness their power to transform our lives and the lives of those around us. Only then do we get to ride Pegasus.
Experiential and geared primarily, but not exclusively, to practitioners of ADR, the purpose of The Hero’s Journey workshop is to help mediators and others recognise and harness the power of archetypes in resolving disputes.
During The Hero’s Journey workshop delegates will:
The Hero’s Journey is suitable for anyone interested in conflict and dispute resolution – not just practitioners of ADR, but also negotiators, litigators and even judges.
I am no stranger to conflict. I spent two decades mired in it in one form or another – armed conflict and protracted litigation. Short of meaningful answers, I embarked on my own Hero’s Journey to explore conflict’s inner nature. The path led me into depth psychology and an archetypal realm inhabited by these hidden actors that define our preferences and drive our behaviours. So profound was the revelation of their unseen role in the major events of my life and the choices I thought I’d made, but which they’d covertly shaped, that I trained as a coach in Archetypal Application and have been working with archetypes since 2006.
In The Hero’s Journey workshop I use my own experiences of war and litigation to bring to life the real power archetypes exert in shaping events and outcomes not just for me but for all of us.
If you think you’re in charge, think again!