We Contain Multitudes: Eight Newly Emergent Archetypes
In a recent article I outlined my conception of The Five Foundational Worldviews and suggested that at certain moments in history new structures of feeling (or value sets) have emerged and coalesced into distinct cultural constellations.
In this piece I’ll be sharing some of the subpersonalities that have arisen within each worldview. I’m using the word subpersonalities to describe parts of our selves that arise within particular contexts and situations. I believe that each of us is a unique blend of a number of different subpersonalities and that they all combine to inform our persona.
For examples I recognise each of the subpersonalities included in this article (and many more) inside of myself. And it's my current understanding that within each of our psyches some subpersonalities are more dominant than others and that a number of them may reside largely or even entirely in our subconscious mind. In this sense the subpersonalities could also be thought of as newly emergent archetypes.
I'm yet to create any subpersonalities for the Indigenous Worldview as I need to spend more time consulting with those more deeply fluent in that particular worldview. It’s also worth noting this is by no means an exhaustive list, in fact I imagine there are hundreds if not thousands of subpersonalities that could be delineated across the Five Foundational Worldviews.
And finally beyond the illustrations and descriptions that I put together I’ve also included the words of my friend Layman Pascal who has crafted eight different statements spoken from the perspective of each of the various sub-personalities. Layman's words are included in italics below each piece.
The (ever so slightly) magical meaning makers,
The earnest tricksters who can only be seen in their entirety through the blurred edges of your peripheral vision,
The twinkly eyed wielders of poetic symbology who craft rejuvenating stories within which we can all anchor our inner experience,
Very much at home with the amorphous irrationality of the great beyond,
Generally placid but may swallow you whole if you attempt to consciously desecrate the sacred waters of the collective mythos,
Will conjure up underworlds in merciless metaphor before soothing your soul with delightfully poignant whimsy.
I grew in the forest and along the beaches. Verdant moss & Tom Bombadil were my friends. The wind speaks. The stones have plans. An unforced mosaic of the iridescent beings in nameless collaboration. Their mutual violence made soft and inviting through long imaginal adaption into ecosystems. A half-eaten walrus washes ashore -- delightful. One insect poisons another -- a cause for thoughtless contemplation. Yet I feel undeniably safe. A rare privilege. A happy foolishness. Unbidden, I must tell the tale which shows that shape of the ritual. Even to critique a tale is tell a tale. Speech, story and symbol must sink into the forms of this fertility. Must. For the rupture is endlessly possible. The deviation. The wound that opens to the world beneath biospherics where the violence is an ill-coordinated desecration. Hell realms. Let there be wild signs to mark that threshold. Kick over the tables. Place dragons on the maps. Howl. Shrieks and curses are like talons and teeth for those lucky enough to know the fragile treasures that give the world its hidden value. And the primal wizards sang these into being too...
The Theory Artists and Meta-sticians amongst us.
Those keeping one and a half eyes on the bigger picture in each and every moment.
Heads swimming with novel connections as they track the rippling emergent murmurs that echo throughout the far reaches of the noosphere.
Connecting the dots, shifting the frames and crafting new lenses through which we can momentarily comprehend the innate marvel that is our manifest reality.
Looking for unseen patterns of complexity that once illumined might create a little more spaciousness in the collective fields of our conceptual intelligence.
The abstract visionaries creating maps for us to continually navigate back to the realisation that we’re often much closer to verbs than we are nouns.
I am not intellectual by intent but patterns form in the invisible spaces of conversation and reading. Structures that look half like circuit boards & half like waltzes. The more deeply I listen to the Other, the more these dynamic shapes build up. I hear you speaking about computer programming and I see an principle of yoga; I watch a comedy film and encounter the laws of politics. Constantly besieged by these shapes that straddle domains and summarize good exchanges, I am pressed into service. I make diagrams, manifestos, charts and essays. The more I can compress and convert into artifacts, the more temporary free space I have for life... until the next one comes. I look more closely. They are like organisms. I am a zoologist in a peculiar ecosystem. Each creature more amazing than the last, each solving more problems than I can even pose. And some are friends. They return many times. I have much in common, by necessity, with theorists, but I am making sand mandalas. Paintings from hyperconcepts. They turn into my body; my movements abstract themselves looking like hieroglyphic words in an eternal language. I pace, seethe, sit, hike and hunker in order to chew this food -- and who keeps feeding it to me? A god? The complex gaps in the systems of all systems? Something hovers at the horizon of the endlessly emerging metamodel. It will never be articulated. The map is service this unspeakable one...
The master mechanics of human experience.
Somatic psychotechnicians often imbued with a palpable sense of Spirit.
Highly attuned to the moment to moment undulations of our inner landscapes and the cyclical flows of our shared and discrete nervous systems.
Guides through the peaks and troughs of our neuro-electric towards a more complete Gestalt of the human condition.
Showing up as bards of the breath, healers of the heart, purveyors of plant wisdom, spiritual scribes and living invitations into the transformative domains of our own unashamedly intimate sensuality.
Testimony to the physical form as temple, they bring a scientists eye to the unending pursuit of flow.
Serving as generous reminders that while negative entropy can be a real drag it doesn’t have the power to limit the ever available psychoactivity of Being Here NOW.
It doesn't matter which side of a social issue you're on. Identities keep you trapped in the dualisms of mind and society. No real change comes through politics or new technology. Those are downstream from the archaic secret that your body and nervous system can decide what reality to tune into. You either understand that you can drop out of social games into the body and then start navigating toward healing, peaks and strange new worlds -- or you don't. Even the best ideas will become prisons if we don't bathe frequently in the fountain of ecstasy that stands prior to all beliefs. Yoga, sex, drugs, music, trances...they are all pointing the way to get outside the gnostic trap. Reality is the depth of the present moment when it is freed from fear, habit & language games. Don't fool yourself, girl.
A voice for the unheard and a witness for the unseen.
They dare to the reclaim the reins from unsustainable actors by any means necessary.
Champions of social change who’re unafraid to speak truth to power.
Willing to jam up the stultified aspects of society in the name of new liberating narratives. They are steadfastly resolute in their conviction that the long arc of freedom bends only towards progress.
Courageous in their commitment to keep themselves and the rest of us accountable as avatars of the emerging voice of our cultural superego.
Yet to acquiesce to the seeming inevitability of the capitalist juggernaut. Like a titanic Tiananmen Tank Man they stand firm in the face of oppression
They only see the fight as over once every last being on Earth is provided for.
I note that this description says "who're unafraid to speak truth to power." And I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you on referring to us as whores -- whether intentional or subconscious. The power structure is maintained by all this scaffolding both great and small.
People might see this as not cool or as somehow outdated but the only real change starts with fidelity. Being faithful to the vision of equality, faithful to integrity that only comes from the fight for justice, faithful to our brothers and sisters of all orientations, colours and species.
Unless you stand firm in solidarity against fascism and exploitation of all kinds then you are responsible for giving ground. No one is neutral on a sloped playing field. Standing still means sliding down. And compromise is the seductive name for standing still.
They call us radical because we recognize that improvement must occur at the scale and tempo of the problem -- not incrementally or in cooperation with those whose form of power only works if making the world better for sentient beings fails. Or is endlessly delayed.
You either wake up to this moral call or you are de facto part of the problem.
The far future focused who hum with impatient optimism for the creation of an entirely new tomorrow.
Pragmatic preachers of increasingly advanced technology as the only viable method of surviving our existential threats.
The standard bearers of exponential innovation as the truest reflection of human progress.
The steadfast purveyors of mass technological progress as the ultimate means of rising all tides.
Standing firm in the conviction that our ultimate purpose is to engineer higher and higher forms of intelligence.
Daring to challenge cultural taboos as they step towards futures far beyond many peoples conception of the possible.
I don't know how you expect to thrive during an apocalypse without an AI assistant to help you sidestep riots, organize food drops, connect with valuable networks & protect you from misinformation, attention hacking and exploitive state and corporate manipulation. If you are for or against the dominant consensus on any topic then the system has played you. And thanks to my driverless car I have extra time to work out how to convert my web 3 crypto into healthy, luxury survival bunker.
Those staunch guardians of the empirical truth.
The adepts of the examined life who prefer their medicine evidence based, their studies double blind and their experiments randomly controlled.
Those fierce friends of logic who always remember that increased accuracy means more effective decisions.
Refusing to be swept away in purely imaginal flights of fancy they deftly avoid the all too human yearning to simply believe.
Making an art form of catching out cognitive bias they strive to cultivate an epistemic commons free from personal preference and subjective seduction.
Willing to have difficult discussions and disabuse the deceived of their self deception.
Unshaken in the face of dogmatic devotion they are unafraid to call out Magic, Religion and even God.
I am accused of denying magic but I will accept it whenever it passes the rigorous standard of testing. We would be foolish to accept what people believe by hunch and gut and social habit. Our brains have been demonstrated to exhibit cognitive bias and distort reality. And while people have the right the believe in their favorite delusion, it will go poorly for them. In the degree to which our subjectivity deviates from objectivity, it becomes unable to meet its own goals. This is true today and it will be even more important, in a destabilized future, to undergo deliberately the discomfort of favoring confirmed truths at the expense of truth-feelings.
This isn't disenchantment. It is a higher requirement for enchantment. It is a love of the truthfulness that is also true independently of us. The truth that gives us an ethical momentum beyond merely the securing of tribal feelings. The truth that gives us justice instead of revenge. To be humbled before such Truth is a deeper holiness than to obey any book, custom, image or intuition...
Steady in their sense of the soul they view all their actions as contributing towards an infinitely larger individual etching.
Grounded in the fertile fields of custom, regulated by the rhythms of ritual and consistently renewed in the numinous waters of a living mythological lineage.
Often times infused, animated and inspired by an unspeakable knowing they are left with little need to incessantly search for meaning.
Unafraid to make a leap of faith they are skeptical that the scientific method can ever provide a sufficiently complete understanding of the totality of their existence.
Quietly attuned to the steadfast hum of the good and the virtuous, they remain keenly cognisant of the ever shifting forms of malevolent evil and set their bearings towards righteous and high-minded ends.
After personally experiencing divine grace they’ve come to believe that directly relating with a transcendental power is a wholly essential component of the human experience.
Please discuss the unfolding of stage developments to your heart’s content but I will be barefoot in the garden. The potatoes need to get planted. I will not even tell you that I feel this is the actual extension into the depth of reality. The actual solution to the metacrisis. And while you are looking for the definition of God, I will put a small offering in front of an ancestral icon. I do not need to sift out the newly articulated principles. It is enough to tell the story. Tell it again. It is everfresh. I cannot do great things, I can only do small things well. Where we do small things well it becomes obvious that we are the ones who fit into this world. Important. You cannot help it if you do not fit...
Well versed in the songs of their forefathers they are humbled by the sense they’re taking part in a story much older than just their own.
Knows blood to be thicker than water and truer than wine.
Keenly aware of the dangers that are particular to a world where God has died. They are skeptical of any such society left wholly to its own devices where the only thing standing between chaos and order is the unencumbered conscience of the modern mind.
Grounded by the twin trunks of history and tradition they are resistant to allowing the most recent iteration of culture to completely wipe the slate clean.
Well aware of their heritage and the unyielding persistence of their ancestral line they are willing to preserve their way of life and selflessly protect the nation from which it emerged.
They revere the profound sacredness of the familial bond and believe honour to be the final bulwark against the growing rot of hedonism and greed.
I am haunted by the gulf between actual progress & mere novelty. The drivers of the metacrisis never learn the deep lessons of history. Old things are not dangerous. The danger has come, time and again, from ungrounded fads that ignore the structures of natural intelligence. I must align myself with vetted, antifragile and embodied heuristic strategies for working with complexity. That is how we survive, thrive and blossom. That is what produces and secures all the beautiful things about which I care the most. Family bonds. Customs. Adages. Contact with the land. Reverence for the ancestors. These are the basic psychotechnologies upon which I can rely -- and they are menaced on every side by rash experimentation, superficial news and a shallow indifference to the authenticity that is deep in earth, body and peoples. And restorative troubleshooting is as much the leading-edge as innovation. If you break the chain, then you are not forging the next link in the chain.
Joe Lightfoot is a writer and podcaster. He is the author of A Collective Blooming: The Rise Of The Mutual Aid Community and the host of The Lightfoot Podcast. You can sign up to his newsletter The Lightfoot Letter and find him on Facebook.