The Archetype of the Warrior – How Films Help Empower Us All

If there’s one thing that connects civilizations throughout the ages, it is the presence of warrior traditions. Indeed, the history.


If there’s one thing that connects
civilizations throughout the ages, it is the presence of warrior traditions. Indeed, the history of our species is
filled with stories about ancient warriors, gladiators, Vikings, knights, samurai, gunslingers, martial artists, soldiers, and a wide variety of fictional
warriors. Spartans! What is your profession? According to Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, these warriors are all
expressions of a deeper archetype; an instinctual energy form and a basic
building block of our psychology. The archetypal warrior is one of 4 archetypes distinguished by them in their book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, two of which I’ve already discussed in earlier videos. Historically, the warrior has been
primarily associated with men and masculinity and is probably the most controversial of the archetypes as many people, especially women, have suffered under its shadow form; the bipolar dysfunctional form of the archetype. Shadow warriors revel in sadistic and masochistic behavior, often masking their hidden insecurities and unresolved emotional issues. There’s no denying that many have fallen victim to the cruelty, violence and rage of the shadow warrior’s
aggression. Moore and Gillette however argue that despite the justified fear and suspicion, the warrior archetype should not be approached with hostility and condemnation. They write: We can’t just take a vote and vote the warrior out. Like all archetypes, it lives on in spite of our conscious attitudes toward it. And like all repressed archetypes, it goes underground, eventually to resurface in the form of emotional and physical violence. If the warrior is an instinctual energy form, then it is here to stay. And it pays to face it. In their book, Moore and Gillette explore how men can relate themselves to their inner warrior in a more healthy and mature way, but to offer a more inclusive perspective, I
also want to discuss Carol S Pearson’s The Hero Within, in which he presents a critical assessment of this archetype that brings more attention to its
importance for those who historically speaking have been denied access to the
warrior or been victimized by it. She emphasizes that despite the warrior
often being portrayed as a man, the archetype has much value in teaching
everyone to claim their power and assert their identities in the world So today, let’s take a look at the archetype of the warrior, and how it can help empower us all. You just don’t know when to give up do you? I can do this all day. At its core, the warrior is a stance toward life that rouses, energizes and motivates. That pushes us to take the offensive and face the challenges that life puts in front of us. It first and foremost asserts our right to be alive and fuels our willingness and ability to defend ourselves and fight for our survival. If I can take it I can make it. Lift it! Warriors learn to trust their own truths and act on them with absolute conviction. To do this it is necessary for them to take responsibility for their own lives, they do not see themselves as victims or as outsiders. To identify as a warrior is to say ‘I am responsible for what happens here,’ and ‘I must do what I can to make this a better world for myself and for others.’ What does that say? What man is a man who does not make the world better? this also implies claiming authority Warriors change their worlds by asserting their will upon them. in most stories this is done by way of physical violence, but the archetypal warrior can also be found in those transformed their world in nonviolent ways. These are the stories of journalists, politicians, activists and scientists who, each in their own way, asserted themselves and affected the
world around them. The important question here is how to know what aggressiveness is appropriate under the circumstances. They do so as Moore and Gillette describe
it; through clarity of thinking. The warrior is always alert. He is always
awake. He is never sleeping through life. He knows how to focus his mind and his body. These qualities require continuous
awareness and attention, and so to develop and maintain them, the warrior trains. A ninja understands that invisibility is a matter of patience and agility A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward You’re stronger than this Diana. Again! Through training, warriors improve their power, skills, intellect and self-discipline. They become stronger in both the psychological and physical aspects of their being. It also helps them discover their limits and become more humble and realistic about their capabilities. Because most importantly;
through training, warriors learn to know themselves, and what they are fighting for. It is here that warriors find maturity
and separate themselves from what Pearson refers to as the pseudo warrior, and what Moore and Gillette call the infantile hero. Unlike the hero’s actions, the warrior’s actions are never overdone, never dramatic for the sake of drama; the warrior never acts to reassure himself that he is as potent as he hopes he is. In Troy, we meet Achilles as a warrior who has not quite realized the archetype in its fullest potential. He is well trained and confident in his
abilities, but mainly fights to confirm his own legend. Is there no one else? Is there no one else? Issues like these can become more troublesome when the struggle to win becomes the sole purpose of the warrior’s activities. Because when warriors begin to rely on external achievements for inner fulfillment, we enter the realm of the Shadow Warrior. As Moore and Gillette put it; The man who becomes obsessed with “succeeding” has already failed. A more mature warrior can be found in Seven Samurai, where a samurai warrior resolves a hostage situation by cutting off his hair and pretending to be a monk. knowing that cutting a samurai’s hair
was often seen as a symbol of defeat and humiliation, it is a great example of a mature warrior who knows his true purpose and is not concerned with his
own pride or grandiosity. The main difference here is that mature warriors always fight for something more than themselves. They have a transpersonal commitment to a cause, a god, a people, a nation, or a task. What could a king ask of a man like me? A better world than has ever been seen. When Balian is knighted in Kingdom of Heaven, he commits his life to the people of Jerusalem. The Seven Samurai fight to protect innocent villagers. The Fellowship of the Ring sets out to save Middle-Earth. Captain Miller and his soldiers are on a
mission to bring home Private Ryan, and Wonder Woman stands up for all of
humanity. One thing these warriors have in common
is that they recognize their own mortality and the fragility of life in general. but instead of feeling depressed by it, this awareness is what fuels their actions. For these warriors, there’s no time for hesitation. Every act counts. Each deed is done as if it were the last. Warriors are often destroyers, but as
Moore and Gillette point out; many things in our world need destroying in order for something new and more virtuous to appear. For such causes as defeating tyrants, liberating the oppressed and overthrowing oppressive regimes, the warrior can exert meaningful aggression and destruction. Nazi ain’t got no humanity, and they need to be destroyed. Phones have been ringing all morning. They’re almost all victims Robby. It is however not always clear what course of action is the right one, which cause will actually transform the world for the better. the world of today has a vastly
different outlook and once honorable causes which also shows that what is deemed right in one age is not the same in another. Pearson suggests that part of the issue lies in that stories of the warrior often adhere to the classic structure in which a hero battles and ultimately defeats a villain. This narrative of slaying the dragon is still incredibly powerful in today’s society, but Pearson points out that it does uphold a duality between heroes and villains, between good and evil, which lets us believe our actions are justified and our efforts will lead to some form of ultimate salvation. No. All of this should have stopped. The fighting should have stopped, why are they doing this? I don’t know! I don’t know. In reality of course, such finality is never really achieved. More importantly; this mentality of winning and losing can lead to problematic consequences when it becomes internalized in the warrior’s mind. Pearson writes that; warriors become
burned out because they live life as a struggle against others and against part of themselves they see as unworthy. These are the Warriors who bring their war home with them, who are never out of the fight. Although it seems like these warriors are always fighting battle after battle, more often than not; it really is just the one dragon that they’re facing. I can’t get it out of my head. A dream of 7 years. Every day it hurts. But this dragon is a figment of the mind. An abstract enemy who never quite manifests itself, but can break even the greatest warriors when not properly dealt with. Here, Pearson argues for the importance of looking beyond the hero-villain duality. Beyond the narrative of the eternal struggle between good and evil. You don’t think I wish I could tell that it was one bad guy to blame? It’s not! Pearson reassures us that the archetypal warrior does not become obsolete here; That the warrior’s truth is now simply one among many does not preclude commitment to ideals, people, causes, beliefs. Warriors embrace their understandings with their whole hearts even in a relativistic world. She concludes that the real challenge for
warriors today is to assert new narratives, imagine new versions of the warrior myth that go beyond slaying the dragon, beyond defeating or converting enemies and towards building bridges. For her, the most important battle is against the tyranny of the dull mind, against fear driven ignorance, and that kind of battle requires a different plot. One that doesn’t call for violence or conversion, but one that relies on our capacity to grapple with differences without imposing our notions of good and bad. She observes the ways in which primitive violence is increasingly being replaced with more gentle ways of conflict, and fantasizes about a future in which these old structures of conflict become fully obsolete. A time where enemies are greeted as potential friends, conflicting views are invited as a potential for greater understanding, and differences are embraced to build wholeness. On this path towards a better world; warriors find ever more confidence, need ever less violence, and are occasionally allowed to just be, so that perhaps one day, they can put down the sword, and come home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *