27 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Twenty-Seven: The Virtue Of Selflessness

Certain warrior virtues are obvious.

Mental and emotional toughness.

But one that often gets overlooked is selflessness.

This ideal comes straight from ancient phalanx warfare, where a man’s shield protected not just himself but also the man on his right … and the unit was always more important than the individual.

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  1. Brian Nelson on November 16, 2020 at 7:02 am

    Love where this is going. A few thoughts:
    1. It must have been a lonely battlefield during the Trojan War. The idea of going into battle solo is both frightening and lonely. Made me think of Malcolm Gladwell’s observation on the difference between soccer (weak link) and basketball (strong link). In soccer a team improves by improving the weakest links (a mistake with leads to one goal is HUGE in soccer), while basketball is built around strong links (Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dr J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Lebron James) and these strong links carry much more water than the other four. I love both sports, but my Army experience is much more like soccer than basketball.
    2. Warrior Archetype fighting next to the King Archetype. This is a hunch. When we move through the archetypes in our lifetimes, one archetype enfolds, or collapses inside of us as we move to the next. They become integrated and part of us. A King does not see himself as a Warrior–until the circumstances require it, then that archetype re-surfaces within the current archetype.

    I’ve thought a lot about this post Army. I remember telling a buddy, about 12-18 months post retirement, “I think I’m finally just a veteran instead of a retired Major…” I see many of my peers who have COL(R) on their business cards. I think this is no different than me wearing a mullet & Letterman’s jacket, driving a Trans Am, listening to “Rock You Like a Hurricane” and trying to find a date at the local high school. Gross and inappropriate. We need to integrate these archetypes.

    3. The seeds of democracy. I have read, and now re-listened to Teddy Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic”, the full speech he gave at the Sorbonne from which the quote, “It’s not the critic who counts…” is so oft quoted. The entire speech is worth reading probably 4-5 times a day for the next 30 years. Here is a link I found: https://www.leadershipnow.com/tr-citizenship.html
    The visual of King Leonidas fighting along side his fellow Spartans is so inspiring. I’m working on a leadership book/training–and one of the main principles–and likely the subtitle is, “A Warm Man Doesn’t Know How a Cold Man Feels”.

    The point is if you want to lead, you better get cold first. As we are going into our second severe lock down here in Washington, I think many more people of my persuasion would be less upset if the Governor, his deputies, city managers/county leaders all took a very severe haircut–say 75%-100% of their pay. When they are now having to budget what to buy via Amazon for Christmas–or not buy anything–then they will know how cold the restaurant server, bar-tender, landscaper, machinist, office worker, kiosk employee, small business owner feels.

    Thanks for your work Steven. You are one large shining light in our world.

    • Andrew+Lubin on November 16, 2020 at 9:26 am

      Brian – great sports examples! MJ as an individual star won no championships; it was when MJ got his teammates involved, they rocked the world!

  2. Joe Jansen on November 16, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Good thoughts, Brian.

    I’m reflecting back on a previous post here, on our “willingness to mask up” as an analog to that Spartan phalanx approach to warfare. My mask protects you, etc. There’s never been a better time to embrace that ethos.

    Taking it a step further, there’s a deeper lesson embedded in this metaphor of the aspis, which goes beyond military theory or epidemiology: the fundamental truth of our interconnectedness and mutual dependence, our mutual reliance. How does this cultural narrative we’ve been fed for 300 years — this veneration of individual self-reliance (granted, growth comes from action and agency), how does a hyper-focus on “me and what I want” obscure the truth that we’re part of the same damn thing?

    • Andrew+Lubin on November 16, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Well said Joe. There’s an incredible self-centeredness in those people who think wearing a half-ounce mask is a sign of weakness. As someone who wore a flak and kevlar to keep me alive overseas, I thought that was the best 25+ pounds I could be wearing!

      • Brian Nelson on November 16, 2020 at 9:29 pm

        You both have me thinking. Maybe this is the non-musical equivalent of ‘riffing’, but I nearly always think of something after reading the two of you.

        Interconnectedness vs individualism. Was talking with a friend around this topic today as we prepare for our second pretty severe lockdown. His wife is Okanawan, and we were talking east/west, individual vs collective. TR even mentions it at the end of is speech ‘Citizenship in a Republic’. We miss the point when we lean to0 far either way. This just popped to mind–but it is from Jordan Peterson. He says that the original definition of ‘meek’ was (paraphrasing here) a strong man capable of violence who willfully sheaths his own sword. That is a far cry from what I always understood as meek.

        I guess what I’m trying to define for myself in this response is that we need to recognize our interconnectedness–but we can only fully plug in all three parts of the plug when we have conquered ourselves, became strong individuals, and are capable of carrying our weight and others. Another insight I’ve had with myself is that I am WAY more compassionate, understanding, kind, considerate–all the noble traits–when I have lived up to every capacity within me. When I’m living stoically.

        I was doing yoga tonight, and for some reason I thought of Andrew being raised by two Marine Officers. There was a twinge of envy as my own family was a better example of 7 Deadly Sins on display. My step father was incapable of mastering himself, and so that sublimated self-hatred was pushed outward. I thought about how I learned most of what it means to be a man while in uniform–and wistfully thought about learning some of that earlier from my folks. Then I remembered “The Great Santini” by Conway, and realize there are always two sides to a blade. I appreciate you sharing those pearls of wisdom from your parents.

        I enjoy this rather ‘intimate’ exchange. It helps.

        • Andrew+Lubin on November 17, 2020 at 8:38 am

          Brian – your ‘Great Santini’ comment struck home:

          I was extremely fortunate how my parents understood that ‘team’ started with the home. Both parents were Depression-era kids, and my dad was put into an orphanage for 3 years because his parents couldn’t afford him after my grandfather was laid off. My mom was Jewish-Irish, and her dad, Jozef Mendel and family fled Poland after 1-too many pograms. So he clearly knew family was to be trusted. After Grandpa M married an Irish lady (another group that cherishes family), my mom was raised on stories and examples of how you can rely only in family. Long before they enlisted following Pearl Harbor, they understood better than most the importance of teamwork in pushing thru tough times. Enlisting in the Marines, vs the other services? To them it was never in doubt, and what great dinner table discussions we had!

          • Brian Nelson on November 17, 2020 at 1:45 pm

            You come from some pretty damn sturdy stock my friend!

  3. Andrew+Lubin on November 16, 2020 at 9:16 am

    Growing up to 2 Marine parents in the 1950’s-1960’s, there were multiple discussions that began with “Marine officers eat after their Marines,” “Never assign a task for something you haven’t already done, or will assist with,” and “Officers take care of their Marines so their Marine will take care of the mission.”

    Then I ran HS cross-country, which is scored by adding up the places of each team’s first-five finishers; so while having a teammate in the top-10 was an obvious plus, the places of your 3-4-5 teammates were equally important for the team to win or do well. I was # 3-4-5 guy, and our coach made sure we treated the same as our stars. He and my parents were outstanding role models, and I drew on them reguarly through the years when overseas, as a husband/father, running a business, and now as a grandfather.

    How sad that ‘Team” is such a foreign concept in our country today.

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  5. Elastic man on May 19, 2022 at 12:37 am

    Nice clip to share. The actor looks old but still healthy. I really like the model he’s holding

  6. Fred Mike on December 7, 2023 at 9:11 pm

    Recognizing selflessness as a warrior virtue alongside courage and toughness is a powerful reminder of its significance in building resilient communities and fostering camaraderie.
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