36 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Thirty-Six: We Mature From Archetype to Archetype

Do we grow and mature in a smooth, straight line?

I don’t think so.

Jungian psychology says we mature in stages that correspond to the archetypes of the Unconscious–Youth to Warrior to Mentor to Father to King (or Queen) to Sage to Mystic.

We’ll examine this in today’s episode.

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here

Subscribe here for the full series, or watch previous episodes here


  1. andrew lubin on December 17, 2020 at 7:22 am

    As always, some interesting ideas here!

    Perhaps as we mature, the lines between each Archetype blur. A Warrior mentality in Iraq or Afg, minus the 24/7/365 head-on-a-swivel,can work well in the corporate world – as evidenced by Marine Vietnam vets Fred Smith and Bob Parsons who built FedEx and GoDaddy. And how many of us wish at 25 we had the common sense and ability to think twice before acting than we have now? Probably I head up that line…

    On re-reading “Virtues of War”, following Alexander’s victory over Porus at Hydaspes, many of the Mac’s decide to return home. Except Telamon, who has guided and mentored Alexander for decades. What does he do? He stays in India and joins the Sages. “These fellows interest me,” he tells Alexander, “and I wish to see what comes after being a soldier.”

    Is Telamon maturing? Perhaps, but in my own words, I think Telamon sees that it’s a big world with lots of interesting differences out there, and he wants to experience as much of it as possible. Looking forward to the next episode!

    • Brian Nelson on December 17, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      Insightful as always Andrew!

      • andrew lubin on December 17, 2020 at 2:39 pm

        B – Hooah & S/f! A

  2. Jim Gant on December 17, 2020 at 7:28 am

    Thank you for my early morning video session Steve! It is so helpful to me to think on these things…Jim

  3. Marc Launey on December 17, 2020 at 7:56 am

    I love Jung and the concept of moving through archetypes hit home. I’ve been doing work on MBTI and love Jung, also plugging your books in my IO Psych MA classes(virtual these days)! Stay pro!!

  4. Joe Jansen on December 17, 2020 at 8:02 am

    Lighting and staging on this video: top-shelf. Nicely executed, Diana.

    We writers might struggle with “how do I translate my research into compelling scenes that drive my story?” Here’s a good example, from Steve’s novel, “Killing Rommel,” set in North Africa during WWII among a unit of the LRDG – Long Range Desert Group (are you old enough to have watched “Rat Patrol” as a kid?). It’s clear how the Moore/Gillette book informed the story.

    The narrator is Englishman Richmond Lawrence Chapman, or “Chap.” This conversation is on a desert patrol with New Zealand Trooper “Punch” Danger, who Steve introduces:

    “In honour of the New Zealand composition of the T3 patrol, the trucks all bear Maori names. I will ride in Te Aroha IV. Patrol commanders’ vehicles are American Willys jeeps, reserved for the LRDG from the rare and highly prized few that Eighth Army has managed to lay hands on, so that these officers can scout ahead over rough going. The other vehicles are all full-size 30-hundredweight trucks. The crew of Te Aroha IV, or ‘Four’ as she is called, are me, Trooper L.G. Oliphant as driver, Corporal Jack Standage as one gunner and Trooper ‘Punch’ Danger (pronounced DAN-gurr, with a hard g)…”

    Chap opens a conversation with Punch, who’s up on a turret gun:

    We jink round another ridgeline.

    ‘What kind of work to you do back home, Punch?’

    ‘Raise ducks. Serious operation; five breeding ponds, a hatchery.’

    ‘Who’s looking after it?’

    ‘Brother, Wife.’ As he speaks, Punch keeps his eyes peeled for aircraft. He says he’s got three brothers in the service, one here in North Africa in the RASC, two in the Navy. The last one at home, excused from service, looks after all their affairs.

    ‘You miss home?’

    ‘Can’t think about stuff like that, sir. Drive yourself daft if you do.’

    1400. The day gets hotter as the sun descends. I find my thoughts running to something Stein said in night leaguer during the Gazala battle, not long before he was killed. He asked if I was still having that dream about my mother on the lake. I said I was, but lately with a curious alteration. ‘I’m not weighted down by the iron garment any more. Remember, the one you interpreted as a knight’s armour. What do you think? Is that progress?’

    Stein has a theory about inner evolution. A man matures, he believes, from archetype to archetype: from Son to Wanderer to Warrior and from there, if he’s lucky, to Lover, Husband, Father; King, Sage and Mystic.

    ‘It could be,’ Stein says, considering the evolution of my dream, ‘that your journey no longer requires the knight’s armour, since you’re living it out in the flesh.’ He gestures round our leaguer to the tanks and armoured vehicles. ‘You’re “in armour” now, aren’t you?’ And he laughs. ‘What could come next but Ascetic, Anchorite, Renunciant?’ Stein predicts I’ll be drawn to the inner desert, another metaphor. Now, I think, here I am.

    • Brian Nelson on December 17, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Another terrific post! You always back up your point with evidence!

  5. Brian Nelson on December 17, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Funny thought hit me at the end of this video: Is the Warrior Archetype, when fully integrated as a foundational element of our beings, where we find ‘Old Man Strength’?

    I was working out at the JOC gym on Bagram Airbase. The JOC was housed in this old former Soviet hangar, and the gym was this tiny room not much larger than my own kitchen/family room. This young Specialist from 10th Mountain Division frequently worked out at the same time as me and my commander. This young man, maybe 22-23 years old, had the same MOS (career designation) I held 10 years earlier as an NCO when I was active duty. We became fast friends, as much as a CPT and SPC can become friends–which really amounts to talking shit to one another.

    Anyway, I was doing something–cannot remember what it was–and he said something to the effect of, “Shit Sir, no way. I’m not gonna challenge you on that, You’ve got OLD MAN STRENGTH. I know better…”

    I laughed and was mildly offended at the same time. I was 37, not quite feeling like an old man. But maybe the young man was right. Maybe he saw something in me and other older Soldiers that wasn’t clear to me at the time.

    My proclivity is to favor Veterans, in general. As friends, co-workers, employees, even fellow followers of this blog. In-group bias, or something deeper?

    This episode is now getting to where I had hoped Steve would lead us for the past few months.

    From 2012-2015 one of my responsibilities was to help Soldiers ‘transition’ and find work outside of the military. Worked with hundreds of HR leaders, putting together career fairs, training opportunities (from forklift certification to internships with big tech companies).

    “Modifying everything you say with an f-bomb, or saying ‘hooah’ as an answer to a yes/no question will not help you make friends in the civilian world, nor impress the hiring manager…”

    This video series is making me think that the key to Veteran transition is more about individual Veterans maturing into the next archetype than the civilian world ‘understanding’ Veterans.

    • Joe on December 17, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      Nailed it.

    • andrew lubin on December 18, 2020 at 5:28 am

      B- or maybe ‘old man strength’ is the ability to focus our (very) finite resources when most needed?

      5 years ago I was training for a Spartan race. It was my first, so of course I trained hard, both running and weights, for 7 months. About a month prior, I was lifting in the gym w/usual bench press crowd, and then they started challenging me about being old. That got me motivated, and to make a long story short, I finished with 190 X 10, twice. That, plus a few f-bombs directed at the crowd, made my day as a confidence builder that I would complete the upcoming race. Which I did, finishing 3rd in my 60-65 age group.

      Old man strength? Not likely, but I’ll agree that my ability to focus improved, and continues to improve as I get older. So cheer up, you’ve still got lots to accomplish!!

  6. Kevin Goodlad on December 17, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    ooops, Robert Moore vs Thomas.

  7. Joe on December 18, 2020 at 7:38 am

    We’ll see Telamon again soon (the upcoming A Man at Arms), but here he is in The Virtues of War as friend and mentor to Alexander. On the last two pages (343-344), we find another good example of the moment of transition from warrior to mystic (or at least warrior to back to student/wanderer). And the closing lines are a great example of how to frames a satisfying ending. “The king and the mercenary exchanged a valedictory glance,” and then bringing in the recurring imagery of the “sarissa’s song.”


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