50 The Warrior Archetype

Episode Fifty: The Warrior Going Forward

In today’s episode, we’ll attempt to bring all the threads of this series together — Spartans and Athenians, Alexander the Great, Arjuna and Krishna, the concept of the Inner War, and evolution of the Archetypes.

Don’t worry, there will be more episodes going forward, in which we’ll dig even more deeply into this amazing and fascinating subject.

Thanks for sticking with us!

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

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


  1. Jim Gant on February 4, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    I have known you for many years. “Many”. I think we met around 480 BC or so. Thank you for sharing the hard-earned wisdom that has to be taught over and over again. Thank you for teaching it to me. I thought I was listening the first time. I wasn’t. Thank you for putting yourself and your beliefs out there for the world to see.

    Me? Telamon and Ruth looked back at me for just a second and paused. I smiled and grabbed my pack. I am going with them…

    Thank you for helping me come home.

    Strength and Honor for all-time,


    • Steven Pressfield on February 4, 2021 at 2:00 pm

      Jim, my great friend … I will be with you and Telamon and Ruth. Look for me on the trail. I’ll be packing everybody’s kit!

      • Joe on February 5, 2021 at 7:04 am

        On Steve “packing everybody’s kit,” I made a margin note… something about “what aspect of Steve is embodied in David?”

  2. andrew lubin on February 4, 2021 at 12:33 pm

    Steve: “…a combination of discipline and aspirations.” Sounds like how I spent my first 65 years. Moving from Leonidas to Sikundar Gul to Josey Wales and present times; what a thoughtful and enlightening series.

    Now let’s see if I can use it as a roadmap for my next 65 and repay the time and effort you put into showing us the way.

    PS-and I’m hoping to encounter Brian, Joe, and the others along the trail!

  3. Patrick on February 4, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for everything, Steve. Looking forward to the new book.

  4. Joe Jansen on February 4, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Steve, well-done. You took this group on a journey. If some people said “you shouldn’t be glorifying war and warriors,” you telegraphed, “Hold on. Stick with me. We’re going to be transcending something. We’ve evolving into something. We’re taking the exterior and turning to the interior, where the answers are.”

    Look forward to seeing Telamon and Ruth come out of the gate.

  5. Jim Gant on February 4, 2021 at 2:58 pm


    I have been watching and listening.

    Thank you.


  6. Mark Q. Kerson on February 4, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    Thank you Steve, I’ve enjoyed the series. Mark

  7. Carl Blackburn on February 4, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    Thank you Steve you have enriched my life with this series and I look forward to your next series. I appreciate these words of wisdom. All the best, Carl

  8. Brian Nelson on February 4, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    I am filled with equal parts gratitude, and a sense of sadness. This video series has brightened my week for the past 6 months, educated me (both your heroic contributions, as well as the thoughtful insight from others–Andrew, Joe, Jim, and Navy Doc recently poked her beak into the fray).

    Thank you. The effort, courage, and class with which you nakedly entered the arena before the Gods and us was the best thing to happen in 2020/2021. I think I”ll go back and start anew tomorrow.

    Please continue this thread. The war is internal. Without reminders, both of my own making and external ‘True Norths’ on which I can shoot a resection; I remain a skinny, hairless (mostly) monkey who is as likely to poop in my hand to throw it at someone as I am to subordinate those impulses to create goodness, invoke kindness, and be of service to my community, our nation, and mankind.

    I love the friendships I’ve developed. I love the mature, thoughtful, courageous posts from others.
    This series has helped me be a better man, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    I’ll be just behind you, Jim, Telamon, Ruth, Joe, and Andrew–someone’s always gotta be last, and it is likely that I forgot to give the cats their medicine before heading out the door! Don’t wait, I’ll catch up.

    Thank you. From all of the best of me, thank you.

  9. Jim Gant on February 4, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Side by side brother…side by side.
    PS Bring your cats along.

    • Brian Nelson on February 4, 2021 at 4:21 pm

      Roger. Love the Scriptural reminder. I haven’t perfectly memorized it yet, but will be end of week.
      Are you in Seattle? I was working with Mark Koopman and Mark Saichompoo recently. Good dudes. Small tribe. If you’re local, would be great to share a cup of coffee sometime.

  10. Colleen on February 4, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    Steve, thank you so much this wonderful gift of yourself. I have been inspired on many levels and the path in front of me has opened up. The summary of this series, crystal clear; grateful.

  11. Robert Gonzales on February 4, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Steve, once again….Thank you so much for giving us all the gift of this video series and your work as a whole. You’ve played an integral role in my developing my “warrior sage” and I’m still walking that path. I share your prayer for all that we can focus on service and stand for those who cannot defend themselves, gain wisdom from adversity and let love rule over all.

    Love and Courage to you brother…..I’m still slinging the lumber and fighting the good fight.

    Robert G~

  12. Jim Gant on February 4, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Shoot a flare. We will link-up for sure…

  13. Donna Sellers on February 4, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you. This was a brilliant series. I love how you developed the idea of archetypes, and brought home the meaning of being on the path as we develop through them . And thanks everyone for the comments, too. So much to learn. Blessings on the journey.

  14. Joe on February 5, 2021 at 7:09 am

    Jim, Brian, Andrew, and y’all…

    An examination of warrior archetypes shouldn’t omit characters in “Battlestar Galactica,” which Jim’s comment about “bringing the cats” brought to mind.

    There’s a recurring exchange between Commander William Adama (call sign Husker) and Lt. Kara Thrace (call sign Starbuck):

    “What do you hear, Starbuck?”
    “Nothin’ but the rain, sir.”
    “Grab your gun and bring in the cat.”


    • Joe on February 5, 2021 at 7:37 am

      Seriously, BSG is frackin’ good. As long as we’re on it, here’s a favorite scene (still on the warrior theme). Starbuck went down in a dogfight and the crew believes she’s dead. She crashed on a planetoid, as did a Cylon raider she shot down before crashing herself. She was able to repair the Raider (which is partially biological) and then climb into its guts, flying it by manipulating “nerves” and “tendons.”

      She’s got to find a way to make it back to the battlestar without getting shot down as an enemy craft. (Backstory notes: Starbuck and Adama have a rarely-spoken father/daughter relationship. Apollo and Starbuck have an unexplored and unconsummated love between them.)


    • Joe on February 5, 2021 at 9:43 am

      And careful with Battlestar Galactica… it’s easy to get sucked in:


  15. Scott Mitchell on February 5, 2021 at 8:04 am

    This whole series makes you feel like some tribal elder–not necessarily long in years but long in experience– has decided to ruminate about certain life lessons, and we were the lucky ones who just happened to be sitting around the campfire to take it in. One gets the impression Steven produced this series to help explore and organize these thoughts for his own understanding. If so, hope that was successful for him. It was also fun to enjoy the perceptive interactions with other minds around that campfire. Thanks, Steven.

  16. Brian Nelson on February 5, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    I did not recognize this yesterday. This feeling I have is familiar. Seeing this series come to end leaves me with the exact same feelings I’ve had leaving Summer Camp, Basic Training,Officer Candidate School, and combat zones. I’ve made great friends, the experience was deeply meaningful–full of laughs, surprises, and profound lessons.

    As each of us go back to our home towns, next duty assignment…the real world–there is this sense of loss. This ride wouldn’t have been as enjoyable alone. Like Jim has mentioned so a few times here, 1 COR13: 1-2.

    Paul didn’t say this explicitly–but we need SOMEONE to love. There may be a time when consciousness is recognized in all living things–who knows, maybe even in rocks–but loving nature is different (at least to this primate) than loving your fellow man. The mutual respect and admiration for Steve, and the fellow commenters filled my cup each day.

  17. Jim Gant on February 6, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Well said. Very well said. It is a feeling of the heart.
    Good people, very good people come here to…read? Think? Gather? Share?
    In a very real and unexplainable sense…we have truly been doing it together.
    I believe that there is collective consciousness…this collective consciousness can be evil or goodness; darkness or light. It is this powerful collectiveness that makes our individuality so powerful. If, I get ‘off-course’ and behave in a manner that is contrary to the ‘better nature’ within myself, I not only hurt myself and those close to me – but I, as an individual, add to the collective darkness. It is so hard to influence the collective. But we can and we do.

    Every. Single. Day.

    That’s what went on here. This feel like the end for me for many different reasons…but I assure you it is not.

    “What can one man do?”

    Strength and Honor,

    • Joe on February 9, 2021 at 5:48 am

      I like the way you’re thinking, Jim.

  18. Jonathan on February 8, 2021 at 10:14 am

    I’ve been quietly following this series since inception, and appreciative of the quality and insight.

    I think that we all find, given enough time, that the internal battle that must be waged is often far, far more pernicious if we don’t allow ourselves to evolve and strive to be something better than any external challenge that we face. Certainly, life in these pandemic times has been a stark reminder of many things, and truly highlighted not just the fragility, but the transitional nature of all things. No matter how hard we may cling to things, both positive and negative, they will be torn from our grasp, and it is our ability to adapt and to overcome that is the test of our character and ability to make peace with ourselves.

    Steve’s closing comments on the nature of the sword remind me of a quote from the novelist Takashi Matsuoka, whose two linked works (so far as I’m aware) I discovered quite by accident at the Beverly Hills Library perhaps 15 years ago. Set in Japan as it is opening to the West, in the first, CLOUD OF SPARROWS, is the following passage:

    “Words can damage. Silence can heal. Knowing when to speak and when not to speak is the wisdom of sages.
    Knowledge can hinder. Ignorance can liberate. Knowing when to know and when not to know is the wisdom of prophets.
    Unimpeded by words, silence, knowledge, or ignorance, a fluent blade cuts cleanly. This is the wisdom of warriors.”

    All these years later, that’s written in one of my writing notebooks.

  19. Jim Gant on February 8, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Like a sword. Straight through bone. Leaves hard earned blood:

    “Words can damage. Silence can heal. Knowing when to speak and when not to speak is the wisdom of sages.
    Knowledge can hinder. Ignorance can liberate. Knowing when to know and when not to know is the wisdom of prophets.
    Unimpeded by words, silence, knowledge, or ignorance, a fluent blade cuts cleanly. This is the wisdom of warriors.”

    Thank you. I, too, will write this down. In silence there is a priceless and unheard chord. That is how I will write it. Again – consciousness expands.

    Pray for me brother and I’ll see you on down the road! (Cody Jinks – Cast No Stones!)


  20. Simon Townley on February 10, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Awesome series, enjoyed it tremendously, and thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight so generously.

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    Thank you Steven

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    Which probably only buys us some time. If we don’t help, the Goa’uld will eventually see this as the threat it really is.

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  32. L E Kimball on April 21, 2023 at 10:44 am

    Well, you have the secret–and perhaps it still matters–even if people are being cancelled and censored all over this country and the world. I am just not sure justice will end up prevailing these days. “Truth” and “virtue” may be subjective more than we realize. You don’t seem to address this. You think they are absolutes. As well as “morality.” Your talk seems so simplistic in regard to all this. But “Inclusive” is not a descriptive word–the word itself is being used in hateful ways– it does not represent compassion and empathy–and can actually mean something exactly opposite these days. Instead of common ground, it represents the battlefield which is not a way to achieve your goals. It is not a place of common ground. A free expression of ideas, hopefully compassionately, is a prerequisite to real interaction. Kind of disappointing you don’t realize it. I would have hoped you would come up with terms less divisive. It’s not even that the words themselves (like a gun or a sword) are the problems, but it’s the wielders of these terms — “inclusion” and “equity” are purposely being used to divide. That’s the political purpose of them–and they are not at all accomplishing what you mean. Language has been hijacked here. I still think you are too insulated in your Hollywood realm. Again, even though you understand the key to life, you just misunderstand the nature of the “war.” You are right that the enemy is inside us, though, and you are right there needs to be a universal connection to something bigger (universalism is dead — I have been teaching creative writing — do you understand that now teachers are teaching our students that there IS no universal human desires we share — that for a student to tell another “other” student that they understand because they can relate to something in their own lives — is now shut down — it is now marginalizing the “other.” Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is what they’re doing. It’s our shared human traits that first allowed us to appreciate the uniqueness and worth of “others.”) It’s a horribly sad time. And you are just out of touch at what is happening in our universities. Too bad.

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  36. soccer random on November 20, 2023 at 5:29 pm

    We are experiencing it too, regardless of the background—as in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 64, for example—the scene, the day, and the universality of it. If Shakespeare didn’t feel that way, he couldn’t have written Sonnet 64. We remember him because, as he told us in everything he wrote, he is just like us.

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