Masculinity: Light or Shadow

Frankly, my attempt to be non-political has diverted me from blogging.  The issues raised by the Muller report and the extreme political polarization in our citizenry has pushed gender and masculinity issues to the back burner.   However, I can no longer avoid the elephant in the room. How does President Trump’s behavior reflect the light or shadow of masculinity?   A framework for analysis based on Moore & Gillete’s writing on masculinity should prove useful. I will leave the judgment to the readers.

Moore & Gillette described four archetypes of masculinity: King, Warrior, Lover, Magician.  An archetype, according to Webster’s, is an original pattern or model from which other things of the same kind are made. According to Jungian psychologists, in individual people, the archetypes are derived from the experience of the human race and are present in the unconscious of the individual.

Each archetype plays a role in a man’s life.  At times a particular archetype may be  suppressed or dormant.  Furthermore, each archetype when expressed has a light or positive side and a shadow or negative side.  When the result of our behavioral choices is negative (anger, depression, poor outcomes) or we experience an inability to act we need to ask of ourselves how each archetype can be better harnessed to live a life which is more fulfilling and productive. The mature male is one who has integrated the four archetypes and continues to acknowledge and confront the destructive shadow side of each.

The King – reasons, plans, focuses, manages, uses logic, seeks vision

Light (I am) – empowering leadership, facilitator, generative, value driven
Shadow (I want) – dictatorial, egotistical, amoral, grandiose

The Warrior – takes action, confronts, commands, motivates

Light ( I do) – change agent, protector, disciplined, assertive, leader
Shadow (I take) – violent, bully, uses aggression as primary strategy, sadistic

The Lover – nurtures, sexual, connects, passionate, joyful

Light (I feel) – intimate, sensual, affiliated, emotionally expressive, compassionate
Shadow (I need) – exploiter, selfish, emotional blackmailer, victimizer

The Magician – creates, solves problems, makes it happen, transforms, intuitive

Light (I fix) – win-win, creative, applies acquired wisdom
Shadow (I con) – manipulator, hustler, cheater, means always justifies ends

One thought on “Masculinity: Light or Shadow”

  1. Nice approach, Richard, well worth thinking about in light of “our current predicament”. I really like your concise explanation of the archetypes and their shadows. Here’s another thought if you will… As I recall, M + G said that the shadow archetype will always appear in a dual format in men’s lives, one the active and one the passive. For example, the active king shadow is the tyrant, the passive shadow is the weakling, and M + G’s theory is that a man in king shadow will oscillate between them.

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