Myths, archetypes & iPads

It seems that some people have a special talent for becoming entangled in a torrent of events which leads to a dramatic and inevitable end. Everybody knows a couple of stories involving loved ones, acquaintances, ordinary people or celebrities who fell victim of an unstoppable and catastrophic chain of events. What may be unknown to many, however, is that the writing on the wall was there all the time, yet blatantly ignored by those directly involved or the spectators of the show. A case of knowing the tragedy – in the words of Seneca – in order to avoid being part of it. And guess what!! That’s another function of Myths!
Many myths depict gods and heroes (and humans alike) all involved in a great deal of confusion with tragic ends. Prometheus, Perseus and Helen of Troy, to name a few, have had their share of misfortune pursuing their personal quests. Because he stole fire from the Olympus and delivered it to mankind, Prometheus was tied to a rock by Zeus and had part of his liver eaten by an eagle during the day only to have it regenerated during the night so that his torment would continue the following day. Perseus ran into a lot of trouble to protect his mother against a man called Polydectes, who relentlessly tried to make a pass at her. As a final act of bravery, he decapitated one of the Gorgons, Medusa. Helen of Troy was behind the genesis of a war against the Spartans that lasted years, all because of her love for a Trojan prince named Paris. But how can myths serve as warnings against what the future may have in stock for us? And, ultimately, can we change our future just by knowing these stories, written at the dawn of civilisation?
In a myth, the moral component incorporates primitive archetypes which still exist in our psyche and therefore wield influence on our behaviours today. For those not yet familiar with the concept of archetypes, think about them – forgive me the purists – as iPad apps. Just as iPads come with some apps, we are all born with a certain number of archetypes and we’ll die with them. Others, will be added as we grow up and develop our conscious and unconscious mind, much the same thing as apps being added to an iPad. When we cannot access one or another app – oops, I mean, archetype – we’re bound to get ourselves into trouble. Why wouldn’t we be able to access them? Either because they weren’t installed in our infancy (by means of stories, fables, fairy tales, etc being told to us) or throughout our lives (by means of social rules and regulations we have to abide to) or simply because we may have an archetype ‘bugged, not running properly’.
Someone who drives a car at 100 miles/hour may lack some fundamental archetypes operating in pristine conditions which ‘send a message’ to the conscious mind saying: hey, this may end up in an ugly way. Likewise, someone who pursues eternal youth, undergoing countless cosmetic surgeries and lavishly spending a fortune on medicine and anti-wrinkle creams may have a faulty archetype which fails to communicate something is wrong.
All in all, myths reinforce moral, social and cultural orders that once installed in our conscious and unconscious minds will guide our behaviour towards other people and the world around us, helping us tell right from wrong. You’ll certainly benefit from reading about ancient myths. And by the way, I’ve recently bought an iPad and I personally recommend it (no merchandising involved).

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