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An Open Letter to Sam Harris

Art & the MOQ by Robert Pirsig

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David Buchanan's Art & Morality Paper

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Gavin Gee-Clough's "Brisbane Winter" Paper 

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Sneddon Thesis

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Observer Interview

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Pirsig & Pragmatism

Chai at the Lazy Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Ways of Being besides Being Young

Carnal, Romantic, Classic, Transcendent

by

Joseph Thomas Masaryk  

(joseph.masaryk@azbar.org)

 

July 2013

   

Preface

 

       Robert Pirsig's magnum opus had a big effect on me…   I have degrees in microbiology, physiology and jurisprudence.  However, science and the hard logic of the law left me cold.  Hence, I have always had a keen interest in art and music.   I found them to be alleviatory and restorative.  

I grew up near Cleveland, Ohio, a very heavy industrial area where shoddy was king, and the air and water were vitiated.   During that time, Cleveland had a reputation of being the homeland of rock & roll, and for hosting the world's greatest symphonic orchestra and the largest collection outside Europe of paintings by Salvador Dali.   Away from science, I took refuge in the arts.  

I have been a sportsman, a chemist, a lawyer, and a writer.   I have never had a true identity crisis, but my variegated personae have given me pause, especially when I was younger and seeking success, a comely female companion, social position, love and acceptance.  

One day several years ago, four archetypes of manhood came to me.  I created them as a result of my education in philosophy and psychology, and my reading of Pirsig and Joseph Campbell.  I had a big idea: three archetypes of men are unconsciously generated into existence from the Kantian a priori modes of the Self which create thought, namely, the aesthetic forms of time and space, the logical forms of the categories of understanding, and the noumenal forms of the Transcendent.  

I named the archetypes the Troubadour, the Object Maker, and the Prime Mover, respectively.   I gave them a history and added a description of the living derivative of the id, the a priori mode of the Self that deals in base instincts and no higher thoughts. I dubbed this id-born archetype the Cock.  My deduction of these archetypes traces Pirsig's dissection of human thought as he goes from Hume to Kant, and the Copernican revolution in metaphysics (although I do not quote Pirsig directly).  The Troubadour mainly deals in Romantic thought, and the Object Maker in Classic reasoning.  The Prime Mover has thoughts where others see anarchy or a void.  

There has been much written in both professional journals and the press on what constitutes manhood in postmodern times.  Recently the “New York Times” published a story about an American musician who went from playing with the Seattle grunge rock group Nirvana to fighting with the U.S. Army Rangers in Afghanistan.   People found this curious.   In reality he had actualized two distinctly different archetypal parts of his self.   In an age of specialization, this is a rare feat.  

My paper is entitled “Other Ways of Being besides Being Young – Carnal, Romantic, Classic, Transcendent.   Thus, four modes of the Self manifest in four archetypes of manhood.

 

 

Introduction

In the month of my fiftieth birthday I visited a sports medicine clinic for treatment of an injured Achilles' tendon. In the waiting room I picked up a magazine, and perused an article about "The Future of Men."  It contained a glossary of types of men:  "metrosexuals,"  "uberbersexuals," and other fabrications designed to help marketing men put the male population under demographic arrest.  I did not feel comfortable within any of these niches, so I turned the page.

The attending orthopedist was a spokesperson for Father Time. He warned me of pitfalls which spring from my passion for running and playing basketball.  His Rx was a benign regimen of swimming and playing golf.  Dr. Nestor told me that my body had metamorphosed to middle age.  "You have to resign yourself to the fact that you're getting old," the bone man said.

This dire pronouncement was wildly at odds with my self-image.  I had associated the word old with square-dancing Phoenicians and touring Egyptians, but not my person.  As I walked from the tasteless tax shelter of a building, the doctor's utterance of the three-letter word echoed through memory.  Reverberations of old - old - old shattered the promise of youth.  I exited the parking lot with an impudent squeal of tires, a puerile attempt at driving away that medical soapbox of ill tiding. As I passed through desolate city streets, melancholia engulfed me.  "I am not a kid anymore," I said to myself.

I am usually not a negative person, but I felt at least a fortnight of depression coming on.  To quiet this overture of the blues before it became a full-blown elegiac opera, I stopped at a Chinese restaurant for takeout solace.  At my domicile Sino-treats were paired with a green bottle of Tsing Tao beer.  I inhaled a pot sticker as my remote control rested on a rerun from the Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth series.  His jaundiced and moribund countenance held dumplings in abeyance.

Professor Campbell said, “When immortality is misunderstood as being an everlasting body, it turns into a clown act, really.  On the other hand, when immortality is understood to be identification with that which is of eternity in your own life now, it’s something else again.”

Campbell explained that psychologist Carl Jung conceived of a collective unconscious, a shared inward experience of human nature.  The collective unconscious is a repository of universal symbols which Jung calls archetypes.  Just as we all inherit the same glands, the same nervous system and the same instincts, we also come equipped with a common ground of elementary ideas. Archetypes have appeared through the ages in dreams, myths and art.  They may display different cultures and costumes, but they are essentially the same symbolic ideas.  An archetype is a representation of a psychological or biological energy.

Watching Campbell made me wax mythical. The throes of a midlife crisis began to wane. Anticipation of a catharsis welled in my gut. I couldn't tell if this feeling was induced by his words of wisdom or simply a side effect of the beer. I burped in approval of a salubrious change in mood.

In Campbell 's thinking, a god is a mask of eternity; semantic clothing for the Transcendent. One of the masks featured on the show was a mandala, the symbolic circle found in Eastern religions. A mandala has a Supreme Being in the center and its manifestations at the periphery of the circle. The deity represents the Transcendental ultimate ground of the universe. The surrounding images are different aspects of existence radiating out into the world. The aspects are Subgods, archetypes of human potential, which are realized in the here and now. Through contemplation of a mandala, we see how the Transcendent One becomes many through us.

I awoke the next morning with an obsession fomented by the previous night's food for thought. I was filled with an unprecedented Jungian need to be artistic.  As an exercise in mental health, I decided to create a mandala. 

The Subgods had a difficult birth. Archetypes are supposed to represent unconscious impulses to life, substrata of existence, innate ways of being.  I did not want my mandala to be an exercise in pure solipsism. I wanted a construct that would resonate with the flesh, blood, dendrites, and synapses of a vibrant society. Taking this road would entail the erection of a bridge from the ground of the collective unconscious to the real world.

My chest swelled with pretension and was quickly deflated. Never had I snaked out the drain of my soul, much less considered anyone else’s. Archetypes of guys are not exactly conversational currency in a land of conspicuous consumers.  

 I decamped to a monastic library and waded through philosophical tomes.  Carl Jung defined the Self, in contrast to the ego, as the totality of the psyche.  The ego addresses the rewards and penalties exigent in the environment. It channels appropriate modes of experience and adjusts behavior. The ego conditions us to the world.  The ego narrows the Self to a focus appropriate to an environment, and then amplifies a limited part of the Self to consciousness. The Self is the subconscious, whole, unrepressed, pluripotent psyche. 

“The Self is an amniotic sac of archetypes,” I happily surmised.  Then I went crestfallen.

“Self?  Ego?  Archetypes?  Who am I kidding?”  I was more mixed-up than Gregory Peck in Salvador Dali’s dream sequence from Spellbound.

“Where’s my Ingrid Bergman?”

I came upon earlier works of David Hume and Immanuel Kant. These mountains of thought were hard sledding. Hume wrote a controversial treatise on sense-experience. Kant turned Hume's thesis inside out and forever altered the world and man's place in it. Nothing changed yet a Copernican revolution in metaphysics occurred.

David Hume was an empiricist, one who believes that all knowledge is derived solely from the senses. The strict empiricist considers the mind a blank tablet upon which sense-experience writes. The scientific method, the process that has constructed the world as objective truth in the mind, is an extrapolation of empiricism.

Hume did not believe in the real existence of substance, only sensory perceptions that allow us to imagine substance. Hume thought that the human mind is "nothing but a bundle or collection of perceptions." Referring to perceptions that are attributed to the Self, Hume said, "These may exist separately and have no need of anything to support their existence."  Thus, the Self (like Substance, Natural Science, and the World), is something we imagine when one perception repeatedly follows another. Hume went on to say, "I can never catch 'myself' at any time without a perception, and can never observe anything but the perception."  Hence, according to Hume, the Self lacks justification and does not exist.  By the same token, neither does God.

Hume flummoxed me with his all-of-life-is-illusory spiel. “A-U-M,” my inner Buddha said.  Death and taxes be damned, for nothing is certain.  “A-U-M.”  For all we know, our existence may be taking place inside a boil on the butt of a giantess in a galaxy unfixed.  “Great googly moogly!”  I was in The Twilight Zone, and I knew nothing.

Nonetheless, Hume vexed Immanuel Kant enough to wake from his “dogmatic slumbers” and write the following aphorism, "There can be no doubt that all our knowledge begins with experience . . .  but it does not follow that it all arises out of experience." Kant argued that knowledge consists of more than raw sense-experience. He said that all phenomena come to consciousness through the aesthetic forms of time and space and the logical forms of the categories (or concepts) of understanding. Without them the world would be apprehended as a hodgepodge of impressions with no rhyme or reason.

Kant discussed time and space in a section of The Critique of Pure Reason labeled the "Transcendental Aesthetic." Kant referred to time and space as intuitions involved in processing sensory impressions. These intuitions are described as being a priori because they are independent of all experience. We cannot acquire the intuitions of time and space from what is empirically given. They have their origins in human nature.

Time and space constitute the operating environment of the mind.  Time and space are a priori forms applied to sensory perceptions before they reach consciousness. Our preconscious minds structure perceptions in time and space to make them distinct and tractable. According to Kant, if your preconscious did not perform this function, your smooth stream of consciousness would be replaced by unintelligible waves of higgledy-piggledy.  Hence, the intuitions of time and space inhere in the preconscious Self and are essential.

Kant discussed the categories of understanding in a section of The Critique of Pure Reason labeled the "Transcendental Logic." The categories are not derived from sense-experience. They are a priori forms. The categories synthesize or "think together" sense-data and give it order. They govern the preconscious construction of thought. The categories deliver perceptions defined by dualities to consciousness. Therefore, the world of sense-experience is understood in terms of pairs of opposites: subject-object, positive-negative, singular-plural, up-down, etc. 

The categories constitute the assembly language of the mind: basic concepts which originate in human nature. The categories are the presuppositions of common knowledge. Furthermore, they are prerequisite for reason and understanding of the world. Without the categories, our species would be akin to those Kubrickian dumbasses who couldn't grasp the utility of a bone. With the categories, consciousness and the cosmos begin. Hence, the categories of understanding inhere in the preconscious Self and are essential.

I was beholden to Kant.  A haze had lifted.  Hope flickered!  I still didn’t know archetypes from horse apples, but I felt movement--a visceral feeling that was either satori approaching or a pot sticker losing inertia.

In short, Kant's dissertation declared that humans possess a priori forms which screen sense-experience. The necessary forms give definition to something essential, to a basis for human existence, to a Self.  These aspects of Self provide an explanation as to how our minds apprehend and build the World. But why humans do so requires another answer which Kant also gave.

The application of time and space and the categories is limited to phenomena, things begat of sense-experience. Kant also posited the existence of noumena, intangible things that cannot be sensed or measured. Noumena are not conditioned by human experience; they are Transcendent.  Hence, noumena are not structured in time and space. Noumena are beyond the categories of understanding. We may think about noumena, but we cannot know them.  God and the Soul are Transcendent things called noumena.  

The Transcendent is suggested by what Kant calls the unity of apperception, i.e., the unseen unity of all things high and low in One Mind.  Kant finds the Transcendent in the unity which generates our universe.  There is Cartesian unity in the thoughts of a thinking subject, cosmological unity in a universe of objects which unconditionally follows laws laid down by a heroic mathematician, and ontological unity in a God who is the author of all subjects and all objects.   God is the substrate of a whole, undifferentiated universe, and man is the enzyme that yields fragments of apperception.

     The Transcendent impregnates mankind and the universe with unity. This likeness stimulates man to superimpose an order over nature and render it known. Science obliquely shows that the universe is permeated by an absolute unity, unperceived yet constant throughout all things displayed. When phenomena are reduced to a universal formula (e.g., the law of gravity), the unity of apperception which underlies the scrawl of nature as well as the screen of the mind is invoked.  Unity solves unity and the order of the cosmos increases. Thus, the spirit of the mind is a function of Transcendent unity.

Kant maintained that the omnipresent unity of apperception is a hint of a final ground, the source that others call Alpha and Omega. In addition, Kant said that because humans possess a mind with a Transcendent aspect, we are capable of thinking that is not bound by logic and numbers. This gives us free will, thus making the expression of moral judgment possible.   The Transcendent gives human nature a Soul, the organ the nuns said doctors cannot find. 

The Transcendent affords us an awareness of our Selves as a microcosm of the Unitary Macrocosm, confers a moral vision beyond sense-experience, and urges us to go where no man has gone before. We are all voyagers on the Starship Enterprise at heart. Hence, the Transcendent inheres in the preconscious Self and originates noumena in the forms of the moral Soul, the wholly immanent Universe, and the Godhead behind all things.  The Transcendent is within you; it is without you; it is essential.

By the time I had finished plowing through Kant it was midnight . The librarians were flashing the lights and ordering everybody out. This announcement startled me because I had lost all sense of time and place. My studies had lasted for over twelve hours! "Even fruitless diligence warrants refreshment," I tacitly said. Travail had made a rational excuse for the purchase of a bottle of Chechvar beer.

     I repaired to a local tavern. Foam had just cascaded over a pilsner glass when the philosophical fodder I had ingested spontaneously combusted and set off a firestorm in my brain. I left for home immediately.

I planted myself at my desk, switched on my computer and didn't stop writing until daybreak. I had a big idea: three archetypes of men are unconsciously generated into existence from the Kantian a priori modes of the Self which create thought, namely, the aesthetic forms of time and space, the logical forms of the categories of understanding, and the noumenal forms of the Transcendent.

I christened the archetypes the Troubadour, the Object Maker, and the Prime Mover, respectively. I gave the lot a history and physical. I also prefaced them with the chronicle of the living scion of the id, the a priori mode of the Self that deals in base instincts and no higher thoughts.  I dubbed this id-born archetype the Cock.

     My four archetypes were all born masculine.  After all, I am only male.  My personal account of menses, pregnancy, and menopause would make an analysis of the female psyche unseemly and insufficient.  Just one X chromosome naturally limits my story.

Thus, the a priori forms of thought and thoughtlessness give rise to basic patterns of behavior. Archetypal modes are actualized by the ego and become archetypal personae. A man can unwittingly make an archetype real because it comes to him naturally. The Cock, Troubadour, Object Maker and Prime Mover are natural personifications of the four modes inherent in the masculine Self.  From the marrow of the Self come the deeds of life.

The sum of all archetypes adopted by the ego makes up the total persona.  A fully fledged archetype is rare, but it is not uncommon to witness at least a scintilla of all the archetypes in one individual.  Most often one archetype is predominant with ancillary archetypes adding facets to the personality. Some archetypes are only trotted out behind closed doors. They never seize the day. Some archetypes may not be taken up by the ego and are dormant. They never see the day.  Content and degree of archetypal expression depends on the particulars of a society and the abilities that an individual brings to the system. Each persona can be described by a pie chart containing archetypes sliced from the Self.     Some archetypes are big heavy wedges and some are modest portions.

 

 

The Cock

 

     The Cock is the personification of sexual and aggressive instincts which embody the masculine id. The Cock presents the male animal. He is a proud warrior and a fanatic for hardy tests of full-blooded manhood. His atavism leads him to wage war against civilization or war that is socialized by a competition. This vying may be business or intellectual, but it is often physical, especially when a man is at a young age. The Cock can be a daredevil, a felon, a tough guy or a Trump cad. He is an exponent of rapacity and profligacy. "Strike, Strut, and Rut" is the Cock's implicit motto.

The Cock pushes the ego. Not noetic nor poetic, the Cock tries to give vent to carnal drives. In doing so he will confront legal, moral, and physical limits on his behavior. Sports are metaphors for the Cock's relationship with a system. Sports are socially acceptable ways of competing and fighting in a territory demarcated by simple rules, things you don't always find in real life. Sports are easy to comprehend, invite truculency, and provide a forum for infraction.  Accordingly, the Cock finds suitable media for expression in sports.

The Cock can be a savage outside the arena.  Although he has keen senses, the Cock's glands short-circuit his higher thoughts. Discerning nuances and acting tactfully are not the Cock's forte. His underdeveloped inner arbiter often drowns in a torrent of adrenalin and androgen.  The private Cock lives in his own mind, and sometimes manifests as a craven individual given to covert killings and spontaneous massacres. 

     The capable, public Cock lures chicks with his boldness and oft times he skewers them.  The Cock is thoughtless as can be and frequently is hostile, but his animal magnetism makes him attractive nonetheless.  The Cock proffers danger.  He sees women (and sometimes men) as sex objects. After a day on the battlefield, the Cock seeks a compliant orifice and simple conversation. If he is frustrated in winning either victory or spoils, assault or rape may result.    

     The Cock's desire to conquer and flaunt himself can lead to hubris. In this state excess and dissipation are a distinct possibility. The Cock is often not satisfied to compete against fellow humans; he frequently wants to vie with the gods. Wall Street corsairs are the loftiest of the ilk; they bill themselves as Masters of the Universe. The Cock's brinksmanship is the macho etiology of antisocial acts, bender-going, and hell-bent effusions of power or virility (e.g., helmetless motorcycling and stunts involving bulls). When the Cock wants to take a stab at immortality, he will vainly engage in behavior that is hazardous. This is the stuff of tragedy.

Ty Cobb, baseball hall-of-famer, was a quintessential Cock.  Without compunction he spiked opponents, choked an umpire, and thrashed a three-fingered man.   Cobb said, "In legend I am a sadistic, slashing, swashbuckling despot who waged war in the guise of sport."  A biographer called him a "non-comic trickster" who was "oblivious to the laws and customs of society."   The modern analog of Cobb would be Chelsea footballer John Terry: a habitual brawler, bellicose on and off the pitch, a drunkard, a womanizer, and “a yob who has been caught out serially.”  

 

 

The Troubadour

 

The Troubadour is the personification of the aesthetic mode of experience. The Troubadour presents an acute intuition of time and space.  He makes his mark at the threshold of sensation. The Troubadour reflects the human capacity for creativity. He reminds us of the ephemeral character of life and suggests alternative schema. Using time and space, the brilliant Troubadour cleanses his audience of the status quo and compels them to an epiphany. The immortal Troubadour points to another world.

The Troubadour is a fount of reverie, reverence or recalcitrance. He contradicts the rational world that weighs on him. The Troubadour ignores any code or system which impinges on his emotive freedom. He frequently suffers from a strain of irresponsibility, but he also can be faithful to a fault. Good or bad, his passions fly in the face of grim reality or repressive convention.

Prior to the industrial revolution, the Troubadour embraced religious motifs and human ideals to allay the vicissitudes of life.  With science hegemony over nature, the Troubadour seeks relief from the dominion of the rational.

In the Troubadour's mind all things are possible. A scientist he is not.  He has an aversion to both qualitative and quantitative analysis because together they concretize the world. However, he can be a savant capable of rhythm in music or verse or pure mathematics.  The Troubadour is also quick to draw analogies. This ability often expresses itself as a good sense of humor.

The Troubadour has a romantic constitution. He is an adventurer who seeks escape from a society adulterated by the rational and the real. In his search for the soulful experience the Troubadour may turn to drink and drugs. He will imbibe the endogenous narcotic of extremism. The Troubadour's mistress is named Caprice. He is inclined to try new or deviant ways of life. The Troubadour can manifest androgynous in dress and behavior, but this is one of many connotations of sensibility. People forget that the elegant Troubadour is also a nature lover with a penchant for barnyard indiscretions. 

Nevertheless, the Troubadour has greater sensitivity and an appreciation for the non-pecuniary parts of life. He has taste. The Troubadour likes fine things, but money is a means and not an end for him. The Troubadour will put himself on exhibition as a habitué of the gallery, concert hall, playhouse and cinema.

The Troubadour is simpatico with the feminine because he has an aesthetic mind, removed from Mother Earth by only time and space. Like those with child, the Troubadour lives con amore.  He frequently is a virtuoso of venereal exercises. The Troubadour cuts a swath with fey self-expression rather than great value or violence. He has a flair for artwork, artisanal crafts, writing, acting, dancing or making music. Of course, he derives his name from the many cases of Troubadour as poet or singer.

The journeyman Troubadour recreates the works of others with a fidelity that mitigates his bohemianism. The Troubadour manqué will reveal himself through avocations like the community-theater thespian and the YouTube crooner. The attenuated Troubadour will participate in amenities like the fraternity quartet and the literary club. The vicarious Troubadour plays recordings or pays for recitals. The real Troubadour is an endowed, full-time, unabashed artist.

Elvis Presley, an All-American Troubadour, purged civilization with pristine humors, as did Picasso and Joyce.  An insightful fan of the King reflected, "Elvis proved that you don't have to be white-collar to be important." 

 

 

The Object Maker

 

The Object Maker is the personification of logic. The Object Maker presents the ability to reason. The Object Maker builds the real world through analysis of consciousness and synthesis using its defined parts. His silent partners are Kant's categories of understanding.

The Object Maker is a student of underlying form.  He likes ideas, things, activities and goals that are clearly delineated. The Object Maker has an affinity for order and distaste for chaos. He generally obeys laws and morals because they help to raise man above the disorder of raw nature. The Object Maker has deference for a system.

The Object Maker is a cognitive worker. He is a conservative who wants to maintain the present and integrate the future. The Object Maker sees the world in black and white and on blueprints. His assiduity lends itself to tasks such as the translation of Hellenic texts, actuarial calculation and electrical circuitry. Primarily, the Object Maker is parochial, unfeeling, and purblind to things not codified (e.g., modern art and music). He has little tolerance for anything counter to accuracy, precision, and explicit worth.

The evolution of the Object Maker parallels the development of his cerebral implements: common sense, semantics and syntax, classic or Apollonian reason, and the scientific method. The Paleolithic craftsman was an early species of Object Maker.  The logician who rose on a golden Greek beachhead gave the Object Maker a benchmark.  Rationalism thus dyed the wool of the Object Maker and colored the academic, agriculturalist, and professional. When the British Dissenters created the Industrial Revolution, they appropriated branches of science such as chemistry and thermodynamics. Their success made the Object Maker a utilitarian on a mass scale.

     The engineer is the most illustrative Object Maker because he impresses analytic and synthetic methods into the tangible realm. Hence, the academic is the most difficult to evaluate. The scientist, whether he produces theories or things, underpins the world. The indigenous laborer is a hapless craftsman whose identity has been crushed by the weight of industry. Service occupations such as the accountant, the financier and the lawyer employ the logic of movable symbols. The true Object Maker brings objects of value into consciousness; the jejune second-rater just rearranges what is already here.

     The engineer and his latter-day taskmaster, the statistician with an MBA, were the dominant Object Makers of the industrial epoch. Their manipulation of people and nature as mere objects contributed to exploitation of the have-nots, environmental disregard and military atrocities. However, this can-do philistinism also manufactured wealth, created a middle class, and put men on the moon. The Object Maker is now recasting himself by building a digital world.  His computer programs herald a society more protean, more egalitarian, and diverting to a fulsome degree.  He is nerd no more.

   Henry Ford built a civilization by applying his mechanical genius to mass production. Ford's contempt for style, adamantine manner and kerosene hair tonic fortify his place in the pantheon of Object Makers.

 

 

The Prime Mover

 

The Prime Mover is the personification of the Transcendent proper here on Earth.  The Prime Mover presents leadership, morality and a system in toto.  The Prime Mover is a self-moved being and can bring the lives of others to actualization.  He is the father, the mentor, the progenitor and guardian of values.  The prominent Prime Mover may be a clergyman, a CEO, a statesman or a judge.   The Prime Mover is a transcendent individual with human shortcomings.

The Prime Mover, like the Object Maker, respects order. In addition to observing laws, the Prime Mover is capable of originating laws and abrogating them.  The Prime Mover as politician enables a society by fair edict.  The Prime Mover as hero enlightens minds and souls.  The monumental Prime Mover realizes the potential of an enlarged society through his acts and becomes a model for others.  

The Prime Mover is the most aware and incisive of the male archetypes.  The torch-bearing Prime Mover has a vision where others see anarchy or a void. Whereas the pedestrian thinker makes progress incrementally, the gifted Prime Mover is a quantum leaper who illuminates a new way.  The Prime Mover has a keen intuition, and in rare cases he has clairvoyant abilities. The Prime Mover who forms mental impressions with no sense-experience whatsoever is hailed as a prophet, mystic or shaman.

The Prime Mover dons the mantle of higher power. The station of the Prime Mover obtains from the expression of some kind of maturity. The lowly Prime Mover stakes a claim from the act of procreation only. The superior Prime Mover, a talented or learned man, takes control of an institution, industry, political movement or government. The Prime Mover can sum up a situation, make judgments, and give out a prescription. He knows how to delegate responsibility. The noble Prime Mover has done yeoman's service and consequently he walks in the shoes of underlings.

The bona fide Prime Mover carries the mythos of a society and suspends corporeality. While his sexuality is not salient, the Prime Mover has a redoubtable presence that women and men respond to.  His relative omniscience gives him an appreciation of female nature and diversity.  The broad-minded Prime Mover venerates motherhood. The Prime Mover likes children and is interested in their development. However, ultimately he believes that Logos takes precedence over Eros. In other words, the raison d'étre of the Prime Mover is seminal creation, actualization, and the husbandry of order. He can regard things from a sensuous or aesthetic standpoint, but he always weighs those considerations vis-à-vis unity and utility. The Prime Mover is the mainstay on a ship of dependents and he takes his post seriously. This imperative contributes to his pragmatism. Although the Prime Mover is not narrow-minded, he can be very intransigent.

The Prime Mover is intelligent, but his key characteristic is wisdom. The Prime Mover identifies with the Transcendent and the Eternal. Hence, his view is holistic and long-term. The good Prime Mover is a man of compassion. His actions are tempered with respect for other beings. The Prime Mover has ethical and metaphysical feeling beyond the rational. The supreme Prime Mover uncovers a philosophy or a religion.

The Prime Mover exercises his free will with latitude not conferred to the others. The Cock throws a punch at the system; the Troubadour flouts the system or provides mental flight to another; the Object Maker acknowledges the system and uses it; but the transcendent Prime Mover determines the system which is recognized by others. The system may be a family, a corporation, a state, a religion or any relationship with explicit rules or implicit values.  The Prime Mover comes to symbolize a system by laying down the law or by adding to an ethic which he has assimilated to the bone. The Prime Mover prefigures a new system or fertilizes new growth.  Thus, the Prime Mover and his system become one in the same, as Christ and Christianity. 

Abraham Lincoln, a textbook Prime Mover, engendered the spirit of a societal watershed and achieved immortality registered by monuments and five dollar bills.  

 

 

 

Epilogue

 

A téte-a-téte with Father Time had revealed four horsemen of an identity crisis, four archetypes of manhood.  I proceeded to map out a mandala.  Inside a circle I placed a series of ellipses formed by cosmic radiation, the afterglow of the Big Bang: a metaphor for the Transcendent, the ultimate ground.  To illustrate the One becoming many, I placed the Prime Mover at the apex of the circle, and the Cock below the underbelly. To the left and to the right of the circle, I affixed the Troubadour and the Object Maker.  Clockwise, my archetypes read Lincoln, Ford, Cobb and Presley.*  As Montaigne said, "There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others."     

My journey had ended in nothing phenomenal or tangible, but intangible.  Archetypes encountered along the way had become beacons to the inner life. I saw the transformation of psychology into the history of men through the prism of the Self.  I had caught a glimpse of Novalis’ Blue Flower, a Romantic symbol of the essence of life and the eternal.  In the spirit of Chateaubriand I had given an account of my Self to myself.  My hard day's night was over.  I had heard a nocturne and awakened.  There were other ways of being besides being young.  

 

* The archetypes presented here are all white American males.  However, they could have been mixed or matched by archetypes of any race or national origin.  For example, the African-American population has generated the four archetypes definitively.  The Cock could be represented by boxer Mike Tyson; the Troubadour by jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker; the Object Maker by nuclear physicist  J. Ernest Wilkins, Jr.; and the Prime Mover by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

 

 

© 2013  Joseph Thomas Masaryk, all rights reserved

 

 

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