THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

06: Archetypes cont’d

with 4 comments

Let’s have a look in a bit of detail at how such a process is insufficiently addressed. The following example from Moore and Gillette discusses the Shadow King, which should be the ideal opportunity to nail down the problematic nature of both Kingship and navigating the shadow:

In the story of King David and Bathsheba, Bathsheba was the wife of another man, Uriah the Hittite. One day David was walking on the roof of his palace when he spotted Bathsheba bathing. He was so aroused by this sight that he sent for her and forced her to have sex with him. In theory, remember, all the women of the realm were the king’s. But they belonged to the archetype of the king, not to the mortal king. David unconsciously identified himself with the King energy and not only took Bathsheba but also had her husband, Uriah, killed. Fortunately for the kingdom, David had a conscience in the form of Nathan the prophet, who came to him and indicted him. David, much to his credit, accepted the truth of the indictment and repented.

Moore and Gillette’s point is that if a man identifies with the shadow aspect of the King archetype he will become tyrannical. They state that, “as is the case with all archetypes, the King displays an active-passive bipolar shadow structure,” yet their example of such shows David identifying not with the shadow but the archetype itself: “David unconsciously identified himself with the King energy.” The shadow is the net effect of the identification, not part of “an active-passive bipolar shadow structure.” This represents one of the least practical elements in the whole mythopoetic call to archetypes: identify with the archetype to find your wholeness, but do not identify too much. One must wonder that if King David found this process tricky, with all his experience navigating kingly energy, what hope is there for the average man? Let us give Moore and Gillette the benefit of the doubt on this confusion.

Moore and Gillette say, “In theory, remember, all the women of the realm were the king’s.” “But,” say Moore and Gillette, anticipating the feminist outcry, “they belonged to the archetype of the king, not to the mortal king.” One must therefore assume that belonging to an archetypal dominating structure is considered less oppressive than a real one. “David unconsciously identified himself with the King energy and not only took Bathsheba but also had her husband, Uriah, killed.” In short, by being a rapist and a murderer David bears witness to King energy, not just in its shadow form, but its full archetypal form. “Fortunately for the kingdom, David had a conscience in the form of Nathan the prophet, who came to him and indicted him.” In other words, David did not have a personal conscience, rather an external conscience which was enforced upon him in the same way that fairness must be enforced upon all conspiratorial models of power, for it does not eventuate of its own accord. Even then, David is removed from the equation, as the indictment is not fortunate for David personally (though one assumes he had some desire to redeem himself before God) but “the kingdom.” “David, much to his credit, accepted the truth of the indictment and repented.” So, King David is an archetypal-delusional murdering rapist who requires external pressure to awaken his conscience for the sake of the supposed greater good, but “much to his credit” he repents. It is as if Moore and Gillette have unconsciously identified themselves with David and are in need of their own prophet Nathan to point out the deeply disturbing nature of the King. At best the King is a benevolent dictator, at worst a despot.

CONTINUE >>>

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Written by Joseph Gelfer

July 5, 2011 at 10:40 am

4 Responses

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  1. “In other words, David did not have a personal conscience, rather an external conscience which was enforced upon him …”

    In some circles, this might be called psychopathy. 😉

    It’s also interesting to see how structural regimes of masculinity and femininity regulate male and female psychopathologies: men are more prone to psychopathy, and women are more prone to borderline or dependent personalities. It’s quite predictably textbook, really.

    ned@stumblingmystic.com

    September 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    • This page is a repeat from Numen, Old Men: in that context I think I connected Moore and Gillette themselves with David’s rather unsavory habits 😉

      Joseph

      September 5, 2011 at 7:59 am

  2. Is Bathsheba’s point of view completely missing in Moore and Gillette’s version of the story?

    Apel Mjausson

    July 6, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    • From memory, yes. There are very few female voices in either of these books. Bly, for example, talks extensively about fatherhood, but seems concerned with sons, not daughters.

      Joseph

      July 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm


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