Boy vs Man Psychology
In the book ‘King, Warrior, Magician, Lover‘ the authors do a great job of breaking down the masculine psyche. An incredibly helpful passage discussed the differences between boy vs man psychology. And this is the topic of today’s blog. However, in order to do this we need to touch on the structure of the archetypes.
The Structure of the Archetypes
Each of the archetypal energy potentials in the male psyche in their mature (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover) and immature forms can be visualised as a three part structure – like a triangle.
At the top of the triangle is the archetype in its fullest. At the bottom we find, what the authors describe as, the “bi-polar dysfunctional”, immature, incomplete forms. These dysfunctional forms are sometimes referred to as the shadow.
We’ve already mentioned the archetypes of the mature man. The archetypes of the boy are:
- The Divine Child
- The Precocious Child
- The Oedipal Child
- The Hero
Interestingly these archetypes, in their own way, gives way to the mature masculine archetypes:
- The King
- The Warrior
- The Magician
- The Lover
I’ll go in to the archetypes and the shadow archetypes in greater detail at a later date.
There is a boy in each of us – when he is in his appropriate place in our lives – is the source of playfulness, of pleasure, of energy, of a kind of open-mindedness, that is ready for adventure and for the future.
When actual men are expressing the immature archetypes, they are in boy psychology. Boy psychology is charged with the struggle for dominance of others, in some form or another. I feel like Trump is a good example of this. Could a world that has been dominated by boy psychology for generations (partly) explain the political, economic and environmental challenges we are now facing?
There are countless examples of this in myth, folklore and movies. One example given in the book is Top Gun and the character Maverick, played by Tom Cruise. This film has a boy vs man psychology subplot for sure.
For boy psychology to evolve in to man psychology there needs to be a death of sorts – symbolic, psychological, or spiritual. It is a vital part in traditional initiatory ritual.
Man psychology is nurturing, generative, calm, compassionate and marked by clarity of vision.
Our dangerous and unstable world urgently needs mature men and mature women if our race is going to go on at all into the future.
Don’t judge me now, but for some weird reason I think of Mufasa from The Lion King as a mature masculine expressing in his wholeness the king, warrior, magician and lover. Rafiki is the true magician in his fullest form. Simba is the hero of the story.
What Has Changed?
In the modern world the authors argue we are stuck in boy psychology. What are the reasons fr this? Well firstly, the disappearance of ritual processes for initiating boys into manhood. This has been studied extensively by anthropologist such as Victor Tuner. Apparently, points in history such as the Protestant Reformation, and the Enlightenment, discredited these traditional ritual processes.
Patriarchy is not the expression of deep and rooted masculinity, for truly deep and rooted masculinity is not abusive. Patriarchy is the expression of the immature masculine.
What Is Needed?
Well we obviously need a ‘confined ritual process’. We need a sacred space. In tribal societies this sacred space was sometimes caves, or a vast wilderness. Often it included terrifying emotional and excruciating painful physical rituals (perhaps we leave this bit out of our modern ritual process?!).
And we need a ritual elder, a ‘wise old man’ or a ‘wise old woman’ who is completely trustworthy.
The authors argue, and they’re not alone, that because of what has happened to our culture we have a scarcity of mature men. And I really believe this.
This is where projects like the ManKind Project come in. This is where men’s sitting/sharing circles come in.
We need men to come together, to share their struggles, to get more comfortable asking for help, being vulnerable, showing their emotions. We need a shift from boy psychology to man psychology.
I will be sharing my progress in this area, as I attend a sharing circle, participate in the ManKind Project and hope to encourage my fellow men to do the same.
Check out my future articles on the masculine psyche. Find out what it means to step truly in to your warrior. Your magician. Your lover. And your King.
For women reading this understand that you have masculine energy in you also. We all have masculine and feminine energy within us. An area I am actually really looking forward to exploring is femininity to understand if/how I am expressing this element of me. A great book if you are interested here is Women Who Run With The Wolves.
Until next time, ending you love and peace,