In response to my post, Angels and E.T’s: The Androgyne Archetype, Skip Conover wrote a comment which adds so much to this discussion that I asked him if I could republish it here. Skip is the founder of the Archetype in Action Organization. He says his first thought was to teach about Jungian Archetype, but he soon realized that *we* are the archetypes. Here’s Skip’s take on how the combined effect of the dawn of the Digital Age and the rebirth of the Androgyne archetype is creating an unprecedented cosmic awareness in human consciousness. He will happily respond to your comments.
How lucky we all are to live as we do at the Dawn of the Digital Age! This concept of the Androgyne archetype can today be seen to go well beyond the mere dichotomy of female and male. What the digital age has allowed us is the ability to see that we are all not so different after all. If I consider a few of my own possible categories, I see that I am essentially the same as every human being on the planet: living being, human being, man, husband, father and grandfather, American, Christian/Buddhist/Agnostic, etc.
As a living being I know I exist, and in that sense I am a bit luckier, because most of the life forms we know simply are, but as a Buddhist I respect all living creatures while accepting the fact that some of them must die so that I may continue. All life lives on other life. Still, I can contemplate the fact that in order for me to live out my three score and ten, I must leave behind a carnage of flocks of chickens, herds of cattle, lambs, and hogs, and remnants of screaming tomatoes.
As a human being I am thrilled with my life as one of the luckiest creatures that ever lived. I can know that I exist and understand my place in this place we call the universe. In the context of that space, our differences are truly trivial, and evaporating by the second in the Digital Age.
We live at a time when we can see back to 500,000 years after the Big Bang, when the first stars in the universe switched on, and down to the smallest particles. We can know that we are alone, both safe from aliens who could be no closer than 24 trillion miles from us but also quarantined from them. I can know that we as a species are truly alone. Science tells us that the fastest object ever created by man is the Voyager spacecraft, which was launched in 1976. It travels at 11 miles per second through deep space, but even at that speed it would take 350,000 years to reach our nearest stellar neighbor. We can know that we can conjure the speed of light, but we will never be photons, which can actually travel at that speed.
As a man, I am not so different from any other human being on the planet. Yes, I have a different gender from women, but that difference only has relevance at the time of procreation and in the privacy of our bedrooms. The marginal differences in hormones we all possess do not create such big differences, unless we conjure them ourselves, and those differences are being minimized by the Digital Age. As a husband, father and grandfather, my roles are not so very different from any other spouse, parent or grandparent throughout the world.
I had the luck to be born an American, which meant I live in a society that mostly allowed human beings to live up to their potential. But, it is not the only model for success. We see many races and religions living together successfully in many other societies, including Singapore, Malaysia, and India to name just a few notable examples. The Digital Age has opened up this type of amalgam even further. The Arab Spring is partially about young Arabs wanting to find an equilibrium; we could call it an Androgyne society. Few of them would want to leave their native land or change their religion, but they now see clearly that others have a better quality of life, and they want to push their societies toward that goal.
In 2002, a Saudi friend said to me, “You know, Skip. In 20 years Saudi Arabia will be like the States.” As I looked around me that evening, and had within view several McDonald’s, Burger Kings, Starbucks, and thousands of Chevys and Fords, I almost thought that it was like that then, but surely that view told me that he was, in a sense, right. Of course, the powers that be will resist the change, but one force they cannot slow down is the Androgyne Archetype, as you describe it.
As a spiritual person, I do not claim any strong persuasion, but my general observation is that the religions of the world, and some philosophies like Buddhism and Taoism, are really not so very different. When Muslim crazies wanted to execute someone for converting to Christianity, as is ordered in the Qu’ran, I found a mirroring passage in Deuteronomy, which many Christians think is the infallible word of God. Powerful people in control of religions have often used them to hype up their political base, and accuse followers of a different faith of being “the Other,” but the Digital Age is in the process of proving them liars too.
I could go on at great length on this topic of the Androgyne Archetype, but my point is that what we see across the world as societal upheaval is really the multifaceted distinctions we have built up over millions of years finding their level and their commonality. What primitive humans saw as the primary differences, between genders, will ultimately be subsumed by the recognition that we are all human beings on a very tiny planet, isolated by the vastness of space, and facing extinction in 4 billion years when the sun burns out. In that sense, I am cheered by the knowledge that we will have no choice but to give the Androgyne Archetype its due.
Ego and God-Image: Part VI
[T]he most important relationship of childhood, the relation to the mother, will be compensated by the mother archetype as soon as detachment from the childhood
One small clarification: I’d like to point out that when I refer to the many distinctions we face as humans “finding their level,” I am cheered by the fact that unlike water, which finds the lowest common denominator in finding its level, we humans have it within us to aspire to the highest common denominator. This does not mean that Americans need to lose any of our standard of living (at least not more than our bankers have lost for us), but it does mean that we must use our privileged position to help the less fortunate find their way up to our standard. I mention this as an existential point rather than a political point.
This century will see huge dislocations within humanity because of scarcity of resources. India and Bangladesh face huge water shortages in the immediate future, and food shortages are already causing riots throughout the developing world. As Americans, we can use the artifice of “avoidant coping”. This means that we can see a news story about a water riot in India and say, “Oh those poor people,” and then say to our loved ones, “Now I have to go out to Sam’s Club and get that chain saw on sale and a lemon.” That can work for some of us, but the realities of our world are quite different.
It used to be that the “have nots” didn’t know how bad their situation was. They lived in isolated villages, with little contact with the developed world, and no way to organize. That has all changed. When I first started visiting India, in 1994, each of the 700,000 villages there had at least one television set, and I was struck by the image of hundreds of impoverished people crowding around it so they could take in an episode of “Bay Watch.” And, at that time, the Indians were not allowed to have cell phones, because of silliness in their domestic politics. That’s all changed now, and the same phenomenon has been occurring throughout the world, from China to Botswana.
I am sobered by the fact that there are more than 50 million AK47s in the world, and they are easily obtainable anywhere. If our society does not find more ways to help people in the developing world find their way up to that highest common denominator, there will be no wall high enough nor any army big enough to protect us.
All the weapons in the world are not enough to stop the evolution of human consciousness. I’m placing my bet on people like you who are listening to the stirrings of the Androgyne archetye and acting on it in their daily lives. Thank you for your wonderful web site http://www.archetypeinaction.com and for everything you’re doing to heal shattered lives and bring the pieces together.