The Purpose of Archetypes
Discovering archetypes is a highly personal experience. Vedic science, the ancient wisdom tradition of India, says that unless you can get in touch with that embryo of a god or goddess incubating inside you, unless you can let that embryo be fully born, then your life will always be mundane. But once that god to goddess expresses itself through you, then you will do grand and wondrous things.
These days, we tend to seek symbolic archetypes in celebrities, but we need to nurture a full expression of the archetypes in ourselves. They are part of what creates us. This is the stuff our dreams are made of. This is the stuff of mythology, of campfire stories, of legends. This is what inspires great movies.
Mythology is the wellspring of our civilization. One of the consequences of depriving people of mythology is that they join street gangs. Why? Because gangs have a leader, they have rituals, they have initiation rites–the stuff of mythology.
Mythological stories are the deepest wellspring of civilization and identity. Gangs and movies and soap operas and celebrities are seductive precisely because they strike this mythic chord. But they are second-class substitutes for mythology. Real archetypes are enacted by people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, anyone who reaches beyond daily life into the realm of the wondrous.
They are able to achieve greatness because they tapped into the collective unconscious, which gave them the ability to see several event lines simultaneously and predict the future based on choices in the moment. These events create a shift in cognitive and perceptual mechanisms. These are the powers that bloom as myth.
Adapted from The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press).