The Dynamics of The King Archetype

The Dynamics of The King Archetype

Carl Jung’s clinical analysis of patients, combined with the study of cross-cultural mythology uncovered certain dynamics existence within the human psyche.

What differentiated this psychological methodology from the less dynamic view of the human mind held by his contemporaries was that it understood human’s have a hard-wiring that needed to be fulfilled, less it end up in pathology.

If fulfilled, it becomes a boundless source of charisma and generativity. However, if these energies are unfulfilled or if one becomes possessed, it ends up leading to neurosis, schizoid traits or other forms of pathology.

A concern for establishing and guiding the next generation.

Erik Erickson defining his term, generativity

In other words, the energy has to go somewhere. The beauty of this of course, is it can lead to a tremendous sense of richness, and an openness to sacrifice oneself as needed, not as a hero, but due to necessity to keep the land thriving. Psychologically this may mean sacrificing one’s energies into ensuring there is productivity and growth all-around.

How it Develops

In buddhism this King dynamic is seen through the boddhisatva, someone who has escaped the boundless cycle of death and rebirth(samsara), only to come back to help liberate others. Once again, it’s highly important to highlight this is not accomplished due to a sense of achievement, or even a desire to correct what may be perceived as wrong.

Psychologically, this can be interpreted as someone who has come back with a new found wisdom, an ability to be grounded in a unflinching resolve and ability to be supportive.

This is a natural instinct of sorts, constellated only when we can be completely present, honest, and not attached or averse to anything.

[Contemporary man] is blind to the fact that, with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by “powers” that are beyond his control. His gods and demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with restlessness, vague apprehensions, psychological complications, an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food — and, above all, a large array of neuroses.

Carl Jung

Myth of the King

The image of the king being sacrificed is common in human history, most notably in the monarchy of England. Kings were inevitably dethroned (often murdered) if they failed to enrich the land.

Though the King was given admiration and praise, in the back of their minds it was clear that if they were to slip up, it would end badly.

Currently our landscape for generativity can seem bare, seeing as how major important positions are filled by those exemplifying the shadow aspect of the king.

This plays out to this day where there are less and less signs of notably well-rounded kings. Instead we have a steady supply of tyrants: Kim Jong-Um, Vladamir Putin, Salman of Saudi Arabia, Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders of business, government and so on.

King Dynamics: The Shadow

Similar to the other archetypes (Warior, Magician and Lover), there’s a passive and aggressive pole, and similarly, the King is defined by unique characteristics (the following is not a checklist of sorts, people may dip in and out of each role, and be possessed by highs and lows or variations)

Characteristics include:

High Chair Tyrant:

  • Manipulative.
  • Wants to see others become sacrificed (failure is a welcome sight).
  • Believes the world is here to meet his demands.
  • Seethes at the thought of another having power.
  • Wants to see others dependent on him.
  • Bullies others, lashes out either emotionally or physically.
  • Sees relationships as opportunities to gain more control.
  • Has delusions of grandeur.
  • Thinks highly of all his ideas with smugness, and without question.
  • Cruel.

Weakling Prince:

  • Depends on others to fix their life and or the world.
  • Believes power is bad.
  • Dependent.
  • Aimless.
  • Has no real game plan or vision for life.
  • Will not stand up for what is right.
  • Relinquishes power to others.
  • Paranoid.
  • Passive aggressive.
  • Control freak.
  • Believes others owe them something.

The tyrant and weakling often work in tandem, and it’s not uncommon for various traits to interconnect.

Typically, depressive types become depressed due to a lack of connection with their King archetype. Of course, while the addition of a diet, proper exercise, and other supplementary actions are of great benefit, it’s not ultimately satisfying enough for the throne. Fulfillment is not possible without fulfilling the generative aspects.

Depressive types may not harbor the feelings in the passive or aggressive aspects of the King, but they instead wobble or feel restrained by a looming sense of doubt and or lack of libido. Life loses zest and it’s hard to find much motivation, going through the motions and feeling let down, either in oneself or in others may be common.

The deep residing pull psychologically for the depressive (and all on the path) is to become self-actualized through some form, whether they become aware of this desire or not.

It’s clear to people that accomplish great things that their life feels somehow empty, which is why giving back is a essential trait for wholeness.

King Dynamics: In Its Fullness

The dynamic of the king archetype establishes itself as a source for generativity and connectivity. It’s ultimately the most important archetype over the Magician, Warrior and Lover, as it establishes a harmony to keep things balanced in all fields.

This isn’t to say that wholeness is possible without actualization of the other archetypes, only that full constellation and being grounded is only possible with the King dynamics handling things.

Characteristics of a King in their fullness includes:

  • Protects and nourishes.
  • Compassionate.
  • Knows when to fight and when to be peaceful.
  • Is willing to sacrifice himself (although this is often seen as death, it can also include time, comfort, and resources)
  • Wants to leave behind something of worth.
  • Active mentor (this is essential, secular Kings who are closed off do not exist)
  • Values order over what is a short-term thrill.
  • Wise.
  • Sees potential in others, and inspires others.
  • Reliable.
  • Does not shy away from discomfort, pain, and the need to resolve.
  • Keeps integrity alive, does not lie, manipulate, or hold onto unnecessary negativity.

Developing the King

The purpose of writing this article was to point the way in developing one’s own King. To simply talk theory or to read books is of use only if it is actually applied in everyday life. Different tactics to nourish the King archetype include:

  • Having images of powerful leaders.
  • Listening and being involved in decisions where power is controlled.
  • Writing out a gameplan of what you plan to do (actionable steps count, it does not have to be only what the ultimate goal, but instead can include the how to).
  • Involvement in charities.
  • Having a job centered around helping others.
  • Admiration for others.
  • Act as if (not to lie or manipulate yourself or others, but to start doing daily goals which amount to a well-rounded person, even if we do not think we are ready).
  • Avoid negative self-talk, see it as a impediment to the ultimate goal, which is to help others and make your life the best it can be.
  • Being present.
  • Keep the ongoing goal of generativity in the back of your mind during hardships.

These are all some approaches an individual can take to begin developing their inner King. It’s highly important to mention that humans are not to try and become archetypes, as this inevitably leads to inflation and over exertion.

Balance is the key to this, without it, humans may end up overworked, neurotic, and or overtly at risk.

When the King is able to come alive in its fullness, it opens up a opportunity to feel interconnected to reality.

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