Mythology and pop-culture-art both have something in common — they have the archetypal forms. Without getting into a convoluted discussion, lets just think of them as the porno-pop-ups we all share in our common subconscious peep-show, so they keep recurring in our stories and legends, over and over again. Some go so far, like Jung, to say we all share the same subconscious. Frankly, I find it far more likely, and less likely to lead to an acid-trip vision-quest, to just say our subconscious is all based on the same machinery, so we tend to get similar output. But, whatever — in either case, its hard to have a story of any kind without a hero. Most heroes have sidekicks — Batman had Robin, Moses had his brother Aaron, Heracles had his nephew Iolaus. More importantly, all heroes have their villains — in fact, it is the villain that defines the hero.
You are a Darkworker. But, you are not the villain, do not devolve into that kind of thinking.
You are the hero(ine). You are always the hero(ine), no matter what.
I don’t care if a fight breaks out on a street corner, bullets start flying, firemen are falling to their deaths trying to rescue old ladies from the stampeding masses — and all you did was much on a sandwich and watch from your window…you were heroically observant.
Now, like any hero, you need your villains to properly function. A study of the archetypal forms will reveal that they have four types — Hyena, Adversary, Rival, Enemy — and an application of Darkworking will unlock their hidden power. Lets take a look. Please keep in mind I will talk about each type, like it’s an individual, but it could just as easily be a group with creative interpretation. I’m doing all this as a prep for an upcoming article, where I will examine conflict, why Darkworkers do not shy from it, and even seek it out. All of us benefit from, at the least sprinkling a little conflict or adversity into our lives. While not all conflicts will fall into these forms, if you start looking, you’ll see it all over the place.
- The Hyena
These mangy little bastards aren’t too dangerous individually, but they can be a threat when they run in packs, as they tend to do. You’ll know these first and foremost through a personality conflict that happens from the outset of meeting, not necessarily a loathing, just a general annoyance, a static clash. Often, if you’re not aware enough, you’ll find yourself surrounded by them. While they do not take any real direct action against you, they specialize in undermining your efforts. They mock your goals and dreams, trying to bring you down with negativism. They criticize your choices, and gather in their little tribal ritual to make fun of you behind your back, just visible enough to be noticed — usually, they fear direct confrontation.
They bring you down slowly. Their power is in your hesitance to engage them. Almost all of us delt with these cliques in high school, and almost every high school movie has a main character dealing with such a group.
What Darkworking is calling you to do is to invoke the strength of Pride.
To quote the demon in the movie Legend, “Every wolf has fleas, easy enough to scratch”. This should be how you frame it in your mind. Rather than running, or pissing yourself for months in some weird sort of avoidance standoff, ambush them with self-belief. Acknowledge their existence, but also see them for the pathetic weaklings that they are and call them on it. Summon all the self-love you can muster, and hit them with a decisive blow. Like all parasitic pests, they scatter to the wind under real threat.
Remember, their arrival or existence is a positive sign. You put them up as your first hurdle when you start to grow in self-esteem, or when you initially declare a goal, to see, basically, if you really mean it. Avoiding them is to toss away the reward they bring — a deepening of will, focus, and belief that propels you forwards.
- The Adversary
Most of us have had these, it is a friendship that is based less on camaraderie, and more on competition. Meeting these people is like an instant surge of “ewwww“, usually not noticed by the uninitiated, and there is a nearly addiction-like impulse to out compete the other. At something. Anything. In the office, this usually starts as social jockeying for more attention or likeability than the other. The problem is that most don’t know what is happening here, and either give up as soon as they loose, or get annoyed and walk away.
Too see why, you have to understand that the clash you are feeling with these people is because you both occupy the same socio-evolutionary niche. Perhaps you’re both the “funny guy” at the office, or both of you like being the “mysterious girl” the jocks go for. In either case, you feel only one of you can occupy the role, and the dislike you do experience is seeing your own limitations reflected in the other. The instinct with these is usually to either cash in and let them sail past, or to upgrade this person to an Enemy.
But, to do that in avoidance is to throw away a precious gift. The Adversary brings you the gift of Greed.
You don’t want to loose. You feel you cannot loose. And, you feel you cannot win enough.
In the words of Gordon Gecko, “Greed…is…good”. You have called them to you because you see you need a good deal of growth — listen to yourself.
They are like the forge that shapes the Hero(ine). They raise the temperature and challenge your comfort zone, forcing you to adapt to best them on the next turn around, or making you rapidly assimilate new skills just to keep up. They greatly amplify your results. When you find these — HOARDE them, keep them around. They are only useless at the point when you have out competed them to the point that they no longer offer a challenge. If you both grow together, and trust me, I still have some Adversaries from my youth, the co-growth is phenomenal.
This will initially seem to be similar to an Adversary, but it is not. Adversaries can upgrade to Rivals, but are distinctly different. This is why I tell you not to bring individuals with overlapping goals into your Inner Circle, this is often what happens in that case. The Rival may be similar to you, or completely opposite, all that matters is both of you want the same thing, and only one of you can have it, and more importantly, you don’t want THEM to have it. This doesn’t even have to be personal, it could just be scarcity in action.
You could want the same job. Same girl/guy. Same last cookie in the cookie jar, you pick.
Learning how to positively deal with, defeat, and re-assimilate (that is, to come out of conflict with them, turning them non-hostile, or even friendly towards you) a Rival is so critical to the path, I usually don’t end someone’s Apprenticeship until they have done exactly that — and usually transition to the Warrior level as a result.
How do you know you’ve met a Rival? They beckon you, holding the keys to Jealousy.
Detecting them is simple, just close your eyes and imagine they have what you want — if you feel Greed for the thing itself, you have an Adversary, if you feel Jealousy towards the other, you’ve picked up a Rival.
In the long term sense, Rivals prepare us for true enemies, but in the short term, they are like the weights we lift, as Darkworkers, to gain muscle. This one-on-one competition for a specific thing or goal, is a gateway to self-knowledge that is so amazing I can’t find anything else to replace it. With each victory over a Rival, we trust ourselves more, and with each loss to a Rival, we learn more about our current capabilities. Most of all, with enough experience under our belts, wins and losses, we begin to realise the deeper truth — that it is the journey of Self, revealed through struggle with the Other, that is becoming our real motivation. At this point, your progress on the path becomes exponential.
Embrace that jealousy, don’t restrain it, or hold it back. It becomes a fuel that you can and will use to bring down the Rival. It is the deep, seething engine that drives you up, up, higher and higher along the staircase of your goals. After all, without covet and want, their could be no heaven.
These, without a doubt, have to be my personal favorite.
An enemy can be active (meaning they feel the same about you), or latent (meaning, they don’t count you as an enemy, but know how you feel), or blind (of course, they don’t count you an enemy and have no idea about how you feel).
You could be similar, or different. You might want the same things, or not give a flying fuck about his or her desires.
All you know is, you want them destroyed.
You want what they want just to cause them the pain of not having it, you could care less about the thing itself. It is this deep, driving desire to inflict pain, or even death upon the Enemy, independent of any other external thing that makes the enemy unique. Almost always, they did something that hurt you deeply. Often, Enemies are Rivals who upgrade when you loose, and are devastated by not getting the prize you were both seeking. After all, how many friendships have you seen destroyed and Enemies arise from the ashes after two people loved the same person?
The Enemy brings you the gift of Hate. This emotion itself is hard to invoke in another human being, and therefore, you should see it for what it is, a rare, vast empowerment. Too often, people chamber up and don’t release their hate. They think it is somehow self-destructive, and it is if you bottle it up. Or, let it out on something or someone else, living a quiet lie of acid rot you from the inside. How many times have we seen wounded children grow into adults that have “irrational” hate for groups or people who never did them any harm?
Your hate is like the lottery. First off, don’t lie about its root, who or what you are really hating. Second, let that shit out.
Too see what I’m getting at, consider this: I’m sure a lot of fat people Hate being fat. Instead of using the Hate, they misdirect it in self-loathing (they’re NOT unhappy with their entire self, just one quality), or they bottle it up and it simmers and transmutes into apathy, anxiety, and depression. What if they looked around at the world, realized how much hate they had for fat people, then realized how much they were really just hating their own fat, and channeled that energy into exercise?
Yeah. They wouldn’t be fucking fat for long.
What about someone who works for a charity dedicated to ending homelessness? Is it wrong for them to go down and see otherwise decent people living in such squalor and agony, to feel hate for the society that would do such a thing? Would it be morally wrong for them to go out and show people the realities of their inaction for the homeless, rubbing guilt in their faces, and get more donations that way? I doubt any of us would say so.
But, you say, Asmoday, you’ve crossed the line when you talk about hurting another person.
Sure, yes, I grant you, hurting another person would cross a legal line, and I’m not advocating it…formally…on this website…out loud…in any shape or fashion…
But look, you don’t have to grab up every Enemy and give them a 12-gauge shotgun round to the face if you don’t choose to — its your universe. I’m not about to tell you I would have personal issue with this, depending on who the individual was, but you bring your own free will to the table.
What I am going to say is that Hate is a beautiful thing. When someone has wronged you deeply, in a way that cuts you to the very core (or a group, for example, if you are just appalled by Democrats or Republicans because you are offended by the very presence of someone who would believe that way) — your hate is an affirmation from deep within you that you matter. Or, to say it another way, it’s the part that screams that you exist and you have a right to exist. You are, in your hate, seeing in to the core of your very consciousness, or your very soul, exactly as you do when you experience the ecstasy of surrender in profound love. If you’ve practiced the Foci Exercise, you should see that Love and Hate are essentially the same energy, one flowing out, the other flowing in. In one, you are touching your divinity through the presence of another, in the other, you are touching your divinity in the removal of another. In each case, you are revealing your core, just on a different side of the same coin. After all, to Know Thyself, you have to know what you affirm in this world with all of your heart, as well as what you reject with every fiber in you.
But, what happens when you misdirect or bottle up the hate?
You are looking right into your soul, right into the deepest part of you, and saying, “You are insignificant”.
The effects of this are just devastating. After a lifetime of it, people really do turn into hollow ghosts.
That’s just sad…
Screw that. I believe you are capable of more and far better than that.
Instead, lean on your hate, trust in it, and use it to confront your Enemies to the best of your ability. Even if you loose, you will feel better for having valued yourself enough to make the attempt. Walk right up to that bully, or that abusive parent, or that scumbag partner, and at the very least, tell them that you fucking matter, what they did, and to go fuck themselves. Just doing that reaffirms our value to ourselves, provides proof that we are an important priority, and unlocks empowerment to degrees I can’t really relate.
Go through all the cases of bullies, injustice, abuse, or unnecessary suffering in the world and you will see a lot of positive hate in action.
Don’t you think its time to stop living in a storm? Release the lightning, and peace remains.
The problem, my friends, is when you don’t release your hate. It lingers, and steals focus, and becomes like a psychological virus.