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By Brianna Wiest
Before there were INFPs and ENFJs, there were Carl Jung’s personality archetypes. His theory was that there are universal, mystic characters, and through the collective unconscious, the human psyche adopts one or another. The archetypes he named represent human motifs – things we experience as we evolve, things that evoke the deepest emotional responses.
The first thing to know is that the archetypes are based around the four cardinal orientations: freedom, ego, social, order. There are also three umbrella types, “ego,” “soul,” and “self.” The archetypes are categorized by fours, under each of the three umbrellas. Each umbrella has the same driving force, as well as motivations, values, meanings and traits.
Most people can identify several archetypes within their personality construct, the point is not to identify with one and only one. The idea is that at the end of the day, one archetype will win out over the others, and when the hardest decisions are being made, when everything else is stripped away, it’s the archetype that begins to become dominant that is your leading (and subconscious) personality type. The point of understanding your ‘role,’ so to say, is so you can better align your mind’s understanding of who you are with your behaviors, and so you can gain insight into the behaviors and motivations of others. Here, the 12 main archetypical personalities humans have, and the most important things to know about each.
The innocent desires individual freedom, above all else. The core desire of the “innocent” is to finally achieve nirvana, or reach paradise. Their main goal is to be happy no matter what, and their main fear is to be punished for doing something “bad.” They operate on the desire just to do things “right,” and their innermost weakness is being a bit boring through all of their naivety. Their core strength is faith and optimism, and they often also adopt the personas of traditionalists, natives, mystics, saints and romantics.
The core desire of the orphan is to be able to connect with others. They feel strongly that men and women are created equally, and often take interest in gender dynamics. Their innermost desire is to belong, and their greatest fear is to be left out or to stand out from the crowd in any significant way. Their coping strategy is to develop their morals, and be very down-to-Earth. Their weakness is losing themselves in an effort to blend in, but they’re very talented when it comes to being honest, aware, and empathetic. They’re also known as the everyman/woman, the person next door, the silent majority.
The hero’s desire is to prove their worth through acts of courage. They believe in their willpower above all else, and aim to perfect and master a skill that somehow improves the world. Their greatest fear is weakness or vulnerability, and so their strategy to cope with that is being as strong and competent as possible. Their weakness is arrogance, or constantly seeking out negativity so there’s a battle to fight. They’re also known as the warrior, rescuer, soldier, winner or team player.
The caregiver’s desire is to love and protect and care for others. Their goal is to help others in whatever sacrificial way they must, and their strategy is just to do as much for others as possible. Their motto is: “love your neighbor as yourself,” and they live by it pretty literally. Their weakness is martyrdom and exploitation, but their strength is compassion and generosity. They’re also known as the saint, altruist, parent, helper or supporter.
The explorer’s desire is to have the freedom to find themselves by exploring the world. Their subconscious idea is: if I try to see as much as I can, eventually, I will see myself in something. Their goal is always to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life, and their biggest fear is being trapped, conformity or inner emptiness. To combat this, they journey, seek and experience new things to escape from that boredom. Their weakness, however, is aimless wandering and sometimes becoming a misfit. Their talent is autonomy, ambition and genuineness. They’re also known as the seeker, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.
The rebel’s m.o. is that rules were made to be broken. Their core desires is revenge and revolution. Their goal is to overturn what isn’t working, and to disrupt, destroy or shock it into a new system. Their greatest fear is to be powerless, and their weakness is taking it a step too far toward a direction of darkness or crime. Their talent is radical freedom, and they’re also known as the rebel, the revolutionary, the wild one, the misfit, the iconoclast.
The lover’s core desire is intimacy and experience. Their main goal is to be in an intimate, focused relationship with their work, with their friends, with their partner and within surroundings they love. Their biggest fear is to be alone, or in other words, to be unwanted or unloved or rejected. Their strategy to combat that is a constant push toward being more physically beautiful and emotionally attractive. Their weakness is such a desire to elicit love from others that they can often lose sight of their own inner compass, but the talents that balance it are passion, gratitude, appreciation and commitment. The lover is also known as the partner, friend, enthusiast, spouse, team-builder, sensualist.
The creator’s motto is “if you can imagine it, it can be done.” Their goal is to create things of enduring value and social change. Their core operating drive is to realize their visions, and their biggest fear is not being able to do that: failure or mediocrity. They are often consumed by creating culture and expressing their visions, and because of this, often resort to perfectionism or “quick” but ineffective solutions. They have tremendous imaginations and the skills to execute them into physicality. They are also known as the artist, inventor, musician, writer, or dreamer.
The jester just wants to have a good time. Their drive is to be in the moment, and to enjoy whatever life brings. Their motto is “you only live once,” and their goal is to just have a great time and lighten up the world with fun or entertainment. Their greatest fear is being bored or boring others, so their strategy to combat that is playing, making jokes, or being funny. Their weakness is being frivolous and wasting time, but it balances out with their incredible talent, which is joy. The jester is also known as the comedian, the trickster, the light-hearted one, or the joker.
The sage’s goal is to find the truth – whatever that particular truth may be. Their belief is that knowing the core truth and being acquainted with the true reality of anything will, in fact, set them free. They use intelligence and analysis to understanding the world, and their biggest fear is being misled, or being “crazy.” They seek out information and deeply self-reflect. Their weakness is that they study the details forever, but never act. They are also known as the expert, scholar, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, planner, professional or teacher.
The magician wants to understand the fundamental laws of the universe. Their goals are to make their dreams come true by channeling into their inherent power, and the power of the world around them. Their greatest fear is unintended negative outcomes (failure to achieve their goal) but it’s balanced by being able to develop a vision and live by it fully. Their extraordinary talent is in finding and creating win-win situations, but their weakness is becoming manipulative if and when they don’t get what they want. They are also known as the visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman or healer.
The ruler doesn’t believe that power is everything… they believe that power is the only thing. They desire control above all else, and their main goal is to create a prosperous, successful family and community. Their strategy to do this is to exercise their power, and their biggest fear is chaos and being “dismantled” or “overthrown.” Their talent is responsibility and leadership, and they are often known as the boss, leader, king, queen, idol, mogul, patriarch, matriarch or administrator.
Image: Abigail Keenan