Q: Can you explain how your current work relates to Jungian archetypes?

Junho 10, 2023

In progress: “Wise One,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 58” x 38”

A: Here’s an example. The passage below is from Carl Jung: Knowledge in a Nutshell by Gary Bobroff.

The Wise Old Man or Woman is a figure found throughout folklore and mythology.  They possess superior understanding and also often a more developed spiritual or moral character.  Frequently, such characters provide the information or learning that the Hero needs to move forward in their quest.  In Star Wars, Ben Kenobi plays the teacher to Luke, introducing purpose and knowledge into the young Hero’s life.  Where the Hero brings drive, courage, and direct action, the Wise Old One introduces the importance of the opposing values of thought and questioning.  Jung describes it thus:  ‘Often the old man in fairytales asks questions like who? Why? Whence? Wither?  For the purpose of inducing self-reflection and mobilizing the moral forces.’

The Wise One may appear in disguise to test the character of others.  In the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Luke’s mentor Yoda does not reveal himself as such when they first meet.  He waits, asking questions that test Luke’s motivation for being there.  Jung associated the Trickster archetype with the Wise One, and the use of disguise emphasizes this correlation.

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