When you watch a film or read a book, do you root for the hero or feel sympathy for the rebel? Can you empathize with the mother figure or admire the leader in the story? Perhaps the narrative focuses on an interesting sidekick or a foolish romantic.
We all recognize certain stereotypes in literature, but did you know the origin of these archetypal characters derived from Carl Jung? Jung identified 12 Archetypes, but I want to focus on the rarest one; the Sage Archetype.
But first, let’s remind ourselves of Jung’s archetypes.
What Are Carl Jung’s Archetypes?
Jung based his 12 archetypes on broad behaviour patterns observed worldwide. He identified underlying attributes and traits embodying the essence of a particular character. These archetypes repeat themselves across cultures and religions. The hero, sidekick, jester, and ruler, for example, are all well-known.
The 12 archetypes inhabit the collective unconsciousness, existing throughout all forms of storytelling. Archetypes endure because we recognize and identify with them. As humans, we like to categorize people.
Archetypes have a particular set of qualities, traits and unique characteristics that make them distinguishable from other personality types.
Now that we know more about Jung’s archetypes, let’s examine the Sage Archetype.
What Is a Sage Archetype?
“I think, therefore I am.” Descartes
Sage archetypes are wise old souls who are keen to learn. They never stop seeking knowledge. But these are no geeky bookworms. The Sage archetype seeks to use this knowledge to help others. They have a deep sense of compassion and are both empathic and altruistic.
Do You Have a Sage Archetype Personality? Answer the 18 Questions Below to Find Out
I mentioned before that the Sage is one of the rarest in Jung’s archetypes, so how can you tell if you belong to this category?
Well, there are typical characteristics that all Sage types have:
- Would people describe you as a thinker, rather than a doer?
- Do you like to have quiet times for introspection?
- Are you happy to debate a subject with someone you disagree with because it is a learning opportunity?
- Do you have a wide variety of friends with different ideals and beliefs?
- Are you forever learning about the world and yourself?
- Do you consider yourself to be on a spiritual journey?
- Are you more of an idealistic person than a practical one?
- Do you use your gut instinct about people or situations?
- Are you concerned with fairness and justice?
- Do you eschew tradition, preferring a more contemporary approach?
- Have you known your friends for a long time?
- Do you not make friends easily?
- Are you empathic towards those in need?
- Do you challenge stereotypical ideas?
- Are you always searching for the truth and don’t believe everything you read?
- Do you come across as cold and critical?
- Have others told complained that you always have to be right?
- Do you have strong opinions?
Sage Archetype Traits
We describe the Sage Archetype as the scholar, the intellectual, the academic, the analyzer, the independent thinker, the teacher, the learner, the freethinker, the expert, the truth-seeker, the philosopher, and the old soul.
Constant learner: Sages never stop learning and often have an interest in an academic field. Passionate about acquiring knowledge, they fill their homes with books, continuing to study long after leaving education.
Open-minded: The Sage archetype wants to learn as much as possible, and this includes values and beliefs they may not agree with. Having an open mind enables them to see all sides of a topic. This gives them a balanced opinion, allowing them to make fair decisions.
Fair and just: Speaking of fair decisions, fairness is of major importance to all Sage archetypes. They cannot use learning and educating themselves if not for good reasons. Sages like to educate others, not in a patronizing way, but to enlighten them.
Understanding: Sage archetypes have a gift that allows them to understand complex theories and impart them to others. They can make the most complicated ideas appear simple. Sages use this talent to further their journey of self-discovery.
The Sage Archetype’s Strengths and Weaknesses
If you need advice or an answer to a perplexing problem, the Sage archetype is the one to go to. They are renowned for their deep wisdom, but they also have the gift of communicating the most difficult concepts easily.
One of a Sage’s greatest strengths is the ability to see a problem from different aspects. This gives them a well-balanced viewpoint, free from prejudice or bias, allowing them to impart an honest opinion.
You won’t find a Sage archetype falling for fake news. These are highly intelligent people, unswayed by emotion. Instead, they rely on cold hard logic and facts. Be that as it may, Sages are compassionate and empathic towards their fellow humans.
Sage Archetypes see the world populated by humanity. There is no ‘them and us’; for Sages, we are all equal. These are the true humanitarians.
Sometimes a Sage can get bogged down with unnecessary details that confuse the truth. They tend to overthink everything; analyzing the smallest minutiae. This can lead to procrastination.
Because the Sage archetype places so much importance on the truth, deciding on one course of action is difficult. They don’t want to make the wrong choice, so end up in a stalemate of inaction.
Those with the Sage archetype are introverts who prefer to think and analyze, rather than take action. As they spend so much time inside their heads, they easily lose track of what’s happening in the real world.
While it is beneficial to think introspectively, we inhabit a physical realm and deal with practical problems. Sometimes Sages place too much importance on the analytical, rather than living in the moment. They can also come across as critical, especially with those they deem to be ignorant or prejudicial.
Sage Archetype Examples
Sages want to make the world better and believe in fairness and equality. Think of King Solomon and the two women; each claiming to be the mother of a baby. The King asks for his sword to cut the baby in half and give half each to the mothers. One mother begged him not to harm the baby, revealing herself to be the true mother.
King Solomon fits the ideal Sage archetype, not merely because he is wise, but because he sought to find the truth and deliver fair justice.
Storytellers use Sage archetypes repeatedly throughout films and books. Just think of The Oracle in the Matrix; our protagonist Neo visits this wise woman for advice. Or how about Spock in Star Trek? He often reins in an impulsive and emotional Captain Kirk with his logical wisdom.
You can also find the Sage personality in real life. For instance, Albert Einstein is a classic example of a truth-seeker who studies to benefit humanity. People like him define independent thinking and defying the norms.
Some people describe the Sage archetype as cold, ruled by logic and highly critical of others.
If you identify as a stern and uncompromising Sage, spend time with family and friends. Enjoy frivolous activities that require less thought and spend time outdoors. Feel the sun on your face or marvel at a snowflake, but try to do more things instead of thinking about them.
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