Archetypes are, for me, historical or occasionally fictional characters who represent a fundamental part of my psyche; who reveal to me my deepest spiritual longings and realities. As the years have passed, I have begun to distinguish Archetypes from heroes and heroines. Heroes and heroines change with culture and mood. They are admirable but not as deeply intertwined with my authentic soul.

I mentioned in a previous post that Henry David Thoreau is one of my Archetypes. He is not really a hero. He is a representation for me of a reality that resides within my True Nature – a person who wants to discover the possibility of a human life lived in harmony with self and with the natural world. As my life enters a period of profound freedom, simplicity and joy, I find immense support and encouragement from Archetypes that are coming alive within me.

EdAnother of the inner Archetypes that is encouraging me is that of Edward Abbey. He is almost an anti-hero in his actual historical life – an opinionated, difficult, unruly anarchist whose passionate nature rubbed many people the wrong way. Yet his book, Desert Solitaire, still vibrates a chord within me that delights in the stark beauty of the desert canyon lands, and enlivens the energy of my own commitment to the preservation of the Wild, in nature and within the human soul.

“This is the most beautiful place on Earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary.”  (speaking of Arches National Monument)

My own embarrassment at being what many call a, “curmudgeon,” is wonderfully soothed by Ed’s words. I wouldn’t pretend to be as wild as Ed, but I certainly acknowledge the Archetype within me that is gaining more energy as time goes by:

“I have been called a curmudgeon, which my obsolescent dictionary defines as a ‘surly, ill-mannered, bad-tempered fellow’. Nowadays, curmudgeon is likely to refer to anyone who hates hypocrisy, cant, sham, dogmatic ideologies, and has the nerve to point out unpleasant facts and takes the trouble to impale these sins on the skewer of humor and roast them over the fires of fact, common sense, and native intelligence. In this nation of bleating sheep and braying jackasses, it then becomes an honor to be labeled curmudgeon.”

As the photo above illustrates, Ed had the same relationship to television (which was the dominant media of his day) that I have to both television and all media. I am using my computer with extreme care. I write, post, and communicate as clearly and simply as I possibly can. Nevertheless, sometimes I want to go out and buy a cheap television screen and computer, take them out on the back hillside, and kill them with a blast from my father’s antique Winchester 30-30.

Ah well, thank you for honoring one of my more curmudgeonly Archetypes. Perhaps the day is coming when The Monkey Wrench Gang will inspire a new form of resistance; non-violent, but direct and potent. Who knows?



2 thoughts on “More Archetypes – Ed Abbey

  1. You nailed it Bill. Two of my favorite people as well. I’m personally looking at 60 years old this year and wondering what the hell I’m doing. Thank you for your continued writing and for swallowing the nasty pill of technology and writing to us all regularly.


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