Daniel and Brad and I used to sit around discussing such things, and we once settled on a set of four symbols, four archetypes to define the various kinds of Great Men — those people living the deliberate, examined life.
These are the ones we settled on: the Shepherd and the Wolf, the Poet and the King. The Shepherd and the Wolf are pure archetypes, the Poet and the King are hybrids. I eventually defined them based on their focus, and their intended goal — self, or others.
The Shepherd focuses on others for others’ sake. The Shepherd devotes his life to truly understanding the people he encounters, and to making their lives better.
The Wolf focuses on himself for his own sake. (These are mythical characterizations, not naturalistic ones — yes, I know that the wolf is actually a highly social animal, but I’m playing off the symbolism, not the science. So shove off!) The Wolf is highly independent, and most fit for survival in difficult circumstances.
The Poet focuses on himself for others’ sake. He examines his life, his world, his thoughts and emotions to try to find some Truth to share with others. Unlike the Shepherd, he’s an introvert, independent.
The King focuses (you’ve probably already guessed this, if you’ve been paying attention) on others for his own sake. The King is highly social, capable of getting along with others (through charm or manipulation or authority, or any combination of these), and focuses highly on the people around him in order to attain his own ends.
Just some things I find interesting. Thought I’d put them down on paper, as it were. My navel-gazing post prior had me feeling a little embarrassed, but then I decided, based on my archetypes, that it’s okay to do that from time to time (since I do strive to be like The Poet), so there you go.
And, anyway, that got me thinking about the archetypes, and I thought they should be documented somewhere. Comment if you like.