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LEAVING A THUMBPRINT ON THE WORLD

having been incarcerated for 27 years, and in doing so, helping free people not only from apartheid, but also from hatred. Now that’s heroism! At their worst, Heroes become arrogant or bullying, or they drive themselves into an early grave. At their best, they accomplish great things. Paradoxically, Heroes do not think of themselves as Heroes, because to do so seems presumptuous. More typically, they see themselves as just doing their jobs. If there is anyone they really dislike, it is not so much the villain as it is the wimp. Therefore, they are vulnerable to taking a dare or a challenge even if it may be foolish. There is, of course, a negative potential within the archetype, just as there is within all archetypes. The conquering Hero can be a horrible bully. Attila the Hun may be celebrated as a Hero because he conquered many peoples, but the experience of the conquered is of being victimized—slaughtered, raped, pillaged. At the lowest level, the Hero archetype simply wants to prevail. The opponent is devalued as the enemy or as someone deserving to be victimized. The Nazis, for example, had a heroic image of themselves, but it resulted in heinous consequences for people in concentration camps. Within the more normal range of behaviors, you can see this negative tendency in hostile corporate takeovers. The acquiring companies may feel like winners, but others’ lives may be devastated in the extreme. The trap within the Hero can be that you see yourself as heroic, but others see you as a villain. When this occurs, it behooves you not to dig in your heels, but to stop, see what they see, and correct your course. Nike: The Creation and Testing of a Hero Brand Nike began with a partnership between a University of Oregon graduate student and his track coach. Their goal was to design shoes that improved one’s running performance while being affordable. Nike’s brand identification with the Hero has been long standing, consistent, and well executed. The company’s central mission is to understand and inspire the soul of the athlete, and its current slogan, “Just do it,” promotes the heroic virtue of the courage to act. As with many brands that have forged a strong identity in relatively recent times, the name of the product is itself archetypal. Nike

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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