Psychological games that people play : 3. The Sage

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For my first post on this series, please click here.

What drives humans and progresses the world is sheer curiosity. In fact, there are some who feel that humans are born into this life stream to solve mysteries and puzzles of the world – our world. There are many labels for this world, “Mother Earth”, as known by the scientists and environmentalists, being the most common. Regardless of these labels or the fact if we are really here to explore, this world has always proved to be fascinating for us, and we can observe this often in infants, where they will seize every opportunity to tinker with things and objects around them . Even casting a casual glance at them makes them curious and eager to lock eyes with you. And of course, travel photographers often plough the distant lands in search of interesting subjects to shoot – another evidence of a hungry heart for knowledge.

Albert Einstein, Leonardo Da Vinci, Stephen Hawkings, Abraham Maslow, Enid Blyton, and many others are all evidences that illustrate the fact that most humans have an innate capacity to explore and investigate interesting phenomenon in our world and our surroundings. Everything from nature (exemplified by land and culture exploration by National Geographic, and underwater exploration by DIVER Magazine) to outer space (covered by NASA and aeronautical science) have at lease been placed under the microscopes of humans and taken a look at. We almost never miss any cracks or crevices that appear on the terrain of life.

While this may be true, there are only some who dedicate their lives to understanding life and the phenomenon around us. Most of us are lost in the hustle and bustle of life: marriage, career, personal leisure, time spent with love ones. However, there is a minority of us who seek to understand the essence of life and pursue one of the few valid options to achieve this – the accumulation of knowledge.

“In fact, this thirst of knowledge is so intense for these selected few that they literally plunge their lives into solving the enigmatic mysteries of life, finding solace in and, at times, deliverance from religion, philosophy, education, research, astronomy,as well as the science and the arts.”

These proclivity to learn and to understand, often coalesce into a role I call “The Sage” (which is also one of the classic twelve archetypes)

When our personalities are aligned with this quest for understanding life itself, we inadvertently took on the role of the Sage. However, it is also possible for others not of this personality to enter this role as well, since playing a role is possible and open to anyone who chooses it, although it is easier for someone whose personality is aligned to a role to play it.

It has been the belief of some spiritualists that humans have originated from the Source. This is often exemplified in movies, with “The Matrix” trilogy being the most apparent, and the most prevalent. “Finding one’s way back to the source” is an expression some would use to indicate the exploratory journey undertaken by the curious trail-seekers of the past – a foray into the unknown. And, as the sciences can firmly attest, the best way is to seek for evidence and proof – which often appears and materialises in the acquired knowledge of our environment.  Through associative and lateral thinking, patterns can be found in disjointed elements and more of life is examined through these patterns There is a reason why the adage “There is order among chaos” comes about.

“The Sage is the sign of wisdom, symbolic of the royal advisors of the past – with some possessing knowledge that surpasses even the rulers of the lands themselves. People go to the Sage for advice, and hence the Sage is also considered to be an individual who is not only respected, but trusted as well. While military generals look intimidating with their bulky frame and skilled swordsmanship, the Sage may seem omnipotent with their astute, perceptive ability and mental prowess. While much has been debated on the proverb “The pen is mightier than the sword”, one is certain : the Sage can certainly hold his own against intellectual debates and matters requiring agility of mind and deepness of though.”

Being voracious readers, the Sage embodies wisdom and intellectual mastery of life. They are able to engage with others in conversation, even on abstract and esoteric subjects known to a few. However, the Sage is often reclusive and introverted by nature. In fact, they refrain from delving into trivialities with others unless it is absolutely necessary. Small talks often dabble on topics that they either consider common sense, or sheer societal formalities, both of which the Sage has often little regard for. The time spent with reading and introspection are usually much more frequent than with people, and they are often more interested in abstract theories than other people (although the Sage is usually very interested  in people reading or anthropology, which is a very different matter altogether).

“While the Sage has often been portrayed as an elderly or at least a fatherly figure in mainstream media, the situation in real life is rather different. Teens or middle-aged individuals may be sages, what some may call the “old souls” (most Capricorns are considered to be one). People who have strong thirst for knowledge and more importantly, who appear more mature (often in thought rather than looks) than the rest are often Sages. Exploring the mysteries of life has a way of making one mellow (but not old).”

In the office or in life, there will always be individuals taking on such roles to educate society, to comfort the distressed, to advise nation leaders in matters of politics, to engage in intellectual discourses to progress the nation, and from a spiritual perspective – to awaken the whole world from their deep slumber of disillusionment and ignorance.

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Alter ego of the Sage:

The Schemer / Conniver 

While the role of Sage is power when taken on by someone with a healthy mind, it can quickly degenerate into that of the Schemer/ Conniver when one with a huge sense of insecurity plays the role.

The Machiavellian / Narcissist and the Schemer / Conniver share a common weakness: A lack of security. 

Someone who has a sense of insecurity can take on any role aligned with their personality, and the role will inadvertently degenerate into their corresponding dark alter ego. In other words, a person in a role often behave negatively because of various reasons but one of the primary reasons is a lack of security.

“Such insecure individuals will seize every opportunity to grasp at security, be it wealth, power, social status, or properties. Such individuals are often focused on the tangible and the materials. Thus, materialism and consumerism usually appeal to them. Anything spiritual usually does not appeal to them since they usually need something concrete that they can own and possess. This forms their drive to achieve in life but often in unhealthy ways since for these individuals, the means usually justifies the ends. It is never about others. It is always about them. If they express concern for others, this is usually because it opens the doorway to their own personal and/or career advancement. “

A Schemer / Conniver usually has a knack and penchant for connecting the right knowledge with the right people to impress and win over people whom they wish to control and manipulate. Schemers are extremely selective and usually focus on the select few (who are usually in positions of power) to awe them into submission by taking over their pedestals.

“Schemers are very similar to the Machiavellians since both worship personal power and status. The primary difference lies in the fact that while the Machiavellians acquire power through the use of both soft and hard tactics (usually the former, through flattery and compliments), the Schemer impresses the other party through his wide repertoire of knowledge. Both are powerful in their own rights but regrettable, it’s all about them rather than others.

Hence, while the role of the Sage is useful when used to educate and coach others, it can also be destructive when it is used to manipulate and control others. Understanding this role will enable one to take precautions against the negative aspects of the role, while enabling oneself to play the role well when used to better the world with one’s knowledge.

In the next blog, we will have a look at a role which is often taken by someone who is authoritative by nature, such as a parent or a boss. We will be looking at the Alpha Male/ Authoritarian.

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