Organizations and Archetypes

Organizations and Archetypes

Monika Kostera

Archetypes are common patterns containing hidden images of human motivations, offering inspiration and awakening imagination. This book is a collection of such tales, connected to twelve organizational archetypes, where each is illustrated by more general theoretical reflections, current management and organization theory literature, as well as practical examples. Monika Kostera proposes an imagery and language for self-management and self-organization for non-corporate use including entrepreneurs and multipurpose NGOs.

Chapter 12: The Eternal Child

Monika Kostera

Subjects: business and management, organisation studies


The Eternal Child is one of Jung’s personality archetypes (Jung, [1959] 1990). It appears in two variants as puer aeternus, the eternal boy, or as puella aeterna, the eternal girl, though the gender is not crucial in my organizational reading of this archetype. The Eternal Child is full of enthusiasm and energy, open and sensitive, full of inventiveness and often has beginner’s luck, as the fortune is on their side. It is the embodiment of the potential, the sum of possibilities, a personification of becoming and optimism. Perhaps it is lucky precisely because they it accept luck, have no prejudices and are not burdened by memories and complexes. The archetype is a symbol of hope and rebirth. The dark side of the Eternal Child is its dislike of changes and especially, its reluctance to grow up. It avoids commitments, cannot, and does not like to be responsible, and tries to evade the powers that can limit them. In some legends the Eternal Child is the opposite of death and mortality, an embodiment of the will to live and faith in life’s potential. In mythology this archetype appears in the shape of Kore, returning every spring to her mother, Ganymede, the beautiful eternal youth who serves as the cup-bearer of the gods, and in Iacchus, the child incarnation of Dionysus.

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