Jean Shinoda Bolen,
Gods in Everyman, Part 2
Some men fit the Procrustean bed exactly, just as there are men for
whom stereotype (or the expectations from outside) and archetype (or the
inner patterns) match well. They find ease and pleasure at succeeding.
However, conformity to the stereotype is often an agonizing process for a
man whose archetypal patterns differ from "what he should be."
He may appear to fit, but in truth he has managed at great cost to look
the part, by cutting off important aspects of himself. Or he may have
stretched one dimension of his personality to fit expectations but lacks
depth and complexity, which often make his outer success inwardly
Travelers who have passed through the Procrustean ordeal to reach
Athens may have wondered whether it had been worthwhile -- as contemporary
men often do when they "arrive." William Broyles Jr., writing in
Esquire, wearily described how empty success can be:
Each morning I struggled into my suit, picked up my briefcase, went
to my glamorous job, and died a little. I was the editor in chief of Newsweek,
a position that in the eyes of others had everything; only it had
nothing to do with me. I took little pleasure in running a large
institution. I wanted personal achievement, not power. For me, success
was more dangerous than failure; failure would have forced me to decide
what I really wanted.
The only way out was to quit, but I hadnít quit anything since I
abandoned the track team in high school. I had also been a Marine in
Vietnam, and Marines are trained to keep on charging up the hill, no
matter what. But I had got up the wrong hill; I just hated being there.
I had climbed the wrong mountain, and the only thing to do was go down
and climb another one. It was not easy: my writing went more slowly than
I had expected, and my marriage fell apart.
I needed something, but I wasnít sure what. I knew I wanted to be
tested, mentally and physically. I wanted to succeed, but by standards
that were clear and concrete, and not dependent on the opinions of
others. I wanted the intensity and camaraderie of a dangerous
enterprise. In an earlier time, I might have gone west or to sea, but I
had two children and a web of responsibilities.