It’s too trite to begin this note with Melancholy Jacques’ “all the world’s a stage,” but just because it’s overused doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. I can’t think of any better application than mass media, which in its own way is a form of imagined, simulated theater, with journalists acting as stage directors weaving their stories and scripting out interactions in advance.
But isn’t journalism different from reality TV? Can interactions really be scripted out in advance? No, not directly. But directors can drag unwilling participants on the metaphorical stage and engage in a contest of wills about the type of archetype, the type of being, that that person inhabits. It doesn’t help that there’s a power imbalance between director and participant in a certain situational way.
This technique is called archetype projection, and it usually works because after being aggressively projected on without any maneuver room for rejecting the assigned archetype, the sad, sad, marionette ends up submitting to the archetype for lack of a real choice. To give up on the struggle and to embrace one’s assigned archetype is to embrace the path inherently entailed by that archetype, relative to others, as written by the stage director. It’s a form of magick, and it’s perhaps the most powerful kind that exists.