top of page

The many faces of everyone: a curious look at Jacinda

There are two flavours of Jacinda Ardern posts showing up on my social media feeds, and I find it utterly fascinating:

1) Jacinda the empathic leader and global role model for women, celebrated for her courage to be authentic around not having enough in the tank to keep going as PM.

2) Jacinda the authoritarian leader and thief of basic human freedoms, using a weak cover as a reason for stepping away from the top job instead of admitting her failures, evident from the polls.

I'd assert there is a great mythology at play here, and no better time to examine it than Mythology Monday.

What happened when the Brothers Grimm "cleaned up" the ancient stories now told in our favourite modern fairytales was that we lost nuance informing us that good and evil can be, and most often are, two faces of the same coin.

This is not unimportant, because for most of us, fairytales are where we first started learning to judge character. If we haven't examined and upgraded those learnings, chances are they still influence us.

Unfortunately, most of us weren't offered this key for properly understanding the symbolism:

The evil step mother IS the poor helpless princess.

The prince IS the dragon.

The spell is cast by they who it is cast upon.

We are all diverse in our capacity and our character. We are made up of multiple parts. Some lovely. Some terrible.

To portray only one is to live a lie.

If you don't believe yourself to be capable of evil, I invite you to check yourself.

If you don't believe yourself to be capable of great good, I invite you to check yourself.

Recall your findings when examining the character and capabilities of others, too.

We all have an opportunity here to cultivate the ability to consider opposing versions of reality, developing a skill set that allows us to properly and appropriately discern between absolute truth, relative truth, untruth, and unknown.

Ideally, unemotionally.

For there are always far more personas in the story than there are people.

On Ardern:

Did she inspire a generation of girls to aim higher? Probably yes (relative truth).

Relevant archetype - the heroine.

Did she demonstrate empathic leadership skills, especially during significant national crises, during her term? Probably yes (relative truth).

Relevant archetype - the fairy godmother.

Did she actively discriminate against group of people in the management of the pandemic? Yes (absolute truth).

Relevant archetype - the evil stepmother... or the heroine, depending on whether you believe her discrimination was justified based on the field of values your subscribe to.

In enforcing mandates, did she claim her government to be some form of absolute truth? "Unless you hear it from us, it is not the truth." Yes (absolute truth... unless it was a deep fake clip I watched).

Relevant archetype - the wicked witch... or the prophet, again depending on your vantage point.

Does she have close relationships with questionable figures? Probably yes (relative truth... don't all politicians?).

Relevant archetype - Apate, goddess of fraud and deception and the female counterpart to Dolus.

Is she inherently evil and part of a global plan to control the masses? I'm swaying between 'untruth' and 'I don't know' on this one, and not ruling out my naivety in making that assessment.

Relevant archetype - the Titans. While we're busy attacking BBC for their click-baity headline ('Jacinda Ardern resigns: Can women really have it all?'), the question I have that I am having a little more trouble to answer is whether or not a male prime minister resigning because they didn't have enough in the tank would have been afforded the same level of compassion and celebration as Ardern has received.

In my experience, men are often implicitly forced to come up with more "manly" reasons for deciding to walk away when the pressure becomes too much. The threat of ridicule is real. And I think that's devastating for men, and boys. To me, BBC's headline was silly, and didn't deserve the air time it got. Because the answer is the same as it is for men: yes, and no, depending on your definition of "all".

Lots to intellectually chew on here.

We can either examine the nuance, or simply hold onto our version of the truth because that feels safer.

No judgement either way, just an invitation to choose consciously.


bottom of page