Complex Archetypes Inspired by Simone De Beauvoir

I really love this woman's smile. 

I really love this woman's smile. 

My friend sent me a Huffington Post article about Simone De Beauvoir’s dating archetypes.  Archetypes are fun, there are many television shows featuring one kind of profiler or another. We like to group things into simple types, it’s a useful way of organizing our knowledge and categorizing things and people. It’s utterly human to do so. Cows pay no never mind to nomenclature. There’s more intelligence in a cow’s gut than in their brains. Omnivores like us need brain power to sort what might be good for us and what might just kill us. 

Here’s her list of 9 types of people you are bound to date:

  1. The Sub Man
  2. The Serious Man
  3. The Passionate Man
  4. The Nihilist
  5. The Demoniacal
  6. The Adventurer
  7. The Critic
  8. The Artist
  9. The Free Man 

I think most of us would blend into different types during the course of our lives. Some people I know, I must admit, seem very close to only one of the types above.

I have to say that I have met or identified with all nine during the course of my lifetime. I hope I’m not being cheeky if I say I find it difficult to tell what type I am. 

Is it possible to evolve throughout the course of one’s lifetime into several different types while ultimately arriving at one’s preferred, natural identity? 

While pondering the above question and thinking about my own life I came up with a new type, Type 0.


He or She is a creative, autodidact, skeptical-epicurean-stoic with Buddhist and Pantheistic tendencies. 

He or she possesses a complex ethical matrix: utilitarian, consequentialist including a large smattering of virtue, and a realistic understanding that it’s really difficult to be ethical in certain social contexts. 

She finds truth in stories and knows that a story is a story. "Mama, I may be a simple woman, but I do know what a story is."

He or She does not confuse anecdotes with data, or expert interpretation of data through a rigorous set of scientific processes and methodologies using the most up-to-date standards and tools with simple faith. 

He or She tends to trust true experts, but still employs a range of critical thinking skills when learning from experts. 

He values honesty, compassion, intelligence, understanding, trust, conviction and considerateness but doesn’t expect too much from people. 

(She knows that most people think they are trying to be the best person they can be even if they may fall short of the mark. This is why she can, at times, forgive herself.)

He enjoys the simple pleasures of life and is comfortable in the knowledge that his particular identity and biological life span are temporal. His death is not a big deal. Death is simply the natural end of one's life.

She is uncomfortable with the spooky vanity of people who want to exist forever. Forever is a long time, and generally speaking, people who want to live forever rarely change - SCARY! 

Type 0 has a hard time finding people to talk with, but never has a problem with talking with people. 

Type 0 knows that a human lifespan is not nearly long enough to satiate her curiosity, or long enough to dampen her love of life. She is comfortable knowing her time is limited. The finite nature of existence only makes her appreciate the journey that much more. 

His sense of the future includes his ability to imagine future generations doing much better than he could. 

She maintains a healthy sense of humor. Life is serious, absurd, profound, quirky, unpredictable, and that’s just fine. 

Her overriding aim in life is to be wise, and yet she remains humble in the face of the many obstacles to achieving wisdom. 

She works towards a state of authentic being without the anxiety of becoming and appreciates that most of the time this is an uphill battle.  

He wishes to exist in a natural fluid state of wisdom. A wisdom one can never grasp. A wisdom one can only experience in relationship with others. His constant prayer is that more people will desire wisdom. 

She knows that values are always more important than value. 

(To outsource your thinking and not be critical is the height of idiocy and a tragic surrender to stagnancy. Decent people who do not employ critical thinking are incredibly dangerous.) 

Type 0, possessing greater Adventurer / Artist / Critic tendencies as a young man, is gradually tempered by time, study and experience liberating him in his later years to focus on his true desire: to be The Free Man. 

(Context: liberty, license, and freedom are complex concepts requiring some serious thought. Political philosophy, philosophy, meditation and science are the best ways to achieve a better understanding of these ideas.)

All of her adventures, critiques and attempts to create were ultimately motivated by her desire to be A FREE WOMAN. 

Few young people are truly wise or free. For some of us, if we live long enough, and remain healthy, we might have a chance to be The Free Woman. 

To die A Free Man or Woman would be his or her ideal legacy. 

A truly free man or woman is always a part of a community of human beings, and therefore, is compassionately  dedicated to helping people find and experience their freedom. Freedom is a human, relative term that can only be experienced in the context of normal, healthy, human relationships. 

No creed, ideology or affiliation has a monopoly on what it means to be a free man or woman. Free men and women can exist in any culture. Free men and women are never caged or held mentally captive by limiting concepts. Free men and women have a healthy level of vitality and enthusiastically embrace challenges. Free men and women are courageous and value personal integrity. We need more free men and women. 

We have our work cut out for us.

Learn more about Simone De Beauvoir

Simone had a passionate and alternative relationship with the French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Satre.


Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.