Raven (the dear!) sent this photograph the other day and I was instantly attracted to it. Not because of the men (although they are a handsome lot)* but something else, something my psyche resonated with before consciousness could conclude the wherefore. I started analyzing the attraction and soon connected the dots: the portrait conveys the archetype of The Five Friends. It goes by a few names, such as ‘The Five Man Band” or ‘The Team”. Each member of the group carries a certain characteristic. None would do well on their own, but together they compliment and balance each other to create a working entity. It illustrates Psyche with its Ego trying to make sense of the complexes to run a good show.

The Leader. In every group no matter how egalitarian it tries to be one rises to the rank of ‘head honcho’. Our ape genes demand it. He – or she – is Ego of the group; he is the coordinator and decision-maker. He often referees the ructions that arise among the group. Sometimes one of the others in the group tries to become The Leader or serves temporarily as The Leader, but in a good group The Leader stays and grows in abilities.

In the photo I imagine The Leader is the fellow second from the left, calm and slightly ahead of the others. He’s wearing some sort of mitts to imply his difference in rank, and that he does the dirty work.

The Lancer. This fellow serves as the antagonist or the foil to The Leader. He’s abrasive, argumentative, and often a pain in the drain to The Leader. He’s The Leader’s Shadow-side. The Lancer keeps The Leader on his/her toes, and makes sure the boss doesn’t do stupid things. They often fight and in several stories The Lancer often takes off in disgust or he/she tries to become The Leader. Usually by the end of the tale The Lancer returns, they reconcile, and both are the better for it.

In the photo I imagine The Lancer on The Leader’s left. The middle fellow looks a bit haughty and less formal looking in his stance. Right after the photo is taken he probably does some sort of outrage.

The Heart. Sometimes called The Soul, this is the one who carries the group’s values, the morals, and the ideals. If there is a point to the group, he/she points out justice and ascertains they do the right thing. Few fight with The Heart as they know he’s right.

In the photo I imagine The Heart is the fellow on the far right. He’s a bit off from the others, which gives him the perspective how the group is behaving.

The Big Guy. Every group needs muscle, some brute strength, to kick-butt in a fight. He’s not bright or thoughtful but he’s loyal and listens to the others knowing he’s not the brains of the bunch to lead or plan. The others poke fun at his lack of finesse but they need his Warrior energy. In adventure stories he’s often the one that gets hurts or killed which brings out the love the others have for the big lummox.

In the photo I imagine the capless chappie on the far left must be The Big Buy, based on his height and broad chest out.

The Smart One. He’s not strong nor big and he knows it. He’s not good in a fight. In Dungeons and Dragons he’s the mage in the back making magic while the others are in front fighting. He’s the brains of the group, the one who thinks and tells the others what’s going on. He devises the plan. While The Leader and The Foil tend to butt heads, The Smart One’s antagonist is The Big Guy, who often loathes The Smart One for his puniness. The Big One likes to play dirty tricks on the poor sod. However they make a staid couple knowing the other has what he lacks.

In the photo I imagine the shorter dude fourth from the left must be The Smart One. The Lancer and Leader keep him apart from The Big Guy lest there are ructions.

Next time you watch a movie and there are five people see if you can find these archetypes in the characters.

In STAR WARS The Smart One is played by the two droids.

Post-script: Does The Five Friends archetype resonate in The Board of Directors Here at Spo-reflections? Alas no. My blog’s psyche is rawhter lop-sided. First of all there are eight of them nor five. Second, they all jockey to be The Big Guy and/or The Foil and there is no Heart, worse luck. This makes me by default The Smart One although no one listens to me. Stirges.

*School teachers, perhaps.