From the Horse's Mouth

Short Exposition on Ink’s Archetypes

Posted in 1 by theskinhorse on February 14, 2010

This post is inspired greatly by the movie, Ink, which I highly recommend (thank you, Kiowa and Jamin Winans). While this is not really a review, it is more of an expansion or exposition on the archetypes presented in the film. When I initially wrote the piece, I was unsure whether to use all the specific names of the archetypes that the film gave or to use my own. I decided for this post to keep the names of the archetypes, as presented in the film, intact. Some of the archetypes are more general and explicit, such as ‘Storytellers’ and ‘Pathfinders,’ though both are apt and portrayed in a different light than what I am accustomed to seeing. I find that there are some commonalities between Clive Barker’s cenobites and Ink‘s Incubi. Any of you familiar with the Hellraiser series will see why if you watch the film. There are no spoilers in the text below, just my observations and insights about the archetypes (plus one of my own to add to the mix that the film illustrates but does not name) in addition to the film’s explicitly stated characteristics. I rather enjoy Ink‘s revamping of some common archetypes and the interesting portrayal of others.

The Incubi exist to draw others into their nightmarish world. They care not for others. They destroy dreams, love, hope, inspiration and aspirations in favor of a bleak ‘reality’ of torment to which they desensitize themselves in order to exist. Storytellers regard them as black holes. Storytellers deliver tales of heroism, greatness, love, salvation and redemption. They put forth the concepts of manifested faith, accessible Archetypes, the power of Myth and the grace of Love.

The Storytellers are liars, planting seeds of idealism, love and a world with light. At least this is how the Incubi see it. The Storytellers replace pain and fear with false hope and childish aspirations. The Incubi would never do such a thing; they will present the Truth as it is: cold, slicing, agonizing, uncaring and barren. They, themselves, have become numb to such nightmares so they may carry the Truth of their nightmares to others. They seek to stamp out the encouragement and guidance of the Storytellers.

While some humans regard the Incubi as demons or similar ‘evil spirits,’ other humans regard them as necessary teachers and the keepers of ‘the brutal truth.’  While some humans regard the Storytellers as a kind of guardian angels or similar ‘benevolent spirits,’ other humans regard them as false messiahs and seeders of ‘tall tales.’

One cannot be both Storyteller and Inubi, but one can choose to be neither, either entering as a Pathfinder, a Drifter, or a Force of Nature. A Drifter is caught between the pull of Storyteller verses Incubi. They are able to see potential and possibility, but they are without sufficient belief in the visions, so they cannot pass on stories to others. They accept and wallow in their own failure and delusions but are unable to take the steps to become numb in order to deliver the nightmarish ‘Truth’ unto others. Pathfinders and Forces of Nature are neither Storyteller nor Incubi; they are outside this spectrum of distinction. The Pathfinder is akin to the Trickster spirit: a teacher that would never profess oneself as such.  The Pathfinder can induce Change on various levels once s/he discovers the Pattern. Despite a Pathfinder’s personal sacrifices, handicaps, or wounds, s/he will always know how to access the Pattern(s). For if a Pathfinder cannot rise above one’s hardships, s/he will cease to be a Pathfinder.

Forces of Nature are often spoken of among humans with considerable reverence, misunderstanding, and possibly, preconceived notions. Forces of Nature interact with Pathfinders much more directly than interacting with either Storytellers or Incubi. While Pathfinders find, follow or ride the Pattern, Forces of Nature may be described moreso AS the Pattern. Forces of Nature are all the elements set in motion, moving along certain courses. Like a beaver that builds a dam, the Pathfinder goes in current to redirect. One cannot effectively redirect Forces of Nature without firstly, recognizing them; secondly, understanding them; and thirdly, entering into them. Entry points are outside of the Pattern itself, by definition. This is how we navigate different planes. Each has access to different doors, different layers within layers.

Does one really choose one’s role? [Yes.] Are only some allowed to choose, while others, once they have Chosen (as opposed to chosen) a role, have set their Fate thereafter (even if ‘thereafter’ is a kind of misnomer to describe the experience)? [Dunno.] Is it really all about the access points of re-entry that we can detect at any given moment so that we may Change once again? [Quite possibly.]