Whenever I hear or read the word “archetype” I always imagine that original of that thing is carefully stored somewhere for reference every half decade or so. For example, the Hero archetype. In order to be of the Hero archetype, someone has dutifully sent off to the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, and asked to have the specifications for the original Hero. They’ll place a call from, say, Leipzig, and someone on the other end of the phone (it must be a landline, and it must be from 1957), just outside of Paris sets the receiver down and goes to a dusty back room where the Archetypes are stored. There will be no recognizable system for cataloguing, so that each time the attendant visits the Archetype room it’s a new adventure. Finally the attendant will find the original Hero under their protective double glass dome, and they’ll note down the specifics for their inquirer.

Most countries will travel to compare their Hero (or whichever) to the original Archetype every couple of decades, to be sure that there aren’t any major deviations. To account for local taste, the Paris office will make some copies of the originals for different regions to establish their own archetypes.

I imagine it as wonderfully quaint and delightfully rooted in the physical world.

It’s also how we all agree on what a kilogram weighs. So there is that.

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