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The Faithful Sinner

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Sometimes, the ideas for these articles bang around inside me like unlit fireworks until I finally get the opportunity to set them free. Even though I feel like I’m about to burst, I love it when that happens. Other times, like today, I have to do some digging around in the dirt, (i.e. the internet), to find my way. And what I witness in “the cloud” never ceases to amaze me.

By now, I should know that there is an online forum for everything from apple picking to zebra-stripe counting. Alright, I’m not sure about that last one, but it fits with the whole A-Z concept. But, did you know that there is actually a forum for people who believe that Dave Matthews is the devil? Seriously, there is a message board dedicated to people who think that seeing a Dave Matthews t-shirt, or hearing someone sing DMB songs, will ominously alter the course of their day, and in some cases, their entire lives. I can’t tell you the link to this site because I instinctively blocked it from my browser after perusing it, but I promise you, it exists.

So, what can we make of this? On one level, we could chalk it up to the fact that some people are just plain crazy. Perhaps, these are the same unfortunate souls who caused such long lines at the local gas station on Saturday because they realized that both they, and their empty gas tanks, were, in fact, still in existence. But delusions aside, the reality that Dave is able to draw such strong emotions from people speaks to the level of energy that he emits into the ethos.

In psychology, we call figures with such enormous pull, archetypes. An archetype is a universal energy that takes the form of a person, place, or thing that can be understood across time, space, and culture. Often showing up in myths, fairy tales, and stories, these “larger than life” entities connect us with parts of ourselves that we may otherwise neglect. Although we each have pieces of every archetype within us, certain ones are more active at different times in our lives. For example, traveling across Europe after college connects us with the wanderer within, while having a baby relates us to our inner mother.

For whatever reason, famous people often become associated with a given archetype. To use the above examples, the late Steve Irwin, (aka the Crocodile Hunter), exemplifies the qualities of the wanderer, while Mother Theresa exudes the mother archetype. And Dave, well, he’s the Dave archetype. That is, someone who is extremely talented, funny, smart, lyrical, politically savvy, and charitable; to name a few things. But above all, Dave has a quality about him that allows others to project what they are needing to onto his personality. Perhaps that’s why he’s seen as everyone from a God to a devil, with many more in-between.

Or maybe, it all boils down to love, because we all know that indifference, rather than hate, is the opposite of love. Yes, even in the case of possibly insane, Dave-demonizing bloggers, I say we just look for the love in there.

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self