The Lover Archetype in Modern Men: Dan Bilzerian, The Ultimate Playboy as Addicted Lover / by Sam Abelow

Part One

The erotic instinct is something questionable. It belongs, on the one hand, to the original animal nature of man. On the other hand, it is connected with the highest forms of the spirit. But it blooms only when the spirit and instinct are in true harmony. If one or the other aspect is missing, then an injury occurs. Too much of the animal disfigures the civilized human being, too much culture makes a sick animal.

— Carl Jung

Faust: Just one more glimpse in that looking-glass! That woman’s image was magnificent!

Mephistopheles: No, no! Soon you’ll see the very model of beauty in solid human flesh. With that drink in your belly, you’ll think you’re seeing Helen of Troy in every woman you meet.

— Goethe, Faust, Part One

“He who can not be ruffled by contacts of the senses with their objects, who is calm and even minded during pain and pleasure, he alone is fit to attain everlastingness.”

— Bhagavad Gita 2:15

 “I honestly don't give a fuck about anything other than my cannabis company and my cat” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian, via instagram.com/danbilzerian

“I honestly don't give a fuck about anything other than my cannabis company and my cat” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian, via instagram.com/danbilzerian

Preamble

Rather than a total overview of masculine archetypes, this article will look specifically at the The Lover. This archetype is of special consideration because it had been repressed for many centuries and, as is seen in contemporary culture, is very active today in an adolescent manner. The archetype of The Lover is an outlier amongst the other central archetypes of the masculine. The objective of this article is to examine the role this archetype has in the male psyche, shedding light on the psychological reasons behind man’s passionate desire for and often degrading attitudes towards women. This will lead us into the domains in which the Lover is emphasized in current cultural trends. Examples will include: Instagram celebrity Dan Bilzerian and rap stars, who fulfill a pinnacle of sexual exploits and gratification of intense, superficial desires, as well as podcaster and spiritual teacher Aubrey Marcus, who champions polyamory.

Although the article is primarily directed towards straight, young men, and is markedly narrow in that way, people of all ages, genders and sexual orientations can find interest in the topics. The behaviors and attitudes of straight men are a contentious area of debate in Western culture today, and this essay will serve both as a critique, examination of contemporary men, as well as a vehicle towards realization and growth, a process of discovery through the lens of Jungian psychology. By utilizing this model of study — the Jungian method — certain moral conclusions will become apparent.

I. Summary and Introduction

It is the contention of Jungian psychologist and writer, Robert Moore, in his book King Warrior Magician Lover: Archetypes of the Male Psyche, that there has never been an epoch in which the “mature masculine” has been salient in the culture. And although the matriarchy was the initial foundation for humanity, it also did no represent a fulfillment human potential.

We will explore more deeply what is meant by “patriarchy” and “matriarchy” in the Jungian perspective throughout this series of essays. For now: Patriarchy, in the context of the article, refers to the general state of a culture in which the archetypal masculine is ascendant and the feminine is therefore lacking. Every individual, whatever their gender, contains both masculine and feminine characteristics in a varying degree of balance. In the Jungian view, the terms “patriarchy” and “matriarchy,” refer to a state of being in which one archetypal force — the masculine or feminine, respectively — is ascendent psychologically within the individuals which in turn make up a collective culture.

The archetypal feminine is the ground of all consciousness, and in a developed form is equated with “eros.” This archetype, often represented by The Great Mother, and the many feminine goddesses of all history, is expressed in instincts, feeling earthiness and the natural world. The symbols of the archetypal feminine, as The Great Mother include, the ocean, the moon, the breast and womb and the dragon.

The archetypal masculine is equated with the “logos”: It’s expressed in the intellect, reason, law, rules, boundaries, authority and culture. The developmental history of patriarchy is both a cultural and psychological phenomenon. It is most essentially represented by humankind’s increasing control over nature, development of the willpower and therefore the codices of rules that define a consistent authority and cultural system. The symbols of the archetypal masculine and logos include the sun, the sky king and sky hero, the phallus and eye.

For those who respond to it, this chart may help orient a perspective around the Lover archetype. Many of the motifs may not be intelligible now, but will all be elucidated in this series of essays. (Click to enlarge)

The purpose of this article is to clarify the ways in which the dominance of the archetypal masculine, resulting in a disregard for the archetypal feminine, affects men’s psyches. This includes their attitudes towards women, but also towards the feminine aspects of their own personalities, and therefore the progress of their personal development.

In the past few centuries and, even more dramatically, the last few decades, massive cultural shifts have taken place in the West. As Europe and America have become increasingly secular, many shifts in gender relations, identities and roles in society have occurred. Generally speaking, the many centuries of a Western culture which repressed the erotic, sensual, earthy and emotive side of experience has been broken through. There is now an uprising of the feminine and, correspondingly, of The Lover in male psyches. As religious and cultural restrictions recede, there is opportunity for new dimensions of the masculine to mature, but also for negative aspects, which had been restricted, to come forth. Through examination of The Lover, we will sort out what are infantile, or adolescent expressions of the archetype, and what are authentic, or mature aspects.

Both men and women are tasked with embodying the fullness of their personalities — accessing both masculine and feminine attributes. However, this article will focus on the ways in which men, both outwardly and on a repressed level, carry adolescent, immature views towards the feminine, affecting their own personality development as well as the interpersonal and societal dynamics with women. This will, in effect, somewhat reduce the masculine archetypes to male bodies, which is an oversimplification of the actualities. The use of theory and “typical” situations, as well as public examples, is a method of inquiry designed to uncover patterns of human behavior. It is important to keep in mind that each individual is a nuanced, unique instance and will have to use discretion and discernment in their own path of development. Because the public figures in this article have not been interviewed personally, the opinions are somewhat speculative and based on perceptions of what is available, published. However, these examples provide insight into contemporary trends, which, when treated with the Jungian lens, yield interesting results.

 “Leader of the fuckboys” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian, via instagram.com/danbilzerian

“Leader of the fuckboys” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian, via instagram.com/danbilzerian

II. Dan Bilzerian: The Addicted Lover

i. Who is Dan Bilzerian?

Dan Bilzerian is a mega Instagram celebrity. He is known for a lavish life. Especially, audiences are drawn to his consistent presentation of voluptuous women, whom he flaunts, as a modern American playboy. His internet persona has made him famous, even infamous, for wild adventurousness, endless sexual exploits, large parties, as well as a macho-interests like guns and weight-lifting. Many men admire him; they admit that, if they could, they would indulge themselves too — have sex with many enticing women without commitment, travel and adventure without restriction. Other men condemn him, labeling him superficial, or fake. They research and expose the fantastic tale of his success as false. The extreme wealth, detractors say, wasn’t achieved by high-stakes poker gambling alone; it was acquired through his financial criminal father. Either way, in open admiration or envious attacks, many men are mesmerized by his lifestyle. In many of these viewers, there is a part, either conscious or unconscious, that wishes they had what Bilzerian has. This is evident in looking through the comments on his Instagram, which boasts a massive 25 million followers.

There is always a trade-off as an individual's go towards one direction rather than another. And, certainly, as a behavior becomes increasingly extreme, the greater the deficit on the neglected end. The trade-off of a man who seems to have everything may not be clear. But, the ideals Bilzerian represents, as macho as they seem, are immature and therefore a detriment to the development of the personality.

ii. The Addicted Lover

“Roof was made for jumping” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian via instagram.com/danbilzeria

In an interview, Bilzerian said, “As a kid I wanted to be like rock stars. I wanted to be Tommy Lee.” It seems that he has never moved past this very early goal, a boy’s inclinations. He explains that now, “I have this life where I can live out my childhood dreams.” [1]

This infatuation and unceasing desire for sensual pleasure, endless adventure and the childish naivety in the philosophical underpinnings of his values and goals, is known in Jungian psychology as a pathological, or “shadow” aspect of The Lover Archetype — The Don Juan Type. Robert Moore refers to this same pattern, interchangeably, as aspects of the Addicted Lover.

“R&Z with my biz partner” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian via instagram.com/danbilzerian

In his chapter on The Lover, Robert Moore explains that, “The man under the influence of the Lover wants to touch and be touched. He wants to live out the connectedness he feels with the world inside, in the context of his powerful feelings, and outside, in the context of his relationships with other people. Ultimately, he wants to experience the world of sensual experience in its totality.” [2]

The Lover is active in a man who wishes to experience life as a sensual delight. He is a man with a rich social life, a connoisseur, an artist and, counter-intuitively, a mystic. However, “A man identified with the Addicted Lover asks: ‘Why should I put any limits on my sensual and sexual experiences of this vast world, a world that holds unending pleasures for me?’” [3] In this way, The Lover’s proclivities are taken to an extreme. And beneath his series of exploits, “The Addicted Lover is seeking ultimate and continuous orgasm, the ultimate and continuous high.” [4]

This tendency for the enjoyment of sensual pleasure can be sought not only through women, but through any sort of activity that activates the aesthetic appreciation of the senses. This would include smoking marijuana, fancy food, fashionable clothing, music and dance, the fetishization of guns, as well as throwing lavish parties and residing in extravagant houses, all of which Dan Bilzerian exhibits on his Instagram.

Some of these interests would be common to many well-rounded people, especially today as The Lover makes a resurgence in a secular culture. So again, this pleasure in the senses can be a positive aspect of The Lover, but only when taken to an extreme does it becomes pathological

Dan Bilzerian, in an interview with Larry King, spoke of how his big realization was that, “Life is more about set-up.” Bilzerian explained, “I wanted to set it up so that I could get laid without a bunch of conversations and dates.” [5] The reasons why a man would be so entirely consumed with the need for casual sex may seem conventionally obvious. Man has a biological instinct towards “hot” women. [6] In Los Angeles, where Bilzerian keeps a mansion, there’s access to large numbers of women who exaggeratedly fulfill this very basic desire. And the novelty never wears off, it could be assumed, because the instinctual desire is so powerful. On the surface, this is a decent explanation, but from a Jungian view, there is more to uncover.

Tellingly, podcast host Joe Rogan pressed to discover the “deeper side” of the celebrity playboy. It had been Rogan who had turned Bilzerian onto powerful psychedelics such as DMT. Bilzerian had a “Shaman-monk guy come over” to smoke DMT, but “he didn’t get much out of it.”

Then, Bilzerian tells a story of a time he had traveled to Puerto Vallarta and “Had this big villa on the edge of a cliff.” He recalls to Rogan with a grin, “We had all these chicks running around that we were banging the whole weekend.” But, having taken magic mushrooms, Bilzerian had an epiphany: “This is the greatest; This is the first time my dick doesn’t control me.”  He continued to recall how he thought, “This is so nice to just be able to relax and not even have to think about it. I have no desire to have sex right now.” Almost as soon as the insight crept in, he recoiled. “I took that as a personal challenge to see if I could have sex. So I fuck this girl for like forty minutes, on mushrooms. I didn’t enjoy it that much. At the end of it I thought, I had this opportunity where I was not consumed with having sex, and I completely ruined it for no reason.” Rogan, in a distinctly dry and disappointed tone, replies, “That’s hilarious.” [7]

As the Addicted Lover, Bilzerian has, through habitual reinforcement, patterned his mind to obsessively fixate on sex. Even while on a psychedelic, his mind is uninterested in other activities or thoughts. His relationship to his own inner world of creativity, interests, philosophy, spiritual are simply not available to him. In the Jungian perspective, this lack of depth is related to a fragile ego which cannot bare to encounter the inner world, the unconscious, characterized by the archetypal feminine. This is reflected in his attitudes towards women, but also in his shallow interests. The fragile ego is compensated for by a hyper-macho persona, which is either detached emotionally, coldly confident, or aggressive, and sometimes flagrantly abusive to those around him.

iii. The Mother Complex and the Don Juan

This Addicted Lover, as unattached to women as he is and as macho as he is, is dominated by the maternal feminine. Jungians refer to this as a “mother complex problem.” His inner world is almost completely inert, because the transformative, or dynamic aspect of the feminine is not available to him.

The Mother, as with all archetypes, “Represent[s] a psychological instance of the biological patterns of behavior, which give all living creatures their specific qualities. This dynamic component of the unconscious has a compelling character for the individual who is directed by it.” [8]

Behind the personal mother and, in fact, all women is the Mother archetype, a fundamental form of the archetypal feminine. Because the original state of man is unconscious, and therefore embedded in the feminine, this archetype has an elementary hold on the male psyche. At the core of the mother complex in every man’s psyche is this Great Mother and, is associated with the experience of infinite nurturing and polymorphous pleasure on the on hand, and a devouring, castrating force on the other. Either way, the Mother, in this aspect, is eternal, unending; she is a goddess rather than a human. In the search for the positive aspects, no single woman can fulfill a man who’s psyche is dominated by the mother complex. And a man consumed by this search for the ultimate orgasm, will inevitably be consumed by the negative pole of the elementary archetype.

The constant need to find a new ecstasy is rooted in the search for the Mother. The Addicted Lover will never find this in a real woman, because no single woman can fulfill the vastness of the archetype itself. “This is why he goes from one woman to another,” explains Robert Moore. “Each woman confronts him with her mortality, her finitude, her weakness and limitation, hence shattering his dream of finding the orgasm without end.” [9]

This Addicted Lover, the Don Juan type is far too entranced with the pleasures of the breast, of the infinite mother. In an infantile way, he remains fixated, unable to escape what he sees as “awesome” — the ceaseless novelties of pleasure. In this way, he confuses the chase of the infinitude of life with the ultimate goal, and in his endless searching becomes lost.

“Date night” — Photo by Dan Bilzerian via instagram.com/danbilzeria

In this compulsive searching, the mother complex keeps him detached from any single woman, as he is compelled to fleetingly go from one sexual experience to the next. Each sexy model offers a certain wonderful trait: the roundest bottom, the most fantastic breasts, the most stunning eyes, the most lovely touch. All of these combined are the Great Mother, the eternal goddess, of which no woman is “perfect” enough to encapsulate.

Interestingly, many men who do not have access, or cannot seduce women in this way, will collect pornography, compulsively masturbate and fantasize about women. Even though the outward behavior is different, the psychological situation is essentially the same — it is still the pathology of the Don Juan type, the infantile Lover.

Dan Bilzerian explains in an interview that he has had two long term relationships. He explains, “Girls get feelings. Not that I didn’t get feelings too. But, I was doing my thing, I was living like a rock star.” When asked if he would ever settle down, he said that “I don’t like to say that things are impossible. What if I meet a girl that is amazing in every way shape and form?” [10]

No single, human woman will ever fulfill this transcendent ideal. And in the inflation by which a man sees himself as god, deserving such a woman, he has actually bound himself to the Mother, the realm of the instincts. This has the effect of a “castration,” because it limits the “upper,” spiritual development of the personality, and sometimes to an untimely death, through reckless activity that the negative aspect of the mother complex compels. (We will return to this more in depth in Part Two of this essay).

Carl Jung explains:

“If the individual is to be regarded solely as an instrument for maintaining the species, then the purely instinctive choice of a mate is by far the best. But since the foundations of such a choice are unconscious, only a kind of impersonal liaison [is possible]. If we can speak here of a “relationship” at all, it is, at best, only a pale reflection of what we mean, a very distant state of affairs with a decidedly impersonal character.” [11]

What may initially seem like the ultimate freedom, that is from commitment, marriage, has a major downside, that is remaining in unconscious, instinctual relationship to the opposite sex.

“Here the relationship remains within the bounds of the biological instinctive goal, [the sex drive]. Since this goal is of a collective nature, the psychological link between [the man] and [woman] will also be essentially collective, and cannot be regarded as an individual relationship in the psychological sense. We can only speak of this when the nature of the unconscious motivations has been recognized. Seldom or never does [the love connection between man and woman] develop into an individual relationship smoothly and without crises. There is no birth of consciousness without pain.” [12]

The influence of the mother complex in the Don Juan type will continually keep a man from this process, binding him to the instinctual realm. So, although it may seem “manly” to have many women, the Don Juan, or playboy, remains psychologically — fittingly — a boy. In Jungian psychology this is called the puer aeternus, or eternal youth.

Marie Louise Von Franz, a brilliant, first-generation Jungian psychologist lectured on the subject. She recalled a Don Juan type client, who “Had been with any number of girls with whom he usually lived for a fortnight or three weeks before walking out on them. As soon as things became a bit too personal and too binding or too committing, he just walked off. He did not know, or had not realized, that this was an unsatisfactory way of behaving. He thought everybody behaved like that, that it was the way for a man to live. He was, in a way, completely innocent about this.” [13]

She explains that by detaching the emotional and psychic life from the sexual encounter, “The puer aeternus makes an artificial emotional barrier, separating what he is living from his real self. Life is incomplete [if it is limited] in a conditional way. To have mental reservation about it means that it is not lived at all.” [14]

With every woman that Bilzerian sleeps with there is a mental reservation. She functions as a tool, a mechanism by which he may relieve his addiction, but never as an emotional encounter.

In a later section of this article, we will return to the nuances of the mother archetype and how it relates the developing male personality. But for now, we will remain with the adolescent, immature male ego and the maternal influence on his psyche.

iv. The Undeveloped Relationship to the Anima

How the mother complex “keeps” a man from living fully and stalls the development of his personality may not be apparently obvious to modern readers. Many believe that the ultimate goal of life is “happiness,” and the seeking of pleasure is inherent in that pursuit. People today often mention high-divorce rates and the unhappiness of restrictive monogamy. Contemporary ideals, evident in the unoriginal utterances by many people in the collective society today, may make the the Don Juan type seem more desirable than pathological. However contentious committing to a single life-long partner is, or to what degree partying and sexual exploits are desirable, people do use pejoratives such as “shallow” or “superficial” to describe people who take it too far.

This “shallowness” points to the loss of what Jungian psychologists call “the anima” — or soul. To explain the anima concept: Because a man is consciously identified with his masculine ego, the unconscious compensates with an inner feminine figure — the anima. This inner personality usually takes on the image of a woman. He projects this aspect of his unconscious onto women he meets.

Jung explains on his quintessential chapter on the Anima archetype:

“The anima image, which lends the mother such superhuman glamour in the eyes of the son, gradually becomes tarnished by commonplace reality and sinks back into the unconscious, but without in any way losing its original tension and instinctively. It is ready to spring out and project itself at the first opportunity, the moment a woman makes an impression that is out of the ordinary.

“The love life of a man reveals the psychology of this archetype in the form either of boundless fascination, overvaluation, and infatuation, or of misogyny in all its gradations and variants, none of which can be explained by the real nature of the “object” in question, but only by a transference of the mother complex.

“It is evident in the the analysis of men’s psyches that the maternal feminine, the mother complex  holds the anima in a nascent form. Through the marriage relationship, the man gradually is able to encapsulate more of his unconscious personality, which he had initial projected upon the woman.” [15]

We will return to this process more in depth later, but suffice to say that a man who is unable to contact the anima fully, without the dominance of the mother, will have a primitive, or adolescent view towards women.

Historically, Western culture, which is dominated by the Logos — the archetypal masculine — has generally, diminished or disregarded the feminine and therefore degraded the role of women in society. So today, both the cultural influences and the psychological disposition of male psychology provides the framework for a narrow view of women.

In this context, “The feminine has three faces — she is other, whore or virgin. The face the individual man sees is a reflection of his anima.” [16]

The stereotypes of women as sex-objects is both a reflection of the male’s anima and a cultural reality. Women who unconsciously fulfill a man’s internal image of a woman-as-whore today may get butt or breast implants, wear certain clothing, and act in a particular manner. These women play into the projections of the adolescent male psychology, albeit for complicated reasons. Regardless, with every quick fuck the man becomes more entrapped within the instinctual realm of mother complex, and the Don Juan syndrome.

A man who’s anima is left in the adolescent stage, undifferentiated from the the instincts of the fundamental unconscious predisposition and, more often than not, from mass-culture may view women, “As ‘property,’ someone who exists to serve the man’s sexual need. In that case she is his whore, his profane prostitute. In most instances, such an attitude would be consciously denied; however, it regularly erupts in locker-room expressions, in the sexual harassment found in work situations, and in the privacy of the marriage bed. The repressed notion of woman-as-whore is frequently the manifest or hidden element in marital problems. The man who expects sexual gratification on demand from his wife, as his right and her duty, consciously or unconsciously envisions woman as his whore.” [17]

So here, the author of The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, Nancy Qualls-Corbett explains that many men exist in a psychologically undeveloped relationship to the anima, whether or not they flaunt it as openly as Dan Bilzerian.

A man with a primitive relation to the anima will not have access to developed feeling. This will manifest not only in a lack of commitment to any primary relationship, but also a void, a lack of access to a wide range of emotions and interests.

A lack of feeling in this way usually results in two scenarios: The man is rigid, overly rational, lacks vitality, has shallow values and attitudes informed by collective culture, or he suffers literal, or psychological death by living fast and free, flying so high and so hard, that he tumbles to his demise (rock climbing, partying, adventuring, or otherwise pressing his luck one too many times). The latter of this example, taken to its furthest extreme, will be seen in the Soundcloud Rappers of Part Two.

The inner dynamic and the outer expression are irrevocably linked. A man who experiences woman as “whore,” or “sex object” will, if he cannot seduce women, tend to be impotent and depressed, or otherwise a Don Juan type who cannot settle down. Both of these types have a fleeting and shallow relationship to the world and himself. Even an artist who is hyper-creative and has a certain vitality, if stuck in a primitive relationship to the anima, will tend to “use-up” a muse before ditching her. He will also be preoccupied with sex, eroticism and lasciviousness in his work. This is true in the examples of Pablo Picasso and Paul Gauguin.

The man with an adolescent Lover psychology feels himself, in a detached way, to be conquering women. He treats them as aesthetic and pleasure objects. Like Dan Bilzerian, he will rationalize and believe that both him and the woman receive pleasure from this arrangement, that they all benefit. It is a naive outlook, as he does see how much he is missing by cutting himself off from a feeling connection, which is defined by its exclusivity, specialness.

Conclusion

In part two of this essay, we will explore the deeper threads regarding man’s proclivity towards objectification of women, which is rooted in what Jungian’s refer to as a basic “fear of the feminine.”

In addition to Dan Bilzerian, we will introduce references to Hip Hop culture, specifically the young Soundcloud Rappers. This will lead us into other nuances of the Lover, specifically in the Dionysian aspect. All of this will allow for a deeper inquiry into the Lover’s relationship to the erotic, transformational aspect of the feminine and the anima.

Footnotes

1: Dan Bilzerian: Women appreciate my honesty https://youtu.be/pJhHGyVl9nY

2: Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. King Warrior Magician Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, pg. 122.

3. Ibid, pg. 131-132.

4. Ibid, pg. 136.

5. Larry King Youtube Channel. Dan Bilzerian on women, guns, and Trump https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCDvsjymcg0

6. Bret Weinstein explains on the Joe Rogan Rogan Podcast, The Science of Hotness vs. Beauty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvQrFBOyDs0

7. Joe Rogan & Dan Bilzerian on DMT, Psychedelics, Mushrooms, Acid/LSD and Perspective in Life https://youtu.be/m5A_fd-6Idg

8. Erich Neumann. The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype, pg. 4.

9. Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. King Warrior Magician Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, pg. 136.

10. Dan Bilzerian: Women appreciate my honesty. https://youtu.be/pJhHGyVl9nY

11. C.G. Jung, Collected Works Volume 17, Development of the Personality, Marriage as an Archetype, par. 329.

12. Ibid, par. 331.

13. Marie-Louise Von Franz. The Problem of the Puer Aeternus, pg. 124.

14. Ibid, pg. 147.

15. C.G. Jung, Collected Works Volume 9, Part One, Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, The Mother Complex, Concerning the Archetypes With Special Attention to the Anima, par. 140 - 141.

16. Nancy Qualls-Corbett. The Sacred Prostitute: Eternal Aspect of the Feminine, pg. 92.

17. Ibid, pg. 92.