More than any other figure in popular culture, David Bowie embodied and personified androgyny* and the “Singularity Archetype** (see definitions of these terms below).” Androgyny is about far more than a gender ambiguous appearance, It is an emergent, evolutionary theme which I explore in my book and other writings about the “Singularity Archetype.” David Bowie mixed androgyny, with sci-fi motifs and themes in his music and some of his film roles, especially The Man who Fell to Earth.
Sci-fi books, movies, graphic novels, etc. are the richest source of contemporary mythology and emergent archetypes that reveal transformative forces at work in the collective unconscious of the species. A key motif in sci-fi is the androgynous, parapsychologically potent matrix-shifting mutant. Another aspect of the androgyne that David Bowie embodied was the shape-shifter.
As Bowie morphed from glam harlequin personas to the White Duke, etc. he personified the theme of a shape-shifting appearance with high ideoplasticitiy—an ability to wear inner psychic content on the outside of the body— an explosively emergent theme in the human collective with many evolutionary implications.
Instead of diluting and diminishing his archetypal role by doing a lot of interviews or otherwise being visible in public not in persona, he chose to be a bit secretive allowing the various fantasy roles he assumed, and the archetypal themes they embodied, to predominate in our imagination.
See my major work on androgyny, available free as online document, podcast or youtube:
Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom, Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring
A Reality Sandwich article introducing the Singularity Archetype:
Avatar and the Singularity Archetype
My book on the subject:
Crossing the Event Horizon—Human Metamorphosis and the Singularity Archetype
*My definition of:
Androgyny, Androgynous, Androgyne Androgyny refers to the integration of archetypal Masculine and Feminine qualities within a single individual. It is the sacred inner marriage or union of opposites, of yin and yang also known as the hieros gamos. Androgyny is an intrapsychic orientation and not necessarily related to physical appearance, gender preference and other attributes with which it is often confused. An androgynous person could look distinctly male or female, while an androgynous-looking person may not be androgynous. Similarly, bisexuality, an interpersonal orientation, is not necessarily a sign of androgyny. The androgyne represents a conscious fusion of archetypal masculine and feminine qualities, while the “hermaphrodite,” as Singer adapts the term, is a person where masculine and feminine are merely confused. Many people who are costumed in an androgynous way are actually hermaphrodites. In The Gnostic Gospel According to Thomas, Jesus defines androgynous wholeness: .”Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner and the above as the below, and when you make the male and the female into as single one, so that the male will not be male and the female (not) be female…then shall you enter (the Kingdom).”
**A brief definition and outline of the Singularity Archetype:
- The Singularity Archetype is a primordial image of human evolutionary metamorphosis which emerges from the collective unconscious. The Singularity Archetype builds on archetypes of death and rebirth and adds information about the evolutionary potential of both species and individual.
- A Composite Picture of how the Archetype Presents:
- A rupture of plane event occurs, usually threatening the survival of the individual and/or species. The event is a shock that disrupts the equilibrium of body/physical world and also individual/collective psyche. It is an ontological shock that will be viewed as the worst thing possible by individual/ collective ego. There is another rupture of plane which may actually be the same rupture as above but seen from a cosmic rather than a personal view. The shock is revealed to be a transcendent evolutionary event. The revelation of the transcendent aspect will often involve spiral motifs and unusual eyes and lights. Consciousness and communication metamorphose and with them core aspects—ego, individuality, connection to linear time, corporeality, gender identification, social order, etc.—- fundamentally transform. There is a vision or actualization of release from some or all limits of corporeal incarnation and the emergence of “glorified bodies” (often androgynous and shape-shifting) which have enhanced powers and various degrees of etherialization. More visual and telepathic modes of consciousness and communication emerge and this is part of a transformation of individuality into “Homo gestalt”—a new species where individual psyches are networked telepathically. The SA my occur as a dream, vision or fantasy about eschaton—an end point of the species.
- The SA may also be experienced and even actualized to various degrees by an individual through transcendent and/or anomalous experiences such as NDEs, UFO/abduction/close encounter experiences, kundalini and psychotropic episodes.
- As with encounters with all archetypes, individuals and groups will attach idiosyncratic material to it such as particular end dates and scenarios. But the SA cannot be located in linear time and is not reducible to a premonition of particular outcomes or predetermined futures. It could, however, be viewed as a “strange attractor,” a not fully formed pattern associated with the future that is affecting individual and species in past and present.
- Another way of defining the SA (in its collective form) is as a resonance, flowing backward through time, of an approaching Singularity at the end of human history.
- Some with a scientific background my object to this use of “singularity.” For them, singularity has a specific mathematical meaning: “In mathematics, and in particular singularity theory an Ak, where k ≥ 0 is an integer, describes a level of degeneracy of a function. The notation was introduced by V. I. Arnold.” But other definitions include:the quality of being one of a kind; “that singularity distinguished him from all his companions”
- strangeness by virtue of being remarkable or unusual
- Technological singularity refers to the hypothesis that technological progress will become extremely fast, and so make the future unpredictable and qualitatively different from today.
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_singularit For example, here is the blurb from the webpage for the movie version of Ray Kurzweil’s book The Singularity is Near: The Singularity is Near – The Movie Home “The Onset of the 21st Century will be an era in which the very nature of what it means to be human will be both enriched and challenged as our species breaks the shackles of its genetic legacy and achieves inconceivable heights of intelligence, material progress, and longevity. While the social and philosophical ramifications of these changes will be profound, and the threats they pose considerable, celebrated futurist Ray Kurzweil presents a view of the coming age that is both a dramatic culmination of centuries of technological ingenuity and a genuinely inspiring vision of our ultimate destiny.”
- Kurzweil, however brilliant, is a materialist and his view of the singularity is flattened and distorted by that perspective.