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This month’s reading list journeys into the realms of wonder and discovery. From the fantasy-drama film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to the intricate compositions of Julie Mehretu's abstract paintings, each tale unfolds with emotional depth and intrigue. We explore the blurred boundaries of reality and the virtual in Refik Anadol's immersive digital installations and uncover the audacious adventures of women sailors in "She Captains" by Joan Druett. The search for meaning and purpose in Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild" and the explorer’s gaze in "Ceylon of the Early Travellers" by H. A. J. Hulugalle. The iconic adventures of Indiana Jones, Alice in Wonderland, and Tintin, and businesses channelling the spirit of exploration like Airbnb, SpaceX, and Red Bull



Archetype → Explorer

Rasa → Adbūtham


February 2024

Artistic expressions channelling archetype in rasa

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild” is a 2012 American fantasy-drama film directed, co-written, and co-scored by Benh Zeitlin. The film follows a young girl named Hushpuppy as she navigates life in a fictional Louisiana bayou community called the Bathtub. Through Hushpuppy's perspective, viewers experience a sense of wonder and awe at the beauty and complexity of the natural world. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a quest for meaning and purpose in the face of adversity. Hushpuppy and the residents of the Bathtub grapple with existential questions about their place in the universe and their role in shaping their own destinies.

  • Julie Mehretu’s abstract paintings delve into themes of globalization, urbanization, and identity, crafting intricate compositions reminiscent of maps and cityscapes. Through layers of geometric shapes and symbols, her work evokes wonder and intrigue, prompting viewers to explore its depths. Despite their abstract nature, Mehretu’s pieces convey emotional depth, inviting contemplation on themes of history and human experience embedded within the layers of meaning and symbolism.

  • Refik Anadol employs data-driven algorithms and machine learning to craft immersive digital installations, pushing perceptual boundaries. Anadol blurs distinctions between reality and the virtual, prompting viewers to reconsider their understanding of existence. His pieces often integrate technology with nature, showcasing the interconnectedness of human creativity and the natural world through digital and organic synthesis.

Published ideas of archetype in rasa

  • "She Captains" by Joan Druett uncovers the overlooked tales of audacious women, from warrior queens of ancient times to influential shipowners navigating the Northwest Passage. With vivid storytelling and meticulous research, Druett brings to life their remarkable adventures and challenges, offering a fresh perspective on maritime history. Celebrating the indomitable spirit of women who defied the odds to chart their course on the high seas, this captivating book challenges traditional narratives of exploration and adventure.

  • The non-fiction book, Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer, follows the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who gives up his possessions and savings to travel across North America and live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. Through McCandless's story, Krakauer invites readers to reflect on the human experience and the search for meaning and purpose in life.

  • "H. A. J. Hulugalle's book "Ceylon of the Early Travellers" is a collection of letters and notes related to the historical and cultural landscape of Sri Lanka through the accounts of early travellers to the island. These accounts offer firsthand observations, impressions, and experiences of the island as seen through the eyes of explorers, adventurers, merchants, and missionaries. Readers are transported to a bygone era, experiencing the island's beauty and biodiversity through the eyes of an outsider. Through the travel narratives, readers gain perspectives on the complexities of colonialism, cultural exchange, and the impact of external influences on Sri Lankan society.

Characters channelling archetype in rasa

Channelling the archetype in rasa for business

The defining power of the Sage is intelligence. The Sage explores the world and themselves through information, knowledge, and understanding. Their core motivation is truth. In stories, the Sage is often portrayed as a wise mentor or guide, offering profound wisdom and guidance.


They say information is power, but when you’re a savant of truth you know that information without knowledge only leads to the paralysis of indecision. They say knowledge is wealth, but when you’re a savant of truth you know that it means nothing without the understanding to apply it to life’s complexities. Understanding is the key to opening any door, but when you’re a savant of truth you know that even understanding only gets you so far. Without truth, you have no compass. Without truth, you have no reason. Truth is supreme. Truth, alone, will set you free.


Central to the Sage archetype is the practice of introspection and observation. Sages are known for their contemplative nature, spending time to analyze and understand matters whether it’s work, life or spirituality. Through this tendency to dissect everything, those channeling Sage archetype are never short of insights. The Sage archetype is not limited by age or gender; it resonates with any entity that has a reservoir of know-how and insight from their analyses, observations and research. Whether through scholarly pursuits, spiritual practices, or life experience, those embodying the Sage archetype are revered for their breadth in knowledge, thorough understanding in their field of expertise and the ability to simplify complexities.

The Sage is one of the twelve archetypes of the universally recognized patterns of the human psyche as theorized by Carl Jung— the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology. We use them in our story design process. We created a more detailed guide to understand archetypes as a story design tool; it’s recommended as a supporting read to understand why Jungian archetypes provide a great framework to typify business personas in story design.

In this short guide focusing on the Sage archetype, we cover:

  • Businesses channelling the Sage

  • Sage stories

  • Is the Sage always old?


Businesses channeling the Sage

When the Sage is channelled by a business, it embodies qualities like wisdom and knowledge as well as being a voice of ethics connected to their work. Sage businesses also demonstrate a sense of authority that is quite different to that of the Ruler archetype; the authority of the Sage is intellectual and comes through demonstrating deep knowledge, expertise, and a commitment to sharing valuable insights with its consumers. Whether it's through thought leadership content, educational resources, or advisory services, Sage businesses establish themselves as trusted sources of wisdom, insight, and guidance, offering valuable perspectives and solutions to its consumers to help them make informed decisions.


Once, we helped a Colombo based financial securities group with a dominant Sage archetype to communicate their brand story within their corporate space. Ideas like the difference between knowledge and understanding and the importance of digging deeper in search of truth were central to this brand story told through space


With truth being a core persuasion of the Sage, integrity and ethics are fundamental principles for a business channelling this archetype. Sage businesses operates with honesty, transparency, and a commitment to ethical business practices; they value integrity over expedience, prioritizing long-term relationships and trust-building. By upholding high moral standards, the Sage businesses tend to cultivate a reputation for reliability, credibility, and authenticity.

Providing guidance is natural to the Sage. We’ve often noticed Sage archetype brands offering guides, mentorship programs, coaching workshops, or personalized consultations to their audiences.


In our own business, the Sage is the second most dominant archetype after the Creator. The Sage archetype comes into play in our love for rationalising the creative process through a methodology and our insistence on creating frameworks to start all projects (to the point our clients joke about it). We also practice 100% transparency in our fees and costings; We share a complete breakdown of each and every task required to complete an order. This comes as part of our costing process; it is discussed with prospective clients before activating work. In the spirit of full transparency, we share the time it takes to complete each task and respective our profit margins. We are open to alternative forms of payment, such as barter, and digital currency with long-term clients. See the Public Works brand articulation framework that unpacks how this archetype is channeled in our business. 


Some businesses naturally channel the Sage archetype; like educational institutions and online learning platforms focused on imparting knowledge and wisdom, such as universities, training academies, and e-learning platforms. Consulting firms and advisory services that provide expert guidance and strategic insights to businesses and individuals also embody the Sage archetype, offering solutions based on expertise and wisdom. Similarly, healthcare providers and wellness centers that prioritize holistic well-being and offer evidence-based treatments and advice resonate with the Sage archetype, as they aim to empower individuals with knowledge to make informed decisions about their health. Additionally, publishing houses, libraries, and media outlets that curate and disseminate information, literature, and thought-provoking content embody the Sage archetype by serving as repositories of knowledge. Spiritual organizations, meditation centers, and life coaching services that facilitate inner reflection, personal growth, and spiritual enlightenment also naturally align with the Sage archetype, guiding individuals on their journey toward self-discovery and drawing inner insights.

1901, Jiddu Krishnamurti. Public Domain. This childhood image of philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti is a great representation of the youthful Sage. Despite the obvious innocence, a mind of deep introspection is evident in the thoughtful eyes of young Krishnamurti. Further into this guide, we tackle the question of whether the Sage is always old.

When we worked with a new school entering the Sri Lankan education market with a Sage archetype in its persona mix, we found it a natural channel for the broad spectrum of knowledge the college aimed to offer its students. The Sage archetype was a key determiner of the name, strapline and brand statement that we created for this school because its unusual learning culture and far-reaching education were the most powerful USPs of the brand. We created a brand name that hinted at the spark of intellectual curiosity that drives the Sage while the strapline and brand statement were designed to give a more serious view into the breadth and depth of the learning experience at the college.


Sage stories

One of the most popular story types associated with the Sage, particularly in the context of a business embodying this archetype, is the ‘journey towards understanding,’ story arc. This narrative follows the trajectory of a business on a quest for wisdom, knowledge, and discovery. In this story, the business could be the seeker of the story or the mentor offering guidance to its audience. 

Thought leadership is another popular and effective Sage story type; these stories help to reveal the trailblazing and visionary aspect of the Sage through groundbreaking perspectives that shape the future of their field. These stories showcase the Sage's expertise, foresight, and ability to anticipate trends and developments, inspiring others to embrace new paradigms and approaches. Narratives offering inspirational insights are great at building communities around a Sage brand. They help to uplift and motivate audiences, offering words of clarity, wisdom, and empowerment in the face of adversity. These stories draw upon the timeless wisdom of the Sage to provide guidance, comfort, and voice of reason and lucidity amidst uncertainty. Stories that delve into profound truths, those offering deep insight or unusual knowledge also favour the Sage archetype. These narratives allow the audience to see the understanding,  thinking and know-how that underpins the Sage business. Good visual storytelling with on-point symbolism and semiotics are a must for Sage archetypes. When it comes to written stories, meticulous language and rich uses of literary devices like symbolism, allegory, and metaphor, lend to the Sage archetype’s affinity for reflection and contemplation, allowing audiences to appreciate the business’ intellect and thinking. 


When we worked with a Colombo retailer channelling the Sage, we brought in the archetype’s wisdom to bring coherence to the chaos when COVID-19 shut down the world through a short and inspiring story offering clarity. We often leveraged the Sage’s ability to view things from unusual perspectives to bring out interesting facets of their products; like the allure of an all-black saree or finding parallels between Sri Lanka’s soil composition and the colour curation of a series of stoles.


When appropriate, we recommend some Sage businesses to include ‘How-to stories’ in their communication plans; these are stories that provide practical guidance and actionable advice with step-by-step instructions, tips, and strategies for achieving specific goals or overcoming obstacles, demystifying complex concepts and making them accessible to a broader audience. Whether it's mastering a new skill, navigating a difficult situation, or achieving personal growth, these stories serve as practical guides for success and help the Sage business build stronger ties with the audience.


Is the Sage always old?

We don’t think so. While the Sage is often depicted as an old, wizened figure and there are strong perceptions about this aided by pop culture, it’s an archetype with a relevance that extends beyond age and outward appearances. In our experience in making commercial stories, the Sage can also manifest in middle-aged or youthful, fresh, and intellectually vibrant personas. These younger Sages embody a contemporary understanding of wisdom, blending traditional knowledge with innovative insights and cutting-edge thinking. They harness the power of technology, social media, and digital platforms to disseminate knowledge, connect with audiences, and spark meaningful conversations. 


Get a quick snapshot of how we visually interpreted the young Sage brand persona from these two pages drawn out from a wider brand guide.


A young Sage may lack the same depth of experience as the old, wizened Sage that we typically associate with this archetype; but the young Sage compensates with fresh perspectives, innovative ideas, and a willingness to challenge conventional wisdom. They readily embrace new cultural trends, and emerging paradigms, infusing their teachings with a sense of youthful dynamism and relevance. Young Sage brands are more adaptable and open-minded, willing to experiment with new approaches, embrace uncertainty, and evolve with the times. They leverage their agility and flexibility to respond quickly to changing circumstances and address the evolving needs of their audience. Older Sages command respect and authority by their age, experience, and wisdom. They exude a sense of gravitas and credibility that comes from years of dedication to their craft. Young Sages, on the other hand, establish rapport and connection with their audience through relatability, authenticity, and shared experiences. They speak the language of their generation, leveraging social media, pop culture references, and informal communication styles to engage with younger audiences on their own terms. We’ve also noticed that young Sages often have a broader range of interests and a multidisciplinary approach to knowledge. They draw connections across diverse disciplines, synthesizing insights from various sources to provide holistic perspectives and innovative solutions to complex problems.


When we created a story for a talented young artist with a secondary Sage archetype, we highlighted the significance of his noesis to his art, particularly in highlighting how he draws inspiration from diverse disciplines like architecture. In this story, designed to communicate his artistic vision to museums, curators, buyers, and media, the Sage aspect of the persona complemented the Creator. In comparison, this story was designed for a senior artist with over forty years of experience in the art world to channel her secondary Sage archetype supporting the Creator; our approach was different.


Does your business leverage its knowledge, expertise, and work ethics? You may have a dominant Sage archetype. To find out how we can tell your commercial stories, get in touch.

In society, rebels have played important roles as catalysts for change—both good and bad. Their willingness to question and challenge the status quo has been instrumental in the evolution of political, social and cultural ideas. The Rebel archetype, as conceptualized in Jungian theories, represents the aspect of an individual's psyche that seeks to challenge established norms, rules, and authority. This archetype is often associated with the need for individuality, autonomy, and asserting agency.


Rebellion is not a rejection of order, but a timely storm for a higher order. Every Rebel is an eye of a storm; a soldier of an uphill battle chosen by themselves alone. Agents of change and children of time, the Rebel archetype is driven by the right to shape their own existence and renew the world they inhabit, triggering fundamental changes to the communal course and systems in place.


“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself, " said Rudyard Kipling, which we think accurately captures the driving desire of the Rebel archetype.

The Rebel is one of the twelve archetypes of the universally recognized patterns of the human psyche as theorized by Carl Jung— the Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology. We use them in our story design process. We created a more detailed guide to understand archetypes; it’s recommended as a supporting read to understand why Jungian archetypes provide a great framework to typify business personas in story design.

In this short guide focusing on the Rebel archetype, we cover:

  • Businesses channelling the Rebel

  • Rebel stories

  • Why Rebels better walk their talk


Businesses channeling the Rebel

Businesses and individuals embodying the Rebel archetype may be inclined to resist conformity, challenge existing systems, and champion unconventional ideas. They strive to assert their identity. In businesses, the Rebel archetype can come about in various ways, from organisations bringing fairer forms of commerce to brands that challenge conventions and disrupt their industry.

In our client circle, the Rebel archetypes are often enterprises focused on social impact and sustainability. Rather than bold, disruptive expressions of rebellion, these types of Rebels tend to wage quiet revolutions, gently changing societal norms and working towards positive change by being the change themselves. Our other most common Rebel clients are fashion and lifestyle brands and retailers. These companies challenge fashion norms, embrace counter-culture aesthetics, and promote individual expression or revolutionize traditional retail models, such as online marketplaces or subscription-based services, embodying the Rebel. In the tourism industry, we’ve worked with Rebel ventures that create alternative living arrangements, such as nomadic co-living communities, challenging traditional ideas of hospitality, holidaying and residence.


One of the most interesting Rebel archetype brands we worked with was an organization investing in creative capital to fund micro-collectives of eco-conservationists in Sri Lanka. They commissioned us to create a story that drew parallels between the rare melanistic black leopard native to Sri Lanka and the environmental activists whose influence goes a long way despite being a few. We created this story with a written component and a T-shirt print that captures the quiet determination and goal-driven nature behind the Rebel.


We’ve observed many tech startups embody the Rebel archetype by challenging established norms and introducing radical technologies or business models. Businesses in advertising, marketing, and design also often embrace the Rebel archetype, pushing creative boundaries and challenging traditional approaches to communication. Arts, music, and cultural industries are also those naturally embracing the Rebel archetype by pushing against conventional norms. Alternative and independent media outlets that provide non-mainstream perspectives or reveal difficult and often political information embody the Rebel archetype with ease. The Rebel is also quite inherent to the startup culture and emerging industries, like space exploration or alternative energy, because they break new ground.

Lesser known Rebels are encountered in the alternative health and wellness industry, promoting unconventional approaches to well-being. Businesses that promote alternative education methods and challenge the traditional schooling system are also unusual but surprisingly common examples of the Rebel archetype. Restaurants or food ventures that push the boundaries of traditional cuisine, incorporating unusual ingredients or unorthodox culinary norms, align with the Rebel archetype’s nonconformity too. Companies that explore unconventional applications of blockchain technology or cryptocurrency challenging traditional financial systems may embody the Rebel archetype in the world of finance and technology. Businesses focusing on unconventional transportation methods, such as personal air travel or hyperloop technology, may align with the Rebel archetype by challenging traditional modes of transportation.

In the last five years, we’ve also observed Rebel brands in ventures involved in psychedelic therapy or wellness, exploring unconventional approaches to mental health and well-being, and companies that provide tools and resources for individuals to engage in biohacking or experiment with DIY biology challenge. These examples showcase businesses that go beyond typical industry practice, challenging norms in diverse and unexpected ways.

The character Janice, from 1971 Bollywood film ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, broke through cultural barriers in South Asia and personified the zeitgeist of the 1970s, as a rebellious, pot-smoking nymphet played by actress Zeenat Aman. See this print story that we created to portray this feminine Rebel iconic to South Asia.

The Rebel is not an easy archetype to channel for a business. Even in our client circle, we have very few Rebel archetype businesses. We think this is precisely because of the difficulty of channelling the Rebel without getting affected by the flipside of this archetype. Because the Rebel usually doesn’t appeal to the mainstream; the nonconformity of the Rebel doesn’t do any favours when it comes to winning a mass market. Provocative ideas and campaigns by the Rebel would often raise eyebrows and even attract backlash from traditional mindsets. Unorthodox ways that Rebel companies choose to do business are often met with suspicion or apprehension by most users at first glance. However, these very characteristics that make it challenging for the Rebel archetype businesses to appeal to the masses usually help them to win over niche markets that value their radical approaches. When we helped a fashion business with a Rebel archetype to shape its story and brand name, we recommended that they focus on the niche audience of nomadic travellers and sustainable consumers who would appreciate their unusual way of doing business without a retail store.


Rebel stories

Companies embodying the Rebel archetype can benefit from narratives that emphasize their strengths. For example, we’ve often seen Rebel brands use underdog triumph stories to great effect; these are usually crowd pleasers if the story is constructed well to demonstrate how the company overcame challenges, adversity or being underestimated by seasoned competitors, to ultimately achieve success against the odds. Radical product or service offers are also great Rebel stories. These not only add to the brand legacy, but serve as direct marketing and selling stories highlighting the brand's groundbreaking or disruptive products, services, or ideas that challenge the status quo and change up the industry. These stories help position the business as a trailblazer.

Among our favourite Rebel stories are those that utilize the outsider perspective that is somewhat unique to this archetype. Emphasizing the brand's outsider or unconventional perspective, distancing itself from mainstream thinking and offering a unique viewpoint, these stories bring weight to the uniqueness of the business adding value and interest to what they do.


When we work with Rebel brands that appeal to audiences through their counterculture identity, we help them create stories that bring out this aspect. For a Colombo-based design educator who has a younger student audience that gravitates towards its secondary Rebel archetype followed by the Creator, we recommended stories that capture the unique viewpoints and freshness common to both. In promotional stories and even within their space, the Rebel was a supporting aspect of their brand persona to bring out the unique thinking that this school promised to cultivate in its students. 


Stories on personal or group empowerment are probably the most widely seen Rebel stories focusing on finding strength and encouraging customers to break free from societal expectations to embrace their beliefs and uphold their dignity. Rebel archetype companies can also use these stories to offer empowerment to audiences, encouraging customers to express themselves boldly and authentically or let go of old habits or pointless norms.

One of the trickiest story types closely connected to the Rebel archetype are narratives that showcase the brand as a challenger to established authorities, whether it's in the industry or the broader socio-cultural context. Whether it’s by challenging the current system directly or by aligning with countercultural movements, these stories can be told from the perspective of rebellious subcultures or alternative lifestyles, connecting with consumers who identify with non-mainstream values or welcome systemic change. These stories can sometimes upset or alienate certain segments of your audience and need to be handled with care. However, when a company is channelling the Rebel archetype, the backlash is almost always expected; there will most likely be some groups who don’t agree with the brand perspective, therefore being prepared with scripts and respectful responses to firmly maintain your viewpoints or politely accept mistakes is always a good idea for a Rebel business.


Rebel archetype stories tend to be inspiring, evoke heroism, and even bring on a rush of adrenaline with a sense of thrill. But, not all Rebel stories need to trigger those emotions. One of our Rebel archetype client businesses was aspiring to change the system by eliminating the long chain of middle agents in exporting coconut-based products. The delivery of this story was not the usual adrenaline-rush Rebel story; it’s a story built around the optimistic view of the changes they want to create in how food makers and consumers connect. For another Rebel brand that we worked with—a popular art festival—the messaging required to communicate the issues they wished to confront as much as inspiration for the upcoming festival; see how we brought this out with a mini script designed to trigger an initial emotion of apprehension, culminating with wonder.


Why Rebels better walk their talk

There’s a saying about rebellions; that you must do them all the way because doing a revolution halfway is a sure way to get killed. This is true for Rebel businesses as well. Going halfway with an archetype like the Rebel is a sure way to get annihilated in the market and have your audience disenchanted.

Much of the Rebel archetype’s appeal has to do with being true to their cause and the perceived sincerity of its defiance against stagnation and tradition. Consumers are drawn to brands that really stand for something, and in turn, inspire them to believe in something too. With that kind of appeal, Rebel brands must embody and conduct their values throughout their business practice. When brands claiming the Rebel archetype fail to ‘walk the talk’ it can lead to disastrous consequences, and we’ve seen it happen.

Authenticity is crucial for building trust with consumers. If a brand presents itself as a Rebel but fails to back up its claims with real actions or meaningful values, consumers will perceive it as disingenuous. Trust is easily eroded when there's a perceived gap between the brand's stories and its actual behaviour; this is why we insist on stories that accurately reflect the operations and methods of a business, especially when it comes to Rebel archetype businesses who will naturally attract more scrutiny and scepticism from a wider audience. The audience of a Rebel archetype business often tends to be loyalists who appreciate the brand’s sincerity and credibility. If a brand's rebellious narrative is seen as a mere marketing strategy without substance, it can result in a complete loss of credibility with this kind of audience, often leading to consumers voicing their dissatisfaction through social media, boycotts, or negative reviews. Perhaps there’s no better example than this terrible Pepsi ad that became famous for all the wrong reasons; it was withdrawn due to widespread criticism from an outraged audience.

Beyond the backlash and loss of audiences, not being authentic in stories is a loss of a great opportunity. All Rebel brands have the potential to bring about positive change and change in their industries. When brands fail to live up to their rebellious image, they miss the opportunity to make a meaningful impact and differentiate themselves from competitors. Inauthenticity within a brand also affects the morale of employees and internal stakeholders leading to dissatisfaction and disengagement internally.


When the Berlin artist The Wa visited Sri Lanka, Goethe Institut Colombo commissioned us to create a story documenting his work and experience on the island. The Wa is very much the Rebel archetype and a very authentic one at that. Interviewing him and watching him work with local artists, it was evident that The Wa deeply believed in the power of art as a medium of revolt. This story was created to capture The Wa’s authentic Rebel archetype, demonstrating how he not only lives his everyday rebellion but also inspires other artists to do the same.


Ultimately, for brands embodying the Rebel archetype, staying true to what they believe in is essential for maintaining the trust, credibility, and loyalty of consumers. Failure to do so can result in significant reputational damage and a loss of the very customer base the brand sought to attract. This is why Rebels, more than anyone else, better walk their talk.

To find out how we can tell your Rebel brand stories, get in touch.

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