Dr. Kunkel’s teacher, Dr. Jung, believed that archetypes are blueprints of the basic human qualities we all share. The archetypes themselves are undefinable natural patterns or forces that shape life in all ages and places. They cannot be known directly, but archetypal themes and images appear in myth, fairy tales, dreams, and fantasies. We tend to think of ourselves as unique individuals, and to a great extent we are. But just as there are shared patterns that shape our physical existence, such as having two arms and legs, two eyes, ten fingers and toes, so there are underlying patterns that shape our psychic existence.
Dante was standing near the Ponte Vecchio, a bridge that crosses the Arno River in Florence. It was just before 1300… Dante saw Beatrice standing on the bridge. He was a young man, she even younger, and that vision contained the whole of eternity for him.Dante did not speak to her and saw her very little. And then Beatrice died, carried off by plague. Dante was stricken with the loss of his vision. She was the connection between his soul and Heaven itself, and from it the Divine Comedy was born.Six hundred fifty years later, during World War II, the Americans were chasing the German army up the Italian peninsula. The Germans were blowing up everything of aid to the progression of the American army, including the bridges across the Arno River. But no one wanted to blow up the Ponte Vecchio, because Beatrice had stood on it and Dante had written about her. So the German commandant made radio contact with the Americans and, in plain language, said they would leave the Ponte Vecchio intact if the Americans would promise not to use it. The promise was held. The bridge was not blown up, and not one American soldier or piece of equipment went across it. We’re such hard bitten people that we need hard bitten proof of things, and this is the most hard bitten fact I know to present to you. The bridge was spared, in a modern, ruthless war, because Beatrice had stood upon it.