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Visionary (Dreamer, Prophet, Seer--see also Guid
The Visionary archetype lets you imagine possibilities that are beyond the scope of your individual life and that benefit all of society. The Visionary brings into view what could be if certain choices are made, or what is inevitable given choices that have already been made. The Prophet proclaims a message associated with divine guidance, as in the Hebrew Prophets, some of whom also appear in the Quran. (Islam reveres both Jesus and John the Baptist as prophets). Both the Visionary and the Prophet engage their abilities in behalf of humanity rather than for personal use, but while many Prophets are rejected by the group they were sent to enlighten, Visionaries tend to be celebrated for their capacity to read what is just over the horizon.

The shadow Prophet or Visionary manifests as a willingness to sell one's visionary abilities to the high bidder, or to alter their vision to make it more acceptable to society. In extreme cases, tainted visions may lead entire societies into murderous or destructive rampages; then the Destroyer archetype may supersede the Visionary, as in the case of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

What Is a Visionary?

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This great soul was a visionary. What is a visionary? Visionaries are those rare and inspired individuals who see great promise and imminent potentials for human consciousness and culture that most of us haven't even begun to imagine yet. They are no longer merely living to get and to have for themselves, or tenaciously trying to preserve and protect what has already been. Visionaries are living for what has not yet occurred because their attention is riveted by the promise of the possible—that future is already radiant and alive in the field of their imagination. Because they experience that future—and feel its promise on a daily basis—they live in a state of perpetual discontent, simultaneously deeply inspired and ever-unsatisfied. How many of us have the courage and the heart to live that way—to live for the future like those great souls who have given rise to the higher values of our shared culture?

—Andrew Cohen

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