Carl Jung and the Archetypes
By Adam Horne
Before Carl Jung left his prominent impression on the world of psychology, he was a small boy growing up in the Swiss village of Keeseville. During his youth, Jung was encircled by a well-educated family and began studying Latin at the age of six. This began a life long interested in language and literature. He studied modern and ancient languages, including Sanskrit. He grew into an introverted adolescent, with few close friends, a distaste for school and competition. For most of his youth (and later life) he had a capacity for very lucid dreaming and occasional visions.
Jung??™s first career choice was archeology, but that changed when he went to the University of Basel to study medicine. Here, while studying under famous neurologist Krafft-Ebing, he changed his field to psychiatry. Upon graduation, he began working at Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital in Zurich, under Eugene Bleuler, an expert on schizophrenia.
Carl Jung married Emma Rauschenbach in 1903; during this time he also began teaching at the University of Zurich. He met Freud in 1907 and they shared a close companionship until 1909. He retired from teaching in 1946, but didn??™t retreat from the public eye until his wife died in 1955. Carl Jung died on June 6, 1961, in Zurich.
Long before his death, and following the events World War I, Jung began his theory of personality. In his theory, he breaks the human psyche into three parts: The ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.
In Jung??™s theory, the ego is closely related to the conscious mind. The ego is broken into four functions, Thinking, Feeling, Sensation, and Intuition. All people can be categorized as one of these four types. The Thinker rationalizes with their intellect, using Sensation, sight and sound, to understand and respond to outside stimuli. The Feeler will use their heart and Intuition to rationalize the things happening to them and around them. Women mainly fall into the Feeler group, while men will be in the Thinker.
Personal unconscious refers to memories that can be easily brought to mind, or memories that have been suppressed. This personal unconscious is located on the border of the consciousness and contrasts with the collective unconscious.
Jung theorized that the collective unconscious is knowledge every individual in the human race shares, knowledge we were born with. The collective unconscious influences all of our experiences and behaviors, especially the emotional ones. Love at first sight, deja vu, parallels in myth and literature, dreams and fantasies, creative experiences shared by artists and musicians all over the world and in all times are all examples Jung used to prove the collective unconsciousness. How else could so many people fell, see, tell the same things through the ages if the collective unconscious weren??™t real
The best example of collective conscious would be a near-death experience. People of all ages, religious and cultural backgrounds share the same recollections after begin brought from a close encounter with death. Most tell of seeing a bright light at the end of a long tunnel and of seeing dead relatives and religious figures waiting for them. Most survivors also feel disappointment of leaving these joyous things behind and having to return to their bodies. It maybe we were built this way to view death in a pleasurable way, taking away some of the fear associated with dying.
Archetypes are what Jung called the contents of the collective unconscious. An archetype is an unlearned penchant to experience things in a specific way. The archetypes are not natural things, they are spiritual beliefs. Jung explained several archetypes including, the mother, the shadow and the persona.
The mother archetype is the most prominent of these archetypes as everyone had a mother and we have evolved into a society including others or mother substitutes. We are born needing our mothers for nutrition and protection and these needs continue through our lives. When ill, the first person we seek is our mother, when we accomplish something, we seek our mothers for approval. This archetype is so strong that even if a mother isn??™t present in our youth, we will project it on another, going as far as to create a fictitious mother. These projections may continue to be made unconsciously well into adulthood.
The mother archetype may also refer to Mother Earth, the biblical Eve or Mary, or the ocean. This projection may cause a person whose mother didn??™t satisfy the archetype in their youth to seek comfort in the church or spending time at sea.
The shadow archetype represent they aspects of sex and life in every person. These instincts stem from our ancient, animal-like pasts when our only concerns were to eat, survive and reproduce and before we grew self-conscious. The shadow archetype could be called the ???dark-side??? of the ego and the evil in any person is stored there, even though the shadow is amoral, neither good nor bad. This animalistic behavior of the shadow in us seems brutal, something we do not want to be in tune with, causing us to store the aspects of ourselves we don??™t like there. When people lash out in anger at others over land, property, even their food, they are tapping into the shadow.
Symbols of the shadow can be a snake, a dragon, monsters and demons. They can be represented guarding a pool of water, this pool being our collective unconscious.
The persona archetype represents the public image. The word persona comes from the Latin word for mask; so a persona is the mask we put on before we go out to face the world. It can also be used to hide ourselves from the world.
While most us the persona archetype to put on a good impression to the world, sometimes we project a false impression to manipulate people??™s beliefs and behaviors. These false impressions can be mistaken, even by ourselves, for our true nature and others will begin to believe we are what we pretend to be.
A part of the persona is the role we must play as either male or female. While most believe this role is determined only by physical gender, Jung believed we are all bisexual in nature. We begin as fetuses with undetermined sex organs, and only through the influence of hormones do we became male or female. In a social sense, we start this way as well and only through societies influences are we molded into men and women. Society says boys should do this and girls should do that, and that is what we do, minimizing the persona archetypes role in our lives.
The animus and anima are the two representations of the persona archetype. Animus is the male aspect present in the collective unconscious of women and the anima is the female aspect in the collective unconscious of men. T he anima may be personified as a young girl or a witch and usually spontaneous and intuitive. The animus may be seen as a wise old man or sorcerer, acting logical, rationalistic, or even argumentative.
The persona is the archetype most important for us to get in touch with as it is the archetype with which we communicate with the collective unconscious through and that is responsible with our love live.
A few other important archetypes are: The Father, symbolized as a guide or an authority figure to help us in our lives. The Hero archetype, a basic representation of the ego, which can frequently be seen battling the Shadow. This represents the battle between good and evil in all of us. Even though the Hero lacks intelligence, and is oblivious of the collective unconscious, it usually prevails over the Shadow in their battle. The Wise Old Man archetype is a form of the animus, seen as a guide for the Hero. The Animal archetype represents our connecting with the animal world.
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