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Archetype

Archetype

A central concept in the theory of personality developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

Archetypes are primordial images and symbols found in the collective unconscious , whichin contrast to the personal unconsciousgathers together and passes on the experiences of previous generations, preserving traces of humanity's evolutionary development over time.

Carl Jung began to evolve his theory of archetypes around 1910 while working with patients at the Burghölzli Mental Hospital. Noting the presence of universal symbols from religion and mythology in the dreams and fantasies of uneducated patients, who would have had no conscious way of learning them, he concluded that these images belonged to a part of the unconscious not derived from personal experience. Jung proposed that universal images and ideas can be passed from generation to generation like biological traits , and he formulated the concept of the collective unconscious, whose contents become conscious when called forth by appropriate experiences in one's life. In formulating his ideas about archetypes, Jung supplemented his clinical observations with a comprehensive study of myths and symbols that later included investigations into the religions and mythologies of preliterate peoples in Africa and the southwestern United States.

Jungian archetypes are like prototypes or molds that each person fills in differently depending on his or her individual experience. For example, although the term "mother" has certain universal connotations that come to mind for most people, the details of this archetype will be different for everyone. For Jung, archetypes were more than a theoretical constructhis interest in them was primarily therapeutic. He claimed that his patients improved when they understood the ways in which their difficulties were related to archetypes. There is no limit to the number of possible archetypes: they are as varied as human experience itself. Many take the form of persons, such as the hero, the child, the trickster, the demon, and the earth mother. Others are expressed as forces of nature (sun, moon, wind, fire) or animals. They may also occur as situations, events (birth , rebirth, death), or places.

Jung considered four archetypes, in particular, important enough to form separate systems within the personality . These include the persona, the anima and animus, the shadow, and the self. The persona is a person's public image, the self he or she shows to others ("persona" is derived from the Latin word for mask). The persona is necessary for survival, as everyone must play certain roles, both socially and professionally, to get along in society. However, management of the persona can cause emotional difficulties. A common problem occurs when a person comes to identify too strongly with the persona that he or she has created, a condition that Jung called inflation. Victims of this problem are often highly successful, accomplished people who have become so preoccupied with projecting a certain imageoften for professional advancementthat their lives become empty and alienated.

The anima and animus are the opposite of the personathey represent a person's innermost self. They are also distinguished by gender: the anima is a man's feminine side, and the animus is a woman's masculine side. Jung theorized that in order for persons of both sexes to understand and respond to each other, each sex had to incorporate and be able to express elements of the other, a belief that foreshadowed both the feminist and men's movements in the United States by over half a century. The shadow is associated with a person's animal instincts, the "dark side" that is outside the control of the conscious personality. However, it is also potentially a source of spontaneity, creativity , and insight. In contrast to the anima and animus, the shadow is involved in one's relationships to persons of the same sex. Perhaps the most important archetype is that of the Self, which organizes and unites the entire personality. However, rather than combining all the other archetypes or aspects of personality, the Self has a dynamic all its own, which governs both inner harmony and harmony with the external world. It is closely related to the ability of human beings to reach their highest potential, a process that Jung called individuation, which he considered every person's ultimate goal.

Further Reading

Hall, Calvin S. and Vernon J. Nordby. A Primer of Jungian Psychology. New York: Mentor, 1973.

Hopcke, Robert. A Guided Tour of the Collected Works of C. G. Jung. Shambhala; distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 1989.

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Archetype (Analytical Psychology)

ARCHETYPE (ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY)

The scientific hypothesis of the archetype was proposed by Jung as an innate formal element that structures the psyche at its most basic levels. In itself psychoid and therefore anchored in reality beyond the psyche (in "spirit" or nous, the non-biological mind), the archetype is responsible for coordinating and organizing the psyche's homeostatic balance and its programs for development and maturation. Essentially there is one master archetype, the self, which defines the skeletal form of human wholeness.

The archetype itself is not available directly to experienceonly its images and created patterns can become manifest and subject to experience by the psyche. These archetypal images are potentially unlimited in number and variety. They are embedded in the universal patterns of myth, in religious symbols and ideas, and in numinous experiences; they are also often represented in symbolic dreams and in altered states of consciousness. Within the psyche, archetypal images are linked to the (five) instinct groups, giving them direction and potential meaning. Like the archetype, the instincts are psychoid and rooted in reality beyond the psyche itself (in the physiological base of the psyche, the body). Archetypal images and instinctual impulses, united within the psyche, together make up the collective unconscious, the primordial psychosomatic basis of all psychic functioning.

Jung first used the term "archetype" in 1919. This was preceded by several years of speculation on primordial images and impersonal dominants. The implications of the archetypal hypothesis were developed by Jung himself and by his many students over subsequent decades in numerous case studies and investigations of myth, religion, and esoteric practices, especially alchemy. As the field of analytical psychology has grown and developed, the notion of the archetype and the role of archetypal images in psychological functioning and development have assumed a central role and have become the most distinctive feature of this school of psychoanalysis. Archetypal psychology, led by James Hillman, is a later offshoot of analytical psychology.

Jung himself found important connections between archetypal theory and the work of such ethologists as Konrad Lorenz who studied innate patterns of animal behavior and discovered innate releasing mechanisms. There are also parallels to be drawn between archetypal patterns and the innate mental schemas described in cognitive psychology. Recent findings of innate human patterns in neuropsychiatry and sociobiology also suggest confirmation of the hypothesis of the archetype. Some leading thinkers in analytical psychology have found close similarities between the theory of archetypal images and Kleinian notions of unconscious phantasy.

Criticisms of the archetypal hypothesis have come from many quarters. As an essentialist position, it has drawn fire from social constructionists who argue that human nature is infinitely malleable and defined more importantly by social and material conditions than by innate propensities. It has also drawn criticism from clinicians for whom the personal conflicts and traumas inflicted in childhood define the universe of therapeutic concern. For Jung and his adherents, however, the archetype has been seen as the source of healing and as the guide to potential wholeness of the individual.

Murray Stein

See also: Amplification (analytical psychology); Animus-Anima (analytical psychology); Imago; Mother goddess; Numinous (analytical psychology); Self (analytical psychology); Symbolization, process of; Synchronicity (analytical psychology); Transference/counter-transference (analytical psychology).

Bibliography

Jung, Carl G. (1935b [1954]). Archetypes of the collective unconscious. Coll. Works (Vol. IX, Part I). London: Rout-ledge & Kegan Paul

Neumann, Erich. (1955). The great mother: An analysis of the archetype. London: Routledge.

Stein, Murray. (1996). Practicing wholeness. New York: Continuum.

Stevens, Anthony. (1982). Archetypes: A natural history of the self. London: Routledge.

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archetype

archetype (är´kĬtīp´) [Gr. arch=first, typos=mold], term whose earlier meaning, "original model," or "prototype," has been enlarged by C. G. Jung and by several contemporary literary critics. A Jungian archetype is a thought pattern that finds worldwide parallels, either in cultures (for example, the similarity of the ritual of Holy Communion in Europe with the tecqualo in ancient Mexico) or in individuals (a child's concept of a parent as both heroic and tyrannic, superman and ogre). Jung believed that such archetypal images and ideas reside in the unconscious level of the mind of every human being and are inherited from the ancestors of the race. They form the substance of the collective unconscious. Literary critics such as Northrop Frye and Maud Bodkin use the term archetype interchangeably with the term motif, emphasizing that the role of these elements in great works of literature is to unite readers with otherwise dispersed cultures and eras.

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archetype

ar·che·type / ˈärk(i)ˌtīp/ • n. a very typical example of a certain person or thing: the book is a perfect archetype of the genre. ∎  an original that has been imitated: the archetype of faith is Abraham. ∎  a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology. ∎  Psychoanalysis (in Jungian psychology) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious. DERIVATIVES: ar·che·typ·i·cal / ˌärk(i)ˈtipikəl/ adj.

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archetype

archetype A hypothetical ancestral form in which all the basic characteristics of a taxonomic group occur, although they are not specialized in any one direction. Thus the modern primitive mollusc Neopilina is perhaps close to the molluscan arche-type.

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archetype

archetype XVII. — L. archetypum — Gr. arkhétupon, sb. use of n. of adj. ‘first moulded as a model’, f. arkhe- (var. of arkhi-) + túpos model, TYPE. Cf. F. archétype.

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archetype

archetype an original which has been imitated; (in Jungian theory) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.

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Archetypes

Archetypes: see MYTH.

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"Archetypes." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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archetype

archetypegripe, hype, mistype, pipe, ripe, sipe, slype, snipe, stripe, swipe, tripe, type, wipe •guttersnipe • bagpipe • standpipe •tailpipe • drainpipe • pitchpipe •windpipe • hornpipe • blowpipe •stovepipe • hosepipe • soilpipe •pinstripe • archetype • logotype •phenotype • linotype • Monotype •electrotype • daguerreotype •subtype • stereotype • collotype •genotype, stenotype •prototype • sideswipe

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