Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Carl Jung – The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious – What are Archetypes

one of the central concepts employed by Carl Jung in his "The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious", and one of his more famous ideas in general, it that of archetypes. Archetypes are according to Jung a collection of emotionally charged concepts of forms which are universal in their amorphous shape and more specific with the content that every culture assigns them with. The deeper you go in your psychoanalytical inquiry of a certain archetype the more it depersonalizes and you eventually reach universal human meanings. For Jung, mental problems do not start nor end with one's specific personality or biography, for they originate in places that are outside the individual.

Jung holds that the process of projection is the way through which archetypes can be identified and revealed. Projection places unwanted mental content such as memories, fantasies, desires and feelings with outside objects in order to get rid of them. Before modern times, Jung holds, humans were projecting their hopes and fears on to the gods which serves as objects for projection.

For example, if I say about someone that "he is a real monster" what I am in actual fact referring to is some demonic aspect of my own unconscious (for Jung – my "shadow" archetype). For Jung the shadow archetype is the darker and more unknown side of man. In its basic form, the shadow archetype is the unwanted aspect of the collective unconscious which is rejected, repressed or projected onto some external object.

Archetypes for Jung are such projected parts of our mental existence and collective unconscious which have a universal nature that can take different shapes in different cultures and different individuals, but always boils down to the same abstract form of the archetype.
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