used the term "archetypal behaviors" to include all psychological
realities that are typical, stereotypical, or universal. Archetypal
behaviors are typical, eternally repeated behaviors among human beings.
Okay... okay... when a newborn baby smiles - its smile is a
archetypal behavior. When
a newborn baby suckles, frowns, cries - all these instinctive behaviors
archetypal behavior? - Most young animals (including humans) have
an inborn urge to relate to some sort
of a mother figure. So
simple inborn, primal instincts such as hunger, reproduction (sex),
mother, and anger are all part of the wide range of behaviors that
fall within the category of archetypal behaviors.
Wait... it gets much more complicated...
Jung also believed that many of our more complex social behaviors
and/or "rituals" are also
inborn, universal, archetypal behaviors... The
intricate mating games and courtship rituals that we humans (as well
as other animals) engage in are then also considered to be universal,
good example of this (and hold on to your hat and take a giant chill
pill) is the proverbial "the lover's triangle." Ever
taken a good hard look at a "traditional" depiction of the
Tarot card called "the Lover?" It's
a picture of a man caught between his desire
for two very different types of women.
"the Lover's Triangle" is an archetypal repeated behavior?
a very ancient archetypical pattern of behavior going all the way
back to the times of the Caveman and the Cavewoman (and you thought
you made it up, didn't you)! It's happened innumerable times in history,
and it'll happen to humans again and again and again. Not much comfort
when you're "caught up" in one, eh?
for the ladies in the audience? Let's not get too haughty about it
being the guy - believe me, it happens just as easily and frequently
on the "other side of the street..." Been there, done that.)
It gets even more complex.
Going far beyond the basic instincts... and
going beyond social, relational "instincts" (rituals or behaviors)...
Jung saw the
human desire for spirituality -
our need for experiencing "the Eternal" (i.e. God) - as being
therefore, we speak of "God" as an "archetype," we are saying nothing
about His real nature - but are rather letting it be known that
"God" already has a place in that part of our psyche which is pre-existent
to consciousness. And that therefore God cannot be considered merely
an invention of consciousness. We neither make Him more remote or
eliminate Him, but bring Him closer to the possibility of being
psyche of the infant in its preconscious state is anything but a
tabula rasa (blank sheet); it is already preformed in a recognizably
individual way, and is moreover equipped with all specifically human
instincts, as well as with the a priori foundations of the higher
if, by employing the concept of "archetype," we attempt to define
a little more closely the point at which the "god" grips us, we
have not abolished anything, only approached closer to the source
of life." Short Excerpt from Memories, Dreams, and Reflections
possibility, huh? We're
born with the desire to know
and experience God...
Myself... (no pun intended)
Archetypal behaviors are typical, eternally repeated behaviors among
human beings. Sure, different cultures dress them up and put different
clothes on them... but the core image and energy
is the same. The core image and energy is "typical."
Again - what Causes These Archetypal, Universal, Typical Behaviors?
The Archetypes (inherent predispositions) residing in the "unconscious..."
That, of course,
gets us back to the original reason as to why you decided to read
this section on archetypes...
And so how does one start to get a handle on archetypes? Jung found
a couple of primary places where "archetypal images" could be found
and then systematically studied...
Jung found many of the archetypal images "projected" into the
symbols of mythology, religion, and alchemy. And in a 1911 letter
written to Sigmund Freud, Jung even makes the bold suggestion that
astrology (see the rest of my site) seems to be one of the "indispensable"
places to go for a proper understanding of mythology.
Jung found the "archetypal images" residing in our dreams and
in our imagination. Yep,
this includes both our
day dreams (fantasies/imagination)
and our night dreams.
(See Field of Dreams)
still haven't told you
what the core essence of an archetype is... There's
a good reason for that.. I
what the core essence of an archetype is... and
neither does anyone else
(for that matter)...
is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions
- not about anything really ... When Lao Tzu says: 'All are clear,
I alone am clouded,' he is expressing what I feel in advanced old
age" (Jung - Memories, Dreams, and Reflections, 1965:
To any of you "By the Book" experts out there... Yes, I'm aware
Jung sometimes makes a point of distinguishing instincts from archetypes...
but there are plenty of other times that he doesn't...
the patient and I address ourselves to the 2,000,000-year-old-man
that is in all of us… in the last analysis; most of our problems
come from losing contact with our instincts, with the age-old unforgotten
wisdom stored up in us." CG Jung Speaking, p 89, (McGuire
and Hull) Princeton University Press
the extent that the archetypes intervene in the shaping of conscious
contents by regulating, modifying, and motivating them, they act
like the instincts." Jung (CW 8, p 404)
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back to the Unus Mundus Menu
hearty hello to those high school students enrolled in J. Wall's Mythology
class! "For it is not that "God" is a myth, but that
myth is the revelation of a divine life in man." [Jung -
Memories, Dreams, and Reflections]