Archetypes are universal, natural models of people, behaviors, or personality that play a role in influencing human behavior. They were introduced by the Swiss psychiatrist Karl Jung, who believed that these archetypes are ancient forms of human innate knowledge passed down from our ancestors.
In Jungian psychology, archetypes represent universal patterns and images as part of the collective unconscious. Jung believes that the way we inherit these prototypes is very similar to the way we inherit instinctive behavior patterns.
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Individual and collective unconscious
Jung was originally a supporter of his mentor Sigmund Freud. This relationship was eventually broken by Jung’s criticism of Freud’s emphasis on sex in the development process, which led Jung to develop his own method of psychoanalysis, called Analytical Psychology.
Although Jung agreed with the important role of Freud’s unconscious in personality and behavior, he expanded Freud’s view of the individual unconscious to include what Jung called the collective unconscious.
Jung believed that the human psychology is composed of three parts:
According to Jung, the self represents conscious thoughts, while the personal unconscious contains memories, including those that are suppressed.
The collective unconsciousness is a unique component, because Jung believes that this part of psychology is a form of psychological inheritance. It contains all the knowledge and experience shared by human beings as a species.
The origin of Jungian archetype
So where did these prototypes come from? Jung believes that the collective unconscious is where these archetypes exist. He believes that these models are congenital, universal and inherited. The prototype is unlearned, its function is to organize how we experience certain things.
“All the most powerful ideas in history can be traced back to prototypes,” Jung explained in his book The Structure of the Mind.
“This is especially true of religious thought, but the core concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception. In their current form, they are variants of prototype thoughts created by consciously applying these thoughts and adapting them to reality. For it is The function of consciousness not only recognizes and assimilates the external world through the portal of the senses, but also transforms our inner world into visible reality,” he suggested.
Jung rejected the concept of tabula rasa, or believed that human thought was a blank sheet of paper at birth and could only be written through experience. He believed that the human mind retained the basic, unconscious, and biological aspects of our ancestors. How these “original images”, as he originally said, became the basic foundation of mankind.
Jung believed that these ancient and mythological figures that formed the prototype coexist with all people from all over the world. It is these archetypes that symbolize the basic motives, values and personalities of human beings.
Jung believes that each archetype plays a role in personality, but believes that most people are dominated by a specific archetype. According to Jung, the actual way in which archetypes are expressed or realized depends on many factors, including personal cultural influences and unique personal experiences.
Jung identified four main prototypes, but also believed that there was no limit to the number that might exist. The existence of these archetypes cannot be directly observed, but can be inferred by observing religion, dreams, art, and literature.
The four main archetypes described by Jung and some other archetypes that are often identified include the following.
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Jung’s ideas are not as popular as Freud’s, and his prototypes have not been well received in modern psychology. This may be because his works tend to be mysticism and pseudoscience, so they are more researched as historical relics, literary criticism and mythology in popular culture applications, rather than major contributions to the science of mind and behavior. .
Other criticisms of Jung’s archetypes indicate that they are too rigid, simplified, and culturally biased.