Wed Aug 18, 2010, 2:09 AM
The archetype is a concept belonging to analytical psychology developed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875 - 1961) who defined it as "a form of representation given a priori, or as a" primordial image "containing a universal theme common to all human cultures, but appeared in various symbolic forms, and structuring the unconscious psyche.
The archetype is the psychic process Jungian psychology founder of human culture because it contains the basic models of behavior and representations of human experience from all eras of history, in conjunction with another Jungian concept, the collective unconscious.
Αρχέτυπον ancient Greek meaning "primitive model", which came into modern languages through the Latin "archetypum" or "big picture", the archetypes appear in myths, but also in dreams, where they form symbolic categories structuring cultures and mentalities, and directing the subject to its internal development, called individuation in Jungian psychology.
For him, the archetypes are fundamentally characterized by the fact that they link a symbol with an emotion so doing, they are "potential psychic energy" constituent of all human activity and guiding the libido. Archetypes are thus in the mental space, permanent storage of experiences continually repeated over generations.
If Jung and his followers have always evoked the archetype as a hypothesis about the underlying structure of the psyche, they have made a pivotal analytical psychology very controversial, a corollary of the concept of collective unconscious also controversial.
But Jung is not the first to raise the possibility of existence of "primordial images" as a condition for imagination and representation before he, in fact many philosophers have postulated the influence of human nature.
Finally, the concept came after Jung and up to modern scientific theories, a renaissance that makes it a valid assumption.
Jung outlined five main archetypes;
-The Self, the regulating center of the psyche and facilitator of individuation
-The Shadow, the opposite of the ego image, often containing qualities with which the ego does not identify, but which it possesses nonetheless
-The Anima, the feminine image in a man's psyche; or:
-The Animus, the masculine image in a woman's psyche
-The Persona, how we present to the world, is another of the subpersonalities, the complexes and usually protects the Ego from negative images (acts like a mask)
Although archetypes can take on innumerable forms, there are a few particularly notable, recurring archetypal images
-The Great Mother
-The Wise old man or Sage
-The Wise Old Woman/Man, archetypes of the collective unconscious
-The Trickster or Fox
-The Devil or Satan