Jungian Archetypes

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Carl Jung was born in Switzerland, on July 26, 1875 to Emilie Jung and Johann Jung who was a minister. In fact, religion played a tremendous role in young Carl Jung's life. Being surrounded by religion and medicine may have rubbed off on him, Nevertheless, during this time, Jung began to see more of himself through the separation he had from his mother, whom he called Number 2.

Personality number 2 seemed to signify a personality type that may be very emotionally unstable and mystical. This was the side young Carl Jung absorbed the most from his mother. During his teen years, approximately 16-19 years of age, Carl realized something. He had two personalities. Personality No.1 was more extroverted and probably "no nonsensical", whereas his number 2 personality was more introverted and emotional. At one point in time, he entered a period of extreme "introversion" while in a midlife crisis.

Men and women both have or will encounter two personalities, yet Jung took it a step further. He wrote in journals about "Self Individuation" and probed his second self deeper, and explored dreams in metaphors and symbols.

This is where Jung decided that everyone has archetypes. These are the ancient, collective images that people have. These images are emotionally attached symbols. They are different from instincts in that instincts are "uncontrolled impulses". Archetypes are the psychic parts of people, and as such,  can be introspective and probe into the conscious in this way.

There are many archetypes out there, but the main ones Jung has focused on were those he was somewhat familiar with. They are: The Persona/Shadow, Anima/Animus, Great Mother, Wise Old Man, Hero, and Self.

1) The Persona/Shadow

This is the face people show every day to work, and to society, they are hiding their true self from the world. Either to fit in, or exude confidence as a politician does. Shadow is that part of the person that must never be shown because it is so "dark". It is repressed desires, creativity, and other things that society may not view as desirable. Jung says, "This is the true test of courage if one can face their own shadow".

2) The Anima/Animus

This is the archetype that would most likely give some men trouble because of their masculinity, and so it is hard to confront this side of them. Conversely, there is the animus. The animus is where a woman should confront the "masculine side of herself" this is the side of reason and thinking rather than emotions as in the anima. Jung believed that all people are basically bisexual, meaning all people have some of both sexes in them.

3) The Great Mother

The Great Mother is the symbol of nurturing and destruction. Nurturing because she gives birth, and yet she can be destructive because she can devour and destroy her young with her mighty strength; just like the fairy godmother in Cinderella. In one blink, Cinderella can be destroyed by midnight.

4) The Wise Old Man

The Wise Old Man imparts wisdom. He makes it seem as if he really is speaking truth, yet it comes out as "hollow wordings". Like the old man in Wizard of Oz. He said a lot, but he said nothing. The Wise Old Man is also symbolic of the person who journeys in their youth and discovers wisdom. Jung saw his own father as this archetype; a preacher who said a lot, but it was based on pseudo wisdom.

5) The Hero

Then, there is the hero. The Hero represents something that resonates within everyone - the power to do something, to rescue, or to be simply great, only to have a serious downfall over something minor. For Superman it was kryptonite.

6) The Self

The Self is like a magnet, pulling together all the poles of the collective unconscious. This is the basic of all archetypes. The Self tries to bring the person to completeness. This is different from the ego because the ego involves only the conscious side of a person. Jung goes on to describe the Self as somewhat idealistic. Some people have too much consciousness and this leaves them without a personality.

For Further reading:

Feist, G.& Feist J,. (2009). Theories of Personality. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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