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Updated: Feb 14

What is an Archetype?

"Simply put, an archetype is a set pattern of behavior.

Plato referred to archetypes as Forms, which he saw as pre-existing ideal templates or blueprints.

Archetypes are what Carl Jung called “primordial images” and the “fundamental units of the human mind.”

Every character you see on television and in films represents an archetype.

Virtually every response you give to your environment—the way you behave—is an expression of an archetype too."The contents of the personal unconscious are chiefly the feeling-toned complexes, as they are called: they constitute the personal and private side of psychic life. The contents of the collective unconscious, on the other hand, are knows as archetypes." Scott Jeffrey,

The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived, and it takes its colour from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear." C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious
An archetype can be any of the following:
  1. a statement, pattern of behavior, prototype, "first" form, or a main model that other statements, patterns of behavior, and objects copy, emulate, or "merge" into. Informal synonyms frequently used for this definition include "standard example", "basic example", and the longer-form "archetypal example"; mathematical archetypes often appear as "canonical examples".

  2. the Platonic concept of pure form, believed to embody the fundamental characteristics of a thing.

  3. a collectively-inherited unconscious idea, a pattern of thought, image, etc., that is universally present, in individual psyches, as in Jungian psychology

  4. a constantly-recurring symbol or motif in literature, painting, or mythology. This definition refers to the recurrence of characters or ideas sharing similar traits throughout various, seemingly unrelated cases in classic storytelling, media, etc. This usage of the term draws from both comparative anthropology and from Jungian archetypal theory.

Archetypes are also very close analogies to instincts, in that, long before any consciousness develops, it is the impersonal and inherited traits of human beings that present and motivate human behavior.[1] They also continue to influence feelings and behavior even after some degree of consciousness developed later on.[1].

"That people should succumb to these eternal images is entirely normal, in fact it is what these images are for. They are meant to attract, to convince, to fascinate, and to overpower. They are created out of the primal stuff of revelation and reflect the ever-unique experience of divinity. That is why they always give man a premonition of the divine while at the same time safeguarding him from immediate experience of it." C. G. Jung, The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious

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