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Introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, archetypes represent universal patterns and visuals that form the collective unconsciousness.
He identified four main archetypes: The Persona, The Shadow, The Animus, and The Self. These archetypes are not inferred directly, but by looking at religion, dreams, literature and art. The archetypes suggested by Carl Jung are universal, hereditary and play a significant role in our personality.
Individual or personal unconscious is part of the three components of the human psyche, apart from the ego and the collective unconscious.
The ego represents the consciousness and the personal unconscious contains suppressed and repressed memories.
Carl Jung rejected the theory of ‘tabula rasa’ which asserts that the human mind is completely blank at birth, ready to be programmed with life experiences and education. The human mind retains its fundamental biological aspects, the primordial images that provide a basic foundation for the individual.
Apart from the four main archetypes, Carl Jung also describes many other such identities like the father, the mother, the hero, the trickster or the child.
The persona is a kind of behavioural mask. It is the way we present ourselves in social groups and situations. Right from our childhood, we are taught to behave in a certain way to fit the expectations and norms of society. It suppresses all our primitive urges, impulses and feelings that are not acceptable in society.
People who start to believe in their own persona tend to move away from their true selves.
The shadow is part of the unconscious mind, made up of our repressed ideas, desires, weaknesses, shortcomings and instincts. In our attempt to portray a certain persona, we create this shadow, our cache of envy, greed, prejudice, hate and violence.
It is a darker side of our psyche that appears in dreams as a snake, a demon, or some other dark and wild creature.
The Anima (female) or the Animus (male) are the sex and gender identities/roles that behave like Yin-Yang. The male and female energies are a balance influencing one another at all times. The Animus represents the male aspect in females, while the Anima is the female aspect in males. Society enforces strict gender stereotypes, which constrains normal psychological development.
The combined energy is called ‘syzygy’ or the divine couple, representing completion, unification and oneness.
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