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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jung called our instincts "archetypes" and believed they appeared to us in dreams as "archetypal images". I can't say I remember seeing such images in my dreams. My dreams are of the "people I know in familiar situations doing familiar things that happen to defy the laws of physics" variety. The closest thing to his idea of archetypes may be the dreams where I suddenly fall, since this can be related to our instinctive fear of heights. I suspect this dream is quite common. But nothing else resembling an "archetype" comes to mind.

So, what are your thoughts on Jung's theory of archetypes? If archetypes are nothing more than our animal instincts, then what does this theory add that the idea of animal instincts doesn't already possess--ie, what is the point of this theory? And since humans are not the only animals with instincts, it must follow that other animals also have archetypes and that archetypal images may even appear to them in their dreams. What does this mean for the theory, if anything? And, finally, what evidence do you have to support it, either in the form of dream imagery or some other source?
 

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Jung said that archetypes are counterparts to instincts. They are not synonymous.

Also, you might receive more feedback on this topic in the cognitive functions forum.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jung said that archetypes are counterparts to instincts. They are not synonymous.

Also, you might receive more feedback on this topic in the cognitive functions forum.
Thanks. Mods, can you pls move this thread to the cognitive functions forum?

According to a podcast I just listened to about Jung in which his writings are examined, archetypes and instincts (or impulses) are the same things. Where he made a distinction was between archetypes and archetypal images such as are puportedly seen in dreams. Archetypes themselves have no distinct perceptual forms. You may be thinking of the images and not the archetypes themselves when you say they are "counterparts".

http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2013/08/29/ep81-jung/
 

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So, what are your thoughts on Jung's theory of archetypes?
-Well, they exist..and it makes sense to me. If all minds in this world are concerned with the same things and went through the same struggles, and their struggle is imprinted into their evolutionary development, then mind- a product of evolution - can carry the struggles of psychic/mental evolution as patterns of thinking/symbolic images. And since we're unrestricted in our dreams, they're likely to show up there.


If archetypes are nothing more than our animal instincts, then what does this theory add that the idea of animal instincts doesn't already possess--ie, what is the point of this theory?
-Ghost limbs, struggle plays out in dreams as it's complemented in the struggles of the dreamer. The goal is to have a worry free pleasurable life.

And since humans are not the only animals with instincts, it must follow that other animals also have archetypes and that archetypal images may even appear to them in their dreams.
-Maybe. The dreaming dog is chasing down something in its dreams...

What does this mean for the theory, if anything? And, finally, what evidence do you have to support it, either in the form of dream imagery or some other source?
-Well, the biggest evidence is people from all over the world dream similar things? I dunno..
 

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They are often in narrative form. Joseph Campbell expanded Jung's work, and added a lot of his own. Look up Monomyth. The Hero's Journey.

Campbell wrote a book called The Hero With A Thousand Faces.

“We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the hero's of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had though to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. And where we had though to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone we shall be with all the world.”
 

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What Jung basically thought was the cultural stuff was passed down somehow in biology. That is why the same ideas manifest themselves in different part of the world. Like people say they see demons. Literally. Jung would say that is because those primitive images have been ingrained in the human mind somehow. The mind has only so many preformed possibilities. I was talking about the movie Signs. Weird movie. The aliens looked different. It didn't make sense. I think none of it happened. It was a universal projection of archetypes. Myths are the same, but have local cultural flavor. Aliens are just modern ghosts and demons. They will always exist in some form.

Basically, there is a reason people keep perpetuating these ideas and images through the years. According to Jung.

An example of shared narratives in dreams. I am sure most people have had a dream where they were naked or underdressed at school or work. Or teeth falling out. Falling. The question is, where did those narratives come from? Why are they shared? Why do I dream about being naked? That really isn't an interesting question. But when so many other people have that dream, it becomes interesting. It could be said to be an anxiety dream. The mind constructs certain universal narratives in response to stimuli. Which is kind of what an archetype is.
 

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According to a podcast I just listened to about Jung in which his writings are examined, archetypes and instincts (or impulses) are the same things. Where he made a distinction was between archetypes and archetypal images such as are puportedly seen in dreams. Archetypes themselves have no distinct perceptual forms. You may be thinking of the images and not the archetypes themselves when you say they are "counterparts".

Partially Examined Life Ep. 81: Jung on the Psyche & Dreams | The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast | A Philosophy Podcast and Blog
Archetypes are synonymous with "primordial images" in Jung's view. Here is an excerpt from Man & His Symbols (same book that the podcast is based on):

My views about the "archaic remnants,"which I call "archetypes" or "primordial images," have been constantly criticized by people who lack a sufficient knowledge of the psychology of dreams and of mythology. The term "archetype" is often misunderstood as meaning certain definite mythological images or motifs. But these are nothing more than conscious representations; it would be absurd to assume that such variable representations could be inherited.
Here is where he described the primordial image (aka archetype) as a counterpart to "instinct:"

The primordial image has advantage over the clarity of the idea in its vitality. It is a self-living organism, "endowed with creative force"; for the primordial image is an inherited organization of psychic energy, a rooted system, which is not only an expression of the energic process but also a possibility for its operation. In a sense, it characterizes the way in which the energic process from earliest time has always run its unvarying course, while at the same time enabling a perpetual repetition of the law-determined course to take place; since it provides just that character of apprehension or psychic grasp of situations which continually yields a further continuation of life. It is, therefore, the necessary counterpart of instinct, which is an appropriate form of action also presupposing a grasp of the momentary situation that is both purposeful and suitable. This apprehension of the given situation is vouchsafed by the a priori existing image. It represents the practicable formula without which the apprehension of a new state of affairs would be impossible.
If you are interested, here is Jung's definition of instinct and image (containing primordial image) taken from Psychological Types.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Archetypes are synonymous with "primordial images" in Jung's view. Here is an excerpt from Man & His Symbols (same book that the podcast is based on)
When I used the term instinct or impulse I used it in the sense it is understood in biology to mean the basic drives that motivate us, like the sex drive, the will to survive, etc. Jung uses the word in a different sense. Here is what he says about instinct:

When I speak of instinct, whether in this work or elsewhere, I therewith denote what is commonly understood by this word: namely, an impulsion towards certain activities. The impulsion can proceed from an outer or an inner stimulus, which releases the instinctive mechanism either psychically, or through organic roots which lie outside the sphere of psychic causality. Every psychic phenomenon is instinctive which proceeds from no cause postulated by the will...
So, for Jung, instinct is the force that immediately precedes and produces an action or affect that is not the result of conscious volition, and follows "formulae" laid down by the primodial images. Instinct, then, is not the basic driver of behavior. Here is what Jung says about the primordial images (aka archetypes) the instincts follow:

What Schopenhauer says of the idea, therefore, I would prefer to apply to the primordial image, since the idea—as I have elsewhere observed under 'Idea'—should not be regarded as something wholly and unconditionally a priori, but also as something derived and developed from antecedents. When, therefore, in the following excerpt I am quoting the words of Schopenhauer, I must ask the reader to replace the word 'idea' in the text by 'primordial image': he will then be able to understand my meaning:[56]

"The idea is never known by the individual as such, but only by the man who is exalted above all willing and above all individuality to the pure Subject of knowledge: thus it is attainable only by the genius, or by the man who has achieved mainly through the works of genius an elevation of his pure gift of cognition into a temper akin to genius: it is, therefore, not absolutely, but only conditionally, communicable, since the idea conceived and reproduced in an artistic creation, for instance, only appeals to every man according to his intellectual powers", etc.

"The idea is unity split up into multiplicity by virtue of the temporal and spatial form of our intuitive apprehension."


"The concept is like an inanimate vehicle, in which the things one deposits lie side by side, but from which no more can be taken out than was put in: the idea, on the contrary, develops within the man who has embraced it conceptions which in relation to its homonymous concept are new: it is like a living, self-developing organism endowed with creative force, bringing forth something that was never put into it."
Schopenhauer clearly discerned that the 'idea', i.e. the primordial image according to my definition, cannot be reached in the way that a concept or 'idea' is established...

I am familiar with Schopenhauer's idea of "idea" and it is not the same thing as basic drives or instincts as understood in biology. Rather, it is similar to Plato's forms or ideas, that is, the true abstract forms of concrete phenomena or perception, the things casting the shadows in the cave. I commented elsewhere that Jung seemed to think Ti drew its ideas from a subconscious pool of ideas much like Plato's and here is the confirmation.

So instinst is some kind of final push that propels people to act according to formulae or patterns set out by primordial images. However, with Schopenhauer, these ideas (or primordial images) are not the same thing as the will which is the fundamental "force" or "energy" behind our behavior and all phenomena. So if Jung followed Schopenhauer here then primordial images are only our apprehension of a fundamental force--a kind of reflection--and not the fundamental force, or drive, itself. This is also the conclusion stated in the podcast.
 

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Jung also said

"The dynamism of instinct is lodged as it were in the infra-red part of the spectrum, whereas the instinctual image lies in the ultra-violet part. . . . The realization and assimilation of instinct never take place at the red end, i.e., by absorption into the instinctual sphere, but only through integration of the image which signifies and at the same time evokes the instinct, although in a form quite different from the one we meet on the biological level.["On the Nature of the Psyche," CW 8, par. 414.]"

"Psychologically . . . the archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers wend their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.[Ibid., par. 415.]

"All psychic processes whose energies are not under conscious control are instinctive"

"Instinct is not an isolated thing, nor can it be isolated in practice. It always brings in its train archetypal contents of a spiritual nature, which are at once its foundation and its limitation. In other words, an instinct is always and inevitably coupled with something like a philosophy of life, however archaic, unclear, and hazy this may be. Instinct stimulates thought, and if a man does not think of his own free will, then you get compulsive thinking, for the two poles of the psyche, the physiological and the mental, are indissolubly connected." ["Psychotherapy and a Philosophy of Life," CW 16, par. 185.]
 

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Jung called our instincts "archetypes" and believed they appeared to us in dreams as "archetypal images". I can't say I remember seeing such images in my dreams. My dreams are of the "people I know in familiar situations doing familiar things that happen to defy the laws of physics" variety. The closest thing to his idea of archetypes may be the dreams where I suddenly fall, since this can be related to our instinctive fear of heights. I suspect this dream is quite common. But nothing else resembling an "archetype" comes to mind.
People you know can represent archetypes in dreams. The archetype being the motif, is 'filled out' by our experiences. The mother archetype may be represented as our own mother, grandmother, step mother or any mother figure. Then also, gardens, forests, oceans, churches, etc. may be representations of the mother archetype.

A womans animus may appear as her father, brother, lover, ex, a burglar or even a rapist. A mans anima can be represented by his sister, a nun, a prostitute, a cave, etc. The image is usually personal to the dreamer but the themes are similar from one person to the next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
People you know can represent archetypes in dreams. The archetype being the motif, is 'filled out' by our experiences. The mother archetype may be represented as our own mother, grandmother, step mother or any mother figure. Then also, gardens, forests, oceans, churches, etc. may be representations of the mother archetype.

A womans animus may appear as her father, brother, lover, ex, a burglar or even a rapist. A mans anima can be represented by his sister, a nun, a prostitute, a cave, etc. The image is usually personal to the dreamer but the themes are similar from one person to the next.
How do you know this? And if there are simpler explanations, why invoke archetypes in the first place? Science is studying dreams and has already come up with explanations like memory consolidation.
 

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How do you know this? And if there are simpler explanations, why invoke archetypes in the first place? Science is studying dreams and has already come up with explanations like memory consolidation.

There's lots of info about Jungs analytical psychology and dream interpretation, online articles, forums/communities and books written about it.
I think Jung noticed that people a particular stages in their psychological development or analytical therapy had similar dream or hallucination motifs to others at the same stages. Archetypes in dreams are a basic expression of themselves.

Myths represent the archetypes on another level. Myths and religious stories from various times and places often have similar themes. Like the death-rebirth and heroes journey archetypes. If we look at these stories as metaphorical representations of psychological experiences, then we begin to see patterns across stories from different cultures. Jesus spent 3 days in the tomb, Jonah spent 3 days inside the whale and Inanna hung from the hook for 3 days. The stories can be seen as metaphors for psychological death and rebirth or ego death. They describe the suffering of the individual entering an existential crisis, going down, being stripped of their ego foundations and belief systems until there's nothing left of who they were, or thought they were. Then the three days wait between death and rebirth.

Maybe the simpler explanations aren't adequate.
 

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I had what I can describe as an animus figure in my dreams. He was godlike at first, but then we learned to communicate and then ended up dating. He left me because he said I was stronger without him.

I had a shadow figure. She was a murderous drug addict. I killed her in a dream and butchered her snakelike body, exposing her empty body cavity as spineless, heartless, and having no guts. Then I ate her.

...

Yeah.
 

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The closest thing to an "archetype" I've experienced in my dreams is a recurring character-- a tall, severe-looking woman dressed in professional grey. She's always bad news and she always has some ulterior motive, even when she's working towards the same goal as me.

There's also this old, scraggly, bearded guy in a long ratty coat who usually plays the "psycho killer" or "serial rapist" in my dreams. He's usually threatening my friends or my younger sister and I end up wrestling his weapons away from him and stabbing him until he dies (he has unrelenting, zombie-like endurance and doesn't go down easy).

Oh, and last: there's a black tree that sits on a hill surrounded by the crumbled ruins of an old, old building. The tree's roots go into the stone floor and walls. I know the tree is evil but I couldn't tell you why. It doesn't move. It doesn't make sound. I'm always terrified of it when it appears. Sometimes, I look at the trunk of the tree, and there's something there-- some orange thing, wedged inside the tree. Sometimes I think it's an eye.
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
There's lots of info about Jungs analytical psychology and dream interpretation, online articles, forums/communities and books written about it.
I think Jung noticed that people a particular stages in their psychological development or analytical therapy had similar dream or hallucination motifs to others at the same stages. Archetypes in dreams are a basic expression of themselves.
I meant how do you know this is true, not where did you learn this from? People have common experiences so should it come as a surprise that they share similar dreams, too? This is a simpler explanation that doesn't rely on a complex idea like archetypes.

Myths represent the archetypes on another level. Myths and religious stories from various times and places often have similar themes. Like the death-rebirth and heroes journey archetypes. If we look at these stories as metaphorical representations of psychological experiences, then we begin to see patterns across stories from different cultures. Jesus spent 3 days in the tomb, Jonah spent 3 days inside the whale and Inanna hung from the hook for 3 days. The stories can be seen as metaphors for psychological death and rebirth or ego death. They describe the suffering of the individual entering an existential crisis, going down, being stripped of their ego foundations and belief systems until there's nothing left of who they were, or thought they were. Then the three days wait between death and rebirth.

Maybe the simpler explanations aren't adequate.
But if these stories all came from the Bible or from the same source or tradition then wouldn't that explain their similarity--ie, one influenced the others? And existential crisis is a common experience, so it's not surprising if many people from many places have dreams of this sort. Again, why invoke archetypes to explain something that is rather obvious and can be explained more easily?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I had what I can describe as an animus figure in my dreams. He was godlike at first, but then we learned to communicate and then ended up dating. He left me because he said I was stronger without him.

I had a shadow figure. She was a murderous drug addict. I killed her in a dream and butchered her snakelike body, exposing her empty body cavity as spineless, heartless, and having no guts. Then I ate her.

...

Yeah.
Were these recurring dreams? Why do you call these your animus and shadow figures? Are these images described by Jung? If so, did you know of them before you dreamed them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The closest thing to an "archetype" I've experienced in my dreams is a recurring character-- a tall, severe-looking woman dressed in professional grey. She's always bad news and she always has some ulterior motive, even when she's working towards the same goal as me.

There's also this old, scraggly, bearded guy in a long ratty coat who usually plays the "psycho killer" or "serial rapist" in my dreams. He's usually threatening my friends or my younger sister and I end up wrestling his weapons away from him and stabbing him until he dies (he has unrelenting, zombie-like endurance and doesn't go down easy).

Oh, and last: there's a black tree that sits on a hill surrounded by the crumbled ruins of an old, old building. The tree's roots go into the stone floor and walls. I know the tree is evil but I couldn't tell you why. It doesn't move. It doesn't make sound. I'm always terrified of it when it appears. Sometimes, I look at the trunk of the tree, and there's something there-- some orange thing, wedged inside the tree. Sometimes I think it's an eye.
These are interesting imagery. Why do you think they might be archetypal images? What makes them archetypal?
 
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I had what I can describe as an animus figure in my dreams. He was godlike at first, but then we learned to communicate and then ended up dating. He left me because he said I was stronger without him.

I had a shadow figure. She was a murderous drug addict. I killed her in a dream and butchered her snakelike body, exposing her empty body cavity as spineless, heartless, and having no guts. Then I ate her.

...

Yeah.
Hey, this post would make an *awesome* signature! :)
 

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I meant how do you know this is true, not where did you learn this from? People have common experiences so should it come as a surprise that they share similar dreams, too? This is a simpler explanation that doesn't rely on a complex idea like archetypes.



But if these stories all came from the Bible or from the same source or tradition then wouldn't that explain their similarity--ie, one influenced the others? And existential crisis is a common experience, so it's not surprising if many people from many places have dreams of this sort. Again, why invoke archetypes to explain something that is rather obvious and can be explained more easily?
If dreams arise from information stored within our personal unconscious, then why isn't it obvious that they would also arise from the information inherited from the collective unconscious, since that would also be a part of our unconscious?
So I guess it depends on whether you believe in the possibility of a collective unconscious or if you believe that we are born with completely empty minds.
 
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These are interesting imagery. Why do you think they might be archetypal images? What makes them archetypal?
These dreams recurred over many years. Emphasis on the "many." The figures evolved over time, shifting in color and facial features and silhouette, but they remained, at their core, the same.

Eric was still the man in my life, and Gabbie was still evil.

They are pretty archetypical- Gabbie represents what I view as the worst in myself- I myself had been struggling on-and-off with narcotics and violent ideation. She would kill people for drug money.

Eric represented my "masculinized" need for power, control, and knowledge.

Also, these figures emerged when I had a dream, at the age of around 13, that I met a talking bird that gave me infinite knowledge of the universe. I was in a rowboat. I was rowing across a lake with my dead grandfather, going to my grandmother's house. By the time I reached the opposite shore, I had forgotten all that the bird had told me, and I went to go confront the bird, and instead of a bird was simply a black cat. I turned around and in front of me was a city. The city, essentially, works as an overly-complex mind palace for me. I've been dreaming there constantly for seven years, and have even mapped out the adjoining areas, and the buildings within, the train systems, and the underground. All is color-coded and scent-coded, and is layered with deep meaning.

Birds are a recurring motif in my dreams, often accompanied with crowns. First was the blackbird who bestowed me with knowledge. Then, there was a silver-plumed blackbird with beaming eyes who I could only see in my peripheral vision, paired with a silver crown that was cut in three pieces, with filigree that resembled butterflies. Then, a few nights ago, only remained a bird's skull and a few feathers, artfully arranged inside of a whole crown, ornate as ever.
 
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