Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.

Jung's Archetypes-Inherited Wisdom?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Oct 10, 2014 7:55 AM

A man I know doesn't believe in religion but does believe in Jungian archetypes. That means that he follows Carl Jung's psychological premise that we are formed to a large extent by the genetic structure created by the accumulation of our historical background. So, our personality has a lot to do with events and characteristics that worked  in the past.

In some ways, it seems like commonsense that the past influences the present, at least behaviorally, for everyone. On the other hand, it seems fake that activities and personalities of our ancestors should make a big difference in forming who we are today. For example, a family of rabbis doesn't necessarily mean we'll be studious, just as a family history of warriors doesn't dictate that we'll be aggressive. More recent influences, like our immediate family, not ones from hundreds of years before, have a bigger effect.  

Archetypes are stereotypes, based on reality. However, to claim Darwinian inheritence of collective wisdom, is as much an act of adopting a theory, like accepting a religion, as any leap of faith. Hermeneutical thinking means we believe the interpretation of reality that fits with what we want to believe. It's tautology. It makes sense because we want to connect ideas and assume casuality to explain life.

It's not that I don't think archetypes aren't an interesting and useful concept. It's that there's really no more proof for the power of archetypes or their influence or even existencce than for any other theoretical or even some mythological or religious explanations of why we operate the way we do. 

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  • lukashik img 2016-05-07 10:52

    The works of Jung's clarify and debunk religious myths to the glory of human individuality; but the psychological approach does not give sufficient grounds to proclaim the historic and largely atheistic view that human consciousness in the process of its development has created a world soul and those archetypal characters that compose it. Based on the opposition of consciousness and the unconscious, the founder of analytical psychology retains the dualism of perceiving the world, which he seeks to overcome. He retains it in order to prevent primitive-empirical, flat-materialist approach, which suffers from the modern science is inclined to consider man as a biological machine, and deprives him of divine destiny. But the greatness of man is that he is able to put himself divine goals and achieve them. Showbox

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