Archetypal Explorations: An Integrative Approach to Human Behavior

Archetypal Explorations: An Integrative Approach to Human Behavior

Archetypal Explorations: An Integrative Approach to Human Behavior

Archetypal Explorations: An Integrative Approach to Human Behavior


Archetypal Expressionsis a fresh approach to one of Jung's best-know and most exciting concepts. Richard M. Gray uses archetypes as the basis for a new means of interpreting the world and lays the foundations of what he terms an "archetypal sociology". Jung's ideas are combined with elements of modern biology and systems theory to explore the basic human experiences of life, which recur through the ages.
Revealing the implicitly cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of Jungian Psychology, Archetypal Explorationsrepresents a significant contribution to the literature of archetypes and integrative approaches to human behaviour.


Jung observed that whenever humankind looks into the void, he/she projects there the structure of their own psyche. The more formless the void, the more fearful or abstract the image. In this observation was an implicit warning. There is a level at which we cannot with definite assurance differentiate between projected patterns and the reality about us, but must always be ready to withdraw the projected image in order to replace it with a better one.

James Hillman notes:

Fantasy especially intervenes where exact knowledge is lacking; and when fantasy does intervene, it becomes especially difficult to gain exact knowledge. Thus, a vicious circle forms, and the mythical usurps theory-forming; furthermore, the mythic is given fantastic witness in observation. Seeing is believing, but believing is seeing. We see what we believe and prove our beliefs with what we see.

(Hillman, 1972, p. 220)

Lawrence Blair (1991) recounts the story of how the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego were unable to see Magellan’s ships when he first visited their land. The natives’ visual repertoire apparently had no tools with which to apprehend the explorer’s fleet.

Modern physics has underscored the problem by acknowledging the observer variable in his/her efforts to measure location and velocity in the behavior of subatomic phenomena. As soon as we measure one dimension, the other becomes inaccessible. Indeed, from some experiments it would almost seem that the decision to measure one determines the impossibility of measuring the other. Is it a wave, or is it a particle? Is it here, or does it possess this amplitude?

The same problem applies in psychology. The minute we seem to have identified some basic facet of human nature, we are made aware of a new dimension of ourselves, and the reality is then revealed as only a new projection against which we must question our finding. Should we then analyze that projection, understand its root in the deepest levels of the

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