Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster

Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster

Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster

Four Archetypes: Mother, Rebirth, Spirit, Trickster

Synopsis

One of Jung's most influential ideas has been his view, presented here, that primordial images, or archetypes, dwell deep within the unconscious of every human being. The essays in this volume gather together Jung's most important statements on the archetypes, beginning with the introduction of the concept in "Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious." In separate essays, he elaborates and explores the archetypes of the Mother and the Trickster, considers the psychological meaning of the myths of Rebirth, and contrasts the idea of Spirits seen in dreams to those recounted in fairy tales.


This paperback edition of Jung's classic work includes a new foreword by Sonu Shamdasani, Philemon Professor of Jung History at University College London.

Excerpt

1 The hypothesis of a collective unconscious belongs to the class of ideas that people at first find strange but soon come to possess and use as familiar conceptions. This has been the case with the concept of the unconscious in general. After the philosophical idea of the unconscious, in the form presented chiefly by Carus and von Hartmann, had gone down under the overwhelming wave of materialism and empiricism, leaving hardly a ripple behind it, it gradually reappeared in the scientific domain of medical psychology.

2 At first the concept of the unconscious was limited to denoting the state of repressed or forgotten contents. Even with Freud, who makes the unconscious—at least metaphorically— take the stage as the acting subject, it is really nothing but the gathering place of forgotten and repressed contents, and has a functional significance thanks only to these. For Freud, accordingly, the unconscious is of an exclusively personal nature, although he was aware of its archaic and mythological thoughtforms.

3 A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the personal unconscious.But this personal unconscious rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the collective unconscious. I have chosen the term “collective” because this part of the unconscious is not individual but universal; in contrast to

[From “Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious,” first published in the Eranos-Jahrbuch 1934, and later revised and published in Von den Wurzeln des Bewusstseins (Zurich, 1954), from which version the present translation is made. The translation of the original version, by Stanley Dell, in The Integration of the Personality (New York, 1939; London, 1940), has been freely consulted.—EDITORS.] In his later works Freud differentiated the basic view mentioned here. He called the instinctual psyche the “id,” and his “super-ego” denotes the collective consciousness, of which the individual is partly conscious and partly unconscious (because it is repressed).

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