Week 4. The Creative Psyche
The human psyche is grown over age, where we mature and come to confront our inner self that has been buried beneath our persona. This can include understanding and assimilating our ‘shadow’. This is referred to as individuation and the success of which is when a person can identify their real inner self and their desired satisfaction in life. For this process of individuation to occur, a person will need to go through character growth and development, similar to those found in fiction.
In the weeks lecture Dr Glen Spoors stated that the human race has a collective unconscious which is made up of the self: The ego. The persona: Our hidden aspects we don’t acknowledge. The shadow: our hidden qualities of our ego. The anima: The feminine. The animus: The masculine. (Spoors, 2013)
Similarly discussed in this weeks reading, we come to learn about cultural archetypes. These are the archetypes that form a person’s self, they are described as genetic blueprints for ideal types of behaviour (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, pp. 176, 2002). They help us react in certain ways to situations and are said to be modelled off the mythological figures who were built to teach us. The four archetypes they focus on are: The King, the warrior, the Magician, and the lover. Which each represents a certain aspect of masculinity. Coming back to the parallel between narratives, it’s stated that men would be able to journey through their life to discover these qualities and uncover their shadow as well as their positive aspects.
There as two sides to these archetypes, the ideal and the shadow. The king is a father figure, a ruler over order and peace and brings fertility and goodwill. But the negative side is obsession and the weakness. The Warrior is trained, has an aggressive energy, a clear head, committed and emotionally disconnected. While the sadist and the coward are the shadow sides. The magician is a spiritual aura, has a profound knowledge of science and technology, an instructor, healer, and a prophet. The bad aspects are the trickster or the evil wizard. The lover is passionate, sensual, empathetic, connected, compassionate, spiritual, and has a aesthetic vision. As described the lover can become “overly self-indulgent and fixated on sensuality and seduction. The lover can become so concerned with ‘winning’ women over that he becomes cold, cut off from his feelings, and unable to connect lovingly.” (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler, pp. 179, 2002).
These shadow aspects are said to be repressed feelings and thoughts we don’t want to face so we project them on others, we will see our negative qualities in others and possibly dislike the person for this. As individuation is accomplished, the person will learn to embrace their shadow side and assimilate it, this will stop them from forcing it onto the others around them.
I found it interesting, as the reading explained, that certain cultural groups tend to deem parts of their repressed selves as sins. This can obviously be incredibly harmful to other groups in society. To fix this, Carl Jung states that people need to look into themselves and to “become conscious of their own unconsciousness.” Complete awareness of our own self is the key to individuation.
However, learning about the shadow and archetypes gives you a push to dive in and assess your own personal self but where do we stop completely and constantly overanalysing ourselves? Is it possible that at some point we’re not projecting and personalities may just clash?
Also focusing on the quote from Joseph Campbell, “We always think in terms of opposites.” (Campbell, 1988, p. 49.) Even in a class discussion we had an issue with this quote. I believe that good and evil is very subjective and based on the persons cultural context and society. As children we are taught black and white, but as we mature, we understand the grey areas and come to know that it isn’t just complete opposites, but there are factors in between and it is complex.
- O’Shaughnessy, M. & Stadler, J. (2002). Carl Jung. Media and society: An introduction (pp. 176-184) . Victoria: Oxford University Press.
- Spoors, G. (2013). Week 5: Mythopoesis. Retrieved from http://blackboard.ecu.edu.au/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=null&url=/webapps/blackboard/execute/launcher?type=Course&id=_585131_1&url=
- Campbell, J. (1988). The power of myth. Princeton: Princeton University Press.