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Archetypes

Jung perceived an archetype as a force that could overcome a person, like experiencing a seizure. He used the example of love at first sight. He explained that what happens is that people have an image in their mind of their perfect partner. When they see someone who reminds them of that idealized partner (the archetype), they are immediately attracted even against their better judgment (Evans, 1976).

There are four basic archetypes that manifest themselves within each person's personality at different times and in different ways. These are the shadow, anima, animus, and self. The shadow is the part of a person that tends toward chaos. It may be parts of a person's personality that he or she wants to suppress and deny, but it still exists. Sometimes in one's attempts to deny one's shadow, one projects it onto others. This may explain how the things that a person notices about another person are commonly his or her own failings. This may also explain how a person erroneously attributes negative motivations, leading to the misinterpretation of behaviors. The shadow reveals itself in dreams, nightmares, artistic work, paranoid delusions, religion, and hallucinations. In extreme cases it may lead to violence when nonviolent behavior is misinterpreted as threatening, thereby triggering a preemptive defensive assault. To a Jungian, this would explain how a person who is typically peaceful becomes violent when in a state of intoxication or under the influence of drugs (Jung, 1968). (Examples of the application of the archetypes in the MBTI are explained in greater detail later in this chapter.)

The anima/animus represents a person's true self, as opposed to the masks the person wears everyday, and is the source of creativity. Anima is predominant in males, and animus is predominant in females. However, males have aspects of the female animus in their personality, and females have aspects of the male anima in their personality. In contemporary American culture, it is accepted that men have a "feminine side" (romantic, nurturing, playful) and women likewise have a "masculine side" (protective, aggressive, ambitious). In myths, they are represented by the heroes and heroines. The anima is particularly evident in children's relationship to their parents and their belief that their parents are all- powerful and have omnipotence when it comes to protecting them. It is also apparent in their fascination with super heroes (Jung, 1968). When 4-year-olds don a cape, they are not just dressed as Superman; they are Superman.

The archetype of self is the most important archetype. It is the center between the conscious and the unconscious self. The symbolic self is the perfect balance of all of the various parts of the personality. Jung used the balance of the solar system to help explain this concept. He described this as syzygy, an astronomical term for the perfect balance between planets creating equal gravitational pull. The self is exemplified by the perfect, proportional balance between anima and animus.

Syzygy can exist in a single person, but it can also be present in a well-matched couple or a balanced team. The confluence of anima and animus brings great power and can be found in mythological and religious combinations such as the Christian Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). A perfect partnership between individuals can occur when they are well matched physically as well as being balanced with anima and animus (Jung, 1968).

 
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