Here comes a short compilation on archetypes by Roberto Assagioli:
TD= Transpersonal Development, 2007.
PS= Psychosynthesis, 1965.
“The two main symbols of development are the seed and the flower: a seed has all the potential it needs to become a tree, and a flower, from its closed bud, opens up and enables the fruit to form.
We have grown so used to this that it no longer surprises us when an acorn, by some miraculous process, becomes an oak, or when a child becomes an adult. But where actually is the tree in the seed? Where is the oak in the acorn? Aristotle spoke about ‘entelechy’, and others have spoken about ‘models’ or ‘ archetypes”. One has to admit some pre-existent reality, an immanent Intelligence guiding the various stages of development from the seed to the tree, from the germinal cell or cells to the complete organism.” (TD-89)
“A second important fact (related to the one just considered) is that the psychological life of a nation corresponds to a great extent to that which is unconscious in individuals.
Modern investigation of unconscious psychological activities has ascertained that these are chiefly instinctive, emotional and imaginative. They are easily influenced by suggestion, and are often dominated by the collective unconscious, directed by ancestral “images” or archetypes, as Jung called them. A genuine and unbiased observation of the psychological life of all peoples demonstrates that it is dominated by the same characteristics.” (Psychosynthesis – Individual and Social, by Roberto Assagioli)
“This, then, has been the course taken by the development of depth psychology, which includes not only Freudian psychoanalysis, but also currents branching off from it, such as the Jungian. It is true that Jung did not limit himself to the study of the underworld of the psyche. Indeed he applied himself vigorously to the investigation of the higher aspects of the unconscious and asserted the existence and importance of spiritual experiences and values.
However, in his conception of the individual and collective unconscious, Jung does not clearly distinguish the different psycho-spiritual levels. In his theory of archetypes, for example, he considers them to be both of archaic, collective origin, and prototypes related to Platonic “ideas.” It therefore seems justified to apply the term “height psychology” (as others have already done) to the field of investigation constituted by the higher levels of the psyche, its upper “stories”; thus contributing to the formation of an integral psychology that is truly three-dimensional.” (The New Dimensions of Psychology: The Third, Fourth and Fifth Forces)
“Thus Jung speaks or “archetypes” as “images”; but at times he describes them as archaic, racial images, charged with a strong emotional tone accumulated during the centuries, and on other occasions he treats them as principles, as “ideas”; and he himself suggests their affinity with the Platonic ideas. In reality, there exists not only a difference but an actual antagonism between these two conceptions of “archetypes”, and from this confusion between them arise various debatable consequences, debatable at the theoretical level and liable to be harmful in therapy, as I shall have occasion to mention in speaking of Jungian therapy. In my opinion, it can be said without disrespect that Jung himself has been dominated by the potent fascination of the collective unconscious, against which he puts his patients on guard.” (C. G. Jung and Psychosynthesis)
“3. We come now to the really central point—the discovery of the Self. Here we must make clear how Jung’s conception of the Self differs from that of psychosynthesis. For Jung it is an “intermediate point” in which the conscious and the unconscious meet. (See Jacobi: The Psychology of Carl C. Jung.) He considers it an “archetypal figure” and states: “From the intellectual point of view, the Self is none other than a psychological concept, a construction aimed at expressing an essence, imperceptible and inconceivable as such, because it surpasses our comprehension.” And later he says: “The idea of a Self is in itself a transcendent postulate justifiable solely from the psychological point of view and without possibility of scientific proof.” (Quoted from Depth Psychology by A. Farau and H. Shaffens. p. 116.)
Psychosynthesis, on the other hand, regards the Self as a reality, rather as a living Entity, direct and certain knowledge or awareness of which can be had. In other words, it can be defined as one of those “immediate data of consciousness” (to use Bergson´s expression) which have no need of demonstration but bear with them their own evidence—as happens in the case of ethical conscience, aesthetic experience and the experience of the will. There is a considerable body of testimony in support of this.” (C. G. Jung and Psychosynthesis)
“In this same way the Self is unchanging in essence, yet it sends out its energies, which are stepped down in intensity and transmitted through the Superconscious, and received, absorbed and utilized by the personality. It is interesting to note that the German philosopher Herman Keyserling talks about intensity as the specific characteristic of the Self. And Jung says that archetypes and symbols (which are important elements of the superconscious) are transmitters and transformers of energies. (1)” (The Superconscious and the Self)
Archetypes and therapy
“Jung, after losing interest in his Association Test which is part of the history of projective psycho-diagnosis, has also concentrated on the problems of dream analysis by attempting to describe more accurately common symbolic themes, or Archetypes as he has termed them. Unfortunately, Jung’s work toward increasing scientific control over the interpretation of dreams by reference to mythological and alchemical literature leaves much to be desired, especially in terms of experimental demonstration of the validity of his Archetypes.” (PS-289)
“One who is familiar with dream symbolism knows immediately that the three central symbols (meadow, mountain, and chapel) to which the meditator is led have an “archetypal” significance even though, in everyday life, they are quite ordinary and in no way help to bring about an especially deep knowledge.” (PS-306)
“But it is important to realize that these differences exist also within our psyche, in the depths of our unconscious, and, just as much, in the collective unconscious of humanity, where they appear through some of the most powerful archetypes. So there are universal masculine and feminine principles, which manifest themselves in quite diverse ways through different individuals. In other words, while masculine and feminine principles do exist in the universe, different people experience them and describe them in different ways – as is equally the case with beauty, truth, harmony, goodness, justice or any of the other universal principles.”( A Higher View of the Man-Woman Problem)
“This brings up again a point which cannot be emphasized enough: the thorough psychosynthetic preparation of the therapist himself. As to the points of danger, we recall those—well described by Jung —of the invasion of the consciousness by strong images from the unconscious, especially the deeper levels which he calls the “Collective Unconscious,” and which contain the archetypal images.” (PS-177)
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