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The Archetype Can Be Considered as the Matrix and Nutrient of Psychic Life

Articulated to Platonic Thought


The concept of archetype is close to what Plato called ideas. Although all discussions of archetypes come to the conclusion that they are unobservable, in general they refer to a basic inherited structure underlying the human psyche.


Archetype is the form of something, not the content, so we can say that it is a matrix that nourishes the human psyche. It is an energy core in constant movement that animates the soul to become what it already is. And so, living is a transcendent function that leads to the continuous process of individuation.


For Plato, Arché is the first substance on which he bases the verticality of his thought. For Jung, archetypes are the original model, the world of first reality, and can be seen in parallel to what Plato refers to as the World of Essences or Ideas.


Thus, archetypes for both are an innate psychological framework, whose ideal model of all things exists in the sensible world, on the basis of which things were created and tend to be realized. Idea (Plato's concept) and archetype (Jung's concept) are synonymous, as both refer to universal images that have pre-existed in every human being since time immemorial.


This notion that archetypes are the basis of our conscious psyche as a system of inherited data is the great difference between Jungian theory and other psychological approaches, the vast majority of which understand the human psyche as a large whiteboard to be written on.


Thus, Jung spread the term archetype to other fields of knowledge such as anthropology, philosophy and theology. Even marketing uses knowledge of archetypes to create patterns responsible for generating values, worldviews and inserting capitalist market needs in people.


In short, as Jung says in his Volume IX, the honors of having observed the archetypes for the first time belong to Plato, but it was Jung who challenged society at large by walking, with great humility, along different paths.


This article was written by:

Regina Nohra

Director-President IMHEP

Pedagogue, Clinical Psychologist-Hypnotherapist

Reg. MEC nº 54.858 / CRP 05/22916

Human Development Center - Regina Nohra

Support: IMHEP - Milton H. Erickson Institute of Petrópolis

Affiliated with The Milton H. Erickson Foundation, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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