For Carl Jung, it is through the integration of what he called the personal ‘unconscious’ with the collective unconscious that one achieves individuation or wholeness. For Jung there are two layers of the unconscious: a personal unconscious, just beneath the conscious mind, incorporating personal psychic content and a deeper level, the collective unconscious (i.e. the accumulated experience of humanity, repeated experience throughout human history). At this deepest level of the psyche are the archetypes (i.e. innate, universal and hereditary, and unlearned modes of thinking and acting in particular ways). These archaic patterns and images, rooted in the collective unconscious, are the psychic equivalents of instincts. The archetypes produce, maintain, and control behaviour and experience. They can also be described as image patterns with quantities of energy charge, innate neuropsychic centres, seeking expression and integration, which are revealed in dreams, myths, mystical practice and belief. And because they are universal, they produce similarity in thought, feeling, images, ideas, across all cultural settings, circumstance, and history. Archetypes function to regulate the human life cycle; over time, we progress through a natural sequence of steps, each driven by archetypes, producing personality and behavioural outcomes.
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