The Collective Mind, Pt. 7a

Carl Jung's Collective Unconscious is less a community of mind and moreso an explaination of how every mind works, through archetypes - concepts commonly perceived the same way by many different people, whether they realize it or not. Don't mistake archetypes for stereotypes - they are not the same thing.

One of the Jungian archetypes is The Self. It is who we are and who we see ourselves to be. In most cases, The Self is represented as our ideal self image, or an exagerated mockery of ourselves. In other representations, where the person may suffer from schizophrenia, The Self is represented in a completely different form and only identifiable by a very personal feature, such as a mole or an item of jewelry always worn. Or, they may project themself upon another image, representative of their truest desires, fears, and needs.

The Shadow is the subconscious underlying truth to our personality. It could be a poor trait suppressed in childhood, or a neurosis we have tried to keep out of the public's view. Symbolicly, The Shadow is represented as a dark figure, often times a beggar, prostitute, or other such perceived lowly person, and is the same gender as the querent. The Shadow may work against or with the querent.

The Anima is the feminine side of a man's subconscious and conscious, and is constructed of one's ideal feminine qualities. Often times the Anima leads a man to believe he has fallen head over heels with a woman instantaneously because he projects those qualities upon her - in other words, her actions can be perceived as his Anima, and in his eyes he sees her as his ideal. Rarely does a successful relationship come of this kind of attraction because the Anima can be a Shadow, Hero, or any other archetyped Anima - causing the match to be imperfect due to incorrectly skewed ideals. Jung once said that 'confronting one's shadow is an apprentice-piece while confronting one's anima is the masterpiece' for a very good reason. After all, he is quite notorious for his affairs with patients. In symbolism the Anima translates to either a beautiful female or an homosexual male.

The Animus is the male side of a woman's subconscious and conscious, and is also constructed of one's ideal male qualities. I fell in love with my ex-husband because of my Animus, only to find I had fallen in love with his ideal and not his actual personality - which was fairly abusive, violent, and addictive. He was my Syzygy Animus - my imperfectly skewed ideal male, explained below.

Syzygy is the relationship between the conscious and unconscious, the perfect relationship represented by the contrasexual couple. In other words, the man acts as a woman, and the woman acts as a man - kind of a gender confusion neurosis there, but Jung contradicts himself quite a bit anyways. It is because of syzygy that the "Developmental School" of Jungian thought believes there is an Anima in females as well as an Animus in males. Symbolism translates syzygy as numerous forms, including a rough cloud and a soft cloud, the angel and the demon (you know, those little guys on a cartoon's shoulders telling him what to do), and Adam and Eve type representations.

That's a lot to digest in one sitting! Take a break and I'll tell you about more Jungian Archetypes tomorrow =)

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