Jung`s archetypes are no more polar opposites when we compare a man driven by instinctual drives and a man seized by spirit. The archetypes contain unconscious contents affected when made conscious and taken into the context of the individual perceiving the content. Each archetype lives within Freud’s “tension of opposites “, be it negative or positive, good or bad, inferior or superior, etc. The dualistic conception of the instinctual life the opposition of the ego instincts (death), and the instincts of the sexual life (Eros). With intuition, we can read between the black-and-white lines of these archetypes and instincts. We are then able to perceive with thinking, logic, feeling, and intellectual analysis to ascertain the true character or the nature of the person /event being experienced.
We experience neurosis and emotional suffering when these instincts are suppressed or repressed due to parental or cultural conditioning. The persona is generated by these adaptions of personal convenience, where we compromise between individuality and society’s needs. The goal to be oneself means confronting these societal norms and taboos, which may cause distress, and suffering and raise one`s awareness .compulsive and addictive behaviour are associated with the inferior aspects of the persona, stifling the innate temperament and crushing natural expression; it then takes on the form of a primitive underdeveloped action, like a fish out of water. The subconscious is created by what the ego rejects, the forgotten memories and materials sent into the shadow aspects of the psyche.
The deeper levels of the unconscious communicate with our ego-consciousness via mystical and poetic images, stories and feelings related to the human species. The objective psyche, the collective unconscious, has its own purpose, directing one to wholeness and not to the one-sided ego. The archetype, a complex entity, leads a separate existence in the dark realms of the shadow, will rise and push the ego out of the way and assume control of the personality when they become conscious.
Individual toned images and associations cluster around the “core” of this complex, usually one of the mother, father, power, etc.
The complex is sparked into action, normally by a specific crisis or internal or external stimuli, such as a word, thought, or experience. When the complex is triggered, the ego descends into a passive seizure, into the unknown and foreign realms of the personality, akin to possession, creating chaos and confusion in one’s life. The ascension from the abyss and the integration of the shadow will lead to greater achievement and creativity. The pain and suffering will continue until we learn to diffuse the impact of the unconscious will, or we can transform the energy into a higher emotional undertaking. Whatever is in our unconscious, unknown to the ego, is instantly experienced in a projection form. Until we can acknowledge these projections are coming from within, we will not have executive power over them.
Children, unconscious adults, and neurotics are all prey to manipulation by individuals or groups.
Ego consciousness is made up of many processes, functions, and content and must be assimilated into the realm of awareness to allow natural expression and not from a neurosis (psychic crucifixion). The greatest dilemma neurotics face is their fear of confrontation and conflict with their complexes. This requires the capacity and courage, and willingness to suffer. The greater the unconscious identification, the lesser the ego has control, being flooded with inner compulsions or the onrush of outer reactions from others due to projections. The undifferentiated /undefined ego does not have the ability to distinguish between inner and outer, subject and object.
Differentiation means the ability to distinguish between awareness of ego consciousness and those stemming from unconscious complexes. We learn better discernment from a well-defined ego when we stop identifying with these complexes. Dropping one`s infantilism and puerile obsessive impulses signify a sort of psychic death, which we instinctively flee from. Most typical conflicts in the complex area of the moral order are the inability to express or fear of expressing the totality of the individual’s nature. Truth is always revolutionary, turning into the darkness where illusions and delusions live and need to make conscious.
At the point of an impasse, one has to bear the tension of the opposites, make conscious, contain and develop the energy within the complex into a transcendental function, no longer frustrated and neurotic.
The self is the place where the transpersonal spheres of consciousness sit, where the convergence of irreconcilable opposites is resolved into the collective whole. Ego consciousness can only intuit the presence of the self and the union of opposites. When we begin to embrace the higher self and distinguish between egotistical desires and genuine needs, we can transcend fear, false expectations, and ambivalence based on habitual delusions. When we encounter the self, the ego feels as though it is being observed by something of greater significance. The basis for this co-mastering of our destiny is total surrender to the self, as the self makes its will manifest via dreams and visions laden with meaning. Only by developing enough ego strength through a mindful living will we be able to accentuate the positive side of archetypes and not let them unconsciously work against us.
Good and Evil
Each shadow is a split-off aspect or entity, not worthy of conscious expression or acceptance, out of sync with the ego/persona goals and intentions. The personal shadow contains psychic characteristics of the individual, the alter ego, that can block creative aspects of the psyche. The ego is strengthened by resisting certain undesirable alter egos, holding the tensions battling for recognition and integrating the opposites. It’s easier to keep projecting, scapegoating, and blaming others for your sorrow and woes.
- Recognise the shadow aspects that exist.
- Act kindly but firmly in an attempt to imbue the shadow with consciousness
- When we can dialogue with the shadow, we can separate the ego and persona from shadow contamination.
- Once achieved, we can confront the other, multiple pairs of psychic opposites at deeper levels.
Before we feel better once the shadow has been confronted, we usually expect a wave of depression where we can no longer project. Such projection withdrawal is accompanied by the shattering of self-illusions and a feeling of having lived a hypocritical life. Experiencing the betrayal of the self, a moral about-face (metanoia) becomes a must, a call to wholeness and vocation.
Opposite Sex – Inside and Out
The quality of all goddesses is called Eros (cupid), who was the son of Aphrodite (Venus), the goddess of love, beauty, and harmony. The masculine agent of a wholly feminine principle represents relatedness to all people, spontaneous, personal, and intuitive. People engrossed in the fatherly “logos” with no Eros are often involved in authoritarianism and cruel power plays. Those with too much Eros are experienced as boiling over in vulnerability and hypersensitivity, with no ego boundaries, displaying subjective feelings of confusion and chaos, complete lack of discipline, where psychic anarchy reigns supreme. This creates a naïve, magical, superstitious, suspicious scheming mindset and mentality.
The father, logos, helps the child with focused awareness as it tries to release itself from the dark consciousness of the maternal womb. The realm of the unconscious fused with the complexes, all coalescing, blended, and contaminated with other entities. The father throws a light onto the darkness and sees distinct forms in the shadow of space, creating separation, individuality, and differentiation. It is phallic penetrating, combatative as it masters the forces of darkness into consciousness. Overemphasised logos produces the killjoy, one-upmanship, competition, and desire to have power over others. Over-accentuated Eros produces shabby thinking, co-dependency, lack of self-identity, poor ego boundaries, and extreme passivity in the face of life’s challenges.
Psychic equilibrium is achieved when logos and Eros interplay meeting in the sacred wedding of the human psyche.
The unconscious feminine soul image is the Anima, and the masculine soul image is the animus. Men without a bonding Anima become aggressive, engaged in promiscuity and multiple fleeting relationships, and unable to relate, commit, and work at a deeper emotional level. Without the Anima/animus and logos, one sprouts collective ideas and opinions culled by hearsay, with a repressed spiritual dimension and development. A man with an unresolved Anima will be moody, with all-consuming hysteria because he has been unloved and believes he is unlovable, with his Eros out of alignment. The Father must give birth to their sons via a rite of passage to facilitate the painful transition to adulthood—a painful and gruelling experience, surrendering to the self and the integration of the shadow. If the father is missing, the boy will only have the mother animus to integrate, which may be impaired, unconscious, and underdeveloped.
The anima may be too influential, creating an imbalance with an undercharged masculine energy, and the person will seek their masculinity in others, engaging in the Dionysus and sexually aggressive magnetic vigour. A homoerotic relationship ensues, without the integration of the animus, constantly seeking its engagement. A function of the anima/animus is to serve as a bridge or link between ego-consciousness and the inner world. The persona is the mediator between the ego and the outer world. The man/woman, once they integrate the inner anima/animus, will no longer project their inner conflicts onto their partners.
Madness is the psychological way of facing wholeness and entering a new life in a deeper stratum and flexibility.
A determined, receptive, and cooperative ego allows the contrasexual anima/animus to assimilate and integrate. An androgynous psyche will be more disciplined, effective, and at peace to develop better goals and ambitions.
Dionysus is the protagonist, the lord of wine, ecstasy, and untamed instinct, who rules over the irrational aspects of human nature. It personifies feminine eroticism, the instinctual life force that is in perpetual opposition to everything, petrified or dead in us. Its task is to remain through habitual ignorance or inertia and will use all the means necessary to crush the forces that resist life, including the punishment of neurosis, madness, or destructive violence. On an existential level, Dionysus is the orgasm, which allows humanity to transcend ego-consciousness and become aware of greater aspects of ecstasy and life. The god of extreme polar opposites contained within himself, where each archetype is bipolar, with competing ego desires and spiritual needs.
Apollo is the rational god, the lion of the sun’s brilliance and beauty, the antithesis of Dionysus. He represents reason, knowledge, discipline, and objective clarity whilst being detached and dispassionate, the god of arts, music, and science. The cold fish is aloof, unemotional, heroic, and dashing like the fictional “James Bond”. One needs to educate themselves with the positive aspects of Dionysus, the rapture, spontaneity, and meaning, compared to ennui, angst, emotional limbo, and neurotic malaise. If Apollo is masculine, Dionysus is feminine. Dionysus’s repression leads to compulsions and addictions, a living death of continuous struggle. Orpheus is the neuter, the neutralising force of the opposites producing the transcendental function. One can then learn relatedness, diplomacy, soulfulness, charm, and courage, with blind loyalty and undying love as the extremes have been tempered. The development and movement from Dionysus through Apollo to Orpheus in the ordinary healthy rites of passage, from the chaos of puberty and adolescence to early adulthood and psychic maturity.
The transcendent function allows consciousness to rise above the inner tensions, to regain peace and balance.
Individuation is the process that leads to the ultimate meaningful life; after the ego has come to surrender to the unconscious, the encounter of the halves leads to a realisation of the self.
Right and Left Brain
- Reptilian Brain – Primitive Brain stem, behavioural responses, and instincts, without emotions and cognitive appreciation.
- Mammalian Brain – the limbic system, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland. Attitudes to the environment
- Neo mammalian (neo-cortex) – cognition and sophisticated perceptual processes.
- Human Brain – left-brain dominant, rational, sequential, empirical, and analytic thinking. Use of Language. Right brain – non-verbal, simultaneous, spatial, and symbolic awareness with a greater global overview. Able to work with archetypal processing of imagery, form, and spatial characteristics.
Self vs the Ego
The self pulls and tugs the ego in the right direction, whereby it may create situations and experiences to awaken the individual to a new awareness. The self will attempt to align the ego with its true heightened and greater potential, where we can endure the pain and take on life’s challenges. The unborn consciousness is no longer touchy and egotistical with a bundle of false wishes, fears, hopes, and ambitions. Instead, it is a function of relationship to the world of objects, bringing the individual into its absolute, bonding, and indissoluble communion with the world, grasping reality’s magnitude.
Signs are unambiguous and bipolar, whilst symbols are ambiguous and bipolar with an inner meaning of opposites. For example, an incest dream may indicate a yearning of humankind to return to the paradoxical state of the mother`s womb (unconscious), free of responsibility, human concerns, and the need to make decisions. It could also mean the desire for spiritual rebirth and start over, penetrating the personal matrix, and thoughts reorganising for transformation and renewal. A symbol is normally a compound of a thesis ( i.e. Woman) and an antithesis (say, a fish), which produces a synthesis (mermaid), meaning and image beyond the single woman and fish. A symbol mediates between the incompatible elements of the unconscious and unconscious, and it is always both, be it rational /irrational or real /unreal.
The ability of the psyche to synthesise the pair of opposites is called the transcendent function, revealing resolved symbols and a new state of consciousness. Symbols and ream work as a bridge between the inner and outer, lower and upper worlds.