The story of Archetypes
A Brief Introduction in Broad Strokes
Philosophy is the mother of all knowledge. The story of archetypes is no exception. The knowledge of archetypes dates to Plato. And later extends to Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung. For Jung, “all the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes.”
Plato maintained there are two existing things: seen and unseen. The unseen archetypes, he contended, are the invisible blueprints (models, template) of which all types are made. E.g. from the eternal perfect form of archetypal table comes infinite number of imperfect types of tables.
Jung studied alchemy for thirty years. In his studies of the psyche (mind, soul), he went way beyond Freud, his mentor—from psychoanalysis to psyche-analysis.
Alchemists stated: as above so below.
For Jung as above so in the psyche. He rescued archetypes from Aether land of Plato and placed them into the inner world of psyche. He identified the archetypes as the invisible units of energy in the libido–the psychic energy. According to Jung, archetypes are the universal inheritance of human race, and the numerous repetitions throughout the ages has hard coded the archetypes in the psyche. Furthermore, the invisible archetypes manifest in our dreams as an archetypal image. The archetypal characters also appear in our literature in films and plays. E.g. a hero on a journey, or a magician, a senex as the wise old man, etc.
For Jung the tripartite psyche besides conscious and unconscious, has an ancient archetypal layer that he termed universal unconscious dating back to the first formation of consciousness in human.