The existence of archetypes is everywhere in our culture. They are fairly universal in nature and have been seen from time immemorial. Archetypes describe the inborn models of people, behaviours, and personalities based on core motivations and fears. Several notable psychiatrists have given their theory on archetypes while focusing on various aspects of human behaviour.
One such theory proposed by Carl Jung states that since human knowledge was passed down from our ancestors, over time certain clusters of common traits, behaviours, and motives were seen across generations. These clusters were then called archetypes since they tried to make sense of why certain traits, behaviours, and motives existed together – the answer frequently laid in core motivations, desires or fears. This became a template for all future work on Archetypes.
So to acquire a wider understanding of Carl Jung’s particular theory on human knowledge let us go deeper into his 12 personality archetypes.
Table of Contents
- What are Jungian Archetypes?
- Background of Jungian Archetypes
- What are 4 Cardinal Orientations?
- What are 12 Jungian Personality Archetypes?
What are Jungian Archetypes?
The word “archetype” comes from two Greek words: arche- origin, and typos- form, pattern. The Jung theories on archetype were mostly based on the personal and collective unconscious and extraversion and introversion. He also believed that the human psyche or the body, mind, and soul were made up of 3 different parts such as ego (considered as the reflection of the conscious mind), personal unconscious (varies depending on everyone, having suppressed memories), and the collective unconscious (solely based on the shared memories with the whole of humanity, particularly the ancestral memory comes into the play).
Besides this, Jungian archetypes reside in the category of the collective unconscious part. Jung believed that most people are born with their hereditary traits being the main factor in controlling people’s behaviour and partially in determining their character, psychic structure, and possible reactions. These ancestral memories are represented by universal themes in various cultures and are expressed through literature, art, and dreams.
Background of Jungian Archetypes
During the 19th and 20th centuries, three psychologists and writers made their life goals to understand the human condition. Based on their studies, they believed that there are fewer differences and more similarities that exist between the people around the globe. They mentioned that they have the same fundamental needs, desires, and fears.
One of the best-known psychologists who focused on personality was Carl Gustav Jung. During the early days, Carl Jung supported Freud due to their shared interest in the unconscious. Later in 1948, Jung disagreed with Freud’s theory which overstated the role of sexuality in serving as a driving force for people. Jung coined the term “archetypes” that introduced the idea of the “collective unconscious”. For Jung, the main purpose of psychic energy (similar to the concept of libido of Freud) was by motivating everyone spiritually, intellectually, and creatively and not just from a sexual standpoint. He also developed the theory of archetypes which conceptualized models of people, behaviours and personalities.
What are 4 Cardinal Orientations?
Carl Jung’s efforts towards psychology were to show the importance of the individuals and the purpose and meaning of one’s inner and outer life based on the conscious and unconscious levels. Jungian archetypes believed that each archetype had an important role in the personality of an individual but depicted that most people were dominated by one specific archetype. Based on Jung, the archetype expression was dependent on many factors like an individual’s cultural influences and uniquely personal experiences. He majorly identified 4 major archetypes but believed there may be no limitation to their existence.
- The persona: It is also called a “Jungian mask” the representation of the outwards appearance of the person. It hides the true character of an individual by inheriting from socialization, gender roles, caste roles etc. The persona would be different among various groups and situations. Jung mentioned that persona may appear in the dreams and take different forms. It majorly helps the people to get adapt to the environment they are in to live.
- The shadow: It was also mentioned as the “animal side/Jungian dark side” of the personality. It is an archetype that talks about sex and life instincts, and it is composed of repressed ideas, weaknesses, desires, instincts, and shortcomings. Jung said, “assimilation of the shadow gives a man body, so to speak”. The shadow was encountered in dreams that often frightens and disturbs. It may be the things that are unacceptable not only to society but to own personal morals and values.
- The anima/animus: It was also called “Jungian gender” to its emphasis on the unconscious feminine side in males and masculine tendencies in a woman. It’s the representation of the “true self” instead of being an image we present to others. Jung stated that social influences and physiological changes play a major role in the development of sex roles and gender identities.
- The self: It was called “Jungian unification” which means the self-realization of the wholeness of a human spirit. Only when the individual encounters their shadow and Anima or Animus the self can be identified. It occurs through the process of individuation that leads to personality integration.
What are 12 Jungian Personality Archetypes?
Underlying the life motto or inspiration it has been mapped out into 4 types and that focuses on the 12 Jungian personality archetypes. It includes,
- Ego: Making one’s presence known and admired
- Order: To maintain some structure
- Social: To have good connections with others
- Freedom: Free from physical and psychological barriers
“All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes” – Carl Jung.
To determine the different personalities Jung researched symbols and myths of various cultures. The behavioural patterns make up the different ways of being in the different categories of archetypes.
The four main types of Jung’s archetypes can intermingle and come up with 12 archetypes. In the 12 Jungian archetypes, both the positive and negative sides of each personality have been explained.
- Ruler (order): Takes the responsibility of the society at large by seeking rigidity and responsibility. The ruler is stable and creates the gateway for productivity. The person insists on his or her way to gain control rather than focusing on the creative elements. Most people act like this in positions of authority but do not know to handle the situation.
- Creator/artist (order): The archetypes focus on the highest art to the smallest innovation as they love novelty. They make completely new things as they are clever, non-conformist and self-sufficient. They are so obsessive and have so many imaginations and possibilities, but none will be acted upon fully.
- Sage (freedom): The value of knowledge and wisdom along with analytical skills leads to the greater lengths to experience the sense of the world and the living. The unfeeling judgement about others and mentioning that they are not good enough or not doing it right.
- Innocent (freedom): The archetypes are optimistic and look for the happiness they are trusting children while a bit dependent. Without knowing what is going on, the chances of hurting yourself and others are more and will not acknowledge it. Blindly trusting what others say even though their perspective is counter to your inner self.
- Explorer (freedom): The personality allows the known to discover and explore the unknown. Their definition of success was defined as “I did it myself” as they acquired knowledge and understanding from their personal experiences. They thrive to measure the impossible goal to find the right solution or can see them in many different areas of interest but never feel to achieve or accomplish anything.
- Rebel (ego): They become self-destructive because of their negative side and go against the grain and think for themselves by conscious choices. They are ruthless and weed the garden in ways that allow for new growth. It includes the shadow part as addictions, compulsions or activities that undermine intimacy, career success or self-esteem and physical abuse, murder, and rape that destroy others.
- Hero (ego): This personality archetype fights for justice and encounters many hurdles. They help us to achieve our goals by overcoming obstacles. The villain uses warrior skills for personal gain without thought of morality, ethics or the good of other people. In our lives it is also active in a way that we feel compelled to compromise our principles to compete, win or get our way.
- Wizard (ego): In this archetype, people look to the fundamental law of science and metaphysics to understand the different situations, influence people, and make reality comes true. The evil sorcerer will be transforming the better into lesser options. Engaging in such evil sorcery may belittle ourselves or another and results in diminished self-esteem.
- Jester (social): The jester character tries to enjoy life but is mostly prone to laziness and dissipation. They think that the past and future are meta illusions that take away joy. A sloth or lecher is defined by the lusts and urges of the body without any sense of dignity or self-control.
- Orphan (social): They think that everyone is important and reveals the deep structure influenced by the very little form of life that allows them to learn with empathy, realism, and street smarts. Sometimes because of their incompetence, they behave like they need special treatment in life as they are so fragile. When the shadow of the positive orphan is in control, even people try to harm them.
- Lover (social): They monitors all kinds of love from parental love to friendship, to spiritual love. Even though it brings us all sorts of headaches, they experience pleasure, achieve intimacy, make commitments, and follow bliss. The one luring others from their quests, relationship addicts, and who is unable to say no when passion descends or destroyed totally when a lover leaves.
- Caregiver (order): Self-sacrifice to maintain the social structure, feels stronger. They do offer maternal protection and want to protect people from harm and prevent any risk. Sometimes they do help raise the children with compassion and generosity. The suffering martyr, controlled by others makes them feel guilty, co-dependency a compulsive need to take care of or rescue others.
Jungian Archetype faces significant criticism from scholars and critics. This is large because it is not amenable to being scientifically studied. Unconscious processes, thoughts, motives etc are things that cannot be measured numerically or standardised in tests. To quite some extent, the archetypes are also fairly philosophical and abstract in nature rather than purely based on psychology.
That said, it is still considered to be a path-breaking concept that has changed the course of psychology and has inspired numerous theories that have proven to be useful in consumer psychology, organisational psychology, personality tests, psychotherapy etc. Despite its criticism, Archetypes are a very useful tool to understand some of our more archetypal fears, motivations, and desires as they are able to explain certain seemingly unrelated aspects of personality and are able to characterise an individual in an integrative way.