New PDF release: Archetype, Attachment, Analysis: Jungian Psychology and the

By Jean Knox

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Michael Fordham’s developmental innovations in the theory and practice of analytical psychology are also based on his sound understanding of the importance of an evolutionary perspective on archetypes. In ‘Biological theory and the concept of archetypes’ (1957) he investigates the light which the emerging discoveries of ethology could shed on the characteristics of archetypes and came down firmly in favour of seeing them as biological entities: It follows that when it is said that the archetypes are hereditary functions what is meant is that they must be somehow represented in the germ cells and that therefore any archetypal image recorded by the conscious mind likewise contains within it the effect of genetic factors.

This variety of interests was reflected in his library. (Ellenberger 1970:680) A number of analysts and academics have undertaken the task of dissecting and clarifying the variety of ways in which Jung conceptualized archetypes, uncovering the main meanings which the ideas seemed to hold for Jung himself. One line of researeh has been to explore the range of philosophical, scientific, literary and religious JUNG’S VARIOUS MODELS OF ARCHETYPES 15 sources which consciously or unconsciously influenced Jung’s thinking and to show how his description of archetypes fluctuated as he explored the possibilities which each of these fields of knowledge offered him (Carrette 1994; Casement 2001).

On the one hand, genetic instructions contain no symbolic content and so cannot be the direct source of meaningful imagery. On the other hand, contemporary cognitive science is increasingly providing the empirical evidence to show that the human mind does contain core meanings which structure our perception of the world but these are built up from experience and are not innate or genetically specified, nor are they universal and eternal 24 JUNG’S VARIOUS MODELS OF ARCHETYPES truths which exist independently of the human mind and brain (Schacter 1996; Dupré 2001).

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