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Archetypes

Archetypes
Self-portraits of the instincts. The instinctive forces and instinctive strategies or ways of behaving. 'Archetypal images' are the symbols through which these instinctive things show themselves in dreams.

Archetypal images include symbols that occur in mythology, fairytales and religions. They are older than mankind and belong to the collective unconscious. Archetypal images are symbols that represent contents within the psyche that were never conscious experiences.

They are the 'universal' symbols that are available to us all even though we have no knowledge of them in our waking lives.

Archetypes are common psychic structures that parallel the common human physical stucture.

Gerard

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elementary ideas/Universal Ideas....Elementargedanken/Volkergedanken

Adolf Bastian


Born: 26 June 1826
Died: 1905

Adolf Bastian was a world traveler as and a major ethnologist of the nineteenth century.

He published a book in 1868 detailing his theory concerning the many and strong analogies which exist between even far-flung cultures in all sorts of conceptions and institutions, manners and customs. His hypothesis was that human nature is everywhere the same, and that the several peoples have given birth wholly independently of one another to the same conceptions and customs. His thought followed from the analogy that as dogs bark everywhere alike, the cuckoo utters everywhere the same note, and in the same way man everywhere forms the same ideas and performs the same actions.

"What we see in history is not a transformation, a passing of one race into another, but entirely new and perfect creations, which the ever-youthful productivity of nature sends forth from the invisible realm of Hades."

Philosopher/historian Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) perceived a dialectical relationship between tradition and progress, and thought of historical events as "outward forms" sustained by an "inner force." This appeared again in the later German Volksgeist theory popularized by the anthropologist Theodor Waitz (1813-1866). Bastian's thought is largely based on these notions first espoused by Herder.

Bastian distinguished Elementargedanken and Volkergedanken.

He recognized in the myths and ceremonial customs of mankind a significant number of essential themes and motifs that were apparently universal. He termed these Elementargedanken, meaning "elementary ideas" or "prevailing themes" that with few exceptions have been found in all cultures and religions of the world. The presumption is that these images are universal, transcultural, and transhistorical. Bastian said "mankind has a store of these thoughts inborn in every individual and those elementary thoughts appear in different varieties in India, in Babylonia, and even, for instance, in South Sea stories."

The Volkergedanken, meaning "ethnic ideas" or "folk ideas" would correspond to the stereotypical identities of a culture - the changes that become unique to a specific culture. Ethnic means any social group bound by race, customs, language or values, a word derived from the Greek, "ethnos" (nation or people). The folk ideas include fables, legends, myths, proverbs, sayings, tales, and the like.

Consider the craft of rug weaving as an example. The art flourished in the 15th Century in Persia and Turkey, followed by India early in the 16th Century and China in the 17th Century. Thus weaving was common to all humanity, but the end product of each ethnic group was quite different.

Joseph Campbell cites Bastian in his Transformations of Myth Through Time.

Gerard

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