Source Quote: Edinger on Nature of Archetypes…

Here is Edward F. Edinger defining archetype speaking to his meaning of his choice in descriptors for a 1999 book titled: Archetype of the Apocalypse.

”What is an archetype?. . . First of all, an archetype is a pattern: a primordial psychic ordering of images that has a collective or generalized quality; it can be understood, therefore, to derive from the collective transpersonal objective psyche – rather than from the personal psyche. That is one aspect of an archetype. The other aspect to which we do not pay quite as much attention – but which deserves emphasis – is that the archetype is a dynamic agency: it is a living organism, a psychic organism that inhabits the collective psyche. In the fact that an archetype is both a pattern and an agency is that any encounter with an archetype will have these two aspects.

As a pattern, we can encounter an archetypal reality and speak about it as an object – an object of our knowledge and understanding. But as a dynamic living agency it appears to us as subject, as an entity like ourselves with intentionality and some semblance of consciousness. Jung refers to this double aspect of archetypes at the beginning of his seminal work Answer Job where he says:

’They are spontaneous phenomena which are not subject to our will, and we are therefore justified in ascribing to them a certain autonomy. They are to be regarded not only as objects but as subjects with laws of their own. . . . If that is considered, we are compelled to treat them as subjects; in other words, we have to admit that they possess spontaneity and purposiveness, or a kind of consciousness and free will.’(1)

The reader should keep that in mind as we proceed to analyze the Apocalypse archetype in particular, because it is like all archetypes when they are evoked, constellation, or activated. This archetype of the Apocalypse takes on autonomy intends to direct whatever is of a psychic nature in its vicinity to line up with its own lines of force.”

Edinger, Edward F, Archetype of the Apocalypse: Divine Vengeance, Terrorism, and the End of the World, Open Court, 1999, p.p. 1-2.

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