Consider: All humans become members of their societies by assuming behaviors and attitudes associated with culturally patterned ROLES. A Mother or Father, a Doctor or Teacher, an orphan or an idealist, even a “depressive” all enact social positions vis a vis other social positions by displaying somewhat normative dispositions. In a way we wear masks, or what George H Mead would call personas as we seek to match identifiable images connected with situational identities. As well, we are all multiple in that respect; we adopt different sorts of persona images in different relationships and in different kinds of situations.
Next consider this intriguing statement from Carl Jung: “For every typical situation in life there is an archetype corresponding to that situation.” The archetypal persona forms associated with situational roles are what I am calling Archemes in Life Paths. Stock character forms that help you to learn and display your roles in social positions and in your relationships of various sorts become integral to our identities on both conscious and unconscious levels.
So when I speak in the blog this week about the metaphor of “Life is an Ensemble Cast of Archetype Characters,” I am referring to the notion of Archemes that we each have internalized or that have become ingrained in the very structure of human consciousness along with the evolution of society and culture. I speak as a professional anthropologist here, and I believe this approach explains much about the phenomena of archetypal personas. An understanding of Archemes helps dissolve much of the mystery surrounding the idea of collective and personal unconscious archetypes. While on the unconscious level your inner ‘voices’ and nudge-producers certainly do have a “noumenal” quality about them which can show up in dreams, they are also part and parcel of your conscious, outer roles which are closely connected with your feelings of identity and Self.
Getting to know your Archemes can be as simple, then, as to understand who you are in different sorts of typical situations, both on conscious and unconscious levels. Integrating your internal archeme personas can help you grow as a more unified, Self-aware individual.
I welcome all of your insights and stories!