An archetype and a complex walk into a bar

The terms “archetype” and “complex” are part of our current vernacular and are often used outside any reference to Jungian- or depth-psychology. The popular (mis-)usage of these terms can muddy our understanding of them with the result that they become intellectual concepts or buzz-words we use with little in the way of a personal connection. But “archetypes” and “complexes” are, after all, part of being human! We are all born with the archetypes hardwired into our brains. We all grow complexes as a natural byproduct of having a childhood and successfully maturing into functional adults.

What do these two very different animals have to do with each other? Archetypes are collective – we all share them. Complexes are personal – we may all have a “father complex,” but we are each affected by it in an individual way. So how are the two inter-related? At the core of every complex is an archetype. What forms the bridge between the two is emotion. We are most likely all too familiar with the emotion evoked when our complexes get rubbed the wrong way. But emotion is also an intrinsic aspect of the archetypes – an aspect which is all too easily missed in our academic, collective-centric treatment of them. Through lecture and open discussion, this class will explore the emotional side of the archetypes and the ways in which the archetype-complex system interacts with us on a personal basis.

The goals of this class are:

  • to bring “archetype” and “complex” out of the stratosphere and into the world of our own personal psychology
  • to give you something (a tool, an idea, a hint) you can use to explore, in a more intimate way, your own personal psychology by walking that emotional bridge between archetype and complex