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Life Arts

Archetypes and the Fully Functioning Person

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) September 24, 2014: Today we have no shortage of big thinkers thinking big thoughts about feminine archetypes.

For example, Robert L. Moore, Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (born 1942), the Jungian theorist at the Chicago Theological Seminary, thinks that all human persons come equipped with four feminine archetypes of maturity in their psyches -- and four masculine archetypes of maturity in their psyches.

According to Dr. Moore, each of the eight archetypes of maturity involves two "shadow" forms and only one optimal form.

Thus the fully functioning human person would be drawing energies from all eight optimal forms of the eight archetypes of maturity in the human psyche.

So any woman who is not drawing energies from all eight optimal forms of the archetypes of maturity in her psyche is not fully functioning -- yet.

Similarly, any man who is not drawing energies from all eight optimal forms of the archetypes of maturity in his psyche is not fully functioning -- yet.

With Douglas Gillette as his co-author, Dr. Moore has published a series of five books about the four masculine archetypes in men's psyches.

But Dr. Moore has not published any books for men about the feminine archetypes in men's psyches -- yet.

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Nor has he published any books for women about either the masculine archetypes or the feminine archetypes in women's psyches -- yet.

Now, M. Esther Harding, M.D. (1888-1971), published her landmark book Woman's Mysteries in 1935. So did her landmark book escape Dr. Moore's notice? Dr. Harding discusses the big picture, as it were. But she does not happen to schematize the feminine spirit in the human psyche into four separate and distinct feminine archetypes, as Dr. Moore does.

But the Swiss Jungian analyst Antonio (Toni) Wolff (1888-1953) did happen to formulate a fourfold schema of women's archetypal patterns that Dr. Moore cites.

C. G. Jung, M.D. (1875-1961), the Swiss psychiatrist and psychological theorist, and his followers were intrigued with quaternity symbolism -- and with circle symbolism. When they found a circle encircling a square, or a square enclosing a circle, they referred to these symbolic representations as mandalas.

Nevertheless, I want to draw attention to the following passage from page 238 of the 1971 revised edition of Dr. Harding's Woman's Mysteries, in which she uses generic masculine pronouns but I will refer instead to a person and make other suitable editorial amplifications.

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She notes that "[t]o raise the Veil of Isis" enables a person to see reality "not veiled any longer by custom or convention, by rationalization or illusion." A person "who is able to do that and so to face reality" . . . "has released his [or her] mind, himself [or herself], from the conditionings of time and space, and especially from the distortions of fact brought about by his [or her] ego orientation. His [or her] center of consciousness has shifted from the personal 'I' of ego[-consciousness], to a more disinterested focal point, which embraces in its outlook a larger range and has in consequence a more detached attitude."

Now, the "more disinterested focal point, which embraces in its outlook a larger range and has in consequence a more detached attitude" involves the experience of the Self in the human psyche. I capitalize this term here to differentiate it from our ordinary experience of ego-consciousness -- in effect, the lowercase self.

Next, I want to draw attention to two descriptors that Dr. Harding uses here: disinterested and detached.

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www.d.umn.edu/~tfarrell
Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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