Issue 3.6: Archetypal, My Dear Watson
A Primer on Jungian Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious in Video Games
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Game & Word Volume 3, Issue 6: Sunday, Jun. 19, 2022
Publisher: Jay Rooney
Author, Graphics, Research: Jay Rooney
Logo: Jarnest Media
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Table of Contents
Summary & Housekeeping
Feature: “Archetypal, My Dear Watson” (~20 minute read)
Food for Talk: Discussion Prompts
Game & Word-of-Mouth
Today, we’ll dip our toes into the collective unconscious by taking a look at archetypes, what they represent, and why they’ve been such a fixture of humanity since we practically gained sentience. With this, we’ll be setting the ground for a deep dive into some of gaming’s best depictions of the collective unconscious.
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Also, sorry this issue isn’t as image-heavy—or as long—as previous issues. I just didn’t have enough time this week. 😞 Next issue, on the other hand, will be much more… dynamic. I promise! 😁
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Feature: Archetypal, My Dear Watson
⏳📜✍️ Updates & Errata: ✍️📜⏳
UPDATE (6/21/22): Added images, including an archetype infographic, to provide some more visual flair to the piece.
CONTINUED FROM ISSUE 3.5
I aM eVerYwHerE aNd NoWHerE. .eReHWoN dNA eRehWyREve Ma I
The Collective Unconscious
…Ok, maybe it’s time we get our bearings. What, exactly, is the collective unconscious, anyway?
As far as the mind is concerned, you can’t get much deeper than this. We’re way past the realm of dreams and imagination, and in the plane of archetypes and quantum bonds. This is the fount from which all human experience originates, and the endpoint of every human journey. To use a computer analogy, this is the kernel through which God (or the cosmos, or evolution, or whatever) interfaces with the operating system of the psyche.
The popular conception of the collective unconscious is that it’s a kind of spiritual internet, through which every human mind is psychically linked to each other. That’s not quite what Carl Jung had in mind when he coined the term (though it was close). Here’s how he described it:
The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences...
And later (emphasis mine):
There exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually, but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.