The human mind has been always a complicated and mysterious category that many scientists and psychologists have put a lot of effort into the process of discovering. We all get to know the conscious and subconscious parts of the human mind. And today, I’m going to be giving you more information about one part of the unconscious brain- the collective subconscious.

What is the collective subconscious?

The collective subconscious consists of “psychic structure” or “cognitive categories” which are not unique to individuals, but rather are shared by a society or all humankind. It influences our thoughts, behavior, and the way we see the world. It is a product of ancestral experience. Moreover, the collective subconscious is a concept originally defined by psychoanalyst Carl Jung.

Carl Jung's theory of the collective subconscious
Carl Jung’s theory of the collective subconscious

According to Jung’s methods, the collective subconscious is common to all human beings. It is responsible for a number of deep-seated beliefs and instincts, such as spirituality, sexual behavior…

Read more: What is the difference between personal and collective subconscious?

Who is Carl Jung?

Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss  psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who was the founder of  analytical psychology school. He was in charge of proposing and developing the psychological concepts of collective subconscious and archetypes, along with introverted and extroverted personality.

Carl Jung (1875- 1961)

Among the central concepts of analytical psychology is individuation—the lifelong psychological process of differentiation of the self out of each individual’s conscious and unconscious elements. Jung considered it to be the main task of human development.

Jung was also an artist, craftsman and builder as well as a prolific writer. Many of his works were not published until after his death and some are still awaiting publication


Jung believed that the collective subconscious is the home of archetypes. Basically, an archetype is a common pattern or symbol that is inherent to the human psyche. These archetypes can be found throughout various different cultures and eras, and have certain similarities that carries through even in the most different of time periods and cultures. They show themselves in various fables, fairy tales, myths, religious stories, dreams and visions.

We can see the archetypes across cultures and eras throughout mythology and other forms of literature. It can even be seen in paintings and sculptures. But it’s important to realize that the Archetypes all reside within our personal psyche. And, we can access them and integrate their strengths. They are part of us and we are part of them.

Types of Archetypes

There are different types of archetypes, either to be negative or positive. However, whatever archetypes are active in you and in others provide the lenses through which you and they interpret the world, and hence determine what it will notice and filter. For example, when a Caregiver is active in you, you may enter a room and immediately scan for who is in need or uncomfortable to take care of. If the Jester is active, you might look for opportunities to bring laughs to others. If the Warrior is active, chances are that you’re always ready for any kind of danger.

The value of archetypes

Archetypes are universal human ways of being, they are deeper than culture (but reflect cultural mindsets in their diverse images and narratives), and they are as important to you today as they were to the ancients. Through understanding the archetypal stories that shape our values, character, culture, and capacities, we, as individuals and organizations, can discover our unique potential and experience greater success and contentment in life.

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