Everything that we know and feel is derived from the images of the psyche. These fantasy images run through our daydreams and night dreams, and they are constantly taking shape even when we are busy working and thinking. Most people have forgotten the deeper meanings that images point to and symbolize. We have forgotten because of our one-sided dependence on rational, left-brain processing.
There is a myth-making aspect of psyche, creating mythic themes within individual's dreams and fantasies, or creating cultural mythologies. This is the aspect of psyche that relates to the archetypes, those instinctual patterns of human behavior that Carl G. Jung postulated are the contents of the Collective Unconscious.
Archetypes are those pre-existent forms of behavior, apprehension and perception of experience and reaction that make us human. Like our instinctual knowledge, they help us shape and meet life in a 'human' way.
But we can only perceive archetypes through their archetypal images, for they themselves are unknowable. Archetypes are not inherited images, but inherent psychic structures responsible for the production of those images. These archetypal images in turn give rise to the myths, dreams and stories of individuals and cultures.
C. G. Jung believed that these transpersonal
patterns of images are not located within human beings, but rather
human beings are located in and subject to the intentions of the
Our personal psychology is just a thin skin, a ripple on the ocean of collective psychology. The powerful factor, the factor which changes our whole life, which changes the surface of our known world, which makes history, is collective psychology, and collective psychology moves according to laws entirely different from those of our consciousness. The archetypes are the great decisive forces, they bring about the real events, and not our personal reasoning and practical intellect. … The archetypal images decide the fate of man.