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Literary Theory 101: Unveiling the Collective Subconscious in Myth Criticism


Foreword



This series examines literary criticism from all angles, examining numerous analytical frameworks, modes of interpretation, and constraints. It belongs to the degree in English Studies offered by the Complutense University of Madrid. Once the series comes to completion, the reader may be able to analyze the components that contribute to a text's literary character, such as coherence, literality, and will develop a critical approach toward contemporary literary theory. The reader of these articles might grasp the shifting paradigms of fiction analysis within this theoretical framework, establishing a link between the philosophy of language and the evolution of analytical methods in literary criticism. This series aims to offer an insight into the complex relationship between style and the cultural environment, historical factors that have shaped the idea of style as well as the changing literary canon. By examining the complex ways in which literature, language, and culture interact with one another, this series aims to help the readers develop their capacity for critical thinking and interpretation.


The Literary Theory 101 is divided into the following chapters:


  1. Literary Theory 101: Unveiling the Collective Subconscious in Myth Criticism

  2. Literary Theory 101: Challenging Gender Dynamics in Literature

  3. Literary Theory 101: Power Structures and Cultural Studies in Literary Analysis

  4. Literary Theory 101: Umberto Eco's Influence on Reader Response Criticism

  5. Literary Theory 101: Power Dynamics and Postcolonial Perspectives

  6. Literary Theory 101: Contemporary Ecocriticism


Unveiling the Collective Subconscious in Myth Criticism


This essay explores the fundamental relationship that exists between Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious and Gilbert Durand's myth criticism to draw attention to the role of myth and symbolism in both human literature and human civilization. This research intends to show that both authors agree that there are archetypal symbols present in myths and literature, and that they see these symbols as expressions of common human experiences and persistent thinking patterns. It will describe the collective unconscious as suppressed part of the mind that acts as a storehouse for previously unknown information and archetypal symbols, providing access to hitherto unrevealed universal truths and knowledge. This method, which draws from a variety of academic fields, sheds light on the ability of myth to link us to our shared ancestry and provide insight into the intricacies of being human. This article includes a case study of the mythological tales revolving around betrayal and jealousy as elements that have profound psychological foundations and continue to evoke strong responses from audiences. It also aims to show how Durand's myth criticism and Jung's ideas can be used together to create a complete framework for analyzing the deep symbolism in literature. This helps us get a deeper understanding of the human psyche as well as the universal truths that lay behind our common experiences. Myths will be regarded as representations of universal human experiences and enduring thought patterns, and the collective unconscious functions as a repository of shared knowledge and archetypal symbols, granting access to universal truths and wisdom: "We read the myths of the ancient Greeks or the folk stories of American Indians, but we fail to see any connection between them and our attitudes to the "heroes" or dramatic events of today."(Jung, 1964, p.106)


This essay will show myth's capacity to capture the complex dynamics of existence. In light of this, the academic output of eminent French philosopher and anthropologist Gilbert Durand stands out as a crucial addition to the area of cultural and symbolic studies. He created the myth criticism line of thought, which stresses the value of myth and symbolism in interpreting literature as well as their place in human civilization. A case study will portray these ideas by delving into the mythological exploration of treachery and jealousy, this could offer a deeper understanding of the psychological ramifications of these themes. Through the prism of the collective unconscious and archetypal imagery, the transculturalism may be discerned as shared characteristics of human behavior. The study of mythological motifs demonstrates the broader significance of myths in depicting universal aspects of the human experience and casting light on the complexities of our shared nature. Durand sees the manifestation of similar thinking present in modern literary works, cultural narratives, creative manifestations, ideological frameworks, and thorough historical descriptions. According to Durand, Eliade was the first to put this idea into words. Since the dawn of civilization, people have been plagued by questions about their identities, ancestry, the afterlife, and the origins of evil. These questions have persisted till the present day (Durand, 1979, p.VII). Reviewing Durand's work is extremely important since it offers a vast conceptual and reflective set of tools that can answer some of the queries brought up by inquiries into the imaginary. Myth criticism, according to Durand, is a technique for literary analysis that recognizes the presence and influence of archetypal symbols and legendary structures in literary works. Finding and understanding the underlying mythos that gives each story meaning, particularly through the narrative exposure of its symbols, is central to the study of mythology. From Durand's vantage point, the story, as it is described in his didactic exposition of the "method," calls us to engage in an intellectual journey (Durand, 1979, p.VI). He asserts that literature, like mythology, employs symbols and narratives to convey basic human experiences and enduring thought patterns.


Durand asserts that in a comparable way, future proponents of Freudian theory O. Rank, A. Adler, and C.G. Jung argue in their literary works that the idea of a unique libido is incompatible with psychic topology. Instead, the structure of the psyche requires the existence of numerous conflicting forces to lay the groundwork for it. According to him, it becomes clear by using a variety of sources, including his own deductions from 1959, that the world of the fantastic, in particular the profound archetypal images that serve as the myth's symbolic arsenal, consists of three different sets of structural frameworks. Although each set displays isomorphic characteristics, they are significantly different from one another and resist being merged (Durand, 1979, p. 37). Durand took the tenet originally proposed by Mircea Eliade that contemplates the idea that contemporary societal narratives, particularly in the world of modern novels, inherently incorporate expressions of mythical reconfigurations. Parallel to this, C.G. Jung discovered that some mythical figures, symbolic arrangements, and emblems are not merely euhemeristic byproducts of historical contexts, but rather embody universal constructs imbued with images—the archetypes and archetypal images—that have the power to illuminate the pervasive nature of certain human behaviors, regardless of their state of well-being or pathologized conditions (Durand, 1979, p.11). Drawing on the scholarly work of M. Eliade, C.G. Jung, and H. Corbin regarding archetypal imagery, Durand astutely recognizes a persistent continuum that transcends the opposition between myth and science, logos and mythos, and the contrast between mythical imagination and historical positivism. Humanity's innate desire to explain and make meaning of their past resides inside this continuum, since the primacy of the image permeates all of their undertakings (Durand 1979, p. VII).



Ancient-sculpture-of-mythical-Romulus-and-Remus
Figure 1: Ancient sculpture of mythical Romulus and Remus. (Belokhonov, 2018)


In addition to these formative influences on the evolution of his mythological critique, he connects with Lévi-Strauss's proposal, which calls for the universal acceptance of myth as exemplifying and authentic across all its expressions, without exception, in addition to these key influences on the development of his mythological critique (Durand, 1979, p.VII). Durand conducts an analytical examination of the various imaginative techniques used by various cultures to address the profound existential uneasiness brought on by the fleeting nature of human existence. Durand dives into this complex tapestry to give insight into the varied responses to temporal flux displayed throughout various societies, drawing on the rich tapestry of civilizations and informed by the academic investigations made by Lévi-Strauss. He regards that Lévi-Strauss astutely recognizes the lasting intellectual prowess displayed by individuals throughout history in many civilizations in his ground-breaking book The Savage Mind 1962 (Durand, 1979, p.27). For Durand, the mythological story has, without any doubt, a built-in process that causes it to grow and perpetuate. He regards that the mythical elements transcend their original form through this dynamic process and remarks on how they appear in a variety of literary genres, from parables and stories to fables. As a result, he concludes that the myth stands in a position of authority inside the narrative framework, orchestrating a symphony of symbols that includes profound archetypes (Durand, 1979, p. 31). Durand's perspective seeks to elevate the power of imagination to evoke that which cannot be fully captured or represented. In his work, he delves into the concepts of Carl Jung's archetypes which will be analyzed in the following section of this article. He dwells on Jung to further enrich his understanding of the profound role imagination plays in the human experience.


1. Jungian Analysis of Myths:


In Durand´s view, an archetype is a dynamic form that organizes images and is continually bestowed by the unconscious, transcending individual, biographical, regional, and societal specificities of image generation (Durand, 1964, p. 72). Therefore, Jung´s understanding of archetypes is considered crucial for comprehending the workings of imagination. Jung stated that myths and dreams are expressive representations of the collective unconscious that contain essential ideas inherent to the human race. These stories and symbols are drawn from the enormous collective unconscious, which Carl Jung described as the storehouse of universal human experiences, feelings, and symbols: "But besides that there is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, and, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them (Jung, 1970, pp. 399-403). As a result, myths and dreams give significant insights into the universal elements of human existence by diving into the interconnected source of humanity's collective psyche:


"The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate of the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere. Mythological research calls them "motifs"." (Jung, 1959, p. 42)

Jung's comprehensive framework weaves together multiple essential ideas. He posits that myths are not consciously invented but rather emerge from the primitive mind as expressions of impulsive experiences, offering glimpses into the preconscious psyche and revealing the depths of the unconscious mind: “The archetype is essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived, and it takes its colour from the individual consciousness in which it happens to appear. What the word "archetype" means in the nominal sense is clear enough, then, from its relations with myth, esoteric teaching, and fairytale.” (Jung, 1959, p. 5). The previous quote renders that he regards individuals' knowledge of the natural world largely serves as the expression and language of unconscious mental activity. He contemplates that mythological narratives transcend allegorical depictions of physical events and instead serve as profound accounts of intricate psychological phenomena beyond conscious comprehension, underscoring that the great subjectivity displayed by early humans should have long since highlighted the inherent relationship between myths and the psychic realm. Nevertheless, this has not always been possible due to the fact that: “This process is unconscious gives us the reason why man has thought of everything except the psyche in his attempts to explain myths. He simply didn't know that the psyche contains all the images that have ever given rise to myths, and that our unconscious is an acting and suffering subject with an inner drama which primitive man rediscovers...” (Jung, 1959, p. 11)



Systema-Munditotius
Figure 2: Systema Munditotius. (Jung, 1916)


In his view, the collective unconscious is an abstract concept that is not immediately accessible because it expresses itself in ideas embedded in archetypes: “The primitive mentality does not invent myths, it experiences them. Myths are original revelations of the preconscious psyche, involuntary statements about unconscious psychic happenings, and anything but allegories of physical processes." (Jung, 1959, p.7). This prospect holds that these enduring stories and symbolic representations have great value because they represent universal archetypes and essential truths that apply to all cultures and time periods. This specific vision was contrasted with the dominant behaviorist viewpoint of the period, which claimed that the mind was a blank slate that was only formed by external stimuli (Snow, 2006, p.80). Jung's theory of the mind emphasizes that it constantly evolves and develops throughout life rather than being seen as a permanent thing. Jung suggested that the psyche is not a blank slate but is also impacted by an underlying developmental program that is founded in the collective unconscious: "Because a child is... small and its conscious thoughts scarce and simple, we do not realize the far reaching complications of the infantile mind that are based on its original identity with the prehistoric psyche. That original mind is just as much present and still functioning in the child as the evolutionary stages of mankind are in its embryonic body." (Jung, 1964, p.89). He regards that the infantile mind stems from its innate connection to the prehistoric psyche. Snowden regards that this could be contrasted with the behaviorist theory that was popular in his day and maintained that external stimuli are the only determiner of growth (Snowden, 2006, p. 80). Hence, he proposed that people had an essential, fundamental human developmental blueprint buried deep inside the collective unconscious. In his understanding, the unfathomable depths of the unconscious mind are not impacted by human experiences but rather are genetically transmitted:


"A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the personal unconscious. But this personal unconscious rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the collective unconscious. I have chosen the term "collective" because this part of the unconscious is not individual but universal; in contrast to personal psyche, it has contents and modes of behaviour that are more or less the same everywhere and in all individuals. It is, in other words, identical in all men and thus constitutes a common psychic substrate of a suprapersonal nature which is present in every one of us." (Jung, 1959, pp. 3-4)

The excerpt above portrays a clear differentiation between the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious as two strata of the unconscious mind. The collective unconscious, in contrast to the personal unconscious, comprises information and behavioral patterns that are prevalent in all people and civilizations. It creates a shared psychological framework inside each of us that transcends individuality. Hence, Jung proposed that individuals could tap into a pool of universal human experiences as well as a store of intrinsic knowledge and wisdom by having access to the collective unconscious, an element in every individual´s mind but not acquired by personal acquisition, mostly made up of archetypes, as opposed to the personal unconscious, which is primarily complex-based. This viewpoint emphasizes the constrained range of the conscious mind, which operates as a more constrained circle inside the larger circle of the unconscious. The quote below illustrates two layers that Jung identifies within the psyche of every individual. It could be stated then that personal experiences have an impact on the relatively shallow personal unconscious However, beyond this, Jung highlights that there is a deeper layer known as the collective unconscious, which is intrinsic, that everyone shares and is not formed by individual experiences:


"While the personal unconscious is made up essentially of contents which have at one time been conscious but which have disappeared from consciousness through having been forgotten or repressed, the contents of the collective unconscious have never been in consciousness, and therefore have never been individually acquired, but owe their existence exclusively to heredity. Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of complexes, the content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes."(Jung, 1959, p.42)


Carl-Jung-Portrait
Figure 3: Carl Gustav Jung portrait. (Suzann, 2018)

The process of individuation, which entails the realization of the self in order to achieve completeness, is also included in Jung's framework. This technique involves delving into the depths of one's inner unconscious, which contains suppressed, forgotten, or underdeveloped portions of one's mind. On the path to individuation, the embrace and integration of the shadow, which represents the unconscious and repressed aspects, is a significant milestone. As has been brought into consideration, completeness represents the aim of the process of individuation in Jung´s view. He brings into discussion that all living things are capable of individuation, which is defined by Jung as the process of being completely who and what one is meant to be and achieving completeness and harmony (Snowden, 2006, p.87). When it comes to humans, individuation takes the form of a sustained effort to reach their full and balanced potential. It is a fundamental biological phenomenon that affects all living things, not just humans. Jung explains that if a plant is to unfold its specific nature to the full, it must first be able to grow in the soil in which it is planted. (Jung, 1971). Jung's concept of individuation, applicable to all living organisms, elucidates the process of becoming fully what one is intended to be, attaining wholeness and balance. The ultimate goal of individuation is completeness, when each creature immediately achieves its innate potential. This depicts a long and transforming path for humans to become as whole and balanced as they may be. He states that individuals begin their path of self-discovery by being conscious of their shadows in an effort to connect with the divine and experience their true selves:


"The meeting with oneself is, at first, the meeting with one's own shadow. The shadow is a tight passage, a narrow door, whose painful constriction no one is spared who goes down to the deep well. But one must learn to know oneself in order to know who one is. For what comes after the door is, surprisingly enough, a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad." (Jung, 1959, p. 21)

The characteristics of the shadow inside the psyche are seen from a different angle by Jung than the usual one that only associates them with defects and weaknesses. The aspects of the shadow, in accordance with Jung, include a wider variety of traits, both positive and negative, that have been repressed or rejected by the conscious mind. This dynamic, which is characterized by the denial and obstruction of the shadow, aids in the development of a disjointed self: “The shadow is the dark side of our nature - all that we see as being inferior or uncivilized. It often appears in dreams as a dark, usually rather negative figure, who is always the same sex as the dreamer.” (Jung, 1959, pp. 284-285). According to Jung, when an ego ideal and the shadow coexist, the shadow is rejected and resisted, which leads to the denial of specific aspects of one's own identity. Unconscious processes account for an important component of personality development, meaning that conscious choice does not determine how an individual develops. Instead, the people and circumstances we encounter in life have a significant impact on how we develop. In contrast to the idea that the psyche is a permanent, static thing, Jung saw it as a dynamic force that changes and develops throughout the course of a person's lifetime. As a result, our path towards spiritual discovery, just as how the physical body grows and develops in line with its genetic code. Our psychic evolution is guided by this unconscious blueprint, and, as a result, inside the wide circle of the unconscious, the conscious mind takes up a small portion of the whole.



a-man-hugging-another-man
Figure 4: Embraceable You. (Hugo & Marie, n.d)


This dynamic, defined by the blocking and denial of the shadow, contributes to the growth of a fragmented self. According to Jung´s interpretation, the shadow is a crucial component of a person's psychological make-up, including unrecognized elements that must be acknowledged and integrated in order to achieve completeness: “To confront a person with his shadow is to show him his own light. Once one has experienced a few times what it is like to stand judgingly between the opposites, one begins to understand what is meant by the self (Jung, 1953, p.872). An experience with one's own light is facilitated by presenting a person with their shadow. One eventually develops an understanding of the notion of the self via repeated experiences of battling the tensions and contradictions present in the interaction of opposites. By closely interacting with the complexity of the human mind, this transforming process promotes a greater awareness of the self. In conclusion, the integration of psychological components is emphasized in Jung's framework, which helps people achieve profound self realization and personal growth. Snowden analyzes then that mythology becomes crucial in order to understand the fundamental contents of the psyche's deep depths since myths act as projections from the collective unconscious. She states: “In order to understand the meaning of contents of the deep levels of the psyche, we need mythology, because all myths are a sort of projection from the collective unconscious.” (Snowden, 2006, pp. 65-66). Jung contemplates that the origin of the symbols that flow in the collective unconscious is general to all humankind. 'The symbols are not personal but collective in their nature and origin:"But they are in fact "collective representations," emanating from primeval dreams and creative fantasies." (Jung, 1964, p.55) He states that symbols are acknowledged for having originated from the subconscious aspects of the human mind, and they may take on an almost infinite number of forms while yet remaining rooted in the same archetypal imagery. (Jung, 1964, p.93)


Snowden studies that Jung used the mandala to explore his ever-changing inner self. She underscores that mandalas fascinated Jung for many years, and he gradually came to understand that they represent the way in which all paths in the psyche eventually lead to a mid-point, the center of the mandala, which is the core, or essence, of the self. The goal of psychic development is the discovery of this unique self. (Snowden, 2006, p. 52). Jung found that mandalas tended to appear when the psyche was in a state of turmoil and disorientation. A basic mandala is usually a circle containing a square or occasionally some other symmetrical figure: "As Aniela Jaffe observes later in this book, roundness (the mandala motif) generally symbolizes a natural wholeness, whereas a quadrangular formation represents the realization of this in consciousness." (Jung, 1964, p.213) There is usually some kind of symbolic imagery, most commonly a cross, flower, or wheel, usually with four as the basis of the structure (Snowden, 2006, p. 51). This is placed on psychological turmoil, and as a result, everything ends up where it should be, and the outer circle is responsible for keeping everything together. Jung discovered that his personal drawings of mandalas had connections both to the outward realities of his day-to-day life as well as to his dreams (Snowden, 2006, p.53). Accessing the inner part of the structure could represent the conscious realization and fulfillment of a person's unique being. Jung explained that the evolution of the psyche is not linear but a process of 'circumambulation (walking around)' of the self. Hence, the archetype that appears on the mandala represents a pattern of order and balance. Jung remarks that: "The contemplation of a mandala is meant to bring an inner peace, a feeling that life has again found its meaning and order." (Jung, 1964, p.212)



black-and-white-mandala
Figure 5: Mandala. (Snow, 2022)

This section intends to show how archetypal characters are projected in myths and stories to show their significance and to highlight how they are embedded in all individuals through the collective unconscious. Mandalas and other symbolic representations serve to symbolize the Self's ultimate purpose, which is to promote individual wholeness and completion. Snowden regards that: “The overall goal of the Self is to make the individual complete and whole. It is often depicted symbolically in images such as mandalas.” (Snowden, 2006, p.68). At the end of the process of individuation, the psychic wholeness could be portrayed by the symbol of the mandala. Jung brought to light that: “We know from experience that the protective circle, the mandala, is the traditional antidote for chaotic states of mind.” (Jung, 1959, p. 10).


2 . Case study of the Themes of Betrayal and Jealousy.


Myths have an exceptional power to morph into various kinds of literature, such as fables, parables, and stories, which displays their remarkable ability to survive their initial incarnation: "For one finds that many dreams present images and associations that arc analogous to primitive ideas, myths, and rites." (Jung, 1964, p.47) This ability is demonstrated by the fact that myths may be passed down through generations. Both Durand and Jung pointed out that this transformative process has a tight connection with Jung's theory of the collective unconscious. Myths can tap into a vast pool of shared human experiences and archetypal symbols due to the dynamic interplay that takes place between the many different components that make up a myth. As myths go through this process of metamorphosis, which is guided by the unconscious collective, the importance they originally possessed in terms of aesthetics, morality, and history gradually fades away. This is because the transformation process is driven by the unconscious collective. They extend the scope of their investigation to encompass both existential and historical happenings, so drawing attention to the complexities of the human mind as well as the similarities that lay at the foundation of the human experience: "But if we are to see things in their right perspective, we need to understand the past of man as well as his present. That is why an understanding of myths and symbols is of essential importance." (Jung, 1964, p.58)


The idea that myths occupy a place of authority inside the framework of narratives receives further backing from Jung's concept of the collective unconscious. This causes the symbols to form a symphony that can be heard around the world. These archetypal symbols are illustrative of the common body of knowledge as well as eternal truths that exist independently of the viewpoints of specific individuals. The ability of myth to evoke universal truths via the symbolic language of archetypes, as moulded by the influence of the collective unconscious, is the source of myth's enduring power: "Thus we can safely assume that it "originated" at a period when man did not yet know that he possessed a hero myth; in an age, that is to say, when he did not yet consciously reflect on what he was saying. The hero figure is an archetype, which has existed since time immemorial." (Jung, 1964, p.73). Myths produce a symphony of symbols that resonate throughout countries and historical periods by relying on basic archetypes that are rooted in the collective unconscious. Myth could conjure up universal truths through the symbolic language of archetypes. Myths are a medium through which profound realizations about the human experience may be conveyed to others. This provides the path for individuals to connect with and grasp the fundamental components of not just their own psyche but also those of the greater human community as a whole.


Julius-Caesar-Assassination
Figure 6: Julius Caesar', Act III, Scene 1, the Assassination. (Sullivan, W.H, n.d)

Mythology is more than just a basic recounting of daily historical happenings; rather, it is shaped by the collective unconscious, which is accountable for the wider legacy that mythology has left behind: He asserts that: "My views about the "archaic remnants," which I call "archetypes" or "primordial images," have been constantly criticized by people who lack a sufficient knowledge of the psychology of dreams and of mythology. The term "archetype" is often misunderstood as meaning certain definite mythological images or motifs."(Jung, 1964, p.67). Individual complexes only result in personal prejudices, whereas archetypes give rise to myths, religions, and ideologies that profoundly influence and define whole nations and historical periods. Myths are endowed with a transformative ability that enables them to move beyond the forms in which they were first articulated. This makes it possible for myths to be passed down across generations. This is in contrast to the consequence of individual complexes, which is merely personal biases: "But while personal complexes never produce more than a personal bias, archetypes create myths, religions, and philosophies that influence and characterize whole nations and epochs of history." (Jung, 1964, p.79 ). The universal hero story, also known as the archetype of the mighty man or god-man, covers the reoccurring theme of conquering evil in many forms, such as dragons, serpents, monsters, and demons, which ultimately results in the freeing of his people from devastation and death. These heroic individuals have the ability to transcend their own identities and articulate fundamental and universal truths in a way that is both powerful and meaningful: "The universal hero myth, lot example, always refers to a powerful man or god-man who vanquishes evil in the form of dragons, serpents, monsters, demons, and so on, and who liberates his people from destruction and death." (Jung, 1964, p.79 ) One example of this sort of myth is the tragic tale of a brave hero who met his end as a result of dishonorable means. This recurring pattern throughout history, which can be seen reflected in occurrences such as Caesar being deceived by Brutus, highlights the age-old fact that jealousy is a disruptive force in the peace of people. This pattern can be seen mirrored in occurrences such as Caesar being betrayed by Brutus. It is possible to trace this resonant pattern all the way back to the depths of the collective unconscious, which is evidence of the significance it possesses on a global and eternal scale:



"This myth is moving and tragic, because the noble hero is not felled in a fair fight, but through treachery. At the same time it is an event that was repeated many times in history, for instance in the case of Caesar and Brutus. Though the myth is extremely old it is still a subject for repetition, as it expresses the simple fact that envy does not let mankind sleep in peace." (Jung, 1956, pp. 30-31)

According to Jung, the following rule may be extended to the mythical tradition in general: it does not preserve stories of ordinary everyday occurrences that occurred in the past; rather, it only perpetuates records of those events that embody the universal and ever-renewed conceptions of humanity. As a result, Jung holds that the lives and acts of the cultural heroes and the founders of religions are the purest condensations of conventional mythical elements, behind which the particular people completely disappear (Jung, 1956, pp.30-31). Subsequently, myths are handed down from one generation to the next, where they are repeated and given new meanings in order to preserve the timelessness of the lessons they teach while also adding to our general grasp of what it is to be human. The influence of the collective unconscious makes it feasible for us to possess this talent: "These inner motives spring from a deep source that is not made by consciousness and is not under its control." (Jung, 1964, p.82). After these legendary beings have been stripped down to their fundamental components, mythology is able to change into a channel through which universal human experiences and realizations may be expressed and communicated. It is a method for gaining access to the collective unconscious, a repository of collected experience, information, and fundamental truths. Myths, which are governed by archetypal symbolism, connect to the complexities of the human mind in addition to the universal aspects of the human situation. Myths have been passed down from generation to generation. They are in a position of authority inside the structure of the tale, and it is their job to orchestrate a symbolic symphony that resonates with general information and overarching principles. Because of the close connection that myths have with the collective unconscious, they are able to provide profound insights into the nature of the human experience. These realizations make it possible for people to establish a connection not just with their own psyche but also with the collective consciousness of mankind; for instance, when he discusses the life of Jesus of Nazareth, he regards that: "Such a myth, however, consists of symbols that have not been invented consciously. They have happened." (Jung, 1964, p.89). This rule can be applied to the mythological tradition in general: it does not perpetuate accounts of ordinary everyday events in the past but only of those which express the universal and ever-renewed thoughts of mankind. Thus the lives and deeds of the culture-heroes and founders of religions are the purest condensations of typical mythological motifs, behind which the individual figures entirely disappear (Jung, 1956, pp.30-31).




 Practical-Applications-of-Mandalas
Figure 7: Practical Applications of Mandalas. (Blatner, 2009)



3. Conclusion


This article has demonstrated how myth has the potential to grasp the intricate workings of life by analyzing the fundamental link that exists between myth and the idea of the collective unconscious, which was presented by Jung. It has suggested the transforming character of myths as well as their capacity to transcend the forms in which they were initially expressed. This study opened the myth criticism discussion by mentioning that Gilbert Durand was a notable philosopher and anthropologist who made a substantial contribution to the area of cultural and symbolic studies through his work. This work has been the subject of discussion as a significant contribution to the field. The myth criticism that Durand proposes emphasizes the significance of myth and symbolism in both the interpretation of literature and the comprehension of human civilization. The viewpoint of Durand is consistent with the concepts that Carl Jung proposed, particularly in reference to the collective unconscious. Both Durand and Jung acknowledge the existence of archetypal symbols and legendary structures in works of mythology and literature, as well as their effect. Several statements made throughout this essay aimed to render that they see myths as representations of shared human experiences and consistent patterns of thought that have persisted throughout time. The article delves into the concepts of treachery and jealousy as two instances of reoccurring motifs in mythology. These topics have profound implications for the human psyche and have never failed to elicit a response from audiences throughout history. Jung understands that myths have a transversal nature: "They can show that the same symbolic patterns can be found in the rituals or myths of small tribal societies still existing, unchanged for centuries, on the outskirts of civilization." (Jung, 1964, p.106)


The myth of the hero has been brought into light as well to show that the story of the hero may be found in a wide variety of cultures and time eras. It is a story that is generally known and extensively told. It embodies the reoccurring theme of triumphing over evil forces such as dragons, serpents, monsters, and demons, which finally results in the release of their people from destruction and mortality. It is a representation of a global hero tale that incorporates the archetype of a mighty man or god-man. Notably, these heroic personalities have the ability to transcend their unique identities and successfully convey basic and universal truths. This is a defining characteristic of heroic figures:"The myth of the hero is the most common and the best-known myth in the world. We find it in the classical mythology of Greece and Rome, in the Middle Ages, in the Far East, and among contemporary primitive tribes." (Jung, 1964, p.110) When these topics are investigated through the prism of the collective unconscious and the symbolism of archetypes, we are able to acquire insights into the components of human nature and behavior that are shared by all people everywhere. This article has analyzed how Jung discusses that myths rely upon a large pool of common knowledge and archetypal symbols, and how this causes them to resonate with individuals across cultures and historical periods. In conclusion, Durand's myth criticism provides a thorough framework for evaluating the symbolic depth of literature when linked with Jung's notion of the collective unconscious and archetypes. By digging into the complex web of myths and symbols, we may obtain a more profound comprehension of the human psyche as well as the universal truths that are the foundation of our common experiences. This method draws on a wide range of academic fields, and as a result, it provides important new insights into the capacity of myth to shed light on the vast intricacies of human experience and to link us to our shared history.




a-woman-wandering-at-night
Figure 8: The Wanderings of a Comet from Un Autre Monde. Transformations, visions, incarnations...et autres choses. (Grandville, 1844)


The triumph of the hero over the monster is a recurring motif in mythology: "Usually, in mythology, the hero wins his battle against the monster... But there are other hero myths in which the hero gives in to the monster. A familiar type is that of Jonah and the whale, in which the hero is swallowed by a sea monster that carries him on a night sea journey from west to east, thus symbolizing the supposed transit of the sun from sunset to dawn. The hero goes into darkness, which represents a kind of death." (Jung, 1964, p.120) This victory, which symbolizes the triumph of the ego over more regressive inclinations, is a popular topic. On the other hand, there are certain hero stories in which the hero dies at the hands of the monster. One story that illustrates this concept is "Jonah and the Whale," in which the protagonist gets ingested by a sea creature and then embarks on a transforming trip from darkness to light, which is meant to represent the movement of the sun from twilight to dawn. This descent into the abyss is a metaphor for one's own physical death. In a similar manner, Jung's view of the process of individuation delves into the idea of the hero fighting the dragon that resides inside. This conflict represents the dynamic shape of the tale, illuminating the archetypal topic of the triumph of the ego against regressive portions of the self. The dark or shadow part of an individual's personality is, in the vast majority of cases, kept hidden from conscious awareness: "The battle between the hero and the dragon is the more active form of this myth, and it shows more clearly the archetypal theme of the ego's triumph over regressive trends. For most people, the dark or negative side of the personality remains unconscious." (Jung, 1964, p.120)


Therefore, the analogy can be seen in both Jung's individuation process and the hero myth, both of which accentuates the need to face one's inner demons or shadows as a necessary step toward achieving personal growth and the triumph of the conscious ego. The use of myths and the adoption of archetypal characters projected in myths and stories empowers the reader to investigate the profound significance of these narratives and their infiltration into the collective unconscious of all individuals. Through the study of myth, it is possible to gain insights into the universal aspects of human experience and the intricate workings of the human psyche. The individuation process, in which individuals strive for totality and the actualization of their inherent potential, is an important aim of this investigation. By delving into the rich tapestry of the collective unconscious and embracing our authentic selves, individuation attempts to bring us closer to wholeness and equilibrium. By engaging with archetypes and investigating the depths of the collective unconscious, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and the integration of repressed or forgotten aspects of our being. This essay could therefore conclude that the study of mythologies and the comprehension of archetypal imagery provide a path to self-realization and the awareness of our inherent humanity.






Bibliographical References

Durand, G. (1964). La imaginación simbólica. Buenos Aires: Amorrortu editores, 1971.


Durand, G. (1979). De la Mitocrítica al Mitoanálisis. Barcelona: Siglo Veintiuno.


Durand, G. (1992). The Anthropological Structures of The Imaginary. Paris: Boombana Publications.


Jung, CG. (1953). The Collected Works of C. G. Jung Vol. 10. New York: Bollingen.


Jung, CG. (1959). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. New York: Bollingen.


Jung, CG. (1964). Man and his Symbols. New York: Anchor Press Book


Jung,C.G. (1970). Collected Works. Volume 8: Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche. New York: Princeton University Press


Jung,C.G. (1971). Collected Works. Volume 6: Psychological types. New York: Princeton University Press


Losada, J.M. & Guirao Ochoa, M. (eds.) (2012). Myth and Subversion in the Contemporary Novel. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


Meletinsky, E. (2000). The Poetics of Myth. New York: Routledge


Snowden, R. (2017). Jung: The Key Ideas. From analytical psychology and dreams to the collective unconscious and more. London: John Murray Learning.


Walker, S. (2002). Jung and the Jungians on Myth: An Introduction (Theorists of Myth). New York: Routledge.

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