“The archetype in itself is empty and purely formal, nothing but a facultas praeformandi, a possibility of representation which is given a priori. The representations themselves are not inherited, only the forms, and in that respect they correspond in every way to the instincts, which are also determined in form only. The existence of the instincts can no more be proved than the existence of the archetypes, so long as they do not manifest themselves concretely.” (Jung, 1968)
Additional insight from the Jungian scholar, John Haule (2011);
“The investigation of the language archetype allows us to list at least nine factors that describe what an archetype is:
- An archetype is a species’-universal pattern
- Of meaningful recognition, imagination and behavior
- That resembles behaviors in closely related species,
- Allowing us to trace a hypothetical line of inheritance back to a (possibly extinct) ancestor species,
- And entails identifiable physiological alterations (brain-tracts, hormones, etc.).
- As a result of hormones and autonomic nervous system involvement, archetypes are usually experienced as powerfully emotional, even numinous.
- The archetype itself is an “empty program” that needs life-experience to ‘fill’ it,
- And this filling process ‘wires’ the brain according to local and cultural styles of living,
- With the result that “archetypal,” in the sense of “mythic” images and expectations always take culture-specific forms.”