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Postmodernist Plane of Existence

a painting of carl jung archetypes

Image credits- Pinterest


“Are you satisfied with an average life

Do I need to lie to make my way in life

Are you satisfied with an easy ride 

Once you cross the line, will you be satisfied”


I had an awakening recently, a lost realization now found when I felt it again. A Postmodernist spirit awakened in me. Too many times, we place ourselves in binaries or categories even when there are a plethora of such boxes in this universe of postmodernism, with many more boxes/stars or whatever form and shape our imagination takes us at our disposal! These boxes as we see them are more than that; they change their features more often than our eyes can catch! But their existence can come into our knowledge systems if we were to just open our eyes. Unlike the boxes we confine ourselves to, our comfort zones where biases provide shortcuts and cheat codes to navigate life, it is not for the world to dictate our decisions; rather, we should be the ones carrying and shaping the world.


Lately, I have been feeling that I am oscillating between two of these boxes or archetypes in spaces that are shrinking my point of view, and the shells that I have captured for myself are getting bigger, and in no way better.


Things become worse when my oscillation is viewed from the outside world and stereotypes get attached to my already disengaged archetypes by adding layers of contempt and regret which make me run to the extremes and not actually towards other boxes. Or, if I may use my imagination; stars. My potential dripping and percolating in spaces of the past, which could not make it to the future.


Stereotypes and Archetypes: A never-ending spiral

Carl Jung dived into the concept of  Archetypes as “universal, inborn models of distinct aspects of identity and personality that play a role in influencing human behavior. His theory suggested that these archetypes were archaic forms of innate human knowledge passed down from our ancestors.”  Further, he believed that these archetypes determined the various facets of our personalities.


Carl Jung further talked about these personalities in 12 forms such as the innocent, the caregiver, the everyman, and the hero, which we seem to personalize and internalize without realizing even if the mirror in front of us breaks and in some ways, we are covertly pressured to act in these archetypes. If we were to stray away from such archetypes, we would be stereotyped in more negative and self-conflicting ways.


“A stereotype is an oversimplified notion or characterization. Stereotypes can be applied to a person or a group of people.”


Stereotypes generally have negative connotations with a heavy dose of judgment pumped into them. If I were to see the archetypes that I am pitted against transcending into stereotypes from society, I get stuck in this paradoxical web of a defeating series of self concepts and in the web of binaries in the great universe of postmodernism. For instance, if I were to follow the archetype of a studious girl, any deviation from that to explore the other stars in this universe would be stereotyped as spoiled or wasted potential. Then I would truly become stuck in these two paradigms by never reaching the destination that I had sought after.


Those at the other end who have their lives dictated by shortcuts and stereotypes would become a majority and form an echo chamber of themselves becoming stronger in number yet weaker in discovering themselves!


carl jung smoking cigar

Image credits- Wikipedia


Stereotypes and Archetypes: The Engine Oil for Corporate Machinery 

Stereotypes and echo chambers, binary oppositions in a plane of Postmodernism catapulted by capitalism play a major role in making the Great Machinery run. The true engine of this modern society is creating archetypes for people’s personality traits so that it's easier to function and achieve output. But what outcome are we achieving when we are not exploring the various facets of this Postmodernist plane of the universe? How far will the generalization of generalization take us into this realm of corporate machinery?


Stereotypes serve as cognitive shortcuts that allow individuals and organizations to process vast amounts of information quickly. Within corporate contexts, these stereotypes often manifest in the form of standardized job roles, expected behaviors, and demographic profiling.


However, this simplification can lead to the homogenization and marginalization of those who do not fit the mold. It perpetuates a narrow understanding of human potential and overlooks the diverse skills and perspectives that can drive innovation and resilience.


In the corporate world, archetypes can define organizational culture, brand identity, and leadership styles. For instance, the "hero" archetype might be embodied by a CEO who is seen as a savior of the company, leading it through crises with vision and strength. While archetypes provide a powerful framework for understanding and communication, they also risk creating rigid roles that limit personal and organizational growth. Individuals may feel pressured to conform to these archetypes, suppressing aspects of their personality that do not align with the dominant narrative. Capitalism necessitates predictability and efficiency. Stereotypes and archetypes reduce the complexity of human behavior into manageable and exploitable categories, making it easier to design products, target advertising, and manage workforces. However, this process often leads to the erosion of individuality and critical thinking, as people are funneled into predefined roles and behaviors.



Dehumanizing Stereotypes and Archetypes in Society 

I would now like to shift the focus to the society I see in front of me. I am but a mere observer, but oh, how I wish to be an active participant! 


One day on my commute to the office, we were all halted by the traffic light. In the distance, I observed an elderly woman on the footpath sitting and begging for money. She was shaking and could not even walk around to ask for help. I was behind a car as she was wandering on the road and the traffic light was taking too much time to turn green. As soon as it changed to green, I accelerated as fast as I could and found her sitting on the pavement. I quickly gave her the spare cash I had while the ones behind me continued honking till kingdom come. I had to rush, but at that moment everything stood still.


The stereotypes from the personas honking from their cars blaringly must be that my act of so-called charity was only fueling the fulfillment of an inebriated experience for the woman and secondly, I was wasting their time in their survival of the fittest race. As I thought of the stereotypes people kept for those outside the rat race and criticized them for their biases, I was struck by an inner critique of my own humanity. 


Was I merely doing the bare minimum to help those in need while hypocritically feeling stuck in the rat race? How can I make a more meaningful impact despite my circumstances?I was letting myself be blown like a shuttlecock between badminton rackets. I should be flying in space, letting myself decide my direction and choosing my own calling.


Conclusion

This world, beyond its materialism, has more to do with thoughts and actions. Many-a-times it is we who bind ourselves in spaces we never imagined and follow the choice of staying there.


It's time to be explorers and go beyond our comfort armchairs, to better understand the differences in this highly dynamic world! 

It is imperative to break archetypes and stereotypes no matter how much their existence makes our life easier, and consistent behavior thrusting towards this mental exercise is what can save us and save humanity. We must ponder why we are still in this race of survival of the fittest when a technological revolution is reshaping this world and can actually be utilised to be more humane.


“Chained by chains wrapped around my own hand

To be freed by my own mind and heart

Time to take the leap 

Or just simply wait for the fall”

 

By: Anushka Gaur

 

References

Cherry, Kendra. “12 Archetypes: Definition, Theory, and Types.” Verywell Mind, 5 May 2024, https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-jungs-4-major-archetypes-2795439. Accessed 8 June 2024.

Carl Jung's Archetypes.” Structural Learning, 30 March 2023, https://www.structural-learning.com/post/carl-jungs-archetypes. Accessed  8June 2024.

“Archetype vs. Stereotype: What’s the Difference? - 2024.” MasterClass, 17 June 2022, https://www.masterclass.com/articles/archetype-vs-stereotype. Accessed 9 June 2024.

Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist, 52(6), 613.Accessed 9June 2024.

Jung, C. G. (1959). Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Princeton University Press.Accessed 10 June 2024.

“Vietsub | Are You Satisfied? - Marina & The Diamonds | Lyrics Video.” YouTube, 17 July 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFaZ865eNZo. Accessed 13 June 2024.

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