What is the Archetype of the Apocalypse all about?
William Van Wishard ¦ WorldTrends Research ¦
For starters, it’s at the very core of what C.G. Jung believed is happening to the world today.
Jung's psychology is the only school of psychology that believes there are two centers to the
psyche---the ego being the center of consciousness, and the archetype of the
center of what he called the objective psyche, or the collective unconscious. Other
psychological schools certainly acknowledge two realms of the psyche, the conscious and
unconscious, but only Jung posits the existence of two totally independent centers.
In talking about archetypes, it helps to note that Jung's experience with archetypes was that
they are dynamic patterns, fields of potential, which have both forceful intentionality and
complete independence. They are raw nature at the heart of the psyche, and, as such, serve as
the foundational material for our complexes, both “good” and “bad.” The central archetype, the
Self, is the transpersonal center of the psyche, and acts as the instrument and agent of
transcendence. As such, it is indistinguishable from the God-image.
The word "Apocalypse" (revelation) is from the Greek meaning "uncovering what has been
hidden." In other words, the revelation of new truth. This process operates in four phases:
revelation, judgment, destruction, and a new birth. If we look back over two centuries, we see
the revelation of torrents of new scientific, psychological and social truth; judgments or
assessments made on the basis of this new truth; the collapse of beliefs and institutions based
on the former truth, and are becoming dysfunctional within the context of the new truth; and the
sprigs of the new worldview trying to blossom. Destruction and new birth take place
simultaneously, although the popular use of the word apocalypse has come to mean total
But back to the archetype. Just because an archetype exists in humans doesn't mean it's
necessarily activated. It could lie dormant for a person's entire life, or for the life of an age.
What Jung sees happening in our era is that the Self, the central archetype of order and