For no light matter is at stake; the question concerns the very manner in which human lfe is to be lived.
"Every civilized human being, however high their conscious development, is still an archaic being at the deepest levels of their psyche"
C G Jung
Our archetypal behaviours
What are they?
How are they manifest today?
Why is it important to explicitly recognize and accommodate them?
Co-creating meaning since 2001
"People are beginning to see that the first requisite for a successful life is to be a good animal"
Herbert Spencer 'Education' 1861
Enumeration of behaviours
- For any animal, ask the question “How many different behaviours does it display?
Examples could be: amoeba; snail; crocodile; dove; dog
- Increasing complexity brings increasingly complex behaviour and a larger number of discrete behaviours: an amoeba may display a few behaviours; a mollusc perhaps 12 to 20; a reptile 20 to 25; a bird 25 to 30; a dog 40 to 50...
Categorisation of behaviours
The most complex sets of behaviours are exhibited by social mammals - primates, canines, elephants, dolphins
A greater number of distinct and discrete behaviours allows the behaviours to be classified or categorised.
The following must represent the set of basic, fundamental or archetypal behaviours that distinguish the genus Homo from other animals. Humans, either exclusively or to a degree unmatched by other animals:
- Use gestures
- Decorate themselves
- Make tools
- Make weapons
- Make music
- Sing, chant and apply rhythms
- Create and enact rituals
- Use fire
- Construct religions
- Create mythologies
- Imitate animals
- Create representations and representational art
- Create narratives and stories
- Ask questions and seek to answer them through all of the above
These behaviours are common to all human groups. Their commonality represents a unifying theme in human nature – the very essence of what it is to be ‘human’. Differences in the manner or detail of these behaviours represent our varied cultures.
Our brains are wired to recognise human-ness through these behaviours, but our brains also recognise differences in manner and detail – these differences constitute behaviour distance. It is these differences – behaviour distances – that cause us to recognise and distinguish ‘us’ from ‘them’.
Archetypal Behaviours and Language
All archetypal human behaviours must be expressible and communicable through archetypal human language - i.e. gestures, facial expressions and simple sounds.
Meeting and greeting
When social animals meet three basic perceptions and assessments are possible:
To these some human cultures have added a fourth, to be mentioned here as it represents such a profound modification of archetypal behaviour:
Why is the recognition of archetypal behaviours so important for human welfare and wellbeing?
These behaviours are the very essence of our nature and make us what we are - to unconsciously deny, supress or distort them is to deny, supress or distort our humanity.
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