And modern education has made you poorly equipped to understand it when it does
One “good” thing about taking a literature course these days is the Internet. It can make it less time-consuming.
Yet, as it is in many areas, the Internet is a double-edged sword. It cuts both ways.
Literature courses often have onerous reading requirements. The text is dense. Speed reading techniques aren’t as effective. Reading 100 pages of something like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude or James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is far more taxing than reading the same number of words of journalism or a potboiler.
Some texts are written to be read to convey information quickly. The message of other texts is denser.
Then as now, students have always had competing priorities: work, family, friends, and parties.
Students have to look for shortcuts to passing the classes and getting a degree. Education doesn’t occur in isolation. Forty years ago, there were summaries like Cliff’s Notes (the original way to spell CliffsNotes) or Monarch Notes. You could fake a good reaction to the work with these summaries but usually needed to read at least some of the original if you wanted to have an original insight or two to contribute in class.
Today, many reactions and summaries of these works are available between the summary sites and online reviews. Instead of reading the work and coming up with your own reaction to the work, you can go online and search for someone else’s. Faking has never been easier.
This doesn’t apply to every book you might read for a course. Then as now, some books are a joy to read. You want to finish it on your own. They’re the reason you signed up for a literature class in the first place if it wasn’t mandatory.
Others can be a struggle.
The temptation to cheat is real and a struggle to overcome.
The result is that students do less interpretation of symbolism than ever before.
What are archetypes?
Many terms in many fields almost mean the same thing: stock character, model, stereotype, and representation. However, archetype means a particular thing in psychology through the influence of Carl Jung (1875-1961). In Jungian psychology, archetypes are a pattern repeating itself in humans’ collective unconscious. They’re unbounded by culture. They’re part of the universal human experience.
If we made a list of the characteristics of just one archetype, say “mother.” >>> Then we thought about the things that made a “good mother.” >>> Then we thought about the things that made a “bad mother.” Our lists would have many the same things in common no matter where we were from, no matter what age we grew up in.
Literature is the only compelling practice in translating archetypes
You can watch movies at a deeper level and analyze the dialogue, setting, symbolism, and other components. There are sites like Filmsite.org that help you do this independently of class. For most people, however, watching movies occurs at a more superficial level. The literature class is the only practice most people get in translating and understanding archetypes.
Why does it matter? Compared to students and educated people of the past, you’re getting less practice in seeing the forest for the trees. Without generating your own insights, it’s a superficial way of perceiving the world.
Foremost, an archetype is an example of something kind of a checklist of characteristics. It’s a symbol—a model.
The literature requirement for most degrees calls for “reading” works that are well-documented on the Internet.
No matter what language it’s in, no matter its age, great literature, movies, songs, and every media created by humans is full of symbolism. Symbolism is essential to communication. It touches on generalities. Symbols are a kind of shorthand laden with meaning.
For a dream journaler who has been keeping a record of their dreams for a while, their brain can seem something like a radio that’s been left on all night. You have both local signals and signals that come from far away. Some dreams are obviously projections of the concerns and ruminations of your subconscious. Others can seem to be framed by communications from outside of you. Some believe the origin of these communications to be discarnates. When you know yourself, you know how you think and what you tend to pay attention to.
Understanding the difference between messages that come from your subconscious and messages from someplace else depends on your understanding of the general (archetypes) and specific.
Spirit guides speak in archetypes and symbols
A common way of referring to these entities is as spirit guides. In some corners of the Internet, there’s too much enthusiasm for them. Just as with a human teacher, some are better than others. Evaluating the worth of what they’re teaching is a process of discernment.
Whether considering your subconscious or a spirit guide, part of getting the most useful communication you can from your spirit guide is to be the best listener you can. The key to listening well is to care about what you’re being told. That is trying to understand the words and their meaning.
Some people are easier to talk to than others.
This isn’t news to anyone.
However, consider what a chore it is to give bad news to someone you find hard to talk to. Perhaps it’s someone who you believe overreacts to everything. Maybe they don’t listen especially well. Or they carry on for too long. You worry whether they’re going to act crazy in some way.
Whatever the reason, communication is a struggle. When it comes to spirit guides, it’s probably much the same thing.
Yet, the spirit guide seems to have an even harder job than the corporeal person who’s trying to help you out. The person with the physical body has both verbal and non-verbal communication to work with. A good physical communicator will keep in mind non-verbal communication like the handshake and facial expressions and adjust the environment to communicate their message.
The spirit guide only has a few physical sensations and non-verbal communications like imagery.
If there are words, they likely will be succinct.
Those tools are effective in their own way. They come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
One feature similar to a conversation between physical humans is that humans can speak in the abstract and the concrete, just as a spirit guide. If your spirit guide sends you messages about an abstract matter and you take it literally, you can get confused.
It’s important to remember this. It would be best if you tried to understand which is being referred to. The simplest way to do this is merely to ask. Don’t jump to conclusions.
Spirit guide communication is a part of the realm of art, emotion, and feeling. The guide isn’t going to present you with a report with hard facts and figures. Getting a list of lottery numbers from a psychic isn’t going to work out well almost 100 percent of the time. When a novelist or an artist attempts to communicate a more complicated truth, referring to archetypes is a huge part of the way truth is communicated. It’s part of the language of symbolism.
Try to be the best listener you can.
Remember that, like regular living, breathing people, spirit guides can speak about the general and the particular. You have to be careful to separate the two to avoid communication mix-ups.
It can get confusing when the guide gives the person they’re talking about a name, a face, and all of the things one would associate with a particular person.
Sometimes it’s because they’re giving them a character the way a novelist would when they build a character out of a compilation of several other characters.
That’s the essence of what an archetype is.
Try putting yourself in your spirit guide’s “shoes.” It can be tough to speak about abstract topics in dreams. As communication theorist Marshall MacLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” The medium of the message influences topics. Your spirit guide isn’t going to hand you a report with some facts and figures. People don’t dream of exact lottery numbers. If your dream about a person, even if they have an exact name, it might just be an archetype, a character that’s a compilation of others or a group of situations.
Spirit guides can’t really predict the future. Only God can. What they can do, however, is extrapolate from a likely scenario.
It’s up to you to discern whether they’re talking about the general or the particular further still, whether it corresponds to what’s true and good or evil.
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