February 9, 2016

The Design Archetype

This paper was originally presented at the 23rd Annual EDRA Conference in Chicago, April 1993 and has since been edited for this blog.   
This paper discusses the concept of design as interpreted in reference to the Jungian interpretation of an archetype. The paper begins by implying that design is a universal phenomenon and the one principle archetype that displaces, oversees and in a sense co-ordinates all other archetypes. 

The origin of the word "design" is discussed leading to C.G. Jung’s definition of a symbol and its relationship to the archetype. A number of qualities describing an archetype are considered ending with an introduction to the revelations surrounding quantum physics' relationship to design and the archetypes. The paper suggests that design should be viewed as a symbolic conveyor that functions in conjunction with the archetypes and consciousness at-large. Design is presented as the primary facilitator surrounding the concept of the human psyche. The paper concludes with an appeal to redefine the meaning and purpose of design as viewed from this new perspective.
The Design Archetype
Someone once asked the great jazz musician Louis Armstrong "What is jazz?" Louis calmly responded, "Sir, if you have to ask I can't explain it to you." If someone had asked me what was design, I too would have replied in a similar fashion. There are no simple answers to the design experience. Design seems to have a consciousness all its own. I know what design "is like" metaphorically, but I really don't know what it is. I know what good or bad design may be, but that's an opinion stemming from my own perspective. I know I could measure certain aspects of design ... if I had to. I can show you what good design might look like, but then again you may not agree. I can be as objective as the next person yet I like others, am incapable of knowing, seeing or observing the world exactly as everyone else. There's no easy way to describe something as complex and multidimensional as either jazz or design. 

But Louis knew in his heart what jazz was. He understood it because he could feel it. Jazz is more than just a series of notes played on an instrument. Louis like so many other musicians, knew what jazz was yet it remained unexplainable. Louis knew how difficult it would be to try to describe something he felt more than anything else. He could only hope that others who appreciated and admired his music might feel the same ... solely by what they heard. Louis knew that unless he could clearly share these feelings through his music, it would be fruitless for him to try and describe it. 

What Louis found impossible to describe is a metaphor for design. Design is archetypal in character yet it cannot be fully defined or described as an archetype; you can merely embrace design while in its attendance *. 
* the action or state of being present ...

Design is the phenomenon that makes the conceptual domain of the archetypes, i.e. the psyche, somewhat comprehensible.

Design Origins
Design originates from the Latin word "signum" meaning the action of making a mark or sign. In essence design describes the undertaking of a symbolic activity. An object, artifact or event is the result of this symbolic process. The process gives design its form and shape. The form and shape of the outcome is a symbolic reflection of the process involved to materialize it. 

All that we could ever experience is revealed to us by symbolic means. Each moment describes and devises a unique undertaking appearing in the form of a configuration of energy made in conjunction with other alignments of similar frequency.

Life is a process made conscionable by virtue of design. 
Carl Jung defines the symbol as an expression of "transcendent" content, or information which cannot be completely explained by logic and/or analysis. The rational mind recognizes a symbol without being fully capable of apprehending its meaning. "The form the symbol takes is always the only expression of the mystery – its rational expression." C. G. Jung
Understanding requires a certain degree of knowledge and willingness to be aware of the situation at hand.

Design like jazz is impossible to fully define and/or describe, especially to those who harbor little awareness of its influence. Design appears to be archetypal in character while retaining total sovereignty over the very phenomenon attempting to described it ... which is consciousness itself. 

The concept of the archetype was introduced to western thought by virtue of Plato’s attempt to describe an idea, which consisted of images in the shape of forms that appeared in the mind and were deemed separate from the world of phenomena. These forms/ideas acted collectively in the sense they appeared to incorporate the general characteristics of a group of images rather than a single individual idea. According to Jung the archetypes were commonly shared by all humanity, yet each individual experienced and/or imagined them in their own particular way.
"The archetypes appear as great systems in the unconscious that create or form patterns in our conscious minds and ways of thinking. But they themselves have no content."
June Singer
"The term archetype refers to those autonomous forces residing within our psyche and also sharing our correspondences in the world around us. They are universal symbols capable of eliciting personal response."
Antero Alli
According to Jung the archetypes appear to describe a precondition, an instinct or an innately patterned set of impulses that influence our behavior. Jung also believed that these patterns expanded beyond the parameters of the psyche and seemingly operated in animals as well as humans.
Jung believed that the archetypes were not necessarily images inherited in their own right, but rather participants in a psychic structure that was responsible for the production of these images. The archetype itself is unimaginable; we cannot lock into it at a conscious level. We can only make reference to an archetype by means of our own subjective interpretation of it. We accomplish this task simply by imagining it. This is where design and the power of the symbolic process becomes relevant, by appearing as a series of momentous events (imaginings) perceived to be examples of a conscious awareness.
In order for this process to be considered meaningful we need to create images upon which we can relate and resonate. We accomplish this undertaking by means of design. The images we purposely generate in 3D space/time symbolize the very forces, i.e. archetypes, that bring structure to our psyche. Images by nature of correspondences connect to other images in a series of associations found to be embedded into our individual character. 

The most appropriate symbols for Life seem to emerge from within the hidden realm of the archetypes that harbor the unconscious. These patterned forces intermittently rise to the surface by means of an indwelling turbulence appearing within the parametric constraints of the imagination. It is within the realm of this plasmic and ever-changing subconscious that the ideas that surround the concept of design appear to be made self evident by means of our imagination. Different etheric configurations are considered, selected and made viable in what we say, think and do. Some of these arrangements appear as a series of collective blueprints reflected in our individual cultures and societies, while others privately present themselves in a fashion that is sensitive to our own psyche.
No two individuals/agents will respond to similar forces in the same manner. Each will generate the most appropriate response imaginable solely in order to retain an internal harmony within the parametric constraints of their own vibrational field (psyche). Not all individuals will affectively correspond to the same archetypal force/s that effectively influence them. Humanity has been is uniquely configured and reconfigured, i.e. designed, within every contextual moment to respond appropriately to every situation. 

Likened to a broadcast transmission a broad band frequency (archetype) consists of a series of frequencies. Only a certain frequency exchange will create a transmission.** Together the archetypes give rise to a multitude of broad band frequencies tagged as representing the unconscious, and to which every conscious agent responds within the parametric constraints of their own design field i.e. vibratory frequency. 

** Desire (Yin) is a qualification of one of our emotions. Desire is instrumental in initiating the design process (Yang) and is attributable to the realization of such desires. Emotion should be viewed and interpreted as being energy-in-motion.

The subconscious is positioned as a membranaceous field that harbors a turbulent mix of imaginings that in time reveal themselves as a series of symbolic correspondences. The subconscious gives rise to a common field of virtual energy within the context of the imagination. And by virtue of the intuition the imagination is encouraged to form a sequence of mental and emotional configurations patterned within the pleasure of our own making. 

Designs are symbolic interpretations of an unimaginable energy making itself felt and subjectively interpreted in 3D space/time by means of the mind acting in correspondence with its emotions, i.e. Kama Manas.
According to Jung archetypes are instinctually expressed by animals as well as humans. Design is a universal phenomenon, i.e. an unspoken language that universally corresponds to all vibratory forces seen and unseen. Design is a vehicle of transcendence and transformation that symbolically carries the psyche into the realms of both the known and the unknown

According to Jung the archetypes represent a collective history of a species that is biologically encoded into a "state" of consciousness. Jung says that it is from this collective position that certain forms representing certain human qualities, emerge as ideas in the mind. There seems to be a membrane surrounding the concept of the psyche that allows for the intermittent penetration of any larger script, i.e. archetypal blueprint harbored in the unconscious. 

“The contents of the collective unconscious are the archetypes, primordial images that reflect basic patterns that are common to us all, and which have existed since the dawn of time.”
Carl G. Jung
I believe that the strength of design lies in our ability to create a world in 3D space/time in a manner that empowers each of us as co-creators. This unique achievement is attained by transcending and transforming the constraints appearing before our awareness by virtue of our intuitive mind acting in conjunction with our imagination. In this fashion the archetypes will continue to sustain themselves by means of the forms and ideas we offer to both our subjective and collective awareness.

The Self 
“ … Dr. Jung observed a central and unifying archetype in the collective unconscious. This he called the Self with a capital S. The Self is the God Archetype and the images and experiences to which it gives birth are the meaning-laden God-images of humanity: …” JungianPsychology and the New God Image

Within the symbolic parameters of what might be construed as Jung's collective unconscious, the concept of design evolves, fluctuates, expands, contracts and is expressed by agents expressing a common demeanor, i.e. frequency. The concept of time merely creates the framework that allows the design process to adapt to every situation. 

The archetypes establish a series of general patterns to which we, acting as their agents, gestate, engage and mimic their frequencies in our own symbolic way. Our collective response to these forces contribute to a larger "idea" of self by means of our imagination. By design we subconsciously subscribe to the proposition that there exists a Singularity and/or a series of singularities that formulate the energy of the universe. This POV has been promoted by means of a theory of everything.

As agents to the archetypes we share in the creation of this conceptual Source by attending to the presence of what might be considered a collective awareness. We give credence to the existence of an all knowing Consciousness by giving rise and symbolic merit to the many unseen ideas we unimaginatively shelter about ourselves and the world we've created. We both consciously and subconsciously support and reinforce the power of the archetypes, i.e. the unconscious, by means of the many designs we have yet to express and/or encounter in this or any other dimension. 

“The outcome in ancient and modern humans is that there is still a sense, an ‘out of the corner of the eye’ awareness of the enormous depths of mind within us shading right back to pre-consciousness and even cellular life within. We sense this as the creative matrix out of which we have arisen. We sense it as having enormous potential. After all, if we have evolved from pre-conscious human animals, and they from ape like forms, a human could emerge from us that would be as god like to us as we would appear to an ancient predecessor. Therefore the god archetype is an expression of what we sense as our own potential and of the enormity of life and cosmic processes out of which we have existence.
The archetype itself, or what lies behind it, is beyond any one definition. But being what we are, and considering that we constantly try to define and give substance to such important processes, past cultures have given many forms and attributes to their expression of god or God. They have even at times defined aspects of what they experienced as the underlying forces of life and personal awareness, and we therefore have the gods and goddesses." 
Tony Crisp
The unconscious describes what we don't know. This simply implies that we have an innate impression that the concept of consciousness is an active function of what is to be found within the midst of an unknown yet mysterious sense of permanence. Ironically the sense of presence appears to be an integral part of what we construe as change; i.e. the transformation of energy, light and information made readily apparent by means of nature and its cycles. *** This reality has penetrated our collective understanding of consciousness in a symbolic way. All phenomenon exemplify the presence of an intelligence, i.e. a "quality" of mind that cannot escape attention. And it is upon these same intuitive impressions (feelings) that all symbolic forms of intelligence find their beginning. Design brings light to every source.

*** The concept of time is an important barometer in the process of evolution. The experiences that surround time and space likewise support the "idea" of a personal self as being an integral part of an even greater consciousness.

The "idea" that there exists a single source upon which all other sources are generated can only be realized and made apparent by exercising the design archetype. 

Jung believed that the collective unconscious also contained the spiritual heritage of the species and that this birthright is reborn in the structure of every individual. Jung believed that every interpretation and representation of the archetypes contributed to the biological evolution of the species. By design each person contributes to the concept of evolution by altering what has already been devised in an objective world. In light of this proposal it has become apparently clear that the behavior of the species has been collectively influenced by the impressions of a technological world. Consequently, we cannot fully separate ourselves from every force that substantiates our being without simultaneously transforming, i.e. designing, ourselves by means of what we have been conditioned to think, know and feel. The words, "Man know thyself" are more rich in meaning and vital to our survival than ever before.

Quantum Archetypes

The concept of reality has been brought into serious question upon the emergence of quantum theory. Unpredictability and complexity have moved to the forefront. The fact that the universe now began to appear almost unimaginable indicated that science was now forced to perceive the world even more abstractly by means of symbols, i.e. mathematics.    

According to quantum physics matter appears to possess a self-organizing type of behavior. It also seems to harbor the ability to produce structures of unlike variety along with a virtual recognition that allows for higher orders of complexity and co-operation.
Change and chaos seem to dominate the quantum universe while matter organizes into patterns that replicate many archetypal configurations that attempt to describe it. Matter in the form of substance appears to perpetuate change by means of self-organization. Is change merely an affect of matter striving to archetypically unite with itself ? Is matter when described in terms of the quantum, locked in an timeless quest for wholeness?
Evolutionary structures and patterns that co-operatively replicate certain behaviors in nature also appear to support both the psychological and biological qualities of Jung's archetypes. According to Jung, archetypal forces genetically encode us. Unlike Plato however, Jung believed that the archetypes were not merely "ideas", but also a "living organism, endowed with generative force". According to Jung these unseen forces are capable of initiating, controlling and influencing our behavior while we remain oblivious to their activity. 

The creative act is archetypal in quality and metaphorical in its substance. Experimental, imaginative, innovative, original, artistic, exploratory, expressive, visionary, resourceful, ingenious and inspirational the creative process is made conscionable by virtue of design.

According to Manly P. Hall the archetypes fashion the forms of the physical world in their own likeness or likenesses. Similar to waves that appear on the surface of a pond while energy propagates itself about a pulsating focal point, each pulsation emits a certain specific frequency. The nature of the source is made apparent by means of the frequency, i.e. the energy-in-motion, being projected through a medium. i.e. the context in which it is observed and/or discovered. In other words, the forms appearing in the medium (plasma) are the result of the frequencies passing through it. The energy "appears to attract" the very substance that defines the medium into a variety of harmonious configurations, patterns or forms.

I argue that humans are biological agents of a source that together create a "presence" within a quantum universe of energy (plasma). The concept of humanity is an archetypal idea i.e. a universal concept whose contextual references are constantly changing due to the medium in which they appear. I propose that humanity re-presents a quality of intelligence designed to uniquely transform energy, light and information within the so called "material" realms (dimensions) that together substantiate the cosmos. Humanity has been creating systems of planetary significance and symbolic relevance, i.e. meaning and purpose, for thousands of millennium. These creations center about an archetype of universal consequence and influence and that by virtue of its omnipotence guides, influences and directs human consciousness by means of design.

"All the most powerful ideas in history go back to archetypes. This is particularly true of religious ideas, but the central concepts of science, philosophy, and ethics are no exception to this rule. In their present form they are variants of archetypal ideas, created by consciously applying and adapting these ideas to reality. For it is the function of consciousness not only to recognize and assimilate the external world through the gateway of the senses, but to translate into visible reality the world within us."

Carl Jung, "The Structure of the Psyche" (1927), in Collected Works Vol. 8.
Source: http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=194237

I propose that the design archetype is part and parcel of a universal consciousness performing as a tool working in conjunction with the human psyche; an instrument that is made apparent before our consciousness by means of the symbol. It is by virtue of this intimate relationship within the medium we call consciousness that humanity is capable of designing systems of mutual endeavor that afford us the opportunity and ability to freely open the gates between the conscious and the unconscious.
Symbol making, i.e. design, is the method by which we give meaning and purpose to Life. Jung believed that the unconscious contained a collective wisdom that allows us to meet the demands of life by meaningfully synthesizing a harmony between the self and the ego (personality).

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.” 
C. G. Jung
Archetypal patterns that theoretically exist in the unconscious are matched by the virtues of design and the multitude of symbolic expressions of energy-in-motion we create for ourselves. By proxy a relationship is established between elements by virtue of a subconscious attempting to synthesize these impressions into a feeling of completeness and unity by way of the imagination. This process describes design's effort towards achieving a harmonious series of patterns between a wide range of divergent vibrations. It soon becomes apparent that the capacity to "make symbolic connections" is essential in bringing meaning to whatever we create ... including an image of the self (psyche). Jung called  this drive towards completeness or balance "individuation".

Individuation is a process of transformation whereby the personal and collective unconscious are brought into consciousness (e.g., by means of dreams, active imagination, or free association) to be assimilated into the whole personality. It is a completely natural process necessary for the integration of the psyche. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation
Each archetypal experience is subjectively interpreted for expression in a "material" world. Every expression brings to fruition a method that characterizes an aspect (quality) of its greater meaning and function. We each share in the manifestation of these archetypal resources in our own particular way. We each share a knowledge and understanding that every pattern of energy-in-motion also gives credence to our psyche. And that it is because of this a priori awareness that we naturally comply and contribute to its presence (consciousness) by means of what we express in 3D space/time. 

By virtue of our unique creative ability we actively participate in the perpetuation of an archetype or group of archetypes within the parametric guidelines of a unique design process of our own. By means of our creative skill and individual desire we afford every archetype its own special meaning and purpose. 

We are innately symbolic in nature. We symbolize this nature by way of materializing its omnipresent power in every action, thought and deed.
We begin to discover more and more about ourselves by simply observing the phenomenon that surrounds us. These archetypal influences are incessantly surfacing from within the sea (medium) of our own consciousness symbolically by means of the subconscious. 

The design archetype has special meaning when we begin understand its universal impact while guiding us towards the realization of our own dreams. In this manner we actively participate in a harmonic form of global consciousness by putting what we outwardly perceive into balance with what we intuitively know and feel. 

We naturally create the most appropriate images and ideas for ourselves and by way of the quantum experience the collective, as we focus upon the patterns, i.e. configurations of energy-in-motion, that both influence and empower our own intuitive perceptions.

Reality is found in the form of ideas and images we willingly, purposefully and meaningfully create for ourselves. These are the only images we believe can successfully symbolize and/or describe what we know and feel as being real. The purpose of the design process is to serve as a vehicle and a venue for the balance and recognition of the same archetypal forces that exist and participate in what we perceive and interpret as consciousness. 

Design makes the archetypes real. We learn to understand the concept of design by purposely synthesizing what we believe we know and intuitively feel into images that satisfy and rectify the underlying formations of energy and configuration that mimic our own biological and psychological makeup.
As life changes so do its creations and by virtue of its nature, so do the symbols that define and describe its ever-changing consciousness. Change is a given along with the need and desire to be aware of the symbols that recognize and describe every situation it may encounter along the way. The design archetype is always made apparent to the observer by means of its most appropriate form.

The design archetype lies latent within our psyche solely to guide us towards experiencing a certain degree of completeness within the parametric constraints of human consciousness. Design is exercised in order to give meaning and purpose to those archetypes that together generate the substantive qualities we observe and sense as a universal consciousness. These are the same patterns that encode the biological and psychological structures inherent in all creation. 

According to Jung we must satisfy the principles we need in order to experience, comprehend, interact and perceive our world. We achieve these objectives by purposely allowing every aspect of our consciousness to have meaning. Only by means of the design archetype can the concept of meaning be discovered, maintained and absorbed. The design archetype enables us to communicate within the parametric constraints of our own consciousness.
All phenomenon, e.g. mental, emotional, physical and spiritual are of archetypal, i.e. universal, in origin. Design is a symbolic process that effectively functions within its own set of constraints while allowing and affectively accounting for every individual elucidation of that same process. 

Jazz is an archetypal expression designed to bring into fruition that which cannot be felt by any other means. Jazz allowed Louis Armstrong the opportunity "tap into" a universal archetype created and designed by virtue of the symbols and feelings only he could muster and express. In this fashion Louis contributed to the attendance of a greater awareness that enchanted all who were conscious of its presence.
The design archetype is preoccupied with the symbolic presence of every archetype, along with the very methods necessary to bring such energies into manifestation. The design archetype gives symbolic meaning and purpose to the processes of creation and fragmentation.
Mathematics, music, language, architecture, religion, art, science, biology, etc. are all human disciplines requiring the use of a unique language of symbols to interpret, understand and communicate within the consciousness of the world. The concepts these disciplines are bringing into fruition is a designed process, a symbolic activity that stems from a resourceful awareness uniquely integrated within the parameters of all that could ever be imagined. In conclusion, the design archetype represents the quintessence of the Platonic "idea". There is no-thing beyond this moment in time.

-Clark, M., Cohen, M., The Open Universe, a talk with Paul Davies, Noetic Science Review, summer, 1992.
-Davies, P., God and the New Physics, Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1984.
-Garant, C., Design Must Take a Quantum Leap, IDSA Educators Conference Proceedings, 1990.
-Gould, S. J., The Flamingo’s Smile, W.W. Norton, New York, 1985.
- Hall, M.P., Lectures On Ancient Philosophy, Philosophical Research Society Inc., Los Angeles, 1984.
- Herbert, N., Quantum Reality, Beyond the New Physics, Doubleday Dell Publishing, New York, 1985.
- Holland, G.B. See the Light, Arthur Young’s Revolutionary Theory of Evolution and Consciousness, Quest Magazine, The Theosophical Society in America, Wheaton, Ill., Autumn, 1991.
- Jung, C. G., The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Princeton University Press, Princeton N.J., 1971.
- Kinney, J., an interview with June Singer, Gnosis Magazine, The Lumen Foundation, winter, 1989.
Progoff, I., The Symbolic and the Real, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1963.
- Stevens, Dr. Anthony, Archetypes: A Natural History of the Self, Quill, New York, 1983.

- Wolf, F., Taking the Quantum Leap. Harper & Row, Publishers, San Francisco, 1981.


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Edited: 02.10.2016

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