Image/Cultural Complex Research

Many artists create images that reflect the social, political, and religious conflicts of their times--and these conflicts are often the expression of cultural complexes in the collective psyche. (click to explanatory article on concept of cultural complex) This research project invites you to contribute examples of this type of symbolic imagery to ARAS Online.

C.G. Jung's Red Book has brought renewed focus on Jung's ability to express himself in images. He wrote the Red Book at a time of deep personal and professional crisis. One of the more compelling parts of that crisis was the fact that Jung was in great fear for his own mental health and the possible eruption of a psychosis as signaled by his unbidden, waking visions of impending catastrophe in Europe. Jung later remarked that he greeted the outbreak of World War One with some relief in that it indicated his visions were more about destructive forces in the collective psyche rather than the threat of a personal psychosis. Jung's relief at realizing that his own psyche had been invaded by material from the cultural and archetypal level of the collective psyche indicates an important area of concern for Analytical Psychology and ARAS. The interpenetration of personal, cultural and archetypal material often makes it difficult to differentiate what is personal, what is cultural, and what is archetypal. This research inquiry is particularly focused on the cultural or social level of the psyche and how it expresses itself in symbolic imagery. There is no doubt that the imagery of the collective psyche often provides the conscious and unconscious material of artists. Such imagery may have archetypal roots, but it takes a good deal of its psychic charge from activated complexes at the level of the cultural psyche.

The goal of this research project is to engage all our users in an interactive participation with ARAS Online by extending you an invitation to contribute images and commentary on cultural complexes that have captured your imagination. We want to reach out to you to help us explore image, complex, archetype, and culture in a new way. We will include examples contributed by our users to the quarterly ARAS Connections (ARAS Online reserves the right to edit any material submitted and to choose which submissions will be placed in our ARAS Online collection).

Please send your submissions to

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