Consciousness, The Iceberg Theory, and Archetypes

Freud believed that there are levels of consciousness. He thought that most of our emotions and personality were buried in our unconscious mind. Carl Jung a good friend of Frued’s also believed in the unconscious mind.

Consciousness, The Iceberg Theory, and Archetypes

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The Iceberg

It is best to imagine an iceberg when trying to understand Freud’s theory of the psyche. The water around the iceberg is what he calls the nonconscious. These are the things that we have not experienced and have not become part of our conscious.

The tip of the iceberg is small and is made up of our conscious. These are the things that we know of that make up our personality.

The base of the iceberg is our subconscious. This is our memories and stored knowledge. It can be accessed with a little work. This is also where the superego is found.

The unconscious is the part of the iceberg that is completely submerged. It is large and contains the buried layers of our personality. This is where the id resides.


Carl Jung also believed that our psyche was made up of three parts. He believed that we had the ego, the collective unconscious, and the personal unconscious.

The ego is a representation of the conscious mind. The collective unconscious contained information that we all share as a species while the personal unconscious is memories that are both available to us and suppressed.

Jung believed that archetypes were themes or patterns that exist in the collective unconscious. These archetypes are universal and are not learned. He believed there were many archetypes. The following are four of the main ones

  • The Self
  • The Shadow
  • The Anima or Animus
  • The persona

Which theory do you thing is correct? Let me know in the comments.

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