The Spectrum

I cannot refrain from pointing out that if we delimit the psyche from the psychological sphere of instinct at the bottom, so to speak, a similar delimitation imposes itself at the top.  For, with increasing freedom from sheer instinct the partie superieure will ultimately reach a point at which the intrinsic energy of the function ceases altogether to be oriented by instinct in the original sense, and attains a so-called "spiritual" form.   

Archetype and instinct are “the most polar opposites imaginable.” 

In has paper “On the nature of the Psyche,” Jung compares the psyche to a color spectrum, with the infrared at one end and the ultraviolet at the other.  He uses this simile to explain the connection between psyche and body – the archetypes and the instincts.  Our consciousness is like a ray of light, with a nucleus in it to represent the ego, a kind of field of light that can shift along the spectrum.  The infrared end would be where things become psychosomatic and finally end in physical reactions.  At the infrared end, the psyche is somewhat connected (we do not yet know exactly how) with physical processes, so that it activity loses itself, or slowly enters, physical processes of some kind – psychosomatic and then somatic.  This would be the end representing the body.  At the other end, the ultraviolet end, would be the archetypes.  From within we do not know what the body in itself is – or from without either – except to a certain extent.  Here there is a big question: the mystery of the living organism.  At the ultraviolet end is the mystery of that same thing expressed in the representations, realized as ideas, emotions, fantasies and so on, of which it is the source.   TAoPA 144

(Jung) compares the realm of the psychic (ego-consciousness and the unconscious) to the light spectrum.  At the infrared end, the psychic functions change into the instincts and physiological processes, which take on a more and more compulsive character.  At the other, ultraviolet end of the scale are the archetypes, psychic structures that precondition our fantasies and ideas by producing symbolic images.  (Consciousness and, with it, freedom of choice and free will prevail only within the middle range.)  The form and the meaning of instincts are represented in the images produced by the archetypes.  The archetypes, therefore, are collectively present, unconscious preconditions or innate predispositions that act as regulators and stimulators of creative fantasy activity.  Their effect on the human ego is numinous-magical and is felt as something spiritual, even – on the primitive level – as a spirit or spirits. 


Using the analogy of the spectrum, we could compare the lowering of unconscious contents to a displacement towards the red end of the colour band, a comparison which is especially edifying in that red, the blood colour, has always signified emotion and instinct."

Psychologically … the archetype as an image of instinct is a spiritual goal toward which the whole nature of man strives; it is the sea to which all rivers went their way, the prize which the hero wrests from the fight with the dragon.