Famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung popularized the term ‘Archetype’ in social psychology and cultural anthropology through his observations on the primitive models of human mind that transcends the immediate neighborhoods of human life. It is interesting to note that human mind can permeate the cultural identities of social life beyond the boundaries of an individual psyche. When we look at the emerging digital consciousness in our contemporary society through the Jungian lens, we can observe hidden but subtle archetype formations.
To understand the subtle processes of digital archetypes, we may need to pause a while and digest the nature of digital consciousness. It is inherent in digital lifestyles and aspirations. Human memory is an interesting specimen here. It has undergone substantial changes after the emergence of digital lifestyles.
Our memory tends to be more faster and disjointed such that we tend to remember immediate past more precise and clear compared to our distant past. A decade ago, we had vivid memories of the distant past but our recollections of the immediate past was not this precise and fine grained.
Our perception is another example. Many cultural theoreticians acknowledge that our contemporary society is more image centered and logo driven compared to previous times. Now let us examine the roots of digital archetypes in our emerging digital consciousness.
It is interesting to note that while our digital consciousness is more discrete and finite, our digital archetypes exhibit a generic pattern. When digital consciousness varies between Gen X, Y and Z, digital archetypes will be of common nature.
Our crowd like behavior in a digital experience and image centered memory are a few digital archetypes. We are embracing ‘digirati’ or digital lifestyle in an era when our society is exhibiting more crowd like behavior in every walk of life. Technology and fast pace of monetary exchange seems to influence this crowd formation. They appear to be the centripetal forces behind the crowd formation.
This crowding behavior is a natural response to the accelerating pace of social changes and upheaval. Not only business models, our political ideologies, governance models, and cultural values are undergoing rapid transformation. Our individual psyche is finding it difficult to define its unique existence in this flux of affairs.
When did human society witness similar rate of change?
It was during an era before the agrarian settlements and river valley civilizations. We were natural crowds during those times known as nomadic tribes. If we look at the cave inscriptions of those times, we can see that those were mostly images or pictures. We worshiped natural logos then. Now we worship technology driven logos.
Thus the digital archetypes of our times is a reflection of our distant nomadic life. It will be further more interesting to see how human society develops settlements in this rapidly varying digital landscape.