According to Merriam-Webster, the word archetype (derived via Latin from the Greek verb archein, meaning to begin or rule, and the noun typos, meaning type) is a term of art in fields of philosophy and psychology. Greek philosopher Plato used the term to designate ideal forms of things. Psychologist C. G. Jung used the term to refer to essential ideas or modes of thought present in an individual’s subconscious. The term is also commonly used to mean a perfect example of something.
The mind’s capacity to perceive, imagine and contemplate is greater than what may typically occupy it at any given moment. In relation to archetypes (here considered to be recurrent images or thoughts that are quintessential and ubiquitous in our experience) we can imagine each has its own mental caretaker or little fellow. Thus, when a common topic such as Mother arises in a given moment, our mind’s mother archetype little fellow comes forward to deal with things (whether in contemplation, conversation or action) and also may interact with additional, related little fellows of our mind in whatever experience is at hand.
The mental structure of little fellows specializing in their particular and unique archetypal thoughts and phenomena can help us grasp our waking and dreaming lives as a function of our evolving experience. Each little fellow is our personal expert and archivist for their particular archetype in all aspects of our lives. To the degree that personal experience varies, our little fellows may diverge in their perceptions and opinions.
If we are raised in an environment where a strong bias prevails as to some subject, it may take our little fellows time to accumulate enough experience to come to a less subjective view of the topic. Similarly, if we are traumatized or enchanted by any particular thought or experience, the related little fellows may over time obtain more balance as to the disturbance or attraction. Various participants in any given situation bring (by way of their little fellows) elements of opinion, potential bias, conflict, cooperation and enlightenment. As they interact, their little fellows may adjust or reorganize aspects of their archetypes (a function sometimes said to be served by dreaming).