collective unconscious

noun
(in Jungian psychology) inborn unconscious psychic material common to humankind, accumulated by the experience of all preceding generations.
Compare archetype ( def 2 ).


Origin:
1915–20

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World English Dictionary
collective unconscious
 
n
psychol (in Jungian psychological theory) a part of the unconscious mind incorporating patterns of memories, instincts, and experiences common to all mankind. These patterns are inherited, may be arranged into archetypes, and are observable through their effects on dreams, behaviour, etc

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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

collective unconscious col·lec·tive unconscious (kə-lěk'tĭv)
n.
In Jungian psychology, a part of the unconscious mind that is shared by a society, a people, or all humankind. The product of ancestral experience, it contains such concepts as science, religion, and morality.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

collective unconscious definition


Memories of mental patterns that are shared by members of a single culture or, more broadly, by all human beings; originally proposed by the psychologist Carl Jung to explain psychological traits shared by all people. He theorized that the collective unconscious appears as archetypes: patterns and symbols that occur in dreams, mythology, and fairy tales.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

collective unconscious

term introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jung to represent a form of the unconscious (that part of the mind containing memories and impulses of which the individual is not aware) common to mankind as a whole and originating in the inherited structure of the brain. It is distinct from the personal unconscious, which arises from the experience of the individual. According to Jung, the collective unconscious contains archetypes, or universal primordial images and ideas

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The ideas of both secret planes and flying saucers strike deep chords in the
  collective unconscious.
There are things about human consciousness that can not be explained such as
  the collective unconscious.
But it was the film's publicity, not the collective unconscious, that first
  elided the phrase.
It is no longer a personal but a transpersonal evil, arising from some kind of
  collective unconscious.
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