Human Development

Guiding images

Metaphors, myths, fantasies and archetypes provide images through which individuals are able to grow in the development of self, not so much through conscious intent as by forming a predisposition to behave and respond in a particular way. Although their function can be very limited, such images may also, to different degrees, be embodied by a person and used as a way of structuring the reality to which he responds. Human thought processes can be considered as largely metaphorical, so that the human conceptual system can be considered as metaphorically structured and defined. Use of images can therefore powerfully affect the opportunities and style of human development open to an individual. However, when the images guiding habitual behaviour are not recognized and named, the individual becomes hostage to them and can do little but, in instinctive response, live out the plots they imply to their end. When they are named, the individual has a choice in responding to them. He can extricate himself from undesirable myths and/or learn to respect the archetypal pattern that is exerting control and learn the lessons it offers.