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Recognition of Patterns.

Updated on April 18, 2010
another type of pattern
another type of pattern

In 2002 I was fortunate to be able to attend a seminar led by Dr. Michael Conforti on the subject of Archetpal Pattern Recognition at the Jung Institute in Houston, TX. Dr. Conforti, the found of the Assissi Institute in Vermont has studied the relationship between things that occur in the outside world, and our own psyches.

Archetypes have been defined as an original prototype of person, or a type that has been used to replicate or copy. For instance, there is the archetype of the "dirty old man" or the "mother-in-law" that has at its very foundation an archetype easy to identify within another. Utilized without the need to stereotype, these patterns have been with us over time and can be easily spotted within literary characterizations in novels.

Conforti goes one step further in his use of these archetypes in his studies and addresses the archetypal patterns we miss that inform us of things right from the beginning of our social experience.Textured patterns are available to us within the works of fairy tales, our dreams and also in cultural myths written over time. There are also patterns found in architectural design, within cities and cultural celebrations and further within the choices we make in our friends, spouses, employees and even our therapists.

Conforti explained that the information is readily accessible to us always, but it is not until we consciously allow the information to be recognized within our own minds that we may miss their unfolding. For instance, he explained a group of people went to a restaurant and had to wait for the maitre'd to come and help them. This took several minutes. The rest of the experience he informed us was a series of waiting, for the waiter, for the drinks, wrong food delievered, finding the waiter again and on and on. He said that the person who truly recognized the pattern at the beginning would see the restaurant had its very own archetype. One that was not too concerned with getting things done in a timely manner. And the people they hired were all a part of the package. Had the group recognized the pattern immediately, they could have left and found a more amicable place to eat.

This fascinating semimar lasted for over several hours with Conforti sharing slides, movies and disussing how even water from a place showed a pattern that could be recognized. In working within a framework of an organization this pattern could eaily mean a good or bad experience for people. The idea that whatever happens at the inception of a situation, or a meeting will continue to happen is a powerful piece of information.Additionally for us to be frustrated expectant for it to change or be different is self defeating.

Many will argue that this is the same idea as "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" and that sometimes those impressions are incorrect. Scientists however will agree that it is through the use of taking raw data and taking an action based on the pattern has been something they have utilized in their field of study for a long time. Conforti has gone as far as to make this sort of recognition available to those in organizations to understand how in an initial interview addressing the organizational layout and ideals of a company might be advancing and/or ineffective towards their corporate decisionmaking.

The same thing can be used when meeting a potential spouse for the first time. In the beginning of a relationship we tend to gloss over some of those behaviors that may be signalling patterns the person has in place that may bring us to destructive ends. By ignoring those patterns, we become a part of the pattern we hope to avoid, thus ensuring the tenuous aspects of the relationship. Have we the wherewithal to notice these patterns from the beginning, we can circumvent the pattern and change it, thus insuring at least ourselves a brighter ending.

The following can be found on the Assisi website at:

"The Assisi Institute's innovative Training Program is committed to advancing the understanding and practice of this emerging field of archetypal pattern analysis. Our trans-disciplinary curriculum is informed by the work of C.G. Jung, M.L. von Franz, discoveries in the new sciences, and the eternal truths of the world's wisdom traditions. Each of these domains speaks of an overarching intelligent psyche that guides the unfolding of life on all levels. These different streams have contributed greatly to our appreciation and understanding of what Jung termed the objective psyche, and their in-depth study serves as the theoretical underpinning of our work."


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    • kaja_mel profile image

      kaja_mel 7 years ago from Saraland, AL

      Great hub Aley. A subject I never really gave much thought about. Very intresting.

    • Sierra Greer profile image

      Sierra Greer 8 years ago


      Fascinating stuff here, especially, since I'm in a mythology/fairy tale MFA course!

      Amazing how often (a pattern?) one doesn't look at what lies right beneath his or her nose. I'm going to check my bookshelf. I think I have the Red Book!


      Sierra Greer

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Two thumbs up. Sometimes what we think is intuition is recognition of patterns. We would do well to heed those patterns. Thanks for a great hub. Well written and informative.


    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 8 years ago

      I hope I can more quickly recognize the patterns! Thanks Aley!

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 8 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Lorlie: I have always loved Jung and Joseph Campbell. Their brilliant minds into archetypal study has been the subject of fascination and inquiry for many! I would love the read Jung's "Red Book" and hope to eventually own it.

      Acer: I agree it is important to give some things a chance....and that may take more than one time. But it is the patterns he wants us to recognize, which can indicate many things we may not consciously recognize.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 8 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Being able to pay attention to 1'st,2'nd and third impressions,can be a gamble that pays off...

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Oh, boy Aley-now this is getting trippy. Carl Jung is one of my heroes. No kidding! I studied him in both undergrad and grad schools and have been in Jungian Therapy.

      So Dr. Conforti is asserting such a thing as archetypal organizations? I loved your description, and can see this, I think. I'll be bookmarking this hub so I can re-read it in the future!

      Thanks again, Aley.

      PS: Have you seen/heard about the Red Book?

      Exciting stuff!

    • Aley Martin profile image

      Alice Lee Martin 8 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Thanks Pamela!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 8 years ago from United States

      Very interesting hub.