The archetype of identities

The archetype of identities

The fact that all successful developed states are classified as national (state-states) has become quite commonplace in modern social science. Such an alternative to the national state as multinationality, generated by the Bolshevik fantasy, was unfortunately unstable at low levels of central physical violence in society, at those levels of violence that do not stop the work of the public innovation cycle and allow not only catch-up, but also leadership development.

The transition to a national state in Russia has already been put on the list of priorities by its ruling party, because even to this trade union of noble budget milkers it has become obvious that Russia as a multinational has no future. The world has gained considerable experience in transforming various states into national ones, but, knowing the tendency of our rulers to invent unique paths of historical development, I think that it would be worth trying to develop tools to analyze how successfully our work will move the national project forward. With this text, I open a series of publications covering the results of my work on this issue.


Since the nation is a nationwide political collective identity, the key to understanding the subject is the organization of collective identities (CI). CI is a very interesting object of social / group consciousness, and through it not only stable forms of existence of leading democratic states are revealed, but also such social structures as a party, clan, clientele, and even family. CI is the key to understanding dispensation and phenomena such as ethnicity, group interest, team spirit, and much more.

By collective identity I will understand such a psycho-social complex that sets the psychological importance for a person to classify himself as a social group. This complex also regulates the “friend or foe” relationship associated with this group, and the rules for the interaction of group members, both among themselves and with outsiders.

CI can be immediate when each member of the group knows all the rest of his “in person”, and imaginary, when a person can’t know all of his “friends”. Examples of immediate identities can be given by most leisure associations, families, and clans. Imaginary identities give rise to such social phenomena as ethnic groups, nations, and professional associations.

Usually, in the framework of the CI, along with its generally recognized name in the group and other identifying symbols, a certain semblance of generally accepted psychological attitudes and behavioral patterns is also established, according to which “friends” belonging to the group can recognize each other. At the same time, the distinction between “oneself” in most cases gives rise to a feeling of empathy in the individual, which affects his social behavior. As a rule, for “one’s own” a person can do something that under the same conditions he would not do for a “stranger”.


In the framework of the above definition, it is obvious that each individual can be self-attributed with several KI, which are built in the framework of his self-concept in the form of some kind of dynamic hierarchy. A general understanding of the interaction of the human psyche with some of its KI can be obtained through the presentation of the individual consciousness of the person using a set of mental structures (MS). Mental structures, both elementary and composite, are considered to be the forming components of a person’s consciousness, which determines their perception of information, their decision-making, its actions and behavioral patterns. In particular, MSs relate to the categorical apparatus used by a person in their thinking, help to hear speech words in sound noise, and make it possible to recognize visual images. At the biological level, the MS of human consciousness can be attributed to the result of the functioning of a certain set of somehow interconnected neural columns of the cerebral cortex (see, for example, the book: Hawkins, J., Blakesley, S. On Intelligence. M .: Williams, 2007. 240 p. .) In public communication, MSs correspond to memes – quanta of cultural information that are distributed in society through various media channels, as well as through interpersonal and group communication.

Note that the approach to the structure of individual consciousness discussed here in the form of a set of MCs integrates well the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity, according to which.

The systems of concepts existing in the human mind, and, consequently, the essential features of his thinking, are determined by that particular language, the carrier of which this person is.

Moreover, following the original reasoning of Whorf himself, one can get a transition to a wider understanding of this concept, expanding it to absolutely all MS reproduced by society during the socialization of its members, and not only to those associated with the language. This can be seen, for example, from Worf’s original phrase given here (my translation): 

Those categories and types that we distinguish from the external world of phenomena do not wait for us there in some ready-made state. On the contrary, the external world is given to us in a kaleidoscopic stream of impressions and images that must somehow be organized in our minds, and this is done precisely by our linguistic system. We “cut” the outside world into pieces, endow “cut” with meanings, organize them in theory and concept. Moreover, the method of such activity that we have chosen is largely determined by the fact that we are part of the agreement to do this work in this way – an agreement that is supported by all members of the language community and which determines the structure of our language.

It can be seen that this argument is easily transferred to non-verbal behavioral patterns, from which reproduced social routines of any community are composed. Although the dominance of linguistic structures in ensuring the quality of mental activity is obvious.

Further, the MS of the consciousness of the individual is made out of what can be defined as My World of man. Indeed, the MS received by a person as a result of his socialization filters the information flow accessible to his consciousness, supplying him only those impressions that are consistent with them. They also specify the individual’s behavioral patterns of his reactions to external influences (what he was trained and how he was brought up), thereby supporting the existing social routines and the social institutions that they define. In other words, we can assume that a person’s adaptation of the real world in the light of his life experience is accompanied by the formation in his mind of various sets of the same MSs that determine the specificity of his vision of the world. This personified world, which is revealed to each consciousness in the light of its experience for its own practical activity, is the personal My World of the individual mentioned above.

It should be said here that My Worlds of different people can differ significantly, which everyone can be convinced of, trying to achieve some acceptable level of understanding with someone else. At the same time, however, it is possible to reconcile My Worlds of different people in a certain aspect, which is usually achieved by mutual adaptation of this aspect of their My Worlds as a result of intensive group communication. Thus, an element of their common OurWorld may arise – pieces of their My World that are agreed to some degree similar. By and large, Our World of any community is the main core of its CI. So we come to understand the general structure of My World of each: My World contains a specific personality core, complemented by many different Our World by the number of communities with which a person internally connects himself. And all this together represents his personal self-concept.


It is obvious that, being one of the basic elements of sociality, the CI of people should have arisen at some stage of anthropogenesis, as a result of which it makes sense to expect that they can have some kind of common archetypal structure. And such a structure really comes to light. Firstly, any KI contains what can be denoted by the words “central place” of identity (CM). The CM of each CI is primarily a symbolic place with which the “gods” of CI are associated, although for some CI this symbolic place can be geographically localized. For example, for each nation, the CM is usually located in the capital of the corresponding state, the CM of Christian Catholics is primarily the Vatican, etc.

Each identity has its own “gods” – those elements of the symbolic space that cause the excitement of the sacred feelings of people who include this Our World in their I-concept. In a family, such a “god” can be a duty to children and parents, as well as a duty to improve a family hearth. Sacred elements of a nation are usually associated with symbols of the state, as well as with national mythology. It seems that it is precisely the sacred feeling of people that is the main bearing element of any CI – the general downward grace of the group from various kinds of joint ceremonies and positive activities, together with the general indignation at the sacrilege that happens in relation to group “gods”, creates the “right” emotional background for communication all those who share these emotions, with the maintenance and development of their common Our World.

Naturally, the “gods” are thirsty, and this gives rise to the next element of any KI – the obligatory contribution of man to the “common cause”. This contribution can be both material and symbolic. The joint work of husband and wife in the name of family well-being, the burden of the duties of every citizen to the nation and the state, all this can be seen as victims of the respective “gods”.

Another common element of Our Worlds is the classification of group members – carriers of CI. Almost always (although there are cases of degeneration) in a group, one can distinguish an “inner circle” consisting of group authorities, which is supplemented by ordinary members of the group and candidate members. The inner circle of KI is usually positioned somewhere near the CM, serving the “gods” of the community. They also perform the functions of ongoing community management, setting its standards and institutions, and contribute to resolving conflicts between ordinary members of the group. Ordinary members usually have equal rights, and equally bear responsibilities towards the community and its “gods.” Although there are cases of more complex structuring of ordinary members of the group. Candidates are usually imbued with a “community spirit”, often performing the most burdensome duties, and expecting to receive rights if they are recognized as equal to others. The transition from candidates to group members is often formalized by some kind of initiation ceremony.

Marked items can be found in any specific CI. Moreover, they are clearly visible in the direct CI of primitive communities, which allows us to hypothesize that such a structure of the group Our World is exactly what is archetypal. Those. it is assumed that this structure was formed in the process of anthropogenesis, and then was present as a component of human sociality, defined at the level of the collective unconscious, until the information about it became the property of our consciousness as a result of my efforts.

In principle, the noted general structure of CI is no longer supported at the biological, but at the social level. By and large, CI reflects one of the possible ways of practical implementation of a deeper structure, which is basic for all living things – the dichotomy “friend or foe”. The way in which this basic construct is filled with specifics in people (the case of CI) is qualitatively different from what was characteristic of the immediate evolutionary predecessors of people – primates, in which the coordination of actions in the herd is regulated by the so-called hierarchies of dominance. Let me remind you that the main external differences between groups of people and primates are related to (1) caring for the sick and disabled, (2) caring for the dead, (3) the presence of some generally applicable rules for the distribution of goods, which include equal access to group members to food in conditions of moderate hunger.

An analysis of archaeological data gives an estimate of the time when, in proto-human groups, the formation of the differences noted above from their predecessors was completed: this happened about 60-70 thousand years ago. At the same time, traces of what could be interpreted as the consequences of totemism, magical actions, and fetishism were discovered in the excavations. It is also precisely for this time that the emergence of art is characteristic. It can be assumed that the development of centers of excitation of sacred feelings in the brain of proto-people played a very important role in their humanization. One of the arguments in favor of this hypothesis is the importance of such a taboo as a taboo for structuring the behavior of primitive people, since it is obvious that the mechanism of action of the taboo exploits the sacred feelings of community members. At the same time, it is recognized that it was the taboos that played a very important role in curbing the power of biological instincts, including in terms of eliminating the system of support for behavior that leads to the emergence of hierarchies of dominance. It should also be noted that the sense of justice (as the basis of social institutions) is also supported precisely by the sacred centers of the brain, because the indignation from the injustices committed by someone is very close to the emotions caused by sacrilege, i.e. has an undoubted sacred nature.

It is interesting that the archetype of CI that we have identified is almost completely isomorphic to what we can observe in collective organisms of super-organisms (ants, bees, termites). These superorganisms are also structured around their CM (where the uterus usually lives). Ordinary insects in their various roles (fixed biologically – unlike groups of people) make contributions to the development of the “family”, and have (“stitched” biology) the right to their share of family-controlled resources. Etc.

Moreover, the identified archetypal was also reflected in the design of the structures of human statehood. But the discussion of this range of issues I will bring to the attention of readers in the following text.

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