Temperament and Theory: Freud, Adler and Jung

  • V. Walter Odajnyk


In a manner of speaking, it is not an exaggeration to consider Freud, Adler and Jung as mythologists of the soul—in its broad connotation as psyche—because they perform the same function for the psyche that mythology carries for the world: explain its origins, purpose and final goals. Furthermore, they work with dreams, visions and stories—the stuff of mythology. Freud and Jung were aware of the connection between their psychological theories and mythological motifs, while Adler was less so.1 It is precisely because Freud and Jung made a conscious effort to link their ideas with mythology that their theories continue to engage the imagination of countless individuals, while those of Adler do not. Pure mental constructs or clinical terminology, for example, “compensation” or “inferiority complex”, leave little for the imagination to work upon. On the other hand, Freud’s “Oedipus complex”, “narcissism”, “castration anxiety”, the “primal horde” and “eros”, and Jung’s concepts of “self”, “shadow”, “anima”, “animus”, “wise old man” and “wise old woman” all have mythological antecedents and, as such, enduring imaginative resonance.


Spiritual Aspect Pleasure Principle Death Drive Inferiority Complex Sexual Theory 
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  1. 5.
    Edward F. Edinger, Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche (Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1986), p. xiii.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Laurens van der Post, Jung and the Story of Our Time (New York: Pantheon Books, 1975), p. 17.Google Scholar
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    William James, Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (New York London Toronto: Longman’s Green & Co., 1947), pp. 6–7.Google Scholar
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    Henri F. Ellenberger, The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry (New York: Basic Books, 1970), p. 508.Google Scholar

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© V. Walter Odajnyk 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Walter Odajnyk
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacifica Graduate InstituteUSA

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