Modern Myths

Psychology and Myth

How did Jung use myths?

Jung’s use of myths differs somewhat from Freud’s. For Jung, myths were not symptoms of neuroses. Rather, they were cultural dreams providing insight into what he called the “collective unconscious,” or collective memory, as opposed to the personal unconscious. The universal motifs of myths—the hero’s quest, the flood, the trickster—are images of psychological tendencies, or archetypes, inherited by humans. Myths provide information about ourselves as cultures and as a species. In terms of psychoanalysis, Jung saw the archetypes of the collective unconscious as a symbolic language which could stimulate a level of information that could take the analyst and the analysand a step deeper than that provided by the personal unconscious stressed by Freud.


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