Review of ‘Archetype and Character: Power, Eros, Spirit, and Matter Personality Types’

V. Walter Odajnyk
Archetype and Character: Power, Eros, Spirit, and Matter Personality Types
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

In one sense, the last truly ‘philosophical’ book on Jungian typology was published more than 40 years ago. It is not that new titles on Jungian typology and Myers-Briggs have not appeared; it is rather that these books have fallen into two non-philosophical categories: Some have been management and coaching books that merely ‘deliver the basics,’ rehashing what is already known. (These books are, in our opinion, rarely very  good.) The other type of books have been the purely psychological/psychometric titles, amongst the better books of this nature are Isabel Myers’ ‘Gifts Differing‘ and David Keirsey’s ‘Please Understand Me.’ And while this latter type of books do tend to contribute something new, they happily avoid Jung’s advice that the person who would understand these ideas should also “know a little history [and] a little philosophy.”

By ‘philosophical’ we mean that the author is not just trained in psychology or medicine, but is of broad erudition (indeed, much broader than the narrow and overly-technical specializations that pass for ‘philosophy’ at universities today). The person who would truly understand the full wealth of Jungian typology, including the functions, must have a basic knowledge of philosophy and history, as is also evident from Jung’s ‘Psychological Types‘ itself.

acV. Walter Odajnyk appears to be just such a person. As the author of ‘Archetype and Character‘, he picks up the mantle of philosophically oriented typology where von Franz left it more than 40 years ago. (Indeed, almost as an auspice of what is to come, Odajnyk’s book opens with a dedication to von Franz whom he has apparently met in person.)

Not only is Odajnyk the sort of man whom Jung would have wished to dabble in typology; Odajnyk is also an academic by training, and his book is written so as to live up to sound academic standards of publishing. Thus it is a pleasure and a relief to read a book on Jungian typology where the author goes out of his way to reference and give due credit to preceding thinkers in the field and to point out parallels between the ideas that he is presenting in ‘Archetype and Character’ and the work of others.

It cannot be stressed enough how the standard academic method, as employed by Odajnyk, has hitherto been lacking in the field of Jungian typology where authors rarely credit anybody but themselves at any length and where ideas and developments are frequently copied and passed off as one’s own. Odajnyk has written a serious book on Jungian typology that employs a true researcher’s methodology and for that alone he is to be commended.

Odajnyk’s Typology

In the book, Odajnyk proposes a new typology that is compatible with the basic schema of Jungian typology. Odajnyk proposes that besides our usual four-letter code, we also have personality on a ‘deeper level’, that is, on the level of the Jungian notion of the collective unconscious. Where ‘normal’ typology sets out to measure one’s tangible personality, as related to oneself, Odajnyk’s typology is instead concerned with the archetypical motivations active in one’s own character which, according to Odajnyk, stem from the welling-up of archetypes from the collective unconscious. Hence Odajnyk calls his typology an ‘archetypal- motivational typology’ that deals with “innate drives that seek expression in everyday attitudes and forms of behavior.”

Odajnyk presents four main archetypes that can be active in the individual’s unconscious: Power, Love, Spirit, and Matter. Power and Love are opposites in the same way that Thinking and Feeling are opposites in the standard Jungian typology; likewise, Matter and Spirit are opposites in the same manner that Sensing and Intuition are in opposition. Odajnyk defines them thus:

“I define Power as the urge for domination and control; [Love] as the desire for connections and union; [Spirit] as fascination with art, fantasy and ideas; and [Matter] as interest in the natural universe.”

Throughout the book, Odajnyk has a tendency to refer to his archetypes by their Greek names. Love types are therefore referred to as Eros by Odajnyk, while Matter and Spirit are referred to as Physis and Pneuma, respectively. Power, however, is simply referred to as Power.

The reader versed in Greek will wonder why Odajnyk does not make use of the Greek word Kratos, to describe his power type. This irregularity in nomenclature is, however, not addressed in the book and so the reader is left to ponder that on his own.

It is also to be noted that two of Odajnyk’s four types  (Love and Power) are the same as two of Irving Singer’s types (Philia and Eros) in Singer’s ‘The Nature of Love.’ Peculiarly, this overt similarity also goes unmentioned in the book.

Odajnyk’s four basic types, as described above, hold real value and can readily be employed even if one does not believe in the collective unconscious. For example, a Power archetype can be explained by a penchant for narcissism, or a Love archetype can be explained by a childhood inability to connect with one’s parents, thus rendering the child unable to connect with the people around him, even as he desperately wishes to do so, thus forming the cognitive backdrop of Odajnyk’s Love type an adult.

Even if one does not accept Odajnyk’s (and Jung’s) metaphysics, then, one can thus still derive real value from Odajnyk’s ideas as presented in the book.

Introversion/Extroversion, Soul and Spirit

As has been said, Odajnyk’s four basic types are sound. However, to Odajnyk’s four basic types (Power, Love, Matter, and Spirit), he then adds two qualifiers whose merits are more questionable: The first is Introversion vs. Extroversion and the second is Soul vs. Spirit.

The problem with Odajnyk’s use of Introversion vs. Extroversion is simple: Odajnyk simply does not delineate how extroversion/introversion in his ‘archetypal- motivational typology’ differs from extroversion/introversion as it is used in ‘normal’ Jungian typology. Indeed, when Odajnyk proceeds to argue why he thinks Freud is an introvert in his new typology, his arguments can scarcely be set apart from the type of arguments that one would use to argue that Freud was an introvert in terms of ‘normal’ Jungian typology. Thus it is not clear how or why extroversion/introversion should be included in Odajnyk’s typology and one could easily imagine a version of Archetype and Character that had stood stronger without Odajnyk’s inclusion of introversion and extroversion.

The second qualifier which Odajnyk introduces on top of his four basic types is that of Soul vs. Spirit. Regrettably, this is the least developed aspect of Odajnyk’s work. The concepts, according to Odajnyk, are as follows: If one is of a Spirit temperament, one prefers fire, quickness, heights, masculinity, and is inclined to feel stimulated by action and boldness. And, on the other hand, if one has a Soul temperament, one prefers darkness, slowness, depths, femininity, and has a tendency towards reflection and fantasy.

Soul

Spirit

Darkness

Fire

Slowness

Quickness

Femininity

Masculinity

Depths

Heights

Reflections

Action

Fantasy

Boldness

Tellingly, perhaps, the chapter on the Soul vs. Spirit types is rather short and it is not sufficiently clear how either disposition actually influences the individual who is supposedly characterized by it. What is more, Odajnyk’s groundwork in terms of research, which is otherwise of a very high standard, tends towards the lackluster with regards to this chapter. For example, for a book that uses Greek concepts and delves into archetypes, it seems strange for Parmenides to go unmentioned in a chapter dealing with the opposition of ‘light and night.’ Likewise, Zoroastrian Fire Temples are mentioned in passing as a possible mythological expression of the Spirit archetype, but no efforts are made to connect the Zoroastrian notion of ‘all-consuming darkness’ to the Soul archetype, which would otherwise have been evident in this regard.

Odajnyk’s qualifiers of Introversion vs. Extroversion and Soul vs. Spirit are therefore hard to accept as genuine typological categories that improve or build upon the existing schemata of Jungian typology. With regards to Introversion vs. Extroversion, a proper role needs to be specified for it within the arrangement of Odajnyk’s archetypal-motivational typology; a role that sets it properly apart from extroversion and introversion as these terms are normally used in Jung’s typology. With regards to the construct of Soul vs. Spirit, it does undeniably seem that the seeds for the successful identification of a pair of genuine archetypical opposites are present, but, as noted, more research is needed in order to unearth the full value and application of these concepts. A recent title that will no doubt interest readers that are out to do so is Martin J. Henn’s fascinating study of the similarities between Parmenides’ poem and the Zoroastrian tradition which provides an illuminating and highly original philosophical inquiry into the nature of these concepts.

Odajnyk on Freud, Adler, and Jung

Having thus laid down the premises of his typology, Odajnyk spends the rest of the book in demonstration of his system, by giving us his assessment of the types of Freud, Adler and Jung. All three studies are well-written and worthwhile reads, yet they are also quite different in nature.

Odajnyk’s analysis of Freud is largely concerned with presenting the established picture of Freud as a self-estranged and disingenuous neurotic with a sepulchral temperament and overt tyrannical tendencies. Furthermore, a significant portion of the chapter on Freud is dedicated to Freud’s relationship with Jung and to stories on Freud of which Jung is the only source (which compromises their credibility somewhat). The practical consequence of this prioritization is that the chapter on Freud appears as a prolegomena to the later chapter on Jung – a prolegomena that fails to get under the skin of the man himself, and which implicitly relegates Freud to a position where he is almost a footnote to Jung.

We then move on to Adler. Of the book’s three portraits, Odajnyk’s analysis of Adler, which relies in no small part on Edward Hoffman’s previous studies, is the true gem of the three. Odajnyk succeeds in painting another picture of Adler than the popularly accepted one of Adler as ‘the most quarrelsome of a very quarrelsome lot.’ Odajnyk portrays Adler as a Feeling type, in particular an Fe type (though he does not use the term), and throughout his analysis, Odajnyk succeeds in conveying a tone of genuine affection for Adler the man, as Odajnyk argues that even the disagreeable traits in Adler’s personality stemmed not from a place of ill will, but merely from Adler ‘being human, all too human.’ Of the three men analyzed by Odajnyk, there can be no doubt that Adler emerges from Odajnyk’s analysis as the most likeable and personable of the three.

Lastly, we arrive at Odajnyk’s analysis of Jung. The first thing to strike the reader is Odajnyk’s even-handedness in dealing with Jung’s undesirable traits, which is to be much commended. There is no tendency towards hagiography here; in fact, though he is presumably a Jungian, Odajnyk takes great care to credit Adler with many of the psychological innovations that are today widely thought to have originated with Jung, but which apparently emerged with Adler. Nor does Odajnyk pull any punches in detailing Jung’s involvement with the Nazis in the 1930s. (Though not personally an anti-Semite, Jung used the anti-Semitism of the rising Nazi movement to oust Freud’s ideas from the psychoanalytical movement, so as to give his own ideas a greater prominence.)

The chapter on Jung has a grey and dark feeling-tone to it, a bleakness which seems appropriate given the biographical details that are now known about Jung. No attempt is made to construe Jung’s ideas as ‘objective discoveries’, and the profoundly personal character of Jung’s thinking is continuously stressed by Odajnyk, which again appears to be consonant with people like Henry Murray’s description of Jung as “having something of the schizophrenic in him.” Though the chapter on Jung makes for sinister reading, Odajnyk’s analysis strikes the reader as both objective, even-handed, and true, and hence is to be highly recommended to anyone seeking to understand Jung as a human being, rather than as a saint or devil.

Assessment of ‘Archetype and Character’

Overall, ‘Archetype and Character’ is a worthwhile read. The book is well-written and the arguments are clear and easy to follow. As has been mentioned, Odajnyk employs the academic method to great effect, and the return of ‘serious authors’ to the field of Jungian typology will no doubt serve to raise the status of the field as a whole. That being said, however, Archetype and Character is not a book that is without its problems.

As we have just mentioned, Odajnyk’s arguments are always intelligible and clear, but on the other hand they are not always well-developed. In more than one place, the initial thoughts are laid out before the reader and then abandoned again before their full merit has been expounded upon (as was for example the case with Odajnyk’s chapter on Soul vs. Spirit). Nor is the relationship between standard Jungian typology and Odajnyk’s new archetypical-motivational typology ever properly fleshed out, which stands as a rather serious omission.

A further problem with Archetype and Character is that while the book’s arguments are clear, the same cannot properly be said of its concepts. For example, the concept of Spirit is used in two different ways, just like it is not clear why the basic Love type is not the same as Odajnyk’s  temperament of Soul. And as mentioned, some of the book’s concepts are rendered in Greek, others are not, even though they are part of the same methodical construct.

Likewise, Odajnyk does not always appear particularly meticulous about the claims he is setting forth. With regards to Freud, for example, Odajnyk first appears to accept Jung’s assessment of Freud as an INF type (p. 67), as well as posit that Freud’s thinking function is extroverted (pp. 66-68). So far, so good, but then later in the book, Odajnyk suddenly claims that Freud’s thinking is introverted (p. 145) and that Freud had a preference for intuition over sensation (p. 146). And finally, even later in the book, Odajnyk then claims Freud was an an ISF type with F dominance in his early life (p. 207), as well as an IST type with S dominance in later life (also on p. 207).

Similarly, Alfred Adler is first posited to be an ENF type with N dominance (p. 128) but then later in the book Adler is identified as an ESF type with F dominance (p. 207). Again, this seems hard to understand, and no explanation is offered to help the reader make sense of these apparent contradictions.

Hence, for all of its merits, Archetype and Character is also a work that is lacking in conceptual rigor. It is not that Odajnyk cannot be critical, for in commenting on the work of fellow Jungian analyst John Beebe, Odajnyk quite correctly characterizes the work of Beebe as overly arbitrary and lacking universal psychometric validity (a critique to which we subscribe).

However, the basic premise of Odajnyk’s typology is sound. The development offered upon the basic Jungian notion of types is interesting, and many of the self-professed reformers and innovators in the field will undoubtedly wish that they had been the ones to come up with it. (We certainly do!) Furthermore, by making good use of the Jungian archetypes and by relegating his typology to the domain of the collective unconscious, Odajnyk has succeeded in crafting a typology that is in some sense more ‘Jungian’ than Jung’s own! (As van der Hoop notes, Jung gradually lost interest in his own typology, preferring instead to dedicate himself to the study of alchemy and archetypes.) Thus, readers who consider themselves Jungians and who are interested in Jung’s work as a whole will no doubt find Archetype and Character a stimulating read, while on the other hand, people who are uninterested in Jung’s work, but are merely in the market for a typology ‘that works’ will find Odajnyk’s book less relevant to their pursuits.

As mentioned, Odajnyk’s strengths are his receptiveness to archetypical content and his originality in exhuming new concepts relevant to typology. His weaknesses are a lack of conceptual clarity and a difficulty in operationalizing his concepts. Archetypically speaking, perhaps no one thinker can master both these areas of expertise: Perhaps the person who can detect the themes that are at play deep in the human psyche cannot also be the person to hammer these concepts into a clear-cut system with definite edges and firm delineations. Thus, in terms of his personal disposition as a thinker and writer, Odajnyk resembles that of Jung himself.

CelebrityTypes received a reviewer copy of ‘Archetype and Character‘ from the book’s publishers at Palgrave MacMillan.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for a great review. A pity that more people are not interested in the academic side of typology. I want to read the book but the price is simply too prohibitive.

  2. Soul and Spirit are two qualities (to avoid saying archetype, since I do not quite get the connection between both ideas) that Patrick Harpur has written on here:

    http://www.realitysandwich.com/soul_and_spirit_soul_8

    They are widely known qualities of the psyche in alchemy.

    “Odajnyk quite correctly characterizes the work of Beebe as overly arbitrary and lacking universal psychometric validity (a critique to which we subscribe).”

    Tell me your arguments against Beebe.

  3. Simply, with Beebe it’s metaphysical exposition.

    Functions are anthropomorphized (hero, child, etc.) on loose (or arbitrary) premises. There is very little to back them up. Furthermore, he proposes eight functions and says that the 8th function is what lends the spine to a person’s work. He considers Jung INTJ, but then says that Jung’s work is really guided by Si. Okay, but why couldn’t Jung’s work really be guided by Fi? Or Ti? Beebe’s system becomes an edifice upon an edifice. As Odajnyk says, it’s arbitrary.

    Odajnyk’s work is also metaphysical. But at least it has some connection to direct observation.

    We will read your essay.

  4. For Beebe, he also asks the philosophical question, “where have the other 4 functions gone?”

    According to Jung himself, the Self or individual psyche as a whole has access to all 8.

    Beebe’s roles are due to the internal feeling, attitude and the behavior of the person when that person uses a given function.

    Beebe’s, for me, like you and Odajnyk, is a forward step. It is not foolproof but it’s forward. Because those roles help to understand in what more particular way a given function-attitude would operate in a person’s psyche. Take an example,

    What distinguishes Si in the lead role/slot from Si in the tertiary role? It can’t just be a name or based on discretionary conjectures about what the tertiary or whatever does. It needs definition.This way, it is better known how a particular function slot works thus assisting in the knowledge of what a particular function-attitude would have access to in its range of characteristics.

    For me, it’s the theme that matters, not the darned system that Beebe proposed. The system can go eat cabbages (in fact, that’s what systems do).

    And, the Si-Jung-8thfunction thing is he linking the artistic or creative experience to the daemonic. It’s something from James Hillman. The daemonic is a common theme in archetypal psychology, that’s all. He identifies the 8th as the Demon and connects it with this daemon. He doesn’t explain why the 8th has to be the demon but by my evaluation, it is because it is the weakest and thus the psyche is most vulnerable to it. Being vulnerable means one can easily be seized by it and controlled uncontrollably by it, leading to the possession that is said to be inherent to the artistic or creative experience. It is an archetypal phenomenon, to him.

    About Beebe and Odajnyk: the need for a psychontology cannot be overstated. It is to underpin and to be the essential work of any investigation of the psyche, not just how it works. For, how can you know how what works when you do not know what is working (as well, how can you know what is working without looking at how it works)? What phenomena can be identified in the psyche? What categories do they fit in? What characteristics do they have? What characteristics do they share with other phenomena? How may they be distinguished from other phenomena? Et cetera …

  5. It is certainly worthwhile to ask the question as to where the other four functions are, but we have a different answer, as will be seen from our book.

    Where did Jung say that the Self had access to all eight functions? We are not aware of any such reference. Furthermore, it should be noted that the self, according to Jung, is a metaphysical entity that exists unconditioned by space an time, so by implication, it must have access to all space, and all time. In so far as the Self is lodged in the collective unconscious it cannot even be said to be a personal disposition, and thus to have anything to do with the personal type. Indeed, we too have an exposition on this, but we only have a limited amount of work hours. We need a rich sponsor, haha.

    ***

    “He identifies the 8th as the Demon and connects it with this daemon. He doesn’t explain why the 8th has to be the demon…”

    This is exactly Odajnyk’s critique. It’s just random metaphysical exegesis. Odajnyk’s system at least harks back to observable elements. The ultimate premises are still metaphysical, but at least they have some basis in reality.

    Furthermore, as to the Daimon, Jung talked about Socrates’ Daimon sitting in his intuition (two lowermost functions). So for what it’s worth, Beebe is departing from Jung. We don’t particularly mind that, we just want to point it out.

    ***

    The problem with making any system of psychology that is too rigid is that if you tighten the grip, it starts to lose its descriptory properties. You stop describing typology and start focusing on individuals.

    In a sense we are dealing with the same paradox that surrounds the edifice of science: We know how to get to the Moon, but we actually have no epistemological justification for science (in spite of Popper etc.). Science has been called a skyscraper, neatly erected from the 10th floor up, but standing in thin air from the ground and up to the 10th floor. It is the same with typology.

    ***

    That said, we will however dabble in a typology concerning the collective unconscious when we get the time. We already have the notes etc. but for now we have to focus on other work related to typology.

  6. “We know how to get to the Moon, but we actually have no epistemological justification for science (in spite of Popper etc.). Science has been called a skyscraper, neatly erected from the 10th floor up, but standing in thin air from the ground and up to the 10th floor.”

    Exactly. I do not think that length can ever be given adequate “flesh”, especially following on Xenophanes and Popper. We will always get caught up in infinite regress arguments and Kuhn’s submission that two different paradigms can’t particularly criticize each other.

    “The problem with making any system of psychology that is too rigid is that if you tighten the grip, it starts to lose its descriptory properties. You stop desribing typology and start focusing on individuals.”

    I understand this point but I’m not sure that what I propose must necessarily reach such airtight limits. I don’t desire suffocation! :)

    Let me say I have enjoyed the give-and-take, no matter how small, with you. Your openness to question and not to defer to any system or paradigm or whatever must be responsible.

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