The definitive work here is "Man and His Symbols", by Carl G. Jung. I think you'll find a LOT of support there.

I have a somewhat different viewpoint, in that I think I lean, strongly, to the "mystical" rather than "scientific" origins of my work. There are those that are deconstructionists - analyzing each and every particle of a work - most critics that I've come across fall in that niche. These tend to the classic rule: "If it cannot be explained logically, it does not exist".
The "mystic" is really one who accepts things s/he cannot explain/ understand.

I remember an interview (from the "Beat" era) where a *wonderful* jazz musician was being asked about his work.

Interviewer: "Just how are you able to add those nuances, that shading ... that sense of sophistication, into your work?"

Jazz Musician: "I just pick up my axe (trumpet) and blow."

I: "No, no, I mean, what system do you use... what philosophy do you follow ... whose work do you compare to your own?"

JM: "I don't do any of that. I just `squeeze my axe'."

I doubt that the musician was being evasive. He had just reached that plane where he had truly "learned his craft" ... and the most telling indication of that was that he did not have to dwell on each individual point ... as it has been said, he did not "know" how he did it, and did not have a clue to how he had learned to do it in the first place.

To me, there are strong parallels in all art. If you want to "improve" your figure photography, enroll in a "Life Class" with newsprint and pencils. I did that a while ago ... (another story) and found it to be a *wonderful* learning experience that had a massive effect on my photography. *MOST* useful were the one- and two minute poses. There you do not have TIME to be self-critical and "fussy" about minute trivia. True, each work will not be perfect, but you wiil be surpised at how good it WILL be.

The same holds true in music. The musician does not have TIME to "fuss" over each and every note, and NO piece will ever be performed "perfectly". If he does fuss and squeeze, the performance will, almost certainly, be lifeless and "robotic".

My theory is that, in photography, as well as music, it is possible to "over-try" - to "squeeze" so hard that the necessary rythym and "flow" is destroyed.

So ... with me (and your mileage may differ, depending on crcumstances) - I just pick up my camera and DO it. I don't "understand my "style" ... I know it is there, but how and why ... not a clue.

There is an interesting concept to mull over here -- Photography as a means of "self-discovery". I think "self-discovery" certainly happens - I don't think it can be avioded - along with "discovery of others"- but I don't think that is a primary motivation for ME. A stronger drive for me would be that possibility of "mingling" my "being" with the "beings" of others. That could be described as a sort of "communcation without words, communication through images, or music, ... on a very intimate plane ...

OOO!! This is deep. I'm going to grab a cup of coffee and chill out.