I've posted before on Jung's perspective on the attitude of the auxiliary function, but I've been meaning to plant a more longform post on that subject for a while. The issue just got raised here and, rather than derail that thread, I thought it made more sense to reply in a new thread.
According to Myers, Jung's function model called for the auxiliary function to have the opposite attitude to the dominant (e.g., Ni-Te for INTJs). But Myers acknowledged that the great majority of Jung scholars all but one, she said disagreed with that interpretation. I think she was mistaken (assuming she wasn't being disingenuous) although it wasn't a very significant "mistake" from Myers' perspective since, although she gave the functions quite a lot of lip service in the first half of Gifts Differing, she then essentially left them behind in favor of the dichotomies (to her credit, IMHO) and, for anyone who's interested, I discuss that issue at greater length in the post I link to at the end of this one.
I think the only interpretation that's really consistent with Psychological Types as a whole as distinguished from Myers' very selective cherry-picking is that Jung's function model for an Ti-dom with an N auxiliary was really Ti-Ni-Se-Fe, and I think that's how he viewed himself at the time he wrote Psychological Types.
Jung said more people were essentially in the middle on E/I than were significantly extraverted or introverted and, because he viewed his eight function-types as four varieties of extravert and four varieties of introvert, that may mean Jung thought that a plurality of people really didn't have a well-differentiated dominant function. But, setting the typeless folks aside, Jung thought that what you might call the default state of affairs for someone who did have a dominant function was that their dominant (substantially differentiated) function would have what Jung called their "conscious attitude" (i.e., introverted for an introvert), and all three of the other functions would have the opposite attitude and would basically be "fused" with the other undifferentiated functions in the unconscious.
Describing the F, S and N functions of a Ti-dom, Jung explained:But... notwithstanding that I just referred to that as the "default" state of affairs, Jung also said that, in the typical case, a person would also have an auxiliary function that, although it was less differentiated than the dominant, would be sufficiently differentiated to "exert a co-determining influence" in their "consciousness."Originally Posted by Jung
I believe Jung's view was that, although the default attitude of the second function was in the opposite direction from the dominant function, that corresponded with the default place for the second function being the unconscious in an "archaic" state and fused with the other unconscious functions. If and to the extent that the second function was brought up into consciousness and developed ("differentiated") as the auxiliary function (serving the dominant), I think Jung envisioned that it would also, to that extent, take on the same conscious attitude (e.g., introversion for an introvert) as the dominant function.
In the brief section of Psychological Types devoted to the auxiliary function, Jung specifically refers to the tertiary and inferior functions as the "unconscious functions" and the dominant and auxiliary functions as the "conscious ones"; and he notes that "the unconscious functions ... group themselves in patterns correlated with the conscious ones. Thus, the correlative of conscious, practical thinking [ i.e., a T-dom with an S-aux] may be an unconscious, intuitive-feeling attitude, with feeling under a stronger inhibition than intuition." Thirty years later, in Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy, Jung's model hadn't changed. As he explained:As already noted, the majority of Jung scholars believe that Jung viewed the auxiliary function as providing balance between judging and perceiving, but not between introversion and extraversion. Myers largely rested her contrary case on the sentence where Jung says the auxiliary function is "in every respect different" from the dominant function. And I'd agree that her interpretation would appear to be the best one if all you do is look at that one sentence in isolation. But the trouble is, that interpretation seems inconsistent with way too much else in Psychological Types. When Jung wrote about how an introvert's introversion gets balanced (or "compensated," as he more often put it) by extraversion (and vice versa) and he actually devoted a great deal of Psychological Types to that issue he consistently envisioned the I/E balance happening by way of the unconscious, and never by way of a differentiated conscious function oriented in the opposite direction.Originally Posted by Jung
Jung spent substantially more of Psychological Types talking about extraversion and introversion than he spent talking about all eight of the functions put together. In the Foreword to a 1934 edition of the book, Jung explained that he'd put the eight specific "function-type" descriptions at the end of the book for a reason, and he said, "I would therefore recommend the reader who really wants to understand my book to immerse himself first of all in chapters II and V."
Chapter II is Jung's detailed discussion of Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, and centers around Schiller's insight, as a Ti-dom, into the specific kinds of "barbarism" found in the dominant Christian culture as the result of its one-sidedly extraverted orientation. Jung, as a fellow Ti-dom, concurred with much of Schiller's analysis, and noted that the extraverted one-sidedness of the culture (and its consequential barbarism) had only gotten worse since 1795 (when Schiller wrote).
At 110 pages, Chapter V is the longest chapter in the book, and it centers around a detailed analysis of Spitteler's Prometheus and Epimetheus which, as Jung notes, very much parallels his interpretation of Schiller. Jung calls Prometheus & Epimetheus "a poetic work based almost entirely on the type problem," and explains that the conflict at the heart of it "is essentially a struggle between the introverted and extraverted lines of development in one and the same individual, though the poet has embodied it in two independent figures and their typical destinies." Epimetheus (embodying the extraverted attitude) represents the established, traditional Church and the (by Spitteler's time, as both he and Jung saw it) barbaric influence of its one-sidedly extraverted attitude on Western culture, while Prometheus tries to bring about a religious reformation/renewal as a result of the introverted orientation that causes him to represent the view that God is to be found within each man rather than outside him.
And the central focus on extraversion/introversion, and the things Jung thought all extraverts and all introverts tend to have in common, runs through every chapter of Psychological Types other than Chapter X the only part of the book with any substantial description of the eight functions.
As Jung saw it, the dynamics of the human psyche revolved first and foremost around a single great divide, and that divide involved two all-important components namely, introversion/extraversion and conscious/unconscious.
And for Jung, to a much greater degree than Myers, a person's unconscious played a large role in motivating and influencing their ordinary thoughts, feelings and behavior. Jung thought that, for a typical person on a typical day, something like half of their speech and behavior might well be the product of their unconscious functions, and Jung said it was sometimes hard to tell the consciously-sourced stuff from the unconsciously-sourced stuff. He said one way to figure out which was which was to be on the lookout for the "archaic" (or "primitive") aspects that tended to be charactistic of unconscious-based stuff.
So, under ordinary circumstances, the one-sidedness of an introvert's conscious side would be "compensated" on a daily basis by extraversion from the unconscious. But Jung noted that, as time passed, there could be a tendency for the introverted one-sidedness to increase possibly by greater development of the dominant function (potentially a positive thing for some purposes) which in turn would mean that the unconscious extraverted stuff got repressed to a greater degree and failed to provide adequate "compensation," resulting in a build-up of dammed libido in the unconscious. (Jung's break with Freud was, alas, far from total. :p) This could lead to neurotic symptoms, and maybe things would end up being resolved in a relatively undramatic way or maybe the person would end up needing Jung's professional services.
Jung viewed the conflicting aspects of extraversion and introversion as so fundamentally opposed that it was ultimately impossible to truly reconcile them in terms of anything in the nature of conscious reasoning. Instead, Jung said that extraversion and introversion could only be reconciled in a kind of inchoate and fragile way, by a process he referred to as the "transcendent function," through which a "symbol" would arise from the unconscious that would allow the repressed unconscious libido to surface in a constructive way and unite with the conscious attitude but only temporarily, because "after a while the opposites recover their strength." Jung explained that "the creation of a symbol is not a rational process, for a rational process could never produce an image that represents a content which is at bottom incomprehensible."
Contrast all that with Myers' notion that everyone's conscious side includes both an introverted and an extraverted function that, in a reasonably well developed person, work together to keep the person balanced both in terms of judgment/perception and extraversion/introversion.
Again, the psychodynamics of the conflict between extraversion and introversion was really Jung's great theme in Psychological Types as he emphasized in that 1934 foreword. If you asked someone trying to defend Myers' interpretation how an opposite-attitude auxiliary function could have been missing in action through all those chapters where the E/I battles raged, they might point to the fact that the section of Chapter X devoted to the auxiliary function was extremely brief an afterthought, really and so the E-vs.-I aspect of the auxiliary's role was just something Jung didn't happen to mention. But I'd argue that, if Jung thought the auxiliary function played any substantial role in terms of a person's E/I psychodynamics, (1) there's no way the auxiliary function would have ended up being a brief afterthought at the end of Chapter X, and (2) there's no way all the many passages in the first nine chapters where extraversion and introversion repress each other and fight each other and compensate each other would have been written in the way they were i.e., with the E/I psychodyamics consistently and exclusively framed as parallelling the conscious/unconscious divide.
Want more? In 1923 two years after Psychological Types was published Jung gave a lecture (separately published in 1925) that's included in the Collected Works edition of Psychological Types. After some opening remarks on the shortcomings of past approaches to typology, here's how he began his discussion of extraverts and introverts:The first thing to note here is that, in the second sentence of that second paragraph, he characterizes extraverts as people "who in all their judgments, perceptions, feelings, affects, and actions feel external factors to be the predominant motivating force." Judgments and perceptions both. This is clearly inconsistent with the idea that a typical extravert would either be extraverted in their judgments and introverted in their perceptions or vice versa.Originally Posted by Jung
And in case you think, well, maybe Jung just slipped up in terms of how he worded that one sentence although I'd say that would have been a pretty huge slip-up the second thing to focus on here is the substance of the second and third paragraphs as a whole. They're pretty much all about judgments, right? The second paragraph describes a series of extraverted judgments and the third paragraph describes a series of introverted judgments. And Jung doesn't say those extraverted judgments are characteristic of Je-doms and Pi-doms; he says they're characteristic of all extraverts (Je-doms and Pe-doms alike). And likewise he says the introverted judgments in the third paragraph are characteristic of all introverts (Ji-doms and Pi-doms alike.). And again, there is no way that is how he would have described things if his model said that half of extraverted judgers were introverts (the Pi-doms) and half of introverted judgers were extraverts (the Pe-doms).
Carl Alfred Meier was Jung's longtime assistant and the first president of the Jung Institute in Zόrich and, as James Reynierse has noted, Meier's interpretation of Jung (as reflected in his book, Personality: The individation process in light of C.G. Jung's typology) was that the auxiliary function would have the same attitude as the dominant as a result of which, as Meier wrote, "cooperation with the main function is made easier."
And that's hopefully more than enough for most readers but, for hardcore Jung/MBTI dweebs, I've put a little more ponder-fodder (involving a BBC-TV interview) in the next spoiler.
to Part 3 of a BBC interview done with John Freeman when Jung (born in 1875) was 84. Forward to around 8:40 and you can watch this exchange:Note that Jung both indicates that his thinking and intuition preferences have long been reasonably clear, and that typing himself has been a "painful" process. If you assume that he also considered his introversion reasonably clear and anyone who's read his autobiography isn't likely to doubt that then the only issue that seems to be a likely candidate for any kind of "painful" uncertainty is the issue of whether he was a Ti-dom with an N-aux or an Ni-dom with a T-aux. And that conclusion is also consistent with the fact that (1) as described in this Vicky Jo "news flash," Jung reportedly told Stephen Abrams (a Jung scholar) in 1959 that he was an "introverted intuitive"; and (2) as described in this follow-up report, Marie-Louise von Franz (one of Jung's most famous pupils) declared that Jung was an N-dom.JF: Have you concluded what psychological type you are yourself?
Jung: (chuckling) Naturally I have devoted a great deal of attention to that painful question, you know.
JF: And reached a conclusion?
Jung: Well, you see, the type is nothing static. It changes in the course of life. But I most certainly was characterized by thinking. I overthought from early childhood on. And I had a great deal of intuition, too. And I had definite difficulty with feeling. And my relation to reality was not particularly brilliant. I was often at variance with the reality of things. Now that gives you all the necessary data for the diagnosis.
Speaking of von Franz, she also said (citing Jung) that people have the most difficulty understanding not the opposite of their dominant function (i.e., Se for an Ni-dom), but rather their dominant function turned in the opposite direction (i.e., Ne for an Ni-dom). As she put it:With that as background, and if you assume that the "painful" part of Jung's typing decision was the choice between Ti-dom with an N-aux and Ni-dom with a T-aux, I think it's worth noting that, if you assume Jung viewed the auxiliary function as having the opposite attitude to the dominant, Jung's "painful" dilemma would have involved figuring out whether he was Ti-Ne or Ni-Te, which readers of Psychological Types know Jung viewed as substantially different function pairs. By contrast, if you assume Jung viewed the auxiliary as having the same attitude as the dominant, Jung's "painful" dilemma would have involved figuring out whether he was Ti-Ni or Ni-Ti the same two functions, and therefore a considerably more understandable source of uncertainty.Originally Posted by von Franz
As an (almost) final note, Jung said that the auxiliary function, because it "served" the dominant function, wasn't "autonomous" or true "to its own principle" to the same extent as when it was the dominant function and, as I understand it, some theorists have suggested that Jung's view of the functions of a Ti-dom with auxiliary N (assuming the S remained in the unconscious) are better viewed as Ti-N-Se-Fe. I'm maybe very mildly open to that idea, but I think it's more likely Jung would have said (if he'd ever spelled it out clearly) Ti-Ni-Se-Fe.
And I put my final note in the last spoiler.
Because I'm a pretty big believer in the MBTI, and because a lot of what ended up in the Myers-Briggs typology had its roots in Jung, and maybe especially because the function-centric MBTI theorists and their internet forum followers are inclined to give Jung's perspective or at least what they think was Jung's perspective a lot of weight, I often find myself talking about what Jung's views were on X, Y or Z, and often in cases where my own views are substantially different.
So... as a final note, and to avoid any misunderstanding, Ti-Ni-Se-Fe is not the functions model I subscribe to, because I don't subscribe to any functions model. As I noted at the start of this post, I think Myers was correct to essentially abandon the functions in favor of the dichotomies and I think the disingenuousness of some of her Jungian lip service was understandable, given her circumstances. As further discussed in the last post linked below, Myers was a nobody who didn't even have a psychology degree not to mention a woman in mid-20th-century America and I assume that background had at least something to do with the fact that her writings tend to downplay the extent to which her typology differs from Jung.
One of the most fundamental ways the Myers-Briggs typology differs from Psychological Types is that, when it came to the thoughts and feelings and speech and behavior of a normal person on a typical day, Myers' perspective involved situating a much larger share of the relevant temperament-related causes in the conscious part of the person's psyche. Accordingly, an interpretation of Jung that said that essentially all of an introvert's extraversion was unconscious, and that something like half of that introvert's speech and behavior was the result of unconscious causes, was majorly inconsistent with Myers' perspective. So it's not hard to see how convenient Myers' minority interpretation of Jung's auxiliary function was, since it effectively meant that the lion's share of someone's introverted and extraverted attitudes and activity could be viewed as consciously-sourced.
In any case, regardless of the extent to which Myers really believed her model was true to Jung, my position is (1) that it wasn't true to Jung, but also (2) that its infidelity to Jung was ultimately irrelevant, given that, as I've noted, the Myers-Briggs typology once you strip away the Jungian lip service essentially (and rightly, IMHO) represented an abandonment of the functions in favor of the dichotomies.
And anyone who's made it this far and is interested can read more from me about the place of the functions (or lack thereof) in the MBTI's history and the tremendous gap between the dichotomies and the functions in terms of scientific respectability in this long INTJforum post.
Links in INTJforum posts don't work if you're not a member, so here are replacements for two of the links in that long INTJforum post: