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MOTM August 2012
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The following is an excerpt from Digesting Jung: Food For The Journey by Daryl Digesting Jung: Food for the Journey (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts) (9780919123960): Daryl Sharp: Books

I'm reposting this excerpt because I feel it should be a primer to anyone interested in learning typology or MBTI, etc. The author explains where most people go wrong, or where their motives might be misplaced. This might help shed some light on the true meaning of Jungian type with simplified explanations.

The parts I have highlighted refer to common questions and misconceptions on these type forums and clarify aspects of how Jung intended his theory to be applied that everyone should know from the get-go (most people learn this backwards).

from Jungian Psychologist Daryl Sharp:
From earliest times, attempts have been made to categorize individual attitudes and behavior patterns in order to explain the differences between people. Jung’s model of typology is one of them. It is the basis for modern “tests” such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), used by corporations and institutions in order to classify a person’s interests, attitudes and behavior patterns, and hence the type of work or education they might be best suited for.

Jung did not develop his model of psychological types for this purpose. Rather than label people as this or that type, he sought simply to explain the differences between the ways we function and interact with our surroundings in order to promote a better understanding of human psychology in general, and one’s own way of seeing the world in particular.

To my mind, Jung’s model is most helpful when it is used not as a way to classify oneself or others, but rather in the way he originally thought of it, as a psychological compass. So, in any problematic situation, I ask myself four questions:
1) What are the facts? (sensation)
2) Have I thought it through? (thinking)
3) What is it worth to me to pursue this? (feeling)
4) What are the possibilities? (intuition)

The answers aren’t always clear, but the questions keep me on my toes. That is by and large why I don’t favor type tests. Type tests concretize what is inherently variable, and thereby overlook the dynamic nature of the psyche.

Any system of typology is no more than a gross indicator of what people have in common and the differences between them. Jung’s model is no exception. It is distinguished solely by its parameters—the two attitudes and the four functions. What it does not and cannot show, nor does it pretend to, is the uniqueness of the individual. Also, no one is a pure type. It would be foolish to even try to reduce an individual personality to this or that, just one thing or another. Each of us is a conglomeration, an admixture of attitudes and functions that in their combination defy classification. All that is true, and emphatically acknowledged by Jung—One can never give a description of a type, no matter how complete, that would apply to more than one individual, despite the fact that in some ways it aptly characterizes thousands of others. Conformity is one side of a man, uniqueness is the other.13 —but it does not obviate the practical value of his model, particularly when one has run aground on the shoals of his or her own psychology.

Whether Jung’s model is “true” or not—objectively true—is a moot point. Indeed, is anything ever “objectively” true? The real truth is that Jung’s model of psychological types has all the advantages and disadvantages of any scientific model. Although lacking statistical verification, it is equally hard to disprove. But it accords with experiential reality. Moreover, since it is based on a fourfold— mandala like—way of looking at things that is archetypal, it is psychologically satisfying.

As mentioned earlier, one’s behavior can be quite misleading in determining typology. For instance, to enjoy being with other people is characteristic of the extraverted attitude, but this does not automatically mean that a person who enjoys lots of company is an extraverted type. Naturally, one’s activities will to some extent be determined by typology, but the interpretation of those activities in terms of typology depends on the value system behind the action. Where the subject—oneself—and a personal value system are the dominant motivating factors, there is by definition an introverted type, whether at a party or alone. Similarly, when one is predominantly oriented to the object—things and other people—there is an extraverted type, whether in a crowd or on one’s own. This is what makes Jung’s system primarily a model of personality rather than of behavior.

Everything psychic is relative. I cannot say, think or do anything that is not colored by my particular way of seeing the world, which in turn is a manifestation of both my typology and my complexes. This psychological rule is analogous to Einstein’s famous theory of relativity in physics, and equally as significant.

Being aware of the way I tend to function makes it possible for me to assess my attitudes and behavior in a given situation and ad- just them accordingly. It enables me both to compensate for my personal disposition and to be tolerant of someone who does not function as I do—someone who has, perhaps, a strength or facility I myself lack.

Typologically speaking, the important question is not whether one is innately introverted or extraverted, or which function is superior or inferior, but, more pragmatically: in this situation, with that person, how did I function and with what effect? Did my actions truly reflect my judgments (thinking and feeling) and perceptions (sensation and intuition)? And if not, why not? What complexes were activated in me? To what end? How and why did I mess things up? What does this say about my psychology? What can I do about it? What do I want to do about it? These are among the questions we must take to heart if we want to be psychologically conscious.
Personality develops by slow stages in life. It is the fruit of activity coupled with introspection, and confidence tempered by a healthy dose of self-doubt. On the one hand it is an act of courage flung in the face of life’s adversities, the affirmation of who one is and what one believes. On the other hand it involves accepting the immediate conditions of our existence, such as where one finds oneself on this earth and having a physical body.

The twin running mates of personality are individuality and individuation. Individuality refers to the qualities or characteristics that distinguish one person from another. Individuation is a process of differentiation and integration, the aim being to become conscious of one’s unique psychological make-up. This is quite different from individualism, which is simply me-first and leads inexorably to alienation from others. The individuating person may be obliged to deviate from collective norms, but all the same retains a healthy respect for them. In Jung’s felicitous phrase,

Individuation does not shut one out from the world, but gathers the world to itself.​

What motivates a person to individuate, to develop personality instead of settling for persona? Jung’s answer is that it doesn’t hap-pen by an act of will, or because others (including Jungian analysts) say it would be useful or advisable:

Nature has never yet been taken in by well-meaning advice. The only thing that moves nature is causal necessity, and that goes for human nature too. Without necessity nothing budges, the human personality least of all. It is tremendously conservative, not to say torpid. . . . The developing personality obeys no caprice, no com- mand, no insight, only brute necessity; it needs the motivating force of inner or outer fatalities. Any other development would be no bet- ter than individualism. . . . [which] is a cheap insult when flung at the natural development of personality.55​

Simply and naturally, those who know themselves (as opposed to those who say they do) become a magnet for those whose souls long for life. You have to own up to the person you’ve become. Working on yourself has an inductive effect on others. To my mind this is all to the good, for if enough individuals become more conscious psychologically, then the collective will too, and life on this earth will go on.

The guiding principle is this: Be the one through whom you wish to influence others. Mere talk is hollow. There is no trick, however artful, by which this simple truth can be evaded in the long run. The fact of being convinced, and not the things we are convinced of—that is what has always, and at all times, worked a change in others.
The activation of a complex is always marked by the presence of some strong emotion, be it love or hate, joy or anger, or any other. We are all complexed by something, which is to say, we all react emotionally when the right buttons are pushed. Or, to put it another way, an emotional reaction means that a complex has been constellated (activated). When a complex is activated we can’t think straight and hardly know how we feel. We speak and act according to the dictates of the complex, and when it has run its course we wonder what took over.

We cannot get rid of our complexes, simply because they are deeply rooted in our personal history. Complexes are part and parcel of who we are. The most we can do is become aware of how we are influenced by them and how they interfere with our conscious intentions. As long as we are unconscious of our complexes, we are prone to being overwhelmed or driven by them. When we under- stand them, they lose their power to affect us. They do not disappear, but over time their grip on us can loosen.

A complex is a bundle of associations, sometimes painful, some- times joyful, always accompanied by affect. It has energy and a life of its own. It can upset digestion, breathing and the rate at which the heart beats. It behaves like a partial personality. When we want to say or do something and a complex interferes, we find ourselves saying or doing something quite different from what we intended. Our best intentions are upset, exactly as if we had been interfered with by another person.

Complexes can take over to such an extent that they become visible and audible. They appear as visions and speak in voices that are like those of definite people. This is not necessarily a pathological symptom (e.g., paranoid, narcissism, depressive, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive, etc.). Complexes are regularly personified in dreams, and one can train oneself so they become visible or audible also in a waking condition, as in the practice of active imagination. It is even psychologically healthy to do so, for when you give them a voice, a face, a personality, they are less likely to take over when you’re not looking.

The existence of complexes goes a long way toward explaining both multiple personality disorders and what the helping profes- sions call lost memory recovery.
An early trauma is often at the root of such cases. What may happen in response to a painful traumatic event is that the ego dissociates. The self-regulating function of the psyche is activated and creates a complex that dis-remembers the event—it gets buried among the detritus of ongoing life. Like any other complex, it lies dogg-o in the unconscious until something happens to trigger it.

Over the past hundred years the word “complex” has become common currency, but what it means, and the effects complexes have on our lives, are not so widely understood. This is unfortunate, for until we realize that, as Jung says, “complexes can have us,” we are doomed to live a life forever hampered by them, forever ruled by inner forces, forever at odds with others.
On Self-Knowledge
People generally confuse self-knowledge with knowledge of their ego-personalities. Indeed, those with any awareness at all take it for granted that they know themselves. But the real psychic facts are for the most part hidden, since the ego knows only its own contents. Without some knowledge of the unconscious and its contents one cannot claim to know oneself.

Self-knowledge is a matter of getting to know your own individual facts. Theories, notes Jung, are of little help:

The more a theory lays claim to universal validity, the less capable it is of doing justice to the individual facts. Any theory based on ex- perimentation is necessarily statistical; it formulates an ideal aver- age which abolishes all exceptions at either end of the scale and replaces them by an abstract mean. This mean is quite valid, though it need not necessarily occur in reality. . . . The exceptions at either end, though equally factual, do not appear in the final result at all, since they cancel each other out.80​

Jung gives this example:

If, for instance, I determine the weight of each stone in a pile of peb- bles and get an average weight of five ounces, this tells me very lit- tle about the real nature of the pebbles. Anyone who thought, on the basis of these findings, that he could pick up a pebble of five ounces at the first try would be in for a serious disappointment. Indeed, it might well happen that however long he searched he would not find a single pebble weighing exactly five ounces.

. . . The distinctive thing about real facts, however, is their individuality. Not to put too fine a point on it, one could say that the real picture consists of nothing but exceptions to the rule . . . .

These considerations must be borne in mind whenever there is talk of a theory serving as a guide to self-knowledge. There is and can be no self-knowledge based on theoretical assumptions, for the object of this knowledge is . . . a relative exception and an irregular phenomenon.81​

Similarly, in the treatment of psychic suffering, Jung stressed that the scientific knowledge of humankind in general must take second place; the important thing is the particular person. On the one hand the analyst is equipped with statistical truths, and on the other is faced with someone who requires individual understanding. One need not deny the validity of statistics, but the more schematic the treatment, the more resistances it calls up in the patient. The analyst therefore needs to have a kind of two-way thinking: doing one thing while not losing sight of the other.

The recognition that there is an unconscious side of ourselves has fundamentally altered the pursuit of self-knowledge. It is apparent now that we are twofold beings: we have a conscious side (ego & persona) we more or less know, and an unconscious side (shadow) of which we know little but which is generally no secret to others. When we lack knowledge of our other side, we can do the most terrible things without calling ourselves to account and without ever suspecting what we’re doing. Thus we may be baffled by how others react to us. The increased self- knowledge that comes about through depth psychology allows us both to remedy our mistakes and to become more understanding and tolerant of others.

Self-knowledge can have a healing effect on ourselves and our environment, but this seldom happens without a prolonged period of professional analysis. Self-analysis works to the extent that we are alert to the effects of our behavior and willing to learn from them; however, it is limited by our blind-spots—our complexes—and by the silence of others who for one reason or another indulge us. To really get a handle on ourselves we need an honest, objective mirror, which our intimates rarely are. The unconscious, in its many manifestations through dreams, visions, fantasies, accidents, active imagination and synchronicity, is a rather more unsparing mirror, and analysts are trained to interpret the reflections.

Self-knowledge can be the antidote to acute depression or a pervasive malaise of unknown origin, both particularly common in middle age. And it can be a spur to an adventurous inner life—the heroic journey, as it may be called. Understanding oneself is a matter of asking the right questions, again and again, and experiment- ing with answers. Do that long enough and the capital-S Self, one’s regulating center, is activated.

Marie-Louise von Franz says that having a relationship with the Self is like being in touch with an “instinct of truth”—an immediate awareness of what is right and true, a truth without reflection:

One reacts rightly without knowing why, it flows through one and one does the right thing. . . . With the help of the instinct of truth, life goes on as a meaningful flow, as a manifestation of the Self.82​

In terms of relationships and the vicissitudes of everyday life, this comes down to simply knowing what is right for oneself. One has a strong instinctive feeling of what should be and what could be. To depart from this leads to error, aberration and illness.
The Anima & Animus Complexes

In this section the author clarifies that love relationships are not explicitly but rather tangentially related to functions and type. The archetypal energies of the Anima and Animus complex in men and women form the substratum of our interpersonal, contrasexual relations.

The Anima (Man's Inner Woman)
Psychologically a man’s inner woman, his anima, functions as his soul. When a man is full of life we say he is “animated.” The man with no connection to his feminine side feels dull and listless. Nowadays we call this depression, but the experience is not new. For thousands of years, among so-called primitive peoples, it has been known as loss of soul.

A man’s inner image of woman is initially determined by his experience of his personal mother or closest female caregiver. It is later modified through contact with other women—friends, relatives, teachers—but the experience of the personal mother is so powerful and long-lasting that a man is naturally attracted to those women who are much like her—or, as often happens, women quite unlike her. That is to say, he may yearn for what he’s known, or seek to escape it at all costs.

A man who is unconscious of his feminine side is apt to see that aspect of himself, whatever its characteristics may be, in an actual woman. This happens via projection and is commonly experienced as falling in love or, conversely, as intense dislike. A man may also project his anima onto another man, in love or hate, though in practice this is often difficult to distinguish from the projection of the man’s shadow.

A man unrelated to his inner woman tends to be moody, some- times gentle and sentimental but prone to sudden rage and violence. Analysts call this being anima-possessed. By paying attention to his moods and emotional reactions—objectifying and personifying them—a man can come into possession of his soul rather than be possessed by it. As with any complex, the negative influence of the anima is reduced by establishing a conscious relationship with it.

Jung distinguished four broad stages of the anima in the course of a man’s psychological development. He personified these, in accord with classical stages of eroticism, as Eve, Helen, Mary and Sophia.24

In the first stage, Eve, the man’s anima is completely tied up with the mother—not necessarily his personal mother, but the archetypal image of woman as faithful provider of nourishment, security and love—or, indeed, the opposite. The man with an anima of this type cannot function well without a vital connection to a woman and is easy prey to being controlled by her. He frequently suffers impotence or has no sexual desire at all.

In the second stage, personified in the historical figure of Helen of Troy, the anima is a collective sexual image. She is Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Tina Turner, Madonna, all rolled up into one. The man under her spell is often a Don Juan who engages in repeated sexual adventures. These will invariably be short-lived, for two reasons: 1) he has a fickle heart—his feelings are whimsical and often gone in the morning—and 2) no real woman can live up to the expectations that go with this unconscious, ideal image.

The third stage of anima development Jung calls Mary. It manifests in religious feelings and a capacity for genuine friendship with women. The man with an anima of this kind is able to see a woman as she is, independent of his own needs. His sexuality is integrated into his life, not an autonomous function that drives him. He can differentiate between love and lust. He is capable of lasting relationships because he can tell the difference between the object of his desire and his inner image of woman.

In the fourth stage, as Sophia (called Wisdom in the Bible), a man’s anima functions as a guide to the inner life, mediating to consciousness the contents of the unconscious. Sophia is behind the need to grapple with the grand philosophical issues, the search for meaning. She is Beatrice in Dante’s Inferno, and the creative muse in any artist’s life. She is a natural mate for the archetypal “wise old man” in the male psyche. The sexuality of a man at this stage incorporates a spiritual dimension.

Theoretically, a man’s anima development proceeds through these stages as he grows older. When the possibilities of one have been exhausted—which is to say, when adaptation to oneself and outer circumstances requires it—the psyche stimulates the move to the next stage.

In fact, the transition from one stage to another seldom happens without a struggle, for the psyche not only promotes and supports growth, it is also, paradoxically, conservative and loath to give up what it knows. Hence a psychological crisis is commonly precipitated when there is a pressing need for a man to move from one stage to the next.

For that matter, a man may have periodic contact with any number of anima images, at any time of life, depending on what is required to compensate the current dominant conscious attitude. The reality is that psychologically men live in a harem.

Any man may observe this for himself by paying close attention to his dreams and fantasies. His soul-image appears in many different forms, as myriad as the expressions of an actual woman’s femininity.

In subhuman guise, the anima may manifest as snake, toad, cat or bird; on a slightly higher level, as nixie, pixie, mermaid. In hu- man form—to mention only a few personifications modeled on goddesses in Greek mythology—the anima may appear as Hera, consort and queen; Demeter/Persephone, the mother-daughter team; Aphrodite, the lover; Pallas Athene, carrier of culture and protectress of heroes; Artemis, the stand-offish huntress; and Hecate, ruler in the netherworld of magic.

The assimilation of a particular anima-image results in its death, so to speak. That is to say, as one personification of the anima is consciously understood, it is supplanted by another. Anima development in a man is thus a continuous process of death and rebirth. An understanding of this process is very important in surviving the transition stage between one anima-image and the next. Just as no real woman relishes being discarded for another, so no anima-figure willingly takes second place to her upstart rival. In this regard, as in so much else involved in a person’s psychological development, the good is the enemy of the better. To have made contact with your inner woman at all is a blessing; to be tied to one that holds you back can be fatal.

While the old soul-mate clamors for the attention that now, in order for the man to move on, is demanded by and due to the new one, the man is often assailed by conflicting desires. The struggle is not just an inner, metaphorical one; it also involves his lived relationships with real women. The resultant suffering and inner turmoil, the tension and sleepless nights, are comparable to what occurs in any conflict situation.

As the mediating function between the ego and the unconscious, the anima is complementary to the persona and in a compensatory relationship to it. That is to say, all those qualities absent from the outer attitude will be found in the inner. Jung gives the example of a tyrant tormented by bad dreams and gloomy forebodings:

Outwardly ruthless, harsh, and unapproachable, he jumps inwardly at every shadow, is at the mercy of every mood, as though he were the feeblest and most impressionable of men. Thus his anima con- tains all those fallible human qualities his persona lacks.26​

Similarly, when a man identifies with his persona, he is in effect possessed by the anima, with all the attendant symptoms.

Identity . . . with the persona automatically leads to an unconscious identity with the anima because, when the ego is not differentiated from the persona, it can have no conscious relation to the unconscious processes. Consequently it is these processes, it is identical with them. Anyone who is himself his outward role will infallibly succumb to the inner processes; he will either frustrate his outward role by absolute inner necessity or else reduce it to absurdity, by a process of enantiodromia. He can no longer keep to his individual way, and his life runs into one deadlock after another. Moreover, the anima is inevitably projected upon a real object, with which he gets into a relation of almost total dependence.28​

Thus it is essential for a man to distinguish between who he is and who he appears to be. Symptomatically, in fact, there is no significant difference between persona identification and anima possession; both are indications of unconsciousness.
The Animus (Woman's Inner Man)
A woman’s inner man, her animus, is strongly colored by her experience of her personal father. Just as a man is apt to marry his mother, so to speak, so a woman is inclined to favor a man psychologically like her father, or, again, his opposite.

Whereas the anima in a man functions as his soul, a woman’s animus is more like an unconscious mind. It manifests negatively in fixed ideas, unconscious assumptions and conventional opinions that may be generally right but just beside the point in a particular situation. A woman unconscious of her masculine side tends to be highly opinionated—animus-possessed. This kind of woman proverbially wears the pants; she rules the roost, or tries to. The men attracted to her will be driven to distraction by her whims, coldly emasculated, while she herself wears a mask of indifference to cover her insecurity. Jung:

No matter how friendly and obliging a woman’s Eros may be, no logic on earth can shake her if she is ridden by the animus. . . . [A man] is unaware that this highly dramatic situation would instantly come to a banal and unexciting end if he were to quit the field and let a second woman carry on the battle (his wife, for instance, if she herself is not the fiery war horse). This sound idea seldom or never occurs to him, because no man can converse with an animus for five minutes without becoming the victim of his own anima.30​

A woman’s animus becomes a helpful psychological factor only when she can tell the difference between her inner man and herself. While a man’s task in assimilating the anima involves discovering his true feelings, a woman must constantly question her ideas and opinions, measuring these against what she really thinks. If she does so, in time the animus can become a valuable inner companion who endows her with qualities of enterprise, courage, objectivity and spiritual wisdom.

Jung describes four stages of animus development in a woman, paralleling those of the anima in a man. He first appears in dreams and fantasy as the embodiment of physical power, for instance an athlete or muscle man, a James Bond or Sylvester Stallone. This corresponds to the anima as Eve. For a woman with such an animus a man is simply a stud; he exists to give her physical satisfaction, protection and healthy babies.

In the second stage, analogous to the anima as Helen, the animus possesses initiative and the capacity for planned action. He is behind a woman’s desire for independence and a career of her own. However, a woman with an animus of this type still relates to a man on a collective level: he is the generic husband-father, the man around the house whose primary role is to provide shelter and sup- port for his family—Mr. Do-All, Mr. Fix-It, with no life of his own.

In the next stage, corresponding to the anima as Mary, the ani- mus is the Word personified, appearing in dreams as a professor, clergyman, scholar or some other authoritarian figure. A woman with such an animus has a great respect for traditional learning; she is capable of sustained creative work and welcomes the opportunity to exercise her mind. She is able to relate to a man on an individual level, as lover rather than husband or father, and she seriously ponders her own elusive identity.

In the fourth stage, the animus is the incarnation of spiritual meaning—a Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Dalai Lama. On this highest level, like the anima as Sophia, the animus mediates between a woman’s conscious mind and the unconscious. In mythology he appears as Hermes, messenger of the gods; in dreams he is a helpful guide. Sexuality for such a woman is imbued with spiritual significance.

Any of these aspects of the animus can be projected onto a man, who will be expected to live up to the projected image. As mentioned earlier, the same is true of the anima. So in any relationship between a man and a woman there are at least four personalities involved.

Theoretically, there is no difference between an unconscious man and an unconscious woman’s animus. One implication of this is that an unconscious man can be coerced into being or doing whatever a woman wants. But it’s just as true the other way around: unconscious women are easily seduced by a man’s anima. In relationships there are no innocent victims.

The more differentiated a woman is in her own femininity, the more able she is to reject whatever unsuitable role is projected onto her by a man. This forces the man back on himself. If he has the capacity for self-examination and insight, he may discover in him- self the basis for false expectations. Failing inner resources on either side, there is only rancor and animosity.
On Jung and Relationships

We all want someone to love and someone to be loved by. But intimate relationships are fraught with difficulty. There are any number of landmines to be negotiated before two people feel comfort- able with each other; more when they become sexually involved, and more again if and when they live together. On top of the twin devils of projection and identification, there are each other’s per- sonal complexes and typological differences. In truth, the very things that brought them together in the first place are just as likely to drive them apart.

Most relationships begin with mutual good will. Why, then, do so many end in acrimony? There are probably as many answers to this as there are couples who split up, but in terms of a common pattern, typology certainly plays a major role.

Following the logistics implicit in Jung’s model of psychological types, an extraverted man has an introverted anima, while an introverted woman has an extraverted animus, and vice versa. This can change through psychological work on oneself, but these inner images are commonly projected onto persons of the opposite sex, with the result that either attitude type is prone to being fascinated by its opposite. This happens because each type is complementary to the other.

The introvert is inclined to be reflective, to think things out and consider carefully before acting. Shyness and a degree of distrust result in hesitation and some difficulty in adapting to the external world. The extravert, on the other hand, fascinated by new and unknown situations, tends to act first and think after.

As Jung notes,

The two types therefore seem created for a symbiosis. The one takes care of reflection and the other sees to the initiative and practical ac- tion. When the two types marry they may effect an ideal union.​

Discussing such a typical situation, Jung points out that it is ideal only so long as the partners are occupied with their adaptation to “the manifold external needs of life”:

But when . . . external necessity no longer presses, then they have time to occupy themselves with one another. Hitherto they stood back to back and defended themselves against necessity. But now they turn face to face and look for understanding—only to discover that they have never understood one another. Each speaks a different language. Then the conflict between the two types begins. This struggle is envenomed, brutal, full of mutual depreciation, even when conducted quietly and in the greatest intimacy. For the value of the one is the negation of value for the other.​

Clearly such a couple has some work to do on their relationship. But that doesn’t mean they ought to discuss the psychological meaning or implications of what goes on between them. Far from it. When there is a quarrel or ill feeling in the air, it is quite enough to acknowledge that one is in a bad mood or feels hurt, as opposed to psychologizing the situation with talk of anima/animus, complexes and so on. These are after all only theoretical constructs, and head talk is sure to drive one or the other into a frenzy. Relationships thrive on feeling values, not on what is written in books.

There are those who think that “letting it all hang out” is therapeutic. But that is merely allowing a complex to take over. The trick is to get some distance from the complex, objectify it, take a stand toward it. You can’t do this if you identify with it, if you can’t tell the difference between yourself and the emotion that grabs you by the throat when a complex is active. And you can’t do it without a container.

Those who think that talking about a relationship will help it get better put the cart before the horse. Work on yourself and a good relationship will follow. You can either accept who you are and find a relationship that fits, or twist yourself out of shape and get what you deserve. The endless blather that takes place between two complexed
people solves nothing. It is a waste of time and energy and as often as not actually makes the situation worse.

Of course, as Jung points out in the passage that heads this chap- ter, the meeting between anima and animus is not always negative. In the beginning the two are just as likely to be starry-eyed lovers. Later, when the bloom is off the rose, they may even become fast friends. But the major battles in close relationships occur because the man has not withdrawn his anima projection on the woman, and/or the woman still projects her animus onto the man.

We may understand this intellectually, but when our loved one does not behave according to the image we have of him or her, we are instantly complexed. Our emotions override what is in our minds. Our reactions run the gamut from violence to anger to grieved silence, and it is bound to happen again, with this one or the next, unless we reflect on what is behind it: our own psychology.

Finally, the reality must be faced that no one relationship can fulfill all our needs, as individuals, all of the time. One partner or other may in time, for reasons of their own, feel drawn to intimacy with another.

Such situations are of course fraught with conflict, both inner and outer, but need not split the two asunder. The feeling function must rule the day: What is my long-standing relationship worth to me? If it is important enough to both, and where love is not want- ing, it will survive the turmoil, becoming all the richer for the struggle, and the partners more conscious of who they are.

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
On Ego and Shadow & Persona

This is from Jungian Barbara Hannah's (a protege of Jung) lectures in 1955.

Although one might think the ego would be the easiest of all Jungian concepts to speak of, I always find it one of, if not the, most difficult. It belongs indeed in the conscious realmin contrast to other terms such as anima, animus or archetype but, for that very reason, one finds oneself in the position of Baron Munchhausen who had to pull himself out of the bog by his own plait! One must try to confine oneself to giving a formal description of the ego, for every other way of looking at it would have to allow for individuality, which is the main characteristic of every ego. Every ego is different, even unique, so that one can only sketch the main general characteristics very roughly. Any insistence on specifics would do violence to its individual character.

In order to make a start, we will begin with a short summary of Jung's description of the ego in "Aion". The ego, as a content of consciousness, is a complex of intricate factors. On the one side, it is founded on physical sensations, which are yet perceived psychically from within, and, on the other, on the totality of unconscious psychic contents. These two fields are the foundation of the ego and the ego itself is their point of relation. The ego is presumably brought into existence by the collisions of the body with the environment, and once a subject is present goes on developing by collisions with the outer world and the inner world. It is individually unique and is the center of the field of consciousness. As such it is the subject of all our efforts at adaptation. On the other hand, it is not the center of our personality, although we are often under the illusion that it is.

The common assumption which regards the ego as representing not only the center of our personality but everything that we are, was challenged long before the time of either Freud or Jung. But it is an idea which dies hard, and even today it is a great shock to the average layman when he realizes he is not the master in his own house, that he must reckon with other wills than the one he identifies with in his own field of behavior.

When we study ourselves objectively, we have to realize that the ego is only one among many complexes that exist in our personality, though it is indeed the nuclear center of our field of consciousness. It has a very high degree of continuity and identity, which normally increases in the course of life, but which is also inclined to become more and more one-sided.

As Jung has made particularly clear in his essay, "On the Nature of the Psyche," there is nothing we can really call consciousness on the animal or primitive level, but only a kind of luminosity. Most of us can probably remember a time in our own childhood when our consciousness was on a similar level, when we questioned neither ourselves nor our surroundings, but just accepted things as they were, like an animal. If we look back on those days, we can also remember the emotional moments and incidents that woke us up to a realization of our separate existence.

At first, the experience we gain in the usually painful way is like little separated sparks of light in the sea of a general consciousness. Slowly connections appear, resemblances between these experiences, for instance, and gradually these separate sparks cluster together and form a kind of island that we call the ego complex. The ego complex is not, of course, identical with the field of consciousness, which last is more than the function or activity which maintains the relation of the ego with other psychic contents. Everything which is not related to the ego is, for that particular person, unconscious. Consciousness is capable of indefinite extension, whereas the ego complex is more or less bound by the laws of space and time. To use a rather cheap illustration, we might liken the ego to an operator at a telephone exchange, and consciousness to a net of telephone wires all over the world. Obviously this operator can only be connected with one or two wires at the same time, and the ego complex is in much the same position.

Of course, such a simile cannot be ridden to death, for a telephone operator knows where all the wires lead, whereas a great many of the wires which reach the ego come, at times, from an unknown source which, of course, adds greatly to the confusion. But it may serve to illustrate the difference between the ego and the field of consciousness.

Although if we are asked what we mean when we say "I," we usually point to our body, the body is by no means identical with the ego complex. We might almost say that the body is another field of luminosity which is often connected with the ego complex, but which is also frequently separated from it. The intuitive type, for instance, as is well known, is often entirely unaware of the body. It is as if the ego complex, sitting at the telephone exchange, never made use of the wires to the body orin extreme casesas if the wires had never been connected. It may even he the main task of an analysis to establish this connection.

In that same essay, "On the Nature of the Psyche," Jung says one could think of psychic processes as a scale along which consciousness "slides":

At one moment it finds itself in the vicinity of instinct, and falls under its influence; at another, it slides along to the other end where spirit predominates and even assimilates the instinctual processes most opposed to it.​

To give a simple example of each end of this scale: A monk, for instance, experiences the archetype of the union of opposites only at the spiritual end of the scale in the idea of the unio mystica, whereas a person who is only conscious of the physical end experiences the same archetype in concrete sexuality. Both experience the same living mystery, but one only in the spirit and the other only in the body. Normally, our consciousness is somewhere in between and, therefore, the two experiences are mixed to various degrees.

When consciousness is centered at one end or the other of this scale, we are, of course, particularly prone to be possessed by something which belongs to the other end. We can see this, for instance, in the accounts of St. Anthony and the other ascetic monks, who would sometimes live in the desert for years concentrating upon, and only conscious of, their spirit, entirely ignoring their bodies. As is well known, they were tormented by continual visions of naked women and so on, really possessed by their ignored and maltreated bodies. In just the same way, the "isms" are flourishing today mainly on account of the modern materialistic standpoint that ignores the power of the idea.

The ego complex was feeble one might almost say nonexistent in primitive man. He required a rite d'entrée, something to wake up his emotions, before undertaking any great effort. This always seems a deprived condition to us because in the
course of centuries we have developed an amount of free will that is infinitely greater than that of the primitive.

The development of consciousness and the fact that humanity has rescued the ego from the primitive state of twilight sleep are perhaps the greatest achievements of mankind. It is undoubtedly a great mistake to undervalue either the ego or consciousness. Yet we must admit that we live in an age which has grossly overrated their power. In the nineteenth century, it was still possible to believe that they were even powerful enough to bring about a Utopia on earth. But the twentieth century has surely brought us sufficient proof that this was a regrettable error. Therefore, it is certainly wiser to look carefully at the weak points in our consciousness than to trust its strength blindly.

In a seminar given in Zurich in 1935, Jung vividly described the shocks experienced by the ego while it was discovering that it was not the king in its own realm, but only one of many inhabitants in a vast, mainly unexplored land, ruled over by an "unknown grand power." This grand power would represent the Self, as we know it in Jungian psychology.

It is clear that the ego is by no means absolved from responsibility for its own small corner of the psyche by the existence of this "unknown grand power," and also that the ego is really in a much weaker position while it is unaware of this power than when it accepts its rule and tries to come to terms with it.

It is also evident that the small island of the ego complex has always had difficulty in maintaining itself in the great sea of the unconscious, and that therefore it is only to be expected that every ego complex will have an innate tendency to build itself ramparts, as it were, as a defense against invasion from within and without. On the inner side, this defense is a natural phenomenon and is formed by animus and anima.

Anima is the Jungian term for the feminine soul of man, and animus the term for the masculine spirit of woman. These complexes have an individual character so that, when we investigate them, we find ourselves justified in speaking of "my" animus or "your" anima. But, on the other hand, they are figures of the collective unconscious and thus form a kind of natural barrier between the individual and collective territories.

Although the real function of animus and anima is to protect the ego and to bring unintegrated contents of the unconscious to its notice, both these figuresparticularly before we recognize them and come to terms with themare apt to affect the ego in a most unpleasant way. The anima produces disturbing moods in a man, and the animus rigid opinions in a woman. In general, they act as a sort of rampart against the waves of the unconscious, but the moods and opinions are a great difficulty when we are trying to see behind them and to reduce anima and animus to their proper place in our psyche as mediators between conscious and unconscious. However, even in their negative aspect they have their positive use and, undoubtedly, they often protect a too-weak consciousness from the waves of the unknown which might overwhelm it.


Facing the outer world, the rampart is formed by the so-called persona, which is the Latin word for an actor's mask. Its original function was to signify the role played by an actor, and thus the very word contains a certain suggestion of "putting on an act," or "playing to the gallery," that is, appearing as something which is just not what we really are.

It would he a great mistake to think of the persona as a conscious deception. It is something that forms quite naturally from our childhood on, and people often find it almost as difficult to see their persona as to become aware of their shadow, animus or anima. The persona usually begins to form as a result of conflict with the outer environment. The complete naturalness of a child, for instance, is apt to he embarrassing to the adults around them, and most children learn fairly early to protect themselves by hiding their most spontaneous reactions. They often see, for instance, that some child in their environment gets on better in this respect, does not put his or her foot into it so regularly, and almost unconsciously they pick up something from that child. Or they admire somebody they know and, consciously or unconsciously, begin to imitate them. Or they realize that some natural characteristic of their own makes an impression and they begin to use it for that purpose instead of spontaneously, and so on.

That the persona is the result of contact with the environment is shown by the fact that if people are alone for a long time, they lose their personas. I remember seeing the photograph of a man who had gone to the Arctic regions for observations. He got caught in an avalanche and was completely buried by the snow, which also covered the high pole he had set up as a landmark, so the relief party failed to find him. He had been buried for several months and without light for six weeks. All trace of any masculine persona was gone and he looked exactly like a woman. No doubt, as he returned to civilization, his persona built up again, but for a time there was no trace of it. A similar change has been noticed by other people who have met their friends coming from long periods of isolation.

The development of the persona forms an important part in education. You can see this particularly clearly in the English public schools, where it is or, at any rate, was in my generation far more important to become a "gentleman" than to pass examinations with credit. The boy who will not take on the "old school tie" ideal is, or was, more or less an outcast from the beginning. I saw this clearly with my own three brothers. The two younger ones took over the public school persona without difficulty and thus fitted into their environment easily. But my eldest brother just could not accept it.

Consequently he was miserable at his school, and always gave the impression of being an oversensitive snail who had somehow mislaid its shell. After several years of being a lecturer, he acquired a peculiar kind of ill-fitting, professorial persona which he always produced at the wrong moment. He would suddenly address a luncheon party, for instance, as if it were a class of small boys. He was well over fifty before he overcame the disadvantages of his early experience.

Naturally, when we grow up and have to adapt and even earn our living by means of the way we can fit ourselves into our environment, the building up of a suitable persona becomes vitally important, but how it goes on strengthening is much the same as in childhood. It consists really of tiny fragments which slowly amalgamate to form a kind of crust between the ego complex and the outside world. For the most part, these fragments come from general collective values, from behaviors that are acceptable to the general public and are adapted to the social values of our time.

The individual nature is mainly to be found in the particular choice of this or that element, so one can say that the persona is partly the effect of what our environment obliges us to be, that is, totally impersonal, and partly oneself, personal. This structure resembles that of its inner counterpart, the anima or animus, which also has individual and collective aspects.

It is evident that a persona is an indispensable part of the personality. People with a deficient persona are really at a great disadvantage in outer life. They have no shield against the projections of others and are in constant danger of falling back into the original state of participation mystique with their environment.

Its dangers, however, are equally apparent. As we have seen, it is a mask, a role, seldom the true essence of our personality, and we are always in peril of identifying with it. In the first half of life, we must indeed identify with it to some considerable extent or we shall not succeed in meeting the demands of our profession or of life. But in the second half of life, because it only contains a small fraction of what we really are, identification with it becomes a great hindrance, especially if we have used it, as is only too often the case, as a mask toward ourselves as well as toward others.

Everyone knows examples of people who believe implicitly that they are what they appear to beand how empty and shallow they become. I remember once, when I was leaving the old Roman theater at Carthage, where we had seen a rather poor French rendering of a Greek play. I saw one of the actors, unable to relinquish his role, acting it all over again by himself behind an old Roman wall. I cannot tell you how ridiculous he looked, and yet I have often involuntarily been reminded of him as I have watched older people who have remained identical with their persona.

It would of course be exceedingly inconsiderate and unwise to throw away our persona as we become older. It would be like throwing away our clothes and appearing naked in public. There is a story of the poet Shelley that illustrates this point quite well. His father had an estate in Sussex, where there was a pond large enough for swimming. Shelley was very fond of the water and spent a lot of time there. One day he suddenly remembered that it must be past lunch time and, forgetting everything but his stomach, hurried off to the dining room, appearing before a conventional Sussex lunch party without a stitch of clothing. When he saw their horrified faces, he still did not tumble to the real situation and said in surprise: ''Why, it is only me"! Although it may not be so evident, "only me" has quite as disturbing an effect in the psychic as it does in the physical sense.

We must have a persona, then, just as we must have clothes, but we must gradually learn to use it rather the same way as we use our clothes. This is by no means as easy as it sounds, for in many cases the persona has grown into our flesh, so to speak, and is no longer detachable. There is, then, only one thing we can do: realize that every solid object on this earth casts a shadow and turn round and face this fact. If we are at all honest in this attempt, we shall soon realize that there are many things which are undeniably part of ourselves, but which do not fit at all with our idea of ourselves or our persona. The realization of these factors will provide us with all the material we need in order to detach ourselves from identification with the persona.


As we try to adapt ourselves to the outer world and begin to form our persona, we mostly tend to repress those qualities that hinder us in this task, or that spoil the ideal picture of ourselves that we secretly cherish. These qualities retire into the dark, often highly charged with emotion, but they continue to exist and are usually a good deal more visible to our neighbors than they are to ourselves.

Undeniably it is a terrifying undertaking, and one that must be faced again and again, to turn our backs on familiar illusions concerning our own character and face the unknown darkness behind. It is indeed, as Jung once said, an almost superhuman task. But every sincere effort in this direction, however small, is the one task which never lets us down. Whatever ground we can reclaim from the shadow is firm and fertile ground that enables us to commence building the house founded on the rock. In contrast, everything built only on the light side of the ego complex or on the persona, invariably turns out to have been built on sand.

It is a platitude to point out that everything in this world consists at bottom of an equal amount of black and white, of light and darkness, and yet, when it comes to ourselves, we easily lose sight of this fact, obvious and simple as it is. Moreover, we find it all but impossible to see our dark side without losing confidence in our light side. Yet this is indispensable, for, naturally, the fact that we also have shadow qualities in no way cancels out our good qualities. Actually, it is never so necessary to keep them in mind as when we are facing the fact that we have repressed a great deal which is their direct opposite.55

Although it is painful and humiliating to face our less admirable qualities, it would be comparatively easy were it not for the fact that everything which falls into the unconscious becomes contaminated with other contents. To give one example: the personal shadow becomes contaminated with the collective shadow. The word ''collective," as it is used in Jungian psychology, applies to all psychic contents which are not peculiar to one individual, but common to many at the same time, that is, to a society, a people or to mankind in general. The personal unconscious, therefore, consists of contents which belong to that one person, and the collective unconscious of contents which are common to many or even all. Insofar as we are aware of our personal shadow, it is attached to our ego like the actual shadow to our body. But, insofar as we are not aware of it, it falls into the unconscious and becomes indistinguishable from the other contents of the unconscious, particularly from the collective shadow. Then people can even fall into the error of regarding their personal shadow as the devil himself. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of the shadow problem, but I hope to make it somewhat clearer later, by means of a dream.

The second great difficulty in recognizing the shadow is due to the fact that all the things we lose sight of in ourselves have a tendency to be projected onto our outer environment. Of course, we never consciously make projections, but there is some unconscious factor in us which seems to have a devilish habit of slipping these repressed pieces of our own personality into someone else. (Naturally there is some similarity, or there would be no hook for the projection.) I remind the reader, for instance, of the many people who cherish a bête noir. This bête noir usually carries the projection of what we hate most in ourselves, and it is also just this projection which falsities our picture of the person in question, making him or her so completely unacceptable.

It is a very difficult task to disentangle such a projected factor from the carrier of the projection. Perhaps one of the most dependable indicators of a projection is the presence of emotion. If other people's weaknesses or bad qualities make us unduly angry, we may be pretty sure there is some proection involved, because at bottom we do not resent the weaknesses of othersthey may even give us a pleasant feeling of superiority. The weakness or bad qualities that we resent are always our own. There is, of course, always the danger of introjecting such qualities if this point of view is exaggerated, that is, of taking into ourselves traits that do not belong to us. But we have a certain instinctive recognition of what does or does not belong to us, an instinct which only fails us if we do not want to see ourselves as we really are. This instinct says, "It clicks," when something returns that is really ourselves, and says "No" when we try to introject. Whether ''it clicks" or not is really our final criterion.

Another way we can realize our shadow is by our effect on the people around us, for we do have certain effects on other people that we can neither predict nor adequately explain. To give an extreme example: we had a washerwoman when I was a child who always quarreled with everyone in her environment. When rebuked for this fault, full of injured innocence, she replied, "How can I help that? I never saw anything like the tempers in the people I meet!" Of course, in such a case it is not difficultthough undoubtedly painfulto see that the temper is our own. But it becomes much more difficult when the effect comes from something far more obscure than a bad temper. The mechanism, however, is always the same and, when we continually have the same effect on different people, it is a place where we are likely to make valuable discoveries about our shadow, animus or anima.

Perhaps it should just be mentioned here that, naturally, an unknown shadow does not only get contaminated in the unconscious with the collective shadow, but also with other dominants, most particularly with anima and animus. This often results in a kind of marriage between shadow and animus or anima, which is particularly disastrous to the ego, for it is then at a disadvantage with the unconscious, being outnumbered.

In the 1935 seminar mentioned earlier, Jung gave a description of accepting the shadow that has always remained in my mind. Briefly, he used the simile of our consciousness being like a ship or bowl floating on the surface of the unconscious. Each part of the shadow that we realize has a weight, and our consciousness is lowered to that extent when we take it into our boat. Therefore, we might say that the main art of dealing with the shadow consists in the right loading of our boat: if we take on too little, we float right away from reality and become like a fluffy white cloud in the sky. If we take on too much, we may sink our boat.

We must still ask ourselves the question, what does a lowered consciousness mean practically? This is very difficult to answer theoretically, as it is really a matter of experience. Consciousness is mainly connected with our superior functions, where we are capable of a very clear, though one-sided, conscious perception. But, when we bring up something from the unconscious which demands a broader reaction, it forces us to widen our point of view, because we must then also react with our undeveloped functions and our instinctive side. We are thus confronted with the task of reconciling the reactions of our clear consciousness with those from the darkness or, at best, from the dim luminosity of our inferior or instinctive side. This naturally dims or lowers consciousness, but at the same time it makes it more substantial, three-dimensional instead of two-dimensional, so to speak.

There is another important aspect of the shadow which we must mention. Many people live the negative side of themselves, and then the shadow can be much more decent and have more positive qualities than the conscious ego. You all know the sort of people who live their shadow, as it were: they are always putting the wrong foot forward, and sometimes even seem to indulge in such behavior. If you ask such people about their shadow, they will inform you that it is terrible, a cut-throat, a murderer, and so on, because of the general illusion that the shadow must be negative. But if this film of illusion can be removed, one often discovers a most decent person behind it. Jung even said once in a seminar that there can be eighty percent pure gold in the shadow.

The great difficult in discovering the shadow is to findor perhaps still more to acknowledge just the components of which it is made. Naturally, it is pleasanter to find gold than a decaying corpse, for instance, and preferable to discover that we are more decent than we thought rather than vice versa. But, curiously enough, it is often just the people with the pure gold in their shadow who show the most resistance to digging it out. This is usually because they had a secret purpose, perhaps unknown to themselves, in burying the gold or repressing their positive characteristics. Good qualities carry an obligation, and possibly they did not want to take the responsibility which is always involved when we live something positive. Such people are like the man in Christ's parable who preferred to bury his talent; in other words, they live below their real level in order to shirk the responsibility of what they could be.

To sum up the relation of ego and personal shadow as simply as possible, one could say that the one is always the reverse of the other and that, therefore, discovering one's one shadow is necessarily pioneer work. The exact elements of which it is composed are different in every case and general rules are usually more misleading than helpful.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
In order to illustrate the foregoing, I have chosen a dream of Stevenson's which was the foundation of his famous story, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The problem of ego and shadow is extraordinarily frequent in Stevenson's books, but we have only time to consider this one fragment.

The unconscious played an enormous role in Stevenson's writing. He says himself that his Brownies "do one half of all my work for me while I am fast asleep, and in all human likelihood, do the rest for me as well, when I am wide awake and fondly suppose I do it for myself."57 He presents a lot of evidence in "A Chapter on Dreams" in Across the Plains. In this chapter he tells us that he had long been trying to find a vehicle for "the strong sense of man's double being which must at times come in upon and overwhelm the mind of every thinking creature,"58 when he had a dream which laid the foundation for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The dream he had was the "scene at the window" which, considerably condensed, runs as follows:

Mr. Utterson, the lawyer, who is the observer in the book and collects the material, was taking his usual Sunday walk with his kinsman, Mr. Richard Enfield, a well-known man about town. They walked into the court of Dr. Jekyll's house and saw the latter sitting at a window, looking infinitely sad. He refused to join their walk, but expressed pleasure at the idea of a short talk from the window. He had hardly spoken before the smile was struck from of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject terror and despair as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below. Dr. Jekyll instantly closed the window and the two men, pale and horrified, left the court, with Mr. Utterson muttering the rather surprising words: "God forgive us, God forgive us," to which Mr. Enfield very seriously assented.​

Stevenson's dream continued with another scene, in which Mr. Hyde, pursued for some other crime, took the powder and underwent the change (into Dr. Jekyll) in the presence of his pursuers. The scene at the window was taken into the book
as it was, though probably the names were a conscious elaboration. The second scene, on the other hand, was not taken over quite as it was dreamed, but became the theme of the whole story.

We have no space to deal with the story as Stevenson wrote it. It is extremely well known, but I will just remind the reader that it deals with the particularly worthy, benevolent and philanthropic Dr. Jekyll. He invents a powder enabling him to turn into his own opposite, and thus to enjoy the pleasures that he was unable "to reconcile with his imperious desire to carry his head high and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public." At first his pleasures were merely worldly and undignified, but Mr. Hyde became more and more completely evil and eventually did not stop even at murder. The change, which at first was entirely voluntary, also became uncontrollable. By the end, the personality of Dr. Jekyll becomes entirely submerged in Mr. Hyde.

When Stevenson was a student, he was very seriously threatened by his terrible dreams examples can be found in the "Chapter on Dreams" but a doctor was able to put a stop to them for a while. Later, Stevenson himself hit on the method of using them in his literary work. His so-called Brownies cooperated in this work, and he was able to channel his consciousness into his creative work in a way that has much to recommend it. One knows, indeed, the excellent therapeutic effect which creative work can have, and for Stephenson, in his time and circumstances, it was probably the only solution, to say nothing of the great interest of several of his stories from the psychological point of view and leaving aside the question of literary merit. If I discuss his dream as if it were brought by a patient in analysis, it must be understood that I mean no criticism of Stevenson. It is hardly necessary to mention also that I try to understand the dream as it applies to our theme, and that it would depend on a great many circumstances how much or how little should be told to the dreamer himself.

To me, the most striking feature in the dream apart from the dramatic change from Hyde to Jekyll and the terrific emotional content in the anguish of Dr. Jekyll at the window, reflected in the two onlookers is the fact that there are four male figures the number of the totality and no woman. In the book, also, there is no significant anima figure. (She only makes an important appearance in her negative aspect as Mr. Hyde's evil landlady.) Stevenson was an only child with a strong mother complex which he never outgrew. He married, indeed, but his wife was very much older than himself, with two children from an earlier marriage. In their subsequent life in various places all over the world, Stevenson always seems to have been more the eldest son than the husband. It is clear, therefore, that his problem would more likely be concerned with the shadow, that is, with finding his own masculinity, than with the anima.

Therefore, if we consider this dream from the standpoint of Stevenson's own psychology, I think we should be justified in assuming that the figure of Mr. Utterson, the lawyer and onlooker in the drama, represents the ego. He gives one the impression of being the narrator of the story, though the book is not actually written in the first person. Much of the fatal outcome might have been avoided had Mr. Utterson been aware of the facts before the end of the drama; this was a change for the worse made by Stevenson, for in the dream Utterson knew the secret. Mr. Enfield, the man about town, would more or less represent the personal shadow, with a worldly point of view, a side which Stevenson lived very little.

The other two figures that appear in the dream, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, have a more collective or larger-than-life character. The fact that one can turn into the other by means of a powder stamps them as inhuman, for such a metamorphosis is something beyond human capacity. This hypothesis is also hinted at in the dream by the fact that Dr. Jekyll only talks to the two men from an upper window. Moreover, it is confirmed in the book, for neither Jekyll nor Hyde are really human beings: the latter particularly represents the principle of evil per se and is far more an archetypal figure belonging to the collective unconscious than anything like a personal shadow. If, therefore, we were confronted with this dream in a modern individual, the first and most important thing to do would be to separate the personal from the superpersonal or collective elements, and to insist on the fact that Utterson and Enfield were the first concern of the dreamer, because they more or less represent the human sphere where the dreamer can do something about it....

...The point I want to make is that when a man realizes his dual nature as Stevenson certainly did the problem of good and evil has irrevocably been constellated in him. He then has the choice of consciously taking up this problem with his personal shadow in the human realm, or repressing it. In the latter case, it will still take place but in the unconscious, entirely beyond his control, out of sight, glimpsed only occasionally in a dream.
Ego, Shadow & Persona: The Film Black Swan
by Cathy Shepherd & Van Waddy
We sat before that wondrous screen of fantasy and imagination, surrendering ourselves to images and metaphors that sent us immediately to that Jungian treasure-trove of interpretation and insight we both find so irresistible. We share with you our own fascination with Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, “The Black Swan,” in hopes it will initiate a dialogue with all those Jungians also intrigued by this film. We do not present ourselves as an authority. Come play with us, instead, come dance with us, to the images, the possibilities, the depth of this film’s richness.

We both delighted in the fact that it is a premonitory dream that Aronofsky uses to open the story. The principal character, Nina Sayers, played flawlessly by Natalie Portman, even calls this dream a “prologue,” and it is, indeed, a premonition of the unfolding tale. In this dream, the Black Swan/Prince morphs into the Demon Lover that allures Nina down her path of self destruction. Nina is not conscious enough to realize what the dream forecasts, cannot recognize the destructive energy of the Demon Lover’s pull toward perfectionism, sees the dream rather as a promissory note of her own attainable perfection.

Her bed pillow in this opening scene – a white pillow with black spirals – is the only trace of black in a room filled with pink and white. Nina’s smothering, controlling mother, played eerily by Barbara Hershey, keeps Nina imprisoned in childlike submission, crowded in by her fluffy stuffed animals and dancing ballerina music box, nightly tucking her in, closing all else out.

This play of color, this overall black and white canvas punctuated only by Nina’s puella (eternal little girl) pink, is central to the story. The sets themselves, the white swan costumes, the foreboding black of the intruding dark characters, the dark tunnels and the mother’s dark paintings, all play on our growing suspense and dread. At the film’s outset, Nina sees herself passing her in a dark tunnel, a dark Nina, suggesting she needs to face her own dark side -- another premonitory image.

Aronofsky’s use of mirrors throughout this film tracks Nina’s attempts to gain some sense of self, while also chronicling her progressing psychosis. At one point, Nina sees her own image in the mirror become multiple independent entities, each taking on a life of their own, no longer under her control. The use of so many mirrors also suggests there is no proper mirroring of Nina – only distorted mirroring – from the principal characters in her life. Nina is continuously reminded by her mother that she gave up her own chance to be a great ballerina in order to have her.

That, paired with her mother’s inability to tolerate her own aging, projects a mirror-mirror-on-the-wall that disembodies Nina even further. Nina does make several attempts to develop her masculine. She wears earrings without mother’s input and flaunts her ability to choose something for herself. She eventually uses a large stick to block her mother’s access to her bedroom. Her attempts to separate and develop her own masculine, however, activate the Witch in her mother and unleash more negative energy in herself.

Nina’s ballet mentor and artistic director, Thomas, played deliciously by Vincent Cassel, is a Puer, a handsome sorcerer, unable to be the Father figure Nina needs in order to balance out and protect Nina from the Negative Mother. He knows Nina needs to develop her masculine, sexual energy in order to dance what he envisions, but doesn’t know how to appropriately help her do that. Instead, he raises his glass to “beauty” while dismissing imperfection and menopausal aging.

Nina tries to steal perfection from the reigning princess-ofthe-ballet-floor, Beth, played by Winona Ryder, by taking her red lipstick, a metaphor for the vibrant life force absent in Nina. She puts on the red lipstick and tries to seduce Thomas into giving her the leading role (without doing the hard work of developing her own needed masculine ground). Thomas knows she can dance the White Swan but when she bites him when he approaches her, he gives her the role, hoping she can find the Black Swan within herself as well.

One of the more interesting characters is Lily, the red-hot-seductive Shadow persona of Nina. Lily is everything Nina is not, empowered, seductive, alive with sexual energy, ready at any moment to take over Nina’s role as Swan. She even looks like Nina. The interplay between Nina and Lily is evocative, mesmerizing and erotic. Nina is too young, too imbalanced to hold the tension of Lily’s dark impulsive side. Opposites collide in scenes both riveting and remarkable.

As she descends in psychosis, Nina’s fingernails begin to bleed with no provocation, suggesting something eating away inside her. The unexplained scratches on the right side of her back begin to emit small black feathers. Her paranoia becomes fierce and her determination relentless. As she finally digs within to find both her white and black swans, Nina witnesses her body grotesquely morphing, cracking, bleeding, betraying her.

The ensuing energy is too powerful. Unable to integrate it consciously, she flips into the dark, negative side—symbolized by the growth of enormous black wings that emerge from the scratches on her back—internalizes the artistic moment, plants an archetypal kiss on Thomas, and burns herself up in the flame that erupts when we humans try to dance too close to Spirit.

In the end, it is a mirror that takes Nina down. In a delusional confrontation with Lily on opening night, Nina turns a piece of shattered mirror against herself (thinking it is Lily she is stabbing) and stabs herself. Unable to internalize the mirroring she needs, it becomes a tool of destruction in her own hand. Unable to see true beauty in herself and believing she is loveable only in perfection, Nina—after her triumphant dance, her swan performance -- dies, or surrenders, happily uttering, “Perfect. I was perfect.”

This film is a cautionary tale suggesting we humans can embody perfection only for the moment. Nina was unable to develop a strong enough container to hold the tension of the opposites. Her anorexia, her addiction to perfection, her inability to integrate her shadow or her emerging sexual self, and her eventual psychosis tipped the scales.

There are a few gifted individuals able to constellate what we might consider a perfect performance, but they must then move back into the real world and live what it means to be human.

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The Five Levels of Feeling

Following is an excerpt from Fudjack and Dinkelaker (who I'm sure many of you have taken this F/D Preference-Order Indicator infamously verbose test). They are proposing a theory of function development (this somewhat walks the line vis-a-vis Jung's original theory) but might better explain some of the many problems people have when considering or evaluating their Feeling function.
The 5 Levels of the Feeling Function: a Phenomenological Description

What does underdeveloped feeling look like, or inferior thinking? As an analyst, Von Franz has observed how each of the four functions operates when it is in the 'inferior' position in the individual's preference order, that is - when it is underused and underdeveloped, least under the deliberate control of the conscious mind of the individual, and more apt to be, for that individual, a mechanism for the expression of the UNCONSCIOUS and thus part of any 'neurosis' that the individual may have.

Not only can Von Franz be credited with having been the first to recognize the importance of identifying the inferior function in typing the individual, she also was the first to provide us with insight as to the difference in the way each function manifests AS the inferior (and underdeveloped) function (as opposed to how it manifests as a dominant or developed function). She has been using these principles for the purpose of identification of type for decades, and can be credited with formulating the first 'developmental' theory of the functions, albeit only a two-level, and hence rudimentary, theory.Until this relatively recent innovation in Myers-Briggs theory by Quenk there was very little indication of an awareness for the need to describe what an UNDERDEVELOPED function looks like as compared to a developed function. There was no attempt, in the writing of Isabel Myers, to distinguish between superior and inferior manifestations of the functions or to characterize types by whether specific functions manifested in them in superior or inferior ways. Indeed her statement that an individual's PREFERENCE for a function does not ensure proficiency in its use seems to reject any overall correlation between type (and its associated preferences) and proficiency in the use of specific functions. Her remarks could, for instance, be construed as a denial that ENFPs on the whole have a more developed feeling function than ENTPs.

Despite Quenk's latest innovations in MBTI theory, which utilize a rudimentary binary distinction between 'inferior' and 'superior' manifestations of functions, we find no suggestion in her work (or in Von Franz's, for that matter) that each function might permit description in terms of more elaborately distinguished developmental LEVELS.

We, however, would like to make just such a proposal: Each function can (and moreover OUGHT to) be viewed in terms of levels of development. We wish also to specifically five levels of development for each function. In this paper we will focus primarily on the feeling and intuitive functions, as these are comparatively underutilized (and hence underdeveloped). They are, as a result, also most apt to be misunderstood and misrepresented. Although clarifying the nature of feeling and intuition may therefore be more difficult an enterprise, there is the promise of greater overall benefits in doing so.

When we say that each function CAN be conceived of in terms of levels of development, we mean that there is evidence, from various quarters, that each function can be 'developed', 'educated,' or 'trained' - resulting in distinct levels of accomplishment with respect to each function. Even so, the METHODS required for the education of the feeling (F) and intuitive (N) functions in particular are THEMSELVES associated with relatively undervalued fields of human endeavor, which rational-empirical (ST) science has time and again sought to discredit. We are talking here about marginalized fields of endeavor such as non-behaviorist and non-psycho-pharmalogical psychologies (the so-called 'humanistic' psychologies and psychotherapies), and about mysticism, meditation, and other forms of 'spiritual' practice.

In this work we shall cite evidence for the five levels that we discern. For the feeling function, this evidence is to be found mainly in the (non-positivist and non- behaviorist) scientific literature regarding feeling and emotion and in various theories associated with psychological therapies. Theories of emotion can be classified into five groups, each respectively associated with one of the levels of feeling. For the intuitive function, the evidence we speak of is to be found not only in (psychological) research from some of the same fields of inquiry, but also (and primarily) in the metaphysical assumptions associated with introverted-intuitive spiritual systems.

When we say that we 'ought' to try to more specifically elaborate LEVELS of each function, we have in mind the belief that this would provide us with:

(1) a greater understanding of each personality type and the extent to which members of differing types rely on VARYING degrees of development of, and appreciation for, each function. It is unlikely, for instance, that types who have feeling as their least prefered (eg 'inferior';) function will develop their capacity to feel at level three or four, and may consequently conceive of level 'two' as comprising the upper limit of the capacity of the function. A theory delineating levels might assist in pointing out how the feeling function extends beyond these arbitrary limits associated with type. It has been our experience with some individuals who are thinking types, for example, that the five level theory has helped them to entertain the possibility that there are levels of feeling that are comparable in sophistication to the levels of thinking that they have developed.

(2) a more equitable way of comparing types. We have elsewhere suggested that current societal biases (toward ST types) are extreme and deleterious. These lead to unfortunate mistakes when it comes to cross-functional comparisons - a tendency to compare apples and oranges: higher levels of development of the thinking function with lower levels of development of the feeling function, and higher levels of development of sensing with lower levels of development of intuition - to the detriment (and continued undervaluation) of the currently undervalued minority types. For example, a capacity for critical reason (level three 'thinking') is often pitted in our society against EMOTIONALITY (level one 'feeling'). The deck is stacked, and a false conclusion is drawn - that 'thinking' is more valuable a function than 'feeling'.

(3) encouragement for minority types to further develop those functions that are 'prefered' by them but currently culturally undervalued. Even amongst members of the under-represented types, the intuitive and feeling functions may not be as fully developed as the thinking and sensing functions of the more populated types. Thinking and sensing are generally valued and encouraged in WHATEVER type they may occur; conversely, feeling and intuition are undervalued and likewise discouraged.

(4) the groundwork on which a study of the comparative uses of certain functions by certain types can be initiated. According to currently accepted Myers-Briggs theory, which does not distinguish level, in utilizing one function (feeling, for instance) it is just as likely that an individual will exhibit any or all of the characteristics typically associated with that function. In contrast, we contend that although the Myers-Briggs system has effectively identified MOST of the characteristics associated with each function, it has not clearly been seen that all of the characteristic aspects of the function may not show up equally at each level of proficiency with the function. To utilize the function is not always to utilize it fully.

In the course of using the MBTI in our organizational development work we have heard thinking types protest thinking types protest that they do have feelings, intense ones, and that they OFTEN feel. 'So does this not show a high degree of respect for the feeling function, a willingness to USE it, and an adequate enough familiarity with it to be able to judge it, as I do, as something which is innately INFERIOR to thinking?' To this we are prepared (with the five-level-theory) to argue that what characterizes their use of the feeling function as 'inferior' is not so much the fact that they do not feel, not that they do not feel intensely or less frequently, but HOW they feel. What is of importance in this regard, in other words, is TO WHAT USE they put the function, and this is intimately connected to the extent to which they have developed their capacity to feel (as measured using the continuum defined by the five levels theory).

So, basically, we are assuming that there is an overall QUALITATIVE difference (which is not mentioned in traditional MBTI theory) between how those who use feelings as the 'dominant' function experience it, as compared to those who use it as their 'inferior' function. This is not to say, however, that all of those who score as predominantly feeling types will have developed their feeling functions fully - only that it will be statistically more likely that a feeling type will have developed further along the feeling function continuum than a thinking type. As Jungian therapist James Hillman once put it, "The difficulty we have in recognizing the feeling-type can partly be blamed on the fact that all that passes for feeling is not an expression of the feeling function".

Although Von Franz and Quenk have paved the way for a developmental theory of the functions, such a theory has not been adequately in either the Jungian camp or by MBTI practitioners. A kind of binary, all or nothing, approach is currently used, in which each function is conceived as manifesting either in a superior OR inferior manner. We hope, in the following, to provide a framework through the use of which additional levels of development can be discriminated.
The 5 Levels of the Feeling Function:
A Brief Phenomenological Description

© John Fudjack & Patricia Dinkelaker - November, 1995​

As previously mentioned, it was Von Franz and later Quenk who provided Jungian personality theory with a rudimentary two-stage description of the feeling function. As significant precursors to a developmental model, we have given their work serious consideration, and have integrated it into the five level theory that we present here.

Less obvious an influence, although perhaps more profound, is the work of Carl Rogers. A pioneer in the 'humanist' psychology and psychotherapy of the 1950s and 60s, Rogers - a highly sophisticated 'feeling type' - adopted an exemplary INFP/ENFP approach to these professions. The subtler ramifications of his work on feeling have not to date been fully appreciated, let alone exhaustively mined for the riches they possess. This is no doubt in part due to the fact that his perspective, however popular it may once have been, comprises a distinctly 'minority' view, typologically speaking. It is a view that continues to be marginalized and ignored by mainstream science - rendered in distorted ways when inspected under the lens of the prevailing paradigm's predominantly rational-empiricist assumptions.

In his model, Rogers eloquently describes seven stages that the individual passes through in acquiring a fully mature capacity to feel. We have included his seven stages in the first three of our five levels, understanding that it would be possible, using the distinctions that he supplies, to articulate sub-levels for each of the levels that we posit. Because we want, at this point, to avoid overwhelming the reader with additional detail, we have chosen to paint a somewhat broader picture. We also want to emphasize the discrete nature of each level - as a 'unit' that cuts across all four functions - and so we will draw bold lines between the levels, even if we do so at the risk of exaggerating the homogeneity of processes taking place 'within' the levels. For there are qualities that each function seems to share with each other function at the same 'level' of development - and close observation of these qualities begin to reveal clues to us about how conscious experience is itself structured.

Level One Feeling

At level one, feelings are characteristically neither recognized as feelings nor owned. When feelings do erupt, it is in unpredictable and uncontrollable outbursts of emotion, and they are experienced as intense and overwhelming. They threaten the ego with loss of control, and are (along with 'close and communicative relationships') considered dangerous and are typically avoided 1a (Rogers, p. 132). Feelings are experienced in forms that are comparatively exaggerated, feeling is conceived of as 'emotionality' and 'sentimentality' (Von Franz). 'Differentiation of feelings very limited and global' (Rogers, p. 134). And there is inhibition in the EXPRESSION of feeling.

Descriptions of this level of the feeling function can be found primarily in the psychotherapeutic literature, which seeks to provide remedies for underdeveloped, primitive, and/or repressed feeling. The dynamics of suppression of emotion are discussed, factors leading to such blockages are identified (Alice Walker, on the topic of abuse) and methods for addressing these conditions are offered (Rogers). Techniques are suggested (with lesser expectations in mind) for ensuring that inferior feeling does not get out of hand, resulting in damage to the individual which might otherwise be avoidable (Von Franz).

Level Two

At level two, feelings are experienced primarily as a wide range of 'emotions' (anger, lust, boredom, etc.) 'triggered' by outside objects. They are intermittent occurences, differing in intensity and nature. At this level, the existence of feeling is acknowledged and specific feelings are differentiated from one another. The individual learns to experience additional range and depth of emotion; there is increased exactness in the individual's capacity to differentiate feelings; and feeling may be expressed more fully as 'in the present'. (Rogers, p. 137) In psychology and philosophy a wide variety of emotion reflect a nascient recognition that emotion may play a positive function in our daily lives, and seek to distinguish and classify the variety of emotions.

At this level, according to Rogers, feelings are very close to being fully experienced. They 'bubble up', 'seep through', in spite of the fear and distrust which the client feels at experiencing them with fullness and immediacy... There is a beginning tendency to realize that experiencing a feeling involves a direct referent... There is surprise and fright, rarely pleasure, at the feelings which 'bubble through'....[and] there is an increasing ownership of self feelings, and a desire to be these, to be the 'real me'. (p. 140-141)

At level two we begin to consult our feelings in order to establish the VALUE of objects, events, and persons to us. We permit our feelings to help guide us in avoiding objects (that are threats to us), locating 'anomaly' in our environment (felt as the presence of negative feeling) and identifying objects deemed as desirable (the acquisition of which may benefit us). To some degree, at this stage, we begin to recognize the WORTH of both positive and negative feeling.

Level Three

At level three, feeling - which we may previously have distanced ourselves from - are now experienced intimately in their immediacy. The 'process' quality of feeling is more fully appreciated. Individuals more typically permit a feeling to 'flow to its full result' and feeling 'is directly experienced with immediacy and richness'. Rogers describes this experience in the following way:

The immediacy of experiencing, and the feeling, which constitutes its content, are accepted. [The feeling] is something which is, not something which is denied, feared, struggled against'. 'There is a quality of living subjectively in the experience... Self as an object tends to disappear... the self, in this moment, IS this feeling... Experience takes on a real process quality' (p. 147)

Discussing a client who is not yet at this level, but approaching it, Rogers says, 'He has a feeling about the source of a lot of secret thoughts in himself'. (p. 147)Quoting the client directly, he continues:

'The butterflies are the thoughts closest to the surface. Underneath there's a deeper flow. I feel very removed from it all. The deeper flow is like a great school of fish moving under the surface. I see the ones that break through the surface of the water ...' (p. 147)
Roger's comments: 'Though this client is not yet fully experiencing in a process manner ... he foresees it so clearly that his description gives a real sense of its meaning.' At level three, as the 'processual' nature of feeling is more fully appreciated, the individual begins to become aware of an ever-present flow of subtle feeling within herself. She recognizes that her perceptions, without exception, are infused with feeling, and that the objects of her attention ALL have 'feeling tones' which orient her in respect to them. She may describe this as the presence of 'an underlying feeling state' (Evans/Fudjack).

Feeling begins to be perceived as an everpresent field, constantly shifting in character and tone, a backdrop against which objects of our attention are selectively relevated (Evans/Fudjack). For psychologist F. Kreuger, through feeling we experience the underlying whole against which 'objects' of our perception (gestalt 'figures') are relevated:

Everything distinguishable in experience is interconnected, embedded within a total-whole that penetrates and envelops it.

(Evans/Fudjack, p. 35)

At this level, one begins to recognize a feedback and feedforward relationship between the feeling field - the 'underlying feeling state' everpresent in consciousness - and the objects of our attention. Our moods shift as our attention deflects from one object to another. Conversely, what we feel determines what we turn our attention to. The nuances in the quality of our underlying feeling states we experience as 'mood'.

At this stage, there is a dawning recognition of the fact that we are constantly receiving a kind of 'sub-liminal' or 'subsidiary' feedback from the environment through the mode of feeling, and orienting ourselves accordingly. Feeling plays an organizing and orienting role in consciousness (Evans/Fudjack) - we experience the tacit 'contextual' dimension of consciousness via our capacity to feel. There is, accordingly, a growing awareness that WHAT we perceive is, through the mechanisms of selective attention and active contexting, shaped by our feelings.

Increased awareness of the subtleties of this complex relationship between consciousness and feeling enhances our 'process' skills, our capacities to use feeling to create art, solve problems, etc. Also enhanced is our ability to use feeling to bring about 'shifts' in the frames that structure our experience. We artfully deploy feeling in our moment-to-moment deconstruction and reconstruction of the complex nested 'contexts' that comprise our personal paradigms. As Rogers describes it:

The relevant personal construct is dissolved in the [immediacy of] the moment, and the client feels cut loose from his previously stabilized framework. (Rogers, p. 148)
Ideally, at this stage of development of the feeling function...

....there are no longer 'problems', external or internal. The client is living, subjectively, a phase of his problem. It is not an object. (p. 150)​


The self becomes increasingly simply the subjective and reflexive awareness of experiencing. The self is much more frequently something confidently felt in process. (153)​

As a result, through the mastery of level three feeling, we also enhance our capacity for paradigm shifting - which is, after all, nothing other than a complex series of 'deconstructions' and 'reconstructions' of consciousness:

Personal constructs are tentatively reformulated, to be validated against further experience, but even then to be held loosely. (153)​

Level Four

At level four, the essentially INTERPERSONAL nature of the individual's 'feeling field' is experienced. This interpersonal feeling field is what Buber calls 'the essential we' (a term that implies that the essence of our nature as human being is transpersonal and communal). Our capacity to feel gives us direct access to the experience of 'oneness' with others. We experience reality as shared or 'consensual' by 'feeling with' or 'feeling into' those others - that is, through sympathy, empathy, and compassion.

In other words, we learn to synchronize our underlying feeling states with those of other persons, and in so doing to 'identify' with them in a direct, experiential manner that obviates the need for intermediary 'cognitive' analysis. We experience our personal 'process' as a construct relevated from an INTERSUBJECTIVE reality. A 'confluence of individual processes' is experienced, which may be called 'interpersonal resonance' or 'interactive empathy'.

Empathy (according to Goleman) is grounded in the capacity of individuals, in relationship, to unconsciously entrain (or synchronize) feeling. It can also be conceived of as the experience of a shared feeling field which transcends personal boundaries - providing us as individuals with the direct experience of our common ground as human beings. This experience of common ground can alternately also be described as an experience of 'communitas' (Victor Turner), collective unconscious (Carl Jung), group spirit or the 'global dreambody' (Mindell).

At this level, the focus of the feeling function is on interpersonal RELATIONSHIP. One experiences and explores the capacity for ACTIVE inter-relationship through social (or interpersonal) improvisation, gaining access to what may be called GROUP (or collaborative) peak experiences, or synergy experiences. In such experiences one discovers precisely how the whole - comprised of the combination of individuals - IS more than the sum of its individual parts.

At this level we begin to recognize that certain feelings - of 'love', for instance (or 'unconditional regard') - MAY only be possible as shared or 'collaborative' experiences (and may not exist independently, as the 'act' or 'property' of single individuals). We may call these interpersonal feelings 'trans-personal'. In some highly-significant sense, they are experienced not as existing IN the individual(s) but BETWEEN individuals, or as an aspect of a shared ontological entity (the group) out of which persons are distinguished as individuals. We might, accordingly, speak of 'feelings' as belonging to the group or relationship, as opposed to the individual - not just in a metaphorical sense (eg, 'the group feels' = all individuals in the group feel), but as something that exists OUTSIDE of us, which we may tap into (with the cooperation of others) but which cannot be invoked APART from others.

One might describe what takes place at level-four as an active 'interplay' or 'exchange' of feeling between group members, if it weren't for the fact that such a description implies that such feelings are primarily the property of the individual. Since emotion, at this level of description, might more aptly be conceived of as the individual's felt-experience of 'shifts' or 'disturbances' in the intersubjective field, complex reciprocal relationships between the emotional states of individuals may pertain, and the group itself (as a 'creatively self-organizing and self-realizing relational or intersubjective field') may 'call on' individuals to play emotional roles necessary to its health and self-actualization. The 'resonance' occuring between members that are 'attuned' to each other in this way might be less a matter of the spread or 'contagion' of one emotion throughout members of the group and MORE a matter of complex complementary or compensatory emotional states, defining the felt MOVEMENT of the group as a whole THROUGH the shifts in state required by its progress toward 'self-actualization'.

The ACTIVE interpenetration of the individual feeling fields, which we experience at this level, is very different from what has been called 'participation mystique' (which occurs when an individual becomes entrained to a group and loses individual identity, thereby becoming vulnerable to the influence and indirect suggestions of the group). Through what might be called 'ACTIVE resonance' (which is more like the state in which a musician improvises with others) there is active collaborative participation (albeit at the unconscious, as well as the 'conscious' level) in the spontaneous 'educing' of the realities, patterns, structures, and products of the group.

As the psychologist, Anton Ehrensweig contends, the unconscious (also known alternately as the 'subconscious' or 'subsidiary awareness') is capable of decisions that are MORE complex than our deliberative thought processes. To the extent that individuals have developed the creative capacity of their own unconsciouses (through the 'education' of the feeling function), they become capable of actively collaborating with each other at the unconscious level. As a result there is a 'confluence' of individual (unconscious) process that comprises a much more sophisticated, subtle and artful collaboration than the kind that occurs as a result of deliberative planning (T-based collaboration, we might call it).

Here we touch on the possibility (that occurs at this level) of joint creation, through 'interactive empathy' [an idea that parallels the notion of 'active imagination' in Jung]. Interactive empathy (an F-based skill), IN COMBINATION with active imagination (an N-based skill), produces a capacity for 'active empathic imagination' - our capacity to fulfill our potential for individual self-actualization through the group's capacity for what we call 'collaborative actualization' - the quintessential aspiration of the 'NF'.

Ordinarily, our capacity to self-actualize is limited by our FAILURE to achieve 'active' empathy (which, as we have just pointed out, is enhanced through collaborative attunement of conscious and unconscious individual processes). The evolution of the individual, in other words, is contingent upon the evolution of GROUPS. The individual ALONE cannot achieve 'active empathy', only pairs or groups can do so. And just as groups (especially groups whose process is constricted by coercively IMPOSED structures) can INFECT individuals with counter-productive (anti-actualizing) emotions, so also can fluidly operating self-organizing groups INSPIRE individuals to undreamt of heights. The positive contagion of advanced (or 'transendental') emotion is what Maslow called 'rapsodic communication'. He discovered that in merely TALKING to people about peak experiences he frequently induced them, a discovery which ultimately led him to explore which conditions - in terms of group processes and organizational structures - were conducive to shared peak experience, and which were not.

Imagine the following: that two or more people are reciprocally engaged in active empathy. There is an unconscious (eg, 'non-deliberative') but active INTERCHANGE of feeling. The participants may not even PRODUCE anything at that moment (they may not educe any structure or product that is readily identifiable), but they may, nevertheless, walk away completely changed. It is in this manner that 'INFPs' exert 'unconscious influence' over others, through their (active) contributions to the intersubjective field of the group - and it is this capacity that accounts for their ability to create 'facilitative environments' conducive to the growth of those who enter therein.

At advanced level-four, then, we have the dawning capacity of individuals to create facilitative environments via the ACTIVE use of the feeling function. Here the capacity of the 'bodhisattva' to (seemingly spontaneously and magically) transform situations through 'exhange himself for others', gains explication. Rogers comments on this type of experience:

When I am at my best, as a group facilitator or as a therapist, I discover another characteristic. I find that when I am closest to my inner, intuitive, self, when I am somehow in touch with the unknown in me, when perhaps I am in a slightly altered state of consciousness, then whatever I do seems to be full of healing. Then, simply my PRESENCE is releasing and helpful to the other. There is nothing I can do to force this experience, but when I can relax and be close to the transcendental core of me, then I may behave in strange and impulsive ways in the relationship, ways which I cannot justify rationally, which have nothing to do with my thought processes. But these strange behaviours turn out to be RIGHT, in some odd way: it seems that my inner spirit has reached out and touched the inner spirit of the other. Our relationship transcends itself and becomes a part of something larger. Profound growth and healing and energy are present.

This kind of transcendent phenomenon has certainly been experienced at times in groups in which I have worked, changing the lives of some of those involved. One participant in a workshop put it eloquently: 'I found it to be a profound spiritual experience. I felt the oneness of spirit in the community. We breathed together, felt together, even spoke for one another...' 1b

This comes close to a 'level five' description of feeling.

Level Five

Level five feeling opens us up to an appreciation of the transpersonal/communal aspects of personal ontology. Human BEING is inter-being , as Thich Nhat Hahn says. The direct experience of this profound level of interconnectedness that is at the core of each of us, because it is not commonly experienced, is sometimes labeled 'mystical', but there is nothing unnatural about it. It is accessible through the advanced (or 'educated') feeling function. We will not say much about it here, except for the fact that hints of this ontological interconnectedness of everything (and everyone) can be detected in our lower level understandings of feeling and relationship. It is almost as if the move up the levels is progressively inspired by a dawning awareness of the fact of interconnectedness.

Johnson takes 'love' as the primary emotion, the one which reveals to us our transpersonal and intersubjective nature as individuals. It is the emotion through which we recognize our interconnectedness. Baldelli finds in the emotion of love the foundation of all ethics. And Weick sees it as the cornerstone of the just society.

For the 'mystics', says Johnson

The most intimate interpersonal relations were the outcome of their profound contemplative experience. That is why in dealing with their fellow-man they could see and hear and touch at a new level. That is why they could sometimes read hearts and know intuitively what others were thinking. I am not speaking here about extrasensory perception but about a certain mystical awareness, an intuitive knowledge, a deep feeling. No superficial emotion this, but an extraordinary empathy. When two mystics were friends (and often they were) there arose between them a remarkable indwelling which enabled them to say one to the other: 'As the Father loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love' (John 15:9) (149)​

Hillman similarly speaks of using emotion, love in particular, as a tool for transcendence. He speaks of 'curing emotion through emotion' by 'choosing one emotion to transform and re-order the others':

Energetically expressed we tap the sources of all emotions if we live one fully. This is the way of PASSION. The emotion often recommended in the literature is love... (183)
Johnson takes this thought a step further, viewing love as a 'sacred' emotion in that it provides individuals with an opportunity not only for transpersonal transformation, but for establishing a 'meeting of the minds' that is at the same time an 'epiphany' of the infinite in wordly form. In his discussion of the twelfth century Cistercian, Aelred of Rievaulx, he speaks of love as 'the kiss of the spirit, exchanged between friends'. Aelred says, 'For in the two friends he creates such a sacred emotion that they feel as if they are two souls in one body, and they say with the prophet: 'Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together as one'. (151)


To this day the question, 'what are feelings and emotions FOR?' continues to be asked, generating competing theories and apparently contradictory evidence.

Can we distinguish a separate USE for the feeling function at each of the five levels? Using the notion of a developmental continuum, can we begin to see its use unfolding as the function continues to develop in the individual over time? We submit that the feeling function is used in the following ways, in accordance with the levels of development that we have described, making its various uses CONSISTENT with each other (against the background of a developmental framework).

1. TO ESTABLISH SAFETY: We repress feeling in order to avoid encounters with awarenesses that might be so disruptive as to destroy the individual or cause permanent damage or imbalance. Intermittent emergency expression of feelings provide a method for release of pent-up feelings.

2. TO ESTABLISH VALUES: We use the feeling function to evaluate (physical, mental) objects in our environment - eg, to establish values, and to orient ourselves with respect to objects in our world via their personal WORTH to us.

3. TO ORGANIZE EXPERIENCE: We use the feeling function to organize our experience. More properly stated, the feeling function is our innate capacity for the self-organization of experience.

4. TO ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIP: We use the feeling function, in an outwardly directed fashion, to relate to one another (in increasingly sophisticated ways). It plays the pivotal role in social self-organization.

5. TO DIRECTLY EXPERIENCE ONTOLOGICAL UNITY: We use the feeling function to directly and intimately experience not only intersubjectivity, but the interconnectedness of ALL things (at a profound ontological level), an experience that brings meaning and motivation with it.

At different times (or in different situations) we may experience different levels - that is, we may USE the feeling function as it is alternately described at one or another of the levels. We may protect ourselves (at level one) from the negative feelings associated with extreme pain, or from the negative feelings associated with the experience of anomaly intruding into our existing framework. On another occasion we open ourselves more fully to the process that is feeling. But even someone who has developed level- four empathy and characteristically uses feeling fully to establish subtle reciprocal intersubjective interchanges with others may, in an extreme situation, feel the need to shut down the system (reverting to level one). Or the converse may occur. Someone who has learned to 'process' their feelings, but has not yet become skilled at using feeling to build sophisticated (and mutually appreciative) inter-relationship, may, nonetheless, experience 'peak' moments of inter-relatedness at the social level (in moments of 'communitas'). Yet, for individuals characteristically experiencing feeling at the lower levels of functioning, these experiences will be temporary, 'flashes' of awareness of a higher level of functioning.

There may also be areas of our lives in which a lower level of the feeling function prevails while in some other area we (more or less simultaneously ) utilize a higher level of development of the feeling function. For instance, at work we may repress our feelings (especially insofar as we are employed in jobs that have been characterized as 'emotional labor' - a term coined to describe jobs that require suppression and falsification of the individual's real feelings), while in our families we may have learned to use our feelings to obtain feedback from others and organize our experience, and in special relationships (say, a music ensemble that we participate in) we have learned sophisticated modes of improvisational inter-relationship. But it may also be true that it is more difficult to develop the feeling function in one area when we have trained ourselves to suppress it in another. Herein lies the danger that habituation to environments in which higher level feeling is typically suppressed 2 may lead to learned-apathy.

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The Inferior Function


from 2 Old Files/02_27_06 Inferior Function_D.pdf
1. The unconscious often speaks to the conscious mind through the Inferior Function. Therefore, it holds the secret key to becoming an integrated, whole person -- a person who can access untapped potentials.

2. You may often tie into an ecstatic experience through the Inferior Functions (especially in the second half of life).

3. When used in a conscious way, its use is generally slow compared to the dominant and auxiliary functions and is not used as competently.

4. You feel like you are behaving either like a fool or a hero.

5. You can experience either a state of inflation or a state of hopelessness and gloom.

6. It often shows itself as the despised parts of your personality and maladapted (not congruent to the "Me" you consciously know).

7. You often experience a touchiness around someone criticizing any work or behavior which involves this function. You may become paralyzed and send your tyrant out to defend yourself.

8. Your judgment about your ability to use this function competently is not very positive, so you can be easily influenced by others' judgments in matters involving its use.

9. Behavior can become compulsive -- you cannot seem to stop what you are doing even if a part of your conscious mind wants to.

10. You may often feel a tremendous charge of emotions.

11. You may be moody.

12. It is difficult for its opposite function to be usable (example: for a dominant Thinker, when the inferior Feeling function is "in charge", the person cannot think).

13. Often ideas, thoughts, and feelings that surface are not grounded in reality.

14. You are not available to other people for "rational" discussions.​

1. Give it time to function.

2. Don't attempt work which involves extensive use of this function when you are tired and/or under stress.

3. Don't expect to use it with the same efficiency as you use your dominant and auxiliary.

4. Deal with this function with a sense of humor. Observe when old patterns come up and learn to laugh about them. This usually takes away some of the energy invested in the situation and allows you to rebalance. When this happens you can then look at what triggered your habitual response -- what "hooked" you.

5. Remember when you feel foolish that it is the fool who often finds the treasure.

6. Ask your dominant or auxiliary function to take a vacation so that your inferior function has time to develop. The more it is developed, the easier it will be for you to use it consciously and the less likely are the chances you will experience it as intruding in "unproductive" ways.

7. Watch for bodily and/or emotional changes which signal its presence.

8. Look at your projections -- they often signal a trait about yourself which you are not consciously willing to own, thus setting yourself up for being in the grips of the inferior function. To do this, examine what qualities, values, or principles you see in the other person that bother you. Remember that it is through the inferior function that the unconscious frequently tries to communicate with you concerning matters about which you need to become conscious.

9. Look at what you envy in others and take self-ownership.

10. Have dialogues with the parts of you that you dislike. Write down your thoughts and feelings. Getting this objectivity often allows you to become "more conscious."

11. Be humble -- neither super-critical nor self-pitying​

from CG Jung Page - The Inferior Function as a Moral Issue
We have seen that the inferior function puts Jung's theory of types in its most dramatic guise. It heats things up and agitates. It evokes from us a shudder, a sigh and a gasp. The inferior function is our trouble-maker. It confutes, refutes, and complicates. It flips things around and inside-out. it challenges whatever we have accomplished, mocks our savvy, takes our daily bread tracks.

Perhaps what is most devastating to us, the inferior function acts in all these ways on its own. That is, the inferior function, along with its archetypal compatriot the shadow, can take on a kind of active and authoritative presence in our everyday lives. In its most diabolical aspects, it tampers with and sabotages our relationships, turning friend into foe, or intrapsychically speaking, self into non-self. In the blink of an eye, the inferior function can go from a "what" to a "who," from you to your neighbor, from your neighbor back to you. Jung explains:

The essence of the inferior function is autonomy. It is independent, it attacks, it fascinates, and so spins us about that we are no longer masters of ourselves and can no longer rightly distinguish between ourselves and others. (CW 7, para. 85)
Yet amidst all our trepidation, we would likewise be reminded by Jung that "it is necessary for the development of character that we should allow the other side, the inferior function, to find expression" (Ibid.). The ego asks why anyone in his or her right mind should actually allow the troublesome aspects of his or her personality to be expressed. Jung's answer is "for the development of character." This remark, less a warning than an evocation, is our motive for devoting special attention and a separate section to this strange part of Jung's typology. For Jung, the inferior function is thus not just a trouble-maker extraordinaire , it is a moral exigency as well.

Character, morality, and personality are all inextricably connected in Jung's psychology; they are all products of coming to terms with the energy of the psyche and the "fundamental laws of human nature" (CW 6, para. 356). However, unlike many moralists, Jung does not focus his attention on external laws, codes, or decrees as the primary sources of morality. That is, an individual's morality is not understood from the outside looking in, nor are character and personality ultimately judged or shaped by any outside authority. Rather, the roots of morality are posited inside one's own deepest nature as an individual; morality itself extends out from the person to the world.

In this way, a person's unconscious reliance on external laws, rules, and restrictions seems more an indication that one is lacking in true morality, that one needs something from the outside to control the otherwise unknown or unmanageable forces of the personality, that one distrusts nature, or finally that one is out of harmony with oneself and one's world. Naive dependency on external laws, rules, and restrictions could be thought of as conditions of the persona, the necessary and convenient mask a person wears to adjust to the demands of the external everyday world.

As such, obeying the law becomes a concession the individual makes to society that in effect cuts off certain aspects of the personality from being experienced and expressed. Favoring the persona over other aspects of the personality thins out a person's overall psychological presence. Such posturing in effect precludes the possibility of being in harmony (a joining together, agreement, concord) with oneself or the world, as too much of oneself and the world is missing. Jung comments,

Every man is, in a certain sense, unconsciously a worse man when he is in society than when acting alone, for he is carried by society and to that extent is relieved of his individual responsibility.
(CW 7, para. 240)
Psychologically speaking then, such external laws rooted in society can block or inhibit the individual from exploring and relating to parts of the personality that must be taken into considelation if one is to be both authentically moral and psychologically whole. in an important sense, it seems one must know what it is like to break the law in order to be fully human.

Yet neither image strikes us as plausible: a world or culture in which there are no external laws or restrictions, or one where everyone goes about breaking the laws that do exist. Nor is Jung suggesting that we live our lives naively through either of those options. How then does the individual find that middle ground where he or she is both free and moral, both an individual and a part of society? One way of answering this question comes from an individual's confrontation with the inferior function and the shadow.

We have seen that confronting and acknowledging the inferior function and shadow is never as simple a matter as it sounds. The confrontation with the inferior function is not something a person generally seeks out. In fact, more often than not, it is the inferior function that comes after you. You bat it away; it comes back again ... and again.

The parts of the personality associated with the inferior function and the shadow represent, to varying degrees, just those aspects of our individual and collective lives that the ego as well as all external laws and society seek to cage and tame. For reasons of stability and continuity, society does not want us playing around with our dark sides; but should these darker aspects of our personalities continue to press upon consciousness, we too are most eager and willing to push them aside or away.

When given the opportunity to look at or claim our own dark side, we most commonly and conveniently project it onto something or someone else and then go on about our business as if nothing happened; persona strained, ego intact. Projection then is a pivotal psychological concept in any discussion of the inferior function as a moral problem, both on the individual and collective levels.

Earlier in our study, we developed the notion of polarity as it related to Jung's typology and overall psychology. We asserted then that the notion of polarity is a kind of metapsychological principle for Jung, pervasive and indisputable as a theoretical key to understanding many of his subsequent psychological insights. Methodologically speaking, the concept of projection acts in a similar manner. As the concept of polarity can help us understand the formal structure and dynamics of the psyche, the concept of projection brings us closer to the raw effects of an individual's psyche operating in the everyday world. Through the mechanism of projection, Jung explains, "everything that is unconscious in ourselves, we discover in our neighbor and we treat him accordingly" (CW 10, para. 131).

The term itself, which Jung adapted from Freud, means an unconscious, unperceived, and unintentional transfer of energy of subjective psychic elements onto an outer object. Jung also speaks of a "hook" that in everyday life serves as the object upon which the subjective psychic contents are projected (CW 8, para. 99VO What is important to realize here is that any psychic content can be projected onto any "fitting" object (person or thing). Therefore, in the vast variety of our projections, we have represented a vivid and panoramic display of psychic energy moving from the subjective unconscious to the objective world. Projections thus are the most immediate testimony of the unconscious operating in the world, as well as potentially one of the most damaging and dangerous characteristics of the human personality.

Let us first look at some "domestic" versions of projection that highlight the moral dimension involved in dealing with the inferior function. When a person projects aspects of his or her personality onto an object with which the ego is in accord (usually thought of as the "good" aspects of the personality), one may assume that the projection serves to bring the object closer to the person. This "intimacy" may eventually make for an increase in mutual understanding between the subject and object. Perhaps if the object were another person, projection in this sense may initiate what would become a friendship. Unconsciously, we often first see the virtue we believe to be in ourselves in just such a friend. Consciousness too is liable to rally to establish such a psychological fact and then go on to "test" it over time. With some work on both sides, perhaps the friendship will prove true and lasting."(2)

On the other hand, when a person projects aspects of his or her personality with which the ego is at odds (usually thought of as the "bad" aspects of personality, or the inferior function), then projection may in fact serve to distance the object from the subject. The relationship between subject and object now becomes disdainful, repulsive, and even hateful. The object is so tinged with the negative aspects of the subject's unconscious that we may truly speak of it as the "enemy."

Unfortunately, the inferior function is often expressed through just such a projection. Jung comments, " . . . what we combat in the other person is usually our own inferior side" (CW 10, para. 131). The ego and consciousness, once infected with the inferior function in this sense, can bring ruin to the enemy, or (as easily) to oneself.

Even under the best of conditions, when consciousness is functioning normally for us, we are mutually vulnerable to the degree that we simply do not know the other person well enough. When we are not conscious of what is going on in regard to the other person, the unconscious is often around to fill the vacuum. Unfortunately, having to face the unfamiliar or the unknown often makes us mutually suspicious and fearful. The poet James Agee expresses this everyday sentiment in poignant terms:

Almost any person, no matter how damaged and blinded, is infinitely more capable of intelligence and joy than he usually knows; and even if he had no reason to fear his own poisons, he has those in others to fear, to assume and take care for if he would not hurt both himself and that other person and the pure act itself beyond cure.
(Agee, 1939, P. 59)
The various complications and ramifications of projection on the personal level are truly inexhaustible.

Because the inferior function is so tied to the archaic and barbaric side of an individual's personality, we must realize that the inferior function, when it is at the heart of such projections, can actually be dangerous. Relating to the inferior function then becomes a problem of the first order because, as Jung comments, "barbarism must first be vanquished before freedom can be won," and freedom is won, as he states in Psychological Types, when 11 the basic root and driving forces of morality are felt by the individual as constituents of his own nature" (CW 6, para. 357).

To give us a better idea of how projection works, Jung draws our attention to what he calls "the archaic mind" (CW 10, paras. 127-47). He does not mean here to point disparagingly to the "barbarism" of primitive culture; "barbarism" as such would only be a criticism a modern culture could make upon itself. Instead, by studying primitive cultures and religions, Jung creates a fertile point of contact between modern civilization and our own inherited ancestral psychology, a connection Jung fully explores in dealing with the archetypes of the collective unconscious. As the inferior function is the doorway to the unconscious, special attention is warranted to appreciate how this dimension in one's life can play itself out.

Drawing chiefly on the work of the anthropologist L6vy-Bruhl, Jung posits that "projection results from the archaic identity of subject and object, but is properly so called only when the need to dissolve the identity with the object has already arisen" (CW 6, para. 783). The last point in this quote is especially significant. Unless or until it becomes necessary for a person to differentiate between the subject and object, projection will take place at a level which is often naively assumed to be the actual state of affairs; i.e., our projections are taken for reality as it must be. For the most part, projection in this sense gives us the illusion necessary to maintain our unconscious lives in the external world. The individual is accordingly eclipsed by the object which carries his or her (unconscious) projection.

This is what happens on a regular basis in primitive culture, though less so in modern culture, given the primacy of the individual and the evolution of modern consciousness. In primitive culture, the individual is subordinate to the collective, whose myths and rituals represent how things must be. The myths carry the projections for the group; the rituals carry the power to mediate the projections. Everyone knows how and why they are what they are simply by being a part of the group.

Because primitive cultures project so much of the unconscious, one should not think that a certain amount of differentiation is not taking place; it is simply of another kind-second-order differentiation in comparison to modern ego-consciousness.

Primitive consciousness is based on the collective unconscious; modern consciousness, on the other hand, must work through the personal unconscious, the hidden life of the individual, to a deliberate awareness of the collective unconscious. In other words, modern consciousness is based on the individual and so must return there first when problems arise. Primitive man, unlike modern man, has no need of anything as personally indicting as an "inferior function" to draw his attention back to his collective psychology.

In other regards, the differentiation that takes place in external reality for primitive consciousness can be compared with the differentiation that takes place at the subjective level for modern consciousness. Both forms of consciousness are capable of great complexity, as modern science and primitive ritual amply demonstrate, but both cultures remain alien or strange to one another.

When projection does take place in modern culture, matters are actually more difficult to manage, due to the personal investment of energy which is absent in primitive cultures. In order to preserve our relationships with the objects of our projections and to maintain our personal continuity with the world as we have come to know it through our projections, we moderns often go to bizarre extremes to validate and stabilize our projections. This usually involves a special act of ego-consciousness itself, or at least the pretense of such. When consciousness becomes so entangled with projections, it becomes itself distorted or "false." In our modern culture this means we often act to justify our projections as being "logical," "normal," "right," "rational," etc., all the while refusing to recognize such attributes for what they are: the biases, defenses, and rationalizations of an often unsure and embattled ego. Projection of this kind amounts to a sophisticated form of narcissism.

In more ancient times, projections were part of elaborate religious systems and mythologies that in turn would help the archaic mind mediate the forces of the unconscious at a level closer to the source of the projections themselves (the archetypes). Strictly speaking, without individual consciousness to intervene and complicate matters at the subjective level, projections of the archaic mind could never be thought of as "false," or even pretentious. Because primitive man did not have the problem of consciousness to contend with as we moderns do-i.e., because he lived in a world where the individual was not an important issue-projections were for him simply and surely the truth. in Jung's formulation, "Primitive man is unpsychological. Psychic happenings take place outside him in an objective way. Even the things he dreams about are real to him; that is the only reason for paying attention to dreams" (CW 10, para. 128).

At least in ancient times (and now, wherever religion is still a factor in a person's life), religious systems and mythologies had the advantage of forcing people to take their projections seriously, as objective facts that must be attended to, in return for this seriousness, a person was assured a rightful place in the cosmos and a meaningful existence. This is no mean achievement, as an age that is described by many as meaningless, boring, and alienating should readily realize. However, instead it takes something like our own sophisticated and biased culture to "see through" the cultures and mythologies of times past as nothing but a collection of naive superstitions or lies. We moderns of course do not consider ourselves so fortunately "deceived" as our ancient counterparts.

Unfortunately too, we have not yet been able to come up with much that can handle the forces of the unconscious as effectively as did the older religions and mythological systems of other times and places. The best many moderns can do is to claim technology for their religious system and mythology.(3)

In any case, the nature of projection now and then is the same: in projection, we are cleverly disguised to ourselves in the object of our attention. Historically speaking, the modern ego and consciousness are relatively late developments that ideally will mature to help the individual sort through the participation mystique that is the common characteristic of all projections. Jungian psychology may in fact be thought of as especially modern in this sense, as it is specifically meant to help us to finish this task of consciousness (Edinger, 1984). Jung himself, speaking as a modern in the best sense of that term, comments:

Our age wants to experience the psyche for itself it wants original experience and not assumptions, though it is willing to make use of all existing assumptions as a means to this end, including those of the recognized religions and the authentic sciences.
(CW 10, para. 173)
Such is, in fact, the experiment of modern consciousness. However, as good as it sounds here, one must truly be concerned over the eventual price humankind will have to pay for its experiment. If one observes how easily and how often we moderns continue to project the negative aspects of our unconscious onto our neighbors, one is convinced neither of our general psychological understanding nor of our humanity. indeed, there seems to be something especially hypocritical about a culture and society that so prides itself on its knowledge and accomplishments, and yet whose members still project so much of their dark side onto one another. Jung warns,

The unconscious has an inimical or ruthless bearing towards consciousness only when the latter adopts a false or pretentious attitude.
(CW 7, para. 346)​

There are other considerations to take into account about our modern lives and the rise of modern consciousness. Because, civilization and technology put so much destructive power at our disposal, and because as a rule we are so reluctant to own up to our negative projections, we are individually and collectively more at risk to ourselves and others than ever before in human history. To some this apprehension may seem unnecessarily apocalyptic. Since progress and technology are often believed to be the hallmarks of modern culture and capable of solving any problem, it is tantamount to heresy to question their authority and saving presence in our world.

But an eruption from the unconscious would testify to an inscrutable power that could easily dwarf any recent technological achievements. Again, Jung warns:

Let man but accumulate sufficient energies of destruction and the devil within him will soon be unable to resist putting them to their fated use.
(CW 10, para. 163)​

Unfortunately, it is probably reasonable to say that those who identify too easily or glibly with our technologically sophisticated culture and who view projection as something only "the other guy does" are also those individuals whose devils grow most restless. Those too who took condescendingly at primitive cultures as nothing but a concatenation of mistakes, lies, and phantoms of the imagination, probably themselves deny having anything remotely resembling an "inferior function" or shadow. just so, these individuals put themselves (and everyone around them) at greater risk.

The volatile situation in the modern world should put us all on guard about how we deal with our respective inferior functions, especially those who are capable of abusing the power of technology as a destructive vehicle of inferior expression: I 'mean here the scientists and the politicians who are in leadership roles in their respective professions. The mythology that modernity presents to us, a mythology that says among other things that we do not need mythology, is infinitely more destructive than what any ancient or primitive culture would have been capable of enacting. We all in this sense need to be psychologists or students of the psyche.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that our moral education and sense of individual responsibility have not kept up with our technological progress as a culture; and we do not have the mediating influences of religion to help us sort through our projections in any meaningful way. This makes us especially vulnerable should the unconscious erupt in a negative form. Combine this situation with the amount of technological power at our disposal and one can understand the anxiety that seems to be so much a part of modern life. in the depths of the modern psyche is the abject fear that what we have created in our own image has turned against us, has gone out of control, has become destructively "other."

We now have no alternative but to take the battle literally to heart, or risk acting out the battle in a world we profess to know so well. This is precisely what Jung is calling our attention to in his evocations of the inferior function as a moral issue. "The upheaval of the world and the upheaval of our consciousness are one and the same" (CW 10, para. 177), he tells us soberly. if we persist in being blind to the forces of the unconscious in our individual and collective lives and remain sadly naive about the uses and abuses of our science and technology, catastrophe certainly awaits us. It would be tragic indeed if we had to learn this lesson at the expense of the very culture we so extol.

from the standpoint of a Dominant Thinker Function.pdf

In this article an ENTJ talks about his Inferior Feeling function

A Meditation on the Feeling Function:​
A paper to be presented to the 2004 APT XV International Conference.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Toronto, Canada​

I am embarking on an inquiry into the feeling function with the hope of lending clarity to this most ambiguous of all cognitive processes. I am a thinking type, not a feeling type, and I maintain a certain suspicion of those who claim that the feeling function carries ipso facto a certain “goodness” because of its connection to values, ideals and norms. Still, I am more convinced than any other point in my life about the value of a humanistic perspective to guide us as we face the global challenge.

James Hillman correctly states that the idea of the feeling function comes out of philosophy and that academic psychology has lost its connection to its philosophical sources. This is a serious split because all the rational philosophers from Plato to Kant emphasized the centrality of an affective life.

They built the humanistic tradition which is based on an understanding of feeling and recognition of the contribution that the feeling function makes in creating a higher order of thinking. We must reclaim the connection that has been lost by the forging of the modern mind. The feeling function points out to all of us in this global community what is missing in terms of our regard for one another and our respect for the planet.

Nevertheless, I am not interested in elevating feeling to an advantageous position in the psychic hierarchy. It does not need an advantage because every mental process that goes too far calls forth compensations. I simply want feeling to assume its rightful place as we investigate the pantheon of the mind.

What I am really interested in is my own individuation process which involves the capacity to study myself and my place in the cosmos. In his lexicon of terms which apply to psychology and physics, C.A. Meier defines individuation as a state finally achieved through a gradual process of analytical work, in which the four cognitive functions identified by Jung, thinking-feeling, sensing-intuition, are in harmonious balance. A wholeness of person is the ultimate objective of the individuation process.

My mind generates the recurring image of Odysseus as the man of many ways (polytropos), a man, “his eyes red from the waves’ salt,” who gets lost for a while in the depth of his unconscious.

At many points in his night sea journey, his life appears to amount to a catastrophe, but he comes back up from the bottom to reclaim his rightful place under the sun. This is my goal to become myself, whole and indivisible, distinctive and clear enough of mind to resist the siren calls of a collective mindset. As a man with a definite preference for the thinking and intuitive side of the brain, I want to say some illuminating things about the feeling function so that my strong thinking function will be tempered by feeling and have a better chance of bringing me home to my own Ithaca.

I have always been seen as different. I grew up as a Greek boy in a Maine mill town. I am not an outsider anymore, but I am very clear about the distinction Jung makes between individuation and individuality.

My name stands out conspicuously in the local phone book, along with many newcomers from Somalia. This is an indication of cultural and ethnic diversity; it is a matter of difference at the surface of life. To Jung, “being different than” is not a big enough idea to capture the significance and the importance of the individuation process. Individuation requires what the Greeks call “peripato,” a walk around the self to bring unity to one’s self-understanding. It involves an ownership of one’s own individual personality type, and for those of us with a dominant thinking function, it means work getting to know a relative stranger, the feeling function.

I am an ENTJ who was misperceived for many years as a dominant feeling type. In the standard “Introduction to Type” series published by CPP, Inc., there is a section within the explanation of the type profiles entitled, Potential Areas for Growth.

“Sometimes life circumstances have not supported ENTJ’s in the development and expression of their Intuitive and Thinking preferences…. If they have not developed their thinking, they may not have a reliable way to evaluate their insights and make plans.”​

The confusion I felt as a young man was nobody’s fault in particular, but I was not brought up in an environment where I could experience the true nature of my mental gifts. I am by nature skeptical, and I can see patterns and connections with my mind’s eye. Growing up Greek in a tiny Greek colony in Maine placed me in a position where “old world” collective values dominated the early course of my personality development. I was viewed as a faulty thinker when I criticized “Greek” cultural norms. I was seen as disloyal to the clan when I foresaw the consequences of my relatives’ narrow viewpoint as they struggled to protect bloodlines and tradition.

My logic and insight challenged the irredentist spirit that shaped the minds of my parents and forbears. This collective inspiration, called the Megali Idea, (the big idea) has been very much alive in the Greek mind for the last two centuries, and it took the form of what Jung calls a possession, a strong psychic invasion that holds consciousness in a restricted place and produces one sided results. From the standpoint of national identity, “the big idea,” which can be seen as a form of Zionism, was tied to a repressed feeling function during the Ottoman occupation and because it carried such a strong emotional charge, it recreated the experience of national tragedy when it was released.

For me, it generated the creative tension to use my unrecognized thinking function to find out more about the psychic forces that fed this aggressive manifestation of the Greek Zeitgeist. Individuation requires a degree of opposition to social norms, which have no absolute value, for as Jung said, “the more a man’s life is shaped by the collective norm, the greater is his individual immorality.”

I came to the realization long ago that even though my entire cultural upbringing as a Greek was based primarily upon feeling and sensing criteria, I must base own identity on my peculiarity (paraxenos) using the natural preferences that I was given by God, thinking and intuition.

The larger goal of individuation, however, is not permanent separation from one’s historical and cultural underpinnings. In Jung’s mind, it means the better and more complete fulfillment of collective qualities, and in order to facilitate progress of this sort the idiosyncrasy of the individual who has “come to selfhood” must return to the fold as one who is prepared to demonstrate his/her differentiated functions and faculties for the purpose of improving social performance. This is the age-old story of the hero who has met the test (peiria) to establish his quality and returns with the unique gift of his own peculiarity to slay the dragon that is terrorizing the village. Because the gift has been integrated through a process of personal transformation, the adventurer returns with his/her life-transmuting trophy that no longer shows up to others as strange, or out of place, for the qualities now represented are seen as universal.

Individuation is a big job, and it is no more than a potential goal. The outcome is not certain, but it is an inescapable challenge for those of us who take our psychic task seriously. My self-proclaimed psychic task is to end the Greek tragedy, not necessarily for the collective entity called Greece, but certainly for me and for my family. If one goes to Greece to see the marble monuments, reads the works of the tragedians, and examines modern Greek history, one is left with the unmistakable impression that the contemporary Greek psyche cannot bear the weight that has been placed upon it by a magnificent and unfortunate past. I am referring to a sunken, aimless, almost defeated feeling that is, in my opinion, the product of a dominant feeling toned mentality whose source is an overworked feeling function.

James Hillman, in his lectures on the feeling function, also identifies the sense of loss that we feel here in America. Whereas the Greek sense of loss comes out of a feeling function overdone, Americans suffer from the collective repression of the affective side of the psyche whose feeling problems are the result of a culture dominated by the thinking function. John Beebe talks about the severe strain the feeling function is placed under in the U.S., and the hostility it generates is quite evident to see when one goes into an expensive restaurant and notices how the wait staff greets the clientele with smiles of thinly disguised resentment. Both cultures in their own way spawn “undisciplined squads of emotion,” and distort the true nature of the feeling function, diminishing the role it plays in promoting consciousness.

Individuation is the goal, and the by-product of this project is consciousness. Consciousness, as we commonly think of it, is the unified mental pattern that brings the object and the self together. We are not embedded in the world like an animal whose only recourse is to react out of instinct.

We have minds, and we have the capacity for self-reflection. We also have the power of choice, but the kinds of choices we make depend on the level of our awareness of our own personality configuration. The activity of consciousness is selective, demanding a direction in perception and judgment, a direction to which we will always already move toward, what Heidegger calls the “thrown” position.

We are capable of much more intelligence than a standard run-of-the mill approach to dealing with challenges. We can, as the philosopher Jacques Derrida says, learn to improvise, but I also say it helps to understand the dynamics of personality type.

A fundamental law in Jung’s theory states that the functions stand in opposition to each other and obey the principle of exclusion.

Two irrational functions {Sensing/Intuition} Perceiving
Two rational functions {Thinking/Feeling} Judging

Differentiation is the process by which the individual recognizes the distinguishing roles that the psychological functions play in achieving consciousness. Jung developed sophisticated definitions of these components of consciousness in "Psychological Types" in Chapter XI, Definitions:

  • Sensing (S) tells us something exists, what it looks like, how it is made.
  • Intuition (N) tells about possibilities, unseen connections, and unfolding patterns.
  • Thinking (T) tells us what to call something and what it means.
  • Feeling (F) tells us what its value is to me.

It is not as if the mind comes to us already differentiated, and it is a cardinal characteristic of an undifferentiated mental process to defeat its own purpose by generating ambivalence and contradictions. Jung says that only a function that has been cleanly separated out from the whole can be directed by the will and generate the kind of psychic current that allows for clarity.

We learn as we go along that we have definite preferences in the way we use our minds, and we favor the functions that come to us most naturally. However, the dominant function, which is the most differentiated, always begets its opposite, the inferior function. For a function to be differentiated means that it is available and subject to conscious control, more or less. The inferior function, on the other hand, operates quite autonomously, that is to say, unconsciously and arbitrarily, and it is often viewed by the bearer as a disturbance in the flow of psychic (cognitive) energy.

The inferior function is the least differentiated function in the personality. It is the last function to develop, and it is the function that is least subject to the will. The direction of the flow of one’s psychic energy is opposite to the dominant attitude. Energy will be introverted if the person’s dominant function is extraverted, and energy will be extraverted if the person’s dominant function is introverted.

Here is an illustration of the personality configuration of an ENTJ. Extraverted Thinking (ET) is the dominant mode; Introverted Feeling (IF) is in the inferior position. On the ends of the arms of this cross are the auxiliary function, Introverted Intuition (IN) and in the third spot is Extraverted Sensing (ES). The auxiliary function and tertiary functions are seen as complementary agents, helping to shape consciousness.

I realize that what I’ve said in this explanation so far is baby talk to anyone who is familiar with the Meyer’s Briggs Type Indicator®, but I am laying the groundwork for a deeper look at the tension between the thinking and feeling functions. I contend that there is a battle going on within the modern mind and in the culture between thinking and feeling in their dominant modes. In the West, the humanistic tradition has been slighted because it is too fuzzy, and it does not often guarantee a profit. Richard Rorty, an eminent American philosopher, says our conception of rationality is distorted because it ignores the feeling function and disqualifies the humanities as rational activities. The hard scientist has been elevated to the station of high priest, and the philosopher-poet is homeless, living under a bridge.

The Feeling Function:​

It is necessary, I think, to create a deeper understanding of the idea of rationality with a better feel for the feeling function. Practically everybody whose thought I respect agrees with the fact that the feeling function is the most ambiguous and difficult to pin down. In the Oxford Dictionary, encountered a tremendous number of definitions of feeling that implicate thought, sensation, sentiment, premonition, sensitivity, and sympathy.

We use the term feeling in a variety of expressions that do not carry the meaning that Jung intended. He meant that feeling is a kind of judgment, differing from intellectual judgment (thinking), in that its aim is not to establish conceptual relations but to set up a subjective criterion of acceptance or rejection based upon some sort of valuation factor.

The feeling function, according to Jung, is rational, and the term rational comes from the Latin root ratio, which means to calculate, to establish order and to supply a reason to make a value judgment. Feeling is a cognitive process that rationalizes emotional content. The performance of the function is to be distinguished from the affect generated by the physical innervations when the intensity of feeling increases. The feeling function, in other words, does not rattle your nerves, it informs you in a concrete way that your nerves are rattled after you accidentally bumped into, and knocked over, a tripod holding up an expensive camera in a crowded auditorium at a graduation ceremony. The feeling function is that psychological process in us that evaluates the feeling tone of our thought and actions.

As a thinking type, I can from an intellectual standpoint understand the meaning of Jung’s classification of feeling as a rational process, but my experience of feeling is obscured by a number of factors. Jung makes reference to one of the complications in the Tavistock Lectures.

“Now the dreadful thing about feeling is that it is, like thinking, a rational function. All men who think are absolutely convinced that feeling is never a rational function, but, on the contrary, most irrational. Now I say: just be patient for a while and realize that man cannot be perfect in every respect. If a man is perfect in his thinking he is surely never perfect in his feeling, because you cannot do two things at the same time; they hinder each other. Therefore, when you want to think in a dispassionate way, really scientifically or philosophically, you must get away from all feeling-values. You cannot be bothered with feeling-values while you are thinking, otherwise you begin to feel that is more important to think about the freedom of the will, than for instance, about the classification of lice.”​

What Jung says reminds me of conversations that I have had with successful business men who have, on the one hand, been embarrassed and outraged by the excessive pay packages awarded to corporate executives, but who, on the other, dismiss the value of their judgment by defending the intellectual ideal of capitalism. In this same lecture, Jung goes on to say that there is a value consideration to every fact, and the role of the feeling function allows the self-aware individual to make a normative connection. However, if the feeling function is undifferentiated as it well may be in a mind governed by a dominant thinking function, there is insufficient psychic energy at the disposal of the mind to embrace the moral question.

Richard Grasso, former President of the New York Stock Exchange, and other successful business leaders like Jack Welch, the titan of GE, have rationalized their winnings. They are unable to see how the calculations they have made about what they have “earned” have undermined public trust and confidence in the integrity of big business. I think it is significant to consider the negative consequences that corporate profiteering has had on the economy, and these scandals are a reflection of the confusion that occurs when the feeling function is enslaved by a dominant thinking mindset. Jung says the feeling function tells you what something is worth to you, not from a material or intellectual vantage point, but from the subjective and personal experience that one gets (feels) when an archetypal norm is either affirmed or dismissed.

“Values are no anchors for the intellect, but they exist and giving value is an important psychological function. If you want to have a complete picture of the world you must necessarily consider values. If you don’t, you will get into trouble.”

Since there are so many interesting distinctions to make about the feeling function, I am preparing running list of some of the more remarkable characteristics of this form of rationality:

  • The root of the word feeling comes from the Latin functus, which carries the dual meaning of perform and enjoy. In French, the word for feeling is sentir, which is associated with our word sentiment. In Greek, the word is estima, from which we get the derivations of esteem and estimate. Metaphors of feeling use the language of sensation; we call feelings sweet or bitter, tender or hard, and there is justification for the sensuous connection because the Teutonic root of the word means to “perceive by touch.” Furthermore, there is a further connection between feeling and the hand. In Greek, the word, orexis, means appetite, a faculty of mind that pursues and wants to reach out and grasp something that is longed for.

  • The sensing function and emotion are closely related. Newman’ research leads him to postulate that sensing as a cognitive process allows for the direct perception of emotional states, not only in ourselves, but in others. Sensing is pure perception because it entails an instinctive, immediate, and essentially non-verbal reading of emotional cues. Recognition of and reaction to our immediate emotional experience is regulated by the feeling function.

  • Feeling is not fundamentally an intellectual process, nor is it verbal. When we are in a feeling state, we are often at a loss for words, and we use words as loss leaders. Feeling is not communicated through words, that is why someone who is on the receiving end of a difficult message, may not remember a word that was spoken, but understands perfectly the feeling tone of those remarks. We convey as much to others by our tone of voice, facial expression and body language as we do from words.

  • As a mental process, feeling takes time, more time than is needed for perception. Like thinking it must organize information gathered by the perceiving functions, but it judges by values. The more differentiated and rich the set of values, the longer it may take for the individual to weigh and balance the determination.

  • Whereas thinking strives towards objectivity and suppression of emotional factors, feeling aims for a subjective response, reconciling personal opinion with established values, ethical precepts, aesthetic inclinations. Feeling looks for and gathers up for consideration what thought wants to disregard.

  • Feeling as a function differs from feelings, which can be distinguished as emotion, affect, passion, and instinctual reactions. Feelings are the contents that the feeling function cognizes and organizes to produce a response that is appropriate to the personal situation. The feeling function may evaluate sense objects, psychic phenomena, and thoughts to discover the feeling response that is stimulated or provoked in the encounter.

  • Feelings are not only personal, but they also reflect a recollection of historical and universal truths, as well as recognition of social tension. A way to speak about them is to refer to them as collective determinants, hooks and pulleys, having the power to influence the way we feel and trigger impersonal reactions. We say we have feelings, but it is often the case that our feelings are not our own, and we use the feeling function to help us sort out genuine sentiment from the spurious.

  • The feeling function is based on the structure of feeling memory, a set of values that serve as references for comparison. Within Newman’s model of the “emotional sphere of consciousness,” there is a conscious as well as unconscious domain, and it is out of the unconscious that the affects arise. Memory is part of the unconscious, and it consists of visual and experiential images. Memories generated out of the unconscious are part of the “experiential memory,” and they are not the same as memories that flow from the intellectual sphere of consciousness. There is an intimate relationship between memory and affect, and the emotional charge connected to memory often determines whether we remember or forget.

  • The feeling function has the capacity to alter objective experience in the service of feeling values. It is tough to remember certain things and hard to forget others. Memories can be honestly reconstructed in the light of greater knowledge and experience, and the feeling function can serve the cause of individual growth by allowing for a more generous and forgiving interpretation of past performance.

Individuation Profile #1-The ENTJ​
An independent consultant is building his practice, and he is studying with a spiritual teacher. He is struggling financially, but more importantly, he has not yet claimed his voice. He wants to organize and lead some seminars on self-development, but he is not quite sure of himself. He does not know if he is ready. He asks permission from his teacher to send out a flyer to announce the advent of an offering entitled Thinking for Yourself. The teacher is not entirely confident that the consultant is up to the task, but he grants permission anyway with the proviso that the consultant use none of the teacher’s work, consisting of notes, lectures, essays and sermons.

The consultant is not entirely clear how to avoid being viewed as a plagiarist, but he has committed himself to go ahead with his plan of preparing an invitation. He creates a flyer, sends it out to people, but he does not mail a copy to his teacher. He avoids this last step because he has been accused in the past of misattribution. In a letter to a client the previous summer, the consultant mentioned an idea and said it came from Plato. The teacher saw a copy of the letter and was offended because he said the idea was his.

A few weeks go by, and the consultant feels guilty for not including the teacher in his mailing. He sends a flyer to the teacher hoping to get a blessing. When the invitation is opened, the teacher takes great offense. He picks up his phone, and leaves a strong message on the consultant’s answering machine. The consultant is accused of stealing intellectual property, and he is dismissed from the spiritual path. The force of that indignant voice on tape drove the consultant into a cave where he had to meet his unrefined inferior function, introverted feeling, while he licked his wounds.

John Beebe, in his tapes, A New Model of Psychological Types, speaks about the profound upset that a break in primary identification causes an individual. He mentions how Jung’s mental life was overturned when he and Freud had a final falling out. For a time, the consultant was not sure of what to do. He could apologize to the teacher for borrowing ideas, or he could stand his ground and claim ownership of his own mind and authorship of his work. The consultant visits a retired professor, who is a close friend to ask for advice. The professor asks, what is there to apologize for? The consultant cannot honestly answer the question, and for that reason, he realizes an apology is not warranted.

Coming to terms with one’s inferior function is painful. The consultant sought help from the professor, who always manifested a feeling kind of energy, and he resumed work with a former counselor, who is an ENFJ. After many reconstructions of the “firing squad” experience, a dream emerged from the psyche of the consultant a year later.

Somebody has donated a herd of cattle to me and some elephants. The cattle arrive one by one from far away places, and they immediately disperse into the woods. I don’t know where they are, and I am worried about them. I travel down to the New Land, and I am standing at the top of the South Field hoping that they will show up en masse because it is the only place I know of that can accommodate so many animals. A beautiful bull steps out of the woods on the other side of the road, and he travels directly towards me .

I notice a strong and handsome young man walking close to the bull’s side, the young man is dressed as a Masai warrior/herdsman and he carries a whistle. He doesn’t even blow the whistle, he just touches it and all of the animals appear again out of the blue and congregate on the South Field where I had my tractor accident.

There are bulls and cows and elephants. The field is full of animals and I am worried about having enough pasture to feed everybody, but my anxiety subsides. We all fall asleep together on the field as night falls. I don’t own the New Land anymore…​

Individuation Profile #2-The ISFP​

The overall mental process of an SF can be summed up as follows:
“SF people, like ST people, rely primarily on sensing for purposes of perception, but they prefer feeling for purposes of judgment. They too are mainly interested in facts that they can gather directly through the senses, but they approach their decisions with more subjectivity and personal warmth. The subjectivity and warmth comes from their trust of feeling, with its power to weigh how much things matter to themselves and others. They are more interested in facts about people than in facts about things.”

The ISFP is a man of quiet sensitivity, who is devoted to serving others. He wants to go about his life without a strong desire to control or manage others. He rarely imposed his will on situations or on other people when he was a partner in a private medical practice. Decisions in that setting were arrived at collectively, and he was rarely the one to issue an order.

Now, however, he has assumed an important leadership position in a major community hospital where he discharges the role of Director, Clinician, and Teacher. He is doing a good job in all three areas, and without preaching, his presence has formed an ethical backbone for his unit. His positive influence is a reflection of a firm belief in human ideals. Nevertheless, organizational demands and the crisis in health care funding require leadership of an authoritative nature. The ISFP realizes the nature of the challenge, and he works one-on-one with a private consultant to clarify his thinking and strengthen his decision-making ability.

Conversations about management tend to converge around the question of how to be more productive. In other words, how to do more and how to do it better. While it is the conversation of the day for organizations worldwide, productivity is not the answer to every management question. The ISFP tends to do more than his share of work, and he has been slow in the past to call members of his team to account for not carrying their share of the load. One member of his staff had the irritating habit of finding ways to hoard personal time and take many long weekends, causing others on staff to fill in the service gaps. When members of the team clearly voiced their disapproval of this behavior, the ISFP took notice, but he was not especially demanding toward the offender, and he hoped the problem would clear up out of good faith.

This issue became a major topic of conversation between the ISFP and his paid advisor. The conversation resembled a tennis game, introverted feeling complains that certain fundamental norms such as professional trust and collegiality are not being respected, extraverted thinking returns the serve with a sharp backhand, asking the question does it make sense to tolerate substandard performance. The conversation activated the leaders tertiary function, introverted intuition, which, in this case, points to the wider ramifications of not confronting a difficult situation.

For the ISFP whose dominant function is introverted feeling, the question of a problem employee does not conspicuously show up like a legal principle, such as fairness as it would in the mind of thinking type, or as an issue of structural integrity, as it would for a sensing type with a strong preference for order and control.

Despite his best intentions, the problem with this colleague got worse. It was at this point in the wrestling match between leader and consultant that extraverted sensation and introverted intuition joined forces to smell out the future. It became clear to the leader that decisive action needed to be taken to avoid conflict with the rest of the staff. When enough weight is placed on a dominant function, namely feeling, psychic energy sinks down to the bottom to be informed and nourished by an opposite brand of rationality, extraverted thinking.

In his own quiet and understated way, the leader directed his will and gracefully dismissed the employee in such a way that it appeared to everybody that all interests were served. Perfection was achieved; now on to the job of completion. For this task, the consultant has recommended a book on dreams.

The feeling function in the final analysis is quite capable of transcending the personal and the subjective.

The more differentiated and abstract feeling becomes the more strength it has to contribute to the development of culture and civilization. We are in the middle of a big global adjustment, and the feeling function needs to play a big role in developing matters of taste, aesthetics, and ethics. I am reflecting, in part, the views of James Newman who contributed so much to me in the very short amount of time that I knew him. By his very presence in Boston eight years ago, I witnessed the power of a man who knew that thinking and feeling cannot afford the divorce. We must recreate a higher understanding of rationality and bring the two parties back together. It is art, literature, philosophy, and religion that may save us in the long run, all the fuzzy things that make music.

Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
-T.S. Eliot, the Four Quartets​


MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why So Many INFP mistypes

In this article Fudjack and Dinkelaker humorously elucidate, by constructing their own typology nomenclature, the phenomenon of why there are so many INFP and INFJ mixups and mistypes. The article underscores the fallacy of the Judging/Perceiving paradigm and its underlying assumptions.

What We Mean When We Speak of the 'inFp', etc
A Critique of the J/P Designation in the MBTI

© John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker - February, 2000​

If you are reading this paper you are probably familiar with the four-letter names that the MBTI uses to identify the 16 personality types into which it separates individuals - the INFP, INFJ, ENFP, ENFJ, ISFP, ISFJ, ESFP, ESFJ, INTP, INTJ, ENTP, ENTJ, ISTP, ISTJ, ESTP, and ENTJ. You will probably know that much useful information can be read directly from the type name itself - it tells you whether the individual is an 'introvert' or 'extravert', which function is the individual's dominant one, and so forth.

You are not likely, however, to be as familiar with the alternative nomenclature that we sometimes use at our site. What do we mean when we speak of the inFp, for instance, or the esTj? In this short piece we're going to try to describe, as briefly as possible, what we had in mind in developing this alternative labeling convention. Afterwards, John will be happy to entertain any questions that you may have about this matter and discuss with you in detail any of the issues that we've raised in this paper.

Section One - The First 3 Letters​

In the absence of an explicit explanation about the conventions that underly our alternative nomenclature, it can easily be misinterpreted in various ways. At first glance, for example, some who see the term 'iNfp' may think that we are talking about an introvert with a typical INFP preference order (F-N-S-T) who has an exceptionally strong iNtuitive function. But that is not at all what we mean by this abbreviation.

In the following we will try to articulate, as precisely as possible, the rules according to which our naming convention operates. In the course of doing this we will compare it to the traditional MBTI nomenclature. This should demonstrate the ONE specific difference between the convention we are suggesting and the one traditionally used in the MBTI. And, more importantly, it will begin to give you some idea WHY we believe this difference to be an important one.

We'd like to start with a simple fact that you may not be aware of - the fact that you only need to know two things about an individual in order to definitively and unambiguously establish that individual's MBTI type. All you need to know is the individual's functional 'preference order' and his or her orientation (I/E). If an individual is an 'I' (introvert), for example, and has an F-N-S-T preference order, there can be no doubt whatsoever, according to the MBTI, that he or she is an INFP. One cannot have that orientation and preference order without being an INFP. And, conversely, all INFPs will have that particular orientation and preference order.

The MBTI naming convention tells you that 'F' is the dominant function for this type, because P' in combination with the 'I' points to the third letter as the one representing the dominant function. If the first letter in the name were 'E', the 'P' would point to the second letter as the one representing the dominant function. Once one know that 'F' is the dominant function in the INFP, and 'N' the auxiliary, there is only one preference order that fits: F-N-S-T.

So far, so good. There is nothing in any of this yet with which anyone could disagree. These are simply facts about how the MBTI naming convention works.

But now lets take into consideration the fact that the four-letter naming convention that the MBTI uses is really just that - a convention. One can easily imagine establishing alternative type labels that express EXACTLY the same thing. Once more taking the INFP as an example, we could decide to indicate that he or she has an 'I' orientation and an F-N-S-T preference order by using a type-name that has only three letters - and assign the label 'inF' to such individuals. Instead of utilizing a fourth letter (a 'j' or 'p', like the MBTI does) to point to which of the two specified functions (feeling or intuition) is dominant, we could simply capitalize the dominant function.

The capital 'F' in 'inF' would indicate that feeling is dominant, and intuition is auxiliary. The 'i' in 'inF' tells us, of course, that the individual is an introvert. So the label 'inF' tells us everything we need to know in order to identify the individual's MBTI type. It is therefore an entirely acceptable subsitute nomenclature for the label 'INFP'.

And that, in brief, is what the first three letters of our nomenclature mean. Nothing more, nothing less. It is simply an alternate shorthand for identifying the individual's MBTI type - identifying that he is, in the case of the inF example, an Introvert with F-N-S-T preference order.

Similarly, the label 'iNf' would simply be shorthand for an introvert with N-F-T-S preference order - which, using the conventional MBTI nomenclature, could alternatively be labeled 'INFJ'. And so forth and so on with the remaining types, as follows:

orientation & preference order MBTI name
iNf = I and N-F-T-S = Ni-Fe-Ti-Se = INFJ
inF = I and F-N-S-T = Fi-Ne-Si-Te = INFP
eNf = E and N-F-T-S = Ne-Fi-Te-Si = ENFP
enF = E and F-N-S-T = Fe-Ni-Se-Ti = ENFJ
iSf = I and S-F-T-N = Si-Fe-Ti-Ne = ISFJ
isF = I and F-S-N-T = Fi-Se-Ni-Te = ISFP
eSf = E and S-F-T-N = Se-Fi-Te-Ni = ESFP
esF = E and F-S-N-T = Fe-Si-Ne-Ti = ESFJ
iSt = I and S-T-F-N = Si-Te-Fi-Ne = ISTJ
isT = I and T-S-N-F = Ti-Se-Ni-Fe = ISTP
eSt = E and S-T-F-N = Se-Ti-Fe-Ni = ESTP
esT = E and T-S-N-F = Te-Si-Ne-Fi = ESTJ
iNt = I and N-T-F-S = Ni-Te-Fi-Se = INTJ
inT = I and T-N-S-F = Ti-Ne-Si-Fe = INTP
eNt = E and N-T-F-S = Ne-Ti-Fe-Si = ENTP
enT =E and T-N-S-F = Te-Ni-Se-Fi = ENTJ

So, without using the 'J' or 'P' designation at all, we are able to generate a set of labels that stand for the same sixteen permutations of Orientation-plus-Preference-Order that make up the MBTI roster of 16 types. When you stop to think about it, the three-letter shorthand that we suggest is actually easier to 'read' than the MBTI type name. The dominant function is directly indicated by the capital letter. When you see eSt, you immediately know that S is dominant. You don't have to remember any complex rules - about 'I' in combination with 'P' (or 'E' in combination with 'J') pointing to the third letter as dominant, as opposed to 'I' in combination with 'J' (or 'E' in combination with 'P') pointing to the second letter as dominant.

Be that as it may, however, if we left the matter at this stage of development all we'd really have is a trivial example of a three letter nomenclature that could be used instead of the traditional MBTI nomenclature. It might be a bit easier to read, but it is still just an alternative nomenclature. It does not disagree with the MBTI. It doesn't call any assertion that the MBTI makes into question, or in any other way disagree with MBTI theory or practice.

Section Two - The Fourth Letter​

But lets now go one step further. To the first three letters of our new nomenclature we can easily imagine adding a fourth letter. Why would one want to do that if the first three letters are sufficient to specify preference order and orientation (and hence unambiguously define 'type')? Well, we might want to use a fourth letter to give a further bit of information about the individual.

Perhaps the fourth letter could be used to tell us whether or not the individual likes dogs (D) or cats (C), or is left handed (L) or right handed (R). Or perhaps it could be used to indicate whether the person has a tendency toward closure or not. To indicate a tendency toward closure, we could use the letter 'j' as the fourth letter, and to indicate a tendency toward non-closure, lets use 'p' as the fourth letter. And lets further specify that the 'J' and 'P' scales on the MBTI are to be used to test for 'j' and 'p'.

If a particular inF, then, turns out to have a tendency toward non-closure, by testing as a 'P' on the MBTI, we would signify this accordingly - by saying he is an 'inFp'.

'But how does this differ from the MBTI?', you might ask, perhaps a little bit frustrated at this point with all the detail that seems to be getting us nowhere. 'Aren't you still just saying the same thing as the MBTI?'

No. Not exactly. Granted, in the case of the inFp there is no difference - call the person an inFp or an INFP and it doesn't really matter - both amount to the same thing: an introvert (I) with F-N-S-T preference order and a proclivity toward 'p' (non-closure). But now consider this: to the first three letters in our new nomenclature, 'inF', you could also theoretically add a 'j' as the fourth letter - a possibility that isn't allowed in the MBTI!

This possibility isn't allowed in the MBTI because, according to the ASSUMPTIONS underlying the MBTI, since the orientation is 'I' and the preference order is F-N-S-T, one MUST add a 'p' to the first three letters, inF. If we want to act according to this assumption - that all Introverts with F-N-S-T preference order have 'p' traits (preference for non-closure, etc) - we'd have to say that every inF is an inFp.

But is this assumption TRUE? That is the $64,000 question!!!

If it indeed IS true, than the 'inF' must necessarily be equivalent to the inFp; and the 'p' in our new nomenclature would simply be redundant. Insofar as it is redundant, it would be best to simply drop it from the name and revert to the three letter characterization that we speak of in Section One above - inF.

But if it is not true that everyone who has an I orientation and a 'F-N-S-T' preference order is 'p', then some of those who are inF would in actuality turn out to also be 'j' !!! This would result in a new label, the inFj - standing for the person who is an introvert, with F-N-S-T preference order, but a 'j' disposition (preferring closure, etc). It would also result in 15 other previously unrecognized new type-labels. The new four-letter nomenclature would thus not be redundant at all, nor trivial. For it would open up 16 new possibilities that are by DEFINITION outlawed by the assumptions according to which the MBTI works.

We have taken pains in the above to clearly show that the only difference between our nomenclature and the original MBTI nomenclature is that in ours, the 'j/p' designation - the fourth letter - can be taken as a separate VARIABLE. J and P, in our notation, is conceived as varying INDEPENDENTLY with respect to both orientation (I/E) and preference-order, just like preference-order in the traditional MBTI varies independently of orientation (I/E). What our nomenclature does, in effect, is to separate out the TWO roles that the J/P designation plays in the MBTI, replacing one (the use of J/P to point to preference order) with a capital letter in the name, and reserving the other (the fourth letter) for the designation of the individuals tendency, or lack thereof, toward closure.

In addition to permitting the individual to score as (1) either an I or E; and 2) independently associating one of 16 preference orders to the individual; our new four-letter notation also (3) independently associates a preference for 'J' or 'P' to the individual. All three parameters (orientation, preference order, and J/P designation) are conceived as absolutely INDEPENDENT of each other.

But why, then, does the MBTI assume that J/P is not an independent variable?

This is the question that it is only natural to ask at this point, after seeing how our new four-letter nomenclature operates and comparing it to the old nomenclature. And this was exactly the point we were trying to make by proposing the new nomenclature in the first place. It was originally intended as a heuristic tool, a 'teaching device'. For it very clearly brings into relief one particular assumption that is made by the MBTI, a critical one, which we want to call into question - the MBTI assumption that J/P does NOT vary independently with respect to preference order and orientation (I/E).

What EVIDENCE is there for the MBTI assumption that J/P is NOT an independent variable? As far as we can make out, NO evidence is characteristically presented in behalf of this assumption. It is taken to be true 'by definition'. In other words, no evidence is even SOUGHT because the presumed 'dependent' relationship between certain combinations of preference-order/orientation and J/P preference is conceived as being BUILT INTO the definitions themselves.

But is this a legitimate argument in defense of such an assumption? No. In fact, this kind of argument is a fallacy that is in logic sometimes called 'begging the question'. If somebody, for instance, wanted to argue that the earth is flat, you would most likely challenge him. You'd want to know WHY he believes it to be the case that the earth is flat. If, in response to your question, he were simply to answer that he doesn't need any evidence because the word 'earth', the way he is defining it, includes in it the feature of flatness - you could correctly reply that he is 'begging the question'. And by saying that you'd be telling him, in effect, that this 'move' is not permitted.

Another way to say the same thing is that whether or not the earth is flat is not a matter to be settled by DEFINITION but by EMPIRICAL OBSERVATION. The earth's flatness is an hypothesis that is subject to verification or falsification. How does one verify or falsify an hypothesis? By 'looking and seeing', not by merely presenting a definition that makes the hypothesis true.

Similarly, what we are trying to demonstrate here is that the relationship between J/P and the other two variables (preference order and I/E) is ALSO an empirical matter. This means that one cannot simply say, 'but that's how I choose to define the terms'. One must give empirical evidence that P and only P can be attached as the fourth letter to iNf. One must SHOW that there is no such thing as an inFj, not simply DEFINE the inFj out of existence. To do the latter would be nothing more than a conceptual sleight of hand.

'But', somebody might say, 'if the iNfp exists, wouldn't we have already come across one? Wouldn't somebody have tested as an inFj on the MBTI?'. To this question we'd reply that you do in fact come across such people all the time, but don't know it. And you don't know it because the way the MBTI is constructed the inFj will mistakenly be identified as an INFJ (ie, an 'iNfj'). This is so because preference order is not tested independently by the MBTI, but rather INFERRED from the J/P score in combination with the I/E score.

To clearly see this, consider the following. If Mike, an imaginary subject, scores as an INFP on the MBTI, how do we know what his 'preference order' is? Having scored INFP simply means four things - that Mike scored

higher in I than E,
higher in N than S,
higher in F than T, and
higher in P than J.

We know that N and F will be ranked amongst the first two preferred functions for Mike. But how does the MBTI test for the EXACT order in which Mike prefers these functions - his so-called 'functional preference order'? It doesn't. At least not directly. It determines Mike's preference order only INDIRECTLY. It INFERS it from how he scored on the four scales (I, N, F and P - in this example). And this inference is made on the basis of the very ASSUMPTION that we are calling into question - that all Introverts who have an F-N-S-T preference will necessarily test 'P'. It is a 'circular' argument; it 'begs the question'.

So the fact that nobody has ever scored inFj on an MBTI test really tells us nothing about whether inFjs in fact exist. It just tells us that the MBTI, as a test, is based on a theoretical assumption that prevents it from even conceiving of the inFj, let along identifying one.

This is exactly why we decided to explore OTHER methods for determining the individual's preference order - ones that would seek to identify preference order in a somewhat more DIRECT manner, not by inference from the individual's J/P preference.

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Excerpted from Personality Type - Third Mental Function | Roger Pearman

Inconvenient Observations: Questions on the Role and Attitude of the Third Function - Roger Pearman

The role of the third, or tertiary, function in type dynamics is pivotal for a number of reasons in the working of the psyche. Myers initial formulation, for example, proposes that if an individual's auxiliary is a perceiving function then so is the Third function, or if the auxiliary is a judging function so is the third mental function. This is to say that the perceiving or judgment dominant function may need a little extra psychological energy from the auxiliary and tertiary functions to effectively serve the dominant function (per Jung's suggestion, 1921/1971, paragraph 668). To give a specific illustration: an ENFP has a dominant Extraverted Intuiting function with the aid of an auxiliary Introverted Feeling, and according to Myer's type theory the third function would be Introverted Thinking, and fourth function is Introverted Sensing. Myers proposed that the third function was also in the attitude (Extraversion or Introversion) of the auxiliary (Myers and McCaulley, 1985, p.18). Note that Myers and McCaulley's theoretical perspective should not be seen as the final answer, as this model and its relation to Jungian personality type has many empirical and theoretical problems (which cannot be reviewed in this article as these far exceed the purposes of this exploration).

In recent years, a number of writers — Berens, Beebe, Nardi, and others — have argued that the third function (S, N, T, F) is in the order as Myers proposed with the exception that it is in the same attitude (E or I) as the dominant function. In the case of the illustration above for the ENFP, the third function would be Extraverted Thinking. These writers have suggested that their conclusion flows from clinical observation of others and personal reflection on their own types. The proponents of this alternate model have been prolific and highly invested in their proposition to the point that many of their readers and listeners have adopted the model as a fact without recognition of this being a theoretical perspective (Berens, 2005; Beebe, 2007; Nardi, 2007).

The goal of this article is to explore the nature of the third function, which Jungian principles may be relevant, how Myers conclusions were reached, and several empirical considerations given some evidence on the nature of the tertiary function and its attitude. At the risk of upsetting those who may feel that these issues are settled, I propose that we have more questions than answers, and the questions are worth pursuing.

Why type dynamics matters

Practitioners who use personality type at deep levels (e.g., Leadership Coaching) are appropriately concerned about the nature of the third function for the simple reason that in their work with managers, these individuals are typically in a life-phase when the third and fourth functions are critical to their adaptation and effectiveness. For example, the ISTJ manager who was praised for efficiency (Si) and drive (Te) earlier in her career is likely to find these qualities less mission-critical for the role of executive where strategic perspectives (Ni), scenario thinking (Ni), and authenticity (Fi) as a leader are essential. The assignment of mental functions to these qualities is neither accidental nor taken lightly; how an individual may access these energies at different points in the life journey of an individual is very much at stake, depending on your view of type dynamics and the role the functions play in conscious and unconscious domains.

Jungian perspectives

Jung gives specifics regarding the attitude of all functions and the energy direction of the third and fourth functions. He wrote: "Apart from the qualities I have mentioned, the undeveloped functions posses the further peculiarity that, when the conscious attitude is introverted, they are extraverted and vice versa" (Jung, 1932, paragraph 908). The "they" of this quote is very much in question. Some Jungians feel that the dominant and auxiliary are in the same attitude and the tertiary and inferior in opposite attitudes (Gray and Wheelwright, 1946; Whitmont, 1969). Jung makes it clear that the four functions (S,N,T,F) are always present and at work within the psyche of the individual, and that a "superior" function is aided by a "complimentary" auxiliary function. The paragraph in which we explains this structure in the psyche is both essential to grasp and paradoxical, given Myer's (and now the widely used form of) type dynamics. Jung wrote:
"Experience shows that the secondary function is always one whose nature is different from, though not antagonistic to, the primary function. Thus thinking as the primary function can readily pair with intuition as the auxiliary, or indeed equally well with sensation but never with feeling....The auxiliary function is usefully only in so far as it serves the dominant function ....the unconscious functions likewise group themselves in patterns correlated with the conscious ones. Thus, the correlative of conscious, practical thinking may be an unconscious intuitive-feeling attitude, with feeling under a stronger inhibition than intuition." (Jung, 1971, 406-407) (Emphasis is mine.)

The importance of these principles for the third and fourth functions is multilayered. Jung specifically notes that a judging function is paired with a perceiving function and that this similar pairing is repeated in unconsciousness. He notes that the auxiliary serves the dominant and by parallel it would make sense that the third serves the fourth function, as the fourth is the most unconscious of functions and therefore the dominant energy force in the unconscious. Notice the speculative and tentative assertions as suggested by "may be" comments. We can speculate that he either didn't want to say or simply wasn't too interested in this exploration at that time.

Nonetheless, he comments that there is a correlative structure in the unconscious self, and how that correlation is interpreted is very much at stake in understanding the third function. As will be suggested later, Jung leaves room for numerous interpretations of these principles, and did so throughout the course of his writings in his career.

Because it reflects on the complexity in the psyche that Jung repeatedly noted, it is important that he acknowledges that there are more "types" than those he has categorized with his system of attitudes and functions (Jung, 1923, paragraph 914). Jung references the "structure" of the functions in the unconscious, which we will explore later (Jung, 1971, p.405-407). These Jungian references are quite important as Myers extensive quoting of Jung's writings indicates that she intended to look at psychological type within the context of Jung's system as a whole (Myers, 1980). When we consider this proposition, all of Myers' assumptions need to be viewed in light of the available evidence of Jung's perspective.

Jung declares that an individual's "habit" for Extraversion and Introversion permeates all of conscious awareness (Jung, 1971, p.540). This raises the perspective that in balancing conscious and unconscious energy, the dominant function and its attitude are a huge weight on one side of the scale of conscious awareness and to achieve energy balance with the unconscious, a good deal would have to be going on in the un-(or semi) conscious processes of the individual. The energy requirements of a balancing psychic system led Myers to propose, in accordance with Jung's perspective as noted above, that the three functions differ from the dominant in the opposite attitude (Myers and McCaulley, 1985).

Because of the outcomes on the whole of type theory, a more subtle consideration in Jung's theory is the nature and role of psychological opposites, in which he clearly posits consciousness-unconsciousness, and perceiving (S/N) and judging (T/F), but not always focusing on Sensing as opposite Intuiting or Thinking as opposite Feeling. In fact, Jung makes a much larger issue that Sensing/Intuiting are irrational ways of perceiving which are opposite Thinking/Feeling as rational ways of judging as psychological processes (Jung, 1971, p. 459). Jung goes to great lengths to define the four functions and when contrasting them, he does not always refer to them as opposites until he specifies this in the definitions at the end of the book; he sees them as different sides of two coins, one coin for perceiving and another coin for judging life experiences. This raises interesting possibilities for how we present and think about type dynamics. If for example, the fourth function is completely "opposite" ( in Jungian terms) the dominant, consider that he really meant psychologically opposite functions and rather than an ENFP having an Introverted Sensing fourth function, it is a judgment function (Introverted Thinking) that is in the fourth position? Let me quickly add that Jung makes a passing conditional, non-committal statement that it is likely that the most inferior function of a Thinking type would be Feeling, but he quickly admits that while there is structure to the energy in the unconscious, this is to be explored territory.

Jung points out that the auxiliary is "always one whose nature is different from, though not antagonistic to, the leading function: thus, for example, thinking, as a primary function, can readily pair with intuition as auxiliary or equally well with sensation but never with feeling" (Jung 1971, p.515). Though it goes against convention in the way users of MBTI® tool approach type today, one could argue that if the fourth function is psychologically opposite in Jungian terms, then the third function would be closer to the dominant function's nature as irrational or rational processes. For example, as suggested earlier in Jungian terms the ENFP (as sorted by the MBTI® tool) might actually look as follows: Extraverted Intuition aided with Introverted Feeling, followed with Introverted Sensing and a fourth function of Introverted Thinking. All of this is central to the developing individuals, as Jung noted, "…the differentiation of the four orienting functions is, especially, an empirical consequence of typical differences in the functional attitude." Jung's observation is that the attitude of the function is of consequence within the psyche, and perhaps the attitude of the function is more important than its position order after the dominant function.

Jung's balancing psyche is a mixture of energies, conscious and unconscious, which have different centers of gravity. For the conscious energy, the ego is the center and for the unconscious, the shadow is the center of energy. Jung has given a structure of the conscious use of functions with the "superior" (dominant) and auxiliary functions. As noted above, he pointedly notes that, "The unconscious functions likewise group themselves in patterns correlated with the conscious ones" (Jung, 1971, p. 407). It is not a hard stretch to consider that if the superior function is judging aided with a perceiving function, and if the fourth function is psychologically opposite the dominant in every way, then the primary unconscious function is perceiving and it would be aided with a judging process. If I take the language of opposites and balancing energies in the conscious and unconscious realms at face value, imagine the following as a structure:

Conscious Centerpointe

Unconscious Centerpointe

To borrow an even older icon, consider the ying-yang in which the following is more representative of Jung's overall perspective of the psyche:

Unconscious "field" with a dominant energy which contains and is related to the opposite.

Conscious "field" with a dominant energy which contains the opposite.

Reflect on this in terms of a balanced energy system in which a dominant perceiving (larger white "field") needs an auxiliary judging (smaller circle) in consciousness while the dark part reflects the unconscious dominant judging function that needs a supportive perceiving function, or vice versa. This is more representative of the energy dance Jung proposes is at work within the psyche. In this framework we would need an entirely new lens on type dynamics in terms of what is third and inferior.

Given these basic principles, a reordering of the functions from the conventional way the functions play out is an entirely reasonable given Jung's propositions noted above. For clarity's sake, consider the following table and note that the fifth through eight are provided only in deference to current literature. Let us make no mistake that Jung felt there are four functions which are variously associated with two energy attitudes and not eight functions in quite the same way it is used today.

I can think of many cases of each of the sixteen types when this model is a better structure to understand their world view and intrapsychic descriptions than the traditional model which borders on dogma. For example, the ESTJ who describes dark, complex, negative scenarios (Ne) when in the whirl of considerable stress or INFPs who share that when stressed to the max their senses feel as though they will explode from hyper-stimulation (Se). The ENFP who develops a deep sense of incompetence and profound personal questioning (Ti) when ideas and possibilities have been rejected so consistently that they feel utterly bereft of making a contribution.

No less than the propositions I've outlined above (which will startle some readers), Myers entire system is built on a series of deductions and extractions of Jungian observations in combination with her data related to patterns and ways individuals behave in the world. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that her work is an amalgamation of concepts and ideas open to considerable discussion. A reasonable case can be made that Jung would see the fourth function as opposite the dominant in distinctive ways, meaning that judgment is opposite perceiving and what is conscious is opposite an unconscious attitude. Further, Jung seems to suggest that the unconscious functions do not serve the "superior" or dominant function but have more important matters to attend to in the unconscious arena of the psyche. He noted that the "...inferior functions are found in service of"...the opposite attitude of the superior function (Jung, 1973, p.426). In addition, users of type often forget that inferior or unconscious functions are inferior to consciousness not in inferior in strength in the psyche (Jung, 1971 p.450).

Jung sees that it is important for differentiation to occur among the functions or else we would not have types. He wrote that it is the habitual use of a function that sets a "definitive stamp on the character of the individual" (Jung, 1971, p.482). What is critical to understand is that the mental function used in a habitual attitude in consciousness is the source of the type; thus, the other functions work in the un-(or semi) conscious world of psychological energy.

And to this final theoretical point Jung suggests that a differentiating function is more likely to do so in the energy field (E or I) in which it resides (Jung, 1971, 405). Thus, if an individual is an extraverted type, then the other functions would be working in the introverted energy field, or vice versa. This would again suggest Myers formulation is closer to Jung's reflections on the importance of the balancing extraverted and introverted energies in the psyche.

Jung presents a complex system which looks at the whole of an individual's personality within the context of an individual's life-long journey. Too many "hard and fast" rules about how this system works would negate the Jungian insight that the psyche is about the dance of the unique Self to life's improvisational music. There are many points of view regarding Jung's intentions and underlying principles of how the psyche regulates itself. We are left with a variety of propositions and among them is the possibility that Myers was "right" on a number of key aspects of Jung's system and "wrong" on others. The codification of type functions and their order may run counter to the perspective of an evolving Self which is increasingly complex and transfunctional through learning from life experience. Jung concludes at one point that "…we could compare typology to a trigonometric set or better still, a crystallographic axial system…" (Jung, 1971, p. 555). Type is complex and profoundly connected to the whole person.

All of this matters, of course, when you reflect on assisting an individual with gaining type clarity and exploring how the developing psyche is dealing with life's challenges. For example, if a strategy to help an individual gain type clarity includes asking about times when prolonged stress leads to an eruption of the inferior function—thus by default revealing the dominant function—it matters if Myers formulation is correct or if the system has more variation than is explored in the literature.

Myers' MBTI® Model

Isabel Myers was a studious and careful observer of behavior. Her tool was intended to tap into deeper psychological insights. She plainly stated that the purpose of the tool is to help people learn how to understand their psychological type as Jung proposed it existed. She evolved her model over time and spent the last twenty years of her life looking at the evidence of how the types were related to health patterns, career choices, and other human endeavors. Myers' formulation that development is contingent on confidence, stamina, low anxiety and low compensatory strain reflect that she knew that dynamics are complex and full of variation.

From an empirical perspective there is very little solid evidence to support the whole of her model or system (or Jung's model for that matter). There are abundant studies (9,000) that lend evidence to the presence of the preferences E, I, S, N, T, F, J, and P. The few studies that look at whole type are compelling, but even these can be reasonably argued as providing evidence for the blending of characteristics and at best the utility of the roles of the dominant and auxiliary processes as she proposed. Intellectual honesty requires that we remain open as to the need for more convincing evidence of the psychological system rather than about the preferences per se. There are studies that have shown adequate interpretations of MBTI ® data that do not include Myers' dynamic perspective (Reynierse, J.H. and Harker, J.B., 2000, 2001).

Myers' system is compelling and provides a rich and efficient way to organize complex psychological processes. She appears to have relied on Jung's notion that the preferred attitude was pervasive in consciousness and the other functions worked within the unconscious (and therefore the opposite attitude of the dominant) realm of the psyche. The 1985 manual simply lists the mental functions and processes in order for the sixteen types and in her book Gifts Differing (1980) she states all four processes are used with the "two least-used processes remain relatively childish…"(p.183). From these observations and data she painstakingly collected, Myers' descriptions of the types provide clues to the role of the third function in the same attitude as the auxiliary and fourth functions.

We can't have it both ways. We can't argue that the functions have (a) distinctive qualities with associated attitudes and when integrated in the dynamics of the type these are (b) indecipherable aspects of the type. While reviewing descriptions by multiple writers whose works have been published over the last thirty years there is nothing in the descriptions that suggests that the third function creates the kind of distinction suggested by those proponents of the same attitude as the dominant for the third function. This fact, however, is not sufficient to reject the proposition as many of the writers have adopted assumptions and propositions as presented by Myers.

Myers had good reason to propose her system given the data she had collected over decades of type watching.

Jung's model had proposed a way of categorizing preferences for energy (E-I), information (S-N), decision-making (T-F), and the idea of a dominant and supporting dynamic among the perception-judgment processes which she set out to measure. To achieve an understanding of the dynamic of the type processes as she understood Jung intended¸ she created a measurement of orientation (J-P). Jung's more complex propositions about the role of unconscious forces exceeded the boundaries of Myers' tool. And it is precisely the importance of the third and fourth, and in time, all "eight type processes" which have evolved into the current perspectives on type development. The notion that we can gain clarity about our type and how we can appropriately use all type processes (Si, Se, Ni, Ne, Ti, Te, Fi, Fe) has become common place in the way type practitioners think of personality type.

It is important to make note that it is unlikely that Jung would approve of the notion that we can gain full conscious control over those aspects of our psychology which are inherently attending to unconscious energies. There is reason to believe that Jung saw that a shift from the ego—the seat of consciousness—to the Self—the unity of the personality as a whole in which there is integration of the opposites so that you become the true, authentic creative person you are capable of being as the driving force within the psyche (Jung, 1971, p.460). Anything that interferes with this shift and redirects attention to conscious ego control would be viewed as unhealthy. But to understand the importance of this proposition, you need to consider for what purpose all of this psychological energy is being expended, and with Jung, the goal is individuation and not conscious control over unconscious content (Jung, 1959, p.281), which is so ardently encouraged by many type practitioners when they argue that the functions can be brought into more conscious control and managed more deliberately.

For the reasons noted above, the third function and its essential nature is of vital importance to the user of personality type, and how it affects an individual's overall psychology is of no small importance.

One Slice of Evidence

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the largest not-for-profit training center for managers and executives in the world. As a consequence of its status, CCL collects more data on managers that any institution world-wide. CCL is generous with providing data for research and analysis. CCL allowed a study that sampled 150 of each of the sixteen types from the CCL database in which all associated multi-rater ratings, personality tools, interpersonal style assessments, and other demographic variables were analyzed (Pearman and Fleenor, 1996).

While the analyses revealed statistical differences among the sixteen types that are as Myers' type theory would suggest, additional analyses were computed but not published at that time. For example, the California Personality Inventory was used in the study and among the many findings, two are illustrative. INTJs scored the highest on Independence and ISTJs scored the highest on Self-Control of all the sixteen types. A reasonable proposition is that the scores on these two scales, if ordered from highest to lowest scores, would be reflected in the order that these functions occur in each of the types. For example, INTJ and INFJ types would have Ni first and have the highest scores on Independence. ENTJ and ENFJs would use Ni in a secondary position and their scores on Independence would be next, and so forth. A parallel proposition is proposed for Self-Control scores and the placement of Introverted Sensing (Si) for each of the types.

Those who know type dynamics as Myers has proposed would not be surprised by these findings (as well as others about which any comprehensive report exceeds the length of this article by hundreds of pages.) Due to page limitations, one independent variable (Self-Control scores from the CPI 434) are summarized in the following table. Interestingly, when you line up the types from Highest to Lowest on Self-Control, the order shows the relationship of the dominant function of these two types to the hypothesized dynamic of the type.

What to do

As users of psychological type our best strategy is to observe, explore, collect data and share rigorous analysis on those data. We may never be able to get comfortable that a definitive answer is evident regarding the third and fourth functions (much less the sixth through eight functions embedded in the psyche of each of us if current literature is to be taken seriously). I am confident that the question remains open and we must be careful not to codify and accept dogma about a slippery set of propositions, especially if this would direct attention away from the primary importance of type as a step toward understanding the integrity of the individual and unleashing the full creative potential of individual psychology. From a practitioner's perspective, our healthiest approach to understanding type dynamics is to begin with a simple hypothesis about the dominant and auxiliary working within an individual and to invite exploring the rest as a discovery of Self.

Roger Pearman, President,, Inc. and Past-President,
Association for Psychological Type International

INxP. Tritype 952. sp or sx.
1,476 Posts
@LiquidLight , and you called this "A Quick Guide..."?!

Anyway, thanks! ^_^ Lately, I've been wondering whether I'm an ENTP (instead of an ENFP) after all and this was an interesting thread even when you confused me with 'quick'.

1,025 Posts
Bumping this thread, because HOLY SHIT is it a classic LiquidLight data-pump!

The connection that Greek ENTJ guy makes with the repression of Feeling and the BS in the American business world makes me feel really sick to my stomach.
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