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Discussion Starter #1
Does the concept of type 'maturity' relate to cognitive development?​


This is just something that randomly just came to me; I haven't really thought it through...


Can the idea of individuals of a certain type, being 'mature' reveal more than just a particular (but unrelated to Jung or any Jungian derivative) characteristic like maturity? or knowledge?

The context in which I refer to maturity;
When people refer to other types and other functional attitudes than the ones most natural to theirselves, alluding to the concept of 'maturity', some people suggest things like, "the mature dominant thinkers, see worth in feeling functions" or something to this effect. Adjacently, the same is often said in regards to what constitutes a "healthy" type (I do not wish to address healthiness here, as it it seems to be colloquially defined and collectively understood on personality forums as distinctive, but still adjacent to 'healthiness', whether that is an inappropriate definition or not. Personally I don't like how healthiness seems to be defined).

The mechanism of maturity relative to functional balance*?

*I use 'development' and 'balance' congruently here.

Perhaps most people in the formative years and early stages of development, have a great tendency to find the oppositional functions of others to their self, or other functions they are not well endowed with (according to functional hierarchy), as being 'strange', 'threatening' and may even be hostile towards other functional attitudes (a question here is, can a dominant function be so wrapped up in the ego, it fundamentally causes imbalance to the psych? I think this is what SimulatedWorld is getting at in the 'types and personality disorders' thread and the other theories concerning tertiary traps, as opposed to the idea of shadow functions. I actually really like this idea).

As I understand it, as one develops, one integrates particular mechanisms of perceiving and judging into their overall mindset in accordance with the theorised pathway. Many have suggested certain types start looking more like each other, the further along development they progress. Specific functions farther down in the individuals hierarchy may appear less 'foreign' and 'threatening'. While that individual may never fully understand the attitudinal mindset characterised by a function that is not their dominant or aux (or which is not integrated into their four defining functions), they may start to value the mindsets of more and more people, and see the relevance of the way they perceive and judge.

So when a person talks about maturity when observing other types/attitudes towards other type functions; is that really less of a comment on the 'other' person, and more of an exercise of addressing and self referencing their own development?

For example, when an infp talks about an estj, can that partially reveal how that infps' development of Si and Te is going? obviously personality traits and personal affinity to their own functions muddle this a little.

I am not necessarily suggesting that maturity in type accords to acceptance of other types, because I think one may be able to do that without necessarily developing. One may be able to see the relevance of a particular functional attitude, without accepting it for instance. I think sometimes type/functional 'hostility' is the result of just a lack of knowledge, and conversely a lot of understanding can come from knowledge of the system. Though clearly, lack of knowledge of a function, also comes from not having it integrated into your particular mindset.
I'm also not suggesting, that "maturity" involves complete balance in all functions- I am not suggesting an intp for instance, is 'mature' when they genuinely see the relevance of (the very last function in their theorised mindset pathway), Fi.

What effect learning about functions has?

However, I don't think this process of learning about functions and other types is passive. One can learn all they like about Jung, but I think only true understanding can come from looking at functions objectively, and seeing their individual relevance to individual types. I wonder; considering all learning relies on mechanisms of perceiving and judging, does it require a certain type of perspective (or judgment?) shift to actually truly see the relevance and value in all functions outside of your defining mindset?

I suggest this, because as a result of learning about functions, I have felt a pull away from my ego. A sudden, 'aha, realisation', that these are all ways of percieving and judging the world that may well be opposed to how I percieve and judge the world, but I'm slowly genuinely understanding them as a result of moving through my dominant and aux functions.




Thoughts? have I typed too much waffle? :S
 

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I think there are different stages to the development of functions. I'll use Fi, since that is my dominant function and I think it's been pretty far developed. This is just the progression I've picked up from myself or others, it is not scientific or empirical in any way.

People can have a phase where they aren't very aware of/don't understand/don't place much importance on Fi. (Stage 1 Fi)

Then, there is a phase (for Fi users, this is where they start) where they experience a very extreme, unbridled Fi - they may be oversensitive, they may have very extreme moods and feelings, they may be empathic to the point that they physically feel sympathy pain for fictional characters, etc. This Fi is overwhelming. (Stage 2 Fi)

Next, they start to learn some control and start to understand their Fi more, and get to where they can start to express it to others more easily (in a reasonably calm manner, most of the time). They are now really able to establish and maintain a fairly consistent moral framework. (Stage 3 Fi)

Perhaps last is cooling down a little and becoming more at ease with one's Fi - being able to freely speak about it in a level-headed way, not having to impose it on anyone, being able to use rational functions alongside it, etc. (Stage 4 Fi)
 
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Discussion Starter #3
I think there are different stages to the development of functions. I'll use Fi, since that is my dominant function and I think it's been pretty far developed. This is just the progression I've picked up from myself or others, it is not scientific or empirical in any way.

People can have a phase where they aren't very aware of/don't understand/don't place much importance on Fi. (Stage 1 Fi)

Then, there is a phase (for Fi users, this is where they start) where they experience a very extreme, unbridled Fi - they may be oversensitive, they may have very extreme moods and feelings, they may be empathic to the point that they physically feel sympathy pain for fictional characters, etc. This Fi is overwhelming. (Stage 2 Fi)

Next, they start to learn some control and start to understand their Fi more, and get to where they can start to express it to others more easily (in a reasonably calm manner, most of the time). They are now really able to establish and maintain a fairly consistent moral framework. (Stage 3 Fi)

Perhaps last is cooling down a little and becoming more at ease with one's Fi - being able to freely speak about it in a level-headed way, not having to impose it on anyone, being able to use rational functions alongside it, etc. (Stage 4 Fi)

All theorising is good here. I always talk out of my ass :D

I like your theory.. though to me, it seems to me like it is the integration of Ne (stage 2/3), si (stage 3/4) and Te (stage 4) ?? though the idea of 'developing' the dominant function is something I don't think is theorised enough about (not that I've read much, but I always see people alluding to the idea that functional heirarchy does not describe how 'well' you 'use' functions. I don't like the idea of 'using' functions, or the idea of 'using them well' it makes more sense to me to think of things in terms of balance and energy, but anyway I digress).

I'm in a hurry, so I'll come back and make a better case for it later, but what do you think?
 

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All theorising is good here. I always talk out of my ass :D

I like your theory.. though to me, it seems to me like it is the integration of Ne (stage 2/3), si (stage 3/4) and Te (stage 4) ?? though the idea of 'developing' the dominant function is something I don't think is theorised enough about (not that I've read much, but I always see people alluding to the idea that functional heirarchy does not describe how 'well' you 'use' functions. I don't like the idea of 'using' functions, or the idea of 'using them well' it makes more sense to me to think of things in terms of balance and energy, but anyway I digress).

I'm in a hurry, so I'll come back and make a better case for it later, but what do you think?
You might well be correct in that. I'm still working on my understanding of function theory. I don't like how much of it is described - I mean, pretty much everyone uses pretty much all of the functions, I see it all the time. What makes a function more dominant seems to be awareness, priority, and work put in to improve one's proficiency in it.
 
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As I typically do, I'm possibly gonna contradict myself/babble :p

I think that we have all of our four functions(John Beebe's model makes sense to me, but I don't want to delve into that since it's not what we're talking about lol) but that our dominant function's attitude is much more prevalent. The attitudes of our supporting functions may be unhinged, but we learn to apply them and we begin to look at the world in these terms as we mature.

If I look back to my childhood, I was pretty much a stereotypical Ne dominated child. I didn't like rules because they seemed to hold me back. I was creative and always had a project I was working on, but I had a hard time finishing things because I always wanted to do something new. I was always learning about different subjects and I rarely paid attention to my parents. I had a rampant imagination and was constantly testing things for outcomes and what have you.

I'm confident that ENTP is my type, so I'll look at myself in those terms. I could see bouts of Ti in myself. For example, I constantly asked my parents questions about words and observations just for the sake of learning and understanding. I would think they'd like the idea of having a child who was curious, but they found it annoying, and I eventually learned to shut up and think about things. Or I'd ask them questions, but I'd start out my questions with, "I know I might be bothering you, but...". That's Fe. Not only that, but I had learned from experience that doing one thing will probably lead to an undesirable result and I figured out how to avoid it. I would argue with my parents a lot, but I'm not naturally a very people-oriented person and I couldn't really perceive how things would effect them...It wasn't natural for me to take that into account. They would get after me when I'd argue with them. Toning down my argumentative nature was a matter of realizing the consequences and learning how to approach things.

That's why I think we have all the functions from birth, but their attitude becomes more prevalent/applied as we learn and explore things. I had those two areas noted above where I used Ne-Ti-Fe-(Si), but I had not applied it to other areas of life, so it may have appeared that my functions were undeveloped, when really I just hadn't experienced enough to be able to apply them fully to other situations. And even my perspective of those situations wasn't broad since I hadn't experienced enough. --I'm putting Si in parentheses because I look at it as more of a background and unconscious function. It's just the base. I'm predominantly the exploring type.
I'm not really sure about the idea of developing a function itself. It seems like that attitude is present in us no matter what. We just gain more perspective as we grow older. And I think that the function attitudes are definitely present in different types in different ways.

We probably trust our dominant function fully as children. Since Ne is an extroverted perception function and I use it as my dominant function, I'm naturally the kind of person who likes to try different ways of doing things and who wants to explore new concepts and things. As a small child, that's probably all I knew, so the idea of being tied down was nightmarish to me!! Maybe because we're so young and this is our dominant attitude, we go about the world with it forcefully as children because we need to. It's probably only as we learn more about the world that we can approach things with our other function attitudes.


Learning about personality theory has given me a new way of looking at people. I more readily recognize their strengths. One major thing about me is that I'm BIG on improvement! I tend to take things that I see in other people and develop them in myself to use in different places in my life. I do see the value in functions besides the ones I have, and I can usually relate personal strengths people have to what I think their type is or their functions are.
 

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I really believe that mid life crisis happen as a result of not allow oneself to fall into the next inferior function. It's a fight or battle. The person wants to be the way they always were and they want to hang on to their idealizations of their thoughts and ideas. But by fighting it, they are in turmoil the whole time. But by giving in, there is finally peace.

As an ENFP my cognitive functions are in this order: Ne>Fi>Te>Si Shadow functions Ni>Fe>Ti>Se. I remember having a really hard struggle with allowing myself to dip into my inferior function. It was huge. I was sad for a while until I just embraced it.

Also, even though my Se should be my least developed function, it came in hardcore at 29 in a very big way. I used therapy to help me embrace it, otherwise I may have stayed in an extremely depressed state. Using the first four functions only relative to their order just plain weren't working for me anymore. I needed my mind to be open to experience things a different way and to have a different perspective.

It's funny, my first few relationships in my 20s and up to my marriage were all with NFs. People similar to me. Later in my thirties I wanted to grow. I already knew how to be an NF and I was becoming MORE than an NF. All functions were kicking in. Examples were like this- in my 20s or teens, I would have never dated a "jock" type. I wanted emotional connection only. But after 29 and a hard core dose of Se bulldozing it's way into my life, I started to only date jocks. More SFs. In addition. I craved more rational types of discussions and relationships because I had full use of my Te and other functions. That is where I started having relationships with more NTs. They helped usher in all those lesser functions that were suddenly bursting through.

Honestly, I couldn't tell you the perfect personality type for me to get along with. I just know that I may not click well with people who are too extreme in their upper cognitive functions. It makes me feel like this: :confused: And they probably wouldn't like me anyway.

And I like your theory, Nova about maybe when someone doesn't like a function, it is because they themselves don't possess it strongly. Probably what functions people say they hate in other's is what they themselves don't possess.

But as I got older, I eventually began craving all functions I didn't possess. I wanted to have relationships with people who could encourage those other functions within me. It was better than doing it on my own. It was depressing, in fact.

Now where I get bugged in functions is not when they are different than me, it's when I see "extremes" in functions, even if they are my own dominant functions. But even this frustration stems probably from self. It could be because I can remember once being like that. And I really don't want to go "back there". It's not comfortable for me. Perhaps I am not far enough from being removed from that time in my life so it's hard for me to be around other's like that.

Anyway, perhaps I'm just old but I do have respect for all of the functions. Good post. *Rolls off in her wheel chair*
 

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I really believe that mid life crisis happen as a result of not allow oneself to fall into the next inferior function. It's a fight or battle. The person wants to be the way they always were and they want to hang on to their idealizations of their thoughts and ideas. But by fighting it, they are in turmoil the whole time. But by giving in, there is finally peace.
There is definitely some kind of struggle with the inferior. I think some people regard my mid life crises as being more driven by the full on embrace of the inferior rather than its rejection. I've joined with my inferior Se in quite a heady way.
 

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There is definitely some kind of struggle with the inferior. I think some people regard my mid life crises as being more driven by the full on embrace of the inferior rather than its rejection. I've joined with my inferior Se in quite a heady way.
If you are not rejecting it, perhaps you are having a mid life transition as opposed to crisis.

I ended up embracing my Se pretty strongly as well. But I had help transitioning with a therapist who basically told me to "bring it on!".

I'm sure it's weird for outsiders to witness. But if you've never fully used this inferior function to it's fullest potential, it's easy to go over board. It's like a new life.
 

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"bring it on!"..(et)...I'm sure it's weird for outsiders to witness. But if you've never fully used this inferior function to it's fullest potential, it's easy to go over board. It's like a new life.
Yeah "Bring it on!" pretty much sums it up. My inner SP Wannabe has been getting quite a workout since I turned 40. My friends think I'm crazy. I kinda like that :crazy:
 

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I have to agree that "maturing" of the tertiary and even the inferior function is something that time seems to evoke. Never considered it as part of the "mid-life" crisis, but as an INTJ that's worth some thought. I know that a divorce at 40 forced me to deal with the tertiary Fi and allow it greater voice, and even now at 47, with a freshly minted ESFP spouse, I have to mine more deeply into my psyche for a look at this Se function that I trust about as far as I can spit a rat.

I think that experience does teach us that our dominant and auxiliary functions, while serving us well through our lives, don't provide us the roundness we need to truly realize our potential... and we have to "try something else". This idea seems to also be encapsulated in the enneagram where we see the healthy flow of one type toward the best qualities of another type (or the worst of yet another if we are not healthy-minded).
 

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This is one of the greatest threads I've read here in a while - it aligns with a lot of my views so that's why I feel that way about it.

I believe it can be helpful to view all functions as objectively as possible but at the same time you have to realize you've probably tried most of them throughout your life anyways (or will), regardless of what your type is. What is good to realize is that one needs a little bit of everything depending on the situation because each situation requires a different coping strategy. I assume that 'mature', developed individuals are aware of this and therefore seem to be more balanced and less of a radical representation of their original type because they've learned to mingle in order to surmount and survive things properly.

Thanks for posting this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, thanks all who have contributed. I planned for this to be purely contemplative thought exercise - nothing serious, because I can see a hell of a lot of flaws and holes in my thoughts. I just needed to get it out, because as soon as it came to me, the dots all seemed to join!

Some flaws I conceive of;


*some people may idealise other types, without necessarily developing. Maybe an infp 'idealises' the 'Te' mindset, and tries to be like that, and it just ends up in pain, because the infp wasn't developed enough (had a handle on/psych acceptance of ne, si and te?). Though in this instance, clearly Te will still be foreign to the infp, and maybe that's why they idealise it in the first place- "Te works, it's different than how I am, and how I am doesn't work, so i'll value it, so i'm going to 'try it out'". Now what I mean by trying Te out, is not actually trying the attitude out, or by saying "this" is "Te", "I'm going to try it on", but attempting to take on the role of being so reactive to the external environment (which is what I think Te does essentially). like mimicking the behaviour of a Te dom.

* a te-dom can come in conflict with another te-dom, because of ideological differences, all the while thinking, "I don't like how that person thinks". I'm not saying similar functions in interacting people equates to harmony, but that ordinary people don't think about others with much depth. And their surface understanding of others and their motivations, along with mis communication, may be the source of their hostility, as opposed to a cognitive differences. So what i'm saying is, a persons attitude of how other people think as opposed to themselves, may be very superficial, and may not say anything about how the person is developing at all. They may not like a person who thinks differently to them, and may cast them as someone of a different judging or percieving function, when really, they may very well be guided from the same mechanisms, but the differences are ideological.
Then again, not seeing the value or worth of any idea outside of their own self, (same type or not) may be the result of an ego trap itself?

Among others...

@missLara

I like your thoughts, thank you for sharing your experience. I actually like to see how people see their own development, it's important for understanding theory to me!

To me, I see personality (conscious thoughts that would probably come in the form of flexible synaptic connections) as something as developing with other unrelated cognitive development in the actual brain. I haven't quite put together all the details of what I think, but I do acknowledge your thoughts.

@pinkras

You actually pin pointed and explicated a lot of things I think about how the psych develops. It's interesting how you were reluctant to kind of develop in a way, and needed an intervention (a way to accept a part of you), and also you find yourself attracted not to people who are too caught up in dominant and aux functions.

It relates to what I think about Jung and the psych, because (from my seriously baseless conjecture LOL Jung experts will be reeling in their armchairs) I believe Jung developed a system that revolves around a balanced psych, of drawing from the inside and external. You got "stuck", because the mechanisms of introverted and extroverted judging and perceiving functions, that balance out your dom. and aux. functions, weren't supporting what were already strong, perhaps creating imbalance(?). You sought help, because you unconsciously realised what you needed was balance.
Through developing parts of ourself, we move through the ego, that is supposed to keep us 'in check'/prevent us from seeping into the depths of dissonance, but we can sometimes get trapped in it. Its supposed to let it's guard down a little(?) to move through a function into another. We need to move through an introverted function, to an extraverted and vice versa. Sometimes there will be crisis in the internal world, sometimes external, perhaps both?. When we do get stuck, it takes a conscious acceptance to move through this time, and through the ego.

I think I am naturally attracted to people who are balanced too, and I can pin point them from a mile. You can tell by how they see theirselves, other people, their own lives... when they know of Jung or mbit, apart from the gift of genuine knowledge, you can see by how they judge and perceive functions.
I think that's important for ones own sense of balance too, to be able to look at people in this way. Away from biased judgments (as humanly and realistically possible of course).


There is definitely some kind of struggle with the inferior. I think some people regard my mid life crises as being more driven by the full on embrace of the inferior rather than its rejection. I've joined with my inferior Se in quite a heady way.
Wow, what an awesome anecdote! thank you. Damn I wish I had me some inferior Se!!! I am so envious of Se-doms... I feel like I haven't lived :crying:

I have to agree that "maturing" of the tertiary and even the inferior function is something that time seems to evoke. Never considered it as part of the "mid-life" crisis, but as an INTJ that's worth some thought. I know that a divorce at 40 forced me to deal with the tertiary Fi and allow it greater voice, and even now at 47, with a freshly minted ESFP spouse, I have to mine more deeply into my psyche for a look at this Se function that I trust about as far as I can spit a rat.

I think that experience does teach us that our dominant and auxiliary functions, while serving us well through our lives, don't provide us the roundness we need to truly realize our potential... and we have to "try something else". This idea seems to also be encapsulated in the enneagram where we see the healthy flow of one type toward the best qualities of another type (or the worst of yet another if we are not healthy-minded).
How you connect the enneagram and Jung, is what I was thinking about the other day... how all these systems come to the same point - balance.

Your anecdote here, is something I could sit here and analyse for a while, so I'll spare you that, and suggest I may come back with some more coherent thoughts. Because I think you've brought up some very interesting and relevant points. Good luck with your esfp by the way! I find them to be lots of fun. I'm an infp though, so... I like to be kissed and hugged and woken up at random hours of the morning to "go out" :unsure: :laughing:

This is one of the greatest threads I've read here in a while - it aligns with a lot of my views so that's why I feel that way about it.

I believe it can be helpful to view all functions as objectively as possible but at the same time you have to realize you've probably tried most of them throughout your life anyways (or will), regardless of what your type is. What is good to realize is that one needs a little bit of everything depending on the situation because each situation requires a different coping strategy. I assume that 'mature', developed individuals are aware of this and therefore seem to be more balanced and less of a radical representation of their original type because they've learned to mingle in order to surmount and survive things properly.

Thanks for posting this.
I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this. It's not so much of an article (lol, a pretty non coherent scattered one) as a random thought exercise... so all theories have their place here.
 

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If it can be related to type theory, I don't think some people ever mature, from a development perspective, nor gain balance. Perhaps it is an ego trap. My father is 80 something years old, and arguably an unbalanced/unhealthy Te dom. Both he and my sister are ESTJ's, but their personalities are vastly different. My sister has no "killer instinct", no aggressiveness, and not a single "take charge" bone in her body. She's overworked and underpaid, and doesn't say a word about it, to her bosses. She goes home and acts it out instead (inferior Fi). She's done that, since her late twenties. Even though it's inferior, at least there was evidence of Fi. My father, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He's always had to be in charge of everything. He's always had to be right about everything. It doesn't matter if you can prove him wrong. It doesn't matter if he has no clue what he is talking about or what he's doing. He cuts you down, acts big and tough, and throws his weight around. I saw no evidence of anything at work, but this unbalanced Te, for most of my life. His inferior Fi, has finally started to show up, in the last few years. His dog died and he went into a pretty serious depression, for about half a year. He constantly whines about being sick and old and under valued. He does make some effort to connect to others, but it's hard for an old dog to learn new tricks. He still has absolutely no ethics, and, for an SJ, he has no idea what socially appropriate behavior is. Plus, I've never seen Fe users so quick to be offended and openly disgusted by someone. Oddly enough, I kind of miss seeing the old man appear to have no emotionally vulnerable bone in his body (even though it apparently screwed me up in the head). It was the one thing, that I always admired about him. Perhaps, I have it wrong though. It may have been inferior Fi, all along, that caused his overly paranoid, overcompensating Te perspective, the whole time. It's very clear to me, now, that he's actually a very insecure person. Either way, given his age, I don't expect his perspective to ever change.
 
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