Archive for the ‘typology’ tag
I found another image of a crab that I took in the Philippines that I want to bring here. As I place the image here and begin writing the post, I still don’t know where the words will take me. Often it is like that, like the crab moving sideways through his life, I tend to move sideways into the unconscious process that marks a lot of my writing here at Through a Jungian Lens. Perhaps this is as much about my nature being born under the sign of Cancer than it is about anything else.
Now, with this association, I begin to see where this post is going to take me, in a direction of attempting a self-description in Jungian terms, but not necessarily Myers-Briggs in orientation. By this, I mean to reduce the sixteen potentials of the MBTI to the original eight descriptors found in Jung’s work on Typology.
My readers might remember that I have tested out, time and time again, as INFP. The problem with this description for me is that it doesn’t account for my extroversion, something I am conscious about, especially when it comes to expression of feelings. Looking at the data of my “testing” I noted that I am predominantly intuitive which translates as my first or dominant function being introverted intuitive – opposite this dominant function is the extroverted sensation, the fourth or weakest function. The second function is extroverted feeling, with the third function being introverted thinking.
The Myers-Briggs model has me described as only introverted for all of the functions. I took a reminder from John Beebe to have me refocus on what Jung had to say and how those who immediately followed Jung’s work, people such as Marie -Louise von Franz, to find a way to place extraversion into my way of being in the world.
As a teacher, I am seen as an extrovert. I monitor the mood of my class, picking up “cues” that allows me to meet the students needs so that the lessons have a better chance of succeeding. I learned a long time ago that a good teacher doesn’t teach a curriculum to students, but rather teaches students a curriculum – there is a difference, a huge difference. Teaching students has the students at the centre. When a lesson starts to fail, it is necessary to find a way of re-connecting with the students in order to find a different path for them to connect with the content (curriculum) objectives.
At Cognitive Processes I found this as a description for extroverted feeling:
“The process of extraverted Feeling often involves a desire to connect with (or disconnect from) others and is often evidenced by expressions of warmth (or displeasure) and self-disclosure. The “social graces,” such as being polite, being nice, being friendly, being considerate, and being appropriate, often revolve around the process of extraverted Feeling. Keeping in touch, laughing at jokes when others laugh, and trying to get people to act kindly to each other also involve extraverted Feeling. Using this process, we respond according to expressed or even unexpressed wants and needs of others. We may ask people what they want or need or self-disclose to prompt them to talk more about themselves. This often sparks conversation and lets us know more about them so we can better adjust our behavior to them. Often with this process, we feel pulled to be responsible and take care of others’ feelings, sometimes to the point of not separating our feelings from theirs. We may recognize and adhere to shared values, feelings, and social norms to get along.”
There is a lot of me in this description – meeting the needs of others. Most would describe me “ as being polite, being nice, being friendly, being considerate, and being appropriate” in my role as a teacher and as a member of the community when I am in the public sphere. And yes, I “respond according to expressed or even unexpressed wants and needs of others. If anything, I do this typically putting others ahead of my self. Interesting how this is another way of behaving “crab-like” as I side-step around my own needs in order to meet the needs of others in my life.
A spider, a very large spider, caught my attention this past Monday, the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival here in China, while I was walking along one of the hundreds of small canals that are everywhere in the city. I want to skip reflections via active imagination with regards to this photo for now in order to return to Jung’s position that one changes one’s personality through engagement with the contents that emerge through active consideration and participation with the fantasies. Jung goes on to say:
“This change in personality is naturally not an alteration of the original hereditary disposition, but rather a transformation of the general attitude. Those sharp cleavages and antagonisms between conscious and unconscious, such as we see so clearly in the endless conflicts of neurotic natures, nearly always rest on a noticeable one-sidedness of the conscious attitude, which gives absolute precedence to one or two functions, while the others are unjustly thrust into the background. Conscious realization and experience of fantasies assimilates the unconscious inferior functions to the conscious mind – a process which is naturally not without far-reaching effects on the conscious attitude.” (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 359)
So we change, become less one-sided, more of who we are rather than just a portion of the whole that we can be.
An example I can give is taken from my own experience. When asked about change, specifically about changing something about myself, I often reply that some things about me are just who I am. Jung would say that these unchangeable things are my original hereditary disposition. But of course just what parts are unchangeable? First, I have to listen carefully about what Jung is saying about dominant functions and inferior functions. Knowing that my dominant functions are intuition and feeling, and that my inferior functions are thinking and sensing I can see that I can where I can change. I can bring my inferior functions into the way I live and relate to the world and the people in the world. Yes, I trust my intuition, but there is more room for thinking to take a role and become part of how I rationally interpret the world.
When I enter a situation, it is in my nature to process what I see, hear, and intuit in order to arrive at an understanding of the situation. Usually intuition is enough and I then proceed to then to be an active part of the scene within the boundaries of my role. I have learned to add in some data via my senses and then think about that data before turning to intuition to make rational choices. When all is said and done, I do go with what my intuition tells me. That is who I am.
I guess, it is not much different than the saying that a tiger can’t change his spots. I can be a more effective person in my own skin by nourishing the neglected functions. Active imagination provides me with a way to connect with those neglected functions.
I took this photo just hours before heading to the airport to fly out of Ho Chi Minh City while enjoying a cup of iced Vietnamese milk coffee in an outdoor cafe called Milano’s with my Vietnamese guide and a driver. It was a moment of peaceful relaxation as there was no need to rush off. Time stood still for a while as we chatted and enjoyed the coffee and the shade from the heat of the afternoon sun. The respite was welcome as it wouldn’t be long before the frenetic activity of airports and travel once again surged.
Travel in many of the Asian countries have provided me with similar scenes of power lines. I found this scene particularly interesting because it brings the lines together before heading out and soon becoming a tangled mess that looks like chaos. One needs to bring all the lines together in order to have wholeness, to ensure that the flow of energy will happen as it should.
Of course, this makes me think of how I often get caught up in the threads and end up missing the bigger picture. I have to blame somebody or something for this, so I blame my inferior function which wasn’t considered by my conscious self. If there is to be order, I need all of the functions to bring wholeness.
“In order to orient ourselves, we must have a function which ascertains that something is there (sensation); a second function which establishes what it is (thinking); a third function which states whether it suits us or not, whether we wish to accept it or not (feeling); and a fourth function which indicates where it came from and where it is going (intuition). (Jung, CW 11, par. 246)
Without a sense of wholeness, things are adrift and one is left without a unifying anchor, without a sense of purpose, adrift in a field of chaos. Strange how it takes the fourth to bring together the other three in order to get wholeness – one sky, four directions – white light, four primary colours. Separating the one into many parts and then weaving them back together into one – that is how I come to understand my journey of individuation.
I went back two months into my archives to find this photo which I took in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Why this particular photo? I guess, it was the first to catch my eye. There is no “plan” as far as today’s post is concerned. For a while, I didn’t even know if I would write a post. Today is a sunny day with the temperature finally climbing into a very comfortable range which lead to a long walk in the early afternoon. The morning was spent trying to keep up on the tragedies that are unfolding all around the world with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan heading the list. With all of this happening, I just couldn’t seem to find the “will” to write as I usually do. However, now in the late afternoon, I find that the words are beginning to come. Trusting to instinct, I have decided that I will post today. In a way the photo sort of helps explain how it feels to be coming out of a tunnel and looking at the sunshine promised in the distance.
The unrest in Northern Africa, the conflict in Afghanistan, the tensions in so many places and the unsettled planet making its own set of statements through earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and storms. It makes me think of how one is often left feeling powerless when the inner storms begin their assaults that are chaotic. When the psyche decides enough is enough, one is shocked by eruptions of the unconscious.
I turned to Jung’s works for some words that might make a difference in feeling less “at sea” with all that is going on. Strangely enough, I found something in volume 11 in a an essay on the concept of “quaternity” that seemed to fit with what I am experiencing/feeling. I have often written about typology, about the two rational functions and the two irrational functions with the dominant function being opposed by an inferior function. In the essay, Jung looks at the role of the inferior function in a way that helps me understand a bit more.
“Three of the four orienting functions are available to consciousness. This is confirmed by the psychological experience that a rational type, for instance, whose superior function is thinking, has at his disposal one or two possible auxiliary functions of an irrational nature, namely sensation (the “fonction dy réel”) and intuition (perception via the unconscious). His inferior function will be feeling (valuation), which remains in a retarded state and is contaminated with the unconscious. It refuses to come along with the others and often goes wildly off on its own. This peculiar dissociation is, it seems, a product of civilization, and it denotes a freeing of consciousness from any excessive attachment to the “spirit of gravity.” (Jung, CW 11, par. 245)
The missing fourth function erupts and does its own thing, unchecked by the superior function that is blind to the inferior function. Why do I think this is relevant? I think back to how other cultures, and animals have been in tune with the planet and seemed to “know” in advance the approach of events such as earthquakes. Such events take us by surprise and seem to come out of nowhere. But, our inferior function lost in the sea of unconsciousness to our purposes is not really lost. All really isn’t in a state of chaos.
It takes a lot of patience with ourselves as we do the work of rediscovery of the inferior function, trusting that the dark and unknown regions are not really just a personal version of a chaotic and dark hell. There is light in this darkness as well. And as in this photo, we can learn to navigate into and out of the shadow and feel less of a victim.
Another bird that seems to work hard at not getting his photograph taken finally was able to be captured by the new camera and lens. There are a few species still avoiding the same fate as they are very skittish whenever I get within range of the 250 mm lens, for example, a bird that I refer to as a white-winged blackbird. I have spotted herons, doves, sparrows and magpies in the city as well.
I took this photo from a fourth story window opening. In the background, barely recognisable are the two characters that say Changzhou, the other characters aren’t familiar enough to be so easily recognized in a blur state – perhaps the third character is the number two, perhaps.
The past number of days, I have wandered around the mine field of typology in hopes of somehow being able to both express some Jungian ideas while at the same time come to an increasingly better understanding of my “nature.” I don’t for a moment thing that being able to recognise that I am an introvert by disposition and that my intuitive function is my strong suit with my sensation function being the weakest function, allows me to say that I know myself. There is so much more to knowing oneself than to be able to use an almost secret code that is limited to those who are initiated to the MBTI.
“Wrestling with your typological orientation is a good start in understanding who you are. But it is child’s play compared to to becoming acquainted with your complexes.
Complexes are normal and present in everyone, they are the building blocks of personality. Just as atoms and molecules are the invisible components of physical objects, so complexes are the hidden parts o ourselves; they comprise our identity and are what makes us tick.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 37)
As Sharp goes on the explain, complexes are seen as negative things, something that indicates some level of dysfunction, some malfunction of our brain, something that needs to be fixed. Well, complexes can erupt into one’s life making that life shear misery, a living hell. But, this isn’t what complexes are all about. Complexes only cause us grief when we are unconscious of them, when we don’t consider just why we act the way we act at any given time. How does one understand oneself with code letters when one gets angry? Any time that we “feel” an emotion in response to an image, a situation, a presence, a complex has been activated.
I guess I have opened up another can of worms here in introducing the subject of complexes. I hope that you will bear with me as I stumble through this minefield over the next while.
Yesterday’s walk to check out one of the areas that I used to wander through a few years ago, brought many memories with scenes and faces. A few changes were in evidence, especially the new interior for the farmers’ market across from Ho Hai University. Though the place was much cleaner with bright stalls, the patterns, smells and noise was unchanged. I guess one can put on a new suit of clothes, but the person beneath remains unchanged. It takes more than some cosmetic surgery to make a difference. To be fair, there was one significant difference, that of cleanliness. The old set of stalls made it extremely difficult for cleanliness.
I have been spending the past number of days talking about typology from a Jungian point of view. There are so many modern tools to tap into in order to find useful information about ourselves and others around us, such as the MBTI. Most of these try to pigeon hole, to give answers and to evaluate. Is this person right for me? Is this person right for my company?
Used to try to fit some outer world purpose, typology is not the most useful tool. It is better to use indicators such as work experience, education, training, past experience and the old scientific method of experimenting.
“Jung’s model of typology, when used responsibly, is a valuable guide to our dominant psychological disposition, the way we mostly are. It also reveals, by inference, the way we mostly aren’t – but could be.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 27)
This is a vital thing to keep in mind. Typology shows us the directions to becoming fuller beings, a path that is travelled slowly, a journey of tiny changes, of bringing the unconscious functions into one’s repertoire of decoding the world and navigating through that world.
And it is these small things that change, almost without notice, that in the long run, become the most important.
These men are busy trying to move these incredibly long PVC pipes which are being placed underground, under the sidewalks and streets in our district. It is curious watching the men use muscle power to do the work when we are so used to everything being done using machines back in Canada. When more than one set of hands set to a task, the task becomes lighter and easier. The same can be said of non-physical tasks.
Each of us has four functions upon which we can, and do, draw upon to help us navigate. In the past few posts I have tried to give an idea of what these functions are like and how they are ordered in terms of the psyche’s preferences. What to say here, next, became an issue as it has been such a long time since I had “measured” my preferences. I read a number of essays that “jarred” my thoughts and caused me to delve a little deeper into the topic for myself, not for the blog post. I came across this document, “The Five Levels of the Four Jungian Functions,” by John Fudjack and Patricia Dinkelaker (1995) which sent me scrambling. In the article, I couldn’t find a model which had Intuition as the primary function, Feeling as the auxiliary function and sensing as the inferior function. My first response was to dismiss the article as not being very valid. But then, I became curious as to perhaps a mistaken assumption on my part. I wondered whether or not I had been as honest as I should have been when “testing” in the past.
So, I set out to take another look at what order “preferences” would reveal by going to HumanMetrics, an on-line site where one can get a quick peek at their “type.” The test is basically the MBTI and includes a Judging/Perception component as part of the Type Indicator Was I surprised with the result (which I have below), which is significantly different from all such tests in the past where I typed as INFP:
This is a grandmother that lives in our gated housing community of Sunshine Garden. She often is out walking with her young granddaughter. She remembered us from our previous two years in Sunshine Garden. Though there is a language barrier, the ability to communicate is good. She was as pleased to see us as we were to see her. There is something special in being remembered after an absence of two years. It tells me as it tells her that one wasn’t invisible.
The first time we met four years ago, this grandmother and I, I dared to stop and say “N? h?o.” As usual, I trusted to my intuition to risk bridging the gap between self and other, especially across cultural and racial divides. With that risk taken, since then, the ongoing limited dialogue has been about maintaining the relationship, an act that is rational. This wasn’t something that I “thought” about, it was something that “felt” right. I was acting on my feeling function, my auxiliary function.
“In practice, the auxiliary function is always one whose nature, rational or irrational, is different from the primary function.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 16)
Since my superior function (or primary function) is irrational, the function of intuition, my auxiliary function (or secondary function) must be rational. This actually makes sense when you logically study the possibilities. It is about balance. Following the two pairs of functions:
Rational: Thinking (objective) <—————–y2——0—————-y1——> Feeling (subjective)
Irrational: Sensing (objective) <——————x2—-0——————x1—-> Intuition (subjective)
It is easy to see which function is furthest from the zero (0) point, the function which is primary or superior. In this example, I am illustrating the relative positions of my superior, secondary, tertiary and inferior functions. The closer to zero, the less developed the function.
I hope that this illustration explains well enough that the two strongest functions will a combination of one rational function and one irrational function. It can’t be otherwise. And the pairing of these creates for some interesting ways of being in the world.
I left today’s photo in a larger presentation in order to capture the fullness of the scene and person. I took this at People’s Square, in front of the city hall. This man is one of a large group of gardeners that ensures that People’s Square reflects well on the city and its leadership. Looking at this man and knowing his occupation, I would guess that perhaps of all the four functions of thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation; perhaps sensation is the dominant function. Of course, that is simply a conjecture on my part based on too little evidence.
As could be deduced from the content of my last two posts, intuition is by far, the dominant of superior function for me. Of course that makes sensation the weakest of all four functions. In second place is the feeling function with thinking not a distant third function. As I think about it, it isn’t too surprising to me that the irrational function of intuition is strongest and that the rational function of feeling is a close second. Somehow, for each of us, we find that the four functions line up from strongest to weakest and that is as it should be. If all four functions are equally present, then it is unlikely that there is any consciousness at all. By that, I don’t mean that we won’t use all four functions – any conscious person will use all four and not necessarily in the order of their “strength” position within us at different times for different tasks and situations. For example, when trying to do my taxes, I will engage heavily in thinking. Wandering around a new “place” I revert back to my strength, intuition. Of course, Jung says it best:
“This absolute sovereignty always belongs, empirically, to one function alone, and can belong only to one function, because the equally independent intervention of another function would necessarily produce a different orientation which, partially at least, would contradict the first. But since it is a vital condition for the conscious process of adaptation always to have clear and unambiguous aims, the presence of a second function of equal power is naturally ruled out. This other function, therefore, can have only a secondary importance.” (Jung, CW 6, par. 667)
I’ll have more to say on this idea in the next post.
While I was on another walk, yesterday, I came across a “photo shoot” that was being done using a professional model in People’s Park near the en trance to the Changzhou Grand Theatre. I didn’t waste any time getting a few photos of the model and of the crew involved in the taking of the photographs. No one seemed to mind that a laowai, a foreigner, was taking photos.
First, I want to admit that this is a beautiful young woman. For me there is a sense of freshness, af barely being out of childhood. Yet, at the same time, I sense that she has paid a price that cuts deep into her soul for the role she now gets to occupy. Dreams have been betrayed as she moved into the role of model wearing rose-coloured glasses. Now having said all of this, I realise that these words are not based on any rational function, but are for the most part, founded in my irrational function.
“Sensation and intuition are the two functions Jung labeled as irrational (perceiving). Each is a way of perceiving simply what is – sensation sees what is in the external world, while intuition sees (or somehow “picks up”) what is in the inner world.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 13)
Why are these two functions, sensation and intuition considered irrational by Jung? By irrational, Jung doesn’t mean crazy or even outside of logic. What Jung is referring to are the things that exist outside of our feelings or outside of our thinking.
“The physical perception of something does not depend on logic – things just are. Similarily, an intuition exists in itself; it is present in the mind, independent of reason or a rational process of thought.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 13)
Now, there is the same dynamic of each of us using both functions in order to perceive the world around us. But as with the rational functions, one of these two irrational functions is dominant, or preferred by the psyche. In order to be clear, I want to say that we can’t “choose” which function we will have as our dominant function.
So, what have I learned about my “self” in terms of which irrational function is dominant? I would have to say that intuition is my dominant function with sensation being secondary. My guess is that the split would be something like 85% intuition and 15% sensation. Of course this causes me end of grief with others as I don’t notice (sense) so much around me while I am taken up with inner, subjective realities. Yes, I am the one who always leaves cupboard doors open, someone who often looks like he is in outer space.