Author Topic: Psychological Types  (Read 4535 times)

Sealchan

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Psychological Types
« on: March 08, 2007, 05:50:59 PM »
I'm just starting into this volume having completed Symbols of Transformation.  I'm already excited by Jung's working through the conflicting opinions of Classical and Medieval thought as it pertains to understanding introversion and extroversion. 

I have thought of Jung's work on typology as a kind of long-lost sibling with respect to the rest of his theories of the archetypal unconscious.  The personality test industry, I suspect, grew up largely around this volume of Jung's work.

I thought I would create a thread for each of Jung's works to invite comment particularly as I read through the book.  Maybe you have a lost quote you want me to keep an eye open for?

Matt Koeske

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Re: Psychological Types
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2007, 10:48:01 AM »
I thought I would create a thread for each of Jung's works to invite comment particularly as I read through the book.

Great idea, Sealchan.  Thanks!

I think I will convert the book threads (at least some of them) to "child boards" . . . and then they can have numerous topics and themes that relate to the books organized under each child board.  So, the thread I started on Aion and Christianity, for instance, wouldn't have to seem like the only approach a member can take to Aion.

Yours,
Matt
« Last Edit: March 09, 2007, 11:00:50 AM by Matt Koeske »
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Sealchan

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Re: Psychological Types
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2007, 01:22:10 PM »
I got through Chapter 5 which is where Jung elaborates on how the introverted and extroverted attitudes and the higher and lower functions associated with those attitudes are resolved through a third transcendant function.  Poets with mythological inspirations are referenced to demonstrate the process.  The German poets are seen by Jung to have struggled with a modern dilemna of how to reconcile the extroverted versus introverted attitudes of their personalities by reaching back to the Greek tales of Prometheus and Epimetheus.  Projecting their own personal functional relationships onto these characters presumably, each poet (I forget the name of the one although the other is Goethe) through his poetry attempts to reconcile the two through the irrational form of the poetic tale.  Jung brings in a good dose of Eastern mysticism here to explain the character of the transcendant function and to explain how the psychic content needed is irrational and immersed in the polarity of the opposites.  This is the uniting symbol needed to irrationally solve the affect laden problem which Jung seems to say is inevitably stretched across the canvas of our dual introverted-extroverted natures.  If we are primarily introverted then we need to suppress those dominant introverted functions in favor of allowing the suppressed weaker functions to attain an equal footing.  So in suppressing the contribution of one's favored functional attitude the threshold for the contribution of the unconscious is lowered and the weaker functions can now contribute, in an irrational way, their voice producing the symbol which constellates them all I suppose in a balanced way allowing the problem to dissipate and new libido to be accessible to the ego.

I can attest to having seen the motif of higher and lower quite often in my own and other's dreams and also the motifs of ascending and descending may apply here as well as forward and retro movements in time.  The more modern poets going back (regressing) to Ancient Greek mythology are attempting to move back in time and down in complexity along the path of the historical progress of cultural consciousness in order to take solidified modern ideas and liquify their libidic assets back into relative unconsciousness for the purpose of recasting the idea in a way to heal the modern dilemna.  Once the symbol is brought forth perhaps the moving forward and ascending motifs are engaged.  Recognition of inner psychic tensions seem to me to be associated with second floors or flying or other elevating dream movements. 

I would like to say that one descends into the depths, encounters there the symbol, then elevates.  But I suspect that it is more complex than that.  Perhaps, in the descending and ascending phases we should see the symbol come at the midway point where the two are balanced.  This will be something that I will watch for in my further dream studies.

Matt Koeske

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Re: Psychological Types
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2007, 02:27:20 PM »
We can start another thread to discuss the transcendent function if you like.

I haven't read Psychological Types in a long time (as you know, it's not one of my favorites), so I don't recall the details of Jung's arguments.  For instance I'm confused about the descending/ascending idea you bring up in regards to the transcendent function.  Is that the way Jung contextualized it or is this something you are adding?

I do remember the notion of the transcendent function in terms of a third position that, in essence, is the gravity that pulls the Opposites together toward union.  It is a kind of new sun and the beginning a new solar system.  Initially, it is an abstract and symbolic goal . . . very much like the alchemical lapis philosophorum (or one of its manifestations like the White or Red Tincture, the Gold, the Quintessence, the infans solaris, the Resurrection, etc.).

I don't recall Jung's exact formulation (I just remember feeling that Jung's notion of the transcendent function was a little hazy for my taste), but I can say that, based on my own personal experience, I think this imagined goal ends up being something completely different by the time the individual arrives at its doorstep.  When we start out, we don't understand how to value this "transcendent function".  Therefore, a numinous valuation emerges out of the unconscious.  It tells us that there is great worth in this mysterious new goal.  It tells us how it feels, how we long for it . . . but it doesn't tell us what the thing is.  So this emergent symbol is often very vague . . . perhaps something like a mandala or generic Self symbol, something geometric and abstract.  It is an "Everything/Anything symbol", in a sense.

The trick (for the individuant) is to not get sucked into literalizing it or totemizing it . . . i.e., making it into some distant constelation off in the heavens that can only be worshiped and gawked at, but never interacted with.  This is the egoic impulse, and it usually accompanies an inflation of sorts.  In that inflation, one either becomes a priestly devotee (and protector/defender/prophet) of this symbol or else identifies with it directly, trying to don its numen like a coat of many colors.

But, to arrive at the coniunctio* is to recognize that this third position is one at which one is able to value the first and second positions equally and make differentiations that determine when one position is more appropriately applied than another.  This is, I think, experienced as an enantiodromia, even though it is actually a movement toward a "third position".  But the third position feels like an Opposite of the initial position . . . and in a sense it is, because it is a conscious valuation of the true opposing position (which by necessity involves a depotentiation of the primary position).  Jung didn't always define enantiodromia in this (more positive) sense . . . but I'm personally inclined to use the term for this "transcendence" to the third position (probably because I don't like the term "transcendence", as it is too abstract and too prone to inflated egoic notions . . . and because nothing is actually transcended in this coniunctio; it is merely an addition of valuation).  The more negative (regressive) kind of "enantiodromia" is maybe better described with Freud's term: reaction formation.

* (This is something a bit different than the animi coniunctio, which may be seen as, in some ways, the first "transcendent function" in which the third position becomes the primary position that defines the "new ego".  I think this has less to do with types of cognition and more to do with becoming a conscious individual, though.)

So, arriving at the goal of the third position "in the flesh", one tends to find that the "stone is worthless".  That is, it possesses no value as a currency, grants the ego no greater power.  The stone is the value of valuation itself.  The preliminary imagination of the goal tends to bring up dreams of "attainment" or wisdom or spiritual power, but these notions end up being the misunderstanding of the ego.

Perhaps, to some degree, more libido is "freed up."  But this doesn't have a distinct impact on the individual.  The libido was there the whole time driving the individual toward the goal.  With the achievement of the goal, this obsessive coniunctio-libido is actually depotentiated.  Libido can then flow through that newly opened perspective "more freely", but with a lot less force behind it.  That is, it's a movement toward equilibrium.  The "tension of the Opposites" can generate an enormous amount of obsessive, directed energy . . . but the individuant must finally accept that the only way to achieve the goal (create the lapis) is to accept a depotentiation of the numinousness that the obsessive tension of the task generated.

But this is usually experienced as a big exhale, I think, followed by a quiet satisfaction . . . and perhaps even a sense of humor about how relatively small the goal turned out to be compared to how largely it was imagined.  Still, some people thrive on the energy of Opposites.  Artists, for instance.  Many artists don't want to be "healed" or have their tension "depotentiated".  They think (not incorrectly) that this will be a "loss of the Muse".  Better to live in maya . . . that's the artist's credo.
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.

   [Bob Dylan,"Mississippi]

Sealchan

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Re: Psychological Types
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2007, 01:50:46 PM »
Chapter VI, I believe it is, shows Jung coming intriguingly close to dealing with the mind/body question in a standard neurobiological sense.  He entertains a particular theory about brain function that provides a fascinating possibility about the neural basis for the extro- vs intro-version polarity of the conscious functions.

I have read through Chapter VIII now.  Looking back I think that I would be confident enough to pick an arguement with Jung about the application of his own terms regarding conscious functions.  Also, having a more modern understanding of neurobiology, I may be able to trump him with some references in this regard (easy to say about someone who is dead (I will never have to prove my claim (-)laugh2(-))).

I don't see any indication in his further writings that Jung every strongly returned to developing his ideas and insights into personality type.  That, I suppose, was left to others.  I still see Jung's typological theory as a red-headed step child of sorts in his overall thinking...a kind of General Relativity theory that still needs further integration with his archetypal "Quantum" theory to map this to the main dilemna in modern physics.

Really Jung was mainly interested in introversion and extroversion while the four functions operate as secondary considerations in this work and seem to me to have several muddled points.  I think that someone should sponsor me to quit my job so I can research and write a new Psychological Types.

Anyone interested? ;D