Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Why we need unconsciousness

The first question – why do we sleep – didn’t have a good answer 20 years ago. The crass answer was that we sleep to cure sleepiness, which is the fatuous equivalent of saying that we eat to cure hunger. It tells you nothing about the nutritional benefits of food. But now, after a remarkable litany of research of the past sort of quarter century, we’ve actually been forced to upend the question and ask is there anything that sleep does not provide in terms of a functional benefit, both the brain and body? And it’s been a real struggle; we’ve found that most all tissues and physiological systems in the body and most all operations of the mind are powerfully enhanced when we get sufficient sleep, and quite demonstrably impaired when we don’t get enough. So I think that’s been a radical change of events.

I think the question about sleep evolving is interesting for at least two reasons: Firstly, if you take a step back it is the most idiotic of all things to do as a biological species. You’re not finding food; you’re not reproducing; you’re not finding a mate; you’re not caring for your young; and, worst of all, you’re vulnerable to predation! So, on any one of those grounds, and especially all of them as a collective, Mother Nature should have strongly selected against this thing called sleep. In other words, if sleep doesn’t support an absolutely vital set of functions then it’s going to be the biggest mistake the evolutionary process ever made! Now we understand it wasn’t a blunder, it was a blind stroke of genius.

The second reason I think that question is interesting is perhaps because sleep didn’t evolve. We assume that it did, and I’ve got a wacky theory that I think is going to be very difficult to prove, and I’m sure I’m sure I’m probably wrong, but I have an idea that, in fact, we started asleep and it was from sleep that wakefulness emerged. Why do we assume that wakefulness was the predecessor and then we had to evolve this thing called sleep? I think we started off sleeping, and from that wakefulness emerged. And wakefulness is, in many ways, remarkably deleterious. If you look at the brain it’s very clear that metabolically wakefulness is low level brain damage! So, I think we had to return to sleep state every time we emerged awake.

In some ways I almost don’t think that sleep did evolve in terms of an inception point, but then sleep has evolved dramatically across species. Every species that we’ve studied appears to sleep, even very old evolutionarily ancient earth worms. Bacteria in fact even have an active and a passive phase which seems to be maybe a precursor of sleep and wake. And from that point forward, sleep has fought its way through heroically every step of the evolutionary tree path. If it’s that well preserved how could it not be essential?
- Dr. Matthew Walker, “Why We Need Sleep” (Revolution Health Radio podcast, 10/8/19)

I was listening to one of my favorite health podcasts when the interviewee, a sleep specialist, said the above. And it sent a shock through me; why do we assume that sleep is a thing that evolved and not the other way around, that wakefulness was the thing that evolved? As someone who believes that the chaos of unconsciousness precedes (and follows) the rise and fall of Ego's star, this makes far more sense. The default state of the universe is unconsciousness. Consciousness is born out of unconsciousness, the way order naturally arises out of chaos in physical reality. Consciousness is just one form of order that arises out of the Unconscious.

The first several years of life appear to be a waking dream – no one has memories from that time in their life (though I have heard of an extremely shady cult leader claiming he did, as a sign of his “spiritual evolution.”) Maybe in the same way that we appear to repeat our species evolutionary history in the womb, our childhood repeats the development of consciousness in humanity. Creation myths tell the tale of the waking of the ego from primordial chaos; every one of us lives out this myth in the story of our lives.

Just like sleep, work with the unconscious impacts every part of our lives... but our culture, gripped as it is in the Apollonian obsession with outward success, is literally incapable of comprehending such an idea. This is why it was such a shock to hear. Even for me, someone who deeply values the unconscious. Why sleep when you can make money, or work out, or do anything else that has a practical benefit? Why do the hard work of psychological and spiritual development when you can make money, or work out, or do anything else that has a practical benefit? What purpose does any of this serve? This question only makes sense if you view life as meaningless unless you're getting something out of it. But this view is wrong, and, as with all falsehoods, even if you believe it Life will come up and smack you upside the head with the proverbial stick. That's what I think is going on here with the whole issue of sleep in the modern world.

Sleep is unconsciousness. Unconsciousness is necessary, not only for psychological health and freedom from neuroses but for life itself. The Unconscious is our home, a fact that during the day our ego, under the Maya-like spell of consciousness, forgets. Every night we return to our primeval home, and every morning we come back with nourishment that carries us through our day, until we can go back home once again.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home
- William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”

Friday, August 2, 2019

Jung’s own way of speaking about the growth of consciousness in human beings tended to be simpler, and, from a contemporary standpoint, more soulful. For instance, while giving a seminar, he was once asked, “Is not individuation, in our sense of the word here, rather living life consciously? A plant individuates but it lives unconsciously” Jung’s answer was:

“That is our form of individuation. A plant that is meant to produce a flower is not individuated if it does not produce a flower, it must fulfill the cycle; and the man who does not develop consciousness is not individuated, because consciousness is his flower; it is his life, it belongs to our process of individuation that we shall become conscious.”

In allowing the subtitle of the first translation of Psychological Types to be “The Psychology of Individuation,” Jung implied that the flowering of consciousness has something to do with the progressive emergence of the psychological types, and it’s this idea I prefer to the idea of a monadic “ego” developing over time. Sticking to Jung’s metaphor of flower, I find it best to say that if a person individuates, that is, goes on to flower, then the various function of consciousness that Jung describes in Psychological Types will be the petals of his or her flower. This notion does not assume that consciousness originates in the ego, even though when consciousness emerges it is associated with an ongoing narrative of self, that is, as part of what a person can refer to as “mine.” If anything, consciousness would seem to arise out of what Jung described in a talk with students as “the peculiar intelligence of the background."
- John Beebe, Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type

Friday, July 5, 2019

MBTI: The 8 function model

Image from Present Obsessions

This blog has been reeeeally quiet for a while, and that's because I've been working on so much! I also keep getting distracted from one thing I'm working on by another thing that comes up that I "need" to explore. The latest thing has been a deep dive into the MBTI; I'm learning so much but I still have a long ways left to go. But I have made some breakthroughs that I think I can share with the world right now regarding the subject of my recent obsession; John Beebe's 8 function model.

This is going to be a first in a series - hold onto your butts because there is a LOT coming. Like I said, I've been doing a lot of thinking on this. This first post is going to be an introduction to the theory before I go into the stuff I've been working on (which I'm super excited about!) And my understanding of the MBTI in general has deepened so much that I'm going to need to update the information on this site about the functions, etc., in light of all the new discoveries I've been making.

John Beebe's 8 Function Model

During your time in the MBTI community you may have seen people talking about the "shadow functions." These are the 4 functions that exist in our unconscious. They mirror the functions that exist in our conscious psyche, or our ego (which is pretty much the same thing, or at least close enough not to worry about it right now.) The four functions that make up our MBTI type are the ones that are in our consciousness. Let's take an ENTP for example - a diagram of their psyche would look something like this:

Their dominant function is Ne (extroverted intuition)
Their auxiliary (second) function is Ti (introverted thinking)
Their tertiary function is Fe (extroverted feeling)
And their inferior function is Si (introverted sensation)

For an ENTP, these four functions are going to be pretty much in their conscious, even if they may be awkward at using two of them. But what about the other four functions (Ni, Te, Fi, and Se)? Do they exist in our psyche, or are we just made up of the four functions of our MBTI type? John Beebe seems to think we do have all 8, based on his experiences and those of his clients. He had dream images that he identified with the different functions in his psyche; a prominent one was an anima figure that he called the "Chinese laundress," an inner personality he identified with his inferior Si function. Beebe eventually came to identify all 8 functions with various Jungian archetypes, such as the Hero and the Good Parent (the first and second functions, respectively.)

When I was initially exposed to this theory I pretty much dismissed it immediately based on the lack of any evidence I had at that time. It isn't surprising that they're so difficult to see given that they're in the unconscious, unlike the four conscious functions. But as I explored more, especially through C.S. Joseph's excellent videos on YouTube, I began to see more of these functions, both in myself and in others, and now I'm fairly convinced that they actually do exist.

The 8 functions are named after the roles they play in everyone's psyche; everyone has a Hero function (the dominant), just as they all have a Nemesis (the archetype of the archenemy of the Hero). Which function falls where and fulfills which role determines our MBTI type and our personality. The reason I've spent so much time lately on this topic isn't just because I'm still trying to gather data about how the different functions manifest in different people, but also because it's turned out to be an incredibly deep topic, and one that I believe has an enormous potential to help us grow psychologically and spiritually. But I'm going to get to all that in other posts.

The 8 cognitive functions are as follows:

The Heroine/Hero

Image from Comic Vine

The function one's ego is most identified with, forming the core of what we and others think of as "us." It's the easiest function for us to develop - it basically happens automatically - and is the area of our lives where we have the most proficiency and control. It costs the least energy to use; we can use it at high levels for what seems like a limitless amount of time. In fact, it's so easy to use that it doesn't actually require any conscious effort. It's the thing we value most, we enjoy using it, and can easily get depressed if we don't have any opportunities to express it. Confident and competent, the Heroine leads the charge. She adapts us to the world, and initiates action. This is especially critical for the process of individuation, which is why we need a healthy ego (and a healthy Heroine.)

For example, the phrase “cogito ero sum” (To think is to be) fits perfectly the two types INTPj and ISTPj, Ti dominants. For other types different principles of existence can be valid: “I am loved, therefore I exist” (Fe), “I am healthy, stable and have a roof over my head, therefore I exist” (Si), “I feel, therefore I exist” (Fi), “The world is in order, therefore I exist” (Te), “I can move my body, therefore I exist” (Se, paralysis in bed or chair would destroy an ESxPp), I am free therefore I exist (Ne), I am secure and at peace therefore I exist (Ni).
~ Lastrevio, "The 8 cognitive roles in-depth explanation"

If you notice that you or someone else has shifted into a leading the charge mode – as if carrying out a dramatic banner ahead of the troops, with complete confidence in the rightness of the action or position, and serious therefore that others will be compelled to follow – you’ve probably seen the “energy signature” of the Hero/Heroine.
~ Mark Hunziker, Depth Typology

The Good Parent (Father/Mother)

Image from Very Well Family

Supports the Heroine. Balances her out; if she's extroverted, the Good Father is introverted; if she's a perceiving function (intuition or sensation), he'll be a judging function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. Comforts and nurtures both the self and others. If the Heroine is Batman then the Good Father is Alfred, always looking out for her and trying to give her good advice... and patching her up when she gets hurt. Unlike the Heroine the Good Parent takes some effort to use, and if we use it too much we can get exhausted, leading us to seek escape in the Child function. Also unlike the Heroine, the Parent tends to be cautious, sometimes even negative.

Bold functions are used with confidence and more freely while functions in our cautious roles are used with caution and insecurity, with a lack of confidence in them. That is because our bold functions are of the same I/E attitude as our preferred one (if you’re extraverted, they will be extraverted, if you’re introverted they will be introverted) while our cautious functions are of opposing I/E attitude to our preferred one, therefore not in the “realm we dominate” (be it external (Extraversion) or internal (introversion)).
~ Lastrevio, "The 8 cognitive roles in-depth explanation"

This function takes some effort to develop; when we're unhealthy we tend they try to do an "end run" around the uncomfortable Parent function and just hang out at either the Heroine or Puella functions. This is because, being the opposite attitude, it forces us out of our comfort zone. Developing this function, though, is one of the major keys to personal growth, and doing so will unleash a great deal of potential, thanks to the Parent's ability to balance out the Heroine's weaknesses. Opposite gender as the Heroine/ego.

Recognizing this archetype’s energy signature is usually a simple matter of noticing supportive, nurturing, positive-enabling, and protective behavior. When the Parent becomes inflated-when we become possessed by the archetype-it’s a matter of being over-protective or too permissive, patronizing, or teaching or “parenting” when it’s not appropriate to take on that role.”
~ Mark Hunziker, Depth Typology

The Child (Puella/Puer)

Image from Anime Planet

Where we play; we like to tease others and generally be childlike here. The Child is called the “relief function” because it’s where we go to relax, especially when we’re avoiding something... like work we have to do with the Parent function, lol. Our tendency to try to avoid the Parent by running to the Child is quite common. There's even a name for it, the "dominant-tertiary loop." Generally this is where we go when we want to relax, or to play. This may be the way we want to be comforted. It's definitely the function we escape to when we're feeling pressured. We're ok messing up here; we're not particularly competent with this function - Personality Hacker calls it the 10 year old and that's about the level it's at - but we're ok with not being competent, unlike with the Animus function. At the same time, criticism in this area can be quite hurtful because it is a vulnerable child, after all. Even weaker than the Parent function so too much work with this function is even more exhausting. Not play though; we can play all day long here, which is the main problem with the Child. Innocent. The same gender as the ego.

The Eternal Child tends to manifest in manic cycles: one minute, the “king of the world,” and the next, a withdrawn and timid “wounded child”. Good integration of the Child into the ego means allowing ourselves to be playful, silly, irresponsible, and vulnerable when appropriate and healthy.
~ Mark Hunziker, Depth Typology

The Anima/us (Animus/Spirit or Anima/Soul)

Image from We Heart It

The opposite function as the ego and, therefore, the last conscious function to be integrated into it. Awkward and painful, it's the place of our shame; mistakes made here will cause feelings of almost unbearable humiliation. The tender spot in our psyche; a never healing wound. If we're attacked here, we will hate that person.

At the same time, it's also what we most admire; as such it's sometimes called the "aspirational function." Of all the conscious functions it's the one that's closest to the unconscious, a bridge from the conscious mind to the unconscious. We both despise and admire it; while we may consider it a waste of time, we admire and respect those who are highly proficient in it. And if they're of the opposite gender we often find them exceedingly attractive. (Although if they, or we, are unhealthy they will drive us up the wall, and vice versa.) In my experience it appears that one's attitude towards the Animus function is an excellent indicator of psychological maturity. The more friendly a person's attitude towards their inferior, the healthier they generally are.

The Animus is vital for attaining wholeness; it's the first key to individuation (the Demon is the second). It's not only our greatest weakness, it's also our highest calling, and our spirituality. Integration of a function in the role of the Animus gives us unique access to that functions noblest, most spiritual virtues. No other type can express these virtues the way we can when it's our Animus (or Anima). As such, it's important to keep this function directed inwards, towards spirituality, or what is most meaningful. The Animus will never be competent - it will always trip us up, because it will never completely be under the control of the ego. And this is a good thing, because it is through the Animus that the unconscious enters the conscious psyche. The Heroine is the face we turn to the outer world; the Animus is the face we turn to our inner world, hence a bridge to the unconscious. The opposite gender as the ego.

Our conscious realm is like a room with four doors, and it will be the fourth door by which the shadow, the animus, and the anima and the personification of the Self will come in. They will not enter as often through the other doors, which in a way is self-evident, because the inferior function is so close to the unconscious and remains so barbaric and inferior and undeveloped that it is naturally the weak spot in consciousness through which the figures of the unconscious can break in. In consciousness it is experienced as a weak spot, as that disagreeable thing which will never leave you in peace but always causes trouble, for every time you feel you have acquired a certain balance or inner standpoint, something happens from within or without to throw you off again, and it is always through that fourth door, which you cannot shut. You can keep the three doors of your inner room closed, but on the fourth door the lock does not work, and there, when you do not expect it, the unexpected will come in again. Thank God, you can say, for otherwise the whole life process would petrify and stagnate in a wrong kind of consciousness. It is the ever-bleeding wound of the conscious personality, but through it the unconscious can always come in and so enlarge consciousness and bring forth new experience.
 ~ Marie Louise Von Franz, Psychotherapy

In Tertullian and Origen we see that this transformation involves the sacrifice of the superior function. Tertullian sacrificed his intellect, thereby gaining depths of feeling through which he arrived at his famous paradoxical view of Christ. Origen, on the other hand, through self-castration, sacrificed his extraversion, his relation to the outer world, and won the wealth of Gnostic thinking. Augustine, from the point of view of typology, resembled Tertullian; until the time of his conversion he was a thinking type. The inferiority of his feeling is indicated by the licentious life he had previously led. His feeling was in the dark, until it emerged along with the violent breakthrough of his inferior function. His genuine feeling, which until then had been tied to his mother, now turned to Christ and the church. Since Augustine was an introvert, his fourth function had of necessity to be of an extraverted character and therefore it moved toward outer objects, that is, to the visible Roman Catholic church.

… With Saint Augustine the breakthrough of his feeling function was the solution. The inferior function, whatever it may be, contains the highest value, although it is experienced as the greatest handicap.
Marie Louise von Franz, Dreams

The Nemesis (the Opposing Personality)

From here on we're going to be looking at the shadow functions. Each of these functions is a mirror for it's matching conscious function (the Nemesis with the Heroine, the Parent with the Critic, or the "bad parent," etc.). The Nemesis is the arch-enemy of the Heroine of the opposite sex. He's the Catwoman to our Batman. We have love/hate relationship with the Nemesis, similar to what we have with the Animus but where the Animus is the "nice guy/girl" the Nemesis is the "bad boy/girl." Unlike with the Animus we have a hard time accepting it's value. Also unlike with the Animus we're actually fairly competent at this function, we just don't care. Also, it's tiring to use for long periods but it's different from when we use a weak function (like the Child or Animus). With our weak functions, we find it stressful and unnerving; with the oppositional function, which we're actually quite good at, we just feel bored and uncomfortable.

One thing I've noticed about this function is that it's where our rage lives; being thwarted by something of this function often sends us into fits. For example, my fiancé, an ISFJ, flies into insane rages when thwarted by things that have to do with physical reality (Se, the opposite of his superior Si), things that other people (like me) find annoying but not infuriating. Since I started paying attention I've noticed that when I, an INTP, am frustrated in what I'm trying to do by systems that are stupid or don't work (Te, the opposite of my Ti Heroine) I have a total meltdown. We tend to have an unreasonable, "Why does the world have to be like this???!!!" attitude when we're frustrated in this area. At the same time, this is often the function we turn to when we're in a somewhat desperate situation, when our normal way of doing things isn't working. I'll have a lot more to say about this and the other shadow functions in later posts because there is a lot going on here, but these are the basics. The Nemesis, I believe, is closely related to the Animus as well as the Heroine. He seems to be the dark side of the Animus.

It is oppositional, paranoid, passive-aggressive, and avoidant. This is a shadow that is very hard to see in oneself (it seems to fall in the blind spot of the superior function) and very easy to project onto another person.
~ John Beebe

The Critic (or Bad Parent, Witch/Senex)

Image from Eric J. Juneau

The opposite of the Good Parent; where the Father builds up, the Witch tears down. Harsh, humiliating, and uncaring of anyone’s well-being. We have unreasonable expectations of others in this area, refusing to even attempt to understand why they might not be very good at whatever it is that we're so critical of. An example is Se Witch in ESFJs and ESTJs; both these types tend to place disproportionate importance on how well people physically present themselves. If someone has a spot or a hole in their clothing, or it's old and stained, they will often immediately write them off in disgust. Conversely, if someone is dressed sharply they'll give them the benefit of the doubt, even if they don't deserve it.

The Witch is the function of our hypocrisy. We tend to turn it unthinkingly, and cruelly, on others when we really need to turn it back on ourselves. We need to ask ourselves if what we're doing in this area is really the best we can do, what we should be doing. And when we see others possessed by the Witch/Senex, thoughtlessly criticizing others in a cold, unrelated way, calling them out on it is often a fruitful area of helpful criticism.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
— Matthew 7:1-5 KJV

The problem is that we think we don't need to do anything about it. We don't reject it forcefully the way we do the Nemesis, we just don't see the value in us doing anything about it. At the same time, we are horribly critical of others doing it in ways we think are "bad," when the fact is that we ourselves really need to pay attention to it. For example, INTPs and INFPs, who both have Ni as their Witch, tend to ridicule other people's goals that we think are "stupid" (for me, people who want to be popular, or have lots of money, or stuff). We don't want to be like that - we don't want to want what we feel is trivial and meaningless - so we end up not wanting anything at all. This is part of the reason INTPs and INFPs tend to accomplish so little in our lives (that, and our lazy-ass Si Child.) But turning the Witch's focus away from others and onto ourselves can be amazingly beneficial... including by making us less obnoxious. The Witch/Senex is same gender as the ego.

The Trickster (Bad Child)

Image from Clipart Max

The annoying, no good trickster function, lol. I'm lol-ing because it's the place where we screw up all the time, often hilariously so. This was the first function that made me think that there might actually be something to all this "shadow functions" stuff. My trickster, Se, is always playing jokes on me (and often everyone around me). For example, a story my fiancé and I love to tell is about the time I accidentally knocked what was apparently the perfect cup of coffee out of his hand. We were riding up the escalator, I was on the step above him facing back towards him, and I gave him a few friendly pats on his shoulder. When I swung my hand back down to my side I somehow managed to SLAP HIS COFFEE RIGHT OUT OF HIS HAND. I've rarely seen him so angry but I just couldn't stop laughing about how monumentally stupid I was and he (fairly) quickly ended up joining me. I'm always running into things, often without even being aware of it, and I have to constantly remind myself that the physical world actually exists, and that thing that I lost didn't just disappear dammit!

The opposite of the Child, the Trickster (or the Bad Child) is mischievous, sometimes even malicious. He's our blind spot; he doesn't seem to exist for us... until he pops up out of nowhere and ruins our carefully laid plans. The Trickster is the buffoon of the psyche. If the Heroine is the Queen of our inner kingdom, then the Trickster is the court jester. It's his job to make sure that the Heroine doesn't get too puffed up; he punctures our hot air filled ego when it gets a little bit too big. I've personally noticed that whenever I start feeling like I'm "all that," that's when he loves to strike, pulling a prank that usually ends up with me being humiliated. He can have a cruel sense of humor, and no concept of self-preservation. He will gleefully threaten to ruin your security, although in my experience he never seems to goes all the way to destruction. That's for the Demon to do.
The Trickster is, above all, a catalyst for individuation. In this, the trickster is both destroyer and creator. It breaks down self-limiting structures, creating disorder, in order to open up new options that lead to a new order.
~ Mark Hunziker, Depth Typology

The Demon/Angel (Lilith/Lucifer)

Image from Jack Fisher's Official Publishing Blog

As the Trickster is the opposite of the Child, the Demon is the opposite of the Animus. She's very mysterious; we're rarely conscious of her, and when we become so it's because she's overwhelming us. Possession by the Demon leads us to feeling "beside ourselves," and those around us will say that we're "not ourselves." She's constantly trying to bend the personality away from the Heroine; she's a villainess who's basically trying to supplant the Heroine. To continue our Batman analogy; if the Good Parent is Alfred, and the Nemesis is Catwoman, then the Demon would be the Joker. In the same way that the Nemesis is the dark half of the Animus, Lilith is the hidden, other half of the Heroine. Along with the Animus, I believe she is the key to individuation. I've seen her called the "inferior function of the inferior function." I call her the anima of the Animus (or in the case of a masculine ego, the animus of the Anima). The same gender as the ego.

The Demon is where our hate lives. In my experience, she rises up when we've been hit in our inferior function (Animus). Attack someone's inferior function and they will hate you. The inner personality who is the embodiment of that hatred is the Demon. In my case (INTP), if someone attacks me interpersonally (Fe inferior) my ISFP shadow ego rises up and blasts them... quietly. ISFP isn't loud, she just completely cuts you out of her life. For example, if people are whispering about me and are rude to me I will often basically stop talking to them unless I absolutely need to. When the Demon rises up she takes the form of the absolute worst of the shadow ego (in my case, a bitter, self-pitying, passive aggressive ISFP.)

Now, I normally have absolutely no idea what I'm feeling (Fi); for example I won't actually know that I'm upset until I suddenly burst into tears. No one is more surprised than I am when this happens. My negative Fi reaction when I've been hurt is equally unconscious... and completely out of my control. This is the hallmark of the Demon; she has you, you don't have her. This is the nature of the Demon; she's secretive, mysterious. We normally only ever see her when she's raging out of control. She rises up when everything else has failed. Unlike the Bad Child she can and will burn down the world; I suspect that an out of control Demon is often to blame when people are blatantly self (and other) destructive. However... when integrated she becomes our greatest spiritual guide.

There are two ways in which the Demon is the key to our spiritual and psychological growth: first off, she is the thing in us that we ought to be ashamed of. We generally feel excessive shame for our failings in our Animus function; we need to learn to have compassion for ourselves there. But the Demon, in all her self-righteousness, is where we actually need to learn to feel shame. It's important for us to see and accept our shadow, and the Demon is the darkest part of that shadow. Doing so not only enlarges our personality, it makes us more humble, and more able to have compassion and understanding for others when they're in their shadow.

Accepting this destructive aspect of our shadow leads us to Demon's ultimate role in our lives; once we're able to truly integrate her into our personality, we see that the Demon is actually an Angel. I believe, based on my recent work with these functions, that the Demon is the function of the Self in our psyche. When the Self appears in dreams, or in active imagination work, She seems to take the form of the shadow ego, the Demon/Angel. She's the Angel that we, like Jacob, must struggle with through our own long night before earning our blessing from Her.

The Demon is what we need to be ashamed of - the flaw in our character for which integrity exists and is needed.
~ John Beebe

Jacob took his family and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had. And he was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”
~ Genesis 32:23–28

So, these are (fairly?) short descriptions of the 8 function roles, as discovered by John Beebe. Later posts will go into more detail about them, looking at their relationship within the four pairs they make up in what C.S. Joseph calls the four sides of the mind, or what I call the core complexes. Knowledge of, and integration of, the functions is crucial to personal growth. Not only is it important for self-awareness, and getting along with others, work with these inner figures plays a key role in the our journey of individuation. Through our depth work with these figures we can (fairly) quickly reach deep into our unconscious, and through them, especially Lilith/Lucifer, we can connect with the Source.

Chart of the 16 MBTI types and their functions

Related posts:

MBTI Families
Core Complexes
Ego Complex
Anima/us Complex
Shadow Anima/us
Shadow Ego
My MBTI story
Working with the MBTI


Beebe, John, "Evolving the 8 Function Model"
Lastrevio, "The 8 cognitive roles in-depth explanation" (MBTI Subreddit)
Storm, Susan, "An Introduction to the Shadow Functions" (Personality Junkie)
"The John Beebe 8 function model" (Present Obsession)

Also, just about anything by C.S. Joseph. A large part of my understanding of the 8 function model comes from him.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Omg where do I even start this thing?
Image from Anime Viking

Yes, I am still alive!

I've actually been working on several things - every time I start a post I keep getting distracted by something even more exciting or important. And the thing I've finally landed on as the thing I must do is such a HUUUUUUUGE topic, I almost don't know where to start. I've been doing a deep, deep dive into the MBTI, which is turning out to be an amazing tool for personal growth. I'm particularly focused on John Beebe's 8 function model, something I had serious reservations about but am now convinced is not only true but incredibly useful. The problem is, it's an enormous area of study; a lot has been discovered and written but I feel even more work can be done so I've been doing independent research. I'm far from done yet but I'm going to write up some posts, at least on the basics.

These posts will all be works in progress as I'm learning new stuff all the time, a lot of which I am personally piecing together, so it takes time. But I want to at least get started. So please look forward to a lot of posts about the MBTI and the 8 function model!

See you soon!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Maintaining a relationship with the animal body

Reference for an upcoming post on shame:
Here is a question by Dr. Harding: “Can you take up in further detail the section in the chapter on the Compassionate Ones where Nietzsche speaks of man as the animal with red cheeks? The interpretation given at the last seminar that he was ashamed on account of the unconsciousness of his fellow man does not seem adequate to me. Is there not an analogy with the story of Eden where we are told that when Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge they were ashamed before God of their nakedness, which had never bothered them before? And perhaps – who knows? – they may have been ashamed of their clothes before the other animals? In fact, does not consciousness itself carry its own burden of guilt because the discerning one can no longer act with the complete rightness of unconscious instinct?”

Well, you have answered your question yourself, practically. That shame is of course a very typical reaction; it is a primitive reaction which clearly shows the distance that exists between the ego consciousness and the original unconsciousness of mere instinct. As long as man is in a merely instinctive animal condition, there is absolutely no ground for shame, no possibility of shame even, but with the coming of ego consciousness, he feels apart from the animal kingdom and the original paradise of unconsciousness, and then naturally he is inclined to have feelings of inferiority. The beginning of consciousness is characterized by feelings of inferiority, and also by megalomania. The old prophets and philosophers say nothing is greater than man, but on the other side nothing is more miserable than man, for the ego consciousness is only a little spark of light in an immense darkness. Yet it is the light, and if you pile up a thousand darknesses you don’t get a spark of light, you don’t make consciousness. Consciousness is the sun in the great darkness of the world. Man is just a little lantern in the world of darkness, and as soon as you have a certain amount of ego consciousness naturally you are isolated and become self-conscious – you can’t help it – and naturally you no longer possess the absolute simplicity of nature: you are no longer naïve. It is a great art and a great difficulty to become like unto a child again – or better still, like unto an animal; to become like an animal is then the supreme ideal.

When you have built up your consciousness to a decent degree, you become so separated from nature that you feel it to be a disadvantage; you feel that you have fallen from grace. This is of course the expulsion from paradise. Then life becomes ego misery and lawlessness and you must create artificial laws in order to develop a feeling of obedience. Having ego consciousness means that you have a certain amount of disposable willpower, which of course means arbitrary feelings and decisions, disobedience of natural laws and so on; and that gives you a terrible feeling of being lost, cursed, isolated, and wrong altogether. And of course this causes feelings of shame. Compare your state of innocence with the innocence of a little child and you have ground for shame; and compared with an animal you are nowhere. So the dawn of consciousness was naturally a tremendous problem to man; he had to invent a new law-abiding world of obedience, the careful observance of rules; instead of the herd or the natural animal state, he had to invent an artificial state. He has now succeeded in making of the state a tremendous monster, such as nature probably never would have tolerated, but he had to do it in order to compensate that sentiment d’incompletude, d’insuffisance. For we should not live instinctively any longer. We had to invent machines and law books and morals in order to give mankind a feeling of being in order, of being in a decent condition – something similar to paradise where the animals knew how to behave with each other. You see, the great world seems to be a self-regulating orderliness, an organism that moves and lives in a more or less decent way. The catastrophes are not too great or too many. There are not too many diseases – only a decent amount to kill off enough animals. But we know that we can break out at any time and destroy as no volcano and no epidemic ever destroyed, and we chiefly injure our own species; we would not dream of making an international war against flies or microbes or against whales or elephants – it isn’t worthwhile – but it is worthwhile when it is against man. That is so much against nature that on the other side, man seeks to protect himself by complicated machines, states, and contracts which he cannot observe. So this first reaction of shame symbolizes the moment when man felt his tragic difference from paradise, his original condition.

Yet that original condition was also not a very happy one. The primitive man did not feel his unconscious to be very satisfactory. He tried to get away from it. Of course, we have the idea that the original condition was a wonderful paradise, but as a matter of actual fact man has always tried to move away from that unconsciousness. All his many ceremonies were attempts to create a more conscious condition, and any new positive acquisition in the field of consciousness was praised as a great asset, a great accomplishment. Prometheus stealing the fire from the immortal gods has become a savior of mankind, and man’s greatest triumph was that God himself incarnated in man in order to illumine the world; that was a tremendous increase of consciousness. But every increase of consciousness means a further separation from the original animal-like condition, and I don’t know where it will end: it is really a tragic problem. We have to discover more consciousness, to extend consciousness, and the more it is extended the more we get away from the original condition.

The body is the original animal condition; we are all animals in the body, and so we should have animal psychology in order to be able to live in it. Yes, if we had no body then we could live with contracts and marvelous laws which everybody could observe and a marvelous morality which everybody could easily fulfil. But since we have a body it is indispensable that we exist also as an animal, and each time we invent a new increase of consciousness we have to put a new link in the chain that binds us to the animal, till finally it will become so long that complications will surely ensure. For when the chain between man and animal has grown so long that we lose sight of the animal, anything can happen in between, and the chain will snarl up somewhere. That has happened already and therefore we doctors have to find in a conscious individual the place where the chain begins; we have to go back and find out where it has been caught or what has happened to the animal at the other end of the line. Then we have to shorten it perhaps, or disentangle it, in order to improve the relationship between the consciousness that went too far ahead and the animal left behind.
- CG Jung, from Jung's Seminar on Nietzsche's Zarathustra

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The last stage of the journey

For a long time I wondered; what exists after the animus goes away? What is the end of life task? The animus takes many, many years to deal with. But one can eventually integrate this side of life. What comes after?

I saw a female figure. She was beautiful, but an adult. A woman. A woman beyond men. And I saw a man beyond women; I saw Them. They stand after the animus and the anima. The being of the same sex, which you come to after dealing with the being of the other sex, is the Wise Woman or Sage.

The culmination of a life fully lived is a confrontation with these beings. If you do everything right, as you approach the end of your life you meet these two. If you don’t then you will become possessed by their opposites; the Witch and the Troll.

The man turns away from his mature wife and towards a young sylph, and maybe this is the way it’s supposed to be. Because a woman who goes past the age where she can carry the sylph turns away from her previous life. After years, decades focusing on the small confines of her one-family house, the wide world begins to beckon her. But she will need to abandon all those who relied on her to do so.

The animus is a trickster, and he is eternal. The time of the animus focuses clearly on Him, but even in the seemingly sexless last stage of life, His charm is transformed into the allure of knowledge. He, even now, continues to lure us onwards, towards a deeper union.


“So, priestesses are chaste? You’re chaste?”

“Yes, I’m chaste, but not the way you’re thinking about it. I will never really truly belong to you. A part of me....... the most important part of me....... will always be somewhere else. There will always be someone else in my life, someone as close to me as I am to myself. And there may come a day when I have to leave you, even if you’re not ready for it. And I may leave you. That’s what chaste means; it means that God always comes first.

“You’re either chaste, or you’re promiscuous. You either maintain your loyalty with God, or you decide to live to gratify the appetites of the Ego. Most people side with the pleasures of the Ego, and therefore they are not chaste. But I choose chastity.

“So, the day may come when I have to leave you. But I’m here with you now. Let us find joy in these days we have, for as long as this lasts.”

Monday, February 4, 2019

The plumb line of personality

The superior function and the inferior function are two points along a human line, and that human line is the plumb line of the personality which I call the spine. And I like to think of the superior function as the head of the spine, and the inferior function as the tail of the spine. This definition of the spine is a very real thing. When I discovered that I was an intuitive type, I just knew suddenly – the man who dreamed when he was depressed – had to be some kind of intuitive, and I later realized was an extraverted intuitive, and he also had to be an absent-minded bloke who lost things, and that was my inferior introverted sensation, and I felt my spine in that. Not long after that I dreamt that I was present at the birth of a baby, and I was both the person giving the birth, and I was also the person delivering the baby. If I really knew it, I was also the baby. The baby which was coming out of that healthy sense of spine, was my nature, my psychological type. That sense of self we all have is along that mysterious axis between what we are best at and what we are worst at, which is the spine of our personality, and there is our uprightness, there is our integrity. Another way of saying this metaphorically and analogically is that a personality needs to drop anchor. Some people are pretty clear about what they are best at, but it doesn’t ground them enough. What grounds them is that thing they are not so good at, the thing they can’t control with the conscious mind, the thing they can’t make money at, the thing they can’t will, the thing they can’t push around, the thing that just is and constantly brings them down to earth.

I was in my glory just a few days ago at the time of the election because I consulted the I Ching last January, January of 1992, and I asked about some presidential possibilities, and based on the answers I got I concluded Clinton could win the election, and that Bush would lose the election. Because I can’t contain anything, I let that out at a public lecture in April or so, and then I just lived in dread because if that didn’t come through, my name would be mud. It was a very strange political year, there were many vicissitudes, and Clinton finally won. Bush lost. I was the prophet of all time. I was just exactly what I wanted to be – the great extraverted intuitive prophet. And I was so filled with my happiness, my glory and all the rest that I forgot to write down the time of two of my patients and managed to ignore the writing on my calendar on the third, so I messed up three appointments in a single week. What a nerd this would-be genius turned out to be. That’s the way of the balancing act that the psyche gives us every single time between my marvelous extraverted intuition in my case, and my absolutely rotted, no good introverted sensation that can’t be trusted.

Or one could look at it the other way. One could say that what is rotten is my inflated extraverted intuition, and what is good about me is this humble introverted sensation that makes these mistakes to remind me that I need to pay attention to the here and now, the straight and narrow, and to be humble.
- A Jungian Analyst Talks About Psychological Types: A Visit with John Beebe

See also:
Inferior function
Primary ("superior") function

The flower of human beings

Late in life someone asked Jung, "Well, does consciousness help in the process of individuation?" This person was thinking individuation meant some kind of self-actualization, and maybe you could get there without psychotherapy, but it might be so much better to have psychotherapy, so does consciousness help in the process of individuation? And Jung’s answer was just sublime. He said, "Consciousness is the human being’s individuation." And then in the typical language of Jung he said, "Well, you know if a plant has it in its rhizome to produce a certain flower, and the plant goes on to flower, then you can speak of the flowering of the plant as the individuation of the plant." Then Jung said, "Consciousness is the human being’s flower."
- A Jungian Analyst Talks About Psychological Types: A Visit with John Beebe

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The treasure

The body comes from the earth it lives on. It’s local… and it can change. If your ancestors traveled from another land somewhere they brought with them the matter of their homelands, but also of their now home. You, however, are of the new land. This land’s spirits must be cared for, as They are the ones keeping your body and, by extension, you alive.

Then there’s the part of you that comes from your ancestors; the soul. If your body is now, and local, then the soul is every other time, and universal. The soul is a straight line; the line of your ancestry goes back to the first living creature that started your line. And, beyond that, your soul goes back to join in unity with the entire universe.

The soul is consciousness, the consciousness of the universe, carried in you. The signal remains the same, only the receiver has changed. Stone is receptive but thinks and feels nothing. Plant is alive and thrives, competes and aids, but has no warmth. Animal is hot, red, full of life, even thoughts and feelings, but nothing is differentiated, it’s all a nebulous blob. Only the creatures of intelligence - some primates, some water mammals, and a large land herbivore - have managed to attain such capable receivers. But, so far, only one of the large primates has managed to begin differentiation. This is the teleological purpose of evolution... of the universe itself. There is a large, deep, rich signal that we can still only pick up a small part of. Our job - the job of the entire universe itself - is to develop a receiver that can pick up as much of the signal as possible.

The answer to this question lies in us; will we carry differentiation to the next level? The West has struggled with the question of Evil for so long, thousands of years. The time has long passed where it became first possible, then good, and now urgently necessary to fold the archetype of Evil back into our waking consciousness. More people have to become more conscious. If we can do this, then we can steer the stream of history towards an easy, peaceful, rich, fulfilling transition to a higher state of differentiation, a process which has taken place many times before.

Marx said that history is a history of the changes of the idea of the self, and of the “good.” But also, it is a change of consciousness. Each radical change in culture and economic system has been accompanied by a concurrent change - an enlargening, and complexifying - of consciousness. This is the very thing that is required of us right now. The problem is that this leap is unlike most others, except at the very greatest crossroads (becoming life, coming out of the water, coming down from the trees). This is the problem of the 3 becoming 4; the first three changes may be difficult but they're relatively straightforward. The 4th change is the truly difficult one; complex, obtuse, painful to solve. To be able to endure answering the question of the 4th challenge, the seeker must be able to endure pain, and suffering. The seeker may even enjoy this suffering; a spiritual longing for the experiences which will burn away all of the “corruptible humidity.”

The 3 must become 4: all that is unworthy must be burned away; the treasure without compare must be found, and found by many. Only then will we succeed at our venture.

Friday, November 16, 2018