Stages of Type Development

Few people of the same type will have identical nurtures. Each person treads a slightly different life-path and forms different interests, habits, and attitudes. However, these differences in preferred subject matter are minor in comparison to the differences that can arise from the development between two people of the same type.

Development is a complicated topic when it comes to human psychology, as the reality of psychological evolution is not well understood. Some believe that development happens in people with the passing of time – the same way a baby will inevitably grow up or how a tree will inevitably get taller – but that’s not exactly true. Psychic development is more similar to physical training. If you never get around to doing it (if you never work those muscles) it won’t ever happen.

Age will not determine a person’s level of cognitive development; what will determine it is how many challenges they have encountered and how receptive/willing they have been to the process of evolution. Many a person will live into their 60s at whatever developmental level first sufficed for them to get by in society. The psyche will not bother with more energy expenditure if it is doing fine the way it’s always worked.

Origins: Standard Development

As we are each drafted into this life and into a society we did not select, the greatest pressure we face is conformity to the demands of this social architecture. Whether that involves schooling, the work force, a religion, parental pressures or any other obligations – no child escapes this initial challenge. Our nature (type) will demonstrate itself from our earliest years, and it will fight to represent our essence. But given the dependency we still have during these years to the culture we exist under, type is only expressed to whatever extent it can be, given the restrictions of the context.

The first great developmental hurdle people pass through is the formation of an ego and the individuation away from the beliefs and rituals of their early childhood. When this does not happen, then regardless of a person’s type, such people will be very similar to each other. Fundamental nature will blend into the noise of everything else, and the individual may never truly discover the full extent of their latent individuality. They will show signs of their type here and there, but only a mild degree – sufficient to distinguish them from the next person but not enough to contrast them against everyone.

These individuals may also adapt a sense of self that is ill-aligned to their natural talents. A type may form an ego-association to a function other than their primary, due to the culturally highlighted value of that function. Especially when a type is not well suited to its environment, they may form a self-image which devalues their innate self since such qualities are depreciated by others. In these situations, the over-reliance on a function other than the primary will not lead to growth, as the growth of other functions must happen from the agenda and leadership of the primary – not by the displacement of the primary.

Individuation: Contrasted Development

But if individuation has successfully begun in a person, then a period of self-immersion will follow. They will develop an awareness of their most essential traits and the vector their own psychology takes without dependency on other factors. Here we will see the NiFe leaving behind conventional thoughts and pursuing the arts, poetry, philosophy. We will see the NeFi take risks and start novel projects which align with their dreams, despite their peers’ disbelief or parental advice to the contrary. We will see the FiSe saying no to a diversity of mainstream practices and cultivating a private sense of morality, spirituality and aesthetic which aligns with their life-principle.

However, such a contrasted differentiation also comes with its drawbacks. They may not understand the mindsets of others, nor how other methodologies of being can also be correct. The one-sided FeNi will not understand why some people can’t feel more conviction against systemic social injustices. The TeSi won’t understand how people could waste so much time or why it takes so long to do something so simple. The TiNe may not understand why people rush into matters so much without stopping to think about the triviality of their underlying motivation.

At the same time, there is a purity to this uncompromised authenticity which needs honoring. Here the person becomes a representative for their type and the inborn philosophy of that type governs their whole way of life. And while these contrasted psychologies have their share of blind sides, there’s much work to be done to bring more people into this stage of development. Before the next stage can begin, a person must familiarize themselves with their original impulses and spend a good while in their nativity.

Integration: Polarized Development

The next hurdle the psyche faces is merging a myriad of psychological polarities: integration. This journey extends toward the masculine-vs-feminine principle, the light-vs-dark principle, the spiritual-vs-soulful principle and many other dualities (topics for another time!). Alongside these is the complete reconciliation of our functional polarity. The Ti type learns to use Fe’s articulation to convey their ideas – which they may feel should stand on their own merit – with persuasion and charm in order to invite greater receptiveness. The Te type will soften up to the valuing of all life, not just those who earn their keep through utility. The once-serious NiTe will grow to appreciate what they formerly deemed superfluous fun and recreation.

Types will find a way to harmonize beliefs rather than compromise them through mutual exclusions. Many of the most influential people have arisen from this place due to the rare level of specialization that becomes possible. Suddenly decades of familiarity and refinement (of the primary) is put toward the agenda of the polar. A polar Fi, with its refined ethical center, enjoys the concise voice of their primary Te’s articulation. A polar Ne, with its fantastical ideas, enjoys the structure and preparation of a primary Si’s experience. Manifestation then becomes a far more escalated practice, as the epitome of a function’s essence comes to fruition by the collaboration of their other half.

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