- Type: TiNe
- Development: l--l
- Attitude: Adaptive
So, what I am saying relates directly to this problem of classification we are having here, which is why I don’t wanna leapfrog it. Let me try to propose a distinction, to show you what I mean:
Individuation: The process of coming into one’s own, as a normal process of human growth and life. Growing up, living one’s “true life” and becoming a man/woman.
Hero’s Journey: A specific mythical narrative involving a protagonist that is called to ascend to power, often taking his father’s place, is confronted with evil and has to fight it, is often killed and resurrected, and then ascends to kinghood. Campbell roughly outlines these motifs as so:
This is a very specific narrative structure. It is more specific than wanting to live one’s true life, and it’s also a limited storyline. Why this template (which I see as Fe) is currently positioned as the meta-narrative, I don’t know. But I think this is what is causing the confusion. Essentially, the Fe Hero Myth is conflated with the individuation journey of all people as a whole.
I don’t see it as everyone’s individuation journey having these narrative elements. Even if someone is quite devoted to self-understanding, the number of people who undergo a “Jungian” individuation process, for example, is not 100%. There is some debate revolving around Jung as to why his clients followed this template more than others, and I heard Peterson note that there may have been some pre-selection involved in who would want him as a clinician. So Freudian patients would have Freudian dreams. Jungian patients would have Jungian dreams.
If you go to a Jungian therapist, they’ll try to look at your life through this narrative structure — because they claim it universal. But I don’t think that’s right. There’s a reason why Jungian therapy doesn’t work for everyone (google for example, the efficacy of Analytical Psychology). Peterson suggested it doesn’t work for people low in trait openness, but I think it may have more structural problems. If it was universal, it would speak to the experience of everyone.
But not everyone looks at, or benefits from looking at, the obstacles of their life as battles with dragons– nor their growth as a transmutation of character in the particular way defined above. It is possible, in my opinion, that Analytical Psychology, Joseph Campbell’s renditions, etc, are the attempts to take one truth and apply it beyond its parameters. And because it’s been portrayed as universal, we now come to say “everyone has a hero journey.”
We can rectify this two ways:
- 1. Saying everyone has a hero journey, but it doesn’t mean Fe. And re-classifying Fe as a sub-myth by another name such as Savior.
- 2. Saying everyone has an individuation journey, and classify the ‘hero journey’ as one subset of individuation related to Fe.
The problem with approach #1 is that all the Fe-tinged elements that have been inserted into the narrative will remain within it, when I feel they are not applied to all people. And so then an Fi user may come to say they have a “hero journey” too, just like everyone, and read Campbell and try to stitch their life narrative around that template.
I don’t think it’s the right template. I think the template is right, but it’s specifically biased towards Fe. I think we can do better, and I think a more targeted individuation journey for Fi users can be mapped (by studying enough confirmed Fi users), rather than appropriating the elements within the Fe rendition.
If CT has any room for illuminating the field of mythology, it may be in a route such as this, where the Fe myth can be put in its place, and relativized rather than universalized. But for this I feel it’s most valuable to own up to the Fe hero myth, then contextualize it, rather than grant everyone the qualities of the Fe mythical scaffold.