I've been wanting to talk about this more formally for a while, so here goes an early draft at it. As always, feedback is most welcome.
In approaching the topic of function development, it's important to begin by defining what development means. What I've seen from the data so far is that function development is not the mere acquisition of skills or procurement of a psychic asset. It is nothing short of a core transformation of personality. The differences between two differently developed individuals (lets say a Pe l-- and a Pe l-l-) are the differences between one personality and another. And the full integration of a function into consciousness, if it happens, changes the person's core notion of themselves and lifepath - effectively who they are.
But in order to properly understand this, we also have to ask what development stands in relation to -- namely stability. Development stands in diametric opposition to stasis. Natural systems aim for stability and the psyche is no different. Having a functional rhythm in life is essential for getting through life, and change/transformation is typically avoided unless it's absolutely necessary. Indeed, from a resource perspective the psyche must ask itself-- why change? The body must make a costly effort to change anything about itself. However, there are also situations in which this is the smartest and most necessary decision to make. As I said in another post:
I think integration is a costly choice that is made, in certain conditions, when a person needs to develop a new mode of adaptation than the ones that have been working for them in their current environment. In this sense, function development appears to be necessary only to the degree that one’s existing psychic repertoire is unfit to respond to the environment. But naturally the psyche will not expend more energy than it needs to, and it will try to find the soonest balance it can, and thrive there if possible, until it is offset again and there is a need to calibrate up to a higher level.
There are situations in which it's imperative to transform and our capacity to change is just as essential to our humanity as our proclivity to want to find/keep a stasis.
There are, roughly speaking, two paths into development and transformation. I'm going to call them acute and gradual. For acute development, I'd like to share this video which I feel does a wonderful job at describing why acute transformation would happen, and what it means:
^ Here, dire situations force/cayalyze a function out in a rapid manner, causing overall psychic disruption. I don't have exact ratios or data yet, but I suspect roughly half of all function development journeys follow this pathway; one catalyzed by urgency, necessity and distress. I also think this is why a fallen affect (which correlates to depression and other mental/emotional conditions) may be more highly correlated to lower-function development -- which are the antithetical functions and the ones most risky to integrate. When change is forced upon a person, they may succeed in it, or they may have a psychological breakdown. However, this can also lead to a rise out of that disorganization and into a wiser state of being and reorganization.
The problem is that one needs to tread carefully here because there is a genuine risk of doing it wrong -- which @bera and I both agree should be taken seriously. Bera and I were also discussing that in some cases the function is accepted into consciousness despite not being integrated fully. In these cases, you can think of a function as being there, as an ego-cluster, but the integration process failed (or didn't complete). In these cases the personality may be fragmented and the central personality may be plagued by the other -- causing a person to exist in an internal struggle with themselves. This struggle can go on indefinitely, or it can lead to the fusion of both sides into a synthesis. It's here that we need more wisdom on how to do it, and it's what I hope to explore in more detail depending on the type involved, what function is "cropping up", and where the person wants to go.
If a function is ready to be birthed, like a woman in labor, I think the best thing to do is to bring it into the world as gracefully as possible. And I think the psychoanalyst's job is to assist this transition process, but only if it has already begin within them. I'll talk more about how to do this further down.
The second pathway toward function development is a more gradual one, which I think constitutes roughly the other half of cases. In this path there is no urgency/cataclysm that forces a transformation of personality, but instead the personality evolves incrementally over months or years.
This process is the most easy to understand, as it follows typical stages that a function passes through in the process of integrating into the ego. I hesitate to give strict numbers to these stages, as they exist in a gradient/continuum, but for the sake of giving structure and explanation, we can think of these stages as:
1. Repression / Denial [-1]: At birth a function is not repressed. The most normal state for a function to exist in is "neutrally" unconscious, which is the next stage on this list. If a person's function is not repressed then this stage is not relevant to them. However, if a person's function is repressed, the first step becomes lifting that function out of a demonic/shadow form. If the qualities of a function (lets say Je) are only thought of as horrendous (i.e. tyrannical/bossy) and disassociated from the ego, then integration cannot happen. The person first has to recognize that the function has a place and time in the economy of humanity and in the economy of their own psyche as well. It has to be possible for them to see themselves using the function, even if in minor ways, when necessary.
This stage is also called "denial" because the person is not identified with it. Repressed functions have an actively negative charge against them. Once this is lifted, we move onto the next phase:
2. Neutral / Negotiative : We come now to a "neutral" state. If nothing negative has pushed a function down below, this is where all unconscious functions would typically reside. In here we are able to call upon a function if necessary, but the relationship to the function is negotiative. An example of this can be: "I'll use you, if you get me through this assignment/party/conversation." The function is allowed to have some psychological presence but as part of fulfilling a certain momentary task. So we trade our energy and time (into the function) for getting results with the function when we can't avoid it, because we also cannot sustain the energy expense for very long.
3. Admiration / Imitation : Next we come to the first stage that marks the function's positive rise into consciousness. The relationship to the function is now one of admiration. Since we do not yet have this function manifested fully in us, admiration happens from the outside -- usually in the form of someone who has that function developed already, or who leads with that function. We gravitate towards topics and talks about it. Our appetite for information increases and we start to see the value in its perspective of life and reality. This is where fetishization occurs, and much like the development of our initial personality as small children from our parents, we start to learn by imitation. We may feel inadequate but we try to be better, and our life trajectory is heading in a direction of slowly manifesting what we admire.
4. Over-Identification / Obsession : But then the next stage is one in which there is ego-identification before there is full development. This stage is perhaps the most counter-intuitive. The ego now expands to include the function, but in so doing it is over-identified and it over-corrects in the process of coming into consciousness. Like falling in love, the integration of the function amplifies its state in the mind even beyond that of a person who has it as their lead. In Over-Identification, it simutaneously feels like the epitome of what they are, yet paradoxically also what they're striving to become.
There is a naivete to the process, too, which does not yet fully grasp the consequences that come with the function and the need to take responsibility for them. There will be an over-enthusiastic pronunciation of its value, in a way that is actually uncharacteristic of those who lead with it. This also comes with some naivete as to how to go about using their newly found function because, in the freshness of it, they mostly see the value of it.
5. Actualization / Normalization : Then at the final stage, the "magic" starts to wear off when the person realizes that, like everything else, it comes with a cost and it's not so fantastic and all-powerful once it's off the shelf and in your room. The function is "actual"-ized, which means it moves from the fantastical to the actual, and thus loses some numinosity but adds the function's practical energetic abilities wholly to the personality. It's now fully conscious, but this also means it's like breathing air and not an extravagant matter anymore. It's role in the psyche now comes to be mediated with the needs of the rest of the psychic economy.
Usually a person who leads with a given function is the most aware of the problems of having that function, and has spent years dealing with those problems creatively and toning down the rough edges it can have. The individual with an actualized function will now treat their new function the same way.
~ ~ ~
This developmental process follows a bit of an S curve, as seen in the diagram above. Well, in reality it's much more complicated than this, but I hope this presents a start. The question of what exact content is involved in moving from one stage to the next is something I hope to explain in the following post.
The post above presents an overview of what the integration process looks like in stages, but does not explain what aspects are involved in the integration process.
^ The main aspects of integration that I've been able to identify so far are these. These four exist somewhat independent of each other so that one may be integrated without the others. These are also not in any necessary order, and a person may encounter either one of these four aspects first, depending on their own individual life-path and what's most adjacent to their consciousness.
The presence or absence of any one of these 4 aspects of integration may alter the perception of the subject's relationship to themselves and the function. For example, if the ontological status is accepted (a), the individual may feel strong alignment with the function, to the point of considering it central to their consciousness, while, in a practical sense, their embodiment of it in reality (d) could lack any of the other defining features. In such a case a function is believed "in word", and "in thought" but not in action.
Inversely, a person may embody all the actions and attributes of a function (d) and be, for example, a dutiful person (Je), worried constantly about achievement and so forth. And they may have all other aspects of a function present except a healthy sense of its value, at least not consciously ego integrated. "Life isn't about doing" they may say, but they may spend their entire time doing things. In this case their behavior speaks affirmatively, while their thoughts speak negatively about the function.
~ ~ ~
Here's a brief summary of what each of these aspects entails:
See this thread for an introduction on the ontological priority of functions. Each of the four functions brings with it a different perspective of what is "real" and "true." The default proclivity of the psyche will be to not validate the reality-status of unconscious functions. For example, if a person is Ji-lead they may struggle to integrate definitions of things that are non-essentialist but instead pragmatic. "Truth is what works" is a phrase that may makes a Ji-lead cringe. Defining truth, god, or any fundamental philosophical questions through the ontological status of another function will be an unsettling experience. If there is success in integration, the reality-status of both processes come to coexist. This doesn't just apply to the reality of the energetics but also to their attitudes (N/S/T/F), which have their own implicit reality-status which they wish to elevate to the highest level.
The integration of the purpose & value of a thing is about answering “Why do I need it?” or contending with thoughts like “I’m fine without it” and at worse something like “people who concern themselves with this domain of life are slaving away, torturing themselves, or missing the real point of living." These thoughts speak to a depreciation of the value that the process plays in real life, and in humanity more broadly. A person with this attitude will be in a polemic against humanity, as a whole, insofar as they feel the function carries no value for them.
A milder form of this indifference could manifest as a feeling that "it's fine for others to concern themselves with this domain, but it's just not for me." This aspect comes to be integrated when the psyche comes to develop a proactive respect for what it has to offer and a thirst for the fruits it can add to one's life. This is where the perspective of the function changes from one we could do without, to one that we like, enjoy using and see the inherent goodness in it. When we integrate the function’s value and purpose, it’s no longer something we just do because we “need” to. It’s something we feel positive, respectful and excitement about. If there is no appetite for what it has to offer, it shows this aspect is not really present. Note that this is different than ontological status. One can concede to the ontological reality of a given function and yet not value it.
This aspect relates to our integration of the archetypes that sit beneath the functions. The Puer, Prince, King or Senex will first be manifested in our dreams. If one is trying to integrate Pe, one needs to integrate the Puer (Child) archetype as well -- and treat it as a living entity. At this holistic level, functions are not only mental operations but they represent ego clusters or sub-personalities that have their own voices and desires. As these "sides of us" become ever more real, our capacity to commune with them will increase. Active imagination techniques can be used to try to channel them outward, and eventually to dialogue with them in real-time. The final sign of having integrated this aspect is when one comes to know, viscerally, "I am a queen", "I am a king" or "I am an eternal child", etc. The character is identified as oneself, and one viscerally integrates that role as well as the responsibility of being that character.
Lastly, there is the integration of practical habits -- the development of specific skills and abilities. For example, working on one's public speaking skills (Je), learning to flow gracefully in dancing (Pe), or editing a paper meticulously to the point of perfection (Ji). This can involve changes in lifestyle, career, etc. Without this aspect, the function is not truly integrated either. But the other three above ought to make this part far easier.
However, it's also possible to become technically "good" at skills while still depreciating their essence underneath. For example, a person may have been forced to take dance lessons as a child, or to give speeches. They may have exercised the muscles while not having integrated the purpose & value of the function, nor validating the responsible function's ontological status. In these cases the full beauty and truth of the function will not shine through, and instead it'll evidence its artificiality. It's impossible to truly master a craft without believing in the root from which the art emerges and is able to permeate reality.
~ ~ ~
This is all I can say about it for now with some degree of confidence. I'm still learning, but this is how it appears to me so far. These four aspects comprise the details of the S graph in the post above and as these four aspects of integration rise, so do the stages of consciousness.
I hope this is a helpful draft for some of you here! If you're wondering where you might be at developmentally, in relation to a given function, it may be helpful to go through this list above and ask yourself: on a scale of 1-5, how much integration do you have on each of these 4 sections?
This is fascinating ! I LOVE these types of threads !
I have some questions :
1.Are there stages that are more psychologically or energetically taxing than others? My impression is that the very first one, starting from repressed and going to neutral might be the most difficult one, but I don't have much evidence to support this.
2.Do you think there is any way to flatten a the curve 🙂 of Over Identification? To have a smoother path from Admiration to Actualization? So, if you are at the stage of Over Identification, is there a way to make the experience less intense and more palatable for yourself and others until you reach the last stage?
I loved the advice in the video to take steps back and relax whenever you can, as any process of self transformation is challenging and takes away energy you could use otherwise.
But maybe there is more we can do...?
I think this particular stage (Over Identification) can be risky in impact on the outer world, while the first one (Repression) appears to be the most challenging internally.
What do you think?
3. How much of this process reflects in vultology? So, does someone who has a function at stage -1 show less of the specific function signals than someone who has it at 1 and then 2 etc? But then does someone who reached the Over Identification stage show more of the function signals than someone who is at the last stage? Or do we see over modulation at this stage, without the energetics being properly maintained for long periods of time without some effort?
4. Can the curve be followed by a new smaller one - so, can the person go from point 5 back to 4 or from point 5 back to 3 and back to 4 and 5 several times? Or do fully integrated functions always remain at that stage, with some minor fluctuations?
1. Are there stages that are more psychologically or energetically taxing than others?
I don't know either, but I suspect you're right. I can try to model this in a diagram:
Here we have two scenarios: A & B. "A" is a repressed function and "B" is a neutral function.
The process of pulling functions into consciousness is one of applying a force (vector) upwards. But if a person's starting with a negative force (vector), then the amount of energy needed to overcome that negative vector is greater. As mentioned, a repressed function has an active force against it.
In the diagram we see both functions aiming to go up by the same amount of units: 4. However, for "A", the negative force already present (-4) needs to be overcome by a positive force (+4) to break even, and then apply another +4 (green) to go up four units. This is how it appears to me so far.
Crawling out of a repressed state does seem to be a harder task than simply raising a neutral function upwards.
2. Do you think there is any way to flatten a the curve of Over Identification?
Again I don't know but I suspect the 'overtake' may be part of the process itself. It may be that least for a moment it's necessary to "really feel" the reality of the function as if it were primary -- to allow it to be maximally represented in order to appreciate its full dimensionality. It may be only with this awareness and validation that we can know what it means to contextualize it.
I suspect it's part of the merging process. Committing all the way. "Drinking the coolaid." This may need to be felt, before moderation makes sense (i.e. normalization). And all the fears that we have regarding a function go away only when we fully allow it into our ego.
I suspect there is a level of "self-trust" that is needed here. Being okay with becoming something else. Trusting that your native nature won't be consumed in the end -- and indeed it won't. Even if it seems to be "everything" for a moment, our physiological wiring will recoil back to a more sustainable rhythm on its own. So, you won't become a TeNi, no matter how hard you try, don't worry. You'll always be you Bera. 🙂
3. How much of this process reflects in vultology?
Right! I actually think you hit it on the head. Over-Identification results in Over-modulation, which has its own energetic signature. I mentioned this before on Discord but only in passing. This is a level of nuance that is hard to see right now. There is a difference between someone using a function masterfully at stage 5, and someone who is struggling to get it "out" who is still at stage 4. However, right now the codifier cannot tell this difference, and stage 4 is 'effectively' conscious anyhow. I actually have an example of this I want to show (with Andrew Kirby). I'll post it later, as an example of over-modulation in action.
4. Can the curve be followed by a new smaller one – so, can the person go from point 5 back to 4 or from point 5 back to 3 and back to 4 and 5 several times?
Oh dear, let me try to simplify the question. Can functions come in and out of consciousness? Yes.
Although I think over-identification may indeed be curbed if a person's function has fallen unconscious and is now rising back into consciousness. Like riding a bike, I don't think you ever fully "lose" it and it's relatively easier to get it back. So I don't think you'd get a second 'birth' process, and it's more like a reawakening.
I also don't think this happens several times. Personalities tend to stabilize with age. So if it seems that a person's jumping between stages very quickly, they aren't-- they're just modulating their functions differently on different occasions. Hope that makes sense. (:
Hey, Aub! Fantastic job, as usual. I have a few thoughts on it I've shared on the discord, and I further recommend the Jung to Live By channel where a couple of Jungian therapists with long experience talk about the psyche, shadow, complexes, the unconscious, etc., in a way that's highly insightful and, IMO, very effective if one is seeking some sort of online tools to help with negative experiences with their psyche, short of finding a therapist in person.
The core of my point though is, I think the more negative stuff is entirely separate from individuation per se. I.e. When it comes to the shadow and complexes, I think it's best to approach functions like any other part of the psyche. The negative stuff can attach to any aspect, including a function and "possess," it in a way. So it's not an indication of development level, IMO, but of a kind of injury and maladaptation that has taken place and that may involve any part of the psyche, including cognitive functions, whereas individuation proper is like growing up from infancy through various stages to adulthood, or from a seed/sapling to a tree, etc. So a stage-two level of development, for example, would not be shielded from such hijacking by their unconscious, if they were to experience something that opens it up to the unconscious in a negative way. Healing an injury is kind of different from growing up, even though it may be related in the sense that the injury might impede/affect normal growth if it's not effectively healed.
I do not consider the more shadowy side of my Te-struggles to have been per se a stage of development to the extent it was:
-Disruptive to my life
-Experienced as an unwanted/invasive force
-Experienced as somewhat autonomous from my conscious control (like it takes over and does its own thing).
This is what, as I've learned from the guys I'm recommending, was a complex, and in my case, part of the negative "other" or negative animus. For me, the solution for that is to find the positive animus, which looks far more like the positive development and builds up the conscious self/ego rather than create suffering. I.e it develops potential. I believe the highly negative stuff comes from instinctual injury (the frustration of the natural development according to one's genomic "self"), the negative animus (or for men, the negative anima), and negative/maladaptive complexes that form in reaction to some kind of pressure/problem (a maladaptive solution to a problem).
Also, about negative experiences brought on by, perhaps exploring the shadow through active imagination and similar stuff in an attempt to "develop a function," I heard the Jungian therapists say that can be fairly dangerous if one's ego has a soft boundary, and the unconscious will then behave like a trickster in that case, and even cause experiences like dissociation, hallucinations, etc. So rather than a dev stage, it'd be more like a complex or other problematic issues, IMO, that one develops from that activity and that later needs some sort of healing. It may block further development of a function at the stage it's at, perhaps only partially so, maybe even cause regression: who knows? But it's better to see the negative stuff more like an injury in the process, like breaking a leg, than a part of individuation per se, whicxh would be more like growing up from infancy-childhood-Teenage-adulthood.
Faerie! 🙂 Glad you could pitch in!
I think we're in pretty much total agreement, but my diagram may require explanation. So when I say that point -1 (repression) is one in which there is an aberrant negative force being applied to a function, that's exactly what I mean. I agree with you that normal growth is like infancy-childhood-teenage-adulthood, and this is represented by points 0-1-2-3. Point -1 is not part of the "natural" progress forward of a function, but is instead a result of some psychological force (it could be the anima/animus, yes, or a complex) bringing the function deeper into subterranean territory.
This is also why I think it's harder to bring a repressed function up than a neutral one. Essentially, what is involved in going from point -1 to 0 is to bring those complexes to a resolution, allowing them to no longer be applying a negative vector on the function.
In these situations, bringing the function out of a repressed state cannot be done in isolation, but involved overall shadow work. From what I've been able to see for myself (of Jung's concepts) contents within the shadow become a conglomeration/chimera of everything that is ego-disassociated. So a repressed Te may simultaneously be the negative image of a person's father (dark father), or the opposite sex more generally. Resolving these matters with the father archetype would be what also allows the function to come out of repression. (not saying this was your specific situation -- I think this is a case-by-case matter, and different people have different complexes)
One of the reasons I hope to present this information to psychoanalysts is because I agree with you that this is chiefly a matter of resolving complexes -- but since the complexes also make use of functions, understanding what function is within that shadow-character can give a person a method to heal it because we know what's involved in a given function's cognition and behaviors. So this would give a psychoanalyst insight into the constitution of an aspect of the shadow complex.
I wonder what you think of this? ...and if it explains the harmony between your points and the diagram? 🙂 Or maybe not..?
Also, I'll definitely look into that channel, thanks!
@Aub, excellent!! I do agree with almost everything you've written. I think we pretty much see the psyche the same way, so that's great! And yes, your description of a repressed Te is not too far from my own issues, actually. I think I'm just a little bit lost on whether we define all shadowy issues touching upon a function as -1 or if that refers to a specific problem. I think I started developing what we would call Te skills out of necessity a while back but only lately an "embrace" of Te as a positive power/capacity I have that's literally changing my life for the better. I'm not sure it'd fit going from -1 to 0 as I see quite a few of the other stages as well? Maybe there's more than one way we can have shadowy issues with our functions. I'm sorry to be confusing, I'm just trying to make sense of my own experience of my most difficult function (Te) in light of the stages you've highlighted.
For example, I'm thinking of an image/metaphor where a complex is "hanging on" to a function attempting to grow out of the soil of the unconscious, trying to drag it back. It might cause the growth to be heavy, and limited but still growing slowly. Or perhaps explosive in a compensatory way (wilder). If that complex were to heal, then things would accelerate depending on where the growth was or slow down the libidinal force, maybe. I.e It wouldn't necessarily mean it was going from -1 to 0. I'll think on it some more. But I'm very happy with almost everything in this last post. It makes sense to me!
I think I started developing what we would call Te skills out of necessity a while back but only lately an “embrace” of Te as a positive power/capacity I have that’s literally changing my life for the better.
Yes, this is why I said in the second post that there are Aspects of Integration, which don't necessarily develop altogether. Aspect #4 is Integrating Behavioral Attributes which includes practical Te skills.
But seeing Te as a "positive power" is described in #2 as Integrating Function Value & Purpose. This is where the perspective of the function changes from one we could do without, to one that we like, enjoy using and see the inherent goodness in it. When we integrate the function's value and purpose, it's no longer something we just do because we "need" to. It's something we feel excited about.
To summarize, what you're describing about your journey looks to me like this:
First: Your Te was repressed, attached perhaps to other psychic complexes, and manifesting as a daimon. The way out of this stage appeared to be Integrating it's Behavioral Attributes (Skills) as well as it's Archetypal Character (Bull).
Second: This brought you up to more or less a Neutral level, or slightly better, where you could negotiate with Te and use it when in a pinch, with fair amount success, even though it still was not your favorite thing to do. You still battled with it because it could be unruly.
Third: Next, you then began to sincerely Admire Te, as was evident with your interest in a lot of Te-leads at the time, as I remember Brene Brown, Martha Beck, etc. This is the "Admiration/Imitation" stage, where you also aimed to imitate how they do it.
Fourth: And most recently it seems you have Integrated the Function Value & Purpose. This would mean that you've integrated at least 3 of the 4 elements of the function, and are at or above the Admiration stage. I actually think you might be in the Over-Identification stage, feeling love for Te right now and seeing its heroism very meaningfully in your life.
It's wonderful to hear your explanations on Discord. 🙂
I wonder how this sounds to you?
edit: Basically what I am saying is that the pathway/road up to consciousness involves embracing these four aspects of integration, in whatever order is most accessible to the individual. Each time an aspect integrates it gives things a climb upwards. And it's not always just a smooth gradient upward -- key events or realizations can have sudden bursts.
Your path appears to have been Archetype-->Skills-->Value/Purpose. But it's been a while since you've been here so maybe I don't have all the details correct? Either way, looking forward to your thoughts. 🙂
That's great, Aub, thanks! I'll reply tomorrow, but thank you for being receptive to my feedback!
Lots of great info here! I’d be interested, too, in how or why functions might go the other way, out of consciousness.
I’ve had two particularly dark periods in my life that stand out amidst my usual cycling depressive episodes - one around 2010 and another mid last year into the start of this year. I waited to submit a new video until after I felt mentally stable enough to do so and learned that I lost my Te. Maybe coincidence? Or can it be related?
Hmm. In my own experience with Fe, the Acute path followed exactly the stages Auburn outlined in the Gradual path, just in a highly condensed time period. For some years prior I had been stuck in the gap between integration stages 2 (function value and purpose) and 3 (archetypal [embodiment]), because I hadn't processed why I was unable to value the function's use in others but not in myself.
Once that hurdle was overcome and I'd made significant progress in detaching the function from the complex that had overtaken it, the desperation to manifest the function I had been feeling for so many years took the reins and I had an ecstatic breakthrough in which I felt the Archetype embodied in me and immediately went to stage 4 (displaying Adpative Fe behaviors), which also corresponds with going from -1 (Repression) to 2 (Over-Identification) almost immediately. It's debatable in my mind whether I actually reached or maintained 3 (Normalization), but if I did it was only for 2-3 months, which feeds into --
@shelley-lorraine's experience of Te receding from consciousness after a particularly severe depressive episode. I had what sounds like an extremely similar experience, where I also entered a depressive episode that shares an eerily similar timeline (mid-last year leading into its lowest point early this year). And after coming out the other side of that, Fe had receded significantly, to the point that I knew even absent video evidence that it wasn't a part of my day-to-day vultology/ consciousness. To pull from a Discord message from a month ago --
I've still retained a lot of the lessons I learned from integrating Fe, but it has receded to a significant degree, and it appears it's in an inverse relationship to my depression and lack of self-esteem, while Si and Ti don't appear to have receded much at all as far as I can tell. And while it's certainly quite diminished in day-to-day operations, Fe still feels accessible/ able to be called upon when needed (which is quite handy!). I've also retained several of the changes it brought in principles and behaviors as well.
In my own experience with Fe, the Acute path followed exactly the stages Auburn outlined in the Gradual path, just in a highly condensed time period.
Right! This is one of the things I'm mulling over, but am still gathering information on. Would it be accurate, then, to conceptualize it like this:
^ where the red line is an acute path, and the dotted grey line is a gradual path?
When the repressing psychological pressure is released, the recoil from going deeper underground (hell) results in a larger lift upward (heaven) -- like the behavior of an elastic band. The sine wave dynamic becomes condensed, but still has the same elements happening, just on a much smaller timeframe (?)
^^Yes, to me that seems like a very solid depiction of the general pattern (i.e. the 'mean' trajectories of Acute vs. Gradual). My intuition is that for each individual trajectory there will be several 'plateaus' present within the development process that correspond to the different spikes from one stage of integration to another. These spikes and plateaus would be more pronounced in Acute cases and less pronounced in Gradual cases.
Day-to-day operations might appear relatively flat before a sudden leap brings novel insights or behaviors to bear, which then sets a new plateau as the baseline from which smaller crests and troughs would then form before another leap upwards. I would also expect downward spikes in integration to occur more in Acute cases, and to be heavily correlated with depression and mental instability, given that each newly integrated function must be balanced with those already conscious. The high costs of integration might be 'vetoed' by a psyche that needs to devote most of its resources towards maintaining stability under duress.
This pattern has parallels to research findings of insight learning: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC387268/
(1) Solvers first come to an impasse, no longer progressing toward a solution.
(2) Solvers usually cannot report the processing that enables them to reinterpret the problem and overcome the impasse. Insight often occurs when people are not even aware they are thinking of the problem.
(3) Solvers experience their solutions as arising suddenly, and immediately recognize the correctness of the solution (or solution path).
Recent work suggests that people are thinking—at an unconscious level—about the solution prior to solving problems with insight. Specifically, while working on a verbal problem they have yet to solve, people presented with a potential solution word read the actual solution word faster than they read an unrelated word.
To summarize, what you’re describing about your journey looks to me like this:
First: Your Te was repressed, attached perhaps to other psychic complexes, and manifesting as a daimon. The way out of this stage appeared to be Integrating it’s Behavioral Attributes (Skills) as well as it’s Archetypal Character (Bull).
Second: This brought you up to more or less a Neutral level, or slightly better, where you could negotiate with Te and use it when in a pinch, with fair amount success, even though it still was not your favorite thing to do. You still battled with it because it could be unruly.
Third: Next, you then began to sincerely Admire Te, as was evident with your interest in a lot of Te-leads at the time, as I remember Brene Brown, Martha Beck, etc. This is the “Admiration/Imitation” stage, where you also aimed to imitate how they do it.
Fourth: And most recently it seems you have Integrated the Function Value & Purpose. This would mean that you’ve integrated at least 3 of the 4 elements of the function, and are at or above the Admiration stage. I actually think you might be in the Over-Identification stage, feeling love for Te right now and seeing its heroism very meaningfully in your life.
It’s wonderful to hear your explanations on Discord.
I wonder how this sounds to you?
Hey, Aub! Thanks for the long reply.
I've had a long think about it and I think I've found a way to describe what I mean by -1 may not be the only way to see struggles like the one I've had, though it might be the more common one.
If one's ego has come under attack/serious trauma from an unresolved negative animus due to a change in environmental circumstances that have brought it to the fore (like a job and move that end up being . . . well, not the friendliest route for them), and the negative animus' point of attack on the ego is around, say, worthiness/competence/independence, Te may rise out of unconsciousness to fend off the attacks. Typically, as the Jungian therapists I recommended say, as without, so within. Such inward attacks tend to be reflected in similar things in the external world. And the person may have to first learn to defend themselves, their ideas, and other vulnerable/victimized people (as they see it) in that realm and only after "learning the lesson" there, only then realize the attacker is actually within. Then turn inward onto it, having built up some Te muscle.
The thing is, I interpreted a lot of that as "negative Te" but I don't think so anymore. Maybe this is why it seems like over ID and I might be over-IDing indeed, but I think it's also something else. I think it was a weak Te trying to defend against the negative animus, or shadow if you like (though that's something different in the system I'm learning) like a young son against a cruel/tyrannical dad. The animus in women isn't as married to the symbology of "a man" as the anima is to women as I understand it: It tends to come in varied ways in addition, including "society" at large. So the first task (learning to fend for oneself) may come with extra oomph if the animus projected onto "society" is the cruel version. But I'm not sure this would make that Te -1. I think the extra oomph is due to the presence of the negative anima, not Te being unconscious: i.e. the task is that of learning to battle. It just takes a while before one realizes the ultimate one to battle is within. In fact, I think one realizes that only after learning to do that externally. There's a video on the negative animus in women explained through the myth of Bluebeard that I think would be very informative for anyone curious enough.
I also was talking about Fi on discord and, in a sense, its rise may have been called forth by a similar, though not identical crises. It healed a different wound than the one the rise of Te would be healing.
@rua - Right! And thank you for that link. I totally agree with the reality of our unconscious processing -- which leads to sudden realizations and bursts. I hinted at this a little above, but I think that if we tried to model the actual growth path of an individual across this (aggregated) sine wave we'd see a much more granular view that would be something like this:
Full size: Link
The "stages" are somewhat of a simplified analogy in what is a much more nuanced journey a person goes through, punctuated by sudden peaks and valleys across a mean/average growth path. Specific events or realizations might lift one aspect of integration up 30% at once (say for example an integration of an archetype in one of its crude forms), or it can stall out for months at a time. Later the archetype may be integrated again in another more sophisticated expression of itself --as they tend to change shape as we encounter new challenges. Thus, there are "stages" within the stages themselves.
So we can roughly model the plot line as something like:
D = Development (the plot line)
A = Aspect of integration
D = (A1 + A2 + A3 + A4) / 4
Where A1, A2, A3, A4 are value ranges from -1 to 1.
Full size: Link
These four aspects are somewhat tied together so that the integration or progress made in one of them can catalyze change made in another, but that's not always the case. At this level of granularity, one aspect may be at negative numbers (repression) while another might not be. So for example one might still have a repressed relationship to the purpose/value of a function, even though one's behavioral talents/skills with it have progressed to have a good deal of competence with it.
In this more granular view, a function can be repressed and not repressed at the same time, depending on what aspect of integration we're talking about. I think this is something that takes a lot of inner and outer exploration to figure out.
We may be at a level in our journey where we thought we had integrated a function, because we use it on a day-to-day basis, and have some success with it at work or school. But then suddenly we realize, by the collision with some event or challenge, that we are utterly unequipped in a certain dimension. We have "weak spots" in our function development journey.
For example, maybe we've learned to elevate our Je skills and feel really good about our lifepath, but if we're confronted with a certain kind of nihilist that pokes us at a purpose/value point of view with questions of "what's the point of this?" / "why do anything, when everything dies?" -- we may not have an answer. If we can't figure out the solution to this dimension, we may begin to doubt our path altogether, and the plot line takes a hit. We may even stop caring about practicing behavioral attributes.
But then we may not feel that person's argument was wholly sound, but we will need time to figure out why it's false. Once we figure out why it's false (i.e. "doing nothing is just as absurd as doing everything - we give meaning/purpose to life because meaning/purpose is inherently a human choice. it justifies itself by the value I feel in my life") we reclaim the lost territory.
So integrating a function is simultaneously a series of ongoing conversations/realizations along the way as we solve the riddle of why something matters (2), why it's true (1), why we need to be competent at it (4), and what spiritual narrative is evolving through it (3). It's an intellectual (1), emotional (2), spiritual (3) and physical (4) journey.
Indeed, there's no way to know how much time will pass between one epiphany and the rest, as we get stuck at certain points. And some people may 'stay' at a certain point along this journey, never reaching Over-Identification & Actualization. And in a way, that's all fine too.
~ ~ ~
edit: But maybe, armed with this awareness, CT can provide case studies of what some of these 'challenges' (intellectual/emotional/physical/spiritual) are that are commonly faced along the way. As we learn more about how people resolve the problems faced, we can create guides for others who may be "stuck" at any one of these aspects, and how to navigate around their blockade/obstacle.
These four aspects are somewhat tied together so that the integration or progress made in one of them can catalyze change made in another, but that’s not always the case. At this level of granularity, one aspect may be at negative numbers (repression) while another might not be. So for example one might still have a repressed relationship to the purpose/value of a function, even though one’s behavioral talents/skills with it have progressed to have a good deal of competence with it.
In this more granular view, a function can be repressed and not repressed at the same time, depending on what aspect of integration we’re talking about. I think this is something that takes a lot of inner and outer exploration to figure out.
O wow, Aub! This is interesting! I think I could fit my experiences into this more granular approach.
So, in this view, it'd appear value/purpose may have been severely repressed in me while other aspects were more positively received. Very interesting! I'll think further on it but at first glance, it's a good frame I think I could fit my history into.
@Auburn, are there any vultology signals that are distinctive to Repression/Denial? I'm particularly interested in whether repressed Je can identified through vultology, because I suspect that mine might be in this stage of (non-)integration.