[Im posting this at request of aubs, so we can continue discussion here. Originally discord content.]
there are deep connections between function typology and depth psychology in general, we cannot compartmentalise the limbic system and the neocortex from either a psychological or neurological perspective - neurologically, the cortex is deeply integrated into the subcortex via thalamocortical feedback loops (many neural loops between the thalamus in the centre of the brain and the cortex on the outer) which are the primary functional determinant of cortical activity. there is no cortical activity aside from subcortical activity, subcortex is the generator/inducer as well as constrainer of higher cortical activities
the processes that support and interfere with individuation are certainly enmeshed into the function stack. the primary psychoanalytic concepts related to this that have yet to be explicitly integrated into jungian typology are: Self (and the drive towards wholeness), Ego (and the drive towards stasis in accord with specific self-images), Self-Ego axis (all as jung conceived them), defense, possession, repression, dissociation, projection, integration of opposites
the psyche is fully holistic, every function used in a particular manner is used in a certain motivational context which has either an aligning or misaligning relation to the central thrust of individuation of the Self
a primary avenue into the investigation of the relation between type and general individuation is the investigation of how functions can be and often are used for ego defense purposes ie to interfere with the spontaneous evolution towards wholeness of the total Self. specific defenses are associated with specific functions, therefore specific functions represent specific ways the individuation trajectory can be interfered with, as well as specific roles they play in a properly balanced psyche which aligns with the individuation trajectory
i do not pursue this path of investigation fully because im not sufficiently interested in it (actually it seems i am interested in it because i wrote some more xD but what i mean is, there is a lot of work, investigation, and pattern-matching that could be done here, this is a mine of great potential gold in further synthesis of typology with the broader domains of psychoanalysis, tho i didnt go into that below and havent thought close to as far as can be thought in this direction), but i can say for sure that it both exists and is central to the relation between typology and depth psychology, which are deeply intertwined in ways not yet mapped, of which i provided an extremely general outline just now
the formation of the false self as defined by winnicott (socially adapted (or inversely, rebellious) persona based on avoiding the tension of self/other conflicts) is deeply intertwined with type as typological emphases or repressions are formed around this developmental process of the formation of the false self and alienation from the true self (or Self as jung calls it)
functions can be used in heavily dissociated ways (high levels of splitting of the psychic opposites eg N repressing S to a massive degree, T repressing F to a massive degree etc) with one of the motivations being for regulation of the valence of experience ie reduction of pain, caused by subconscious discordance of conflicts in the psyche. the dynamics of possession and repression are central here, as contraction of consciousness into one or two functions becomes a possession by that function and repression of their opposite, or in a general sense, repression of the Self - whose functional imprint is the maximally adaptive free-flow of libido/psychological energy through all 4 functions, but contact which means you must pay the price of facing all your inner pain from all the unresolved conflicts of your life, feelings of inferiority, powerlessness, valuelessness, being unloved etc. the Self is the centre of the entire psyche, functions and object relations conflicts. all functions cannot be properly and fully developed and balanced without high levels of resolution of object relations conflicts
because balance itself is the imprint and nature of the Self, with each function in itself not having that capacity, but only tending towards extremes from within its own narrow view and motives in relation to reality. the drive to truth and wholeness is, in the optimal pattern, superordinate to all function processes, which have more imbalanced and myopic orientations to and judgements about/formattings of reality. the co-option of functions under egoic motivations based on compensating for unresolved conflicts/wounds in the unconscious is the default state of humans and therefore a key determinant of why high levels of functional individuation (which is the natural pathway of growth, just as a flower seeks to unfold itself in totality) are not very common
in the grip of/possession by a function (which channels imbalanced amounts of libido into that function, and splits it off from the rest of the psyche), the psychoanalytic defense of the fantasy of omnipotence is enacted, as the Selfs regulation of the function into a bounded/regulated context is overridden by the dissociation of that function from the Self and centreing of consciousness into it. when auburn talks about the shadows of types in the profiles, this is the mechanism which is generated them, for example, Pe scatteredness, Ji rigidity, Je steamrolling etc are all expressions of the imbalanced concentration of libido into that function and dissociation of it from the wisdom and balancing of the Self, which enacts this balance through the harmonisation of oppositional energies (eg P-J, Pe-Pi, Je-Ji). the balance achieved on the manifest level is a reflection of the perfect balance of the unmanifest core of the Self (analogise this to 0 vs -n/+n)
the central point of all this is that there are two primary competing drives in the psyche, as mapped by psychoanalysis -
the drive towards pleasure/away from pain (motive of Ego - pleasure principle)
the drive towards wholeness/manifestation of all potentials (motive of Self - individuation principle)
imbalanced operation of the function stack is caught up centrally in this tug of war, as the function stack is i believe the primary means by which experience is modified for the purpose of reducing pain/increasing pleasure. and this is ultimately about regulating and constraining the relationship between the Ego and the Self, as as the Ego gets closer to the Self, more of the unconscious enters into consciousness, which includes all unresolved psychological conflicts/pain. the functions are often (and generally, as one of their default motivations for use) used by the Ego to interfere with the Selfs drive towards wholeness and the discomfort, temporary fragmentation, helplessness, and pain, involved in that
ultimately this view resituates functions out of the strictly information processing domain and into a motivated domain which is deeply determinant of the way in which and to what degree ones function stack operates in a given moment and also as it evolves over time. ie the intersection of the layers of the psyche (Ego and Self) and their respective motivations/teleologies, and functional processes as described in typology, is fundamental- they are non-separable. the capacity to 'contain' (to borrow a concept from Bionian psychoanalysis) uncomfortable experiences and conflicts, which means, to stay present and open/non-resisting with them such that they are transformed and integrated, is the alternative to defense via imbalanced use of functions and the consequent dissociation from the totality of ones experience
the capacity to contain experience is a variable and can be developed, and is a key dimension of work in psychological growth in general, say in therapy, or in ones own growth work (in mainstream psychology they call it emotional self-regulation). capacity to contain/level of emotional self-regulation is directly related to the balanced and integrated use of the function stack, whose optimal functioning necessitates freeing the functions from their defensive usage in the attempted maintenance of the seek pleasure/avoid pain principle via dissociation (again as pointed to in the shadows of the functions in the behavioural profiles). without good containment capacity, one will fly off into imbalances and the function stack will be dynamically split along with that, in general either as single function dissociation eg heavy Pe, or heavy Ji libidnal focus etc, as a primary+secondary function imbalance eg PeJi, JePi etc emphasis, dissociating from the tertiary and inferior, and in probably the most extreme cases, into hyper E (as seen in double E loops quasi-mania) or hyper I (double-I loops, withdrawal of all attention from environment, quasi-depressive) patterns. this expresses in hyper- and hypo-arousal
dynamic/real-time functional imbalance is a substitute for actual emotional self-regulation which integrates the mind instead of splits it
and this is not peripheral to the way in which functions work in the general population, as in, it is not exclusive to severely mentally disturbed people - this is a normal and common aspect of the motivations determining function usage and blocks in development re: the functions
there is much room for exploration within this paradigm, specifically in relation to the specific ego defenses related to specific functions, specific psychological conflicts relating to specific functions and function relationships, the study of the geometry of libidnal processes and how they balance or imbalance to lead to greater or lesser alignment with the Self
Amazing post Umbi, glad you posted it! Sorry if I end up disagreeing a lot below. I think you did a great job recapping Jung but I may be of a different opinion in many ways.
Jung's hypothesis about human development
I am still reading Jung's work, but so far I tend to differ slightly with him on the aspirational aim of the psyche. I am mostly in agreement with him when it comes to the history of humans, but I think there is some ideology embedded within his unique methodology that is not entirely evidenced by the facts to me.
This bit captures one of my points of current disagreement with him:
...unresolved conflicts/wounds in the unconscious is the default state of humans and therefore a key determinant of why high levels of functional individuation (which is the natural pathway of growth, just as a flower seeks to unfold itself in totality) are not very common
It is a curious position to describe the very, and most, common condition of an organism as a dysfunctional one. I think you're right in your evaluation of Jung's position above. Yet, from a biological point of view, I am not sure that the imagined ideal (often symbolized as the alchemical hero) is a good comparison point from which to measure common people. To me this would be like comparing mankind's stature by the tallest known person to have lived, and considering everyone else dwarves.
Indeed, Jung's metric for a properly functional human was something that is not the norm, but the exception. From a relativistic point of view, I find this difficult to support. To liken this problem to height once again, if we say the average height of a male is 5' 9" then we have a proper metric to measure against. But Jung measures humans against Goliath. I think this becomes problematic in various ways when it comes to a psychological and perhaps therapeutic approach.
I don't think the "default state of humans" (of low levels of integration) can be what it is if "the natural path of growth" was that of high levels of integration. All things being equal, a plant will naturally flower into its beauty. But the human psyche is not the same. I think we've likely never had a social environment where the majority of people grew into their individuated selves as naturally as plants grow into their ideal form. This calls into question the actuality of Jung's metric, and whether or not what he is describing is an ideal or a an attainable reality. And even if attainable, it calls into question whether it is to be prescriptive.
An alternate Hypothesis
I don't actually disagree with Jung in his hope for higher social integration and personal integration. But most evidence I've seen so far points to humans not being naturally inclined to achieve this sort of balance, even though not having it leads to certain problems. To make a very broad point with a diagram from before: (estimating statistics from the database)
What we see is that the distribution of developments is strongest at l--- and ll--. It gets exponentially harder going towards llll.
To me this puts into question the notion that the unfurling eventuality of a human being is the integration of polarities, the way a flower would naturally do so if it wasn't hindered. I may be wrong about this, and perhaps in an ideal world that would manifest. Perhaps the fact that this isn't the case right now is evidence of an imperfect society, human moral imperfection and weakness. But I would like to suggest a different interpretation of the same information.
As an alternative theory, I may propose that the evolutionary pathway of humanity may have deliberately pushed it into social specialization, the way ants and bees work, and in most cases 'stasis' and 'balance' is emergent from the net interactions of humans who themselves are not a self-contained harmony. I think a stasis often develops at the macro level between a person and their environment, to where their function modulation is in sync with, and in a loop with, the outer condition. In this sense systemic balance exists but is extra-personal.
Again I don't mean to say that it wouldn't be useful to aspire towards self-integration, and be as much of a complete self as possible, so as to not project our contents outward and achieve a quasi-harmony with external analogs to our internal opposites. I just disagree that this is the natural state, like that of a plant.
For example, I think the llll development level is rare because of this unnaturalness. And unless we are willing to describe most or all of humanity as psychologically dysfunctional (as Jung did), I would propose that developments that are biased in certain directions are normal and do lead to happy and healthy people. The pathologization of anything short of full integration is, I think, a certain kind of prejudice in Jung that has also marginalized the field of psychoanalysis because it does not speak to everyone.
Jung & Biasing
To describe what I mean by Jung's bias in terms of the existing profiles, we see in his methodology an over-emphasis on the transmutable soul (Fe), mind over matter (Fe), the hero, complete convergence (Ni) and visual aphorisms (the yin/yang, roots-to-branches, lotus flower). And much like FeNi Jordan Peterson, who sees himself as a warrior fighting the forces of hell, there is in Jung a certain level of willpower-focus directed at triumphing over oneself. We see this also in FeNi Kazimierz Dabrowski's Positive Disintegration.
Jung's approach is very Beta NF, and as such it portrays the psyche in some ways as existent for the purpose of effortfully working (Fe) morally towards holistic (self/world) convergence (Ni), and he paints this as the condition, and the purpose, of every person. I suspect this may be part of why he saw efforts towards integrated wholeness as the base human 'ought'. This may speak to certain people, but not all people. It may not describe the phenomenology and 'aim' of many (most) people when they conceptualize themselves. Chiefly, it may also be damaging to them as an approach. We see some echoes of this psychic scarring in the pressures of religious/christian devotion, which is very high-Fe and aspires similarly towards the Messiah/Hero, at the cost of great personal sacrifice.
Another approach might have looked at the vast amounts of human apathy toward this form of integration, as evidence of the need for a different (or more diverse) conception of basic human functionality.
~ ~ ~
From what I see, while degrees of integration are imperative to human survival and fruition, it is also possible that a level of functional homeostasis can exist in a person's life at a certain level of development, be it l--- or l-l- or l--l. And like an animal, such as the amoeba or coelacanth, that has found their niche in a certain form and is no longer in a rapid state of evolution -- so too can a human find their energetic niche, which provides for them stability and fruition, at various points along the way up to llll.
A lifetime spent in l--- mode will come with its challenges but also its benefits (as would llll). I think it's part of the evolutionary design of humans to be specialized this way, rather than an aberrant state, because I don't see l--- (etc) people being unhealthy by default.
If Jung's framing were correct, we'd see less health the more close to l--- a person is. But, quite the opposite, we see more difficulties and emotional turmoils in samples with 3-4 functions developed. We don't fully know why this is yet, but flat/fallen affect also appears more in 3-4 function developed individuals.
This doesn't mean l--- is more ideal than llll, but 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.
I think there are healthy and unhealthy ways to 'do' all modalities, and it's not just the function-integrated ones that are a sign of health. To this end, I would advise a happy, life-prospering l---, ll-- or l-l- type to continue doing what they're doing and aim for excellence in their specific form/specialization until they hear a knock from the unconscious of something growing. If that happens, then yes, lets do some psychological work to say hello to, and welcome, this new member into consciousness and expand the ego to make room for it. But I see no need to necessarily provoke this process if the conditions don't demand it. It happens via psychic demand, and it grows for a specific cause, just like muscle grows as a response to tissue tearing.
(Oh my, this has gotten very long and I need to stop!)
A critique of systematic frameworks of individuation
I am personally of the belief that individuation as a phenomenon cannot be systematically modeled, and particularly that Jung's framework for it is glaringly incomplete. Before delving into specific criticisms of the ideas that have been outlined above, however, I think that it is important to understand the structure of Jung's original typology, and CT's notable divergences from its initial precepts. By understanding and engaging the nature of these differences, the conclusion that I will come to arrive at is that because of a fundamental over-reliance on a dualistic ontology (that is, the conceptualization of the universe as a set of opposites or a set of dichotomies), the assumption is that these aspects exist as these dualities. I personally very much disagree with this ontology and method of conceptualizing interactions (both without and within), and as an extension, must also disagree with Jung's framework of individuation (as it is based on the assumption that this ontology is valid). This same ontology essentially confines what should be an entirely idiosyncratic pursuit to exist as a pre-determined struggle of opposites, primarily conceived through Jung's own view of this issue and not applicable to most other people.
Jung began his typology by painting two portraits; the portrait of the introvert (a type focused on his own conceptualizations and interpretations of the world), and a portrait of the extrovert (a type with a more "objective" orientation that outsourced these things). He then goes on the define the rational and the irrational, the thinking and feeling types, and the sensing and intuiting types. Though he does remark on how the portraits are exaggerated (and not intended to portray the cognitive states of healthy individuals), a core principle that he maintains is that the domination of one aspect of the psyche necessitates the repression of the opposite aspect, no matter the degree of the domination (whether it is extreme like outlined in the profiles or less so), this is taken to be a fundamental axiom of his theory. Section 4.56 (labelled The unconscious) of Wikisocion's version of Psychological Types outlines this axiom rather clearly.
The functional relation of the unconscious processes to consciousness we may describe as compensatory (q.v.), since experience proves that the unconscious process pushes subliminal material to the surface that is constellated by the conscious situation—hence all those contents which could not be lacking in the picture of the conscious situation if everything were conscious. The compensatory function of the unconscious becomes all the more manifest, the more the conscious attitude maintains a one-sided standpoint; this is confirmed by abundant examples in the realm of pathology.
As briefly touched on by Auburn in the post above, Jung's attitude to this problem is similar to a yin-yang problem, where one side overpowers the other side, and the ultimate goal is of a balance between these two sides. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Jung's typology is borne out of a dualistic ontology, focused on dualism (the existence of poles) that reunite. Indeed, derivative typologies from Jung's original work, such as Socionics, focus on this aspect. This approach to understanding psychic interactions (as pairs that repress one another when one member is overactive) is one that also greatly impacted Jung's view of individuation.
Jung's views on individuation
To Jung, the process of individuation (that is, coming to fulfill one's full potential as a person), centered primarily around the integration of the unconscious aspect mentioned above (the repressed aspects of the psyche that are a result of an overabundance of a dominant attitude). Essentially, individuation was paramount to the resolution of a splintered duality, to reach a certain holistically balanced and neutral state. This view on individuation has also been adopted by derivative theories, such as Socionics, the theory of intertype relations created by Aushra Augusta. The main relationship, "duality", is essentially a relationship where the "dual's" dominant attitude is the repressed attitude of the individual, to reach a mutual compensation. Though this is not a facet of Jung's original theory (as Socionics is a derivative and not isomorphic to the theory of psychological types), Jung does allude to this in the section of Psychological Types regarding the inferior function.
Through the unconscious condition of the inferior function, its energy-remainder is transferred into the unconscious; whereupon the unconscious becomes unnaturally activated. The result of such activity is a production of phantasy at a level corresponding with the archaic, submerged condition, to which the inferior function has now sunk. Hence an analytical release of such a function from the unconscious can take place only by retrieving those same unconscious phantasy-images which have come to life through the activation of the unconscious function. The process of making such phantasies conscious also brings the inferior function to consciousness, thus providing it with a new possibility of development.
Thus, it can be concluded that Jung's views on individuation are built around similar premises to his views on psychological types in general, only through the integration of a certain oppositional, repressed aspect could the individual reach a state of balance and development. The emphasis on a dualistic ontology has shown itself again.
The problems with dualism in the context of individuation
The basic framework that Jung has outlined for interpreting psychic processes and the interactions between them has been employed widely partially because of the fact that the principles outlined therein have a certain simplicity to them, that is, these precepts are intuitive enough for anyone with a bias towards wanting to interpret the world symmetrically to not only apply them and adapt them (as you see with almost all derivative Jungian typologies), but to agree with them and thus employ them as interpretative lenses through which the world is viewed. As a heuristic for modeling the basic architecture of cognitive processes (how certain processes dominate over others in most individuals), this ontology serves its purpose well. However, when one attempts to model development (the pathway towards individuation) through the employment of this framework, there are numerous rather pertinent problems that arise.
The most prominent problem is that most pathways of individuation cannot be modeled as neatly and symmetrically as Jung wanted them to be modeled, it is impossible to define mathematical rules for the development of the individual in terms of pairs of processes because it is impossible to know if the basic interactions between psychic processes even happen as pairs or not. Indeed, as we can see through CT's development levels, it's often the case that processes develop in a manners that are extremely balanced (like the I--I developments), but the recipients of these developments do not feel any more psychologically fulfilled than their counterparts that still have I--- developments. This suggests that even if there is to be an attempt at systematically modeling individuation (which I do not think is possible), the basic principles of the model will have to rest on ontological building blocks much more complex than dualistic pairs, because framing psychic conflicts as being centered around the reconciliation of dualities has the potential to abstract away from more microscopic interactions (as dualistic interactions are rather broad).
Even in the case where the derivation of such a model is possible, the mere attempt at such a pursuit is ignoring that happiness is ultimately a subjectively experienced phenomenon. Any attempts at "individuation" are always aiming towards imposed ideas of perfection (that suppose that perfection is something that is higher than personal sentimental satisfaction by virtue of being concretely delineated and "objectively" defined). It is important to understand that the perception of being individuated, the perception of wholeness and contentment is ultimately one that is subjective, one that's extremely difficult to define as a collective experience, because of its nature as an individual experience. As Jung himself says in the section regarding Individuation in Psychological Types
The concept of individuation plays no small rôle in our psychology. In general, it is the process of forming and specializing the individual nature; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a differentiated being from the general, collective psychology. Individuation, therefore, is a process of differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality.
Therefore, I don't think a systematic framework of individuation is possible. As a subjective experience, it is not something that can be standardized into a collective explanatory heuristic, because that detracts from its main property, distinguishing the individual from the collective. Though one could attempt to observe common patterns and trends, putting these trends into general principles defeats the purpose of studying or attempting to undergo the process of individuation.
A topic after my own heart <3 I am not nearly adept enough in psychoanalytic theory to make arguments from that dimension, nor do I have any interest in doing so, but I would like to add a less theoretical perspective.
Starting with a re-evaluation of my own prior misconceptions: I once thought that non-conscious functions were 'blocked', but that was my own bias and projection. My own Fe was indeed 'blocked' by elements of my past that led me to identify in my own body that Fe (and more specifically Directive Fe) was something abhorrent that was better locked away. And of course this unhealthy dynamic led to a pattern of dysfunctional behavior throughout my life; upon finally reaching a breaking point I was able to access and embody Fe in a way that was positive and 'adaptive' for me.
As I think was alluded to somewhere in Umbi's post above, it was indeed difficult for my Ti to come to grips with its opposite/ partner, but some form of alliance was reached and my life took on a character of valuing and engaging with Je primarily for several months. However, at the end of that time period I reached a new nadir, and Fe receded with my self-esteem and self-worth while Si and Ti remained unaffected as far as I am aware. What is interesting is that Fe didn't recede and leave no trace, quite the contrary. Now it comes when it's needed, when it's appropriate to the specifics of my life and when I call for it; this new relationship is quite the opposite of the uncontrolled way Fe manifested prior to any integration. However, it's not a constant presence like it used to be, and although I am of the opinion that I will feel happier and more fulfilled when Fe is more permanently integrated, I am comfortable with where I am at right now and feel no desire to force an integration. Lacking evidence to the contrary, my continuing intuition is that forced integration is not possible to do in a healthy or permanent way.
So, having said all that, there is an extrapolation to be made to wider type dynamics that is in line with much of what Auburn's written above. That is to say, any type is capable of reaching healthy equilibrium with themselves and their environment (and indeed this may be a less strenuous task the fewer functions that must be consciously 'balanced'). Problems arise when functions become attached and identified with the 'complexes' Jung frequently mentions, such that their healthy and contextual use becomes tainted by a daemonic character (likely as the result of individual/ contextual trauma).
There is also the functional aspect of type distribution Auburn described above that I wholeheartedly agree with, in which the human collective is primarily driven by the labors of Types I--- and II--. I think this design is quite sensible and functional from the highest (body politic) to the lowest (family/ partnerships) scale due to the inherently differentiated specialties of Conductors and Revisers.
One last thing I'd like to add is that the conception of increased 'energy' being expended in 3rd-4th function use might be more accurately pictured as disruption or disharmony occurring as a result of the integration process itself, rather than an inevitable feature of the 3rd-4th function usage if looked at independently from the J and P axes. The idea that increased energy is expended when these functions are used might be fully explicable and exacerbated by the difficulty of balancing the lower stack with the upper, rather than being explained by individual function usage. If a person is operating from a position of equilibrium between let's say Je-Ji, which is to say that this person is fully adapted to their environment through the J axis, I don't currently possess a reason for why this configuration should lack any energetic efficiency or produce an increased psychic 'toll'. The idea of equilibrium is itself dependent on the environment and the individual's place in it, and would be accessible in some form regardless of whether functions are fully conscious; the functions would only need to be accessible and not tied to a 'complex'.