Viewing the remarkable coincidence of Jung’s and Polanyi’s ideas as a synchronistic event evokes the feeling of a milestone, as if there were a sudden breakthrough in the collective unconscious after a centuries-long epistemic struggle. Despite this accomplishment, the field of Jungian psychology, especially as it is understood in popular culture, has tended to fall into one-sided subjectivism.
Complicated conversations occur when different types of consciousness meet other kinds of consciousness, which both befriend and oppose them. You need some way of making sense of “what are the regular territories within this mad conversation?” That is what Jung achieved in Psychological Types: a flexible-enough model to cover all the collisions of consciousness that can arise.
Academic personality research likes to consider trait psychology to be the scientific revolution that overtook and replaced Jung’s type psychology. However, it may be more accurate to view type and trait models as complementary because the conceptual divide has been shifting, and many trends in academic personality research now reflect the fundamental principles of Jung’s type system.
The modern emphasis on self-awareness seems to have taken our psychological development about as far as it can for now; further progress requires the pendulum to swing towards attending to our interrelatedness, toward Self-awareness. The two most active and influential sociopolitical worldviews of our time, conservatism and progressivism, are both demonstrably collective in orientation.
To develop our authentic individual self, we need to go deeper, into the cultural and phylogenetic layers of the collective unconscious. Importantly, from a leadership point of view, we become more aware of what our culture is repressing—aware of the unintended consequences of the culture even though we are participating in it. This enables us to progress, as individuals and as a society.
The mythic relationship between Apollo and Hermes personifies a working relationship between two entirely different styles of being the world. Apollo, lord of reason, light, and order, appears fascinated by Hermes—a figure associated with trickery, liminal spaces, and movement. Despite the two gods’ intrinsic tensions, they build a lasting relationship.
Giannini’s model differs importantly from Myers’ in that it does not restrict us to just one predominant function pair associated with one’s preferred perceiving and judging processes. His model provides a greater degree of flexibility in the developmental expression of type-related behaviors as well as enhanced adaptive power for engaging and responding to our various environments.
Individuation is attractive as a therapeutic goal, but adaptation, even to a self that analytic work has brought into focus, can continue to be a challenge. I have come to feel that one of my jobs as a therapist is to help the person working with me develop an attitude that can negotiate culture comfortably— one adequate to bridge the gulf between irreducibly individual self and continuously demanding world.
Within the function-attitude preference hierarchy for each type, there are three natural groupings which seem to reflect a “Me, Spirit, and Other” delineation and describe our areas of “strength, vulnerability and creativity, and defense,” respectively. Is it more than a coincidence that this configuration has parallels in most traditional world views, as “Earth, Heaven, and Underworld?”
Type as a problem needs to be rediscovered. Although from Jung’s point of view moderate one-sidedness does not usually cause major difficulties and is a stage of development to go through, ultimately being a type is a problem whereas contemporary type theory generally views it as a virtue. This has resulted in the transcendent function being overlooked.