Many clients enter treatment because their psyche is “failing” to accommodate itself to their one-sided will. They are cut off from the self-regulating functions of their unconscious and the resulting symptoms have induced so much suffering that they are forced to stop their plans, enter therapy, and work through the blockage. The power complex wants a better hold on the psyche.
extraverted intuition (Ne)
Couples often wonder whether they are “ready” for such a commitment. I look for situations when each person’s “sore spot” is activated. When a couple is able to hold the tension of the activated inferior function and find a way to make their relationship a vehicle for the development of personality, then they are “ready” for marriage in one of the most crucial ways.
We harken back to the Conques tympanum’s division of cosmos and chaos as Jung thereby affirmed the value in engaging with all four functions so as to address our human challenges and set matters in order. Just as Christ was the arbiter of human souls on the Conques tympanum, we may engage our inner self to negotiate the chaos within our own psyche.
I’ve discovered that the functions express their unique influence through the tao of the Greek goddess Artemis—an archetypal propensity richly endowed with autonomous power, fierce agency, determined focus, profound self-sufficiency and capacity for self-care, and enormous ability to maintain a connection with the purity of a thalassic and lunar soul.
My ongoing experience with grief in relation to my inferior function has brought forth dysfunctional behavior as well as an increase in consciousness and differentiation. It has enhanced my awareness of the healing capacity and vulnerability of the inferior function. I have come to see that the vulnerability is necessary.
Cassandra represents the difficulty of expressing one’s own truth in a way that is persuasive and influential in the world, particularly a truth that is not androcentric. The weakening of the voice of the dream ego represents the suppression and repression of the feminine that results from continuing to rely on old ways of exerting influence.
When I first learned about typology in the mid 1990s, I set out to conquer the inferior function. After all, I wanted to develop in every way possible, and surely that meant quashing anything inferior! More recently, however, I have come to appreciate the power of this gremlin to draw me closer to the middle realm of dreams and imagination, where wisdom rises from the depths.
The environmental wounds to Cobain’s natural INFP disposition left his ego vulnerable to an anima invasion. It was she who allowed the instinctual power of the unconscious, in both its creative and destructive properties, to flow through the inferior function and overrun his personality, attempting to restore order by instigating archetypal modes of adaptation.
The more I fell apart inside, the more I needed outside structure and order. One night I dreamed of an interior colorless and noiseless explosion that was followed by a voice that boomed, “You have the courage to let your interior world be chaos; there are no walls where there should be walls. You are a crab, and you need an exoskeleton.”
The dynamics of creative process and psychological wellbeing are such that creative artists are often overcome by the demonic. From Nietzsche’s Zarathustra to Curt Cobain’s Nirvana, there is an artistic star swallowed by the unconscious every week. But the arts can also be a type of savior—a place for us to process our darkness and not become it.