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.
introverted sensation (Si)
Much of the depth psychology literature has been written by and for intuitive types and introverted types, which means that those with an extraverted sensing (Se) preference are a rarity in the field. This in turn perpetuates a subtle bias against extraverted sensation. Yet, contrary to popular opinion, sensing types do have access to the archetypal realm.
I suddenly noticed all the bright, beautiful one-inch tiles lining the pool. How had I not seen them before? Each of these little cobalt blue squares bore witness to my laps through the water. I decided, in the spirit of play, to imagine that every one of these tiny tiles represented $5000. For the time in which I swam, I engaged this unexpected image.
Being married is easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Marriage is an all-consuming project that requires energy, commitment, and sustained effort. Unlike my other projects, I can’t just ignore my marriage until inspiration strikes. Mostly, there’s no faking it. As an introvert in an extraverted world, faking it is a lot of how I survive.
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.”
She could not compete with me in the extraverted thinking mode that I (and our culture) insisted upon, so my well-meant out-reaching felt like attacks to her, and my peace offering of objective discussion was like a Viking’s looming battle-axe. Rather than take part in a Te confrontation that she couldn’t win, she had changed the rules, initiating an introverted feeling battle of attrition.
Individuation calls us to fight the dragon head-on. The struggles of relationship—whether with another person or within a culture—are opportunities. We can flee and seek a quick-fix, taking what my husband calls “tequila shot” flights to numb the discomfort until the next situation arises. Or we can remain within the oyster shell and endure the uncomfortable rubbing.
Igniting the spark of opposites produced during conflict can provide an opportunity for holding the tensions between the one-sided attitudes. The process requires confronting and embracing the forces of unconscious qualities, along with holding the tension and uniting of opposing forces, in order for the full expression of an individual’s potential to be revealed.
Anorexia nervosa can be understood as an archetypal death-rebirth process. A typological analysis shows a psychological syndrome based in archetypal possession resulting from the dynamic configuration of INTJ preferences. The individual with anorexia undertakes her own heroic psychospiritual journey through the underworld to transform personal and collective consciousness.
To have to spend a year in one’s inferior function is like a yearlong time-out for a toddler. I got so bored and desperate with my inferior introverted sensing (Si) function, required to gather and document the data, that I spent many hours asleep in the library. I could have asked Dr. Goldsmith for help, or maybe a mercy killing, but I was too proud to admit difficulty.