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 thinking (Ti)
Many women, and not least women with dominant Ni, intuitively know that their spirituality, their creativity, and their sexuality arise from the same source. The priestess may be found in all walks of life; she is the woman who mediates between matter and spirit, between the human and divine realms, who “will always honor sexual energy as a link to the source of life itself.”
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.
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 beauty, of course, comes with surrender. When we surrender to the gifts of the inferior function, allowing it to walk beside us hand in hand rather than dragging it behind us like some burdensome weight, consciousness shifts, a new view opens before us, and the world becomes a different place because we have allowed ourselves to become different in its presence.
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.”
My sister’s life illustrates the impact of a lack of positive parental guidance on the development of personality and what happens if the inner parent fails to develop. Family tragedy deprived Christin of a compass with which to navigate psychic turbulence during midlife. While few people succumb to such crises, many lack the tenacity to face them.
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.
Often extraverted sensing leaders are considered more authentic than other types. Trump’s supporters viewed him as trustworthy (“honest,” “outside of the political corruption,” and “not a liar”) while they viewed Clinton as untrustworthy (“belongs behind bars,” “cannot be trusted,” and “nothing but lies”). Even Clinton’s own supporters expressed concern about her trustworthiness.
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.