Evolving the eight-function model
8 archetypes guide how the function-attitudes are expressed in an individual psyche
Historical background: Jung’s eight functions
It was C G Jung, of course, who introduced the language we use today: words such as function and attitude, as well as his highly specific names for the four functions of our conscious orientation (thinking, feeling, sensation, intuition), and the two attitudes through which those orientations are deployed (introversion and extraversion).
Establishing the rationale for this language as a helpful basis for the analysis of consciousness was the purpose of his 1921 book, Psychological Types. Toward the end of that book he combined function types and attitude types to describe, in turn, eight function-attitudes. Regrettably it wasn’t until Dick Thompson published his 1996 book Jung’s Function-Attitudes Explained that we had that term for them, so most Jungians have simply referred to them as eight ‘functions’.
Nevertheless, for Jung the attitude type was the primary thing, and the function type a kind of sub-something that expressed that attitude in a particular way. Accordingly, he organised his general description of the types in terms of the attitudes, describing first ‘the peculiarities of the basic psychological functions in the extraverted attitude’ and then going on to ‘the peculiarities of the basic psychological functions in the introverted attitude.’
Jung started with extraverted thinking and extraverted feeling (which he called ‘the extraverted rational types’) and extraverted sensation and extraverted intuition (‘the extraverted irrational types’), before turning to the introverted types: introverted thinking and introverted feeling (‘introverted rational types’), and introverted sensation and introverted intuition (‘introverted irrational types’). These were the eight functions in Jung’s original description.
These functions were nothing less than capacities for consciousness residing within any individual — though of course most people do not differentiate all these capacities for their own use. It was Jung who taught us that most people pair a rational function with an irrational one to develop a conscious orientation, or, as he put it, an ego-consciousness, that for most people involves just these two differentiated functions.
Despite Isabel Briggs Myers’s later reading of a single sentence in Jung’s long and often contradictory book, he never made clear that the attitude type of the two functions in this two-function model of consciousness would alternate between function # 1 and function #2.
Jung did, however, open the door to the possibility of a further differentiation of functions, up to a limiting number of four: the fourth to differentiate being his famous ‘inferior’ function, which remains too close to the unconscious, and thus a source of errors and complexes.
Jung said relatively little about the third function. He expected that both functions #3 and #4 would, in most people, remain potentials only, residing in the unconscious, represented in dreams in archaic ways and relatively refractory to development except under exceptional circumstances — such as the individuation process Jung sometimes witnessed in the analysis of a relatively mature person in the second half of life, when the archaic functions would press for integration into consciousness.
Anima / Animus: Bridge to the Unconscious
When Jung’s close associate Marie Louise von Franz published her Zurich seminar on the inferior function, in Lectures in Jung’s Typology, I was already a candidate in analytic training at the C G Jung Institute of San Francisco. Her discussion of the possibilities for development in this largely unconscious area of the mind was thrilling to read, and it opened up the fourfunction model for a whole generation of analysts.
Von Franz made it clear that we have a choice about developing function #3, but that the integration of function #4, the inferior function, is very much under the control of the unconscious, which limits what we can do with it. Nevertheless, this much of the unconscious belongs in a sense to the ego — and even provides the bridge to the Self that the other differentiated functions can not.
I became aware that the inferior function was often thought by Jungian analysts to operate in this way because it is ‘carried’ by the Anima or Animus, archetypes of soul that can serve as tutelary figures, representing the otherness of the unconscious psyche, and also its capacity to speak to us to enlarge our conscious perspectives (Note 1). The Anima and Animus are like fairy bridges to the unconscious, allowing, almost magically, a relationship to develop between the two parts of the mind, conscious and unconscious, with the potential to replace this tension of opposites with the harmony of wholeness. And it is through the undifferentiated, incorrigible inferior function that they do their best work!
Basic orientation: Hero/Heroine, Father/Mother, Puer/Puella
By then I thought I knew my own type — extraverted intuition, with introverted think - ing as my second function — and I had taken the MBTI questionnaire, which scored me ENTP, in apparent confirmation of my self-diagnosis. It was in dreams that I met my Anima as a humble, introverted-sensation type Chinese laundress, and it was she who could provide me a bridge to the practicalities of life that my conscious standpoint, ever theoretical, tended to leave out. I think it was also she who made me consider sorting out the rest of my consciousness. Which archetypes were associated with my other functions?
I began to watch my dreams. Gradually it became obvious that when they symbolised my extraverted intuition, it was in a heroic, rather grandiose way. (In a dream, I once saw President Lyndon Johnson, architect of the Great Society in my country, as an image of my dominant extraverted intuition, which gave it a high-handed, crafty cast, a bit out of touch with the actual readiness of those around me for the changes that I wanted to introduce in their lives, in the name of helping them progress.)
My introverted thinking was symbolised by a Father in one dream that found him in conflict with an upset feeling-type son, whom I eventually recognised as an image of my third function. The particular son figure in the dream was a persistently immature man in analysis at the time, whose oscillation of woundedness and creativity fit well the description Marie Louise von Franz had given in her classic study of the ‘problem of the Puer Aeternus’, the Latin term referring to an eternal boyhood befitting an immortal. I decided that this dream was referring to an aspect of my own feeling that was inflated, vulnerable and chronically immature.
In this way, I began to evolve my understanding that the four functions are brought into consciousness through the dynamic energy of particular archetypes:
• Hero for the superior function
• Father for the second or ‘auxiliary’ function
• Puer for the tertiary function
• Anima for the inferior function
My functions were carried into consciousness on the backs of those archetypes! A great deal of their functioning, even after they became conscious — that is, available to me as ways of perceiving and assessing reality — continued to reflect the characteristic behaviour of these archetypes.
Later, I found evidence in the dreams of women for a Heroine, a Mother, and a Puella Aeterna (eternal girl), symbolising the first three functions of consciousness in a highly analogous arrangement to the way my own were symbolised. I could also verify from their dreams what other Jungian analysts had already established, that the Animus carries the inferior function for a woman — although I came to reserve that term for a spirit or soul figure operating as a bridge to the unconscious, and not simply to refer to an antagonistic or argumentative side of the woman, as some were doing in accord with the more normal English language use of the word animus, which does not include its Jungian, spiritual meaning.
I went public with these ideas for the first time in 1983, at a conference for Jungian analysts and candidates at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. There I offered the first archetypal model for the various positions of consciousness that heretofore had been called ‘superior’, ‘auxiliary’, ‘tertiary’ and ‘inferior’ functions. I suggested that these should be thought of, respectively, as the Heroic function, the Father or Mother function, the Puer or Puella function, and the Anima or Animus function, in accord with the nature of the archetype that had taken up residence in each of these four basic locations of potential consciousness.
Wow! Behind each typological position in the unfolding of conscious, an archetype was involved, guiding us to be heroic, parental, and even puerile and contrasexual, as part of what makes us capable of becoming cognisant of ourselves and the world around us.
The Shadow Personality: Opposing Personality, Senex/Witch, Trickster, Demonic Personality
At the time I was too dazzled by the seeming completeness of the four-function model to see that even more delineation was needed to make sense of what Jung had said we could find in ourselves, if his vision of a wholeness to consciousness could be realised.
Four functions were still only half the story of how consciousness arranges itself. Jung said in Psychological Types that if one takes into account the all-important attitudes, extraversion and introversion, we have to realise that there are in all eight functions, or, as we say now, function-attitudes.
Von Franz had postulated that the greatest difficulties that occur between people are on the basis of one using a function with a particular attitude (e.g., extraversion), and the other using the same function with the opposite attitude (e.g., introversion). I decided to apply that idea to the situation within a single psyche, in which the antagonism was not between two people, but between two functions with opposite attitudes, seeking to express themselves within the same person.
The result, I realised, was almost always a repression of one member of such a pair of functions, as a consequence of the conscious preference for the attitude through which the other member of the pair was expressing that function. In my own case, I had figured out that my tertiary function was not only feeling, but extraverted feeling, and that my inferior function was introverted sensation. Where were my introverted feeling and extraverted sensation? Obviously, deep in the unconscious, kept there because they were shadow in attitude to the function-attitudes that I had differentiated.
Even more in shadow were the functions opposite in attitude to my first two functions — that is, the introverted intuition that my superior extraverted intuition tended to inhibit, and the extraverted thinking that my auxiliary introverted thinking looked down upon.
These four functions — introverted intuition, extraverted thinking, introverted feeling, extraverted sensation — continued to express themselves, however, in shadowy ways. What, then, were the archetypes that carried these repressed shadow functions?
Answering this question led me to take up the problem of the types in shadow, which has preoccupied me ever since. Work in this area has to be tentative, because we never fully see our own shadow, but in my case I began to identify typical, shadowy ways in which I would use the four functions that lie in the shadow of my more differentiated quartet of individuated function-attitudes. My introverted intuition, shadow in attitude to my superior extraverted intuition, has decidedly oppositional traits: it expresses itself in ways I could variously describe as avoidant, passive-aggressive, paranoid and seductive, in all cases taking up a stance that is anathema to the way my superior extraverted intuition wants me to behave. I decided to call the archetype carrying this bag of oppositional behaviours the Opposing Personality.
Similarly, my fatherly introverted thinking, a patient teacher of complex ideas, was shadowed by a dogmatic, donnish extraverted thinking that didn’t listen, or even care about others’ ideas. I decided to call this rather pompous, unrelated figure my Senex, using James Hillman’s choice of name for an archetype that is coldly, arrogantly, judgmental, in an oldman-pulling-rank sort of way. (The Latin word senex, root of our word ‘senator’, means ‘old man’.)
Gradually I realised that women I knew had a similar archetype carrying the shadow of their normally motherly auxiliary function, and that this archetype displays many of the ‘negative mother’ characteristics I had learned to associate with the Witch figure in European fairytales.
The shadow side of my eager-to-please but oh-so-vulnerable-to-the-feelings-of-others internal boy was the Trickster, which in me, with its confident introverted feeling, could reverse any expectation — to doublebind anybody who tries to ride herd on the child. (As a little boy, to taunt my mother when she expected perfection of me, I actually used to draw the two-faced god Mercurius, although I did not yet know his mythological identity).
Finally, I began to see my extraverted sensation, the shadow side of my Anima introverted sensation, as a Demonic Personality that often operates as an undermining oaf, a beastly part of myself that nevertheless can occasionally be an uncanny source for the infusion of redemptive spirit into my dealings with myself and others.
The four archetypes of shadow — Opposing Personality, Senex/Witch, Trickster, and Demonic Personality — and the function - attitudes they carried for me — introverted intuition, extraverted thinking, introverted feeling, extraverted sensation — were all what a psychologist would call ego-dys-tonic. That is, they were incompatible with my conscious ego or sense of ‘I-ness’— what I normally own as part of ‘me’ and ‘my’ values. Nevertheless, they were part of my total functioning as a person, uncomfortable as it made me to recognise the fact.
In this way, using myself as an example, and my years of Jungian analysis as a laboratory, I eventually came to identify eight discrete archetypes guiding the way the eight function-attitudes are expressed within a single, individual psyche.
Although, for convenience of reference, and out of respect for the traditional numbering of the functions, I am in the habit of assigning numbers to the functionattitude ‘positions’ associated with these archetypes, I no longer view the type profile of an individual as expressing a rigid hierarchy of differentiation of the various functions of consciousness.
Rather, I have come to regard the positions the types of function-attitude seem to occupy, when we construct a model of them in our minds, in a much more qualitative light. It is as if they form an interacting cast of characters through which the different functions may express themselves in the ongoing drama of self and shadow that is anyone’s lived psychological life.
Although the actual casting of specific function-attitudes in the various roles will be governed by the individual’s type, the roles themselves seem to be found in everyone’s psyche. Hence I regard them as archetypal complexes carrying the different functions, and I like to speak of them as typical subpersonalities found in all of us.
I have spent many years verifying this scheme. Through observation of clients and others whose types and complexes I have gotten to know well, and through the analysis of films by master filmmakers in which archetypes and function-attitudes are clearly delineated, I have concluded that the relationships between these archetypes and the scheme of differentiation that results for the function-attitudes is not merely personal to me, but is actually universal.
The archetypal roles within this scheme are shown in Diagram 1. An example of how the model distributes consciousness in an ENFJ is provided in Diagram 2.
DIAGRAM 1: Archetypal complexes carrying the eight functions of consciousness
DIAGRAM 2: ENFJ as an illustration of Dr John Beebe’s arrangement of the archetypal complexes carrying the eight functions of consciousness
More importantly, the model allows me to see what position that function-attitude inhabits, and thereby I am pointed to watch for the archetypal ways in which, as a consequence of being in that position, that particular consciousness expresses itself.
I am grateful that this model is leading present-day type assessors to take a second look at C G Jung’s foundational eight function description of the types.
This model of the archetypal complexes that carry the eight functions of consciousness is my present instrument for the exploration of type in myself and others. It enables me to see, in just about any interaction, what consciousness (that is, which function-attitude) I am using at that given time.
My hope is that their increasing comfort with a total eight-function, rather than a preferred four-function, model will enable them to begin to recognise the extraordinary role possibilities that emerge, both for good and for ill, as these consciousnesses differentiate themselves in the course of personal development.