John Beebe 'TYPE AND ARCHETYPE'
Part II: The Arms and their Shadow
In the first part of this article (TypeFace, Summer, 2007 issue) I emphasized archetypal roles (hero and anima/ animus) that are intimately associated with the experience of personal identity and showed their relationship to typology. I noted that these particular roles, centered as they are on the qualities of the superior and inferior functions, help to define the “spine” of personality. Becoming conscious of this axis between the superior and inferior functions allows someone to know who he or she is and makes it easier for the person to hold to that identity with integrity in dealings with others.
When we turn to the auxiliary and tertiary functions, we find that they too define an axis, which is often diagrammed as a cross bar to the vertical spine. I refer to what is represented by this crossbar as the “arms” of the personality. Functions creating this horizontal axis are concerned less with issues of identity than with ways of caring and being cared for by others.
In Psychological Types, Jung sketched eight fundamental options for consciousness - Introverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling, Introverted Sensation, Introverted Intuition, Extraverted Thinking, Extraverted Feeling, Extraverted Sensation, and Extraverted Intuition. Any one of these options can become a particular person’s auxiliary or tertiary function. Knowing the type of consciousness that actually turns up in one of those places, however, does not by itself reveal the role the function will be playing in the person’s life. That role is determined by the placement itself.
I have observed that there is a definite role that a person enters when deploying the auxiliary function, and another, different, role that a person takes up when trying to use the tertiary function. Consciousness seems to organize itself in such a way that different functions take up residence in different places in ourselves. The idea of “place,” here, is a metaphor for the intrapsychic and intersubjective experience of a person who is moving, inside and in relations with others, between qualitatively very different areas of psychological functioning. Not all the qualities of the experience of consciousness in each new place can be accounted for by the nature of the function attitude in that place, because Extraverted Feeling in the superior (first) place feels different from Extraverted Feeling in the auxiliary (second) place, and Extraverted Feeling in the tertiary (third) place feels like something else again. The additional factor responsible for the felt qualitative shift is the archetype in that place. The archetype turns the place into a role we may take up in life.
The function-attitude occupying the auxiliary position is strongly developed in most adults, like the right arm of a right handed person, which has long been used to do things to help and support others. The auxiliary function is parental; it takes the lead in fostering the development of other people, and it often serves as their role model. The tertiary function, by contrast, is more like the left hand of a right handed person, sometimes original and creative, but always a bit unstable and at times even weaker in its reliability than the inferior function. Even when the tertiary function shows flair in what it does, it tends to be acutely aware of its need for the stabilizing influence of another person; this portion of our consciousness is thus more associated with vulnerability than with competence.
The auxiliary function is not so good at taking care of the third function in oneself, but it operates like a good parent to everyone else, offering its strength as protection to the more vulnerable parts of others. This is particularly attractive to the tertiary function in another person, which is like an eternal child, who needs the admiration, approval, strength and guidance of at least one other person to be able to operate well. The auxiliary function parent and the tertiary function child are complements, not just within the psyche, where they share a common axis of personality, but between people. Within the individual psyche they operate like the arms of consciousness because they are used, more or less consciously, to support and be supported by others, and thus define the ways in which we use our consciousnesses to reach out to others. They provide a kind of balance to the spine of consciousness (superior and inferior function), which in defining our identity concerns itself more with what we can be or do in and for ourselves.
The two axes, the spine and the arms, can be considered, respectively, the axis of our relation to self, and the axis of our relations to others. Note also that the two axes are complementary in that one is always rational (“judging” in the Myers Briggs® terminology), while the other is irrational (“perceiving”). For example, we can use the arms either to calm us down and be more reasonable in our dealings with others when we are too much in our irrational spine, or to buoy us beyond the rigidity of the spine when it is rational.
When we number the auxiliary and tertiary functions, we continue the pattern of numbering the functions begun with function #1, the superior function. In my previous article, I associated position #1 with the hero, and that did not create any theoretical problem, because it makes intuitive sense and accords with common experience that the most differentiated of the functions would have a heroic cast, being a preference that is usually also a competence. As we move beyond the heroic first function, however, we should recognize that not all of the eight functions follow hero psychology in being measurable by their degree of strength. They do not, in actual experience, follow a descending hierarchy of differentiation from first (superior) through fourth (inferior) to eighth. Rather, the strength, and the kind of strength, a function of consciousness displays is a consequence of the archetypal role associated with it, and archetypes are differently developed in different people. The numbering of the positions is a bit of an anachronism, left over from the early days of Jungian psychology and of Isabel Briggs Myers’ adaptation of that psychology to the analysis of the MBTI® findings. When I use numbering today, in these post-heroic times, the numbers are meant to be read as qualitative rather than quantitative, much the way the numbers of streets can be read in a well-differentiated city that one is intimately acquainted with. Thus the “second” and “third” functions are identified, like avenues in New York City, by the qualities experience has taught us to recognize when we are actually in those places.
Let us look once more at a diagram representing the different functions, positions, and archetypes in someone who has the MBTI® type (confirmed by a Jungian analysis and extensive self-reflection) of ENTP:
The archetypes associated with this person’s superior and inferior functions, which form the “spine” of the diagram, and with their shadows, were discussed in the first part of this article. This time, we will be concentrating on the pair of archetypes associated with the auxiliary and tertiary functions in the diagram:
I will ask the reader looking at the horizontal crossbar that links the upper row of archetypes to imagine them shadowed by the lower row of archetypes (joined by the lower line of the diagram). These latter two function positions show in plain relief in the diagram, but normally they form the invisible shadow to the arms of consciousness.
The four function-attitude positions (the auxiliary and tertiary functions and their attitudinally opposed shadows) structure the way any personality reaches beyond itself to others. The archetypes in these positions structure the person’s orientation to one of the most basic activities involving human consciousness, the support and care of others. Some people define their whole lives according to these parameters. They have little curiosity as to who they are, and relatively few goals for themselves, but they are greatly concerned about how they treat others and are treated by them. Such people live more on the horizontal line of our first diagram than on the vertical line. Their consciousness is more organized around what their arms are doing than around what their spine is like. Working with such people, it is often easier to type the way they would ideally like to take care of another person than it is to get them to say what they want for themselves.
Others of us, even if we are fairly clear about the nature of our spines, still live a great deal out of our horizontal axis. I am like the ENTP in the diagram, and I characteristically try to take care of others by using my auxiliary Introverted Thinking. Much of my life as Jungian analyst, teacher, writer, editor, and friend is spent laying out for others how the situations in their lives might be better defined. Defining, clarifying, and enhancing the expression of something so that it is congruent with the thing’s inner reality is an IT (Introverted Thinking) function, and I am someone that people turn to when they need to avail themselves of this “editorial” support. I am not the one usually invited to help out when the job at hand is setting up a tent on a camping trip, or making everyone feel welcome at a party, or to motivate them to follow a pre-established plan, and when I am asked to perform these functions I can feel that I am not as good at taking care of others in these ways as are people who have Extraverted Sensation, Extraverted Feeling, or Extraverted Thinking in a more developed place.
Like other people who use Introverted Thinking in a reliable way to take care of others, I am sought out by people who are looking to define something about their lives in a more introverted and also more original way, that is, when the methods of extraverted support have broken down. Although I am sometimes tempted to use my Extraverted Intuition to show people where I see the possibilities they haven’t thought of, I have learned that people are not usually seeking that kind of help from me either. It’s my parental second function I must use when taking care of others, not my heroic first function, and that means I take the best care of people not when I heroically show them a possibility they haven’t thought of, but when I help them to define more sharply what they already know. When I stay just with Introverted Thinking, I am rather good at helping people to define their lives in a way that speaks to the actual situation in their psyche, including the unconscious. Unfortunately, I am not always there, because the effort to help others that fills my days as a Jungian analyst also stirs my anxiety, and sets off some of my own shadow defenses, which being shadow may not always be conscious right away. I do not always understand, for instance, what I can be like when suddenly I am using Thinking with the opposite attitude because then I use my Thinking in an unconsciously directive, controlling, and pre-established ET (Extraverted Thinking) way, telling people rather grossly what their priorities ought to be in a way that can be intrusive and offensive.
This is because, in me, ET, the shadow of my IT, carried by a helpful parent, is associated with a more sinister parental archetype - the senex.
The senex is an archetype that shadows the good father that I consciously aspire to be when I try to help people. Senex is the Latin word for “old man” and the root word for “senator,” and it takes on the quality of everything that has stood the test of time and now resists change. (The mythological image is the Roman god Saturn, with his sickle, who has become less an archetypal image of the harvest and taken on a more deadly aspect as the archenemy of the processes of youth, growth and development.) Thinking is senex when it is dogmatic and no longer heedful of the need in life for fresh starts and new developments. Then one insists with a client on the tried and true, and argues against any move to change the status quo. This is not the way I parent, but it is the way I sometimes stultify.
This rather everyday example from the life of a working analyst shows how an auxiliary function can easily be replaced by the same function deployed with the opposite attitude. Then, the archetypal quality of the parenting has shifted. As we need to look at both the conscious and the shadow side of both the auxiliary and the tertiary functions, it may be helpful to have a diagram that lists the different possible types of auxiliary function as well as the different types of tertiary function, together with their shadows, and shows the archetypes that would be involved with the different type positions. (The archetypes for the tertiary position and its shadow will be explained later in this article.).
The auxiliary function can be used to encourage and enable others - to strengthen and support them in their path - but its shadow, the senex function, does just the opposite: it discourages and disables them; it freezes them in their tracks and makes them doubt the prudence of everything they are doing. This may sound indeed like a very unpleasant archetypal role to fall into - and it often is - but it is sometimes a necessary one. When we are confronted, for example, with a person or plan whose basic direction strikes us as fundamentally destructive and dangerous to the things we value, one effective option can be for us to pull rank and set limits, just as we might if confronted with a misbehaving child. In this sense, the senex archetype or role can also be thought of as the role of the negative or disapproving father, just as the female equivalent, the witch, can be envisioned as a critical mother who seems impossible to please.
Where the person with auxiliary Extraverted Sensation carried by a mother archetype might, for example, take care of others by cooking for them, the person with Extraverted Sensation in the witch position might be tempted to express displeasure by banging loudly on the wall of an apartment when the neighbor’s party, on the other side of the wall is too loud, or by slapping an impudent child. Auxiliary, fatherly Introverted Sensation might show itself through teaching a son the series of simple steps necessary to knot a tie; senex Introverted Sensation, on the other hand, might point out the clumsiness of the son’s hand movements. Senex or witch Introverted Feeling can take the form of a cold silence that implies that something someone has just said or done is in such bad taste that the person doing it deserves an unspoken excommunication.
The child who experiences the disapproving parent can remain a part of us even as we grow into adulthood, and is the common basis of a traumatic neurosis that I have come to feel we probably all carry in the area of the third function. The adult woman who sometimes acts like a frightened child in dealings with others may seem to have regressed, but she has really entered the child role in her own psyche, which may come up in situations where she must use her tertiary function. I saw this happen in a bright, articulate, well-read Introverted Intuitive woman with auxiliary Extraverted Feeling who could never think what to say to someone who wanted to take up practical business with her, such as a lawyer whom she had called to help write her will. Not only was her inferior function not much help in sorting out the sensation details of her estate, she never knew how to define what she needed from her lawyer, or what she wanted to see accomplished by her will. The lawyer’s attempts to ask her questions led her to become tongue-tied, reactivating a social phobia that had always plagued her about business transactions, with the consequence that she put off writing her will as long as possible and in fact died intestate. This is an example of the paralysis that can overtake the tertiary function: in this woman’s case, Introverted Thinking. The puella or puer archetype carries that function, and may, like a child, not be able to sustain performance. This same woman, on the other hand, when not stressed by a social demand, was able to write rather funny poetry that skillfully conveyed the states of mind she would get into - an example of the creativity of a function (again, in this case, Introverted Thinking) when it is carried by the archetype of the puer aeternus or puella aeterna. This ability to oscillate between states of abject empty-headedness and over-the-top inventiveness is typical of tertiary function Introverted Thinking, and gives a sense of the cycles of deflation and inflation all third functions go through. Sugar Cane, Marilyn Monroe’s character in “Some Like it Hot,” memorably says “I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop,” which conveys the cluelessness that results when someone can’t define any situation adequately.
I have spoken of this inflation/deflation cycling of the third function as the “third function crisis,” because it surfaces in the lives of people who have begun to develop their typology to the point of trying to make the third function work for them and discovered its strange up and down quality. Often the third function operates as if in a double bind, as Monroe’s telling metaphor conveys. Double binds are what people are put in by the trickster archetype so long as it remains unconscious, in which case one is vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others. It is an enormous step in type development when we are able to make the trickster conscious and put the person who is trying to take advantage of us in a double bind.
Alfred Hitchcock had a very developed trickster function. A shy man, whom I see as an ISTJ, he had tertiary Introverted Feeling and could not stand to have conflict on the set. Early in the making of Vertigo, Kim Novak came to the director upset that the clothes he had had designed for her role did not reflect her taste. This was a challenge to Hitchcock’s Introverted Feeling, which had taken the creative and commercial gamble of giving Novak’s upper-class character an unusually conservative wardrobe (including a grey suit with black shoes) in the first part of the film - an intended effect, but not the usual presentation of an emerging Hollywood sex symbol. Giving in to Novak would have ruined the picture, but so would him insisting that he knew what he was doing, which would have sparked a resentment that might show in her face on the screen. Hitchcock’s drew on his trickster Extraverted Feeling to rescue him from the double bind. He told his star, “My dear Miss Novak, you can wear anything you want, anything - provided it’s what the script calls for.” Somehow he succeeded in making the script (that he had in fact approved) bigger than both of them, and that put the double bind on the actress’s animus: she knew how to stand up to a director, but not to a script. To do the latter would have required a level of Extraverted Thinking that she did not have. I am not certain of Novak’s type, but I am reading her leading functions as Introverted Feeling and Extraverted Sensation, and her Extraverted Thinking as an inferior function, carried by an animus that Hitchcock was able to use his trickster to stymie. I do know that she and Hitchcock got on famously after, and the picture that resulted has been widely hailed as both his and her masterpiece.
An Extraverted Feeling parent with auxiliary Introverted Sensation may use trickster Introverted Intuition to imply damage to the archetypal order of things when an adolescent child threatens to make a choice that the parent does not approve of. In the confusion brought by this intuitive framing of the situation, the teenager may fail to notice that the same parent has never previously shown an objection to anything on such a spiritual basis. This strategy has been used to convey to a child who mentions the option of marrying outside the family pattern (saying they might choose a person of another race or of the same sex) that they would be destroying the very sacredness of family. It takes a very strong Introverted Intuition in the child to see that the direction he or she has considered, even if deviant, is not necessarily a sacrilege.
A question that often arises when we discover examples of type interactions in which shadow functions are deployed is, how does the person know to use these functions? Does the situation require that we use a particular function, which we then supply even if it is normally relatively unconscious for us? Or is it a particular archetypal role that is called for, entering into which brings us to use whatever functionattitude is associated with it? The answer, I think, is both. Effective living requires, sooner or later, that we use all our function-attitudes. When it comes to responding to the needs of others and to allowing others to meet our needs, in both personal and professional situations, we need to be in touch with the parent and the child in ourselves, and with the trickster and the senex or witch as well. Otherwise, the same archetypes will come up, but we will be far less conscious in how we deploy them.