Psychological Types: The Principal and Auxiliary Functions

What follows is an excerpt from 

Psychological Types (1923) (pp. 513-517)  11. The Principal and Auxiliary Functions

In the foregoing descriptions I have no desire to give my readers the impression that such pure types occur at all frequently in actual practice. They are, as it were, only Galtonesque family-portraits, which sum up in a cumulative image the common and therefore typical characters, stressing these disproportionately, while the individual features are just as disproportionately effaced. Accurate investigation of the individual case consistently reveals the fact that, in conjunction with the most differentiated function, another function of secondary importance, and therefore of inferior differentiation in consciousness, is constantly present, and is a relatively determining factor.

For the sake of clarity let us again recapitulate : The products of all the functions can be conscious, but we speak of the consciousness of a function only when not merely its application is at the disposal of the will, but when at the same time its principle is decisive for the orientation of consciousness. The latter event is true when, for instance, thinking is not a mere esprit de 1'escalier, or rumination, but when its decisions possess an absolute validity, so that the logical conclusion in a given case holds good, whether as motive or as guarantee of practical action, without the backing of any further evidence. This absolute sovereignty always belongs, empirically, to one function alone, and can belong only to one function, since the equally independent intervention of another function would necessarily yield a different orientation, which would at least partially contradict the first. But, since it is a vital condition for the conscious adaptation-process that constantly clear and unambiguous aims should be in evidence, the presence of a second function of equivalent power is naturally forbidden. This other function, therefore, can have only a secondary importance, a fact which is also established empirically. Its secondary importance consists in the fact that, in a given case, it is not valid in its own right, as is the primary function, as an absolutely reliable and decisive factor, but comes into play more as an auxiliary or complementary function. Naturally only those functions can appear as auxiliary whose nature is not opposed to the leading function. For instance, feeling can never act as the second function by the side of thinking, because its nature stands in too strong a contrast to thinking. Thinking, if it is to be real thinking and true to its own principle, must scrupulously exclude feeling. This, of course, does not exclude the fact that individuals certainly exist in whom thinking and feeling stand upon the same level, whereby both have equal motive power in consciousness. But, in such a case, there is also no question of a differentiated type, but merely of a relatively undeveloped thinking and feeling. Uniform consciousness and unconsciousness of functions is, therefore, a distinguishing mark of a primitive mentality.

Experience shows that the secondary function is always one whose nature is different from, though not antagonistic to, the leading function: thus, for example, thinking, as primary function, can readily pair with intuition as auxiliary, or indeed equally well with sensation, but, as already observed, never with feeling. Neither intuition nor sensation are antagonistic to thinking, i.e. they have not to be unconditionally excluded, since they are not, like feeling, of similar nature, though of opposite purpose, to thinking for as a judging function feeling successfully competes with thinking but .are functions of perception, affording welcome assistance to thought As soon as they reached the same level of differentiation as thinking, they would cause a change of attitude, which would contradict the tendency of thinking. For they would convert the judging attitude into a perceiving one ; whereupon the principle of rationality indispensable to thought would be suppressed in favour of the irrationality of mere perception. Hence the auxiliary function is possible and useful only in so far as it serves the leading function, without making any claim to the autonomy of its own principle.

For all the types appearing in practice, the principle holds good that besides the conscious main function there is also a relatively unconscious, auxiliary function which is in every respect different from the nature of the main function. From these combinations well-known pictures arise, the practical intellect for instance paired with sensation, the speculative intellect breaking through with intuition, the artistic intuition which selects and presents its images by means of feeling judgment, the philosophical intuition which, in league with a vigorous intellect, translates its vision into the sphere of comprehensible thought, and so forth.

A grouping of the unconscious functions also takes place in accordance with the relationship of the conscious functions. Thus, for instance, an unconscious intuitive feeling attitude may correspond with a conscious practical intellect, whereby the function of feeling suffers a relatively stronger inhibition than intuition. This peculiarity, however, is of interest only for one who is concerned with the practical psychological treatment of such cases. But for such a man it is important to know about it. For I have frequently observed the way in which a physician, in the case for instance of an exclusively intellectual subject, will, do his utmost to develop the feeling function directly out of the unconscious. This attempt must always come to grief, since it involves too great a violation of the conscious standpoint. Should such a violation succeed, there ensues a really compulsive dependence of the patient upon the physician, a 'transference” which can be amputated only by brutality, because such a violation the patient of a standpoint his physician becomes his standpoint But the approach to the unconscious and to the most repressed function is disclosed, as it were, of itself, and with more adequate protection of the conscious standpoint, when the way of development is via the secondary function thus in the case of a rational type by way of the irrational function. For this lends the conscious standpoint such a range and prospect over what is possible and imminent that consciousness gains an adequate protection against the destructive effect of the unconscious. Conversely, an irrational type demands a stronger development of the rational auxiliary function represented in consciousness, in order to be sufficiently prepared to receive the impact of the unconscious. The unconscious functions are in an archaic, animal state. Their symbolical appearances in dreams and phantasies usually represent the battle or coming encounter of two animals or monsters.


Archetypeture: Beebe's model : Part One

 [Don't know what a term means in this blog post?  
Chances are you can find the definition at TypeInDepth.com
An excellent team blog that I highly recommend]

Isabel Myers, with cues from Jung, created a set of rules that outline how the mental function-attitudes "rank" from most preferred to least preferred in our consciousness.  Each of the 16 Types have a different order of the FAs (function-attitude) that all follow this rule (which I will not describe here but may post someday).

One could easily stop there; it's pretty complex.  But Isabel's model doesn't describe how the position of the FA affects its expression.  How does the FA of Ni (introverted iNtuition) look different when in the 1st position (classically called the "Dominant") as opposed to the 3rd (simply "Tertiary") or the 7th (a horse with no name)?  There were few descriptions; and those that did exist concentrated on the top four:  the only ones we supposedly had any conscious ability to access.

And then along comes Beebe...

John Beebe created a "role model" of the hierarchy of archetypes - an architecture of these 8 ranked FAs with rules for their behavior based on 8 classic archetypal roles.  Those roles are described at TypeInDepth.

The table below shows how Isabel's rankings of FAs (the "Actors") meet Beebe's archetypal "Roles" resulting in what I call 64 "Characters."  Each MBTI type has 8 Actors (the FAs) and 8 Roles (the archetypes) = 64 possible Characters.

The "Equity Union rules" of placement (the 16 MBTI Types) of the FAs restrict and result in 16 possible ensemble "Casts" as detailed in the Table below (again, thanks to TypeInDepth).  This is like the ultimate acting troupe - any Actor can play any Role and they're Cast according to the Equity approved Script that is your MBTI Type.

Image links directly to (c) TypeInDepth.com

The cast "Character Descriptions" are available by subscription to the Type Decoder @ Type Resources

So now what we have defined our terms and outlined the background, we come to the real point of the post.

When I first encountered Beebe's model, I immediately grokked it as correct.  Something about it clicked, made sense, felt right and was elegant in its simplicity - essentially my iNtuition had a field day with it, and my Feeling judged it Good; but - my brain never stops there.  I was left with "why does it feel right?" and "how did he come up with this?"

I personally don't need empirical logic and science and statistical analysis to go with my iNtuition in the heated flush of discovery, but ultimately I like to know "why I believe in what I do" - and I like to have my ducks in order when I ultimately I have to present to those who may like logical support. At the time, I (and most of the world) lacked any source material of Beebe's development model.  So I had to figure out the "math" myself.  What follows is my "math." 

Click "read more..."


How Many Types Are There?

How many Types are there? 

Myers and Briggs claim there are only  16.  Jung only really described 8.  Spoto posits at least 56, and Singer Loomis claim 2.5 million.

I think 40320 is a good number to settle on - but how do we manage that?

As an Ne, I "feel compelled" to ask questions and posit the hypothesis that any combination may be possible, until proven otherwise (I suspect that an Ni would stop once there is a lack of support (Ne – hypothesis, Ni - theory)).

Given that the only basis for the theory of Myers and Briggs regarding the direction and hierarchy of the function-attitudes is a short paragraph of Jung’s, and no empirical reason, it must be considered.  Mind you, the rule does many things

  • creates a framework of regular types
  • in a manageable number
  • that takes into account one P and one J function
  • one I and one E function, 
since we need at least one in each quadrant to function "evenly." 
So, it covers the four bases; it’s based on a rule; and is manageable – hence 16 Classic Types.  I have no problem having 16 Types that most people fit, if not perfectly.  But we always leave it there, without explaining how/why two people of the same type can be radically different.  Myers-Briggs basically only takes the first two function-attitudes into consideration and presumes the rest.  But I don't think we can call the variations "sub-types" because I think they're fully realized Types of their own.

Singer-Loomis supports my hypothesis by measuring the function-attitude directly, not through implication of the J/P scale in the MBTI.  (I still have problems with the SLTDI however.  I find it a poor implementation of the theory, but that’s another issue).  But they don’t describe very well how an Ni in the lead position is different from the last, and how that affects the overall synergistically gestalted Type.

So given that we have 8 mental function attitudes, that we possess all of them, and a safe presumption that we can rank them in order of preference, and that the order matters, we have an 8 factorial (8!) number of combinations, or 40320.  Singer Loomis breaks this down further by stating that there are actually 2.5 million+ possible combos because they’re using standard deviations of the scores and two mental functions can be “tied” for a position.  At this point I think you’re splitting hairs.  How does the order of preference affect 2.5 million types?

Now I believe in Beebe’s view of the hierarchy of archetypes with mental function attitudes.  It’s a structure of Judgment (after all, we’re talking framework/roles and rules) as opposed to a description of mental function-attitudes (description a Perception structure).  I'll save for another post why I do.  The archetypal roles of Beebe’s theory also happen to parallel those of Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.  I don’t need much more convincing than that!

So let us say for the sake of argument that we have Beebe’s 8-fold model as correct and logically supported.  Then we have the 8 function-attitudes well defined by whole body of works around MBTI.  So we have 64 possible Characters (archetypal role X function-attitude).  Type Resources' Function-Archetype Decoder describes these 64 characters – how each mental function works in each role.  But his decoder only does this for the 16 “Classic Types.”

Now 40320 is a pretty big number of combos to keep in your head – but given that most of us only fully develop the first two mental functions in a hierarchy of eight archetypes, let’s limit it to first pair.  That gives us 56 possible combinations.  I think 56 is good number – yes, you’ll need a book handy to reference the differences between the types, but it’s small enough that you can do the “math” of combining two function-attitudes in your head “additively.”  You may lose the synergistic “multiplier effect” of describing the gestalted combo at length, but it’s good enough until you can get to the “handbook” of 56 or the I-ching-like “encyclopedia” of 40320 using the “manual” of 64 characters.

Personally, under MBTI, I am an ENFP.  No problem with that here, but it is incomplete.  Under Singer-Loomis (I took it and had it debriefed to me a few years ago) I am Ni/Fi/Ti/Si/Ne/Te/Fe/Se – notice that my function hierarchy is identical to the ENFP – N/F/T/S, but the directionality isn’t the same (I’m a quadruple introvert!  But not really.  I’m clearly an E).  Am I a hybrid ENFP/INFJ?  The only variation to that is that I prefer Te over Fe instead of the other way around like I “should” if my last four were the perfect mirror of my first four; because I “hate” Fe – it actually should be the last one, but I was raised properly and *do* have manners so answered accordingly ;-) ?  A hybrid ENFP/INTJ? 

So what am I missing here?