The featured podcast is Betts on Jungian Analytic Psychology Episode #13 and freely available here. In this episode, Betts continues his discussion of typology and focuses on how to determine the superior function. He distinguishes the introvert and extrovert and notes that:
‘The introvert presents themselves to the world using their second best function‘
Betts likens the superior function to the captain steering the ship and the auxiliary function being the first mate. So if a person is an introvert, other people will not obtain a good sense of that person from their immediate interactions. It will take some time for them to become familiar with the person’s introspective processes. Betts also gives the listener a quick guide to the functions. There then follows an interesting discussion of how functions can be undifferentiated when as in the case of extraversion they may take on a more egocentric quality akin to the properties of the unconsciousness or manifesting in the anima/animus. What was also interesting was that when using the less well developed functions the person may experience ‘ambivalence’ or ‘ambitendency’ (which I also note in some circumstances can be examples of psychopathology). However it was when Betts was reading a quote from Jung that things got really interesting. Jung had created the typing, it appears, on the basis of some assumptions. So for instance, he demarcates thinking and feeling as being mutually exclusive. Of course, on further reflection, they are not necessarily exclusive and indeed may be very closely connected. Gary Kasparov, former world chess champion describes his experience of the relationship between thinking and feeling
‘Emotion is a critical element of decision-making, not a sin always to be avoided…..On some occasions this anxiety created negative emotions like doubt. More often it generated greater creative tension, greater supplies of nervous tension, which is a chess player’s lifeblood‘
So here then is an example of the importance of emotions in a game that is classically considered to be one of abstract reasoning. The concept of the inter-relationship of thinking or decision making and emotions was explored in detail in Damasio’s celebrated book ‘Descartes Error’ reviewed here. So the question here is ‘has Jung made a mistake in clearly demarcating thinking and feeling?’. Not necessarily – as these are preferences. However if people during the process of individuation focus on developing one specifically to the exclusion of the other, then they might possibly be working against their biology. The potential significance of this issue means that it should at least be considered as a starting point for further discussion.
As always Betts is able to bring Jung to a wider audience and thereby facilitates a wider debate and enrichment of culture and Jungian analytic theory.
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