Friday, December 24, 2010

Inferior Function notes

"Jung defines the shadow as "the thing a person has no wish to be."

Renaissance and Jungian psychology can also be reconciled with Christianity. For example, a Christian monk who is also a Jungian explains the passions and the shadow in this way: The shadow carries the "disagreeable and ruthless elements in myself," the "rejected bad qualities" that otherwise we would recognize as our own, the shortcomings that corrupt and taint all our loves. Our attempts to escape facing up to our shadow bring down God's wrath, which is not anger, but "unrelenting opposition" to whatever damages us."

-Doris T. Myers, Bareface: a guide to C.S. Lewis's last novel. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri. 2004. pg. 35

"The central question in the life of the Christian [or in the life of one who is inclined to Higher Power, to Ultimate Ground of All Being] is: Who am I in relationship with God? In his little book, Depth Psychology and Religious Belief, Christopher Bryant leaves no question as to the importance of bringing one's whole personality to bear on one's attitude toward one's relationship with God. There is an essential unity in one's psychic life which cannot be ignored if one is to strive for an integrated existence. "The secret of success, or at least of getting the best out of yourself...lies largely in getting your unconscious to work in harmony with your conscious mind." To do so, it is very important for the individual to come to some realization of how he or she functions as a conscious, intending subject. This is a very great responsibility for the individual, for only such an awareness will create the possibility of bringing the unconscious into harmony with the conscious. Onlly in this way may the individual relate to God in a holistic rather than fragmented manner..."

"...the habitually repressed or undeveloped function (the inferior function) may suddenly burst forth at times, making its presence known in most undesirable ways. Due to its lack of utilization, it remains the least differentiated at of the functions and thus tends to have a rather primitive or archaic nature. Such being the case, the inferior function has a natural ability to act as a bridge to the unconscious, often through its role as a major factor in the constellation of the individual's "shadow" and other neurotic complexes.

"Many people discover relatively soon in life that the realm of their inferior function is where they are emotional, touchy and unadapted and they therefore acquire the habit of covering up this part of their personality with a surrogate pseudo-reaction...You can always observe these "covering up" reactions by the fact that they are impersonal and banal and very collective. They have no convincing personal quality about them." - Marie Louise von Franz, "The Inferior Function", Jungian Typology. Spring Publications. 1979. pg. 11-12.

"When any of the conscious functions is overdone, the inferior function will arise to thwart and falsify it, making its presence unmistakenly felt and calling the individual to the realization that there is more inhis or her life which needs to be integrated...It is the inferior function which reveals that person's cross, which points to shallowness and a need for personal growth in the individual's life."

In keeping with Bernard Lonergan's notion of the particular grace which we all need at the point where we experience moral impotence, keeping in mind, too, Sebastian Moore;s reflections on the self within that is hated because of the comfort it causes, I would say that it is precisely in the realm of the inferior function where the depth of one's commitment to his relationship with God, in humble acceptance of himself and desire for transformation, meets the real test. The religious experience of conversion will always be accompanied in some manner by an eruption of the inferior funciton as it reveals the individual's state of disintegration, rendering him helpless and in need of the healing of God's love and acceptance in grace."

In Jungian psychological types, the inferior function is that

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