Friday, January 15, 2016

Personality Types (4)

I mentioned the significance in yesterday's blog entry of the 2-dimensional, 4-dimensional and 8-dimensional approaches, which concur with the circular holistic interpretation of the numbers 2, 4 and 8 respectively.

Jung in his writings frequently highlighted the holistic psychological role of mandalas i.e. pictorial images, serving as archetypes for the totality of the self.

The most important of these mandalas are based on the division of the circle into 4 or alternatively 8 equal segments, often presented in a highly ornate visual fashion.

So the basic structure of these mandalas equate directly with the geometrical presentation of the four and eight roots of 1 respectively i.e. the holistic interpretation of 4-dimensional and 8-dimensional (as the holistic circular interpretation of "4" and "8" respectively).

Therefore the deeper reason as to why these mandalas serve such a powerful integral purpose is that all fundamental psychological processes can be successfully interpreted, in a dynamic interactive fashion, through the holistic interpretation of the 4 and 8 roots of unity respectively.

Now as we have seen, using the 4 basic modes of reason, judgement, sense and feeling - all dynamically coordinated through the central volitional mode - we can derive 16 distinct aspects of personality.

So again, each of the 4 modes can be - relatively - defined with respect to real (conscious) and imaginary (unconscious) aspects, in both positive (external) and negative (internal) directions.

Now, allowing for slight differences in terminology from Jungian use, these equate extremely well with the corresponding 16 Personality Types (in the Myers-Briggs formulation).

However, I gradually began to suspect a certain limitation with this approach.

The Myers-Briggs Personality Types are all based on either/or distinctions. So with the first letter describing one's type, one is basically described as either E (extrovert) or I (introvert).

Then with the second one is described as either S (sense) or N (intuition). With the third letter one is described as either a T (thinking) or F (feeling) type. And then with the final letter one's decision-making is based on either J (judgement) or P (perception).

However, initially based on closer examination of my own personality, I began to realise that such either/or distinctions did not properly fit in this case.
So I gradually came to the conclusion that for certain personalities a both/and rather than either/or designation of these opposites was more appropriate.

So for example, I saw myself primarily neither as an extrovert or introvert as such but rather as a centrovert.

Now in secondary terms, I may have appeared to others as introvert, but then in early childhood, I am told that I was in fact very extroverted.
So one characteristic of this mixed type is that secondary characteristics e.g. as extrovert or introvert can undergo considerable change throughout life, as one deeply seeks for that primary balance (which is central to personality).

Then again I had problems in terms of the S and N classification. Though my general approach is indeed very holistic (N), I have always sought for a mathematically precise formulation (that would indicate S). In other words, I do not see either conscious or unconscious reality as primary, but rather the ineffable interface as between both aspects.

So the midpoint of both S and N (or real an imaginary) is an ineffable spiritual quality that is utterly mysterious. So I describe  this conveniently as M (mystical).

Then in relation to the third distinction of T and F, again I would never have seen either as primary. In my case I am conscious of using T strongly with respect to the outer world, but F equally strongly in relation to inner reality. So the holy grail here once again is to obtain the successful balance of both modes.
And this leads to a primary emphasis on the volitional capacity of the will.
So therefore for the mixed type, neither T nor F is primary but rather V (volition).

Finally, again with respect to the last, with respect to decision-making, the common ground as between J (judgement) and P (perception) would be a quality of discernment for what is appropriate in any particular circumstance. So this again this middle ground as between J and P, I refer to as  D (discernment) .

So therefore, I now was able to define a new mixed grouping, which essentially comprised complementary opposites with respect to the accepted  polar opposite Types i.e. CMVD.

For example using the Myers-Briggs typology I would probably classify my present personality (in secondary terms) as an  INFJ. Thus the complementary opposite here would be an ESTP. And indeed  I can remember in early life that I did operate somewhat as an ESTP!

Put another way, this mixed grouping of types is likely to prove extremely sensitive to the shadow side of personality with the attempt to achieve proper integration a life-long journey continually confronting one's shadow.

Whereas in ideal circumstances the types from this group provide the best possibilities for true integration, in practice they are likely to be most prone to severe psychological problems (reflecting serious failures in achieving integration ).

"Great wits are to madness near allied
And thin partitions do their lines divide"

So along with the 16 Types (based on either/or divisions) I now had a new grouping of 8 mixed Types (based on complementary opposite pairings with respect to the 16 Types).

This therefore now led to the definition of 24 fundamental personality types.

I then realised that these could be formulated in a simpler fashion from the original 4 modes.

The idea here was to look at each personality as based on a combination of the 4 modes, with the first mode the most dominant, the next mode the auxiliary, followed by the two weakest (with the last representing the inferior mode).

Now, if for simplicity we represent the four modes as a, b, c and d respectively, then 24 distinct permutations of these letters are possible.

So each Personality Type is therefore defined as representing a unique permutation (or configuration) of the 4 basic modes.

Now of course considerable variation is still possible (with respect to the spectrum of healthy to unhealthy versions of each type)

For example in some cases the first mode may be especially dominant (therefore limiting possibilities for subsequent integration with the 3 weaker modes).

In other cases the inferior mode may be especially weak thus operating in a blind unconscious manner, which would again pose special problems for successful integration.

In general however, there are three distinct groupings (the first two which equate well with the S and N Types on the Myers-Briggs scheme).

Thus for the first group (of 8 Types) real (conscious) reality is likely to dominate experience. This is due to the operation in the same horizontal direction (i.e. either external or internal) applying to the two leading modes. This then leads to a somewhat rigid conscious experience of actual phenomena.

Then for the second group (of 8 Types) imaginary (unconscious) reality is likely to be more important. This is now due to the two prominent modes of the same nature (either cognitive or affective) operating in a vertically opposite manner (where for example external is counterbalanced by the internal direction of the opposite mode). This inherent conflict of directions then tends to generate a substantial degree of intuition leading to the more holistic (unconscious) generation of potential phenomena.

Then for the third mixed group (of 8 Types), complex (both conscious and unconscious) reality is likely to predominate.

We have here the most acute clash, where the two dominant modes are both of opposite aspect and opposite direction (i.e. diagonal in nature). So, for example, we could have an external cognitive counterbalanced by an internal affective mode. This renders the attempt to rest, as it were, in either (real) or unconscious (imaginary) reality especially difficult. In fact it is here that a radical spiritual solution may be most required to enable effective integration.

The paradox is that if successful spiritual integration does then take place, these inherently complex personalities can equally attain the greatest degree of true spiritual simplicity.

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