In the oppositions set up by psychological types, none is as pronounced as the opposition between the dominant type and the inferior type. In the conflict that ensues between these two and their allies, one would think that the dominant has the upper hand. Yet it seems that the inferior type, the "dumbling" of the eight, often carries the most power. The Potent Dumbling
Least familiar, least accessible, least conscious, least admirable, and least developed, the "dumbling" often provides inconspicuous opposition to the ego's dominant role. If the ego is oriented to thinking, the inferior type will orient to feeling. If the ego is oriented to extraversion, the inferior type will orient to introversion. It provides an element of normal opposition that gradually moves the center of personality from a one-sided ego to a place in the middle where a person can access both ego and shadow dispositions.
But if the ego identity becomes all consuming, if the person overly identifies with the ego's one-sided orientation, suppressing the inferior type, then the dumbling gains power. Imbedded in the shadows of consciousness, we could call it the "shadow type." It is inextricably entwined with the shadow and unconscious powers. If suppressed, it rises in opposition to the ego's position, bringing with it overwhelming allies. The ego is no match for them.
The individual soon discovers, like Paul of Tarsus, that "I do not do what I want, but I do the the very thing that I hate." If the entrenched ego claims self-righteousness, then the person will be disgraced with some moral perversity; if the overzealous ego is oriented to absolute control, then the person's life will be thrown into chaos; if an overly confident ego is oriented to absolute certainty, then the individual will be plagued with self doubt.
The shadow type will not only disrupt the individual; it may also create havoc in a person's relationships with others. Conflict between people can often be traced to unintended shadow projections.
The shadow type can be a potent adversary. Joined by its functional and archetypal allies, it can strand the ship of life on the craggy rocks of discord. Such is the power of this little dumbling.
But if the shadow type is acknowledged and accepted rather than suppressed, then it plays the healthy role of quiet opposition to an otherwise dominant ego. As the normally functioning shadow type, it takes the rudder of the ship of life and holds a steady course to the middle way of humbling personal growth.
James Graham Johnston