With this letter, we begin a new series on the types in the inferior position. Seemingly lesser, for they are figuratively in the shadow, their role in individuation can be vital for discovering a rich and rewarding life. The content of this and forthcoming letters will be largely the product of a small group intensively studying the shadow types: Jungian analysts Gunilla Midb=C3=B8e (SE), Barbara Helen Miller (NL), Vanessa Prins (NL), and myself. These letters will briefly summarize some of our findings. We expect to write a more complete article or book later to more substantially document our research. jgj
The Shadow Types
While the differentiated types can be readily understood--we see them in people and experience them ourselves--the types in the inferior position are much more difficult to grasp. They linger beneath the surface and we must "dig deep" to uncover and observe them.
They may be ignored or demeaned, appearing to an individual as being less significant, for they usually directly oppose the conscious disposition; yet they are utterly vital to living a full and healthy life.
Jung noted that the inferior function is directly tied to the shadow and the soul (anima or animus). "I should only like to point out that the inferior function is practically identical with the dark side of the human personality." (CW 9i, par 222)
The shadow and soul are positioned as complementary opposites to the ego and persona. Jung depicted these relationships on a diagram in his 1925 seminars that illustrates the symmetrical and oppositional structure of the psyche.
To better understand the oppositions, in the essays to follow, we will review the typological oppositions of shadow and soul under four roles:
1. As Shadow Disposition
"The shadow is merely somewhat inferior, primitive, unadapted and awkward; not wholly bad. It even contains childish or primitive qualities which would in a way vitalize and embellish human existence." (CW 11, par 134)
How does each type manifest as a more primitive, childish type?
2. As Projection
How are the types projected under normal conditions, both as a shadow projection and as a soul projection?
3. As Healthy Oppositional Compensation
"There is no light without shadow and no psychic wholeness without imperfection. To round itself out life calls not for perfection but for completeness; and for this the "thorn in the flesh" is needed, the suffering of defects without which there is no progress and no ascent." (CW 12, par 208) How does each type appear as a "thorn in the flesh" of the conscious dispositions?
4. As Compensation for Extreme One-sidedness
"The unconscious has an inimical or ruthless bearing towards consciousness only when the latter adopts a false or pretentious attitude." (CW 7, par 346) How does that ruthless bearing occur, for each of the types?
These will be key roles and questions examined in upcoming letters, taking each type one at a time. In February's letter, we will start with the most relatable of the eight types--extraverted feeling--to see how extraverted feeling, as a shadow type, can be everything but relatable.