The Intuition Function

 

And so we come to look at the last of Carl Jung’s functions.

Multiple Definitions

In the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I gave the Tethyan people generous use of intuition. But what Jung was showing us has a different connotation. The Tethyans used intuition as a means of communication. As a personality attribute it may be an ability used to explore possibilities.

This is my favorite function especially since it is my primary function. Intuitive type people are defined as being irrational in the sense that they defy logic. They are the prophets and seers who seek possibilities. To them reality is secondary and novelty is sought. The fact that it is my dominant function adds understanding about my choice of the title of this blog—cuspofreality.

Another Form of Diversity

Jung’s pairing of functions is interesting. It is not difficult to grasp the Thinking and Feeling types but the irrational types of sensation and intuition prove more difficult.

We saw in the sensation type that they may be very different people. Intuitive types pose a different problem. Searching possibilities can open floodgates and being a seer can pose problems for the people around them. In all instances this type of person may come up with interesting ideas and possibilities but there may also be flight from one idea to another. For many of the intuitive types it is necessary to recognize the downside of this function. They must find ways to get things done and cannot spend their entire lives in flights of fancy or searches of the horizon.

Salvation at Hand

For me salvation comes with my auxiliary function which is thinking. Just up there across the line from the unconscious in consciousness is the function which believes in facts and clearly demonstrated processes. So my intuition has an ally which keeps the flights in check and dictates the need to create a focus with an outcome.

I think you can glimpse here the intricate interplay among the functions and attitudes and the need for us to understand who we are and how we have to adapt to who we are. Again we come to the matter of reality and accepting our position on the cusp. All need not be lost. Insight is valuable and once we have the insight, we can look for allies within ourselves and the people around us. And the same can be said for our characters in fiction. Our characters can pit themselves against other people or form alliances. Which is why I wrote the book Creating Characters and Plots.

Then We Add the Attitudes

And when we add in the attitudes there is another story. Jung points out that when extraversion is added for this type, the person may prove to be unstable. They may be artists, politicians or entrepreneurs but may be undisciplined as they chase through an unstable world. Again they must form alliances and use insight to observe their strengths and foibles. Understanding personality types has considerable value.

When introversion is added, the attention may be on background processes distinct from the outside attention of the extravert. The inner attention may be on primordial archetypes and the loss may be in the chase from image to image. It is so easy to get lost in the swirl of the inner world of mythology.

Having given this description, it is palpable why I am drawn to speculative fiction and why my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is focused so strongly on the adventures sown by mythology which itself falls on the cusp of reality.

Do you now understand your personality type?

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The Sensation Function – Carl Jung’s Typology

The Contradiction of Mystical Reality

This function I find utterly fascinating precisely because my primary function is its opposite. Not surprisingly Jung was mystified because his primary function was intuition. It is hard to come to grips with a function which is the one buried most deeply in our unconscious.

The sensation types are defined as irrational because to them logic is not important. They simply register the reality of perceptions. It is necessary to consider that statement for a moment and then it because clear that such a position is outside logic. They see what happens but there is no critical assessment. Unless of course you are a couture designer.

Most Difficult to Define

Who are these people? The sensation type is actually a multitude of different types. They may be people who are markedly conventional and adhere to the basics of a rigid reality. As such they may be highly conventional. At the same time, they may be gourmands who focus ever so strongly on the wonders of the taste sensations. In that instance they are not confined to a narrowly defined reality. The wonders of taste are open to them. Again, there is the word sensation. Think then too of the person who wonders at the beauty of the world in all its, yes, sensations. And then too they may be focused on fashion with all the wonder it holds.

Then Add in The Attitudes of Introversion and Extraversion

With extraversion these people are the supreme realists and they experience life uncritically. They desire the strongest sensation and seize the sensory moment. Being around them may prove wondrous or decidedly superficial. Beauty in this instance is in the eye of the beholder.

With introversion they turn back to an inner focus. What they see is shaped by them and inside they may collide with myth. Imagine being lost in an inner world with a collage of sensations, inner truths, and the myths of humankind. It could be a wondrous or fearful place. Do you see how these collections of personality have such important dimensions?

A Diverse Collection

Looking at this type from the standpoint of another type it is easy to lose focus. There seem to be such vast differences. Take for a moment the focus on sensation. Everything from color to form to gastronomy to passion may hold sway. No wonder it may be hard to define them. At least to me I see a collage which is hard to define.

A Moderator Variable

Some people see a personality type in which the person is merely conventional and focused on ordinary reality. But I see something else. I wonder, for example about whether someone like the couture designer may suggest a very different form of the sensation type. Such designers focus on sensation whether it is color, form or movement as they shape the image of a woman. It suggests they may be colliding with their opposite function of intuition as they soar in the world of design melded with function. I wonder if in this type we aren’t seeing the indication of what is called a moderator variable which has not been identified. That variable would affect the functioning of the sensation but also define how it may be applied widely and more variably. That is not a pure definition but it gives a hint. There is something about this type that makes me wonder, yes, wonder about the possibilities. And then, of course, if you are an intuitive type like Jung, you have to wonder who these people are and would inevitably find them hard to define.

Do you now perceive the sensation types in your life?

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Fiction Writing Process II – An Inherent Process

 

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If you write fiction, what is your process?

An Outpouring

At last the writing of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy began. It led initially to scattered notes which shaped a global outline. As I said previously, I found definitive guidance in the story arc process described by Dara Marks. It is visually and conceptually helpful and is found in her book INSIDE STORY.

Intrinsic Structure

When looking at the arc I became immediately aware of how I had been seeing the process in films. Being highly visual myself, it made sense. And then I looked at my notes and could see that much of it fit her arc. In fact each book fit the arc and all three books together composed an arc. Amazing! It turned out that moving a few chapters reinforced the overall arc. It was then that the outpouring took the form of the actual detailed writing following the construction.

One of the things that became clear was that there was an intuitive process in writing, at least for some of us. My notes indicated a fundamental attraction to an arc. I had not been aware of it. What Marks had put together was a highly useful guide. Unbounded creativity is one thing, but it also takes shaping if it is to be sufficiently grounded.

Interaction with Characters

The whole process was so compelling that I did not stop with book 1, but went straight through a first draft for all three books. That turned out to be crucial because back and forth reinforcements and shaping were occurring. With all three books in view I could see which characters were working or had staying power. I had to kill one of my darling characters and reshaped others. I also began to discover secrets for some of the characters which had to be worked out in the plot. This process added interest and led to firming up of the arcs.

Detailing often came to shape the story. Once the substance of a given character became clear, that in turn led to refinement of plot and interactions. There was obviously a very dynamic process involved.

Inherent Process

It was also apparent that layering was occurring. And having all three books was proving crucial. The foundation had been laid, the flow of the arcs established and the characters developed more fully. I could clearly see that my intuitive personality function had been crucial to the concept and my thinking type auxiliary was helping me with the building as well as helping me seek resources.

Personal Lessons

As a psychologist I couldn’t resist looking at the process in general and also the contributions made by each component of the person doing the writing. And, of course, fiction leads us to lessons about our own humanity. We resonate to certain characters more than others and that speaks to who we are as a person. Do we get affirmation of ourselves or does it lead us to self examination and refinement? And what of the villains or the people to whom we do not resonate? Surely we have lessons to be learned from them and revelations.

Clearly reading is not a passive activity. It enhances our lives and ourselves. And then there is the question of what it may do for the author.

What processes in your life lead you to personal development?
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The Four Functions in Carl Jung’s Personality Typology

 

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Where does personality lead you?

Paired Opposites

And now we continue the personality series. This will be a general discussion of what Jung called the functions. Later we will focus on each in more detail.

Jung posited two pairs of functions composed of opposites. They are thinking- feeling and intuition-sensation. He spoke of thinking-feeling as being judgmental and intuition-sensation as being perceptual. When you begin to explore these pairs the meaning of the designation becomes apparent. At first it seems subtle but the distinction inevitably grows on us.

Judgement: Thinking-Feeling

Our feeling response, whether it is to a person or an environment is, in fact, judgmental. When we state what we are feeling, we are stating our response or judgement. And these people, in their focus on feeling, may be the people who welcome us and bring us together in the most warm environment.

When it comes to thinking we can understand its meaning immediately, especially if we encountered a hard nosed teacher or professor. But judgement need not mean harsh. That darling person welcoming us is making a judgement but for positive engagement. And the critical thinking type may really be making a judgement or definition in our behalf. As you begin to explore these judgements it becomes apparent that there are huge benefits and it does not necessarily imply criticism although it might.

Perception: Intuition-Sensation

The perception pair brings up another world entirely. We can understand why intuition is called perceptual. Intuitive types are interested in possibilities. That truly is a matter of perception. One person’s possibility may be a matter of disinterest to someone else. So it is a matter of how a person sees things.

When it comes to sensation, we open one of the most fascinating functions. By sensation Jung is talking about all manner of experiences. It may be a matter of being a foodie, a designer or simply someone who deals in, well, sensations of various sorts. Or the clarity of their perceptions may lead them to be very conventional. This type takes some study. And, in fact, Jung struggled with it because it is the function which, for him, was most deeply buried in his unconscious.

Clarifying Our World

When we look in detail at the typology it opens a rich world. We can see the subtle reactions and interactions which are possible. And then the degree within each function begins to come into play. Our understanding of people’s roles and endeavors is enriched.

In Fiction

One of the things I find intriguing is that in reading a work of fiction I often can see the type being played out in the characters and in their interactions. It often explains a lot to me. Granted, when we are reading fiction we don’t necessarily have to do an analysis. If you are a feeling type you will have one reaction, a thinking type may throw the book down in disgust and an intuitive type may be turning events round and round in an analysis. Sensation types may have a variable set of reactions. And, in fact, we may be able to perceive the personality type of the author.

I have found the typology more than just a matter of interest. In writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I ended up writing down the description of the personality types of the characters. I couldn’t resist and uncovered the reasons for linkages and actions I created in writing. And I put together a book showing how the typology can be used in fiction writing. Creating Characters and Plots is available on Amazon.

In Depth

Should it be of interest to you, Jung wrote a very detailed book about his typology. It is dense, deep and long but you might find it worth exploring. Psychological Types by C. G. Jung is available on Amazon.

In coming posts I will be offering detailed discussions of the functions.
Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Birth of a Lead Character

 

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Is there a leading character in your life? (Other than yourself, naturally.)

In life we tend to know where our lead characters came from. But, did you ever wonder where the lead character of a novel comes from? I still wonder and it may be that there is no one answer or it may also be that the author often doesn’t know.

Avery Moved In

The lead character in the first book of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is a woman by the name of Avery. I have a strong attachment to her but do not know anyone exactly like her. On the other hand, I don’t know anyone who is from a mermaid family and has extraordinary intimate contact with a world in crisis. Now, granted, we have multiple levels of attachment to people but, as to Avery, I have to guess. There has been no revelation from on high.

As it turns out, Avery is not on a gentle life cruise. She thought she had her life’s direction, but had no idea that someone else (a goddess) had plans for her. Question one. Do I believe that people have ordained or fully formed life plans? Only “kind of”—“sometimes” is my answer.

In my youth the climate at the time suggested that we each would have a life plan. A guy would get that really nice job with a stable company and might well retire from its graces with a decent pension. Along the way he would find this lovely woman, they would have delightful children and live happily ever after. Of course, life is not like that.

Certain Characteristics Were Essential

So how did Avery develop? I knew enough of the story at the beginning to know that she had to be a dedicated person. So, I arranged a job doing good works. And, of course, she had to meet Mr. Right. That’s not complicated. Often, in a novel, finding the love of the character’s life has to happen after a long struggle. In this case he arrives early and is a partner with her for the adventure. I thought that was a nice variation since I’m a strong believer in partnership.

The core of the story built because my brain had something in mind. I happen to love mythology and was a dedicated follower of Carl Jung. So in came a mythological construct. The first part of my choice seems to have been logical, but when it comes to mythology, it is emotion that often takes over after a time. Additionally, of course, there is my fascination with the ongoing movement to empower women. I was fascinated by the myth of mermaids and wedded that to empowered women.

Guidance From a Personality Type

At one point I had to ask myself why Avery was the way she was and I discovered that she had a well defined personality described by Jung’s personality typology. She is an extraverted intuitive feeling type. I’ll tell you what that means.

In this case an extravert being out in the world could display her conflicts and joys better than someone who was centered deep inside – an introvert. And, she couldn’t be clueless in this strange environment. She had to be able to look inside what was happening and see meaning which means an intuitive type. As it happens Tethyans, as a people, are also highly intuitive. It helps if you are trying to communicate under water. And then what filled her out was she had to be a person with strong feelings and that she would serve our purposes better if she wanted harmony which means her auxiliary personality type is feeling. Those elements constitute the framework of this personality type. I didn’t construct her logically, I constructed her intuitively. So, she came together without a preexisting plan.

And Then There is the Reader

Of course one of the interesting things about fiction is that one form of fiction does not fit all people. And often I suspect that is a matter of the degree to which the personality and characteristics of the characters fits with the personalities and dreams of the readers. Of course, there are many other issues, but the fit seems important which is why different characters appeal to different people.

I could probably go on at considerable length on the issues involved. But, I’ll leave it there.

What gets you involved with fictional characters?

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