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  1. #1

    Default THEORY: The Psyche's Cubic, Stellated Octrahedron Structure

    Thanks, Peter Deadpan, for asking me (in my Welcome and Introductions sub-forum thread) to start a thread that is a "watered-down" version of issues and ideas in my Amazon Kindle book. So the purpose of this thread is to point out structural issues I had/have with the theory behind the MBTI and Jung's theory, and how I resolve them. The approach and presentation here are very different from the book.

    The key to understanding my theory is that I regard each function (S,N,F,T) as consisting of the extraverted (e) and introverted (i) focuses in direct complementary or opposing alignment, with an integration function in between. The integration function handles all four functions.

    This paragraph is mainly for those who like geometry or at least feel comfortable with it. The modified theory maps to the stellated octahedron, a most interesting structure in its own right. You can find the stellated octahedron on Wikipedia. Its eight vertexes are at the eight corners of a cube. Conversely, the side diagonals of a cube are edges of embedded tetrahedrons. The stellated octahedron structure has many implications for how our psyche operates and interacts with the universe.

    BALANCE

    I believe balance is a key aspect of the structure of the psyche. It is self-regulating as much as possible. The overall psychic structure is always perfectly and sensitively balanced. The ego-complex structure is embedded in this structure, but the hierarchy of functions shows that ego is always operating in an inevitably unbalanced manner. Nevertheless, the ego-complex structure is minimally unbalanced within this restriction. The best balance is achieved when the third function has the same e/i orientation as the dominant. And I experience my third as Fi, contrary to the Introduction to Type booklet. Of course many others have the same opinion. This is the only basic difference I have with the Myers-Briggs interpretation of Jung's theory.

    CROSS OF THE FUNCTIONS

    The most instinctive and easiest way to conceptualize the interaction of the four functions (S N F T)is with the cross of the functions, S---N on one axis and F---T perpendicular to it. Everyone is probably aware of it.

    But questions and difficulties arise as soon as one ponders what might be at the intersection in the center. Is it the ego? The self? The transcendent function? As a matter of fact, all three have been placed at the intersection. This is a problem because the ego is not where the self is. Jung placed the center of the self is at the center of the psyche as its theoretically balancing mechanism. The ego is not. Jung's transcendent function, which arises when opposites can be held in consciousness, is also placed at the center of the cross of the functions.

    This apparent vying for the intersection is probably the most glaring indication that the simple cross of the functions, by itself, is not sufficient to represent the structure and interactions of the psyche. I believe the simple cross is a necessary part of the structure of the psyche, but is not sufficient. This matter is resolved with the stellated octahedron structure. It has not only two, but an amazing seven intersections of the functions.

    CONSCIOUSNESS

    I was very confused with Jung's use of the word "conscious." Supposedly the the dominant function is fully conscious, the auxiliary partially conscious, the tertiary somewhat unconscious, and the inferior very unconscious. Probably everyone introduced to type has heard this. I bounced this around in my head for the longest time because it seemed to me that I had to be using my inferior Se very well at times, even as I was aware of its often autonomous functioning.

    In contrast to his characterization of the functions, Jung had a very simple criterion for the consciousness of an individual datum. If connected to the ego-complex it is conscious. If not connected, it is unconscious. There is no middle ground. No partial consciousness.

    In the end I concluded that Jung was giving a statistical valuation of the operation of the functions, an aggregate assessment of them. This surprised me because Jung valued the individual and abhorred reducing people to averages. I believe the actual underlying structural cause is how robust or fragile the ego's connection to each function is. If used carefully and correctly, each type can use each function very, very well. But the further down the hierarchy the more difficult it is to maintain this use, especially in stressful conditions.

    CONSCIOUSNESS - EGO-CENTERED DEFINITION

    There is a another critically important problem with Jung's definition of consciousness; it is related exclusively to the ego.
    Please bear with me as I need to bring complexes into this. Jung studied complexes more than psychological types. Complexes are an important concept and the psychological functions are complexes even if we call them something else.

    While Jung recognized the existence of multiple complexes in the psyche, the ego became the standard for whether another complex can be said to be conscious. No other complex attains this status except in the uncommon and abnormal situation of multiple personality. So normally every complex other than the ego-complex is labeled unconscious to some degree. Since the ego is usually very invested in the dominant function, it is also called conscious.

    Jung rationalized his ego criteria definition with the claim that there is no other known consciousness than what we experience. I found this reasoning weak. Ego consciousness is a very high standard and so requires the most stringent criteria. If instead a minimum criterion could be identified, there would be a sort of least common denominator that lets us conceive of multiple consciousnesses and isolate those that are structurally significant from those that are not.

    CONSCIOUSNESS - MINIMUM CRITERION DEFINITION

    The one thing that separates each complex is, according to Jung, its attitude. So if a complex holds its attitude, with this minimum criterion it is conscious by my definition.

    Then the only problem is to separate out the structural complexes and determine their relationships to each other. Each structural attitude can be represented by a different point in space. In total they and their relationships produce the stellated octahedron.

    THE "UNCONSCIOUSNESS"

    The term "the unconscious" is bandied around so much that it is assumed to represent a definite structure. It does not. It is not a structural element. All it means is everything that is in the psyche except what is conscious to the ego. It designates everything beyond the ego-complex.

    The problem is that the ego is embedded in the psyche; the ego not a separate entity. Jung and his associates knew this. They wrote about it. They felt compelled to use the term "the unconscious" nevertheless. When you cannot picture the whole psychic structure, what else can you do? The only thing Jung recognized was that the ego-complex is contained in the self, though not in its center.

    Referring to "the unconscious" also gives the impression that everything beyond the ego complex is not conscious. This is also incorrect and leads to the unproductive assumption that it is the ego that somehow creates consciousness. The ego is embedded in a larger comprehensive structure that produces all manner of meaningful dreams, visions, etc. as if it were conscious. It is better to assume that there are multiple consciousnesses in the psyche. When something is not conscious to the ego, it can still be conscious to another entity in the psyche, an entity always with a different attitude.

    TWO STRUCTURES - ONE IN THE OTHER

    There are really two structures to keep in mind. There is the comprehensive structure of the psyche and there is the structure of the ego-complex. The ego-complex is entirely within the comprehensive structure. The ego-complex has structural imbalances. The comprehensive structure is balanced in every respect.

    JUNG'S FUNCTION STRUCTURE THEORY

    This is my understanding of Jung's conception. In "the unconscious" each function (S N F T) is undifferentiated and mixed with the other functions. The ego plays a critical role in differentiating a function. This is taken as a structural fact as well as an empirically observed developmental fact. In other words, the structure itself changes as the ego develops its use.

    Even though it reconciles opposites, fantasy is not a separate faculty because it comes into play in each of the functions.

    Jung's theory is consistent with traditional theories or myths that the universe is basically chaotic, with order being created only secondarily out of it.

    MY FUNCTION STRUCTURE THEORY

    In contrast, I distinguish between the structure of a function and its development. The structure is stable, regardless of how well or weakly it is used by the ego-complex. In fact, the ego connects and can abstractly use only one E/I focus of each function. The other E/I focus exists and is functioning beyond the reach of the ego-complex. However, the output from other E/I focus can be communicated to the ego via the structural integration function; this may explain many sudden insights we receive. Se is in tension with Si, and between them is the structural integration function. The same with Ne--Ni, Fe--Fi, and Te--Ti.

    It is the same structural integration function in the middle of the four functions. The simplest way this is possible is if each function is on a different axis. Thus the four axes of the internal diagonals of the cube.

    Integration is the work of fantasy. Thus fantasy has its own faculty outside of the bounds of Se, Si, etc. The actual shape of integration function is the octahedron, with Se, etc. being tetrahedrons.

    The stellated octahedron structure correlates the psyche to Buckminster Fuller's theory of the fundamental structures of the universe.

    THE STRUCTURAL COMPLEXES

    The underlying structural complexes consist of two groups.

    The first group consists of the eight attitude-functions Se Si Ne Ni Fe Fi Te Ti. They are at the eight corners of the cube. They are each capable of abstract insight. Though we call them differentiating functions, they are also complexes according to Jung.

    The second group is at the six vertexes of the octahedron. These are archetypal points, where individuals in a balanced set of archetypal figures can be generated. At each of these points all four functions are accessible. Our ego center shares one of them also.

    All other complexes can be thought of as data riding on the structural ones.

    All sixteen MBTI types fit, with their unbalanced ego-hierarchy on the balanced structure, on two cubes, the SF and NT types on one, the ST and NF types on the other.

    Another paragraph for the mathematically appreciative. Jung recognized common numerical motifs that appear in dreams, etc. They seem to indicate the structural nature of the psyche. The numbers three and four are the most striking. Three or four things or people, etc. Three can mean an incomplete four, where four represents some kind of wholeness or completeness. The octahedron has 12 edges that can be seen as both four triangles and three squares. It is the only structure that readily displays both of these numbers as well as others Jung identified. This is a great indication to me that the stellated octahedron is the operative skeletal structure of the psyche.

    THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION

    I will just mention that this theory makes it possible to conceptualize a continuous interaction between the psyche and the universe.

  2. #2
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gaboury View Post
    All sixteen MBTI types fit, with their unbalanced ego-hierarchy on the balanced structure, on two cubes, the SF and NT types on one, the ST and NF types on the other.
    Are you saying that SFs are more similar to NTs than they are to STs and to NFs?

    If so, can you describe some of the characteristics that you'd say SFs and NTs have in common, and that differentiate them from STs and NFs, and vice versa?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    Are you saying that SFs are more similar to NTs than they are to STs and to NFs?

    If so, can you describe some of the characteristics that you'd say SFs and NTs have in common, and that differentiate them from STs and NFs, and vice versa?
    Hi reckful. I have no competence or speculation in that regard. It had no consideration or bearing on my placement. The only consideration was geometry.

    I simply assumed the balanced attitude-function order I mentioned above, like INTJ being Ni, Te, Fi, Se. Then I geometrically analyzed how to derive and place the types on the cube. The only restriction is that Se and Si must be at opposite corners, etc.

    Disregarding hierarchy, two NTs (INTJ, ENTJ )and two SFs (ESFP, ISFP) have Ni, Te, Fi, and Se. They end up on one side of one of the cubes, with a labeling spot on the corner where their dominant is. The remaining two NTs (INTP, ENTP) and SFs (ESFJ, ISFJ) have Ne, Ti, Fe, Si. They end up on the other side of the same cube.

    The second cube is different from the first. The placement of the T and F axes are interchanged relative to each other.

    With this second cube the NF and ST types are similarly handled.

    My focus is more on how much every type has in common since the various off-balance ego structures, on both cubes, all reside on a structure consisting of the same eight attitude-functions perfectly balanced.

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    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gaboury View Post
    Hi reckful. I have no competence or speculation in that regard. It had no consideration or bearing on my placement. The only consideration was geometry.

    I simply assumed the balanced attitude-function order I mentioned above, like INTJ being Ni, Te, Fi, Se. Then I geometrically analyzed how to derive and place the types on the cube. The only restriction is that Se and Si must be at opposite corners, etc.

    Disregarding hierarchy, two NTs (INTJ, ENTJ )and two SFs (ESFP, ISFP) have Ni, Te, Fi, and Se. They end up on one side of one of the cubes, with a labeling spot on the corner where their dominant is. The remaining two NTs (INTP, ENTP) and SFs (ESFJ, ISFJ) have Ne, Ti, Fe, Si. They end up on the other side of the same cube.

    The second cube is different from the first. The placement of the T and F axes are interchanged relative to each other.

    With this second cube the NF and ST types are similarly handled.

    My focus is more on how much every type has in common since the various off-balance ego structures, on both cubes, all reside on a structure consisting of the same eight attitude-functions perfectly balanced.
    So... it sounds like you subscribe to the Harold Grant function stack (e.g., INFP=Fi-Ne-Si-Te), even though it can't make any respectable claim to validity.

    You might want to take a look at this post and the posts it links to.

    And here's a modified version of my previous question: Since your typological perspective seems to be function-centric, and you seem to think INFPs and ESTJs (for example) have quite a lot in common (since they share all four functions), as do INFJs and ESTPs (who share the other four functions), can you give me (1) a list of personality characteristics that you think INFPs and ESTJs have in common (albeit in varying degrees, I assume) and that neither of those types shares with INFJs or ESTPs, and (2) a list of personality characteristics that you think INFJs and ESTPs have in common (albeit in varying degrees) and that neither of those types shares with INFPs or ESTJs?

  5. #5

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    reckful,
    yes, Harold Grant, but I do not think of it as a stack. Too linear an implication. Also, Grant's expressed respect for balance is similar. However, I do not subscribe to the idea he expressed regarding linear development of the use of the functions over the decades.

    Regarding a respectable claim to validity, I guess that depends upon what has gained your respect. Obviously room for differing opinion here. Only time will tell, perhaps long after I and you have passed on.

    Your rephrased question indicates to me that you did not grasp the first paragraph of my previous post. To repeat, the structure falls out mathematically from the Grant hierarchy assumption and the four e/i function axes with integration function in the middle. I did not care which way the types would align structurally on the cubes. This is the only way I found that they did.

    In addition to that, I do not think it necessarily follows that common function attitudes produce common personality traits. The reason is because the dominant determines the primary interest focus. The auxiliary does not. Neither do the third or fourth. All the others usually support the interest of the dominant. For example, Te supporting the interest of Ni is very different from Te supporting its own interest.

    I derive no personality characteristic conclusions from the alignment. Proximity on this structure may mean very opposite characteristics in some cases. Especially since the psyche contains all the opposites.

    I am dealing with psychological types function structure (and psyche structure), not personality characteristic comparisons by type.

    Hope this helps.

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    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Gaboury View Post
    reckful,
    yes, Harold Grant, but I do not think of it as a stack. Too linear an implication. Also, Grant's expressed respect for balance is similar. However, I do not subscribe to the idea he expressed regarding linear development of the use of the functions over the decades.

    Regarding a respectable claim to validity, I guess that depends upon what has gained your respect. Obviously room for differing opinion here. Only time will tell, perhaps long after I and you have passed on.

    Your rephrased question indicates to me that you did not grasp the first paragraph of my previous post. To repeat, the structure falls out mathematically from the Grant hierarchy assumption and the four e/i function axes with integration function in the middle. I did not care which way the types would align structurally on the cubes. This is the only way I found that they did.

    In addition to that, I do not think it necessarily follows that common function attitudes produce common personality traits. The reason is because the dominant determines the primary interest focus. The auxiliary does not. Neither do the third or fourth. All the others usually support the interest of the dominant. For example, Te supporting the interest of Ni is very different from Te supporting its own interest.

    I derive no personality characteristic conclusions from the alignment. Proximity on this structure may mean very opposite characteristics in some cases. Especially since the psyche contains all the opposites.

    I am dealing with psychological types function structure (and psyche structure), not personality characteristic comparisons by type.

    Hope this helps.
    How could that help? All you're really doing is ducking my questions.

    Kindly don't play semantic games with me. I don't care whether you call them "personality traits" or "common function attitudes" or "primary interest foci" or "Great Aunt Gertrude." If your geometric arrangement of the types puts INFPs, ENFPs, ESTJs and ISTJs "on one side of one cube," I assume that means you think that those four types have some things in common that fall within a broad definition of what somebody's individual psychology (do you like that term better?) entails.

    Assuming that's true, then I repeat the request in my previous post:

    Can you give us (1) a list of personality characteristics that you think INFPs and ESTJs have in common (albeit in varying degrees, I assume) and that neither of those types shares with INFJs or ESTPs, and (2) a list of personality characteristics that you think INFJs and ESTPs have in common (albeit in varying degrees) and that neither of those types shares with INFPs or ESTJs?

    And again, please interpret my phrase "personality characteristics" as broadly as you wish. Don't tell me I'm asking you for something different than the kinds of similarities reflected in your geometric arrangement.

    And on the other hand, if the fact that four of the MBTI types are together "on one side of one cube" in your geometric arrangement doesn't mean that those four types have some personality-related (broadly defined) things in common that the types in the other three cube-side groups don't share with them, then what's the point of your geometric arrangement?

    Does the fact that INFPs and ESTJs are on "one side of one cube" correspond to any meaningful psychological similarity between them at all? If so, why can't you describe those psychological similarities that they share?

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    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    @John Gaboury

    I just looked at the description of your book at Amazon. It talks about "geometrically aligning the relative positions of Jung's eight psychological function-types, which also extend to the 16 MBTI psychological types," and says your book "should be understood as 'Jung and beyond,' not as any divergence from Jung's theoretical thrust."

    But the Harold Grant function stack represents a dramatic departure from Jung's model of the psyche. Jung's stack for a typical Ti-dom with an N-aux was Ti-Ni-Se-Fe.

    Does your book acknowledge and discuss the fact that the Grant function stack is fundamentally different from Jung's model, since it mixes extraversion and introversion on the conscious side of the psyche (and also on the unconscious side)?

    Also: on top of the function-stack differences, the modern function descriptions you'll find in Thomson, Berens, Nardi, etc. differ in many ways (large and small) from Jung's original concepts, and appear to be a set of descriptions more or less jerry-rigged to match up reasonably well with the MBTI types they purportedly correspond with. As one dramatic example, and as described at length in this post, the descriptions of "Si" you'll find in Thomson, Berens, Nardi and Quenk bear little resemblance to Jung's "introverted sensation," and are instead descriptions that are much better suited to match MBTI SJs.

    Does your book include descriptions of the eight functions? If so, do you subscribe to the Jungian version of Si or the modern version?

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    The ESTp and INFj ----

    Te/Fi dynamic and Fi/Te dynamic

    Both may become egotistical/tyrannical when the inferior isn't incorporated properly into the personality of the person. INFj may come off as self-righteous and overexert one's introverted ethics and paranoid, (Thinking others are against them..) while ESTj might become overly rigid, tyrannical and paranoid, too...


    The ENFp and the ISTp

    Ne/Si dynamic and Si/Ne dynamic

    They share those two functions in common. Ne poked by the screaming and suppressed Si may become paranoid about his health and more impulsive and careless in pursuing his own possibilities. Si poked by Ne may become defensive against perceived threats about material things he has given subjective importance to and will be perceptive about every negative possibility under the Sun that may happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    what's the point of your geometric arrangement?
    Answering that question may be the key to understanding my intent, so here is an explanation hopefully of some meaning to you.

    As you know, there is much more to Jung's psychology than the attitude-functions and psychological types. For Jung, they are part of the psychology of consciousness, which he related to the ego-complex. I think he saw the attitude-functions as having very limited applicability beyond that, or at least thought it was not possible to discern more than a little of whatever there is structurally beyond ego consciousness with the attitude-functions. So once he journeys further, leaving the shadow behind, Jung is into the anima, etc., archetypal figures that manifest themselves.

    In contrast, I see the attitude-functions as very pertinent throughout the whole operation of the psyche. They are necessary because they are the complement of the operation of imaginative activity, fantasy. The input of the attitude-functions is a necessary requirement of symbol formation. I see Jung's transcendent function as one instance of the operation of a structural integration function. His concept of the self involves a few things that can also be separated out. Following this path leads to the meaningful stellated octahedron structure, which seems to me to be the way to link mind and matter. I rely on the insights and mathematics of Buckminster Fuller to do my best to demonstrate this.

    As you probably know, many people have tried to find the link between mind and matter in different ways. In his essay On Psychic Energy (CW8 1st essay) Jung gave up on trying to determine the link while noting such a connection exists. In the meantime he felt he could pursue the psych's structure and dynamics from the psyche's side alone. He later passed his quest to find the mind-matter link to Marie-Louise von Franz. She made some significant progress, which culminated it seems to me, in Psyche and Matter, as a string of octahedrons. Now the quest seems to have died with von Franz and been abandoned by Jungians. I believe I have found the way forward with the stellated octahedron. That is why "Link Between Mind and Matter" is part of my book's subtitle.

    As part of my endeavor, I must create the cross of the functions four times, each time using four of the eight attitude-functions. I display the four types associated with those four. That is what they have in common for my purpose. Nothing to do with their common traits, if any. Hopefully you can now see that I am using the attitude-functions to address very significant issues not connected with grouping types by character traits.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckful View Post
    Kindly don't play semantic games
    Jung devoted around 100 pages to his definitions in Psychological Types alone. He states plainly at the beginning of the definitions how important is the precision of the concept.

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