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  1. #11
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily Bart View Post
    I've actually started to review this book several times on this site and given up halfway through because I have such a love-hate relationship with it. I almost wish she would write more so I could get a better feel for where she's coming from -- I've searched for her online and can't find anything, so I can't figure out if she's brilliant or opportunistic! Her insight into maturity and balance of functions is very good, but it seems to be a one-size-fits-all model that she tries to force all the types into, with varying success. I also really appreciate her brief references to mature use of third and fourth functions, because this is new and interesting, but she spends more time on the limited assertion that they cause problems when the auxiliary function is weak than on how to use them effectively when the auxiliary function is strong--which, as she admits, is material for another book -- I just wish she'd write it! I'm also not much on popular culture, so her digressions into Star Trek episodes, etc., don't add anything for me. Also, my limited knowledge of right and left brain research tells me that her use of right and left brain skills is limited, simplistic and outdated.

    On the other hand, her descriptions of the functions, dominant, auxiliary, introverted, and extroverted, are without parallel -- the examples she uses to illustrate the functions truly bring to life ideas that are often difficult to understand and readily stereotyped. Too many of the popular books on type have cartoonish descriptions of each type, but hers are intelligent, sophisticated, and nuanced -- the sort of things you really think about yourself rather than the horoscope-style flattery that you may briefly enjoy hearing about yourself! I also like her blow-by-blow descriptions of a malfunctioning auxiliary function--they're quite accurate as I've observed in myself and other people, although I'm not convinced that this is as widespread an occurrence as she seems to imply. I think most of the time the two functions work pretty well together but can break apart under stress and she sees it as more of a middle-aged crisis sort of a thing. I wish she'd better developed the idea of how the functions work together for most people most of the time.

    All right, -- whatever criticisms I or anyone else has about this book, it deserves to be read and taken seriously.
    She has written more, a bit, though yes, it is hard to find.
    Having written the book (with its eight function model framed in terms of a ship crew or lasagna) before Beebe's more common model had become more known, she later began addressing the theory, which you can see archived here:

    http://web.archive.org/web/200612101...dia/beebe1.PDF

    Also, I at one point, approached her on Personality Pathways, and you can see the three part response here:
    Carl Jung Psychological Orientation | Lenore Thomson Bentz

    Another Q&A she did with some else on that site:
    Jung MBTI Theory | Lenore Thomson Bentz

    Our discussion went way beyond that page, and she clarified, among other things, some reservations regarding Beebe's model (especially regarding some of the "shadow" archetypes), and emphasized that this model is really all about "complexes". A complex is what is "constellated" when the archetype (a collectively held set of emotionally freighted imagery), becomes personalized, by filling up with each person's own experiences.

    This made the whole thing easier to understand, for most everyone has heard of complexes, and the way some others have put Beebe's model out there; it's the functions themselves that "do" everything, and the "archetypes" are just these roles the functions fall into.
    But having read up more on various Jungian concepts, a "complex" (or "ego state") can basically be thought of as a lesser sense of "I" working under the ego, which of course is our primary sense of "I". One or another will usually be in executive control, and the ego is the one usually in control, but others can come up and take over. Hence, as Jung says, "you've heard that we have complexes, but many don't know that complexes can have us".
    It's basically a lesser form of "dissociation", which becomes "multiple personalities" disorders when it is not regulated well enough.

    Again, this makes the whole thing easier to understand. The functions are just the perspectives held by these "I"s. The dominant or Hero will operate through the dominant function and attitude. In my case, approaching life through judging things true or false (T) by what I have learned individually or from nature (i). The Parent will be about "support", and connect with the auxiliary function.
    So when we say something about "My Trickster did this, with this function...", what we are saying is that a part of ourselves; another "I" in effect, that is not usually in executive control [it's largely unconscious; hence, "shadow"] has surfaced because we feel double bound, and it tends to see things in the function opposite from the auxiliary, but with the same attitude, which is then used to in some way turn the table on the threat (to place the other person in a double bind, or at least to get yourself out of it. That's the "trigger" and purpose of that particular complex).

    So this is basically what I learned through her.
    So I would love to see her write another book covering all of this. It would really bring a lot of understanding to the theory.
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  2. #12
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Thought this was interesting from her at one of those links:

    developing behavioral skills associated with a function is, in general, a positive thing. It broadens the sphere of options that we recognize within the context of our type preference. New solutions to old problems become available to us.

    Doing this, however, bears no immediate relationship to "individuation." Rather, it results in ego maturation, an expansion of conscious potential.

    Individuation, by contrast, builds a bridge to unconscious aspects of the psyche, by way of art or religion or dreams, aligning ourselves with sources of guidance that the cognitive system can't co-opt on its own terms. This *reduces* our identification with the dominant standpoint's interpretive selectivity, rendering the ego and our functional preferences less important.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #13
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Yes, because as she also said (and I believe it is in one of those articles), type preference was seen by Jung as a "wound" on the psyche.

    The functions are really artificial divisions of an otherwise undivided reality. What is/isn't, could/couldn't, true/false, good/bad, and environmental/individual are all ways a limited ego consciousness embedded in space and time splits reality, but when we do that, we don't see all of reality as it is. So some of it ends up ignored or suppressed (which is what forms the "shadow"), so hypothetically, "individuation" is not adding ("developing") more functions in addition to the preferred ones.
    It would, as she said, reduce identification with them, but then you would see all of reality. (Of course, this is not something anyone can actually attain in our current human state. It is just the hypothetical goal of development of consciousness).
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  4. #14
    Senior Membrane spirilis's Avatar
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    I read this many years ago, and had the same conclusion as @highlander ... Her theoretical basis for the left/right-brain stuff was also derived from a quack, can't remember his name (see bibliography, John something-or-other) but he supposedly did "research" in his own private practice with brain scans/etc. but would never publish anything and was also a consultant for some sports teams in trying to psychoanalyze potential teammates for their likelihood of success. Really gave me a dim view of that whole system of hers, but the function descriptions I think were rather insightful and seemed on the mark (echoing @Lily Bart ... they are without parallel).
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  5. #15
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    That's Jon Niednagel, braintypes.com
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  6. #16
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    Sorry, I do not check in here very often -- thanks for all the links and additional information -- it looks very, very interesting and I think it will prove very helpful and I look forward to working my way through it!

  7. #17

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    My wife has been reading my copy, in addition to a copy of Keirsey's Please Understand Me II.

    I'm just glad I will have someone outside of this forum with whom to discuss typology and underlying theories.
    Masculine presenting transgender lesbian


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  8. #18

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    I was going to start a new thread for this (I may do this once I can better articulate my thoughts), but for now I will comment here. I think the functions might be bullshit. Well, I'm not 100% certain...but I don't think they can be worked into the current 16 type systems which are most popular (MBTI, socionics). I realize this is not a popular opinion with most people in online typology communities and I'll probably catch some flak for suggesting this (oh lawd, how can he reject the all knowing Jung?) Only I'm not rejecting Jung's theory.

    I'm also not prepared to reject the 16 type system.

    I'm working on it.
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  9. #19
    Senior Member reckful's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcrash View Post
    I think the functions might be bullshit.
    I think you might be right.

    Just in case you haven't yet been exposed to much of my take on the dichotomies-vs.-functions issue and are interested, you can find a heaping helping in the spoiler at the end of this post and the collection of posts listed at the end of that spoiler.
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  10. #20
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcrash View Post
    I was going to start a new thread for this (I may do this once I can better articulate my thoughts), but for now I will comment here. I think the functions might be bullshit. Well, I'm not 100% certain...but I don't think they can be worked into the current 16 type systems which are most popular (MBTI, socionics). I realize this is not a popular opinion with most people in online typology communities and I'll probably catch some flak for suggesting this (oh lawd, how can he reject the all knowing Jung?) Only I'm not rejecting Jung's theory.

    I'm also not prepared to reject the 16 type system.

    I'm working on it.
    To expand on @reckful, people like Wilde have come up with quantitative approach for generating something like functions from preference strength (of course this only works for dominant and auxiliary). And "dichotomy" (really a preference pair) really indicates a continuous—not dichotomous—strength of preference, with people tending toward middling prefernences.

    So, while this tends to rule out tertiary and inferior functions as meaningless (despite many efforts in support for finding them), it does open the door to other preference pairs (and triads) as being meaningful. It rescues the validity of the Keirsey temperaments (with non-functional pairs like "NF" and "NT") and others preference combinations as well (like "IJ" and "IP").

    All that being said, I personally like Thomson... partially because she has good "function" (actually preference pair or triad) descriptions and breaks away from traditional type dynamics. I would rank her significantly less silly than Beebe (who I think is smoking crack beyond the dominant and auxiliary function preference pairs), since she has some non-traditional-type-dynamics insights to offer and some keen observations.

    I wouldn't take her "lasagna" approach too seriously (although lasagna is delicious), but I think for people with middling T/F and/or S/N preference, her model is closer to accurate that the traditional four functions models (far more so than Beebe's).
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