Through a Jungian Lens

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Anticipation or Resignation

with 2 comments

I got to teach my first class this morning, the first day of classes at the university.  For the past few days,the students, like these two young men, have been returning to the campus dormitories in order to start another year of university life.  As they approached me, I wondered what they were thinking about and what feeling was working in them with the approach of the new school year.

Thinking, as a function of logical discrimination, is rational (judging).  So is feeling, which as a way of evaluating our likes and dislikes can be quite as discriminating as thinking.  Thinking and feeling are called rational because both are based on a reflective, linear process that coalesces in to a particular judgment.”  (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 13)

Of course, when using the word feeling one must avoid confusing it with affect which is coloured by emotions such as anger, which are the products of an activated complex rather than a subjective evaluation.  Thinking is more of an objective evaluation.  Both thinking and feeling, of course, figure in almost all of our rational decision-making processes.  Saying that, one of the two will be the dominant processes.

For example, in my case, when making decisions, the decisions have to feel right regardless of what my mind tells me.  I do, of course have a decently developed thinking function (objective process), but in the end, it must defer to what my feeling function (subjective process), arrives at in terms of the final say in any decision or judgment.  If I had to weigh the two, I would say it would be about a 60/40 split – okay, maybe 65/35 split.  So, in my case, the dominant rational function is feeling.

I wonder how these two men arrive at their judgments about the new school year?


2 Responses

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  1. I spend my professional career with people doing too much thinking – either as a defense mechanism or in the belief this is the main mode of operation. I wonder if Thinking is more valued in certain times or cultures. I am keen to hear what you discover there.

    If you have a moment I wrote a piece on Shadow matters on my blog; I would like your input on it. Thanks !


    September 6, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    • Hey, doc, it is especially troublesome for those who have a dominant feeling function to spend most of their career in thinking mode. For them, it is a defense mechanism. However, for those who have a dominant thinking mode, it isn’t so much a problem of too much thinking as it is not stretching to develop the inferior function of feeling. Interesting.

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm

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