Through a Jungian Lens

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Sovereignty of the Superior Function

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I left today’s photo in a larger presentation in order to capture the fullness of the scene and person.  I took this at People’s Square, in front of the city hall.  This man is one of a large group of gardeners that ensures that People’s Square reflects well on the city and its leadership.  Looking at this man and knowing his occupation, I would guess that perhaps of all the four functions of thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation; perhaps sensation is the dominant function.  Of course, that is simply a conjecture on my part based on too little evidence.

As could be deduced from the content of my last two posts, intuition is by far, the dominant of superior function for me.  Of course that makes sensation the weakest of all four functions.  In second place is the feeling function with thinking not a distant third function.  As I think about it, it isn’t too surprising to me that the irrational function  of intuition is strongest and that the rational function of feeling is a close second.  Somehow, for each of us, we find that the four functions line up from strongest to weakest and that is as it should be.  If all four functions are equally present, then it is unlikely that there is any consciousness at all.  By that, I don’t mean that we won’t use all four functions – any conscious person will use all four and not necessarily in the order of their “strength” position within us at different times for different tasks and situations.  For example, when trying to do my taxes, I will engage heavily in thinking.  Wandering around a new “place” I revert back to my strength, intuition.  Of course, Jung says it best:

“This absolute sovereignty always belongs, empirically, to one function alone, and can belong only to one function, because the equally independent intervention of another function would necessarily produce a different orientation which, partially at least, would contradict the first.  But since it is a vital condition for the conscious process of adaptation always to have clear and unambiguous aims, the presence of a second function of equal power is naturally ruled out.  This other function, therefore, can have only a secondary importance.”  (Jung, CW 6, par 667)

I’ll have more to say on this idea in the next post.


2 Responses

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  1. my curious function (one which seems too insignificant in jung’s pantheon to warrent its own station) wonders why so many of your pictures prior to your arrival in china are of plants/animals/insects and since your arrival, it is the people that seem to capture you most? are there not enough people in canada where you live? or are they not as interesting for you?
    do the folks there in china mind having their pictures taken?
    in the “west” so many “ideas” are split into series of 4 – like the jungian functions or the classic earth, air, fire, water…
    i know that in china the split is often in 5’s… perhaps the curious function (or some other of mischievous nature) will manifest!
    i have really been enjoying the photographs… thank you.


    September 8, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    • Curious? Hmmmnnn? Can one think curiously? Can one approach the objective world through the senses with curiousity? Can one curiously explore the world of subjectivity via the feeling function? Of course, curiousity is not limited to one function. It is a possibility in all functions. That being the case, it doesn’t stand alone as a function. Still, I wonder if their are other functions that would enable us to know ourselves better as well as others. Thanks 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

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