Through a Jungian Lens

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Shadow Land and the Inferior Function

with 10 comments

This was an interesting bird that has been eluding me for a few years.  When in China for two years in the past, I could never get close enough and good light conditions in order to get a decent image.  The new camera and lens has made a difference.  I don’t know what kind of bird this is (the search continues), but I do know that he is a flamboyant-looking guy.  And in seeing this bird, I think of the costumes and masks we wear in public.

What one sees is persona.  Who is behind the persona?   Well, the best answer and simplest answer is the “self.”  For the typical person, the “self” is identified as the ego.  One assumes a lot about self in limiting who one is to that ego.  No wonder one is caught by surprise when “others” let us know things about ourselves that we don’t know.  At least these surprises let us open the door to discovering that we are much deeper than we assumed.  As well, this idea of being more than ego begins to give us some sense of “more” and “meaning” which haunt us whenever we sit still long enough.

What we know about our personality is based on our dominant function, and to a lesser extent, the auxiliary function.  Basically the rest is unconscious or “shadow” stuff.  Stuff that hides in the shadows and away from the light of consciousness has a way of tripping us up.

Take myself for example.  My dominant function is intuition which makes the inferior function, sensation.   Those who know me, tease me about always being in outer space and about being the absent-minded professor.  I have been known to ride a bike to school and then walk home blissfully unaware that the bike was still at the school.  I have taken a group on a tour only to arrive at an airport to find that the plane had already departed (luckily the next plane had room for the group).  You don’t want to know how many times I have had to break into my own house because of forgotten keys.  Cupboard doors left open, meals forgotten, tripping over objects, running into doors; just about every conceivable thing you could imagine can trip me up.  Don’t worry, I am getting better – slightly – as I work at it – slowly.


10 Responses

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  1. What an unusual bird. The crest is quite something.

    It says something about my personality that I just spent several minutes trying to identify and categorise it through various searches. No success; I’ll simply have to learn to enjoy it for its own intrinsic beauty and mystery, without being able to name it. A hard lesson for an INTJ! 🙂


    September 13, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    • I spent quite a bit of time doing the on-line searches before deciding to publish the post with him being nameless. That said, I am still wanting to know . . .

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

  2. WOW!!! nice bird.
    search no further… i am sure it is called the Rusted King Zebra Feather! *smile*
    in terms of tripping, i have found walking very slowly and trying not to chew gum at the same time helps (only on Wednesdays though and if Mercury is not retrograde)


    September 13, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    • I gave up on the chewing gum part years ago – too distracting – and it seemed pointless, all that chewing and nothing being received in the stomach . . 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 15, 2010 at 10:22 am

  3. One of the many reasons I enjoy reading your blog is you and I have similar temperaments/make ups. “birds of a feather’ – but which bird?


    September 14, 2010 at 1:02 am

  4. I also did some searches (INFP… sort of!) and I think it is a woodpecker.

    To manage my lack of ‘sensation’ I have a run-though list as I walk out of the door ‘glasses, keys, money, camera, tissues’. Usually works! 🙂 When I wear my contacts though, I break this pattern and I spend the day wondering what I have forgotten. These patterns of behaviour can help to balance the other function.

    Lotus Light

    September 14, 2010 at 8:06 am

    • I tried this – it only works if one looks at the list. I take lists with me to the store and forget I have the list and return without the things I was supposed to buy necessitating another trip to the store. Sigh . .

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 15, 2010 at 10:24 am

  5. Your comment about being absent-minded reminded me of G.K.Chesterton, who once telegraphed his wife with the immortal words: Am at Crewe Station; where should I be?
    I am seldom absent minded, and will lie awake rather than miss getting up in time for a flight or a pick up. but I did once leave my baby behind in the post office when she was about 10 days old….


    September 16, 2010 at 12:22 am

    • It happens to the best of us, doesn’t it. A humbling experience should one ever tend toward thinking one is superior. LOL!

      Robert G. Longpré

      September 16, 2010 at 5:14 pm

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