Consciousness and Reality

A stable-dynamic model based on Jungian psychology
by Jorge Aveleira
IPS-PA
Universidade de Sao Paulo

Keywords: consciousness, reality, model, psychology, Jung.

1. Introduction

The aim of this article is to illustrate a new and daring approach for the organization of some basic components from Jungian Psychology, tentatively paired with concepts from Physics and Philosophy. A most relevant status is assigned to the rational and non-rational natures of the consciousness' psychic functions. The existence of a third nature shall be proposed and justified, generating a structure that performs as a functional model of the psyche, apt to assist in the comprehension of several manifestations that hold psychological interest. That model shows stable-dynamic evolving characteristics, and working from its structure and meaning it should be possible to attain explanations for questions related to the philosophical issues of unity, duality and trinity. In the last section, the model is also speculatively suggested as a simple prototype for several instances of physical reality.

2. Taoism and Jungian Typology

- Yin-yang polarity

A few basic notions from Taoist philosophy are utilized in this article to orient key procedures and drawing conclusions. A summary exposure of those notions may be appropriate. The yin-yang principle is briefly characterized as follows: Yin-yang depicts a fundamental polarity that exists in every whole, share, piece, fragment or particle of the universe, in each and every manifestation of reality. Yin is feminine, dark, passive, flexible, accommodating and gentle. Yang is masculine, bright, active, hard, assertive and determined. The relative yin-yang polarity of several opposing notions, as male-female, dark-bright, and others, is subject to diverging interpretations. Those disputes were not regarded as especially relevant for the primary intent here to identify the basic yin-yang polarity and associated developments within several psychological actualities.

Assigning yin (yang) properties to a component of any entity only makes sense when one considers simultaneously also the whole entity and the contrasting component, that shall necessarily command opposite, antithetical yang (yin) properties.

Opposite polarities attract each other, while equal polarities repel each other. Yang (or yin) components of any actuality can be split into a pair of yin-yang components, on and on, successively. Yang brings (changes into) yin and yin brings yang, according to the general expression of transmutation: yang=> yin=> new-yang=> new-yin=>.... The arrows => should be read as brings, and also as transmutes into.

The yin-yang polarity is likened to a considerable extent in this essay to the occidental concept of dilemma, that is, a set of two opposite, coupled and inescapable alternatives. A main distinction between the notions of yin-yang and dilemma may be that the dilemma is usually applied to illustrate distressing, afflicting or undesirable episodes or circumstances, whereas the yin-yang polarity is regarded as a universal condition. An extended dissertation on Taoist philosophy and its fundamental process of transmutation, however helpful to interpret and justify the following presentation, falls beyond its limitations in size and scope.

- A few Jungian concepts

One of the earliest works of C.G.Jung is Psychological Types. That book raised great interest within the psychological community and also amidst the general public, as it demonstrated in a sensible fashion the possibility to systematize and classify a number of attributes of personality according to a logical framework. Psychological Types contains an analytical narration of historical data, philosophical concepts related to the psyche, descriptions and interpretations about traits of personality, and it presents also original concepts that became object of further research work.

The interest in the contrasting psychological structure outlined by Jungian typology, however, has been considerably reduced. In later works by C.G. Jung himself and followers that appraise the psyche and paths of psychological change and evolution, the main focus of attention is usually directed to notions such as archetypes, collective and individual consciousness and unconsciousness, anima/animus, shadow, persona, complexes, etc. Some basic Jungian concepts, especially those from Jungian typology, are essential in establishing this essay, and a brief account follows below.

C.G.Jung instituted the concepts of introversion and extraversion as two basic psychic dispositions. Extraversion corresponds to a fundamentally active, exuberant, participating and accepting attitude towards facts and objects, that is associated in this essay to the Taoist notion of yang polarity. Introversion corresponds to a fundamentally passive, watchful, reserved, circumspect and defensive attitude towards facts and objects, associated here to yin polarity.

Jung established also two different modes or categories for the human comprehension of reality, the rational and the irrational. In casual, everyday conversation, it is possible to notice a tendency to estimate that an irrational category is simply the rational one minus the ability to reason, then it was chosen to address the Jungian irrational category by the designation non-rational, to avoid making value or ranking judgements between them. The rational category of the psychic functions shall be recognized as belonging to a yang, concrete universal nature; the non-rational category as belonging to a yin, abstract universal nature.

It is hoped that the attribution of yin-yang polarities to psychic contents and functions as proposed here may be deemed acceptable, especially by taking into account the former statement: "Assigning yin (yang) properties to a component of any entity only makes sense when one considers simultaneously also the whole entity and the contrasting component, that shall necessarily command opposite, antithetical yang (yin) properties."

Thinking, Feeling, Perception and Intuition are the four Jungian functions of the ego, subject to classification based on the former rational and non-rational categories. Thinking and Feeling were acceptably established as rational psychic functions, while Perception and Intuition were classified as non-rational functions. Thinking is opposite to Feeling, and Perception is opposite to Intuition. The names of the psychic functions are typed here with the first letter in capitals to highlight their position as key elements of consciousness and the psychic structure. The four psychic functions, arranged in conformity with the rational and non-rational categories and combined with the two basic dispositions, were estimated by C.G.Jung as capable to adequately compose a model for the capability of orientation of the ego's consciousness. That model is currently utilized in several approaches to explain motivations and attitudes of individuals (Jung, 1920).

The concept of ego in Jungian psychology may be informally regarded as I, the center of consciousness and individual will. The concept of self corresponds to a deeper and more enigmatic psychic component, that is often associated to a directing nucleus or deeper urging that instigates the ego towards growth, change and evolution (Whitmont, 1969, 1).

Each ego, or each individual consciousness, holds to some degree the abilities that are furnished by the four psychic functions. However, it was presumed and demonstrated that each individual has greater ability and inclination, that is, a preference, a tendency to rule his/her actions and motivations according to a particular function. That psychic function will show up with greater intensity and will be used with greater frequency, better results and more satisfaction, and it may be called the Main function of consciousness for that individual. As regards each individual psyche, the Main function is the most conscious and it is more available for conscious actions than the other three functions. The most unconscious function is the one opposite to the Main function, and it is usually denominated Inferior function. The Inferior function is estimated as a difficult feature of one's personality and its inadequate accomplishments are usually the source of much distress and dissatisfaction for individuals (von Franz, 1971).

The Main function, together with one of the two basic dispositions, defines the Jungian psychological type of each individual. According to Jungian typology, we may then consider the following setting and eight traditional psychological types:

Basic dispositions:

Consciousness orienting psychic functions:

Psychic entities

Psychological types:

Follows an extended discussion on those basic Jungian concepts and others, attempting to review, enlarge, and improve on their meaning, and to further explain the structure and operation of consciousness. It is also ventured to establish a connection between that structure and fundamental components of what is generally recognized as physical reality.

3. Three Natures and Six Psychic Functions

- Concrete nature, rational, yang

The concrete nature is proposed to exist as the ability to bring effort, labor, motion and substance, to establish, constitute and determine, either within the psychic or the physical realm. The rational psychic functions are capable to accomplish analytical or sympathetical appraisal, evaluation, ranking and judgement, and they are associated in this essay to the concrete nature.

Thinking and Feeling are the rational functions; they are customarily recognized as possessing opposing characteristics and are proposed to behave as complementary yin-yang polarities, and to institute a Thinking-Feeling controversy, or dilemma. Thinking is classified as yang, as compared with its opposing yin counterpart, the Feeling. So far, the relevant additions between these considerations and those from traditional Jungian typology are the intended connection between the psychic functions and the notions of dilemma and yin-yang polarity, and the more comprehensive notion of a concrete nature, that should include the rational category of psychic functions.

Reasoning now from the former summary definition for the concrete nature, it is proposed also that a correspondence to some degree exists between the Thinking-Feeling contrasting complementarity and the relativistic convertibility between Energy and Matter. Energy and Matter delimit the physical concrete reality and they are associated here to the rational psychological concepts of Thinking and Feeling, respectively. From the particular philosophical standpoint that we are attempting to establish, Energy corresponds to Thinking and Matter corresponds to Feeling. The term corresponds should be read as: metaphysically coincident with; sharing the same actuality as; showing an inner resemblance with; originating from the same essence as, etc. Energy and Thinking are correlates, associates, comrades at work, and they appear as yang polarity on a concrete nature, while Matter and Feeling appear as yin polarity on that same nature.

- Abstract nature, non-rational, yin

The abstract nature is proposed to exist as a soft, flexible, intangible ability to engender, to gestate, to show, to breed and deliver, either within the psychic or the physical realm. The non-rational functions bring psychic competence to touch, to relish, to find and reveal, and they are associated here to the abstract nature. Perception and Intuition are the non-rational functions, behaving also as complementary yin-yang polarities that establish a non-rational Perception-Intuition controversy, or dilemma. Perception is identified as yang, as compared with its yin opposing function, the Intuition.

It is proposed that a correspondence exists between the abstract Perception-Intuition opposing complementarity and the relativistic relationship between Space and Time. Perception corresponds to Space and Intuition corresponds to Time, following similar considerations as proposed above for the components of concrete nature.

The correspondence Thinking/Feeling-concrete-substance, opposed to Perception/Intuition-abstract-intangible should of course be appraised as an analogy in relative terms, A as opposed to B, rational as opposed to non-rational. Contrasting terms as substance and intangible were applied as a colorful illustration. Thinking, Feeling, Perception and Intuition surely are all four physically intangible, however it should seem acceptable to appraise rational Thinking and Feeling as the yes, more tangible pair of a psychic structure, as opposed to the yes, unfathomable features of non-rational Perception and Intuition. A brief description of attributes of the psychic functions that follows shall possibly help to make those analogies look adequate enough.

- Subtle nature, inspiring, new-yang

The conceptualization of a third category, in addition to the Jungian rational and non-rational ones, is the next step to build the proposed model. That third category shall be called inspiring and it may be fairly likened to the psychic component known in Jungian psychology as the self. The influence of the self on the ego is considered responsible for changes in personality and for assisting in an evolving psychic process that leads to internal discoveries and to individuation (Whitmont, 1969, 2). According to the intended modeling, the inspiring category belongs to a subtle, or new-yang nature, that is proposed to appear through the Taoist process of transfer and transmutation of contents: yang=> yin=> new-yang, depicted here as concrete=> abstract=> subtle, or rational=> non-rational=> inspiring. Those transmutations are characterized more clearly ahead, and also by pictures in the following sections. A most relevant feature of the subtle nature is its density, its degree of substantiality. The subtle nature is substantial, touchable, however less dense than the concrete nature.

The inspiring, new-yang functions of consciousness are represented, in the same way as the rational and non-rational components, by two opposing and complementary yin-yang functions, named Confidence and Reflection. The inspiring functions are particularly capable to induce, to inspire purposeful changes in consciousness and personality, either dynamic change through yang Confidence or stabilizing change through yin Reflection. The inspiring functions also relate to each other through a dilemma. The dilemma Confidence-Reflection may be regarded as the psychic rendition of a subtle universal fluid that impels everything towards stable-dynamic evolution.

It is proposed that a correspondence exists between the contrasting relationship that connects Confidence and Reflection and the equivalence or convertibility established by the works of Faraday and Maxwell for the physical entities Electricity and Magnetism. In the same way as it was conceived for the concrete and abstract natures, the psychic and physical components of the subtle nature are thus associated: Confidence corresponds to Electricity, and Reflection corresponds to Magnetism. The chart below should help to summarize the former exposition on the three natures and its contents:

.

yang=>

yin=>

new-yang=>

concrete

abstract

subtle

rational

non-rational

inspiring

power

creativity

evolution

practical

unfathomable

refined

dense

immaterial

ethereal

heavy

weightless

light

Thinking-Feeling

Perception-Intuition

Confidence-Reflection

Energy-Matter

Space-Time

Electricity-Magnetism

yang-yin

yang-yin

yang-yin

...

...

...

===Table 1

A kindred similarity should be noticeable between the terms in each column in table 1, that may be apprehended in a metaphorical, however actual sense. Also metaphorically speaking, regarding the relative densities between yang, yin and new-yang: The yang seed that grows inside a yin environment shall bloom into something that should be lighter than old yang, for having passed through yin. The author did not find to date evidence from Taoist teachings establishing definitely such an evaluation, and did not find also evidence to invalidate it. That is just an enticing conjecture, and its adoption lead to harmonious and fruitful conclusions.

- The six psychic functions

Follows a brief account of attributes of each psychic function. Detailed descriptions may be found in several works on Jungian psychology, starting with C.G.Jung's Psychological Types. The traits of personality conferred by Confidence and Reflection are very much the same as those that are associated in Jungian typology to extraverted Feeling and introverted Thinking types, respectively.

Rational, yang, concrete:

  • Thinking: The capacity to determine and purposely perform through the use of the intellect, of the logical, analytical and assertive mind. Thinking, reasoning, energy, yang. Side effect: despotism.
  • Feeling: The capacity to understand and perform sympathetically. The ability to constantly evaluate, choose, assimilate, adapt, negotiate, accomplish and relate, according to one's own inclination or nature. Feeling, empathy, matter, yin. Side effect: self-indulgence.

Note: The Jungian meaning for the developed and discriminating Feeling psychic function is frequently at odds with the common interpretation of the term feeling. In regular conversation the term feeling is frequently likened to emotion. Making thing hazier, feeling is often likened also to sensation.

Non-rational, yin, abstract:

  • Perception: The discernment and creative ability that arises through the physical, bodily, sensorial, or near-sensorial awareness. Perception, sensation, space, yang. Side effect: extravagance.
  • Intuition: The capacity of directly tuning a hidden, intangible and intrinsic discernment, understanding or prognosis, that may be floating in the air, instantaneously and reaching beyond what could be explained through the use of Thinking or Feeling. Intuition, premonition, time, yin. Side effect: daydream.

Subtle, new-yang, inspiring:

  • Confidence: The capacity to transmit and perform swiftly with easy courage and trust, without conceit, arrogance, or hesitation. Confidence is subtle, easy and not assertive; plain assertiveness is a characteristic connected mostly to Thinking and Feeling. Confidence, spirited conviction, optimism, electricity, yang. Side effect: naivety.
  • Reflection: The capacity to meditate and reach a deep comprehension of objects under study, of mutual and universal relationships. The inclination to obtain a sincere, comprehensive and judicious understanding of conflicting viewpoints. Reflection may be likened to what is usually called deep consciousness and reflective thinking. Reflection, contemplation, synthesis, magnetism, yin. Side effect: pessimism. (Aveleira, 2000, 1)

Perhaps the reader may be advised to notice that Reflection and Confidence should not be matched to the Jungian concepts of introverted Thinking and extraverted Feeling. When Thinking is compared to Reflection and Feeling is compared to Confidence, they may be seen as sharing a similarity in the polarity of their natures (yang and new-yang) and possibly an ancestor-descendant relationship, but not an identity. The subtle functions possess distinct existence and a nature of their own, holding subtle differences in quality, density and bearing in relation to the rational functions. Those differences are a most relevant issue in this study. Some reasons follow for establishing that distinction.

The concept of Reflection as applied here is only barely comparable to that of Thinking in introverted disposition. The substance of Reflection is proposed as being less material, less prosaic, less selfish, more ethereal and subtle than the substance of the utilitarian Thinking. Reflection should be more interested in finding absolute meanings and fundamental relationships than in quantitative advances in knowledge and intellectual expansion as does Thinking. Reflection brings philosophical and deep understanding to consciousness.

The concept of Confidence as applied here is only barely comparable to that of Feeling in extraverted disposition. The substance of Confidence is proposed as being less concrete, less selfish, more diffuse, penetrating and subtle than the substance of pragmatic Feeling. Confidence transmits animation, stimulus and promising expectations anywhere it acts. Confidence brings optimism to consciousness.

- Extraversion and Introversion as a sum of polarities

The two subtle inspiring functions Reflection and Confidence were probably identified in Jungian typology as rational functions expressed through opposite basic dispositions. The Reflection function probably was classified by C.G.Jung as a presentation of Thinking in the introverted disposition, and the Confidence function was similarly classified as a presentation of Feeling in extraverted disposition (Aveleira, 2000, 2). The very concept of two basic psychic dispositions may have resulted from equating the subtle nature to the rational nature with transposed polarities for its functions, while witnessing the presence and cooperative efforts of different amounts of Thinking + Reflection and of Feeling + Confidence in personalities under study and interpreting their manifestations as if they originated from single psychic functions:

  • Thinking + Reflection, watched in a personality where the yin and subtle Reflection is stronger than the yang and concrete Thinking, should probably appear like something classifiable as Thinking in the introverted, yin disposition.
  • Thinking + Reflection, where yang Thinking is stronger than yin Reflection, should probably appear like something classifiable as yang, extraverted Thinking.
  • Feeling + Confidence, where yang Confidence is stronger than yin Feeling, should probably appear like something classifiable as yang, extraverted Feeling.
  • Feeling + Confidence, where yin Feeling is stronger than yang Confidence, should probably appear like something classifiable as yin, introverted Feeling.

Some instances of the Jungian psychic functions simply are not necessary or observable in the functional structure of consciousness as proposed at the first level of detail of the model under development. The Thinking function is associated here exclusively to yang polarity, yielding a propensity to extraverted disposition. Feeling holds yin polarity, and supplies an inclination to introverted disposition. In a similar way, Perception is associated exclusively to yang, extroversion, then Intuition holds introverted, yin polarity.

Introverted Thinking, extraverted Feeling, introverted Perception and extraverted Intuition may be turned visible, however, contrasting with their counterparts of opposite polarity, by means of further yin-yang splitting. Everything that exists, and also each psychic function, should be subject to splitting according to the yin-yang polarity. In view of that principle, Thinking could be split into two yin-yang polarities holding opposite and complementary properties. Those opposing poles unfolding from Thinking could then perhaps be labeled as the yang face of Thinking and the yin face of Thinking, or some other name. Later on, an operation of that kind shall be performed in more detail as illustration.

The two Jungian basic psychic dispositions, introversion and extraversion, are not regarded in this study as psychic components possessing independent existence. Introversion is associated here to a prevalent yin polarity of the personality as a whole, a net yin result originating from the summation of various amounts of energy and activity of the six psychic functions. That same reasoning applies to extraversion. In simple words, strong (or highly conscious) yang functions bestow yang disposition to personality, and contribute to present an extraverted general character. Strong yin functions bestow yin disposition and contribute to present an introverted general character (Aveleira, 2000, 3). The prevalence of extraverted or introverted aspects in a personality may be temporary and may also oscillate within the life span of an individual, or according to different situations.

4. A model of Consciousness

We have presently a set of six psychic functions, allowing to establish a model for the orientation of consciousness where the psychic functions are depicted as yin-yang polarities unfolding from each one of three natures. Those functions are simultaneously present supporting each personality, showing different levels of ability and relative consciousness/unconsciousness. Picture 1 shows a spatial arrangement for the six psychic functions and indicates main interactions that should occur between them.

The subtle nature accounts for the cyclic nature of the process of psychic development. Attraction and transference of contents from subtle nature into concrete nature are proposed to occur, in what may be comparable to the phenomenon that takes place between two bodies containing different electrical charges, or two substances of different densities. A higher electrically charged body increases the charge of the lower charged one, when they are put in contact. Also, a lighter substance tends to permeate the denser substance. The subtler comprehension of Reflection shall influence the bearing and attitude of pragmatic Thinking. The subtler spirit of Confidence shall influence the manner and disposition of selfish Feeling. Those conjectures are found in correspondence with the proposed characteristics of the subtle nature and its psychic functions.

.

Natures

Extraversion, yang

Introversion, yin

Concrete, rational, yang

Thinking, Energy

Feeling, Matter

Abstract, non-rational, yin

Perception, Space

Intuition, Time

Subtle, inspiring, new-yang

Confidence, Electricity

Reflection, Magnetism

===Table 2

===Picture 1

Furthermore, charges from different polarities attract each other. The new-yang pole of subtle nature, Confidence, shall attract and interact with the yin pole of concrete nature, the Feeling. The new-yin pole of subtle nature, Reflection, shall attract and interact with the yang pole of concrete nature, the Thinking. The interaction between new-yang (subtle) and old yang (rational) supposedly inserts a few subtle components at the rational, or concrete, start(*) of each cycle of transmutation. Every cycle starts then from a slightly different situation, showing a path whereby the evolution of consciousness may occur. The spatial illustration of the model in Picture 1 should aid to grasp the coherence of such arrangement.

(*) In reality, there are no definite starts or cycles. The process of psychic development should be continuous, and several steps and transfers of contents may take place simultaneously, however following a logical coherence.

- Splitting and levels of detail

At the current level of detail this model is a 2x3 structure, built from the emergence of yin-yang polarity and corresponding dilemmas in each one of three interconnected natures: concrete, abstract and subtle; or categories: rational, non-rational and inspiring. Within that structure, Thinking is yang from its own definition: the yang pole of the rational think-feel dilemma of consciousness, while Feeling is the yin pole. The same applies to the other psychic functions. Carrying out one more operation of yin-yang splitting, we would reach a 2x3x2 level of detail showing 12 psychic functions, where we would be able to discern Thinking split in two opposite and complementary concepts, apt to be labeled yang-Thinking/yin-Thinking or some other name; the same applies to Feeling and the other consciousness psychic functions. It is appropriate to mention that this conjectured structure of 12 components lends itself to be convincingly matched to the ancient philosophical model of the Zodiac, however that correspondence is not a theme of this article.

Going still further, it would be possible to conceive a 2x3x2x3 model, that is: 36 components constituting a functional structure of consciousness. And so on... However, the more splitting in 2 and 3 components we perform, the more difficult it becomes to grasp the nuances of each element. The first functional level of the model object of this study is achieved through a structure of 2x3= 6 consciousness orienting psychic functions, representing the yin-yang duality present in three interconnected natures: concrete-rational, abstract-non-rational and subtle-inspiring.

5. Psychic process

The two following pictures show flat diagrams of the six psychic functions and their interactions according to the yang=> yin=> new-yang or rational=> non-rational=> inspiring logic of the former spatial arrangement. The set of those interactions is denominated psychic process of development of consciousness, or also simply, psychic process, or quite speculatively, reality process.

Picture 2 interprets personalities where the more conscious half of the psychic process comprises comparatively more conscious Thinking, Intuition and Reflection. Picture 3 does the same for personalities where the more conscious half comprises comparatively more conscious Feeling, Perception and Confidence. The diagram of the conscious Thinking psychic process is almost the same as the one of the conscious Feeling psychic process, the only difference being the exchanged conscious/unconscious roles in each pair of opposite functions and the resulting swapped paths of the psychic process. It may be said further on that an individual or a personality owns, or belongs to, one of those processes, to favor simplicity of exposition.

===Picture 2

 

===Picture 3

The psyche of each person seems to operate as if its consciousness orienting functions were related in accordance with the process depicted in those diagrams. According to the proposed model, each individual consciousness advances through those transfers and transmutations of contents between the psychic functions, following the Taoist yang=> yin=> new-yang... logic. That conception, that may perhaps be regarded as excessively broad and daring, has been confirmed in a regular and increasing fashion by most of the evidence that the author has been able to detect.

Pictures 2 and 3 present at their top an illustration of the three interconnected natures involved in the psychic process: concrete, abstract and subtle. Below, inside each box representing the opposing and complementary poles in each nature, there are:

  • The identification of main components of the aggregate represented by each pole. Looking for example at the yang pole of concrete nature in Picture 2: Thinking, energy.
  • The comparatively conscious/unconscious psychic condition at each pole. In that same pole of Picture 2 for example, Thinking is more conscious than the comparatively unconscious Feeling.
  • A few correlate terms intended to illustrate, to elucidate to a minimal extent the metaphysical aggregate represented by that pole, in this same example: Thinking, energy, complete, advance-expand.
  • A symbolic name for the psychic function represented by that pole, in consonance with its conceivable role in the psychic process. In this example, for the conscious Thinking: Father function. In the other diagram, in Picture 3, the conscious Feeling process presents Thinking in a comparatively unconscious condition. There, the conceivable role for the then unconscious Thinking shall be to perform as the Difficult function.
  • For the conscious psychic functions, a main psychic activity associated to that function, in this example, for the Father function: labor.
  • A brief text describing expectations that one may have regarding the bearing and behavior of each psychic function, in connection with its role in the psychic process.
  • A few words of caution regarding the accomplishments and shortcomings of each psychic function in playing its role, in this example, for the Father function: Respect, help.
  • A closing motto intended to illustrate the prevalent disposition of that psychic function in several situations, in this example, for the Father function: "Those things are important. One should do what is necessary."

Elaborating a little more, the concepts listed inside the poles of the flat diagrams are estimated to hold intrinsic similarities, to the extent that they share a particular essence that pervades each pole. For example, Thinking and Energy occupy the rational, concrete and yang pole in this proposed functional structure of consciousness. Thinking and Energy both show characteristics of action and exertion, in attempting to become complete, or full, features associated also to the pair of complementary notions advance-expand. Advance-expand are connected however opposite; while to advance is an individualistic notion that tends to collide, to expand tends to surround and encompass. Advance performs as a correlate of yang Thinking and expand as a correlate of yin Thinking. Could we then perhaps label that yin Thinking as Reason? Temperate, evenhanded Reason as a counterpart to commanding, autocratic Thinking? A Reason-Thinking yin-yang predicament would then be established, or disclosed.

It becomes important at a step like the former one not to confuse the meaning of the newly discovered Reason (yin Thinking) and Reflection; one should adhere to the fact that yin Reason is from yang concrete nature and prone to enterprise, while yin Reflection is from new-yang subtle nature and prone to philosophy, by definition. Language becomes an imprecise and even contradictory tool when expressing increasingly discriminating categories and qualities. In order to keep a clear view amidst such exercise, it is necessary to keep permanently in sight the structure and polarities that warrant most of the logic applied in this essay.

The concepts discussed in the former paragraph find themselves in complementary opposition with those included in the opposite pole of the diagram, that belongs to Feeling and Matter. Feeling and Matter, as compared with Thinking and Energy, show a strong tendency to behave concisely, to be condensed, brief, adequate, adaptable, no more than enough. Those features are also comparable to the pair of opposite notions evaluate-assimilate; evaluate is comparable to yang Feeling while assimilate is akin to yin Feeling. To evaluate is yang behavior, which tends to adapt based on one's own standards; to assimilate is yin and tends to ease on one's identity and mingle in equal terms with its surroundings. From an overall appraisal, Feeling, Matter and evaluate-assimilate share a common yin, rational and concrete essence that tends to be concise, to accommodate, to adapt, absorb and negotiate. Reasoning following that same pattern applies to the other poles of the model and to the other psychic functions; the paired terms inside each pole are intended to condense those yin-yang rationales.

Each individual consciousness possesses three functions that are more conscious in relation to the opposite functions. The psychic process of development of consciousness contemplates two groups of three functions -one from each nature- as being logically linked: Thinking, Intuition, Reflection; and Feeling, Perception, Confidence. The role of each psychic function depends on its nature and conscious or unconscious situation in relation to the opposite function. The names that appear in the diagrams for each psychic function (Mother, Father, Child, etc.) are intended to hold a strong symbolic meaning that illustrates their roles in the psychic process. It should be possible to appraise the character and disposition of each psychic function in relation to the attitudes, actions and concerns of an individual from the point of view of their names as attributed here. The psychic functions appear as:

  • A conscious rational function, the Father. It is associated to labor, and may be the Thinking or the Feeling.
  • A conscious non-rational function, the Mother. It is associated to creativity, and may be the Perception or the Intuition.
  • A conscious subtle function, the Guardian. It is associated to inspiration, and may be the Confidence or the Reflection. The Guardian function helps, stimulates and offers balance to the Father function. It also protects the manifestations of a personality, especially those originating primarily from the Child function. The Guardian function may often be compared to what is called in some psychological circles as the false self.

Each individual consciousness possesses also three comparatively unconscious functions, opposite to the three more conscious ones:

  • An unconscious rational function, the Difficult. It tends to disturb the work of the Father function with its weakness, demands, complaints and frustrations, and it may be the Thinking or the Feeling.
  • An unconscious non-rational function, the Limited. It is helpful and also creative, however considerably less able than the Mother function; one should not trust it too much. It may be the Perception or the Intuition.
  • An unconscious subtle function, the Child. The Child function is the most delicate, naive and imprudent feature of personality. Danger, threats or harm inflicted to the Child function arouse fear, anger, despair and defensive action from the whole set of psychic functions, notably from the Guardian function. The Child function shall grow in consciousness as the offspring of the Father and Mother functions. It may be the Confidence or the Reflection (Aveleira, 2000, 4). The Child function may often be compared to what is called in some psychological circles as the true self.

The Child function, altogether with the Difficult and Limited functions, conveys characteristics that are studied in Jungian typology as belonging to the so-called Inferior function. The main objective of the psychic process of development of consciousness as illustrated here is firstly to grow and develop the Child function, that should be understood as to significantly increase its level of consciousness.

- Imbalance and psychic growth

Typically, a psyche that holds a conscious Thinking psychic process shall strive by means of its Thinking and yield by means of its Intuition in order to feed and grow its comparatively unconscious Confidence Child function. Its conscious Reflection shall offer aim and balance to Thinking, and contribute with rescue or retaliation in situations perceived as hazardous.

Typically, a psyche that holds a conscious Feeling psychic process shall strive by means of its Feeling and yield by means of its Perception in order to feed and grow its comparatively unconscious Reflection Child function. Its conscious Confidence shall offer aim and balance to Feeling, and contribute with rescue or retaliation in unreliable situations.

The total ability of consciousness is unequally allotted among the three natures, and within each nature it is unequally shared among the two opposite functions. Within groups of individuals holding a conscious Thinking psychic process one can recognize Thinking, Intuitive and Reflective types. Within groups holding a conscious Feeling psychic process one can recognize Feeling, Perceptive and Confident types. Indistinct, mutable and multifaceted types are customary, similarly to what also happens when applying the traditional Jungian classification. The overall extraverted or introverted disposition depends on the polarity resulting from the summation of the energies of the six psychic functions involved in the psychic process, according to their individual presentation.

The arrangement of psychic functions that this model illustrates is highly stable, showing cohesion between its components, which are connected by yin-yang polarities. At the same time, it is also highly dynamic, capable of growth and development through a process modeled by yang=> yin=> new-yang=>... transmutations between the psychic functions. The identification of the psychic process of development of consciousness as a whole as proposed here (conscious Thinking process or conscious Feeling process), seems to be more conclusive and easier to accomplish than applying the traditional Jungian typology. In addition, the process of psychic development gains a neat, logical and wholesome pattern. The author considers that this model may significantly contribute as a tool for investigating topics as the structure of consciousness, differentiation of psychic functions, individuation, psychic ruptures, interactions between consciousness and unconsciousness, and more.

6. Consciousness and Physical Reality

Overly extravagant as this notion may sound, the author is strongly persuaded that physical reality itself exists according to the same pattern that was illustrated for the psychic realm. That conviction was previously established from noticing a curious and almost palpable metaphorical similarity between qualities associated to the three natures, the six psychic functions and six elementary notions of Physics, namely Matter, Energy, Space, Time, Electricity and Magnetism. That metaphorical similarity appears following a thoroughly consistent, uniform and non-conflicting pattern that should reinforce its possible significance. Subsequent investigation, however plainly amateurish as regards Physics and Philosophy, lead to detect extended coincidences favoring a prospective validity of the model as applied to actual Physics. For example:

  • The relativistic findings by Einstein about the inter-convertibility between Matter-Energy may look comparable to the opposing connection that exists between Feeling and Thinking. Matter corresponds to Feeling and Energy corresponds to Thinking. Renewing the restriction included in the beginning of this text, corresponds should be read as 'metaphysically coincident with; sharing the same actuality as; showing an inner resemblance with; originating from the same essence as'; etc.
  • The curvature of Space-Time induced by Matter, when paired with the notion of an 'arrow of Time' as coined by Eddington, which is associated to the decay of available Energy, adapts attractively to the expected flow of contents from concrete nature into abstract nature: Matter-Energy=> Space-Time, that is: concrete=> abstract.
  • The abstract, non-rational entities Space and Time, coupled by their relationship of interdependence, seem to be asking to be placed at the generating core of the process of physical reality. Some contemporary conjectures in quantum physics about a creative vacuum fall in compliance with that view. Analogously, the dilemma Perception-Intuition that is established by the non-rational psychic functions furnishes the most relevant role of conception in the psychic process. The creative leap between consciousness and unconsciousness is accomplished by the non-rational psychic functions.
  • The equivalence between Electricity and Magnetism as established by the works of Faraday and Maxwell seems to coincide with the opposite and complementary connection that exists between Confidence and Reflection. Electricity corresponds to Confidence and Magnetism corresponds to Reflection, etc. Intuitively, the essence of Electricity-Magnetism seems to be less substantial than Matter-Energy and more substantial than Space-Time. That same ranking emerges from appraising Confidence-Reflection in relation to Thinking-Feeling and Perception-Intuition.
  • Questions presented by quantum theory, as the non-locality of some events and the ambiguous wave-particle nature of physical actuality, show enticing similarities with the structure of this model.
  • Numerical coincidences between this model and quarks theory point to a 2x3x... architecture for the structure of Matter itself.
  • The overall impression transmitted by each pair of physical concepts is in fair agreement with characteristics of each pair of psychic functions. Connecting them through similar relationships arises several hints of congruity and no indication of conflict. A metaphorical/figurative connection between the six psychic functions, six basic components of physical reality and some of their fundamental relationships comes out smoothly and nearly perfect. Is that simply a remarkable row of meaningless coincidences? A row of coincidences is generally regarded as possible evidence, deserving to be properly investigated.

The extent of this article does not allow to present a complete account of all the coincidences, congruities and developments that lead to consider a connection between that psychic model and physical reality. All those notions towards that unity are lacking to date any demonstrable proofs and a detailed evaluation of their plausibility. In spite of that, the similarities encountered were deemed as meaningful and consistent enough to justify a venturesome attempt to present basic abstractions of Physics according to this model's structure. The analogies furnished here hint at the existence of intriguing correlations between elements of the physical universe and the functional structure of consciousness. Those correlations qualitatively match several observations and theories developed to date in Physics research, repeatedly suggesting that consciousness and physical reality may share a single basis, that is, a universal and awesome psychophysical process of transmutation and evolution.

2001, 2005 by Jorge Aveleira

jav235 at yahoo dot com

Notes

The body of this article was adapted and condensed from chapters on Psychology and Physics of the book The Blue Egg: A subtle encounter with reality by Jorge Aveleira, Xlibris 2000, www.xlibris.com/TheBlueEgg.html.

Aveleira, Jorge[1] - The Blue Egg, p.59-60. Xlibris, U.S.A, 2000.

Ibid.[2], p.60.

Ibid.[3], p.93

Ibid. [4], p.69-70

Franz, Marie Louise von - Jung's Typology, 1971. A tipologia de Jung, p.11-38, Cultrix, Brasil, 1990.

Jung, Carl Gustav - Psychologishe typen, 1920, Rascher & Cie AG, Zurich, 1960. Tipos psicologicos, p.389-467, Vozes, Brasil, 1991.

Whitmont, Edward C.[1] - The Symbolic Quest, The C.G.Jung Foundation, 1969. A busca do Simbolo, p.195, Cultrix, Brasil, 1990.

Ibid.[2], p.196-197

Index

1. Introduction

2. Taoism and Jungian Typology

- Yin-yang polarity

- A few Jungian concepts

3. Three Natures and Six Psychic Functions

- Concrete nature, rational, yang

- Abstract nature, non-rational, yin

- Subtle nature, inspiring, new-yang

- The six psychic functions

- Extraversion and Introversion as a sum of polarities

4. A model of Consciousness

- Splitting and levels of detail

5. Psychic process

- Imbalance and psychic growth

6. Consciousness and Physical Reality