Mapping Jungian Typology



In an earlier post MBTI:ers, Jungians and Scientists I tried to open up for a more intellectual take on Jungian typology, asking for scientific methodology. MBTI and Jungian typology is popular at Internet communities, but in higher institutions such as universities it is scarcely regarded, and that I think is a pity. A scientific approach on Jungian typology could be done by merging philosophy, psychology and sociology. I know that there are some academic articles written on MBTI/Jungian typology, but as far as I know these aren’t very good. To make it good would be very difficult.

In another post,“Don’t think, but look!” – The most common misconception about Wittgenstein?, I was concerned with the thinking/intuition divide. Wittgenstein was talking about different modes of thinking, and he made the comparison to either draw horizontal lines or to draw vertical lines. And my idea was that this could describe the difference between thinking and intuition, that to think would be to draw horizontal lines and to use intuition would be to draw vertical lines (or vice versa). This further led me to the idea of drawing maps of Jungian functions. That one somehow can make the functions more comprehensible by illustrating graphically.

Here I’m presenting a map I’ve drawn. However the more I try to understand and explain the map, the less sense does it makes to me. And so I end up trying to describe the dilemma when presenting something that isn’t meant as an end product, but something that is to be understood as a part of a process.

Jung typology map


Explaining the map

The problem is not only that the map is incomplete, the problem is also that the map is prejudiced, confusing and misleading.

The green arrow, from field 1 to field 2, Intuition > Thinking

The green arrow in this graph is pointing at directions of the efforts of the intuitive. The intuitive stands with one foot in the realm of the unimaginable (field 1) and one foot in the realm of the imaginable (field 2,3,4). Consider quote by Wittgenstein:
“The aim of philosophy is to erect a wall at the point where language stops anyway.”
We could try to read it like:
“The aim of philosophy is to draw the green line, between what is imaginable and what isn’t imaginable”
When undertaking such a project which Wittgenstein is explaining here, the end product of it has to be within field 2, that is within the imaginable but irrational. The end product cannot be within field 1 as what is within field 1 is inexpressible (field 1 may be important but has to “pass over in silence”). The end product may not be within field 3 or field 4, as these are two specialized fields, and these specializations cannot help in raising awareness of the border to field 1.

(Perhaps one would want to redraw the map somehow so that field 1 doesn’t border to field 3.)

The blue arrow, from field 2 to field 3, Thinking > Intuition

The blue arrow is pointing at natural directions of the effort of the thinker, who has intuition as a secondary function. This person stands with one foot in field 2, and one foot in field 3. The question for this person cannot be to simply ask what is possible. That kind of question is of no use, the thinker would say. Instead, what becomes of interest is to move things from the realm of possibilities to the realm of probabilities.

If philosophy is about drawing the vertical green line, then perhaps science can be said to be about drawing the horizontal blue line.

The yellow arrow, from field 3 to field 4, Sensation > Thinking… no? Thinking > Sensation?

Here I am more confused. One could think of the yellow arrow as someone with one foot in field 3 and one foot in field 4. But it’s problematic. What comes to my mind then is a technician, and a practical oriented person, but something tells me that this kind of person is a Thinking type, with Sensation merely as secondary function, and if so it doesn’t make sense to draw a yellow arrow. Instead the arrow ought to be blue and pointed at opposite direction.

Another take, explaining the arrows

Green arrow —> moving from the realm of the collective unconsciousness to the realm of explicit possibilities.
Blue arrow —> moving from the realm of possibilities to the realm of probabilities.
Yellow arrow —> moving from the realm of probabilities to the realm of actualities.

What about Feeling?

At first I came up with the idea how to distinguish intuition from thinking, and then the idea how one could add sensation to this mix. But what about Feeling? At first I wanted to add feeling as a third dimension, but I didn’t come to the conclusion that it would solve problems. If I were to add a third dimension, I could as well also add a fourth, fifth and sixth dimension. Instead I drew Feeling as containing a little bit of all the other functions. Feeling is about tolerance and intolerance, approval and rejection. The Feeling type may approve of each of the other types efforts, but only insofar as it is creating harmony. For example, the creativity of the Intuitive type is appreciated if it is fine poetry, the sensuality of the Sensation type can be appreciated if it is aesthetic/beautiful, and the thoughts of the Thinking type is appreciated if it is useful for creating harmony.

One problem of the feeling type is the rejection of everything that isn’t harmonic, resulting in a kind of intolerance which limits the other types. Certain radical and controversial thinking, intuition and sensation, will not be tolerated – even though perhaps the other types need to be radical in order to be potent.

This is not quite in line with the Jungian theory which claims feeling is opposite of thinking and closer to intuition and sensation. But at least it can be noted that feeling is here drawn in horizontal lines just like thinking, while intuition and sensation are drawn in vertical lines.

Some more remarks on the functions

It seems to me that both feeling and thinking holds a kind of arbitrariness which doesn’t seem to exist within intuition and sensation. What is considered as reasonable for the Thinker and what is considered as tolerable for the Feeler, varies between different times and different cultures. But as for the Intuitive and the Sensor I’m not so sure, something tells me these functions are more universal, more equal over time and space.


The writers dilemma – to publish the incomplete – a plea for cooperation

I’d like to share the thinking process with my readers. But experience tells me that most of my readers aren’t interested in joining any thinking process. At best they are interested in the end product. And if there is no end product, I’m suspecting that they will treat whatever has been made, as if it was an end product anyway. The dilemma is then; should I put more effort in trying to produce end products, or should I somehow insist and try to make readers join the thinking process anyway? I don’t think I’m able to produce any end products, and the effort of trying would be a waste as I’m not adapted for that kind of work (like the dyslectic isn’t adapted for perfect spelling). (See earlier blog post, about dismissing the idea of a Total Intellectual.) That’s why I insist on trying to involve readers in my thinking process, by writing remarks like these. Here is a quote by Wittgenstein,

Imagine we had to arrange the books of a library. When we begin the books he higgledy-piggledy on the floor. Now there would be ‘many ways of sorting them and putting them in their places. One would be to take the books one by one and put each on the shelf in its right place. On the other hand we might take up several books from the floor and put them in a row on a shelf, merely in order to indicate that these books ought to go together in this order. In the course of arranging the library this whole row of books will have to change its place. But it would be wrong to say that therefore putting them together on a shelf was no step towards the final result. In this case, in fact, it is pretty obvious that having put together books which belong together was a definite achievement, even though the whole row of them had to be shifted. But some of the greatest achievements in philosophy could only be compared with taking up some books which seemed to belong together, and putting them on different shelves; nothing more being final about their positions than that they no longer lie side by side. The onlooker who doesn’t know the difficulty of the task might well think in such a case that nothing at all had been achieved. — The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know. E.g., to see that when we have put two books together in their right order we have not thereby put them in their final places.,

(reference: Blue Book)


About Dandre

Former student of philosophy, maths and literature. Now studying master program in sociology. Some thinkers of central interest include Ludwig Wittgenstein, C. G. Jung and Pierre Bourdieu.
This entry was posted in Jungian Typology and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Mapping Jungian Typology

  1. Put Tolkien ( INFP ) in field 2. The Lord of the Rings is not without thought. An INFP woks in opposite direction than the Thinker types. Scientists can appreciate fantasy and Science Fiction, but feel restrained by laws. Tolkien wrote without restraint. I think the Blue arrow shows how an INFP creates structured art from muddled fantasy. Field 4 appears to be the ISFP section. They sense trends and can shape art and music, but lack natural invention and passion.
    His statement, “The aim of philosophy is to erect a wall at the point where language stops anyway,” sounds like when you sense the meaning of an image or passage without step b step comprehension.
    Frodo is the Fisher King. He baits the souls of men. Frodo is the ring. he is precious.

    • Dandre says:

      The MBTI-community holds many brilliant minds, but it lacks method. I think it is a pity. Jungian typology deserves more than that. Universities and higher institutions can unite people, working for a common goal, working out methods. But the gates of academical philosophy has shut off real philosophers. Your typical philosopher (the ones with what Jung called “philosophic intuition”) may instead become a great economist or mathematician – leaving the philosophical field abandoned.

  2. Dandre says:

    The danger and potential harmfulness with MBTI is not that it is “not science” or unscientific, the danger is that it is a pseudoscience. It presents itself in the shape of a science, and make people believe in it like if it was a science, but its real determinants are beyond scientific method.

  3. vivienwolf says:

    I have found your blog today. I am just on a similiar journey. I would like to explore the potential of Jung’s typology which I believe is huge. I fully agree with you that the official MBTI seems to do more damage than good to Jungs idea. So I will keep an eye on your blog. I am writing a blog in German about the 16 types as people in Germany are not aware of the typology at all. The MBTI does not have much influence here. I am not sure if this is a good or a bad things. Too me its mainly a disadvantage because I don’t have many people to exchange about the typology in my native language.

    • Dandre says:

      You’re welcome. I agree with you about the potential of Jung’s typology. I may take a closer look at your blogs too.

      • vivienwolf says:

        My blogs are in German and they are aimed at an audience that doesn’t have a glue. MBTI is not big in Germany. So it is very difficult to start the topic without being able to refer to other sources on the internet. I am basically writing my own profiles of the 16 types, which I hate to do as I know they are just stereotypes. However they help to illustrate the point. I have even designed an online test in spite of the fact that I don’t think much of testing personality types.

      • Dandre says:

        OK. I was having a look at your page. I’m not good at German, but I understand some. And one can of course also use google translate. Maybe I’ll return. Wish you good luck.

  4. vivienwolf says:

    May be I am too simple minded. But what is your intention in drawing that map? Are you trying to talk about the content of the four functions or are what are you trying to aim for?

    • Dandre says:

      Really this is an experimental post. I remember, working with the idea of “mapping functions”, and so I wanted to try and illustrate graphically. But there is no clear intention, and I would warn my readers to not try and make too much sense of it. It is rather like brainstorming.

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