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Functions Confer at the Jungian Round Table
Dream warning about personality type
I have been interested in Jung’s system of typology for several years now, but I rarely dream clearly about personality types! A few days ago I woke up trying to remember: was it said that the ENFP needs to be removed? I wasn’t sure what the guy was talking about in the dream, but I was sure that the committee in my dream had agreed to give up the young girl’s teacher.
In this Conference Table dream scene, adults sit around a long conference table. The woman, the main character or observer in this scene, is worried about her daughter’s crush on her teacher. Seeing that he doubts this situation, the man sitting across from him is moved to give him two quotes from the materials written by the teacher. He reads these passages aloud and vehemently declares that the teacher is a pervert and a child abuser!
The man sitting on the right side of the table takes the initiative and hands the gun to the man sitting two distances away. “The ENFP needs to be eliminated,” he says (or some other type). The guy receiving the gun hands over the money to the first to make it look like a purchase; his purpose here is to absolve the other of all guilt for the crime. He says, “Take twenty dollars,” but the paper bill he hands is purple, which is ten dollar bill in our Canadian currency.
I want to start the dream analysis with the scene before this, but here I want to stop to provide the reader with the context of this dream.
The context of the dream
As you may have already guessed, I am quite biased towards Jung and I have to admit that at times this has led me to imagine that this feeling might be reciprocated. At one point in my life, I had dreams that contained several elements that were matched in the next day’s readings of Jung’s writings, and Synchronic Events even reinforced these elements. For example, I would dream of a honey comb and meet one the next day while reading; then I came across a comb-shaped remnant of a Hornet’s nest on the sidewalk two minutes walk from my apartment to the school I attended.
The next day, when I woke up worried about the blue in the disintegrating dream rainbow, I had to read a color dictionary and come across a picture of a color wheel that faked cyan and made it look green instead of blue (I welcomed this because I was studying additive and subtractive colors at the time). Then the next page in Jung’s writing would tell of his concern about the missing blue element in the illustration. A single disintegrating rainbow-shaped cloud then mocked the clear blue sky on the same day, etc. These synchronicities encouraged a kind of magical thinking in me that was not, I would say, entirely grounded in reality. I found it amusing to entertain the poetic notion of a disembodied Jung fishing for like-minded souls in the sea of our dreams, pulling us towards him whenever he felt the bite.
My exaggerated love for Jung, whom I have never met, occurred to me the day before the dream we are analyzing here, when I read dr. In Mario Jacoby’s contribution to Jungian Analysts: Their Visions and Vulnerabilities. Dr. Jacoby writes quite frankly of a period during which he struggled between extreme admiration for his teacher and episodes when he had to “doubt the whole endeavor and regard Jungianism as a grand illusion.” I wasn’t familiar with the term “inflation” he used to describe his exaggerated enthusiasm, but the context led me to approximate its meaning to the more familiar word “infatuation,” a term the dream then adopted. It is also important to note that Dr. Jacoby spoke of the atmosphere at the institute when Jung was quite old, saying that his admirers regarded him as “a wise, old mana personality who lived in a mysterious tower somewhere in the forest.”
Placement of actions in the first scene
In the night school dream scene, I have stopped by the side of the road in the country and am washing my hands at the edge of the forest. There is a secret campsite here. Now there’s a police car here and the school bus is parked at a 90 degree angle across the road to let the kids off. The police ask the driver to meet him at 1:00 and they agree to this. He doesn’t bother me and I go back to my car.
This scene was followed by the aforementioned Conference Table scene, and then I awoke to the warning still echoing in my head that the “ENFP must be eliminated.” I couldn’t remember exactly which type was mentioned in the dream, but my curiosity was definitely piqued and my first impulse was to check if the dream material could be linked to a specific type.
There were conveniently four energy groups in the night school scene that I could distinguish, and this is how I’ve categorized them and assigned each of them one of the four Jungian functions (thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition):
- Intuition appears as the main character, a woman who has just finished exploring the forest. Forests are far-reaching and mysterious, and the context of the dream supports the idea that forests are associated with Jung, who is sometimes called a visionary. In my wake, I am aware that intuition was one of his strong points. In this scene, the stream of consciousness seems to originate from this female figure, so I consider this introverted intuition to be the dominant function.
- A car associated with this character could easily be Intuition’s polar opposite, extraverted Sensing, in the inferior function position: Sensing because the vehicle is on a scenic route, extraverted because of the rising sun (as opposed to the darkness of the forest introverted Intuition function), and inferior because the vehicle is parked and empty.
- In the dream, there are children on the bus, which makes the bus an introverted expression of Feeling: it deals with people, but internally. The unusual way the bus is parked shows originality, which is typical of an introverted activity.
- A policeman who represents law and order can be given the logical thinking function. Flashing police lights and respect for traditions and traditional values indicate that this case is about extraversion.
If I understand Jung’s system of typology correctly, the placement of the four functions of this Night School dream scene with the introverted and extraverted polarity mentioned above finds a correspondence in the INTJ personality profile. Interestingly, this is exactly the type I got on my most recent personality test.
New organization of activities
In the next scene, the Conference Table scene, there are again four active participants and they are communicating in pairs, but the INTJ formation seems to be breaking up. Let’s see if there is a recognizable type in this scene though.
- The thinking function now seems to be the main seat of consciousness, whereas intuition used to be dominant. Note that the dominant function appears again with my own sex, in the form of a woman, for whom the meeting is called. He doesn’t speak, but thinks things through internally, so once again we’re dealing with an introverted guy.
- The man who judges the teacher and really stands aside, in the same way that our inferior function often does in waking life, is definitely the extrovert counterpart of the first function Feelings.
- The man on the right quickly assesses the situation without hesitation and immediately approaches the problem and its radical solution. I see him as an extroverted intuition function.
- In waking life, when Intuition is extraverted, Sensing should be introverted, and if the same dynamic is respected in this dream scene, that role falls to the last active character, the person receiving the weapon. But what would be the point of choosing an introverted function to perform an external act, one might ask? A key factor to note in this case is that this complacent collaborator focuses on the meaning he attaches to the goods being exchanged. His idea of objects supersedes the objects themselves. The submissive man who receives the gun then represents an introverted identification function.
In the conference table scene, when the dinner personality type is unpacked, much more is revealed. The arrangement of the characters around the conference table suggests that each function is aware of all the others, and this seems to be the case:
- The sentence uttered by the man on the right indicates that the slanderous manifesto caused by the accelerated Feeling function has affected the Intuition function quite a bit.
- The introverted thinking action (mother) processes the image of her daughter, the thought that had subtly brought it to its attention with the Feeling action of the previous scene. By parking on the side of a school bus, the Feeling function blocked traffic and forced others to stop and think about their actions. It seemed to say “Would you want your own child to attend such an unlikely school?” Or maybe, “Isn’t your interest in this teacher a bit childish and erratic?” Now the main character has started to integrate the Feeling function’s view of the situation.
- The Sensing function (the man receiving the gun) is aware of the Intuition function’s concern that he will be blamed; this element was more covert in the first scene and only the washing of hands hinted at it.
- In waking life, Sensing is the fourth or inferior function, the one Marie-Louise Von Franz calls the unlocked door, and therefore the one that can most easily touch the unconscious material. Perhaps this function has realized before any of us that the instruction given by the Intuition function to “eliminate” a certain type should be understood symbolically: it is just a type stickers which must be removed. The ten dollar bill offered in the dream is exactly half of the stated amount: this may be the Sensing function’s way of suggesting to choose a middle ground and not focus so much on personality types.
In the final scene, the functions have completely reversed their original polarities: those who were extraverted are now introverted and vice versa. Also note that the switching rate between functions has increased dramatically. What was only hinted at in the first scene, or known to only one function, has now become common knowledge.
You will remember that in the Night School dream scene, the activities followed the pattern of my INTJ personality type. There is nothing shocking about the scene and not much work has been done there. If it were on its own, the Night School scene wouldn’t be very instructive, if you’ll excuse the pun.
When activities appear in a dream as characters or objects that express the introverted and extraverted attitudes that are common to those activities in waking life, or in other words, when they constellation to form the dreamer’s usual personality type, the dream is likely to be a reflection. of the person’s conscious awake attitude.
In contrast, when functions are disguised as characters with atypical attitudes, this reversal of polarity seems to facilitate the exchange of information between them. Information available only to the relatively unconscious third and fourth functions during the waking state can then be transferred during sleep to the higher functions, when the real sleep work takes place.
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