Introduction to Archetypes: The First Four

Let’s clear something up front, we need to understand that functions (S, N, T, F) or “function attitudes” (Se, Si, Ne, Ni, Te, Ti, Fe, Fi), are perspectives; not behaviors or skills-sets as they are often treated. Archetypes are basically defined as “a way of organizing human experience that gives it collective meaning”. Images, memories, and emotions surrounding an archetypal core, but unique to ourselves. So they too are tied to our emotional subsystems. This forms the basis of their connection to the functions.
So one such human experience involves “heroically” solving a problem. That is one archetype. Another experience is supporting others. Another one is looking up to others to support us. And another involves finding completeness.

Now that that’s burned into your brain, we’ll move on.

In Jung’s theory (originally), the orientations are more attached to the ego itself, than to the functions themselves. So there are really four (N,S,F,T) functions, which the ego engages in one of two different orientations, generating eight “function-attitudes”.

Under Beebe’s model, instead of there being four Jungian functions each of which can be employed in two different directions, the extraverted and introverted variation of each function are separated, resulting in eight distinct functions. (So for example, introverted-thinking becomes a distinct function from extraverted-thinking, instead of one function, thinking, employed in two different directions.) As in the original theory, each Myers-Briggs type contains all eight functions ordered in a hierarchy from most consciously preferred to least consciously preferred. The top four functions of in a type’s hierarchy are the same as the type’s dominant, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions, and these represent the type’s conscious self. (While the inferior function is mostly subconscious, as the underlying-motivation for the other functions actions, it is considered part of the conscious self. Also, remember that for a type to fully mature, s/he needs to consciously acknowledge and accept the desires of the inferior function.)

The bottom four functions in the hierarchy, by contrast, represent the unconscious shadow of the conscious self, and they are the directional opposites of the top four functions. The eighth function, being the least preferred, ends up being the function most opposed to the dominant, most preferred, function, in that it is opposite in nature (T v. F or S v. N) but used in the same direction (I v. E). As with the first four functions, each shadow function decreases in our conscious awareness and becomes more embedded in the unconscious as we go further down the hierarchy.

For a more concrete example, let’s take my type code (INTJ) as an example:
1.Ni – 2.Te – 3.Fi – 4.Se | 5.Ne – 6.Ti – 7.Fe – 8.Si
See the pattern there? Now, Beebe’s model doesn’t just double the number of functions for each type, it also associates each functional position with a Jungian archetype. For the first four conscious functions, whenever the type uses a function, s/he takes on the archetypal role associated with that function. Conversely, if a type wants to take on a certain role, s/he often employs the function associated with that role.
The archetypes for the first four “conscious” functions goes as follows:


1. Hero: The Hero is our strongest self, who we use to promote our “Good,” and who we become when we need to “save” someone (or the world). Not surprisingly, the dominant function, being the strongest, most developed, and most conscious function, is used by a type to play this role

2. The Parent: The Parent is the role we take on when we want to take care of others, to positively support and facilitate another’s growth. The auxiliary function, being strong but less tied-up with the ego than the dominant, is most suited for this role.

3. Child: The Child is the part of us that needs and seeks out guidance. It represents the vulnerable, immature, but also innocent and playful part of ourselves. The tertiary function, being the weakest in power of the first four functions, matches this role. While Beebe himself uses this archetype mainly to explain how we accept help from others, I also think it illustrates how the tertiary function is often used to support the dominant function, i.e. the Hero. Children are often follow and worship heroes, and use them as a role model for their own growth after all.

4. Spirit (anima/animus): The Spirit is what animates us, what gives us life, what we aspire to be. At the same time, it’s something that seems to be free and independent from ourselves. The spirit is also fragile; it can lift us but also crush us. The inferior function, which is both the hardest for a type to control (under the traditional model) but also its ultimate unconscious inspiration, naturally fits this role.

I will discuss the manifestation of those 4 archetypes on our next post, and how did they become our dominant 4.



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