Jung and the Four Psychological Functions
In Psychological Types Jung (1971/1921) describes four basic psychic functions that are capable of becoming conscious: intuition, sensation, feeling, and thinking:
Jung goes on to explain that, in his experience, there are only four basic functions, a fact that seems to be self-evident if one inquires into the possibilities. These psychic functions are the methods employed by humans to acquire knowledge of themselves and the surrounding world; cognition is not restricted to one function, and each function provides its own kind of knowledge.
Of equal importance in Jung's typology are the attitude types of introversion and extraversion, which he (1971/1921) describes as
Jung (1971/1921) said of his typology, "It is not a physiognomy and not an anthropological system, but a critical psychology dealing with the organization and delimitation of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical" (p. xv). Here Jung makes it clear that he was not concerned with the origins of the psychological functions, but used them as a tool in organizing empirical material. It was Jung's purpose to describe individual types of the human personality, to explain and explore individual differences of cognition and various methods of expression in the personality by using the psychic functions of intuition, sensation, feeling, and thinking, along with the attitudinal types of introversion and extraversion.
Jung (1971/1921) states: "Since every man, as a relatively stable being possesses all the basic psychological functions, it would be a psychological necessity with a view to perfect adaptation that he should also employ them in equal measure" (p. 19). Here Jung confirms the possibility of all four functions working in equal measure in the psyche of one person. Throughout his writing, he describes what happens when one function is superior and conscious and another function is inferior and unconscious. When one conscious position is extreme, the position of the other extreme will exist in the unconscious, causing a neurosis or a maladaptation to consciousness.
The interplay of conscious and unconscious opposites, as well as opposites in general, is prevalent in Jung's thinking and in his writing, and appears to be the foundation for his theory of opposites or the transcendent function. He (1971/1921) describes this as follows:
This definition describes the importance that Jung gave to the symbol as a means for uniting the opposites, and also describes the complex relationship of the symbol with the four psychological functions.
An expanded individual consciousness was not seen as important only to the person who obtains the limits of personal potential, but equally important to the society to which he belongs. Jung (1953/1943) makes this clear when he says that "development of individuality is simultaneously a development of society. Suppression of individuality through the predominance of collective ideals and organizations is a moral defeat for society" (p. 303).
Fordham (1972) writes:
This is literally true, but not quite reflective of the spirit of the text, which I understand as significantly related to the individuation process. Meier (1986), however, appears to share my conviction concerning typology:
I completely agree with Meier that individuation begins and ends with typology and that individuation was Jung's most important contribution to psychology. I would describe Jung's monumental work on psychological types as an attempt to take apart the human psyche and describe how the parts work. All of this work appears to revolve around the process of individuation, and the most important concept for achieving this end is the transcendent function, which is the symbol that unites the opposites.
Jung (1971/1921) describes and links his work on psychological functions with the concept of individuation in an important way:
The above definition succinctly describes Jung's purpose in attempting to provide a theoretical model of psychological types or functions. Individuation appears to me to be the primary goal of this work and Jung's multitudinous insights are, as he described them, "critical tools" for further research.
(Jung, 1933, pp. 74-75)
Since individuation was a major reason for Jung's differentiation and explication of the four functions and the attitudinal types of introversion and extraversion, and since Jung did not describe a model of how these functions would look in the beginning psyche of one individual, such a model would contribute to psychology's understanding of the individuation process, especially concerning aspects associated with the beginning of human life, which is seen here as beginning in the womb rather than at birth.
The emphasis in this research is primarily concerned with the four psychological functions as psychic energy that contains opposites. These first appear in undifferentiated form, and eventually become differentiated. Jung calls this the process of differentiation. Implicit in this model is the idea that the human experience of being in the womb and human birth are described metaphorically in the cosmological myth of Genesis. This is not simply to reduce the myth and the archetypes to psychic energy, but to suggest that the first or literal level of the Genesis myth, which could be called the divine level, describes a second level, which is the psychological level. It is also to suggest that contained within these first two levels is a third level that is a synthesis of the first two levels, which can be seen as the biological or physical nature of humanity. Finally, it is to suggest that a fourth level exists, where differences that can readily be seen can also be dissolved and where all levels can be seen as identical (See Figures 9, 10, 11, and 12). The four levels of the cosmological myth can be seen as occurring in the reverse order of the functions as they appear in the human child. The Divine Child level is the synthesis of the depth or instinctual level, personified by the Father God archetype.
Figure 9: The Cosmological Myth of Genesis--Level One
Figure 10: The Psychological Level--Level Two
The Biological Level--Level Three
The Union of Instinct and Archetype--Level Four
Joseph Campbell (1990d) describes the metaphor in myth as "twofold in its connotation, first it is psychological and second it is universal and it is connotative of both at the same time." I would suggest that this is true of the Genesis myth, which is metaphysical, psychological and physical and is connotative of all three at the same time. In addition, when all three levels are seen, a fourth level is created that contains the first three levels.
Developmental psychology appears to be mainly concerned with the second or psychological level, and the third or biological level, and this is the beginning focus of this research. The myth of creation and the myth of Paradise in Genesis will be discussed later in detail, with the suggestion that the first two chapters in Genesis are a metaphor for both the psychological and the biological levels.
Questions of this research concerning developmental psychology are the following:
a. If psychological functions exist, is there an implicit order in the development of the four functions in the individual human psyche?
Related questions are:
b. What is the order?
c. If an order exists, at what point in human development does each function appear?
d. What is the relationship of the irrational functions of intuition and sensation to one another and why are they opposed?
e. What is the relationship of the rational functions of feeling and thinking to one another and why are they opposed?
f. Which function or functions address(es) the soul complex?
g. How are all functions related to the ego complex?
h. How do the four functions work together to produce psychological wholeness?
i. How are they related to the transcendent function?
j. If an order to the psychological functions does exist, what would the implications inherent in this order suggest?
It is the objective of this research to postulate the following hypothesis: There is an implicit order in the development of the four psychological functions, as described by Carl Jung. The order in which they occur in individual human development is the following: intuition, sensation, feeling, and thinking.
This model can be best viewed as a spiral or circular image. In the essay "Father: Saturn and Senex" (included in A Blue Fire, 1991) Hillman describes quite well the idea that I wish to pursue, namely, that two kinds of consciousness exist after birth and continue throughout life. Hillman (1991), in a description of creation myths, discusses a process that is quite similar to the model that I propose. He states:
Jung maintained that one type of consciousness (soul) was put aside for the development of the other (ego) and later (midlife) needed to be resumed, facilitating the individuation process. I agree with Hillman that two "levels of being and two structures of consciousness" can be lived simultaneously by many people. However, one type of consciousness can be forsaken for the growth of the other, which is Jung's usual description. It is, of course, the later type that one might find in therapy or analysis; sometimes it is not the reclaiming of soul that is necessary, but a higher development of ego consciousness. The psyche could be said to be out of balance in either case. Jung was not necessarily wrong in his concept of "progressive time"; what he perhaps failed to realize was the important interplay between these two types of consciousness from the beginning of life.
Despite these differences, I think Hillman's statement concerning two kinds of consciousness is important and applicable to the model that I propose. The two types of consciousness that he describes are what I would call two major archetypes: soul and ego. I believe that the unity of soul and ego is what Jung called the Self. Cosmological myths are particularly well suited to describe the relationship between these complexes because they purport to describe the beginning of life and the universe.
Jung (1971/1921) says that "the four functions therefore form, when arranged diagrammatically, a cross with a rational axis at right angles to an irrational axis" (p. 554). I have used various diagrams to describe the process of individuation. One model employs the cross (at right angles) symbolism; others include the circle or mandala symbol (see Figures 11 and 13). I have also used numerous diagrams to describe the splitting and uniting of opposites, utilizing the wheel or cross diagram, or both, with the functions not at right angles, but in clock formation, indicating the symbolism of movement and time. The symbol of a circle, divided into four equal parts, with the irrational functions on the right of the page, the rational functions on the left, and intuition at the top right side, as the beginning place, adequately depicts this wheel or clock model (see Figures 2 and 3).
I have also indicated a beginning place, which was a possibility not addressed by Jung. It is suggested that the beginning place occurs in the psychological function of intuition. But intuition is also the ending place that is represented in mythological literature as the return to Paradise. In psychology, this has often been described as the desire to return to the womb, the mother, or the feminine.
A developmental model that begins not only at birth, but with conception and the experience of the child in the womb, can be constructed that reflects and extends the psychological concepts of Carl Jung, based on his theories of the four psychological functions and on his theory of the transcendent function. This model would include not only the beginning of ego development, but the development of the soul complex and its origin in human consciousness.
Jung did not construct a developmental model defining the origins of human consciousness. A model that defines and reflects his concepts in a developmental theory that begins with the beginning of life would contribute to the understanding of the Self. There is presently no developmental psychology that provides a model based on Jung's description of psychological functions that begin in the womb. The Jungian analyst Michael Fordham does discuss issues relating to the child in the womb, and early ego development. His model uses Jungian concepts that describe the process of individuation in childhood. A review of Fordham's work comprises Chapter 3 of this research.
Chapter 2 discusses other models, including Piaget (1947/1950, 1928/1964, 1964/1967, and 1966/1969, Piaget and Inhelder), Neumann (1949/1954, 1952/1965, 1966, 1973/1976), Wickes (1988), as well as more recent research concerning early development in cognitive behavior. Research that is specifically concerned with the development of the fetus in the womb (Piontelli, 1988, 1992) will also be discussed, including Kay's (1984) research concerning the child in utero.
Chapter 4, "First Prelude to Genesis," will be an interpretation and comparison of the Divine Child archetype and the myth of the Fallen Angel, Lucifer. Both archetypes will be compared with the ancient Sumerian symbolism of "Twin Serpent Gods," and "Twin Lion-birds," as well as the fourfold structure of the Sumerian creation myth. I will also discuss Moses as the Divine Child archetype, author of Genesis and Hero archetype. The Hero represents the human child who has been divided in his superconsciousness by the act of birth and knowledge of the opposites of consciousness and unconsciousness or the Self divided into the soul and ego complexes. All archetypes will be compared with Jung's four psychological functions.
Chapter 5, "The Four Archangels: Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel," will be interpreted and compared with Jung's four psychological functions. The Archangels are seen as personifications of psychic energy that is neutral or undifferentiated. Neutral energy is described as a coniunctio that occurs within each function, leading back to a state of undifferentiation and the Self. The Archangels are described in the literature as the beings closest to God, making them likely candidates for representations of the four functions in an idealized state of unity.
Chapter 6, "The Myth of Genesis as a Metaphor for the Divine Child, the Psychological Child and the Biological Child: Mythological Origins of Consciousness," will interpret and discuss the archetypes and symbols in the first two chapters of Genesis. The archetypes and symbols in Genesis will be compared with various divergent mythologies that may express a similar meaning. The myth will be seen as containing four layers of meaning: (1.) The Divine Child, (2.) The Psychological Child, (3.) The Biological Child, and (4.) The synthesis of the three levels (see Figures 9, 10, 11, and 12). The four major archetypes in Genesis, the Father God, the Serpent, Eve and Adam, are seen as personifications of the four psychological functions in their introverted form: intuition, sensation, feeling, and thinking.
Chapter 7 will contain concluding remarks concerning the research topic.
Campbell (1973) states the following:
I am defining soul consciousness as closely related, but not identical, to the Self archetype or any archetype that represents God. Since the soul archetype contains everything in the beginning, it is seen as a symbolic reflection of the Self, or the first differentiation of the functions that flow out of the Self. When the functions become differentiated, intuition can be seen as the function that represents the soul complex, (at the moment of birth) and any time thereafter when conscious sensation predominates. This is because it then becomes the other side of the sensation function or unconscious sensation, which is a mirror image of conscious intuition. Both are connected to the body, intuition as unconscious body perception and sensation as conscious body sensation. This is why, as Jung described, the two functions do not work at the same time, although it might be more accurate to say that they are working together at all times; the absence of one is essential for the presence of the other. In other words, unconsciousness is a primary necessity for the presence of ego consciousness. The differentiation of the first two functions establishes the ego complex and consciousness and at the same time, the soul complex and unconsciousness. One is a mirror image of the other. It is the pouring out of what appears to be a division of the undifferentiated Self that creates two kinds of consciousness, that of soul and that of ego, leaving the Self unaltered, constant, as the core of being and the source for both modes of consciousness.
The Self is present in the child in the womb, existing as what Jung called the objective psyche, which in mythology is often called Paradise. The Self archetype includes God, mother, father and child, and all things in the universe existing as one. Intuition is seen as the psychological function that contains the four functions in undifferentiated form. Intuition is because the functions of sensation, feeling and thinking are unconscious, undifferentiated, psychic potentials. In other words, intuition is sensation, feeling, and thinking that are unconscious, and these three merged functions are the soul complex, which contains consciousness and unconsciousness in undifferentiated form. This concept appears to be comparable with the idea of the Holy Trinity or any three-in-one symbolism and therefore difficult to grasp in a logical or rational manner. It is possible that any "truth" contained in what appears to be irrational can only be known by experience. Jung (1971/1921) said the following concerning the subject of rationality:
Difficult as a rational explication may appear to be, I do not believe it is entirely impossible. It may be that in the past mythology and religion have been the primary expressions for psychological contents that have always been there. Giving them psychological names, however, does not change the nature of the contents, but may allow us to gain additional insight into human nature. If the psychological process was self-evident and clear from the beginning, what would be the need for mythology or religion to express such things by symbols or by metaphor?
It appears to me that the emergence at birth of the three functions, beginning with sensation, which is the opposite of intuition, then the feeling function, followed by the thinking function, creates ego consciousness. Birth can also be seen as the cause of the so-called split in human consciousness, because at this point consciousness and the unconscious become divided, whereas previously they were undifferentiated and differentiated in the function of intuition.
Intuition is the psychological function that can be seen and compared with the archetype of the Father God in the cosmological myth of Genesis. It can also be seen and compared with a biological level of interpretation, where chaos represents the womb or body of the mother (see Figure 11). On the second and psychological level, the Father God can be seen as the psychological function of intuition, which "divides" into the four psychological functions or psychic energy (see Figure 10). At this point, these three forms of "chaos" or God can be seen as one and the same; each produces the archetype of "child" which on the fourth level is an archetype of the new Self or consciousness that is not divided from the unconscious, but contains both in equal measure (see Figure 12).
Campbell (1979) talks about the biological level and psychic energy in the following way:
I would add to this statement that these imprints begin in the womb, where experience is not lost, but remembered by the body. In the womb, where the three unconscious functions are merged and exist as one function, intuition, or the soul complex, is dominated by darkness or unconsciousness, yet the opposites are united in a single psychological function. Consciousness is also present and merged with unconsciousness. This image is the theme, so prevalent in mythology and religion, of three that exist as one, or the fourth, which turns into one. This concept, so difficult to put into language, has repeatedly been described by art and images in every culture, because the experience, as Campbell tells us, is necessarily the same for all mankind. It is because this experience is universal that comparisons can be made, identifying seemingly divergent myths with one another as different expressions of the same occurrences. The ability to see similarities in the symbols, rather than differences, was, I think, one of Joseph Campbell's greatest contributions to mythology.
Another image to describe this might be the two principles of Yin and Yang, where nothing exists but Yin or darkness, which, nevertheless, contains a speck of Yang, its opposite. At birth, there is a dramatic change, which occurs as the process of enantiodromia, which Jung (1971/1921) describes as
the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time. This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, one-sided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control. (p. 426)
Here it is necessary to see Jung's description of enantiodromia in reverse, as psychic energy that is operating from the beginning of life, insuring growth in the womb. It is not that the opposites do not exist, but that they exist in a merged state where there is no ego consciousness to perceive them, and the consciousness that does exist, soul consciousness, has no awareness of the opposites. The image is similar to the Chinese symbol of Yin or darkness that contains a seed or spark of its opposite, which could be described as a small light. A small light, however, is different from total darkness or unconsciousness, and this is an important distinction, because it signifies life, movement, and possible change from one state to the next. Other metaphors in mythology used to describe this state are twilight, moonlight, dusk, dawn, in-between, and middle. Hillman (1991) describes the soul much in the same way:
This adequately describes the soul complex, which I would associate with the psychological function of intuition. If a way of knowing is present from the beginning of life and gives birth to imagination, passion, and especially fantasy, what psychological function could describe this consciousness better than intuition?
Assuming that intuition is conscious in the womb, while the other three functions are unconscious, it is not difficult to see that the situation is reversed at birth. As the functions of sensation, feeling, and thinking become conscious, intuition becomes, as Jung (1971/1921) says, "the function that mediates perceptions in an unconscious way" (p. 453). Intuition becomes the fourth function, and conscious sensation necessarily delegates intuition to an unconscious position. The intensity of conscious sensation assures that intuition will remain unconscious, because these two functions are opposites and do not work at the same time.
There is some ambiguity in Jung's description of intuition. He names intuition as a primary conscious function, yet he describes it as the function that mediates perceptions in an unconscious way. This confusion can be dispelled if one sees intuition as the function that contains both consciousness and unconsciousness. Intuition is not total unconsciousness and it is not total ego consciousness; it appears to be connected to both. Soul consciousness would better describe the middle position that I am attempting to define. In this sense, the soul draws from the Self, and later, after birth gives to the ego. It is the mediating function, the bridge that unites inner and outer worlds. In this manner, the human child is born into the world of opposites; the function of intuition exists along with the function of sensation, and they are mutually opposed. Jung (1971/1921) says that "For me sensation and intuition represent a pair of opposites, or two mutually compensating functions, like thinking and feeling" (p. 463). This was correct, for the simple reason that intuition is unconscious sense perceptions that stay in the unconscious and exist at the same time that conscious sensations are manifested. Sensation creates the first split of intuition, which, nevertheless, remains the same function that it was before the split in the form of soul consciousness. One function divides into four functions, one of which stays the same, intuition.
Perhaps an analogy with modern physics can be made to clarify some of the above assertions. Shiarella (1992) describes electrons, protons and neutrons in the following way:
This description of subatomic particles does not appear to be vastly different from what I am attempting to describe as psychological or psychic energy. The cells contained in the human brain are also matter that is very much in motion. The two particles that collide, or the red and blue crystal balls, can be seen as the soul complex (the merged functions), and the ego complex (the separation of the functions), which also collide and subsequently divide. As they do so, they leave in their wake the four psychological functions, which can be compared with the four different particles.
At birth, the "four" can be seen to return to "two" as the functions of sensation and feeling become conscious, leaving the functions of intuition and thinking in the unconscious and creating the split in human consciousness. The split (which is the beginning of the conscious ego and the beginning of the personal unconscious), is then rectified by a return to the Self, created by the satisfaction of the infant's ego desires, which are met by love. (Fordham, whose work will be discussed in detail in Chapter 3, refers to this as "reintegration.") Shiarella's description sounds like the dance of consciousness, which is in constant flux from the beginning of life. I do not think it would be far-fetched to describe psychic energy that is conscious and unconscious at the same time in the same manner: both destructible and indestructible at the very same time.
In Psychological Types, Jung (1971/1921) describes two kinds of thinking: "Active thinking, accordingly, would correspond to my concept of directed thinking. Passive thinking was inadequately described in my previous work as 'fantasy thinking.' Today I would call it intuitive thinking" (emphasis Jung's, p. 481).
In Symbols of Transformation (1956/1912), the earlier work that Jung refers to, Jung describes what he calls "two kinds of thinking" in the following way:
In the above quote, Jung describes the intuitive function, which he first called "fantasy" and which he later maintained gave him "so much difficulty" (Evans, 1976, p. 100). He also describes quite well the idea that intuition is half conscious and half unconscious and the function that brings directed thinking into contact with the "oldest layers of the human mind." From all these descriptions, it is not difficult to see that this function, which I am equating with the soul complex, can be imagined to be operating in the human child before and after birth, and it is also not hard to imagine that the function of intuition would develop first in the "oldest layers of the human mind."
In a footnote of Symbols of Transformation (1956/1912, p. 29), Jung states that Schelling regards the preconscious as the creative source, just as Fichte regards the preconscious region as the birthplace of important dreams. They both appear to be using the word "preconscious" in the same way Jung uses the word "fantasy," which he later changed to "intuition." What Jung did not state or appear to apprehend was that what he called two kinds of thinking could also be called two kinds of consciousness, one of which is linked to the ego, that is, active thinking, and the other linked to the soul, that is, passive thinking or what Jung calls intuitive thinking, by which he meant the undirected, irrational function of intuition.
Jung (1971/1921) also makes a distinction between active and passive fantasy:
Active fantasy, then, can be seen to be the result of passive thinking or intuition, and if it is a definite sum of libido that cannot appear in consciousness in any other way than in the form of an image (Jung, 1971/1921, p. 433), we might conclude that the image or mental representation starts at birth. If 12 to 21 day old infants can imitate adult facial expressions and gestures, which Meltzoff and Moore (discussed in Jackson and Jackson, 1979) conceive as "made possible by some kind of 'abstract representations' of the adult movements that are no longer going on at the time of imitation" (p. 104), it is conceivable that the infant can innately create images at birth. What Jung describes as taking place in the psyche can just as readily be the infant psyche; it is not likely that the process is radically different from that of the adult.
Again, Jung (1971/1921) describes active fantasy, the product of intuition, in the following way:
When both ego and soul consciousness flow together, as Jung describes, the infant, in the same way as the adult, is returned to a state of unity or the Self that was first experienced in the womb and is now experienced in the world. The infant who has had this experience may retain the memory as a fantasy, and when a new ego need arises, hopes or expects the same experience to be repeated. In other words, the unconscious archetype may be "filled in" or given content by the sensations and the feelings of the infant. The image may exist in the personal unconscious of the infant long before it is expressed by language.
If the average child is born with the use of two kinds of consciousness, soul and ego, I would also assume that what is often referred to as the split in human consciousness can be identified by this concept. In other words, no human being, Plato, Descartes or anyone else, created by his philosophy the split in human consciousness. It is a condition of human experience created by the very fact of being born; it is phenomenological experience. The act of birth creates two states of consciousness, one which has been called consciousness and the other unconsciousness. This is the split in what Campbell (1973, p. 259) refers to as "superconsciousness." What I am calling consciousness is ego-related, whereas that which is often called unconsciousness is soul-related. Soul unconsciousness, however, also contains a type of consciousness. If we concede that these two states of consciousness begin at birth, an idea that the cosmological myths appear to describe and support, it is not difficult to see that the psychological experience contained within a myth could happen at age 1, 50, or 100. Oedipus is an archetype born when the child is born and every child is born an orphan. He leaves the maternal womb (Paradise), where father, mother, and child exist as one. According to the myth, the child is always killing the father to marry the mother. Whenever there is a return to soul consciousness, ego or the father dies. Ego consciousness is also child consciousness, the child who senses, feels, and thinks he is separate; soul consciousness is child consciousness that perceives itself to be one with the mother and father. Whenever an ego experience predominates, the mother is killed by the child, who demands to be separate. Psychological experience does not depend upon a chronological age.
Samuels (1987) states:
Certainly the split in human nature can be seen in terms of the life and death instinct, but I would not agree that this would be "inorganic from the standpoint of psychology," for to do so would imply that no psychology at all exists in the womb or in the symbolic return to Paradise. The desire for death is often symbolic for a death of ego consciousness to return to soul consciousness, which may strengthen the conscious attitude. There is no desire for life that does not include a desire for death, for we die even as we live.
If we equate the life instinct with ego consciousness and the death instinct with the unconsciousness, the split that Samuels describes can be seen as the splitting of the opposites out of their original unity and a regression as an attempt to restore that unity. Soul consciousness is the reconciling third consciousness that stands in the middle and is connected to both. Soul consciousness is the life and death instincts that are still undifferentiated and exist as one instinct. Thus, it is identical to the function of intuition, and the reason intuition is the primal instinct. Soul is the archetype, intuition is the instinct.
The "preconceived state" that Samuels suggests is "inorganic from a psychological view" is nothing of the kind, because psychological experience would exist in the primal experience of being in the womb in the form of the intuitive function. If the instinct contains the archetype, the soul would also exist in the infant's psyche and could be called psychological. Thus, the origin of the soul would be at conception, when the basic instinct of intuitive matter responds to matter and life begins. To be inorganic would imply that there is no organizational process in the experience of the soul complex, in or out of the womb.
The return to the mother might be a return to the participation mystique of infancy, but not the exact experience of the infant in utero. In this case, the mother's state of psychological being might induce "hell" rather than "heaven," for a state of despair might be shared with the infant. The flow of the ego to soul and back to ego is a natural and essential part of the child's life, not unlike what Fordham describes as integration and deintegration. It is not returning to the soul that creates havoc in the adult or the child, but the inability to arrive there safely and return safely. One way back to soul is through love and another is through fear, which is a perception that "oneness" is missing. In the first reintegration, the mother returns the child to unity by an act of love, by meeting the child's ego demands. If needs are not met on a regular basis, the original unity cannot be experienced in the world, which appears to be essential if relationship is to be a positive experience. The result is a state of limbo for the ego, which fears moving in either direction. This is pathology: Whether in an adult or an infant, the experience is the same. Both long for an experience of the original unity and seek it first in a relationship that will match the inner archetype. Ego is then reinforced by the experience, and consciousness is expanded.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow
I learn by going where I have to go.
(Theodore Roethke, 1975, p. 1133)
The Irrational Functions of Intuition and Sensation
The Genesis Model
Here I would like to postulate several concepts that Jung did not explicitly address. One concerns the irrational functions of intuition and sensation. According to Jung (1971/1921), these are opposed, but complementary to one another; intuition and sensation do not work together at the same time. Jung (1971/1921) defines both functions in the following way:
I agree with this statement, but propose that the reason is that intuition and sensation are two sides of the same coin. Jung describes how they are opposite, but does not describe how they are connected. Nor does he suggest how thinking and feeling might develop, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically, from sensation and intuition.
Intuition is unconscious sensation, and sensation is body sensation that becomes conscious and, in doing so, allows for the first conscious perceptions. In the above statement, Jung suggests the premise that I propose by calling intuition unconscious perception--this is exactly what I mean when I say that intuition is unconscious sensation. It is the body that perceives, whether conscious or unconscious; if intuition is unconscious perception, it is also unconscious body sensation. I do not think that the function of intuition, so long associated with the gods and the spiritual, originates from a source that is outside of the human body, even though it often appears to come from out of the blue like lightning, which "has always been associated with intuition and inspiration" (Fontana, 1994, p. 16). Intuition that occurs in this manner was defined by Jung (1971/1921) as "passive fantasy" (p. 428):
Here Jung appears to making a distinction between intuitions that occur spontaneously and those that are gained by a conscious involvement in the process, and this is an important distinction. It is here that some of the confusion concerning his description of conscious and unconscious intuition may be understood. Jung (1971/1921) defines attitude as "a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way" (p. 414). Active fantasy is always connected to a conscious attitude, whereas passive fantasy is mainly an irruption of an unconscious content. This is what Jung means, perhaps, by his definition of intuition as a conscious function, although at the same time he often states that intuition comes "via the unconscious," and is "unconscious perception." He goes on to say:
Both active and passive fantasy could be described as products of the function of intuition, which Jung did not do here. Instead, he calls passive fantasies "automatisms," making a distinction between what is conscious and what is unconscious (p. 428). He appears to link consciousness with intuition and unconsciousness with "passive fantasy" that is always without a conscious attitude.
In the following statement Jung (1971/1921) again describes active fantasy, the product of intuition, in a way that makes clear the significance he placed on this function:
This is an accurate description of the function of intuition and the contents made manifest by that function; the expression of those contents is what I would call art. Jung's description and value of the function of intuition reflects my own position; I am using the word intuition in the exact same way that Jung describes.
It must be remembered that I am attempting to describe the intuitive position as it applies to the infant, in the womb and at birth. I think that it is the first function that becomes the fourth function, which Jung (1954/1946, p. 119) called it, and as the fourth, it is identical with the first.
Jung (1971/1921) describes intuition in the following way:
Jung was obviously not describing the infant at birth or in the womb here; however, if his description of intuition is applied to the newborn infant and the importance of transmitting images in the beginning of life is seen, as well as the method or function by which this might occur, it appears reasonable to at least question the possibility that the infant may be using the function of intuition and the function of sensation in a complementary way shortly after birth. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that the method applied would be significantly different in the newborn than the method used by the adult. The way the human infant makes an image is thus far basically unknown or certainly not clarified in developmental psychology, just as the "nature of intuition is very difficult to grasp" (Jung, 1971/1921, p 366). Difficult as it may be, Jung (1954/1946) included the function of intuition as essential for a "return" to the Self when he describes alchemical symbolism:
Jung makes it clear in this statement that the function of intuition is essential for realization of the Self to be complete.
There is no reason to believe that the return would not be through the original function (intuition or the soul archetype) from which it first developed, and every reason, supported by the symbols in mythology, to believe that the "fourth" function, which Jung calls "mainly unconscious" and which I see as becoming unconscious at birth, is also the fourth that becomes the "first."
Jung's description of the repression of the functions of thinking, feeling, and sensation, with sensation being the one most affected, is in exact accord with my understanding of the function of intuition. In applying this idea to the newborn, however, it seems reasonable to assume that there is no need for the infant to repress the function of thinking, since that function is probably already unconscious. The feeling function would necessarily follow the function of intuition or the function of sensation because there would be nothing to judge or value that was not first perceived, either consciously or by the unconscious. If sensation becomes conscious at birth, intuition would necessarily become unconscious, along with thinking, which has never been conscious, and sensation and feeling would be the first two functions of ego consciousness in the normal human child.
In his discussion of the Brahmanic conception of the uniting symbol, Jung (1971/1921) states the following:
Here Jung describes what is necessary (and used by many other religious systems besides the Brahmanic concept) for what I believe to be the route to the knowledge contained within the intuitive function. Note that he describes the elimination of sense-perception, (the function of sensation, not the elimination of intuition) which he earlier described as the primary "hindrance" to the function of intuition. If sense perception is eliminated and conscious contents are "blotted out" to produce an activation of the contents of the unconscious, the function used must be intuition. This is also what I am describing as the unconsciousness of the three ego functions of sensation, feeling, and thinking. When they are unconscious and merged, the function of intuition occurs. In mythology, this is usually described as a sacrifice or death of the conscious ego.
Moustakas (1990), in describing heuristic research, says the following concerning the tacit dimension:
What Moustakas and Polanyi are calling the tacit dimension, which would be the silent or unknown dimension, would be what I believe Jung would call the unconscious position. Moustakas (1990) goes on to say:
This appears to me to be an exceptionally clear description (and there are many more in this excellent book) of what Jung called conscious intuition, and I believe it is comparative with what Jung is attempting to describe (in less clear language) on page 428 of Psychological Types. "Every act of achieving integration, unity, or wholeness of anything requires intuition" (Moustakas, 1990, p. 23). I certainly agree with this statement and think that Jung would also have agreed with Moustakas and said almost the same thing in the quote previously stated concerning a return to wholeness, "the imaginative activity of the fourth function--intuition, without which no realization is complete." (Jung, 1954/1946, p. 119).
Obviously Jung links active imagination with what he considers to be active fantasy, the product of conscious intuition and this requires a degree of conscious participation in observing the images that are produced by the unconscious. In this way, unity between the conscious and the unconscious would be established, being the "highest expression of a man's individuality" (Jung, 1971/1921, p. 428). I am in complete agreement with Jung concerning the function of conscious intuition and believe that without the capacity to use this function or without the capacity to use imagination, nothing new would ever be said or created. It is not enough, except perhaps for the individual, to simply have a vision by the function of intuition; the vision must be expressed if it is to contribute anything new or significant to the world.
It is with Jung's definition of the function of intuition that I return to a discussion of the possibility of applying these concepts to the infant in the womb and the infant at birth, assuming that intuition must be as important in the beginning of life as it is in adult life. If intuition is necessary for a return to wholeness, it must be involved with the leaving of what was originally whole.
There is only one instinct, one golden egg, that contains all four psychological functions. At birth, this instinct splits into two psychological functions, intuition and sensation, which are the two perceiving functions. With the first conscious sensation comes the first perception, and it is negative because it is only half of an opposite and because the infant has not yet experienced the other half, which exists in the function of unconscious sensation, which is intuition. With the first sensation of any kind, the opposite sensation has become unconscious and is registered in the function of intuition. This is essential because it allows for sensations to become differentiated. Then, the feeling function enters and desire is born. With desire comes the first perception of the experience of an opposite that does not contain its other half in consciousness. The infant in the womb has not experienced the splitting of opposites; pleasure and pain have not been consciously experienced, nor have love or hate, knowing or not knowing, or any of the opposites. This idea is justified by the assumption that the infant in the womb is without ego consciousness and without the ability to discriminate. Instead, he or she has lived in a neutral place, where all opposites are merged and exist as one, which is, as Jung so often called it, the objective psyche. Campbell (1979) describes this state in much the same way:
Desire, that emotion that can and does fill books and is often the subject of major religions, is a quality that belongs to the feeling function. Desire is not the lack of anything, but the perception of a lack of something, and the perception is adequate in all respects, because the infant has yet to experience the other half of the sensation, the opposite that has become unconscious at birth. In order for the infant to experience that opposite, the perceived body sensation must be attended to: What is experienced as cold must be made warm, light made dark, pain made pleasure. This is accomplished by an "other" in the world (thought to be the mother, but in reality whoever first satisfies the primary needs of the newborn), who removes the negative sensations by introducing the opposite ones, which are positive.
In other words, conscious sensation introduces the human infant to the experience of opposites, and the feeling function must also become conscious to make a value judgment concerning the positive or negative sensation.
With the experience of having its needs met, the infant has experienced the opposites, merged in the womb, with this difference: They have been experienced in succession or in time and space, and separately in the world. They have been experienced by relationship. Regardie (1970) quotes the alchemists when he says that the "white space" is the "Catholic Magnesia and Sperm of the world out of which all natural things are generated" (p. 166). This white space can be compared with relationship between subject and object, which separates and unites conscious and unconscious perceptions. The white space is the Divine male Child. I shall return to this topic with more discussion of the rational functions of thinking and feeling in the following pages, but I would first like to continue with a discussion of the irrational functions, the functions of perception.
What we know of an object through sense perception comes from focused awareness; if we listen intently, for example, we no longer see the object with our eyes, even though our eyes are open. The more focused we are with one of our senses, the more the other sense perceptions recede. They do not, however, disappear, but are recorded as unconscious information. One can experience all five senses and become acutely aware of sense perceptions, in which case, that which does not include the object recedes into the unconscious. Another example would be that when there is a global view, with no focus on a particular object, intuition records this in a diffuse and holistic way. This is a simplification of the process, but what is important is the idea that we are always perceiving on two levels and in two ways, and the first way is limited compared with the second way, which duly reports or perceives what is going on, whether we will it or not. In other words, the body is always in relationship to the surrounding world, as well as the inner world, and those "messages from the gods" depend on our ability to turn down or turn off our conscious perceptions based on sensation, and sometimes feeling and thinking. When feeling, thinking, and sensation shift into neutral, we respond with instincts that are supplied by the intuitive function. One could liken this to a stove with four burners, supplied by a tank of gas that is distributed in four equal ways. If we turn down the flame on the functions of sensation, feeling, and thinking, the flame that is intuition will be using all the fuel and will burn with an oversized flame.
This concept is extremely important to the hypothesis that I am suggesting. It assumes that the process of knowing begins as a biological factor, existing in the cell, the fetus, or the prenatal infant's body on an unconscious level. The cell is living matter that is organized and contains a form of consciousness. Intuition does not come from outside our own bodies and is not something disconnected from the human body. I would suggest that intuitive knowing is the basic instinct that contains all other instincts because it is the first to contain psychological knowledge. The instinct to life is also the instinct to death because these are opposites that are dependent upon one another. When one is in the intuitive function psychologically or what I would call soul consciousness, the ego is absent or partly absent, and this can be described as a state of death. When ego is present, the "I" that knows itself to be alive and separate describes conscious life, but this is a state of death for soul consciousness. Ultimately, these two states of being, which appear as opposites, can be seen from a middle, united position, and maintained in consciousness. This is the purpose, as I understand it, of what Jung called the transcendent function or the union of opposites. The union of soul and ego returns one to the Self, where there is no relationship, because both archetypes exist as one united psyche represented in the myths as the Divine Child. Jung (1958/1952), says that "the self is the whole man, whose symbols are the divine child and its synonyms" (p. 106). Thus, the Divine Child archetype is the prevalent symbol of psychological wholeness and the Self.
In addition to inherent duality of Universe
There is also and always
An inherent threefoldedness and fourfoldedness
Of initial consciousness
And of all experience.
For in addition to (1) action, (2) reaction,
There is always (4) the a priori environment,
Within which the event occurs,
i.e., the at-first-nothingness around us
Of the child graduated from the womb,
Within which seeming nothingness (fourthness)
The inherently threefold
Local event took place.
R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition, 1972, p. 14
The Rational Functions of Feeling and Thinking
The rational functions of feeling and thinking are also two sides of the same coin: Thinking contains unconscious feeling and feeling contains unconscious thinking. There can be no thought that does not having feeling attached to it either consciously or unconsciously. Likewise, there is never a feeling that does not suggest at least a potential thought that can be expressed. In the womb, both are unconscious; at birth, sensation becomes conscious, along with feeling. Feeling is contiguous with sensation and dependent upon it. The seed or the beginning of thought is (conscious) sensation and with the first (conscious) sensation comes the first feeling (value judgment), which may produce the first symbol in the form of a primordial image, the precursor of thought. Because the feeling function is eminently conscious, the thinking function is equally unconscious and contains the archetype in form only, as Jung so often pointed out, but the form is given content by the experience of body sensations and the feeling function, which gives value to the experience. The feeling function, which is rational and conscious, gives content and meaning and helps to create the image.
For instance, assuming we have never seen light, if we close our eyes and perceive darkness, and then open them and perceive light, light is the object of our conscious perception. We may respond that "it is good" without knowing what the "it" is, thereby making a value judgment. The "it" is the unnamed object, but feeling has made a judgment concerning the "it" before it is named. The "it" can be said to exist in the world and in the psyche in the form of a symbol, which may be simple and abstract, but still a representation of the object. It may also be subject to change, as experience changes. Our feeling--negative, positive, or neutral--helps to create the symbol that connects the visual and outer perception of the object to the inner, or what Jung (1921/1976a p. 445) called the primordial image or archetype. In this manner, the thought, feeling, and sensation would all exist in the original experience. The idea is always contained in the experience. The feeling of good, bad, or indifferent always has an object of reference and a body that first perceives the sensation, either consciously or unconsciously.
What is revealed as thought that does not have an equivalent in the concrete world or is not arrived at through the physical senses is seen as that which is given in the form of intuition or what Jung referred to as "passive thinking." Therefore unconscious physical sensations (which I am calling intuition) would precede conscious, active, rational thinking. It appears reasonable to think that active thinking is preceded by passive thinking, which does not appear from outside oneself, but is connected to the body. An example of this would be Einstein's flash of intuitive knowledge concerning relativity, which occurred before he could work out the details in a rational manner that could be explained by reason and empirical means. This would be the realm of the archetypes, or archetypal knowledge that Jung claims is not knowable in and of itself, but is the source from which the forms and images are created as archetypes. Every abstract and divine thought could be conceived as occurring in this manner, and what is seen symbolically as soul, which would be the function of intuition, would be connected with the function of thinking, which is often seen symbolically as the spirit. But nothing would exist, including the most pristine of philosophical or spiritual thought, that was not first connected to the body and the soul.
If the first sensation creates ego consciousness of one of the opposites and is connected to the feeling function, which makes a value judgment concerning a second choice of opposites, such as good or bad, it can be said that these two conscious functions match the image or archetype that is contained in the thinking function, even though the thought may remain in the unconscious. Intuition, which contains the unconscious body sensations, and sensation, which contains the conscious body sensations, would produce the "whole" of the experience, just as the thinking function would contain the image or idea in its completed form. In other words, the instinctual functions would be identical with the rational functions; archetypes and instincts would be identical at this point.
This image would correspond to what Jung (1971/1921) describes as a "primordial image or archetype" (p. 442). Although he appears here to be speaking of this experience as "a fantasy-image" in the psyche of an adult, there is no reason to believe that this idea cannot be applied to a child.
Elsewhere, in discussing the child, Jung (1959/1938) says that "we can only suppose that his behavior results from patterns of functioning, which I have described as images" (p. 78). If it is true that the first conscious sensation produces the first conscious feeling, which in turn produces the first primordial image, this is more than the potential for thought: It is the beginning of thought. What Jung described as "passive thinking" (intuition) would begin in the womb with active thinking unconscious; what Jung described as "active thinking" would begin at birth with passive thinking (intuition) also present and now unconscious, representing the split in human ego consciousness and the unconscious soul. This describes the beginning of human conflict as the functions differentiate.
Jung (1959/1938) describes the instincts in this way:
The archetype appears to be contained in the instinct and in the original experience of the infant. Sensation and feeling provide the experience, and the archetype remains mostly unconscious in the thinking function. But universal experience, even if it is unconscious, will be activated by the expression of the experience in the form of a myth, such as the creation myth of Genesis, which best describes that experience in archetypal terms. In other words, many people accepted the myth as true (and still do) because it best describes what is unconscious in their own psyche. It matches their own instinctual patterns of behavior, experience, and unconscious knowledge of the event. Neumann (1949/1954) describes the beginning as
the symbolic story of the beginning, which speaks to us from the mythology of all ages, is the attempt made by man's childlike, prescientific consciousness to master problems and enigmas which are mostly beyond the grasp of even our developed modern consciousness. If our consciousness, with epistemological resignation, is constrained to regard the question of the beginning as unanswerable and therefore unscientific, it may be right; but the psyche, which can neither be taught nor led astray by the self-criticism of the conscious mind, always poses this question afresh as one that is essential to it. (p. 7)
The beginning is equally important for developmental psychology in understanding the fundamentals of infancy.
In one creative thought a thousand forgotten nights of love revive, filling it with sublimity and exaltation. And those who come together in the night and are entwined in rocking delight do an earnest work and gather sweetnesses, gather depth and strength for the song of some coming poet, who will arise to speak of ecstasies beyond telling. And they call up the future; and though they err and embrace blindly, the future comes all the same, a new human being rises up, and on the ground of that chance which here seems consummated, awakes the law by which a resistant vigorous seed forces its way through to the egg-cell that moves open toward it. Do not be bewildered by the surfaces; in the depths all becomes law.
(Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young poet, 1962, pp. 37-38)
Aspects of Jung's Four Psychological Functions and their Relationship to One Another before and after Birth
I see psychological experience as dependent upon physiological experience and created by it. In other words, body sensations that are unconscious in the infant supply him or her with the knowledge that becomes the psychological function of intuition. Seen from this perspective, the biological would never be separated from the psychological; indeed, the psychological would be dependent upon the biological, but it would not be in the same way that conscious body sensations give specific or isolated knowledge of the object. Psychological knowledge would be more global and diffuse, just as the function of intuition usually is, with all body sensations participating at the same time. Put another way, sensation that is conscious separates, divides, and gives specific information, whereas intuition does just the reverse and gives information as a whole.
Of the four psychological functions, which are methods of knowing, intuition is seen here as the psychological function that develops first. We can reasonably conclude that the other three functions do not appear to be operating on a conscious level in utero, although intuitive knowledge in the form of instinct does appear to be operating. If this is so, is this not the beginning of intelligence when knowledge is supplied or given to the organism by the experience?
Pearce (1980) appears to be asking a similar question: "At what point does intelligence, the interaction between an organism and its environment, begin to function" (p. 46)? Surely, if one takes this definition of intelligence as correct, one would have to consider the possibility that intelligence begins in the womb because the organism is in constant interaction with its environment from the beginning. Pearce (1980) suggests this when he states: "Even two brain cells in proximity begin some preliminary form of interaction. This may not rate as thought in any mature sense, but there is almost surely a form of learning taking place" (p. 47). I would agree. This is not active thinking, but what Jung (1971/1921, p. 453) called "passive thinking," a name he suggested to clarify the function of intuition.
The form of learning taking place is obviously not constructed by the ego, but can be connected to soul or God or whatever archetype is chosen to describe the Other that provides knowledge or information that is not dependent upon "I" or ego. One could say that God, or what Jung called the Self, exists in the human body as instinctual behavior that provides experience, behavior that is determined by body sensations that are not always conscious. I would question Pearce's use of the term "learning," because it cannot be determined that anything has been learned by the fetus. It is rather a "knowing" that has been given, not learned, especially if this is inherent in the genetic make-up of the fetus.
In turning to Jung's description of psychological functions, it is possible to examine them one by one to determine the following:
a. Does an order exist?
b. If so, what is the order?
c. If an order exists, at what point in human development does each function appear?
Jung (1971/1921) describes thinking as "active, concerned with logic, reason and abstractions" (p. 481). Thinking falls into the realm of cognitive development and what is often called the logos. It appears reasonable to assume that the infant in the womb is not involved with active thinking; he or she cannot "name things" and has no language. All thought would exist as potential, and negative and positive thoughts, or the opposites, would be merged in a state of neutrality which would be a description of the opposites contained. This function, by most psychological standards, appears to be the last to develop in the human child.
The feeling function gives value judgments. It tells us if a thing or object is good or bad. It is often related to "Eros" in mythology. An infant in the womb cannot give a conscious value judgment, assuming he or she is without a conscious ego. He or she does not have knowledge of good or bad and cannot differentiate his or her body sensations. The feeling function, then, as Jung describes it, appears to be unconscious in the womb, just as the thinking function is unconscious. Both exist as potential. In creation myths, such as Adam and Eve in Paradise, this would be called innocence. The first couple in Paradise had no knowledge of good or evil. The same thing might exist in a fetus in the womb. The sensation in the body would exist, but a "bad" sensation would not be experienced any differently than a good sensation. Without the ability to make a value judgment and without an ego, all sensations would be experienced as the same. The feeling function would also exist in a state of neutrality, where opposites are merged or undifferentiated.
The third function is sensation. Mothers and scientists, I think, would agree that infants in the womb experience sensation. They obviously react to stimuli and movement. Their experience of sensation is pure experience because they are not conscious of what they are experiencing. They may hear their mother's voice, but there is no conscious awareness that they hear. There is no ego (as we know it), and like the functions of thinking and feeling, sensation is unconscious. Thinking is pure unconscious potential. Feeling is also potential; it is unconscious but experienced, and undifferentiated from sensation. Sensation is also unconscious and undifferentiated, but very much experienced. I would suggest that this unconscious sensation, which is merged with the other functions, is what we call intuition. The functions of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition are psychic energy that is merged, undifferentiated, and unconscious. In this state, they are the intuitive function, which has a consciousness of its own. In other words, consciousness and unconsciousness are both present, but not separated. They exist in a state of "oneness." In the womb, the function of sensation, as well as the functions of feeling and thinking, can be seen as being in a neutral state with the opposites merged.
Seeing them in this way suggests a comparison with the myth of Paradise. The infant in the womb would never experience pain or pleasure as we know these experiences; one would be the same as the other. This would be a neutral state, a state without desire, and a state of being that would embrace the opposites. It could, indeed, be called a state of Paradise or what Campbell called "Bliss."
In speaking of the birth trauma as an archetype of transformation, Campbell (1979) says:
This "re-entry" into the womb is what I would call a psychological return to the function of intuition, whether it is immediately after birth or in any later experience of transformation. It is a way of returning to the mother while in the world, rather than in the womb, which was the original experience.
Intuition is irrational and instinctual, like sensation. It is knowledge or information that comes to one with no known cause or reason. It is given. Intuition has often been linked to the gods or angels or divine entities in mythological literature. Jung (1971/1921) quotes Spinoza as describing intuition as the "highest form of Knowledge" (p. 453). I would suggest that it is also the lowest form of knowledge (certainly from a scientific view and considered as a basic instinct) and that the lowest and highest are two opposites that are reunited in mythological literature when the hero "returns to Paradise" or, clinically speaking, the client desires or experiences a return to the womb. In this way, intuition can be seen as both the highest and the lowest of all the psychological functions, as well as the first and the last.
Intuition also would contain the opposites, negative and positive merged, and exist in a state of neutrality or undifferentiation on the one hand, and as a differentiated function, on the other.
This function appears to be experienced by the infant in the womb from the beginning. From cell to fetus, there is movement toward (growth) or away from (decay) the environment, which is the womb. Dennett (1991) describes this process, using the word "wired" in the same way I would use the word intuition, in the following quote:
Whether one uses the word "wired" or the word "intuition" makes no difference, to be wired means to have the knowledge built in, and both refer to basic instincts. (And neither word explains who or what does the wiring or provides the information.) Science usually describes instincts, human or animal, as "matter at its lowest." Instincts in general are not usually seen as a form of intelligence, even though they obviously contain knowledge.
Pearce (1980) says that "intelligence is the ability to interact with one's matrix" (p. 23). If this is so, the living cell contains intelligence from the beginning, but this knowledge would fall under the realm of intuition if viewed as a psychological experience. No learning, as we know it, is taking place; the cell or the infant learns as Roethke (1975) writes, "by going where I have to go" (p. 1133). It is a given, contained within the experience, which in mythology is always linked to God, the gods, angels, or the unknown. Pearce calls this an act of intention, but that word seems to imply a conscious will, and it is doubtful that this is possible if there is no ego to will. The organism responds intuitively to its environment. It knows what to do without being told, or rather it is told by its own body sensations, which are unconscious, but nevertheless in constant interaction with its environment. It is possible that the subject (fetus) is wired by instinct to respond to the object (womb or environment) in the best possible way, and that the womb (the body of the mother) is also wired to respond to the fetus in the best possible way. A relationship takes place from the beginning, one could almost say a silent relationship, between the mother's body and the unborn body of the child. Instinctual relationship may be considered a lower form of knowledge, but it is still knowledge that must precede, and be the foundation for, all knowledge that follows.
Pearce (1980) describes the first matrix, the infant in utero, as "only a symbiotic extension of the mother" (p. 20). This is certainly different from Fordham (1976), who sees the infant "as separate from his mother from the beginning" (p.11). I would agree with Pearce that the infant is a "symbiotic extension of the mother," excluding the word "only." Because he or she is also "separate," as Fordham describes, from the beginning his or her experience in the womb is not the identical experience of the mother. It would appear more reasonable to argue that both Pearce and Fordham are correct: Mother and child exist as one unit, yet they are also separate from the beginning.
In a rather sardonic vein, Pearce (1980) states: "As everyone 'knows,' this psychologically undifferentiated organism lacks consciousness, perception, sensation, and all other psychological functions" (p. 46). I understand this statement to reflect what Pearce does not believe to be true, and if this is so, I agree. I believe that the newborn infant is conscious, perceiving and experiencing sensation, and that the infant in utero is also conscious, but in a different way. That the experience in utero is different from the experience the infant has after birth appears certain; it is just this difference that needs to be explored.
The psychological function of intuition appears to be present in the infant in utero. It is my assumption that this function is conscious, although perhaps in a different and more mysterious way than we usually think of consciousness. I see the function of intuition as identical with the soul complex. From this function, all of the other functions and archetypes follow. Intuition stays the same: It is intuition because the other three functions are merged and unconscious. In other words, it is the one function that contains the other three to make the fourth function, which is a return to "one."
This description is not meant to be mystical although it may appear to be if one uses ordinary logic. Reason and Rowan (1989) discuss "the Hegel level" of understanding when they describe three levels of consciousness, the Primary level, the Social level, and the Realized level:
Thus, it may be necessary to use the very function which I am attempting to describe to understand the concept of three functions that become one. It is probably for this reason that the image of three-in-one (another example is the Holy Trinity) has been used in symbolic and seemingly mysterious ways that exclude ordinary rational language, but not art, poetry, myth, images, and archetypes. Yet, I believe, difficult as it may appear to be, it is not impossible to describe with language. What is needed is thinking that goes beyond Aristotelian logic (see Reason and Rowan, 1989, p. 114).
Sensation introduces consciousness and the child ego, and is always followed by the feeling function and the thinking function. When sensation and feeling are conscious, the ego complex begins. Thus, two kinds of consciousness can be seen to begin at birth, that of soul and that of ego. The opposition appears obvious and I would suggest, is psychic energy that is always engaged in coming apart (the splitting of the opposites) or coming together (the uniting of the opposites). In mythology, this is often described as the hero (ego) in a quest for something that is missing or lost (soul).
In alchemy, which is not a description of birth in the sense of a creation myth, but a description of rebirth or Paradise regained, ego and soul are referred to as Sol and Luna, sun and moon, gold and silver, brother and sister, male and female. The four functions are the psychological quaternity and can be seen as comparable with that mythology. The two that are to be re-united are ego and soul, represented in the alchemical literature as male and female. The ego functions of thinking, feeling, and sensation are to be married to the soul function of intuition, which contains the same three functions as one, merged in unconsciousness and undifferentiation. This marriage produces the Self.
Jung (1954/1946) says that "the quaternity is one of the most widespread archetypes and has also proved to be one of the most useful schemata for representing the arrangement of the functions by which the conscious mind takes its bearings" (p. 45). Here Jung is referring to the four psychological functions and their relationship to the alchemical myth of squaring the circle or obtaining the philosopher's stone.
Obviously Jung saw a relationship between the four functions and alchemy. What never occurred to Jung was that he was only a step away from seeing how closely his descriptions of the four functions as psychic energy did exactly fit the process that the alchemists described. I have been unable to find a description in any of Jung's extensive writing, including Psychological Types, that indicates he had conscious knowledge of the three functions of sensation, feeling, and thinking, as being the "three that becomes four, which becomes one." Jung (Evans, 1976, p. 100) said that intuition was a "difficulty" because we do not know ordinarily how it works, indicating that he did not equate the psychic energy of the three functions as being contained in the function of intuition. I have little doubt that he knew this intuitively, but it was never brought to conscious thought, awareness, or expression. I do think that he might have eventually understood the possibility of how the three functions might be seen symbolically as the one function of intuition, because it is the natural outcome of his work on this subject. His fascination with the "axiom of Maria" and the Trinity archetype indicates his interest in the three-in-one phenomenon.
By seeing the three functions of sensation, feeling, and thinking as contained within the function of intuition, one can compare the four psychological functions with the "axiom of Maria" which Jung referred to so often in his writing. He (1954/1946) says that "this progression from the number 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 is the 'axiom of Maria,' which runs in various forms through the whole of alchemy like a leitmotiv" (p. 45). What is three becomes one, which is also the fourth. (See Figure 19.)
If we look at this "progression" backwards, as we would to see it as a symbol for birth or the beginning of things (creation), we can see that one refers to the undivided Self that exists in the womb, where consciousness and the unconscious are united and undifferentiated. Two represents the division of that Self, which reflects the soul and ego as still one, but separated from the Self. Three refers to the birth of the Divine Child (ego) that becomes the one that is also the fourth.
When the movement is away from the center and consciousness is coming into play, three and four can be seen as the human child who contains the soul and ego in child form, in the functions of sensation and feeling. Sensation and feeling are the shadow side of intuition and thinking. Undifferentiated, they are the child soul and child ego or archetype of the human child, who is a reflection of the Divine Child contained in the center. Four also refers to the fourth function, intuition, which becomes unconscious at birth and the function that, as Jung so often said, is connected to the unconscious or Self. This axiom is another description of the soul archetype and the intuitive function. What is three becomes one, which is also the fourth. The three unconscious functions of thinking, feeling, and sensation are intuition as one function, and that which becomes the fourth function of the quaternity, when seen on a conscious level. The progression is Self or Divine Mother (three-in-one), Soul or Divine Father (also three-in-one), the Divine Child/human child archetype, the third that also contains all three. These three archetypes (three-in-one that becomes the fourth) are the psychic energy that moves away from the Self and becomes conscious; they are a reflection of the Self made conscious. (See Figures 5, 6, 7, 8.)
Jung (1954/1946 talks about the fourth stage, the anticipation of the lapis in the following way:
Here Jung describes the intuitive function as necessary for the final realization of the stone or a return to the Self, and states that realization would not be possible without this function. Looked at backwards, the same can be said: Realization is always contained in the function of intuition. Paradise or the soul state of intuitive knowing, which the stone represents, would not be lost if the infant was not born. At birth, he acquires all four psychological functions: sensation, feeling, thinking, and, finally, intuition by a reintegration with the other three functions, a return to soul or the intuitive function, which will be equally divided now. What was one in the beginning shatters into three and finally four or the quaternity and represents, as Jung (1954/1946 says,
Jung calls this the state of the man, but I think one could readily see that it could also describe the human infant, crying and demanding to be loved, or the infant in the human adult, suffering from the same need.
Psychological experience begins in the womb. I think that the first psychological function is intuition; the second is sensation, which becomes conscious at birth; the third is feeling, which also becomes conscious at birth; and the last is thinking, which also becomes activated at birth in the form of the personal unconscious. Most developmental theories completely disregard the function of intuition in infancy, whereas sensation and feeling are fairly obvious in the newborn and are given more consideration, even though they are not considered ego functions. Thinking, on the other hand, is usually thought to begin around the age of 2 or thereafter. It appears reasonable to me, however, to think that active thinking--Jung's thinking function in his later writings--is preceded by the qualitatively different passive thinking, which Jung later called intuition. Active thinking contains the archetype, which had its beginning in passive thinking or intuition, which is the basic instinct.
The four functions are present in the womb and exist as the unconscious ego functions that are the shadow side of the soul, which has a consciousness of its own. At birth, this is reversed. The ego functions of sensation and feeling become conscious, and intuition and thinking are unconscious. The order that I have given previously does exist although the functions are contiguous with one other. This process can be seen as occurring in fractions of time, which to the observer may seem spontaneous. The process is in motion, however, and continuously repeats, which is why it can be seen as circular. In this way, all the functions can be seen to begin at birth, even though they had their genesis in the womb, where the soul complex contained the ego complex in potential and unconscious, undifferentiated form. The Self comes first, then soul, then ego.
Life's original event
And the game of life's
Order of play
And inherently subject to modification
By the a priori mystery,
Within which consciousness first formulates
And from which enveloping and permeating mystery
Consciousness never completely separates,
But which it often ignores
Then forgets altogether
Or deliberately disdains.
And consciousness begins
As an awareness of otherness,
Which otherness-awareness requires time.
And all statements by consciousness
Are in the comparative terms
Of prior observations of consciousness
("It's warmer, it's quicker, it's bigger
Than the other or others").
Minimal consciousness evokes time,
As a nonsimultaneous sequence of
With the second experience.
This is why consciousness
Identified the basic increment of time
As being a second.
Not until the second experience
Did time and consciousness
Combine as human life.
Time, relativity and consciousness
Are always and only coexistent functions
Of an a Priori Universe,
Which, beginning with the twoness of secondness,
Is inherently plural.
(R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition, 1972, pp. 11-12)
The Womb Archetype and the Psychology of the Child in the Womb as Metaphors
Paradise, the womb, and the Divine Child as fruit of the womb all appear to be related archetypes significant to the early stages of developmental psychology. If "the archetypal form or pattern is inherited but the content is variable, subject to environmental and historical changes," (Samuels, 1987, p. 25), I would suggest that the cosmological motifs of mythology that depict creation and those that have the theme of rebirth reflect humanity's attempt to reconstruct its origins, and quite possibly its endings, reflected in myths concerning death. The myths, stories, images, concepts, or ideas are art as the reconstruction of the basic experience of being or being alive, as well as the experience of death. It is our reconstruction of the existing archetypes, and how we arrange the forms and patterns, that create new archetypes, expanding our vision of human experience and consciousness.
Samuels' (1987) interpretation of Jung concerning the symbolic regression to the mother is that it "is for regeneration or rebirth, perhaps before moving on developmentally" (p. 167). But what is there in that experience that provides regeneration? If regression becomes a psychological experience after birth, could regression be less than psychological during the primary experience? If we substitute the mother archetype for that of the soul archetype or complex and imagine that this takes place as psychological knowledge contained within the intuitive function, it is not difficult to see that a longing for mother might simply be a desire to return to that middle position where the soul is connected to the Self or unconsciousness and also connected to ego consciousness. Seen in this way, regression would not really apply, because it is possible that this connection was not meant to be destroyed in the first place, and when it is damaged or destroyed, it is that rather than the desire, which causes pathology,
If the experience of being in the womb and the experience of rebirth or a return to the womb is often a central theme in the mythology, literature, and initiation rites of many cultures down through history, perhaps we should ask about its psychological importance. Is there a psychology of the organism or infant in the womb? If so, what is that psychology? Certainly there is an experience in the womb, and I think that this can be called a psychological experience, based on what we know about the four psychological functions as described by Jung (1971/1921) and by investigating when and in what order each function might appear in the human infant.
Samuels (1987) states that Fordham, a Jungian developmental psychologist, "postulates a primary self, existing in a sense before birth, and containing all psycho-physiological potentials" (p. 155). I agree with this statement with one exception: There is an experience in the womb that does not depend on "potential." It already is! From cell, zygote, organism, embryo, to an 8-or 9-month-old fetus, there is always potential, but there is also always the experience of the moment. Whatever this experience is, and I would assume that it has a significant role to play in human development, the nature and contents should be questioned if they contain an experience that humans often yearn to recreate. Literature appears to contain symbols in abundance that express a desire for the "return to the womb" experience.
Paradise "symbolizes primordial perfection and the Golden Age; the Cosmic Centre, pristine innocence; beatitude; perfect communion between man and God and all living things" (Cooper, 1988, p. 126). This description could easily be interchanged with the symbol of the womb which Cooper (1988) describes as "the feminine principle, the matrix, the Earth Mother . . . the well and all waters and all that encloses or contains, such as walls, caskets and cups, are symbols of the womb" (p. 122). The womb can be seen as a symbol of Paradise, and Paradise can be seen as a symbol representing the womb experience. Womb symbolism is linked in a spiritually positive way, as described by Cooper, or a pathological way, as described by Guntrip (1989), who says that "womb fantasies and/or the passive wish to die represent the extreme schizoid reaction, the ultimate regression, and it is the more common, mild characteristics which show the extraordinary prevalence of schizoid, i.e., detached or withdrawn, states of mind" (p. 58).
In a discussion of schizoid withdrawal and reasons for this action, Guntrip (1989) names one reason for the regression to a symbolic womb in the following way:
Guntrip sees the fantasy of regression to the womb as a reaction of the infant or adult to its (negative) environment, with dangerous implications, which certainly appears to be one possibility. Guntrip apparently overlooks the possibility that the infant might be attempting to return himself to the womb position when the environment fails to accomplish this for him. This experience might be very different when the return is a defense mechanism, rather than a positive experience provided for by the mother. In a positive experience, the ego might be strengthened, but as a defense mechanism, the ego might not wish to return, becoming stuck in a position that becomes pathological because it does not allow for the flow of ego to soul and soul to ego.
Jung sees the entire experience in a different and more positive light. Jung (1959/1938) gives as an example of the process of transformation, the eighteenth Sura of the Koran, entitled "The Cave," which is a womb symbol:
Jung (p. 136) goes on to say, "This may result in a momentous change of personality in the positive or negative sense," indicating that a womb regression may be dangerous, but is also necessary for a process of transformation to occur. If we assume that this "womb regression" takes place immediately after birth, in what Fordham refers to as reintegration, it is possible to see that this experience is natural and what happens in the beginning of life. The infant has by being born lost the original state of oneness experienced in the womb and is returned to that state, transformed, one might say, by the experience of having his body/ego desires met by an "other" in the world.
Because the brain's TV prime resource
Consists of images,
We may call the total brain activity
All we have ever seen
Is and always will be
In the scopes of our brain's TV station.
All that humanity has ever seen
And will ever see
Is his own image-ination;
Some of it is faithfully reported new,
Some of it is invented fiction or make believe;
Some of it is doggedly retained "want to believe."
(R. Buckminster Fuller, Intuition,
1972, p. 122)
Eros, Thanatos, and the Desire for Paradise
Psychoanalytic theory, as developed by Freud, is concerned with instincts, mainly the sexual instinct (which Freud attributed to Eros) as a primary source for all physical and psychic development. Libido is sexual energy, and all other instincts flow from this basic force. Miller (1983) says that Freud, "in his final account, described two basic instincts, Eros (sex, self-preservation, love, life forces, striving toward unity) and the destructive instinct (aggression, undoing connections, the death instinct, hate)" (p. 112).
Freud apparently was concerned primarily with the irrational function of sensation as it applied to sex, and considered it the basic instinct. For Freud, everything starts with the body. In a certain sense this may be true, but not in the way that Freud described it, which leaves out the possibility of body instincts that are connected to the soul. Looking at Eros as an archetype of one kind of love or only half of what love is, connected with the ego and the body, and Psyche or the soul as the other half of love, love that is not in need or that does not desire, it is not difficult to see that love also relates to the death instinct, because it always means a death of the ego or a death of desire. Consummated love, whether it be in the psyche of one individual expressed as union between two different states of being or two different people in the world, always cancels the subject and object, two become one. One cannot strive towards life and love without striving towards death. If one sees death symbolically, as it is often intended to be seen in mythological literature, death represents a desire to leave ego consciousness for a return to a non-ego consciousness, which would give the experience of unity to the person rather than that of being separate. This was probably one meaning inherent in the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. The destruction of the ego allowed a non-ego or soul consciousness, which I equate with the function of intuition, to prevail and witness the bliss of unity. Life and death are not separate, but contained in one another in the form of soul, which embraces both in one and expresses the mystery of being and the mystery of nonbeing. Soul looks into the eternal on one side and the finite on the other and knows that this moment contains both. Death cannot exist without life, and life cannot exist without death. This experience takes away the fear of actual, physical death, which would have psychological value in any age or society.
When Jung (1971/1921) introduced the function of intuition as one of the basic four psychological functions, inherent in a healthy or ideal psyche, he assigned an importance to that function that has (especially in psychology) often been overlooked. That the body experiences sensation appears in the literature as a given fact. What, how, where, when, and why are equally significant questions concerning intuition as an important psychological function. Jung called intuition the function closest to the unconscious and considered it necessary for individuation, yet little has been included in developmental psychology literature on this function compared with the other three functions. It would seem that children, who live close to the unconscious, are excluded from the possibility of using this function in a significant way that may contribute to their growth and development in ways yet unknown.
It may seem strange to speak of psychological development in a fetus or in the womb, yet if that experience exists, it is one that all humans share and suggests a universal archetype that exists in the psyche of every adult.
Hall and Lindzey (1978) state that "Freud believed that the most extreme symptom of dependency is the desire to return to the womb" (p. 55). Does this statement imply that the independent ego that no longer desires to return to the womb or, indeed, to "Paradise" is the psychologically healthy ego? To take statements about the desire to return to the womb literally, we might deduce a desire for incest, which is how Freud viewed it, but if it is seen symbolically, it might be interpreted as a desire for a relationship with the mother where two are fused in oneness by the act of mutual love. This could take place in the actual blissful experience of the child with his mother after birth or it could describe the experience in the womb, where ego and soul were not separated. In either case, the desire is for the psychological experience of being "one with" in spirit, soul, mind, and body. If after birth the infant never had that blissful experience with his mother or a mother substitute, he or she might spend a lifetime looking for the experience in the world. If a oneness does exist in the womb, this experience would be universally true for all individuals and would explain why a womb fantasy was imagined more often than a fantasy of being an infant in a mother's arms. What the individual appears to be seeking is the archetypal match that was not provided after birth.
Pearce (1980) stresses the importance of early relationship when he says: "Bonding is a psychological-biological state, a vital physical link that coordinates and unifies the entire biological system. Bonding seals a primary knowing that is the basis for rational thought" (p. 72). The return of the infant to the state that he experienced in the womb or to the experience of being in the soul or intuitive function is what "bonding" is about. I agree with Pearce that this "seals a primary knowing" that allows for and is the foundation of rational thought. It begins, not after a year or two, but at birth. I may be accused of adultomorphism when I state that if reintegration to the soul or intuitive function shortly after birth could be put into language, the infant might say "I know love." This is knowledge experienced by the ego-body of the child. Knowledge of love and love of knowledge are not inseparable; they can exist in the first experience of the newborn's life. When they do, cognitive development or rational thought takes place at the same time as affective development, and they are certainly complementary to one other. Knowledge does not require language, any more than love does; what is required is the experience. Feeling, as Jung described, is a way of knowing and one of the rational functions. Few would deny its existence in the newborn, yet the knowledge that it provides appears to be overlooked. That rational thinking proceeds from that of rational feeling is the point that Pearce appears to be making, and I agree with him.
No one is more dependent than the newly born human infant, who seeks a return to bliss through relationship, which gives knowledge that "we are one" and knowledge that "we are not one," opposites that either are united or shattered by the experience with the "other."
The experience of soul consciousness depends on the loss or partial loss of the ego to love the "other," whereas ego love is always a desire to be loved. These two different states of consciousness and two types of love, often conflicting in nature, exist in the psyche of one person or in a complex relationship. If the desire to return to the womb is such a common experience, it is possible that the reasons are more significant than merely dependency needs or, rather, that dependency needs are basic and significant for human relationship. If, indeed, mythology is the expression of psychological experience, many of Freud's interpretations can be seen as limited, for on a depth level, they would represent something very different indeed. The desire for Paradise would not only be considered normal, but perhaps essential, because this metaphor would describe an ultimate human experience designed to produce psychological wholeness. If it begins at birth and is part of a psychological process that all humans engage in to some degree, there would be nothing pathological about it. The metaphor would simply describe humanity's desire to be one with God and the world, and to know it on a conscious level. The transcendent function or the symbol that unites these two types of consciousness, ego and soul, would be the way and the means to achieve that goal. The experience of being separate created by birth and the experience of not being separate created by an assimilation of the womb experience would be two opposites experienced in the world, and the transcendent function would provide the symbol that unites them. I think this takes place in relationship, both within and without, and creates that middle place where both experiences exist and both are equally important. If a transcendent function exists in the human child, it is reasonable to assume that it begins at birth, when opposites as well as the need to reconcile them begin. It is creation that destroys oneness. Without creation, there would be no need for a transcendent function or a symbol that describes the experience of the opposites reunited.
Many people still adhere to the view that we are more than ego and more than body. A psychological concept of how or why humans cling to a spiritual or soul view has not been explored thoroughly, with the possible exception of Jung and analytical psychology. Faith and reason appear forever divided. A psychological concept, however, that attempts to provide a more total picture of early human experience might come closer to objective truth than one that ignores or considers pathological human beliefs that refuse to die. That consciousness of some kind, which I am describing as intuitive or soul consciousness, may exist in the womb does not appear to be the prevalent mainstream world view; however, it appears safe to say that research is being done that supports this view and that makes this possibility increasingly credible.
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The star that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature's Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
(From William Wordsworth, "Intimations of Immortality," 1888, p. 355)
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