Jung: Inferior functionand the shadow
According to Jung, the inferior function is the one that most strongly resists coming into consciousness thus the individual is not even aware of it. The inferior and undeveloped attitudes, together with characteristics that are not habitually seen in the individual, are all part of the ‘shadow’. Contrary to the ‘ego’ which is mostly held in the conscious, the shadow is the unconscious where repressed and supressed content are stored. This primitive ‘shadow’ is concealed from others in our civilized society but as we develop psychologically towards ‘individuation’, these less civilized traits become integrated with the ‘persona’. This allows the individual to become consciously aware of aspects of the ‘shadow’ thus achieving a more balanced personality. So, for example, an extravert may desire an evening of solitude for some introspective work whilst the introvert may want to go to a party.
Jung thought that to control the shadow’s evil tendencies (both individual evil [“personal shadow”] and collective evil, i.e., committed by a group/ country at war; “archetypal shadow”), it was necessary to understand the conscious and unconscious. In Jung’s “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” (1963), he noted that evil is just part of human but that through introspection one could identify the evil side within and thus control it .
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- Jung, C.G. (1963). Memories, dreams, reflections. New York: Pantheon Books.
- Sharp, D. (1987). Personality types: Jung’s model of Typology. Inner city books, Toronto, Canada.
- Stevens, A. (1994). Jung: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.