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The dawning age of intuition

In Jungian theory the process of individuation or becoming an individual is that of developing and differentiating ones psychic capacities to create an integrated whole or self that is adapted to both external reality and the creative life forces one has inherited genetically. Central to this process is the development of the often inherently conflicting forces of the attitude-types and function-types described in Section 10.2.

The greatest difficulty in this process is developing the function that is the opposite of one's dominant function. Thinking and feeling are opposed pairs as are intuition and sensation. The opposite function-type also has the opposite attitude-type. The opposite of extroverted thinking is introverted feeling. The opposed or inferior function, because it is the least developed, is the most firmly entrenched in the raw archetypal material of the unconscious. This can give it a magical and menacing tone. The path to the inferior function is through the other pair of functions. For a thinking type this means intuition or sensation. Because these functions are not in direct opposition to the dominant function they are not so difficult to develop.

Cultures also have a dominant type. They go through a process of cultural integration of more of the genetic psychic inheritance of their people. Cultural evolution is not individuation, but it comes from the individuation of its people. Western Culture is dominated by extroverted thinking. We individually and collectively project the undifferentiated elements of our psyche unto others. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the bean that is in thine own eye?"

Projection serves the purpose of making us aware of personal issues in a way we can deal with. That purpose is only served if we can move beyond the projection to begin to see in ourselves what seems so transparent in others. This process can cause a great deal of harm before it achieves its natural ends. Projections can give energy to the inferior elements of those we project our own inferior elements onto. This is especially true if we are in a position of power or dominance over the target of our projection. Because Western Culture and the United States is so dominant in the world our collective projections are capable of enormous harm.

The second half of the twentieth century provides a depressing example of this. Communism was both a real menace and a magnet for our projections. Our zeal to combat it came not just from the real threat it posed, but also from the numinous chthonic power that we attributed to it through projections. Any crime was justified to combat such a menace. We could easily justify policies advantageous to powerful special interests that cruelly and inhumanely exploited populations of other countries. We masked our own power grabbing cruelty by attributing such base instincts only to our adversary. As a result we supported some of the bloodiest and most evil dictators on earth. When communism collapsed through the weight of its inefficiency and corruption the horrors we helped to create remained to menace us.

The battle against terrorists is the easier part of the struggle we face. The harder part is getting beyond our projections and the horrors those projections feed. Until we do that new horrors will emerge no matter how successful we are at destroying our current real enemies. These horrors have many roots. We do not create them. We feed them. Our power can greatly amplify the corrosive forces that already exist throughout the world.

The starting point for Western cultural evolution must be the development of intuition. It is the path to integrating our inferior feeling. It is impossible to approach that task directly. Feeling and thinking are too antagonistic. One must develop culturally the complimentary functions first and intuition is the most important of these.


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