The unconscious functions


Up until now, Jungian theory has had insufficient answers to the question of “can we use all eight cognitive functions?” But by working on Beebes eight function model and Jungian theory, I want to provide a theoretical explanation on how come we favour four functions, and how we look at the other four functions. In this theory I argue that we need our four unconscious functions for inspiration, integration, and a fuller vision and understanding of the world. My name is Erik Thor and my goal is to modernize and expand our understanding of how the mind works.

Integration of the unconscious

We project the four unconscious functions on others

I want to argue that each personality type has something that they project to the world around them. We see what we project as something outside of us. We all project qualities that we look for in others, in our work, and in our inner world. Our four dominant functions represent qualities that we relate to as a part of us – and the other four functions represent qualities that we assume belong to the world around us. You can think of your four strongest functions as your engine, and the other four as your fuel.

A person who favors existential intelligence (Ni) will as a result feel biased to assume that people around them have interpretative intelligence (Ne) regardless if this is true or not. When an INXJ reflects on the world, they will see these hidden qualities in other people. They will see it in people, animals, and in all their pursuits. This is why an INXJ has the basic idea that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and that all events are connected.

This whole perception is what fuels their existential thinking to begin with. If everything is connected? How? Existential intelligence is about synthesizing information and figuring out how everything can fit together to a system of existential beliefs.

Integration, unconscious

Likewise, the ENFPs detective mode (Ne) uses introverted intuition as it’s primary fuel. The ENFP looks at the world around them like everything is full of hidden secrets. So the ENFPs are open to the idea that everyone around them has a hidden vision, a hidden secret to tell the world. And the healthy ENFP is very curious to find out what the worlds hidden secrets are!

An important note is that what we project about our unconscious functions is not always positive: a secret can be dark or malicious, a connection can be scary or discomforting, what we are looking for is not always pretty, and depends on if we have a positive or negative experience of the world. And when it comes to projecting, we should all be aware that we all have things we project on each others.

The seventh and the eight functions tend to be viewed particularily negative. The seventh function is often seen as treacherous or as a dark temptation, and the eight as a monstrosity. The sixth is more mixed, generally beneficial, but sometimes burdensome. The fifth function is sometimes seen as a damsel in distress, or as more helpless than it really is. I hope to elaborate more on this in the future.

Really, it’s hard to escape this bias, and it’s good to be aware of it. It’s possible people don’t actually have any hidden secrets to tell. It’s possible there is no connection between the patterns you observe. 

This is why we also occasionally need grounding, which is when we use our third and fourth rival functions to ensure we can remain connected to some large scale truth. But overall, this influence is mostly positive and helps to give us motivation, energy, and direction forward.

Different forms of integration

How do you think the integration process works for an artist, a performer, an architect, or a scientist? I am going to elaborate more on this in future posts.

Wanting to become what you project on others

I don’t really have any finished thoughts on this. Are we all in the process of trying to become what fuels us? Are we all looking to transcend ourselves? I think when an ENFP does find out a secret, for a brief moment, they experience the use of both Ni and Ne, and they just experience pure, broad intuition.

Extroverted or introverted

Introverted functions need contemplation to find this unconscious inspiration. Extroverts look for it in the outside world. Judging types need to be proactive to find their unconscious drive, perceiving types need to be flexible. We can only use our unconscious functions through our conscious functions, through tools, or through interacting with other people.

What does this say about romance? 

There are many popular theories that suggest ENFPs and INXJs make perfect partners in relationships. Other theories argue we should seek a partner who makes us more grounded, for example an ISTJ. And others say it’s better to date someone like yourself (another ENFP?)

This theory does not suggest that you should necessarily look to date a person of your unconscious type. You could also argue that it’s positive to date someone who can ground you, or you could decide to date someone that will teach you more about yourself. It’s up to you to decide what you currently need in a relationship.