LOOKING GLASS REALITY
TRANSITION FROM LINEAR TO CIRCULAR LEVEL
As we have seen, the linear level leads to the differentiation and specialisation of conscious structures. Though, at this level the personality tries to achieve integration as between the various structures - physical, mental and spiritual - it can only do so in a very limited sense. The task of true integration also requires the differentiation and specialisation of unconscious structures, which cannot be realised at the linear level. Therefore, at best, at this level, a form of integration, which is based on considerable reductionism of experience, will be achieved. To preserve stability of understanding, one is driven to continually misinterpret the role of the unconscious. This, in turn enables a world-view, based on mere conscious interpretation of reality, from being seriously questioned.
Before proceeding further, it would perhaps be helpful to elaborate on the structures so far developed. The two modes (cognitive and affective) can be combined with the two directions (internal and external) to give us four primary structures. (The third mode - the volitional - is essentially what co-ordinates the activity of the primary structures).
The combination of the cognitive mode with the external direction gives reason. Through this the self - in the most general sense - attempts to control and organise the outer environment.
The combination of the affective mode with the external direction gives perception (or sensation). Through this the self attempts to respond spontaneously to the outer environment.
The combination of the cognitive mode with the internal direction gives judgement. This is reason used in relation to subjective decision making. Through this the self, attempts to exercise control and organise the inner environment (i.e. adopting formal rules of conduct).
The combination of the affective mode with the internal direction gives feeling. Through this the self - in experiencing subjective emotion - attempts to respond spontaneously to the internal environment.
Now, these are polar states, which in their pure form are rarely realised. More commonly, the affective and cognitive modes are used in conjunction with each other.
For example, reason in its pure form is highly abstract and theoretical. However when combined with perception it becomes less formalised and more empirical and practical.
Also perception in its pure form is instinctive and immediate. When combined with reason it becomes less informal and more controlled.
Again judgement in its pure form leads to unduly abstract moral principles. Again when combined with feeling, these principles become more pragmatic and practical.
Finally, emotion in its pure form, is too instinctive and spontaneous. When combined with judgement it becomes better disciplined (and more in keeping with desired values).
Though all four structures are always involved in experience in the dynamics of personality development, it is highly unlikely at the linear level, that the structures will be equally developed.
Remember, these structures are developed explicitly in a conscious manner. However, implicitly the unconscious is necessary to enable switching as between mode and direction. Thus to prevent the unconscious from interfering too much with conscious development, the personality seeks to limit the degree of switching. This is done simply by having one structure strongly developed usually with a second auxiliary which is less prominent. The other two then remain weakly developed and considerably buried in the unconscious. The persona or "good" self is usually built around the strongly developed structures. The shadow or "bad" self is associated with the weakly developed structures.
Indeed the whole classification of personality types - esp. Jungian - stems from this type of analysis.
My own four structures are similar in some respects to Jung's four functions. However Jung uses "feeling" in a confusing sense, in what is more akin to judgement. Also, I would take issue with his use of intuition as one of the four functions. Intuition - in dynamic terms - is generated from the interaction of structures and can be associated equally with all four. In other words reason, perception, judgement and feeling can all be imbued with greater or lesser degrees of intuitive insight.
Now, I wish to identify three fundamental groups of personality types. It would be helpful to imagine these primary structures forming the four corners of a square with reason in the top left and perception in the top right corners, and judgement in the bottom left and feeling in the bottom right corners respectively. The two horizontal lines - connecting reason and perception, and judgement and feeling - involve structures of differing mode and same direction. The two vertical lines - connecting reason and judgement, and perception and feeling - involve structures of same mode but of differing direction. The two diagonal lines - connecting reason and feeling, and perception and judgement - involve structures of both differing mode and differing direction.
(PERCEPTION) + (THINKING) +
- (FEELING) (JUDGEMENT) -
This in turn is highly relevant to the whole story of psychological development.
1) The first I will call for now the horizontal group. The fundamental feature of this group is that the strongly developed structures in the personality are of differing modes but of the same direction.
For example someone, of this group with reason as the most strongly developed structure would have perception as an auxiliary. When the direction is external, we tend to get an extrovert. When the direction is internal we tend to get an introvert.
This group is the most successful in terms of limiting the role of the unconscious. Conscious experience involves the positing of phenomena. Because directional switching is avoided, the counterbalancing negative polarity of the unconscious is not greatly activated. Therefore the evidence of the conscious mind is rarely severely questioned.
Such types are often the most realistic (in terms of conscious criteria), and most strongly rooted in the world. Because the prevailing culture is largely based on conscious understanding, they find adaptation to the environment - especially in early life - less problematic than others. However, because of lack of development of the unconscious process, they frequently are unimaginative and can become unduly rigid - especially as life unfolds - in attitude.
Integration for this type category, will rarely involve going significantly beyond the linear level. Rather, it will involve modification of some of the more limiting features of conscious specialisation, learning to value intuition and imagination more, without seriously undermining the linear world view.
The centaur would provide quite a good model of integration for this type.
2) The second, I will call the vertical group. the fundamental feature of this group is that the most strongly developed structures are of the same mode but of opposite direction. Thus someone, for example, with perception as the most strongly developed structure, will tend to have the opposite affective structure of feeling as the main auxiliary. Now, there is likely to be far more directional switching here, especially if both structures approach equal strength. This means that that the positive conscious information of one structure, is continually negated through unconscious switching to the other. This in turn means - that if co-ordinated - far more spiritual fusion or energy is likely to be developed, thus rendering experience very intuitive in character.
Such types are likely to be less well adapted to the world. There is always an underlying conflict as between their own unconscious tendencies and the prevailing cultural paradigm. However, if resolved this tension can be very creative.
If the former group is defined as "real", this latter group can be defined as "imaginary", in that with their intuitive vision, they are not so much interested in actual reality but rather the creative potential for changing reality.
Integration for this group, will require going significantly beyond the linear level into the circular level. Otherwise, their unconscious potential will never be properly realised, remaining untrained and unduly instinctive and immature.
3) The third - and least recognised - is what I term the diagonal group. For example whereas Jung's sense types, broadly corresponds to the first group, and his intuitive types to the second group, he has no equivalent in terms of this third group.
In the Myers Briggs typology - adapted from Jung there are 16 types (with 8 in the sense group and 8 in the intuitive group). However a permutation of the four primary structures, taking four at a time (4P4), gives 24. This suggests - on the assumption that each arrangement of the four structures yields a different personality type - that there is in fact another third group containing 8 distinct types.
The defining characteristic of this group is that the two strongest structures are both of opposite mode and opposite direction. Thus for example, someone with the cognitive structure of reason, strongly developed in an external direction, will have the affective structure of emotion, also well developed in an internal direction.
Whereas the first group can identify with the conscious process, and the second group with the unconscious process, this group can do neither. Not surprisingly there is likely to be a considerable identity crisis involved.
At one end of the spectrum, many with unresolved psychotic problems who have failed to achieve integration, belong to this group. At the other end some of the greatest saints, who after a long painful struggle have achieved psychic harmony also belong to the same group. Resolution of the existential problem here is likely to be more demanding than with the other groups. In fact, the answer depends especially on authentic spiritual development. In other words it is the third essential process that is now especially relevant for integration.
If the first group is "real", relating to actual reality, and the second "imaginary", relating to potential reality, this group is aptly defined "complex" (i.e. both "real" and "imaginary") relating to essential reality. The paradox is that high degree of true simplicity finally underlines integration of this inherently complex personality type. It primarily involves neither conscious or unconscious understanding as such, but rather that point (i.e. will), at the centre of being itself, which unites both.
For someone belonging to this group, therefore full integration is likely to involve moving beyond both linear and circular levels into what I call the point level.
MIRROR STRUCTURES: PSYCHIC ANTI-MATTER
As we have seen during the linear level - where specialisation of conscious structures takes place - the role of the unconscious - though vital, remains implicit. It serves essentially as a catalyst or lubricant of the conscious process enabling switching to take place as between modes (cognitive and affective), and between directions (external and internal).
As I have explained above, serious problems of development are likely to arise especially in cases of people belonging to the second and third personality groups.
In the first group, where only modal interaction takes place, the conscious mind is likely to be dominant.
In the second group where there is now directional interaction, the unconscious is likely to be more involved.
However it is in the third group, due to both modal and directional interaction, that the unconscious is likely to be considerably activated.
Therefore, in both the second and third groups - even at the linear level - the unconscious, in serving the needs of the developed conscious structures is likely to overflow as it were, preventing a stable identity being achieved.
When this happens, it is a clear signal that it there is now a need to explicitly address the needs of the unconscious mind. However initially, one - having been trained in the opposite process - will be ill prepared to do so.
What usually happens is that there is the onset of a severe existential crisis. One may now be at the stage, on the threshold of life, with prospects apparently bright and with important decisions to be taken. However instead of feeling enthusiastic, one starts feeling disillusioned and even depressed, vaguely searching for a meaning not being provided by conventional pursuits. Initially, one will tend to blame oneself and try even harder to fit in with prevailing expectations. However if the crisis is genuine this will be all to no avail. Eventually, resolution is only achieved by abandoning oneself to the unknown and accepting even major sacrifices in the pursuit of authentic meaning.
The classic and well chronicled examples of this resolution are religious conversions where, men and women - often after a long struggle with an unsatisfactory life style - seem to find an entirely new spiritual perspective which becomes the guiding principle of their subsequent experience.
A period of prolonged purgation (i.e. detachment from excessive ego identification with conscious phenomena), is followed often by sudden illumination (i.e. an outpouring of refined unconscious understanding).
Though this process is greatly identified with religious experience, it is really a product of authentic psychological development , irrespective of whether it is interpreted in conventional religious terms.
What I now wish to probe are the precise psychological dynamics behind this type of development.
I will use here an example of what I term a transrational approach.
In dynamic terms physical and psychological reality are fully complementary. However, the effect of the specialised conscious process is to separate and treat them as unrelated.
Now it is through the development of intuition, that the inter-relatedness of the physical and psychological domains can be appreciated. The transrational approach combines reason and intuition so as to formulate basic physical and psychological processes in such a manner that their underlying complementarity can be understood.
In current physics, it is readily appreciated that matter is complemented by anti-matter. Any matter particle is formally identical with its anti-matter counterpart but of opposite charge. Therefore an anti-matter universe would seem exactly similar to a matter universe. It is only in relationship with each other that their opposite characteristics become apparent.
Normally matter and anti-matter is clearly separated. However when brought in contact, mutual annihilation transpires, creating physical energy.
Properly understood, it is exactly the same also in psychic terms. All conscious understanding at an external level is complemented by conscious understanding at an internal level. If we denote the external (objective) understanding as positive, then - in relative terms - the internal (subjective) understanding is negative.
In other words if we define external (objective) experience as being of a psychic matter world, then internal (subjective) experience is, actually, of a psychic anti-matter world.
Grasping this point has enormous consequences. Every fact, every concept has a corresponding anti-fact and anti-concept respectively, which are formally identical (in isolation), but opposite in direction when related dynamically.
When applied to science or mathematics, this implies that every theory or hypothesis has a corresponding anti-theory or anti-hypothesis. Though in static terms, these are indistinguishable, in dynamic terms they constitute polar opposites which continually interact with each other.
What this simply means is that in dynamic terms all understanding involves a dialogue between the (subjective) self and the (objective) world. We thus can view understanding in complementary ways as involving
1) the world (in relation to the self), or alternatively
2) the self (in relation to the world).
Thus if we term the former understanding as involving psychic matter, then the latter involves psychic anti-matter. At the linear level, considerable confusion exists. Through conscious activity, both poles of understanding are interpreted as positive. Objective and subjective experience then become somewhat rigid and thereby separated from each other. Here, the unconscious is used to switch as between poles without much actual interaction between these poles taking place.
Mirror understanding arises from a deep understanding of the underlying complementarity of both objective and subjective experience. Thus before switching between poles of experience takes place, consciousness is negated or undone. This in turn makes the role of the unconscious more explicit and greatly facilitates dynamic interaction of poles generating a high degree of spiritual energy. In other words, there is the growing fusion of psychic matter and anti-matter in experience.
When we examine this further, the conclusions are startling. For example in the physical matter world, space and time move in a forward direction only. By contrast in the physical anti-matter world, space and time - in relative terms - move backwards. This explains why matter and anti-matter cannot coexist. In a real sense, the creation of energy involves the cancelling out of matter in forward and backward moving space and time, generating an immediate present reality.
In psychological terms, it is exactly similar. Objective and subjective experience take place in systems of space and time, which are actually opposite in relationship to each other.
When I am experiencing space and time, objectively, it moves forward in a positive direction in this (psychic) matter world. Also, when I experience space and time subjectively, it moves forward in what is by contrast an anti-matter world. However in relationship to each other space and time are moving in opposite directions. Thus where there is significant directional interaction in experience, this conflict becomes more acute. Therefore, when one tries to harmonise the opposite directions of external and internal experience, positive and negative movements tend to annihilate each other, leading to the growth of psychic or spiritual energy existing outside space and time in a continually repeating present moment.
Thus a highly spiritual person lives essentially in the present. When external activity draws such a person forward in space and time, it is usually counterbalanced by inner subjective experience, moving the person - in relative terms - in a reverse backward direction. Thus positive and negative movements in space and time are constantly cancelled out leading to a fusion of ever present spiritual energy.
For someone living at the normal conventional linear level of experience, though all these dynamics are of necessity present, they are greatly limited in scope. Because the two way process of understanding is continually interpreted in reduced static terms, very limited fusion of psychic matter and anti-matter occurs. Thus little death or annihilation of material phenomena takes place in experience and one's world view is never seriously questioned. The dynamic interaction of (psychic) matter and anti-matter phenomena is interpreted solely in terms of static matter.
Despite the advances of modern physics, most peoples gut conviction is still of matter existing out there independent of the mind. This is exactly what one would expect of experience at the linear level.
However, with a few personalities - especially those of the two groups where unconscious activity runs at a higher level - on completing the linear level, disturbing changes take place which ultimately reveal grave distortions in this whole manner of understanding.
Then when the mirror structures are developing, there is a dramatic reversal in fortune. One becomes plunged in darkness and everything starts restricting to the confines of self. Because conscious phenomena are significantly eroded through spiritual fusion, no matter how hard one tries, one seems to achieve less and less in conscious terms. Indeed because memory contents are also wiped out past achievements cannot sustain one.
This is a confusing non-linear world which I will attempt to clarify within the circular level.
The level of development that must be reached in order to achieve an acceptable degree of integration, depends considerably on the personality grouping to which one belongs.
For Group 1 "real" personalities (where understanding is horizontal switching between differing modes in the same direction), integration can generally be achieved within the linear level.
For Group 2 "imaginary" personalities (where understanding is vertical switching between similar modes in different directions), integration will require progressing into the circular level.
For Group 3 "complex" personalities (where understanding is diagonal, switching between different modes in different directions), integration will probably require further progression into the point level.
The mirror (i.e. reverse) structures, are vitally important in terms of the dynamics of personality growth. They represent a form of psychic anti-matter, that is directly complementary to the anti-matter of the physical universe. Whereas psychic structures enable one to posit and identify with (conscious) phenomena, the psychic anti-structures (i.e. mirror structures), provide the equally important function of negating (i.e. undoing) and thereby disidentifying with the same phenomena. In relative terms, everything in a psychic anti-matter world (e.g. the movement of space and time) is of opposite direction to its psychic matter counterpart. Both worlds cannot coexist and when brought into contact, tend dynamically to cancel each other out. Therefore, when structure and anti-structure activity is fused in a balanced manner, considerable generation of psychic energy results. As far as this spiritual activity itself is concerned, there are no polarities involved. Like physical light, it is its own anti-matter.
In particular, if specialisation of the unconscious process is to take place, it must be preceded by considerable exposure to mirror structure development.