John Beebe’s Eight Function Model

After my last post about an ad-hoc eightfold metaphysics, I spent a few minutes trying to create an eightfold psychology. Feeling insufficient to the task, I quickly put this aside and instead wondered if there was any prior work for this, and lo and behold, I found a wealth of such things. Eight seems to be a popular number for the enumeration of the psyche and related subjects.

I’ve already mentioned Robert Plutchik’s Emotions and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, which are both sort of psychological dissections. If you’re into Jung and related psychologies, Jungian analyst John Beebe developed his eight-function model of personality types that blends Jungian concepts together into an interesting system. The eight types are split into two sets of four: for every type in the first “positive” set (ego-syntonic) there is a corresponding type in a “shadow” set (ego-dystonic). Each set of four has a superior, an auxiliary, a tertiary, and an inferior function.

  • Hero/Heroine (superior function)
  • Father/Mother (auxiliary function) (or good parent)
  • Puer/Puella (tertiary function) (or eternal child)
  • Anima/Animus (inferior function)
  • Opposing persona (shadow of superior) (villain?)
  • Senex/Witch (shadow of auxiliary) (or critical parent)
  • Trickster (shadow of tertiary) (added deceiver for balance)
  • Demon/Daimon (shadow of inferior) (daemon?)

In my diagram, I’ve shown each function paired with its shadow function. And of course being Jungian, the terminology is full of gender distinctions, which could fairly easily be eliminated. There are also lots of arcane associations to MBTI and such, so this will take more than a quick look. Please just wait here, and I’ll be back with an update soon (or not)!

Further Reading:

Also see my posts:

[*11.41, *11.43]


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