Yeatsian Faculties contra Jungian Typology, Preliminary Considerations

Sexiest title in the world, right? Thankfully, it’s not my scintillating wit that drives this blog. It is exactly what it says on the can, though, so that’s something.

The big distinction between the Jungian and Yeatsian material around the faculties relates to the levels at which they are pitched. The Yeatsian material is talking about souls in their extended sense, as they exceed the constraints defined by our material bodies. The Jungian typology is the inverse of that, the soul understanding itself from within the experience of the body; the Jungian typologies describe the soul in a more contracted state.

Nonetheless, the contracted soul refracts the expanded soul and in it we can divine some appreciation for the expanded soul. When we look at our psychological type, how do its various components relate to spiritual faculties?

That begins with the dynamic dimensions of the Jungian system. While there are only four faculties in Jung’s account (Sensation, Intuition, Thinking, and Feeling), they cannot sensibly be related directly to the four Yeatsian faculties. The Body of Fate, for example, is the sum total of what we experience in the external world and as such can be appreciated through any of the Jungian faculties.

The Jungian typology qualifies the four psychological faculties according to their Extroversion/Introversion and their relationship to Judging/Perceiving. Any faculty may be directed in an introverted or extroverted fashion, but Judging and Perceiving divide the faculties into exclusive types. Briefly stated (because it is stated so many other places), a perceiving faculty (Sensation or Intuition) structures the way in which experience is received while a judging faculty (Thinking or Feeling) structures the way in which that experience is evaluated.

While every individual possesses every faculty, each conscious faculty develops only in one direction, introverted or extroverted. We begin our self-aware existence favoring one faculty over the others, developing the remainder to compensate and elaborate upon that preference.

The terms used to describe the Yeatsian faculties superficially suggest that they should be ordered according to the Thinking/Feeling division, with the Intellect defined by Thinking and the Will defined by Feeling. However, that sort of association depends upon shallow associations and overlooks that the Intellect includes the negotiation of emotional situations as much as technical ones, and that the Will can be selective in a fashion resonant to either Thinking or Feeling.

No, I think if we are going to divide Yeatsian faculties along the axes of the cones, we need to be more careful. The first thing to consider is the substance of the two cones. The cone of Intellect and the Body of Fate relates to our experience of the world, placing  it in line with the Extroverted dimension of Jungian typology. Contrariwise, the Will and Mask relates to our inner sense of self-awareness, placing it in line with the Introverted dimension of Jungian typology.

Once we do that, a parallel between Jungian categories of Judging and Perceiving and the Yeatsian faculties suggests itself. Each Yeatsian cone is divided according to a faculty that makes determinations and a faculty that presents a world in which determinations can be made. The Judging faculties of Jung look like the contracted aspects of the Yeatsian Will and Intellect while the Perceiving faculties look to be the contracted aspects of the Yeatsian Mask and Body of Fate.

The first step toward contracted (ego-ic) consciousness sees the breakdown of each Yeatsian faculty into two psychological faculties. Our first concept of the daemon, then, might be the shadow, that other psychological faculty which would, taken together, suggest the whole spiritual faculty. It needs to be emphasized, though, that this shadow would just be a concept or image of the daemon, where the way in which we don’t identify with the shadow psychological faculties provides a symbol for the more substantive difference between daemon and human.

(Of course, that doesn’t prevent the daemon from making active use of that shadow as a mask through which to communicate.)

The idea that Jungian faculties are contracted spiritual faculties also allows us to appreciate that the Jungian types, like the Yeatsian faculties, only acquire substance when differentiated from within an individual’s life. While Sensation defines a way of organizing experience, the experience upon which it operates is the specific moments of an individual’s life.

The artistic dimensions of this become more apparent here, too, with style providing some basis for us to talk about the relationship between concrete object and faculty. What we make of ourselves, pyschologically and spiritually, results from a dialogue between the demands of our life and the essence of our being .

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One thought on “Yeatsian Faculties contra Jungian Typology, Preliminary Considerations

  1. Pingback: Jungian Type as a Sign of the Soul | Disrupt & Repair

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