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The Hero and the Parent meet the Father and Son (and Spirit). An example of the Ego States that define type

June 18, 2016

I’ve been saying a lot recently, that what we call type basically, is, not just any “use” of particular functions, but rather the specific ego-states (archetypal complexes) that support an ego-identity. (We become aware of the activity of these complexes in terms of how close or far a function is from our sense of who we are).
The functions called “preferred”, which provide their initials as the second and third letters of the type code, are not simnply the ones we “use” the “most”, but are basically defined by the complexes known as the Hero and the Good Parent. One conveys the ego’s main state of achieving its goals, and the other is about adapting (hence, taking on a function opposite in individual or environmental orientation, and in taking in or making decisions from information) and thus becomes about “support“. (I’ve seen a suggestion that it is the way in which we develop what Freud called the superego; i.e., it helps us to recognize the value of adapting in ways that aren’t necessarily congenial to our immediate goals, but contribute to our maturity and sense of responsibility. The Hero chooses to invest selectively in the real world, to trade some of his potential for adaptive power. That’s what the Parental Complex is all about).
All of the other (stack of six) complexes and associated functions are reflections (opposite functions) and “shadows” (opposite orientation and suppressed, usually negative aspects) of these.

An example of this that has been surfacing in my awareness for awhile is my basically 25 year old project on the Trinity:
Even though I knew nothing about type and the functions back then, I all along felt the states of “Hero” and most notably, “Parent” throughout that.

I entered the faith around 20, from being a skeptic, realizing that religion was often used for mind control. I myself had felt threatened by their constant attacks on evolution, sex before marriage (even though I hadn’t had a chance to engage in that) and liberal political policies. I didn’t know much about a lot of deeper doctrinal dissensions within the Church. But somewhere along the way, I had heard about the Trinity (I remember when it was just a “religious” name I saw on churches and cemeteries, but didn’t know what it was until later), and how it was yet another counter-intuitive doctrine, like literal young earth Creation, the Flood, and all the other miracles, that the Church said was a “mystery” you had “better” believe in, in order to be “saved” from Hell. (My most recent memory at the time, was from Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s autobiography Giant Steps, where he described his Catholic upbringing, and the church taught him “there was one God who was three, and three Gods who were one; handed me a line of gibberish, and told me to accept it on faith”, and this eventually helped make the ‘strict monotheism’ of Islam more sensible to him). And they condemned all dissenters, first the nonChristian “skeptics”, and naturally, the post-Christian “Unitarian”[and Universalist] church was condemned as “heretics”; but also even, as I came to see, some [technically “conservative”] Christian groups (called “cults”) who questioned it, most famously, the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So I initially had absolutely no stake in the matter, but it did look suspicious because of the deflection and fear tactics used. I studied, reading both the literature of various groups, plus the “orthodox” [evangelical Protestant] “apologists”‘ responses to them in their “cult books”; along with the Bible itself of course. Armstrongism, which I was drawn toward because of their eschatology, offered what seemed to be a workable view. The Personhood of the Holy Spirit was rejected, bringing it down from three to two “Persons”, and while the Son was still held as co-eternal with the Father (He was actually the “YHWH” of the Old Testament, while the Father was mostly unrevealed), the “unity” [what made the “oneness” between them] was said to be a “Family“.
So one Family with two members. That seemed to explain the “mystery” of “plurality in unity” well, but the problem was, he extended this to all the redeemed in the Resurrection or Rapture, who would then actually become members of the Godhead! This “Family” would expand, as humans are “born into” it, “becoming God…just as Jesus is God”. This part I never went for, as I knew it was out in space. Also, the doctrine of YHWH being the pre-incarnate Son only was not really accurate either. There were scriptures pointing to YHWH as distinct from the “Lord” that would be incarnate as the Messiah.
(I did look into some of the other sabbathkeeping Church of God groups, which he had broken away from, and held the binitarian position without the “Family” concept. From there, I also looked into other views, such as a biblically based ⦅if it were possible⦆ unitarianism ⦅such as in the Way International, and the Texas “House of YHWH” sects⦆; and modalism ⦅held by a lot of Pentecostals⦆ briefly sounded nice as well. I steered clear of stuff like Mormonism, which simply declared the three Persons as separate “Gods”, in addition to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claimed that God created Jesus as the archangel Michael, who then in turn created the universe under God’s orders. (In trying to maintain “only one God”, they actually have this lesser, second “god” [which would be something called a “demiurge”] beside Him, which Jehovah had clearly denied in Isaiah!)

While some of these doctrines were ridiculous, I did remain put off by the way the “mainstream” apologists would just condemn any alternative to the standard theory (just for it being different), keep pushing “God’s incomprehensibility” as the ultimate defense, and not see how problematic it was (and often presupposed into many texts), leading to all this dissension in the first place. (Like the Virgin Birth, another one attacked in the skeptical world, does not even have all of this dissent from most of the “aberrant” Christian groups like those. The idea makes more sense, even if you don’t think it’s scientifically viable).

I eventually find out about something called “economic Trinitarianism”, which in a way was like a cross between the standard view and modalism. God was the Father (like unitarianism teaches), and the Son and Spirit were present in His divine essence (like modalism teaches), and yet were differentiated at the Son’s “generation” at His birth (like the unitarians again), and the Spirit’s “procession”, where He interacts with men, now that the Father and Son are gone back to Heaven from the earth. So they can now be treated as distinct “entities” (like Trinitarianism teaches).
This was actually the view held by the orthodox Church before they began further codifying the doctrine (at the behest of the emperor who was making the Church the official religion of the empire) with more explicit, yet unbiblical and thus confusing language, at Nicaea in the fourth century.

It was revived in the middle ages by a Catholic defector named Michael Servetus, which nevertheless drew the wrath of Protestant leader John Calvin, who (along with all the other Protestant reformers, and the Catholics) would accept nothing but the Nicene formula (as if it was scripture itself), leading to his fiery execution.
It was when I read about this in the encyclopedia, that I looked more into Church history, and actually found very similar views in second and third century fathers such as Tertullian, Irenaeus and especially Hippolytus.

So as I gathered all of this information, I started writing the project. A natural outline came to me, as starting from the problematic original “three Person” doctrine, and then working my way down to the seemingly “ideal” (most easily comprehensible) position of only one Person; exploring each position, and its strengths, proof-texts, and weaknesses. Then, assessing why there was such a dispute in the first place, looking through the history of the matter, and bringing it all together, with the scriptural revelation.

The Hero and the Parent go to work

As the “Hero”, I had gone through “the whole gamut” (as I described in my presentations of the manuscript to people and publishers), sorting through all the different doctrines and scriptural justifications (“proof-texts”), and determined individually (i) what was most likely “correct” (T). Hence, “introverted Thinking” as the “heroic” function.

So as I sat down and put together this thesis, I also, even back then —not thinking in terms of archetypes/complexes/ego-states or cognitive functions and type (not even knowing about them), felt this strong “parental” sense, of “leading” my readers (“by the hand”, as it were) through this “gamut” of confusion, all concerning the environment (e) of various “abstract” objects, being “concepts” (N) of theology. Hence, “extraverted iNtuition“, looking at the “possibilities” each of the doctrinal positions presents, and [working with and supporting the Hero] sorting through them to try to arrive at the most probable. Even now, when I think back to writing this, I feel like I was being a “parent”.

The Hero and Parent used their confident, mature “knowhow” to bravely tackle centuries of doctrinal confusion (that many could not find their way through), and come up with what I described there as the “concordance point” of all the theologies, and that makes it seem less incomprehensible, yet maintaining the essential scriptural truth. (And the same with articulating these typological concepts, which also are often bound up in a mess of confusion that needs to be sorted out!)

Two other associated complexes

Further evidence, is that the Hero is “shadowed” by another complex, which is sort of a “negative hero” or “warrior”, that conveys a sense of “obstruction”, and goes off to fight, reversing the orientation of that dominant thinking. I was always greatly put off by the way the “orthodox” apologists simply relied on an environmental (e) consensus of what was “correct” (including interpretation of scripture), in the teaching of the “historic Church”. Cited in my book, you had leading apologist Walter Martin’s almost iconic statement concluding one of his rebuttals to Armstrongism: “The Christian Church has always understood unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity, the full understanding of which God has reserved to Himself until…Christ delivers the kingdom to His Father…(1 Cor.15:28)” (Herbert W. Armstrong and the Radio Church of God). The popular “Radio Bible Class” booklets my grandmother had, had one that stated (mentioning doctrines like the trinity): “These things were settled long ago by the church. The early leaders met in special councils to work them out, and there is no reason to doubt their decisions. To revive these things is unnecessary. To make matters worse, it adds to the confusion already existing in the minds of the untaught.” (R.W. DeHaan, How to Recognize a Good Church, p.31).

This is the extraverted Thinking position. And to me, it felt like an obstruction to [the real] truth, and provoked a strong “oppositional” feeling, which characterizes the “Opposing Personality Complex” that shadows and also “backs up” the “Heroic Personality Complex”. It would then turn to the same environmental (external, objective) authority, “historic” Church writings (helped greatly by the book Early Christian Doctrines by JND Kelley and the Westminster-Knox published Christian Doctrine, by Shirley Guthrie) to support the Hero’s judgment. Many bishops back then, (coming out of a more “economic” view) were reluctant to sign the Creed, because of its unbiblical symmetrical language, but went with it because it was truer than the other alternatives (and there was also politics involved as well).

Symmetries (such as the oft drawn images of three perfectly “co-equal” and “co-eternal” entities that were supposed to be the Persons of the Godhead) are the domain of introverted Thinking, however the function will also determine when a given symmetry doesn’t fit the rest of the data. (“incorrect”, according to individual analysis). I had cited one paper, pointing out that “The creeds appear to emphasize symmetry and philosophy, while glossing over some of the complex and irregular landscape of scripture on this topic”. Introverted Thinking picks up logical intricacies like that that are often “glossed over” by others!
Extraverted Thinking, while striving for “precision” in exposition and implementation of decisions, is not as precise in the actual framing of it. Whatever is most efficient, externally, is what’s automatically “correct”. The Nicene formula “worked” for the Church, so no further clarification was or is deemed needed. When people question it, we have a ready answer to people trying to understand an “infinite God”. (They would only add attempts to illustrate and philosophize it, as Augustine and countless others did, which only raised more questions).

So the Hero then set out to determine individually what was truth. The objective “environment” of men and their religious councils was not seen as trustworthy. The Church and its “consensuses” had long favored things that were flat out wrong (like geocentricism, colonial chattel slavery, racism, and other forms of collective greed; the conspicuously absent “sins” in their polemics on morality in America. They were not just morally “bad” [F] but also theologically and sociologically false [T]). Though the Catholics and Protestants were united on the Trinity, still, the Protestants broke away on other doctrines and practices the Catholics had based on centuries of consensus, yet the Protestants see as against scripture. The Catholics taught against what they called “private interpretation”.
Sometimes, individuals need to sit down and determine things like this themselves, free from the baggage of what others determine. (I see the other way, as “not thinking”, but rather “letting others think for you”. But then they see my way as not really thinking, as they mistrust “subjectivity” in favor of total “objectivity”, and think in terms of stuff like “common sense”, where what’s “true” or “correct” is always set by the environment).

Seeing how they so strongly rejected dissension did produce a fear of being “wrong”, especially since I had found no religious group that held my exact views, and by the time of writing this, had settled on “new-evangelicalism” as the best shot for “fellowship”. I nervously offered my manuscript to some leaders, and they actually seemed impressed. While staunchly holding to the standard Trinity doctrine, they were aware that the language and formulation of it were really not exact.
So while not giving in on what the religious environment (e) said was “correct”, I was impacted on the desire to be seen as [personally] “good” (F) by it. Even before finding those fellowships, I used to be jealous of the apologists, seeing their egos were so invested in this doctrine that so insulted the intelligence of myself and others, and imagined they in their own local Sunday fellowships being so respected, and in unity with the members; looked up to for valiantly keeping the “error” of those other doctrines out. It also figures, in hearing the negative experiences or bewilderment of people like Servetus, Kareem, etc. and voicing their concerns by addressing the issue, and trying to come up with something that might seem “good” to all if given a chance.
This was the reflection of the hero, inferior extraverted Feeling, connected with an “inferiority” complex.

(The remaining primary archetype, the “child” or Puer, which associates with the tertiary function, didn’t figure much in this area for me, because I wasn’t raised as a Christian, and thus didn’t have any tangible (S) experiences in these matters to have retained individually (i), and thus reminisce on, as I do with other experiences ⦅like telling this story now⦆. I just remember as a child, church being boring [the few times I was taken there by religious relatives], and not understanding what it was all about, and then growing up and seeing how it was used to control people or keep people locked in past culture. The remaining [bottom three] “shadow” complexes [using introverted iNtuition, extraverted Sensing and introverted Feeling] likely didn’t figure much, because they constellate when the ego feels seriously threatened, and again, I hadn’t had any personal negative experiences like that with anyone over church doctrine).

So this is an example of how my deductive reckoning operates according to my type, and its functions, as differentiated by the ego states. Other types would likely approach the whole thing very differently. They could see the logic and possibilities of the concepts, but their Hero and Parent would divide the data differently according to their respective associated functions.

One Comment
  1. Here Horton discusses the rationale for what is the Te perspective, of going by “consensus”.

    Heresy & Orthodoxy

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