Heraclitus Themes: Fire

By Ryan Smith

Heraclitus is arguably the most important philosopher with regards to Jungian typology.[1] At the very least, if one wishes to approach typology from a function-based perspective (as opposed to a trait, dichotomy, or temperament-based one), there is no getting around Heraclitus. In fact, a lot of the methodical errors surrounding the function-based approach to typology would (in my utrechtredo-copyopinion) seem to originate with people conceiving of functions as traits, as opposed to the Heraclitean structures they more properly are. The two greatest systematizers of modern trait theory knew this, and understood that it was a non-trivial difference:

“Jung proposed one of the first models of adult personality development. … Instead of traits, he described various functions or structures in the psyche that governed the flow of behavior and experience.” – Costa & McCrae: Personality in Adulthood (Guilford 2003)...

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Haidt’s Analysis of Contemporary Democratic Dynamics

With the events of 2015 and 2016, it is no exaggeration to say that the traditional political order of Western democracies is being shaken to its core.

Jonathan Haidt is a professor at New York University. With more than 30,000 citations from other scholars, he is arguably the most prominent social scientist at work in the world today.

In this article, we’re going to try and explain Haidt’s take on what’s happening in Western democracies. This article will take some of the commonly accepted findings from social science for granted, so there will be a few points (such as the fruitfulness of capitalism) that are not argued in this article, but merely assumed.

Haidt’s theory can be broken into five parts.

1: Successful capitalism creates prosperity.

While capitalism is a swear word to some, most social scientists agree that successful capitalism is the best engine of growth we know. That is not to say social scientists are libertarians, though, as the catch lies in the word successful: To many social scientists, successful capitalism not just a question of economic liberty, but also of efficient regulations, government-enforced market standards, and so on.

So while other countries around the world may have had unbridled capitalism, they have generally not succeeded in achieving the same standards of affluence and success as seen in Western democracies.

2: Prosperity attracts mass migration.

Setting aside the question of refugees from war zones, extremely affluent societies such as those in the West tend to attract migrants from poorer parts of the world. Many Western writers and thinkers like to say that third-world migrants come here seeking liberty and progressive values, but very often this is an assumption that is just made completely out of the blue, citing zero evidence in favor of this claim.

In fact, according to polls, most notably from the Pew Research Center, most third-world migrants are not liberal-minded at all, but hold staunchly conservative values. So why do people assume that third-world migrants come here with a fully-formed ‘Sex and the City’ mindset? Well, to some Westerners, especially on the left-wing, if you’re not into progressivism and liberal values, you’re not a good person. So if you don’t assume that migrants subscribe to liberal values, then that’s tantamount to implying that they’re bad people. In other words, these people let ideological considerations trump empirical evidence.

Haidt suggests that migrants come to the West seeking affluence and prosperity for themselves and their families back home — not because they want to give up their traditional culture, religion, and values.

There are other social science findings that paint a similar picture. A study by the Dutch sociologist Ruud Koopmans found that a majority of Muslims in Western Europe thought Sharia law should be above man-made law, even in Europe. That is to say, that white Europeans should eventually be made to live under Sharia law as well. Koopmans also found that European Muslims thought Muslims shouldn’t have gay friends, and lists many other examples of of European Muslims subscribing to anti-liberal values.

In many cases, migrants never said they would abandon their beliefs and start favoring Western liberal values once they got here. That was an assumption thrust upon them by city-dwelling, well-educated Westerners. Which brings us to the next point.

3: Prosperity shifts the urban elites of the West to favoring hyper-tolerance.

Studies in economics have generally found that as people’s level of affluence increases, their priorities start scaling the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as well. In other words, their priorities start gravitating from “need to haves” toward ever more elusive “nice to haves.” When you’re starving, you don’t care about pollution, but when your belly is full, you start wanting to live in a clean environment. Once your environment is clean, you start bemoaning the lack of a lovely neighbourhood park, and so on.

Never before in the history of the world have there been societies as prosperous as those we see in modern Western cities. The safety and affluence they provide mean that the needs and wants of Western elites have progressed so far that they are now off the charts in a global context. One part of the urban elites’ quest for self-realization is the need to formulate an ever-more cosmopolitan, multicultural and hyper-tolerant mindset that can be brandished among one’s peers as an emblem of social status. In other words, while there may be many reasons for adopting such a mindset, having a hyper-tolerant view of politics and morality is also a way for urban liberal elites to stand out among their peers, get attention, and reap prestige from representing an especially pure instance of the shared social values of one’s community.

Jonathan Haidt is known for his analysis of political morality, which according to him can be broken into six moral foundations: Care, Fairness, Authority, Purity, In-group Loyalty, and Liberty. If you don’t know about these foundations, you should watch our videos on them, which you can do here and here.

At any rate, all six of these moral foundations have traditionally been helpful to human survival. In less-developed societies, deference to authority and loyalty to the group helps the social order attain cohesion and function. Once again Western cities are unique in a global context when viewed through the prism of moral foundations. Being so affluent and prosperous, and presenting few threats to survival and the subsistence minimum, traditional moral values like Authority, Purity, In-group Loyalty tend to go out the window in favor of a political morality based almost solely on Fairness and Care.

According to this globally and historically unique view of morality and politics urban elites are not inclined to view migrants as threats, the way more disenfranchised communities normally do. Instead, urban elites start viewing immigrants as victims, which, in turn, means that support for immigration becomes tantamount to moral goodness and that others who speak ill of immigrants must be bad people.

Under this view, immigrants are seen as suffering victims and we in the West must take responsibility for relieving their suffering. If confronted with the fact that immigrants stand out in all the bad statistics such as not getting a job, committing crimes and so on, Westerners with this kind of morality are inclined to chalk that up to white people’s discrimination and racism – it must be because the third-world immigrants were not met with sufficient nurture and fairness by the host population when they got here. To put the blame on the migrants themselves would almost be tantamount to racism.

4: Immigrants plus the hyper-tolerance of the elites triggers authoritarians.

In Haidt’s understanding of the political landscape, he distinguishes between authoritarians and status-quo conservatives.

Authoritarians are people who think society runs best when citizens submit to strong leaders, have a low tolerance for minorities and foreigners, and want to preserve and adhere to the traditional values and beliefs of their country.

In almost all Western countries, authoritarians have been kept out of big league politics since World War 2. But with the recent influx of immigrants and the largesse of the Western elites, authoritarians have been spurred to mobilize more effectively. When they see the elites of their own countries espousing the aforementioned hyper-tolerant morality where migrants are never blamed for the troubles that empirically seem to follow in their wake, Western authoritarians feel betrayed. Having nothing in common with the urban elites of their own countries, they are triggered and spurred to mobilize.

Which brings us to the final point.

5: When authoritarians succeed in attracting status quo conservatives to their cause, they end up with a democratic majority.

Authoritarians want strong leaders, ethnic coherence and the preservation of traditional values and customs. Of these three points, status quo conservatives only support the final one, namely the preservation of traditional values and customs.

But if things get bad enough and the traditional parties fail to deliver a basic sense of stability, status quo conservatives will start looking around for other parties who will. In Western Europe, the continued mass immigration from non-Western countries is wildly unpopular with the voters, yet the traditional parties have not been able or willing to stem the tide to the degree that voters want. As a consequence, new and more extreme right-wing authoritarian parties are springing up in protest and many of them succeed in attracting ordinary voters who simply want stability and respect for national customs.


So if we have understood Haidt correctly, he is saying that Western democracies are being shook up by uncontrolled migration. Since the traditional parties and candidates have not been able or willing to address this point in a way that the voters find satisfactory, authoritarian right-wing parties have sprung up. These parties arose as a protest against the left-wing, urban, affluent liberal elite of Western countries who, viewing Muslims as victims, are more inclined to blame conservatives of their own ethnicity for the problems associated with mass migration than blaming the Muslims themselves. And without the support of less affluent voters, the urban elites are not numerous enough to ensure a democratic majority. The new authoritarian impulses in Western democracies will keep growing as long as the problem isn’t dealt with. In Europe, these parties have only gotten larger with each election. In America, Trump is an early representative of this phenomenon, and even if he loses, the anti-immigration sentiment that has lent him all his traction is much bigger than him, and what he has started will not end with him.

Illustrating Function Axes, Part 2: Fe/Ti

Boye Akinwande is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Akinwande’s own insights and assessments are his own and not necessarily the same as those of the site. In this article, Akinwande elaborates on the concept of function axes and how to illustrate their opposition, mirroring, and tension.

By Boye Akinwande

This is my second installment of a series attempting to illustrate all of the function axes. The initial remarks and disclaimers I made in Part 1 of this series are still in effect.

The Fe/Ti Axis

As I have argued in my article, Determining Function Axes Part 3, Fe/Ti ontology cares less about the empirical properties of objects and more about the ideational commonalities that unite them. This latter disposition is somewhat like Plato’s Theory of Forms where objects in the sensible world are but shadows of ideal ideational objects that exist as pure thought.

With Fe/Ti types, the empirical world, with its uncontrollable, sprawling mess of facts and things and particularities, is – without any effort on the subject’s part – condensed into ideal objects and cleaner principles in the mind.

Both my Ti and Fe diagrams aim to illustrate how a subject operating under this mode of cognition sees other individuals as expressions of the ideal category of ‘human being’ and therefore as extensions of themselves.


With my Ti diagram, since the Ti function is chiefly concerned with identifying and clarifying impartial principles, regarding human beings as principally the same leads to an internally consistent mental categorization where people are interchangeable building blocks in a fair and equal system. In the diagram, the solid lines leading from all three human beings back to the Ti type’s own
timind illustrate how all empirical manifestations of a category – in this case human beings – are regarded as belonging to the same order due to the Ti type’s tendency to group these instances in his mind by virtue of impartial principles and models. The dotted lines between the Ti type and other human beings represent how each concrete manifestation of man is grouped together by invisible ties to a principle in the mind and not on the emergent level or in the external world. The famed impartiality or impersonal nature of Ti types is here expressed by the complete non-discrimination concerning whether the particular instance of a man happens to be the Ti type themselves or another human being.


Turning now to my Fe diagram, we can see that Fe is the opposite of Ti (just as in Part 1, we saw how Fi is the opposite of Te): While the Ti type views himself and everyone else as extensions of the same impartial principle, the Fe type views others as extensions of himself (and vice versa) in a more fepersonalized manner. The Fe type’s efforts to build rapport with others on the basis of the shared sentiments and common goals they can identify between themselves and others form a totality which leaves an imprint on the psyche of the Fe type: Here, a multitude of sentiments, values, and reactions are added up to form an inclusive outlook, encompassing both self and others.

With Ti types, we saw how the impartial principle determined the status of particular individuals. With Fe, things are really the other way around: It is the sociality and reactions of particular individuals that determine the overall feeling-image in the Fe type’s mind. (This feeling-image could equally well be called a ‘principle,’ if not for the fact that it would be very confusing for people who are not well-versed in Jungian typology. That is to say, it can be called a principle on the phenomenological level).

However, there are still some differences to be noted here: Since the Ti type starts with the impartial principle, their representation of the commonalities between individuals will be impersonal, come what may. For this reason, they may seem robot-like and their rather inflexible approach may be too far removed from the actual sentiments of people. The Fe type tends to have the opposite problem: Starting with people as their cognitive nexus, and seeing people as the carriers of principles and values, the Fe type may at times be too beholden to the feedback and opinions of the people they encounter.

Hence, in my Fe diagram the subject is in much closer proximity to others than in my Ti diagram. The Ti type could not move closer to other people even if he wanted to, since the impersonal principle has determined a fixed distance between all. While Fe types have more means available to modulate the difference between themselves and others (such as withdrawing from social life and immersing themselves in impartial book knowledge for long periods of time), most Fe types will still feel an inclination to incorporate everyone’s differing perspectives into their own internal feeling-image, even if they disagree with what was voiced. My diagram therefore represents Fe types as being closer to others, since that is their foundational psychic tendency, even if reflective Fe types may draw away from it at times.


outer-worldBecause the Fe/Ti axis operates on the basis of commonalities, Fe/Ti types are typically less direct or decisive than Te types in arriving at and applying judgments to their environment. But on the other hand, they are often less inclined than Fi types to withdraw their judgments from the outer world altogether. Fe/Ti types are more likely to maintain that the same set of judgments must apply to all members of a given ideational category and could thus be said to strike a middle ground between the typical exterior judging attitude seen in Te and Fi types. In this respect we may say that the polarization between the ends of the Te/Fi axis is actually much stronger than the polarization between Fe and Ti.

Platonic Scraps

1: There was a legend in antiquity that Plato plagiarized Pythagorean teachings:          

A big scandal in antiquity was the rumor that Plato purchased documents containing secret Pythagorean teachings and passed them off as his own insights without divulging his sources.

  • Schrodinger: Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism (Cambridge University Press 1996) p. 34n1

2: Neoplatonism is a confusing term, and the Neoplatonists should rather be called Paleo-Platonists:

“The term ‘Neoplatonism’ is an artefact of 19th century German scholarship and reflects a contemporary academic trend. … Although the prefix ‘neo-’ is intended to suggest that something significantly new is to be found in the thought of this period, it is worth stressing … [they] would all have probably preferred to identify themselves as ‘paleo’-Platonists; that is, as non-innovating expositors and defenders of Platonic philosophy.”

  • Dillon & Gerson: Neoplatonic Philosophy (Hackett 2004) p. xiii-xiv

3: Like Buddhists, the Neoplatonists thought ordinary mental processes and book knowledge were only the shadow of their true doctrine:

Plotinus said that it was not enough to read and understand the Platonic texts. According to Porphyry, he complemented his academic studies with “unique” and “unusual” methods for absorbing their deeper meaning. Remarking on the studies of Longinus, an academic expert on Plato in antiquity, Plotinus supposedly remarked: “Longinus is a great scholar, though not at all a great philosopher.” Indeed, to the Neoplatonists, the true gist of “philosophy” (i.e. “love of wisdom”) was the “mystical” element of it (as opposed to the logical or analytical).

  • Gerson: Aristotle and Other Platonists (Cornell University 2005) p. 18n47

4: Why study Greek thought in relation to personality?

“A [cognitive] prejudice is more easily detected in the primitive, ingenuous form in which it first arises than as the sophisticated, ossified dogma it is apt to become later.”

  • Schrodinger: Nature and the Greeks and Science and Humanism (Cambridge University Press 1996) p. 18

5: A few select scholars have revived the notion that the difference between Plato and Aristotle has been exaggerated:

The Neoplatonists of late antiquity generally held that Aristotle had applied Plato’s principles to the sensible world while Plato himself had only taken an interest in their transcendental application. Thus, while both Plato and Aristotle were Platonists under this view, each man’s personal temperament played a role in their division of labor, leaving Aristotle as the master of the physical world and Plato as the master of the metaphysical world. This theory was rejected in both medieval and modern times, and yet – since it seems that the Neoplatonists were right about a great many things that were initially dismissed by posterity (such as the Unwritten Doctrine) – there is good reason to take it seriously.

  • Guenon: The Essential Rene Guenon (World Wisdom 2009) pp. 54-55

6: Platonists (had they known the functions) would not have been axial in their conception of them, but hierarchical. They would also have placed Ni at the top of their order:

“[To Platonists] the epistemological order is included within the metaphysical order. Modes of cognition are hierarchically gradable according to the hierarchical levels of objective reality. The highest mode of cognition corresponds to the first explanatory principles. All modes of cognition including sense perception and requiring sense perception as a condition for their operation are inferior … [to] the ideal disembodied cognitive agent.”

  • Gerson: Aristotle and Other Platonists (Cornell University 2005) p. 34


By Boye Akinwande and Ryan Smith

In type comparisons like these, INFJ and INFP is perhaps the contrast that receives the most attention out of all the 120 possible pairings.

If you ask around the internet, you will sometimes get the rather snooty answer that since these two types don’t have any functions in common, the question of whether someone is an INFJ or an INFP shouldn’t really be an issue for anybody and it shouldn’t be possible to confuse the two types.

For our part, we agree that it is easier to distinguish between types that share no functions, as opposed to types that share two or four functions. That being said, however, it can still be difficult to tell these two types apart at times. Not least since both them seem to be quiet, sensitive, sympathetic and introspective on the emergent level.

Another similarity between the two types is that both of them seem to be naturally preoccupied with individual human nature and existential predicaments about the individual’s place in the world. With both types, one can often sense how these ruminations stem from a fundamental sense of alienation, that is, they do not appear to be quite at home in the world, and their actions and styles of thinking often give off a vibe of them being not quite built for this world.

Despite the surface similarities, however, the underlying cognitive patterns of the two types are very different. And it is by this difference that we shall know them.

Let us start with a general outline of each type.


INFJs prefer Extroverted Feeling over Introverted Feeling. Since their Feeling is extroverted, they direct their sensitives outwards, towards the social environment. As we have argued in our earlier work on function axes, Extroverted Feeling and its complimentary thinking attitude, Introverted Thinking, tend to perceive objects and people to be more similar than they actually are. This style of cognition is somewhat akin to the Platonic Theory of Forms.

Since all people belong to such a Platonic universal class of people, it follows that one’s own existence is nothing but another expression of this same Platonic Form. Thus we are all in the same boat; all extensions of the universal principle. With INFJs, one common outcome of this “Platonic background cognition” is the notion that we are obliged to be good to others, inviting them to participate in the shared order of the universe, and to be open to accommodating their feelings and needs if we can.

As for their intuitive function, INFJs prefer Introverted Intuition over Extroverted Intuition. Of all the cognitive functions, Introverted Intuition is perhaps the least preoccupied with immediate reality or reacting to things in the moment. When faced with stimuli which they can’t understand or control, Introverted Intuitive types, that is, INFJs and INTJs, prefer to withdraw from them, seeking refuge in a familiar environment where they can brood on what they have encountered, coming up with new and creative ways of perceiving these stimuli so that the individual stimulus is subjugated to some ideational regimen that allows the Introverted Intuitive to make sense of what has taken place in their own head.

Taken together, the INFJ’s combination of Introverted Intuition and Extroverted Feeling tends to motivate them to come up with perspectives of abstract oneness and to factor in how each person fits into this abstract order. This holistic participation is no laughing matter for them, or something they can turn off at will. In fact, INFJs are often at pains to empathize with others – to sort out the messy pulp of their feelings and straighten it out so that it can be universalized and made to participate in the holistic order.

In spite of their cognition being much softer and more amorphous than that of the INTJ, INFJs can nevertheless share some of the dogged stubbornness that the INTJ is famed for. This stubbornness is simply the cost of doing business under the auspice of Introverted Intuition, which, as mentioned, is solipsistic and must be free to deal with external occurrences at its own pace. On the face of things, the stubbornness of INFJs may sometimes cause them to be mistaken for INFP types. But as we shall see, the cognition behind the obstinacy is really quite different in nature.

We will now move on to a general outline of the INFP.


 INFPs prefer Introverted Feeling over Extroverted Feeling. Where Extroverted Feeling is attuned to the values of the social environment, Introverted Feeling is attuned to the values that are peculiar to the individual’s own consciousness. Consequently, INFPs follow their personal sympathies and values to a far greater extent. Therefore, INFPs are more exclusive, idiosyncratic, and personal where INFJs are more inclusive, universal and relational.

While the INFJ is prone to see objects and persons as expressions of some ethereal universal, INFPs are more inclined to see the same objects and persons as individual and distinct. Far from being variations on some ‘greater’ universal, they are profoundly particular and unique. Consequently, people’s emotions don’t need to be straightened out in order to be rationalized and universally accessible. Their emotions are their own. The quest of the individual is not to go higher into some supercelestial interrelatedness, but deeper into their own selfhood, exploring and manifesting their own values and passions in depth.

In other words, if INFJs think like Plato, INFPs think like Kierkegaard.

Thus, the INFP does not think of harmony as unison or fellow-feeling, but as giving everyone space to diverge, each into their own parallel world of highly differentiated personal affects.

With regards to Intuition, INFPs prefer Extroverted Intuition over Introverted Intuition. Of all the cognitive functions, Extroverted Intuition is perhaps the function that is the most readily open to new ideas. Where the intuitive perspectives of Introverted Intuition are thought up in solitude, representing the INFJ’s personal need to bring external stimuli under some common ideational heading, the impetus for the perspectives generated by Extroverted Intuition is often nothing more than a new idea or perspective in itself.

Since there is no greater background need that must be obeyed in the formation of such perspectives, the outpourings of Extroverted Intuition tend to be much more explorative and free-floating. Consequently, the perspectives formed by Extroverted Intuition are also more whim-driven and open, sprawling in the direction of anything new that holds the promise of an imaginative delight.

Taken together, the INFP’s combination of Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Intuition tends to heighten their appreciation of people and their wonder at getting acquainted with a multitude of differentiated natures, each going their own way with little regard for the “objectively correct” standards of socialization. On the face of things, the INFP’s receptivity towards the internal states, perceptions, and opinions of others may sometimes cause them to be mistaken for INFJ types. But as we have seen, the nature of their interest in others is really quite different.

We will now drill down to explore more of these differences.

Insights into Human Nature

As we have already touched upon, INFJs tend to develop grand holistic views of the world. These views are structured in terms of what is harmonious and shared and tend to have a transcendental or meta-empirical bent.

INFPs, by contrast, are more inclined to develop perspectives that go deeper into the individual personality and selfhood of each person they acquaint themselves with (as well as to differentiate their own perspectives and values to a greater degree than INFJs). One might say that the INFJ’s perspective is an amalgamation of individual and specific human values plus the universal, where the INFP’s perspective is dedicated exclusively to the exploration of individual human values.

Only the INFP’s perspective will thus be able to say that it has as its end the development and fleshing out of a uniquely particular and individual human being; a self that stands separately from the rest of humanity and the cosmos.

Thus, having the particular as its aim, and not the universal, one can often see INFPs champion a certain relativism and fondness for the marginalized perspectives that would otherwise not be given voice. Now, even the use of the term relativism implies some Introverted Thinking bias in the way we describe INFPs. Since the INFP’s inferior function is Extroverted Thinking, with it being repressed from consciousness, it doesn’t necessarily matter to INFPs how each of the unique and particular perspectives they develop will all fit together. As Kierkegaard has said, there is an irreducible difference between individuals in the world, which it would be foolish – and perhaps even oppressive – to try to breach. To INFPs, the best one can do is to take a stand for the basic human decency of each individual’s perspectives, to ensure they may be heard. Thus, INFPs are better suited to take stock of each specific human being and to capture what defines them as an individual.

All in all, while it is sometimes said that the INFJ is the “ideal psychologist type,” and there is indeed some truth to that, it would perhaps be more accurate to say that the INFJ is better suited to counsel people directly while the INFP is better suited to sit back and take stock of what makes each person unique.

We have already said that neither INFJs nor INFPs tend to be particularly at home in the world. We will end this piece by contrasting how their otherworldliness comes out.


INFJs have dominant Introverted Intuition and inferior Extroverted Sensation. Such a function arrangement may be likened to someone attempting to get a bird’s eye view of the cosmos; seeing things up from above in order to capture the “whole” of the world. They see how forests are formed, how rivers bend, and all sorts of other patterns for how entities interact and how each has a part to play in the whole. But they can only see each object from afar. In spite of their clear view of the whole, they will not have a very good vision of specific objects on the ground. All too easily, they will glaze over them.

INFPs, by contrast, have dominant Introverted Feeling and inferior Extroverted Thinking. With them, they are not so much taking a bird’s eye view of the whole from afar. Rather, with their repository of subjectively-developed sentiments and ideals they seem structurally maladjusted to the world as it exists with the many harsh logical trade-offs and “lesser of two evils” rationales that often seem necessary to navigate it. One could say that where INFJs have idealistic perceptions, INFPs are themselves idealistic with all their personhood and being.

If the INFJ is someone who hovers above reality, trying to get a bird’s eye view of it, the otherworldliness of the INFP is instead like someone traversing the world with invisible psychic walls up around them. Within the bounds of these walls exists a dream world defined by the INFP’s own rich collection of personal sympathies and values. The walls filter out how the individual is able to perceive the objective world of facts and things and necessary logical trade-offs. It can be difficult for the INFP to step outside of these walls – outside this dream world – and approach the external world directly and on its own terms. It can make dealing with the crudeness of the external world very difficult for them.

The Paleo-Buddhist Conception of Mind

By Ryan Smith

When talking about Buddhism, we must first ask: Which version of Buddhism? In this article, the answer is going to be ‘original Buddhism’: We are going to base our answer on the earliest Buddhist texts, that is, from the time when Buddhism was not yet a religion, but a matter of philosophy and existential consummation.

In original Buddhism (and Vedanta before that) the mind in its untrained state is a source of peril. According to the earliest Buddhist sources, without the proper and regular exercise of meditation, the mind will be of a constitution where it controls your mental processes, instead of you controlling them. Thus the Anguttara Nikaya says that there is “nothing which, when unbridled, uncontrolled, unwatched, untamed, brings such ruin as mental processes.”...

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An Interview with Richard Noll

Interview by Ryan Smith

Richard Noll is an Associate Professor of Psychology at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, a clinical psychologist, and the award-winning author of two famous books on Jung, namely The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton University Press, 1994) and The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung (Random House, 1997). A third Jung volume, Mysteria: Jung and the Ancient Mysteries, was also slated for publication (1994/1995) by Princeton, but suppressed at the behest of the Jung family. As an independent researcher delving into the history of medicine, Noll was one of the first scholars worldwide to adopt a critical view of Jung in his works. Publishing at a time when almost all biographies of Jung portrayed him in an excessively positive light, Noll’s books provoked a forceful pushback from the Jungian community. Noll never answered his critics, though, but moved on to other research interests of his, such as shamanism and dementia praecox/schizophrenia.

Dr. Noll, thank you for being with us.

You’re welcome. Your persistence paid off. You’re getting me to talk about my old mentor Dr. Jung, with whom I spent so much time 30-some years ago. He still visits me in my dreams. He wishes all your readers a fond “Howdy!” from the Pleroma.

When your books on Jung came out, you were savaged by certain pro-Jungian authors, yet (joining Nozick and Hume) you never answered your critics. Indeed you simply moved on to other fields altogether. Why did you decide to let the critics have the last word?

Once a book or article appears, it follows its own fate and speaks for itself. I feel it no longer belongs to me but instead must undergo its own ordeal in the arena – that is, if anyone reads and comments on it at all (most publications are totally ignored, by the way). I place great faith in the mechanisms of scholarship as a multigenerational project in which we all interpret and correct each other’s texts. In other words, we wash each other’s diapers because that’s our job – indeed, perversely, it’s our passion. All scholarship, including mine, has a short shelf-life.  So that’s one reason.

hqdefaultThe other is that by 1998 my interests had changed and I began researching other topics. I simply had moved on. I was “done” with Jung. I know that is not how many current readers of the books I produced 20 years ago view me, but – hey – I often feel just like William Shatner in that old Saturday Night Live skit in which he tells Trekkies at a Star Trek convention: “Get a life!” In the minds of many of today’s readers I am frozen in time as the “Richard Noll Avatar” who wrote those books in the mid-1990s, but from my perspective I was out in the real world just living my life.

Oh, and I should mention that I became a father for the first time in 1999, and my son, Wolfgang, became a beautiful distraction from the outside world. Over the past 18 years I have been vaguely aware of critiques of my work being published, but I was so detached and dissociated from anything and anyone Jungian that I just didn’t care. I often learned about the criticisms many years after they had appeared. If I had critics, they too, in time, would provoke their own critics (as is happening now in challenges to Sonu Shamdasani’s work, I see), and so on and on and on the fractal dialectics spin…

Over the years I’ve generally thought, “Well, I’ll give it 20 years or so and then check in on Jung scholarship to see if my books hold up.” And they do!  I am proud of my Jung scholarship. I raised new questions and stimulated historical interest in Jung, which had been sorely lacking. And for some of my central claims, controversial as they may have been at the time, evidence has emerged that suggests I was correct.

So you moved on to studying the history of schizophrenia (Dementia Praecox) and shamanism. How would you explain those topics to someone who does not have a lot of background knowledge of them already?

Actually, my interest in both of these topics predates any interest in Jung. Jung’s name kept coming up in texts on these topics, so I eventually looked into him. As a teenager I was deeply interested in anthropology and was fascinated by descriptions of shamans as both medical and spiritual; magical and religious figures. I was intrigued by the claims that what we generically call “shamanism” was found on all continents by ethnographers and that it was presumed to be a living survival of the original religious and medical traditions of human beings.  Interest in schizophrenia came from living on the Upper West Side of New York City in the late 1970s and early 1980s and interacting with so many deinstitutionalized psychiatric patients on the streets in my neighbourhood. I then developed a scientific interest in schizophrenia and pursued it in grad school and throughout the rest of my life.  Both my experimental and historical research on schizophrenia are still central activities for me today.

Are there any particular works of yours that you would recommend as good introductions to those fields? Where should the interested reader start?

A 1985 article, Mental Imagery Cultivation as a Cultural Phenomenon, published in Current Anthropology on the techniques shamans use for learning to have visions is regarded as a sort of “classic” in anthropology because it is now regarded as offering an innovative theoretical perspective in the anthropological study of religion that contradicted the reigning explanations based on discourse analyses associated with the linguistic or postmodern turn in academia that prevailed at the time. It is also regarded today as an early seminal text in the new discipline known as the “cognitive science of religion,” which I teach. The article is available online in both Academia.edu and Researchgate.net, as are two articles I wrote about the elderly Tungus (Siberian) shamans I interviewed in Northeast China in 1994. My recent (2011) book on dementia praecox, American Madness, reflects my interest in the history of schizophrenia and of psychiatry in general.

Getting back to Jung: Granting that you maintain only a limited interest in Jung these days, what is your impression of the subsequent scholarship since the days of your own work? I understand there’s a new book out which partially validates much of what you wrote about Jung’s pan-Germanic and racialist leanings in the interwar years – findings of yours which (among other things) greatly incensed the Jungians when your books came out.

Carrie B. Dohe’s new book, Jung’s Wandering Archetype: Race and Religion in Analytical Psychology, has already generated quite a stir among a wide range of scholars who admire it, particularly in the field of religious studies. Although it is not derivative of my work, her excellent scholarship focuses on themes and topics that I could only cover in an inadequate, somewhat superficial fashion 20 years ago. I tried to do too much, tried to open too many doors to raise new scholarly questions, in my books. Sometimes I cringe when I skim them. But I am my own harshest critic.

Seeing as you have now worked within multiple areas of research, would you say that the scholarly climate pertaining to Freud, Jung, and Psychoanalysis is different from other scholarly milieus in general? Some of your comments would seem to suggest that it can be extraordinarily pernicious and hostile.

I don’t know what it is like now, but in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s both scholars and analysts (Freudian and Jungian) conducted themselves as if they were members of some weird radical cell – private backstabbing, public denunciations, and atrocious manners in public. I believe that on the Open Journal of Jungian Typology you have a link to an “Open Letter to Sonu Shamdasani” regarding reports of his public behavior toward, and about, Jung’s biographer Deidre Bair. His behavior as described in that letter – if accurate – is a good example of the sort of deplorable behavior I witnessed among such scholars. I suspect it still goes on among them and nothing has changed. They tend to have a grandiose sense of entitlement and irrational proprietary claim on their scholarly subject, whether it be Freud or Jung, and cannot bear to have any other scholars as competitors. Being so thin-skinned – a bit like Donald Trump, actually – they launch vicious personal attacks rather than engage in reasoned public dialogue, complain loudly that others are “stealing” from them, claim that other scholars are fabricating evidence, and use every opportunity to malign the character of their competitors in personal interactions with their colleagues and their students. If one minor scholarly criticism is made of their work – say, challenging a translation of a word or passage – they scream bloody murder as if greatly injured and they threaten the editors of scholarly journals with legal suits for libel.

Serious scholars really have no patience for such prima donnas, no matter how “preeminent” they may regard themselves as being.  When I was in India some years ago and looking for a toilet I stumbled upon a sight I will never forget: a king cobra, erect and vigilant, perched atop a huge mound of human shit, aggressively protecting his treasure from anyone who came near it. This is how some of these prima donna psychoanalytic scholars appeared – and still appear – to me. Their male “display” behaviors are often successful in scaring off younger scholars from entering their field of expertise. And like all bullies, they tend to attract loyal followers and defenders who, as young or insecure dupes, often do the bully’s public dirty work for him. But influence is fragile and fleeting no matter who a scholar may be. O Ozymandias!

Why do you suppose that Freud, Jung, and psychoanalysis scholarship are so uniquely plagued by these unfortunate behaviors?

I put it down to extensions of the unhealthy cultic, intergenerational group dynamics that infested the psychoanalytic movement as a whole since its beginning. These are waves still lapping up on shore caused by distant events far back in the ocean of time.

It seems to me that other scholars (even those who have adopted a more neutral view of Jung) have received some of the same vicious treatment that you did. For example, as you’ve already mentioned, Deidre Bair has penned a piece in which she seems quite shocked at the treatment she received from the Jungian community and from certain pro-Jung scholars.

Bair spoke up in public, but as for other Jung scholars who have found themselves shut out of access to primary archival materials or shouted down in public, it is really their story to tell, not mine. That said, every year I get several emails from scholars, usually young ones who are starting out, who have received such treatment. I never have anything to offer them but sympathy. There is a carefully designed and executed re-mythologization of Jung taking place that makes him an ahistorical, perennialist mystic and Wise Man who seems to have escaped history, particularly the German cultural context of his era. What a Houdini!

The Jung estate, of course, has an enormous emotional and financial interest in such a re-mythologization, but so do scholars and translators and Jungian analysts associated with these projects. In other words, there is a small army of folks sucking at the nipple of the pro-Jung Industry.  Such situations are not new, as literary scholars can tell you about the proprietary concerns of the descendants of famous figures such as James Joyce, etc. But the new Jung scholarship cannot be verified by other scholars due to the denial of access to primary documents (such as happened to Bair, a respectable scholar who had previously won a National Book Award in the USA). Except for those editors and translators who are being paid by the Jung Industry to put out its propaganda, no one is allowed to access the unpublished primary sources. And it is indeed a new form of propaganda. There is a particular “spin” in the lovely – but intellectually vapid – coffee-table books produced by these new propagandists.

Truly critical scholars (“critical” in an intellectually questioning sense, not in a debunking sense) will never be able to verify many critical citations from Jung’s unpublished work nor examine the bulk of the evidence to determine if, as seems likely, a selective citation of sources from the archives is being made.  As noted scholars such as cultural historian Wouter Hanegraaff and historian of psychiatry Angela Graf-Nold have pointed out in print, there are serious problems with not only some translations from German to English in the new Jungian corpus but a lack of critical thinking and honest intellectual engagement in the scholarly apparatus that accompanies them. When a monopoly exists there is no free market for the competition of ideas. Except for interesting work by the Germanist Paul Bishop of the University of Glasgow, Petteri Pietikainen of Oulu, Finland and Carrie Dohe of Marburg, we are back to where we were circa 1990: Jung is a mediumistic New Age prophet who actually received direct revelations concerning the spiritual/psychological salvation of humankind (as he himself believed and, as I argued, acted upon to create a cult of redemption and rebirth), or – a new wrinkle – he is reframed as a “literary genius” like William Blake or Goethe.

For young scholars today, Jung scholarship is a dead-end.  The advice I give in my response emails to these perplexed young scholars is: Let the cobras reign over their shit-piles and just move on. Given the denial of open access to primary archival materials, Jung scholarship is a career dead-end.  Although Jung was fond of quoting the alchemical saying that “beneath the highest dung-heap lies the greatest treasure,” Jung was wrong. You know what? Sometimes under a pile of shit you just find more shit.

When I first read your books, I thought they were entertaining and original, but I thought it was telling that you didn’t reply to your critics (in particular, one critic dedicated a whole book to criticizing you and you never said a line in your defense). However, speaking of original documents, I learned last year that though you no longer take an active part in the Jung Wars, you deposited a cache of some 20 documents concerning the early days of those controversies at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology in Akron, Ohio. After reading those documents, I am no longer so sure that you were treated entirely fairly. In these documents, one of your most prominent critics even seems to imply that he agrees with your thesis that Jung’s therapeutic movement was really a cult.

Interested scholars can consult those original documents in the archives. Scholars can draw their own conclusions. Whether I have been treated “fairly” or not is a judgment for others to make. I frame all this material more in terms of what those documents reveal about the characters of three ambitious young men two decades ago (myself being one of them), nothing more. But, as you say, the materials verify that other Jung scholars at the time (before the September 1994 publication of The Jung Cult) who later became prominent were also viewing Jung as the founder of a cult. The recently deceased John Kerr told me in person that he and Sonu Shamdasani believed it was a “psychotic cult,” but I disagreed with the diagnosis at the time. Alas, for Kerr’s part, he makes no such statement in the archival documents I deposited so this particular claim of mine can only be regarded by serious scholars as “hearsay” (but as you say, while Kerr doesn’t voice support for the “cult” thesis in those documents, another well-known critic of mine does). So there is indeed a backstory to the controversy my book created when it appeared.

And my focus on Jung’s “deification experience” is also supported in one of the deposited letters to me as having been acknowledged as a central truth about Jung. I was more right than I realized, I was told in a letter. And the publication of The Red Book vindicates me. Jung had more than one deification experience, and no amount of chattering about how much I mistakenly take it “too literally” and refuse to view it “symbolically” or “psychologically” or in a “literary or metaphorical” fashion can diminish what was, to Jung, terrifyingly concrete, embodied and destabilizing experiences which, in a radically empirical way, he regarded as authentic and true. Jung “became divine” more than once.

Finally, a striking thing about your works on Jung is that most Jung scholars try their hand at some type of explication or operationalization of Jung’s typology. I can tell from your works that you’re familiar with the basics of Jung’s typology, of course, but even so, I’ve followed you closely enough to notice that, compared to the field as a whole, you were always comparatively uninterested in Jung’s typology, relying instead on more individualized means by which to characterize individuals. I wonder if you could share a few remarks on how you view the matter of Jung’s typology in general?

The “complex theory” that Jung hammered out with Eugen Bleuler and other associates in the Burghölzli in Zurich in the first decade of the 20th century and certain aspects of his psychological types theory (especially the extraversion-introversion and thinking-feeling dimensions) are some of his most helpful constructs and have had the most indirect scientific support from other areas of research. That said, as others (including Hermann Rorschach) have noted, Jung’s more elaborate theory is a bit wobbly (and I agree). That’s my opinion and I know many others who differ who have more expertise than I do. But as heuristics to be used in direct clinical work they have been regarded by many as valuable. They offer perspectives that can help us reflect on our experiences and behavior, but should not be enshrined as literally true or as having uncontroversial scientific support.

One interesting thing to me is that, reading your books, I would have thought you were an Extroverted Intuitive type with Introverted Feeling. But from your own reflections (and with the aid of Jungian analysts), you’re pretty certain that it’s the other way around, that is, that you’re an Introverted Feeling type with Extroverted Intuition.

Introverted Feeling type (yep – just ask my critics who deplore my intellectual work), Intuition second and, uh, I forget the rest of what my old Jungian pals used to tell me years ago. And I never took the MBTI. A great deal of work in behavioral genetics supports the extraversion-introversion trait, by the way.

Dr. Noll, thank you for taking the time to be with us. It’s been a pleasure to consider your interesting perspectives.

Thank you. You are doing interesting work on your website, as both Salman Rushdie and Steven Pinker are on record as saying. I have no idea how I found myself in such esteemed company. I feel like Peter Sellers in the movie Being There. However, with respect to Jung scholarship, no one else has ever offered a public forum for an open discussion of all aspects of the debate. When you cross over to the Pleroma, Dr. Jung will be hosting a banquet in your honor. Even now he is boiling the boar and readying the wine and together you will celebrate his Mysteries. You are a true disciple of Jung’s, in the Nietzschean sense.


Richard Noll’s books on Jung, The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement and The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung, as well as his more recent work on American Madness: The Rise and Fall of Dementia Praecox are available through Amazon. Noll’s work on shamanism is available through academic communities such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate. The page proofs of the suppressed volume Mysteria: Jung and the Ancient Mysteries are available through the Open Journal of Jungian Typology.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and MBTI are trademarks of the MBTI Trust, Inc.

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Boye Akinwande is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Akinwande’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site.

By Boye Akinwande

Both INFJs and ISFJs tend to be soft-spoken and considerate individuals. They often have thoughtful and well-developed perspectives on the social dynamics of what’s going on around them, manifesting particularly acute insight into people, emotions, communities, and values.

Unfortunately, however, many ISFJs are often misidentified as INFJs because the nature of Jungian typology makes it easy to assume that anyone who presents an ideational or intellectual world view must necessarily be an N type. In some cases, this tendency to identify ISFJs as INFJs is but yet another expression of the tendency described by Ric Velasquez to understand N types as S types “with an extra layer.” However, this perspective fails to understand that the way typology discriminates between people is not on the basis of merit, “but broadly, in their usual ways of mental operations,” as the seminal typologist Horace Gray has said.

In my view, both ISFJs and INFJs can often seem a bit more ideational than many other types on account of their thoughtfulness, reserve, and their predilection for compassion. As I have argued in my article (and video) on the judging function axis, the Ti/Fe axis inclines the individual to perceive the world as a place of abstract, theoretical commonalities between objects. This can sometimes make ponderous or intellectual ISFJs seem like INFJs, even to trained experts. So let’s go over the two types in turn.

A good way to distinguish the two types is that ISFJs have Si/Ne, so they tend to be more cautious and meticulous in their mental processes and approach. Accordingly, the perspectives they form tend to be cross-checked with reality to a greater degree.

On the other hand, since ISFJs are more inclined to cross-reference their ideas with empirical facts about reality, and because Intuition is their inferior function, they also tend to need a lot of time to process intellectual matters before forming conclusions about them. Accordingly, ISFJs are often more realistic in their intellectual conclusions, but on the other hand, they are also frequently less radical about them.

The ISFJ’s dependence on direct experience and verifiable facts also means that they can sometimes feel uncomfortable when forced to relate to foreign and novel ideas on the fly. This discomfort means that the ISFJ is often stereotyped as being uninterested in new ideas that challenge their perspectives, but in fact, most ISFJs actually value new perspectives that lie outside of their normal frames of reference, and they are often particularly happy to talk to other Fe/Ti types about such things, in order to enlarge the sum-total of their real-life references. To many ISFJs, the real-life reference point of another person’s opinion can present a more effective way of relating to an idea than a host of theoretical qualifications and observations that all seem to reference nothing more than yet more theoretical qualifications and observations.

Now if we compare all of this with the INFJ, we will see that by comparison, the INFJ tends to come across as being almost exclusively ideational in their cognition. While they can sometimes be excluding of new perspectives, this is not so much because they are held back by attention to real-life considerations as it is because the singular and excluding nature of their dominant function – that is, Ni – only seeks to extoll one comprehensive ideational world view at a time. Rather than ideas being struck down by real-world considerations, it is ideas being struck down by other ideas.

Another point worth noting about INFJs is that they often seek to unite contradictory values and judgments within the same perspective. Instead of observing how facts contradict each other, their cognition tends to be preoccupied with pondering whether how the way we think about these facts could pave the way for some grand unification or synthesis. This predilection for synthesizing seemingly mutually exclusive perspectives is what gives rise to the stereotype that INFJs are mystical and holistic.

Because they seek to push the boundaries of what and how it is typically thought possible to think, the perspectives of INFJs are therefore sometimes touted as ingenious, seminal, and so on, which again leads many IFJs to want to identify as INFJ, or to identify their smart IFJ friends and celebrity idols as INFJs. However, one downside that’s comparatively less talked about is that the perspectives of INFJs are not guaranteed to be ingenious – they may also be nonsensical, misguided, make-believe, wishful thinking, or only make sense in the mind of the INFJ themselves. This is one danger that Jung warned of with regards to having dominant Ni.

Finally, while ISFJs have inferior Intuition, INFJs have inferior Sensation. As Jung has also said, their connection with reality is often not the best. Thus, when speaking about their ideational perspectives, INFJs don’t always devote very much attention to how these ideas are going to be implemented in practice, but rather speak with a compelling clarity and certitude about what reality will be like once these perspectives of theirs have been implemented in full. They are not “nuts and bolts” thinkers and frequently must rely on more practical types to “translate” what they have seen abstractly into factual reality. Generally speaking, they don’t exist so much in the real world, but tend to be more preoccupied with making sense of meanings and ideas in their own heads.

Moral Foundations Theory

Watch this article as a video here and here.

Jonathan Haidt is a professor at New York University. With more than 30,000 citations from other scholars, he is arguably the most prominent social scientist at work in the world today.

Haidt is especially famous for his framework of moral foundations or moral intuitions theory. The theory bypasses the traditional rationalist frameworks used by scholars and looks at how people’s morals are far more beholden to emotions and intuitions than to rational frames of mind.

In Western philosophy, Kant famously said that morality is rooted in reason – abstract moral rules that are true for everyone, always.

But before that, Hume had actually said that morality is rooted in sentiment and emotion. He also said that morality was in many ways subjective, just like aesthetic taste is subjective. To Hume, there was no “one size fits all” rule book that could describe everyone’s morals.

Social scientists have traditionally worked off of a Kantian framework that emphasized reason as the cause of human morality. Many have thought that the ability to reason clearly about moral issues is what causes human beings to be moral.

However, more recent research suggests that people aren’t especially rational in their moral judgments. There is little to suggest that the most logical people are also the most moral. And one study even found that books on ethics were more often stolen from libraries than books on other topics.

Therefore, it seems Hume was right: Morality is like aesthetic taste and varies from person to person. Rationality merely acts as a press agent, coming up with plausible reasons for why we believe what we believe, after the emotions have done their work.

There are six different moral foundations and everyone’s morality has something to do with all six scales. But the mixture of the scales is different from person to person. We’re going to do a more detailed breakdown of the scales later in this piece. For now, let’s just note that moral foundations are not just different from person to person: They also vary between different political groups.

  • Some people think that it’s very important to care for each other and for the downtrodden. These people are usually left-wingers.
  • Some think it’s important to honor their society’s traditional culture and to respect its cultural taboos. These people are typically conservatives.
  • Others still think the most important thing is that the individual has the freedom to be his own master and that he is free to reject the norms imposed on him by the group. These people are typically libertarians.

Not everyone agrees that their morality is really more emotional than rational. Be that as it may, however, moral foundations theory has certainly gained ground among researchers and has turned up a lot of evidence that people are different.

The Six Moral Foundations 

Care: This foundation pertains to our mammalian need to care for our young and to form bonds of attachment to others. It underlies the virtues of kindness and nurturance and is tied to emotions such as protectiveness and compassion. Left-wingers typically score the highest on this dimension, conservatives the second-highest, and libertarians the lowest.

Fairness: This foundation pertains to our ability to maintain cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships. It underlies the virtues of honesty, justice, and dependability. It is tied to emotions such as gratitude, anger, and guilt. Left-wingers typically score higher on this dimension than conservatives and libertarians, but the foundation is important to all political groups. The trick here is that left-wingers understand fairness as equality – for example by supporting welfare and economic redistribution – while the right understands fairness as proportionality – that is, cracking down on slackers and free-riders and letting those who work hard and do well in a market economy keep more of what they earn.

The next three moral foundations are loyalty, authority, and purity. They are sometimes grouped together under the heading “Tradition,” as they are chiefly relevant to conservatives.

Loyalty: This foundation is derived from our species’ long history of living as tribes and clans, enabling us to form cohesive communities. It underlies the virtues of patriotism, bravery, and self-sacrifice on behalf of the group. It is tied to emotions such as pride and a sense of belonging. Conservatives typically score higher on this dimension than left-wingers and libertarians.

Authority: This foundation was shaped by humanity’s long history of bonding together in hierarchical social interactions. It underlies the virtues of respect for tradition and deference to legitimate authority. It is tied to emotions such as fear, respect, and awe. Conservatives typically score higher on this dimension than left-wingers and libertarians.

Purity: This foundation pertains to our species’ need to avoid disease and parasites. It underlies the phenomenon of cultural taboos and fuels the commitment to live in a manner that abstains from indulgence in sensory desires. It is tied to emotions such as sanctity, piety, and disgust. Conservatives typically score higher on this dimension than left-wingers and libertarians.

The sixth moral foundation was added the latest to Haidt’s system, but it is by no means less significant that the preceding five.

Liberty: This foundation is related to the individual’s need to be his own master and to avoid the dominant social mores imposed by the group. It underlies the virtues of independence and autonomy. It is tied to emotions such as self-sufficiency and defiance. Libertarians typically score the highest on this dimension, followed by conservatives, who score the second-highest. Left-wingers typically score the lowest here.

The Six Moral Foundations and Three Prominent Political Groups

Left-wingers have a care and fairness-based morality: They want people to take care of the poor and the weak and to empathize with victims. But on the other hand, traditional social structures, such as in-group loyalty, authority and purity, aren’t especially important to them. With regards to liberty, many left-wingers will say that liberty is very important to them, but in empirical studies, they nevertheless tend to score lower on liberty than conservatives and libertarians. One reason for this may be that while left-wingers typically do care about liberty in relation to lifestyle choices, they tend to place less of a premium on economic liberty than conservatives and libertarians.

Conservatives have a balanced morality where all six foundations are solidly represented. Conservatives are the only political group for whom the foundations of loyalty, authority, and purity play more than an infinitesimal role. However, while conservatives are often stereotyped as stick-in-the-muds who only care about traditional morality, studies in Moral Foundations theory actually show that conservatives really have the most multifaceted morality of all political groups. Like leftists, they also care about nurture and fairness, and like libertarians, they also care about liberty. On the other hand, since conservatives have to balance all six foundations in their moral makeup, their morality is not always as clear-cut as that of left-wingers or libertarians.

Libertarians, unsurprisingly, have a liberty-based morality with a good deal of fairness thrown in as well. In fact, the zest for liberty among libertarians is so high that some studies report the liberty foundation taking up close to half of their total morality. Like left-wingers, libertarians don’t care too much about the traditional foundations of loyalty, authority, and purity, but apart from liberty, libertarians also care a good deal about fairness. But as we saw earlier, it is important to remember that libertarians don’t understand fairness as equality, but as proportionality: They tend to dislike people who – as they often put it – vote themselves more money through welfare. They also tend to think that if someone works hard and does well in the market economy, they should also be allowed to keep a big part of what they earn. Finally, libertarians tend to score lower on care than both left-wingers and conservatives. Libertarians don’t always like to hear this, but the evidence is pretty clear. On the other hand, some theorists have speculated that the reason libertarians score lower on this dimension is not necessarily because they don’t care about the weak, but because they don’t have as many emotions concerning their instinct to care as other political groups, since libertarians are, on average, less emotional people in general.

Spiritual Development in Mithraism

When I mention genders and cognitive functions in this article, I refer to them only in terms of the historical and metaphysical ways in which they were employed by Jung, Jungians, and the ancient world. The value judgments associated with these entities are invoked because they are relevant to my analysis of the Mithraic mysteries, and not because they reflect my personal views.


“Awe surrounds the [Mithraic] mysteries, particularly the mystery of deification. This was one of the most important of the mysteries; it gave the immortal value to the individual – it gave certainty of immortality. One gets a peculiar feeling from being put through such an initiation.” – C.G. Jung: Notes on the Seminar Given in 1925, Lecture 12...

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