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Rational and irrational consciousness: Two profoundly different ways of orienting to the world - John Beebe
Saturday, March 20, 2021, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT
Category: APTi Webinars

Jung’s insight that consciousness proceeds by both irrational and rational processes, and that both are essential in adapting to life, was a major breakthrough in understanding human awareness. In speaking of “irrational” consciousness, Jung implied no disrespect.  Rather, he saw that if we orient ourselves exclusively through traceable, logical processes (thinking and feeling), we will proceed too slowly and miss too much of the world around us. We need the sudden, instantaneous realizations that come from intuition and sensation, the irrational functions, to be fit for life. The MBTI description of functions as either “perceiving” or “judging” capture some of what Jung realized when he conceived of consciousness as divided into “irrational” and “rational,” but these terms miss the most fundamental part of Jung’s insight. The distinction between P and J in the Myers-Briggs type code is even farther removed from Jung’s insight because of the counterintuitive way that that letter code is applied to introverts.


Attendees will learn about

  • the history of Jung’s understanding of the irrational from his original view of it as a principle of the unconscious to a recognition of it as half of consciousness itself.
  • Jung’s reasons for considering feeling a rational consciousness 
  • Jung’s understanding of sensation as an irrational consciousness
  • The qualitative difference between extraverted and introverted rationality and irrationality in the different forms of consciousness that Jung described 

Attendees will be able to

  • Recognize the difference between their own preferred rational and irrational forms of consciousness
  • Appreciate that irrational function-types are actually consciousnesses
  • Discover the kinds of choices rational function-types are able to make
  • Accept the reality that neither rational nor irrational functions have a patent on integrity

John Beebe, a former president of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, is a psychiatrist who specializes in psychotherapy. He is author of Energies and Patterns in Psychological Type: The Reservoir of Consciousness. Beebe has spearheaded a Jungian typological approach to the analysis of film and has written the preface to the recent Routledge Classics edition of Jung's 1921 book, Psychological Types. His eight-function, eight-archetype model of type is widely studied and applied. A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric.


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