Developing an Untethered Personality
Have you ever experienced arguing strongly for an issue and for what you called undeniable facts only later to discover you were entirely wrong? Have you ever had an emotional reaction to a situation and you said or reacted in a way which was entirely out of your control and you later regretted? Have you ever met someone for the first time and instantaneously greatly disliked (or liked) and had no rationale or explicit reason for the reaction?
In each of these situations you experienced being “had” by a point of view, emotion, belief, or hunch. When something “has” you, it is like being in a bubble such that you don’t take in other information or see other possibilities or options. You are tethered to this reaction and perspective. The perspective, emotion, belief, or hunch controls your perceptions and reactions rather than you being in conscious control.
In a profound way, your conscious self is the “subject” of the perspective, emotion, or hunch. When these elements become “objects” of conscious awareness, they no longer have power or control over your reactions and feelings. When these experiences are objects of understanding, you are free to interpret the experience differently and rather than reflexively react, you can adaptively select a response.
The richest form of this kind of adaptability is when you see and understand multiple perspectives, the deep meaning of the psychological information in your emotions, and become ever more inclusive in your thinking and choices. But to get here, you have to be self-aware of your reactions and perspectives and open to self-examination about what, why, and how you are thinking and seeing things as you are at the moment and consider how you might see and react that is constructive and healthy for yourself and others involved.
These reflexive (automatic) perspectives, emotions, beliefs, and hunches are useful in that you are not having to use a lot of energy to figure out how to respond. These are often used reactions that have served you in the past. In new situations, however, they may not serve you well at all.
From the framework of psychological type, each mental function (Se, Ne, Te, Fe, Si, Ni, Ti, Fi) serves a purpose. Each provides for an efficient form of information or judgment. Because of the need for individuals to efficiently process and act, each person is literally tethered to that specific form of perception and judgment, whatever it happens to be. When Jung noted that it is our type which “determines and limits judgments”, he had this very human dynamic in mind.
This automatic dynamic is not inherently bad, just limiting until and unless we realize that this is a starting point of understanding and decision-making. We need to be able to identify how each of these functions play into our individual psychology, which the Pearman Personality Integrator is designed to do. By clarifying what is comfortable and demonstrated among your mental functions as defined by type, you are able to gain a greater control of a full range of ways of perceiving and reflect on and use a full range of judging processes.
For example if you are an individual who is very comfortable and frequently uses Introverted Sensing (Si) for information and Extraverted Thinking for making decisions (Te), and you are not able to flex among mental functions to explore other ways of seeing things or considering options, you miss a tremendous amount of valuable information and your decisions will have limited impact. The Pearman allows you to get a handle on awareness and use of all perceiving and judging processes and insight into the role of flexibility in your personality.
In short, the Pearman gives you a way to untether your conscious self by gaining greater utility of all of your mental functions and increasing your flexibility to enhance adapting to challenges and enriching individual well-being. Consider each of the gifts of the eight functions—and what each ignores:
Se focuses on the here and now, ignoring what was and what is potential.
Ne generates possibilities, ignoring concrete reality and constraints.
Si drives for reliable and verified details, ignoring patterns and possible connections.
Ni sees scenarios and imagines what can be, ignoring what is immediate and present.
Te argues for fixing the gaps in analysis, ignoring consequences on others.
Fe empathizes, ignoring likely and probable options which could be uncomfortable.
Ti analyzes the pros and cons, ignoring personal meaning and ideals in a situation
Fi pushes for framing situations through values and ideals, ignoring the logic of a situation.
Your task is nothing less that realizing how to use these mental processes in a judicious way. You begin with your “home base” or your automatic reactions realizing these are starting points rather than ending points. You cannot develop and use what you have not identified and understood. The Pearman allows you to identify, clarify, and engage your psychological resources, and to grasp the range of flexibility required to be an untethered self.