Cognitive Functions On The Road To Maturity


Cognitive Functions On The Road To Maturity

cognosce te ipsum vs futue te ipsum

The aim of self-development, aka maturity is “self-actualization”. It is a state of a self become more or less sufficient and individualized to consciously choose to transcend themselves for the benefit of the world at will. Cognitive functions are a great utility for describing how this works in the psyche. The road to self-actualization, and thus to achieving the freedom to fully fulfill one’s usefulness(self-sacrifice at will), is it in finally and fully coming to awareness and acceptance of one’s auxiliary cognitive function? And Does the the road to maturity follow a more or less familiar pattern for all psyche’s?

The Road to Maturity(aka. “The Hero’s Journey”)

  1. Conscious self-awareness begins’ with the Dominant Function being most preferred, which is defined as an opposing stance against the Inferior. This sets the first premise for how one orients itself in relationship to the world - becoming fully aware of who one is by knowing what one is not.

  2. The tertiary function is is the 1st preferred focus of personal growth, in defense of the ego against the threat of the self becoming disintegrated(and “useless”) from the inferior. The tertiary function takes the most conscious effort to develop, and is the most supportive of the ego’s dominance)

  3. The self fails to be saved by the tertiary and chooses to abandon the dominant and tries to solve the problem by surrendering to the inferior - this also what is called exploring your alter-ego(akin to “losing-one’s-‘soul’”), you disown who you are to forcefully identify with what you are not.

  4. The self fails to fully embrace the alter-ego, and becomes “lost” - which opens the way to come face to face with the awareness of one’s “shadow”(the unconscious self). This what I believe is what leads to what in many stories and archetypes is called “the dark night of the soul”

  5. If fortunate to make it back to conscious awareness of one’s dominant function(the ego, which sets the 'purpose" for how a self can be most useful), the self can re-integrate itself by courageously challenging the imposing threats of the Inferior by embracing their Auxiliary, which was originally dismissed because it puts the ego’s supremacy and strength to the test against the Inferior.

  6. Full self-actualization is achieved when the self finds the best way to achieve successful balance between the Dominant(ego) and the Inferior. The method of this achievement is to trust directing the egos attention towards the auxiliary(as opposed to on itself). The best way to do this is to grow aware of the Super-Ego(the 7th function) direct it towards supporting the auxiliary(as opposed of it’s natural shadow position of belittling it). Why awareness of the Super-ego instead of just directly forcing your attention on the Auxilary? (because the Auxiliary function isn’t “conscious” it is a ‘mask’, and works best when not “forced”. But the Super-ego(which is the shadow of the tertiary function) can be consciously made aware of, in a reactionary gesture against the tendency to stagnate ego awareness by focusing on the tertiary. The auxiliary balances the ego’s defense of false supremacy over the self and the Inferiors threat to dissolve it. The auxiliary makes the self useful and courageous in the fight for self-actualization in the face of inevitable death of the self.

What do you think?


Seems kinda INFJ-specific.

The road to self-actualization, and thus to achieving the freedom to fully fulfill one’s usefulness(self-sacrifice at will), is it in finally and fully coming to awareness and acceptance of one’s auxiliary cognitive function?

Self-sacrifice at will seems like the INFJ “hero’s journey”. Or what they might think of as such. Or if not specifically an INFJ’s journey, it seems quintessentially INFJ to think of it that way.

I think life is generally not so linear for people and that many people reach self-actualization through different ways. Which doesn’t always involve having a “dark night of the soul”.

So I think the answer to:

And does the the road to maturity follow a more or less familiar pattern for all psyche’s?

…would be “no”.

It’s hard for me to give a drawn-out explanation as to why, because I do personally relate to what you’ve written. It’s just that when I think of other types, for example INTJs or ESFJs just to rattle off a couple examples, I don’t really see this fitting their own narratives. Or “road to maturity”, rather. I think it would be interesting to see how non-INFJs would weigh in on this.


This part can apply to all types I think. Sounds simple but I see many people who try to put on the mask of their inferior.

And this too!

I’d agree that this entire narrative doesn’t fit all types. But you are on to something for sure.

You are saying focus on auxiliary of course…but the idea of being aware of the super ego and finding balance between the main set of functions lead me to go a bit further and reminded me of what Prax said on another thread about the idea of using the Super ego to get out of the Id. I think self actualization could also be about fully experiencing all functions (including shadow functions) and learning how to overcome each functions limitations through the utilization of other functions and geting back to the Dom/Aux. This could equate to a deep understanding of your own mind.


What do you mean by this? Both the superego and auxiliary functions are conscious ones. Blake even compares the auxiliary function to a tool, something you can choose to wield. Think of the auxiliary function as your right hand, and the superego function as your left hand (assuming one is right-handed).

In some cases it can act as a mask, yes, but one that you willingly put on and take off as needed. If anything it masks the id function to prevent it from looking silly.


Yeah, I agree. Fe is a pretty conscious thing for me. Conscious and deliberate. I think of it as something you wield. And it’s good to do so, in the way that doing something you’ve got a natural ability for, and that gets you good results, feels good and builds confidence.

Got to be linked to the id in some way, I think. Fi id is what makes Fe aux expressions heartfelt so that they’re received better. Maybe. (Interesting to think about how the reverse manifests in comparison, i.e. Fe id leaking through Fi aux.)

I think the biggest realization of how right Blake is when he says people really need to tap into their auxiliary came to me when watching ISFPs. They seem miserable when they can’t get a handle on Se stuff and put it rigorously in place as a strict habit (Si id…?) It’s really something to me seeing how just doing something like taking up karate or painting shoes or zumba or whatever seems to turn their whole lives around.

But yeah, I agree that “fully coming to awareness and acceptance of one’s auxiliary cognitive function” seems important for any type’s sense of personal fulfillment - whatever that might look like for them.

I thought about this more and the reason I said it seems INFJ-specific is, I guess, the definition of maturity. “Self-sacrifice at will” in particular is what seems very INFJ-oriented as a definition of that.