(Thanks to Gayle Veltman, Dario Nardi and Danielle Poirier for thoughtful reviews of this document.)
If you take psychological type as a serious proposition about the nature of being human, there is no escaping the complexity of this question: "what is the nature of type development?" An important follow up question is "what are the practical insights for us given our answer to the first question?" In order to explore type development and the use of any insights from this review, I propose that we consider three dimensions of the problem as outlined below. The overall purpose of this article is to raise some questions and hopefully ignite a dialogue that will engage others to see the depth and richness of type.
When biologist Edward Wilson proposes the word "consilience," he is concerned with the unity of knowledge about the web of life. He suggests that our specialization of information leads into a disunity of thought about the whole of the living planet. From Wilson’s point of view, dialogue is urgently needed to bring various fields of inquiry into contact, yielding more complete and better answers.1 I propose that on a much smaller scale, the same kind of dialogue is needed to help move our understanding of type to more complete and useful levels. While there are numerous publications on type development from which we gain some initial insights, we are prompted to consider the following:
- What are the principles of human development that are accepted in general psychology, and how do these apply to psychological type? This requires an exploration of development as it applies to type.
- What are the dimensions of type development about which we should be aware? This requires us to explore the context of type in our own lives.
- What is the practical value of this knowledge? This question brings us to the heart of our individual purpose as related to self- awareness, and reasons for engaging in this kind of exploration.
Before we proceed to explore these questions, there are some "assumptions" to make conscious about type and its context. These assumptions operate as mental models throughout the entire consideration of this topic.
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