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Age and Function Development

According to W. Harold Grant

"At the age of twelve, the time of puberty which many religious traditions and sociological views have recognized as significant and apt for ritual "passage," the child crossing the threshold into adolescence will, so to speak, shift gears. The automotive image is an apt one, and we might add that the psychic gear shift is more automatic than deliberate. There seems to take place spontaneously a certain disengagement from previous expression of the dominant function, and an inclination to exercise a second function, called the "auxiliary."

"As we have seen, we all need both to receive from life (P) and to contribute to it (J). It seems to make sense to suggest that the two growth periods of childhood (6 to 12) and adolescence (12 to 20) provide an alternating rhythm of P/J or J/P."

"At twenty, in the passage from adolescence to young adulthood, another gear switching experience occurs, and the young person begins a notable development of a third function."

"Finally, at thirty-five, the most interesting and frequently most difficult transition takes place. One finally comes to the stage when the call of God inscribed in the processes of the psyche bids us to allow the least preferred of all the functions, the one in sharpest tension with the dominant one, to find its place in our conscious investment in life. If, for example, from childhood on, extraverted feeling has been the hinge or pivot of our development, now we will be asked, from within ourselves, to give introverted thinking an unprecedented place in the way we deal with life. Note that here too, at the third switching point, the pattern of alternation of both functions and attitudes is followed. We will have more to say, in each of the following chapters, about the emergence of this so called inferior function."[1]


[1] W. Harold Grant (1983), From Image to Likeness: A Jungian Path in the Gospel Journey, 21-23

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