To side with either of these two great realities – heaven and earth – is an error.
Over time I came to appreciate that a middle place in which both realms are honored is not only the safest place, it also is the ecstatic place, the holy place.
If one works faithfully and patiently at this task of balancing heaven and earth, eventually one may even realize something more remarkable:
THAT THE TWO WORLDS ARE IN FACT ONE.
– Robert A. Johnson and Jerry Ruhl, Balancing Heaven and Earth, 2009, Prologue
The Power of Polarities
Polarities are real, and they are everywhere. Light-Dark, Ebb-
Flow, High-Low, In-Out, Rest-Movement, Hot-Cold. When the poles within a polarity are in balance, there is life and growth, but if there is imbalance the system self-destructs.
This is not only a physical truth; it is a psychological truth as well. And it is the driving force behind some of the greatest human achievements, as well as catastrophes.
Think for a moment of a child learning how to bike. It is not until a
child can balance on the bike that he or she graduates from a
tricycle to a bicycle. Life is not kind to lopsidedness, but it is to
There is a principle at work here that I call the “four-legged table.” When one leg of this table is missing, it can remain standing but collapses under pressure.
But a table with four legs is rock solid, even when a lot of weight or pressure is applied to it. Whether as an individual or as part of a team or an organization, we have likely all experienced this in one way or another. We develop a narrow view, overlook something, and topple over under pressure.
There is one critical ingredient that we need as individuals,
teams, and organizations to overcome one-sidedness: purpose.
Purpose is like the solid tabletop that holds the four legs of the table
Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that, in order to fulfill his vocation, he can only be one person: himself.
John’s book The Power of Polarities is a lively and serious contribution to the literature on Jung’s psychological types theory and its practical application. The emphasis on polarities is fundamental and salutary.
“The great paradox is that polarities are intended to harmonize, not polarize. Night can exist without day. Great power is generated by the spark of opposites.”
John van der Steur
Founder, The Polarity Institute
We want to create a world where people uncover the truths that give them life, growth, and fulfillment. We want to inspire you to become who they are meant to be and give your unique genius to the world.
We are dedicated to the practical application of Jungian Typology and the foundational principles of Jungian psychology.
- Create a stream of consciousness where people live inside out instead of outside in.
- Enable growth by connecting generations through Jungian typology.
- Help people find purpose and belonging in the social world.
- Innovate Jungian Typology for the 21st century
Inner work for outer change
Meet Our Founder
John van der Steur
Typologist and Facilitator
John van der Steur was trained as an economist, worked as a management consultant at Accenture and KPMG, became an entrepreneur, typologist, and team development facilitator. In 2002 he founded Insights Learning & Development in the Benelux which became a leader in the market for human development services.
He has worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of teams to help them achieve their goals. Clients include Olympic gold medalists and corporate teams globally. After 10 years he left the Netherlands to live in Austin, TX.
He currently devotes his time to the development of new and innovative solutions for human effectiveness at the Polarity Institute. In 2020 he was offered a faculty position on the Jung Platform to teach Jungian typology.
In his own words:
“I have had a lifelong fascination with the psychology of Carl Jung and have specialized myself in the practical application of his work. I am passionate about helping people discover their personalities and see what unique capabilities and potentials they bring to the table. This book is the result of 30 years of experience in this field.
I believe you must know yourself if you want to navigate and thrive in today’s chaotic world. Understand your personality, your mind, your heart, and most importantly your unique purpose or calling in this world.
I am the product of a Dutch father and an American mother and was raised in the Netherlands. Currently, I live in Austin and am the proud father of two tall Dutch-American girls age eleven and thirteen. In my spare time, I enjoy swimming, biking, practicing Iyengar Yoga, and meditation.”
Get In Touch
We’d love to hear from you!
Not nature, but the “genius of mankind,” has knotted the hangman’s noose with which it can execute itself at any moment.
– Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion: West and East, 1970, § 734
Health and growth are not optional in the psychological sphere, any more than they are in the physical.
– Murray Stein, The Principle of Individuation, 2006, p. 5
The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the “sine qua non” of the world as we know it. It is in the highest degree odd that Western man, with but very few exceptions, pays so little regard to this fact.
– Carl Jung, Structure & Dynamics of the Psyche, 1969, § 357
The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn of Day, 1881, Sec. 297