Personality Cafe banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

7,027 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The following is an exercise in reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Special guests: Plato, Aristotle

- In my practical medical work with nervous patients I have long been struck by the fact that among the many individual differences in human psychology there exist also typical distinctions: two types especially became clear to me which I have termed the Introversion and the Extraversion Types.

First lines of Jung. Note that he invented those terms. Until now and as far as I know, no psychologist ever suggested to rectify their definition for some well argumented reason. Also note that it is all a translation. The translator might have not been understanding what he had to translate in english, hence causing fatal mistranslations. I will assume that it is not the case and treat it as if it was the original content.

Finally, take note that we're talking about extrAversion, not its retarded internet new-age cousin who loves to party hard and doesn't know his latin prefixes, which is probably a cousin of yours too, extrOversion.

- When we reflect upon human history, we see how the destinies of one individual are conditioned more by the objects of his interest, while in another they are conditioned more by his own inner self, by his subject. Since, therefore, we all swere rather more towards one side than the other, we are naturally disposed to understand everything in the sense of our own type.

This immediately follows the first quote. For everything that one reflects upon is an object, the object of interest can as well be oneself. Therefore and necessarily, the difference between extraversion and introversion is not how one is interested in one's surroundings versus oneself, but "conditionned by".

Being conditioned by the object of one's interest informs us that what one does to exist depends on the existence of that object. For Jung, to be extraverted is to interest oneself in what has an impact on one's lives, and work around its reality. Yet it might as well be a part of the subject itself. The loss of one's leg can be the object of interest: the extraverted mind will work around the reality of that lost limb and accept that their leg is gone. Obviously, an attitude alone doesn't orientate towards a specific topic, but how that topic is being approached. Even more so when that topic is the self, an intellectual construction that depends on one's intellectual prowess.

So what the introverted can be therefore and in opposition conditioned by, that belongs to them alone, is their personal idea of reality. What one does to exist doesn't depend on what is the object of their interest but their idea of it, their expectation. The introverted mind exists in spite of the object of its interest, would it be itself, which is conditioned by - its presence must adapt to - the will of the introverted. Immediately after, Jung warns about the difficulty to type oneself and says:

- Judgment in relation to one's own personality is indeed always extraordinarily clouded. This subjective clouding of judgment is therefore a frequent if not constant factor, for in every pronounced type there exists a special tendency towards compensation for the onesidedness of his type, a tendency which is biologically expedient since it is a constant effort to maintain psychic equilibirum.

Extraordinarily clouded by our expectations, our lack of imagination, our sentiments, hasty judgments, or sheer lack of means to perceive and what else. In other terms, some personalities are more self-clouded than others, due to being more prone to sticking to their expectations for example, which is introversion. At the opposite of that, extraversion is not an equal blind spot of opposed nature.

His reasoning can be interpretated in two ways, either blind spots are frequent because even the most objective personalities have their share of subjectivity, or because any personality can relate to any other for they are made of every possible cognitive functions, and the illusion of competence strikes the hardest the least competent, otherwise known as the well documented Dunning-Kruger effect.

So then, Jung introduces the concept of compensation and equilibrium which serves as a pseudo-argument for the current popular stack and shadow functions. However there are two points not to miss. The first is how it is never, in Jung's theory, equilibrate. Jung simply suggests that a successful lifeform has likely biologically evolved to have in itself the means to oppose what would otherwise be nonfunctional on its own.

That being said, an individual with a lifespan of a few decade is nonfunctional on its own. This is the second point. At the scale of a personally flawed individual, the compensation for biology's sake is exogenous, it comes from outside. From their species or from whatever will eat them after their death so that life can keep its success story going.

For one would be as biologically functional as some millenary species, one would live a thousand years facing the same challenges. Whenever a chronically introverted person is wrong about who needs to die and drives a tank, the life-saving equilibrium doesn't come from themselves but from less delusional members of their species who'll smash their ass into oblivion, or from another nutjob in a tank who thinks exactly the same backwards. This sad reality illustrates how one's vices don't need another's virtues to being solved. As well as how cognitive preferences are not a set of vices that must be erased to achieve virtuosity in a buddhist fallacy of the middle ground.

If Jung was actually believing that every personality is able of equilibrium despite his premises, then he missed an entire wagon of psychopaths. He keeps going:

- The names and forms in which the mechanism of introversion and extraversion has been conceived are extremely diverse and are, as a rule, adapted only to the standpoint of the individual observer.

Here he closes his little warning about self-typing by reminding how in human history plenty of writers beat around the same bush, and he's part of them with his intro/extraversion. He and them try to seize something that pertains to psychology hence relative to their own psychological performances. A double warning: the bush is real, but he might miss the point like his predecessors and successors.

- Notwithstanding the diversity of the formulations, the common basis or fundamental idea shines constantly through ; namely, in the one case an outward movement of interest toward the object, and in the other a movement of interest away from the object, towards the subject and his own psychological processes.

- In the first case the object works like a magnet upon the tendencies of the subject ; it is, therefore, an attraction that to a large extent determines the subject. It even alienates him from himself: his qualities may become so transformed, in the sense of assimilation to the object, that one could imagine the object to possess an extreme and even decisive significance for the subject.

Jung starts to show his shortcomings and contradictions. He conflates the will to observe and to become the object. The will to become the object is necessarily based on previous expectations, hence behind this assimilation to the object lies the will to conform reality to one's expectation, an act of introversion, even though incidentally sacrificial.

It is fallacious to assume that the extraverted subject would change oneself to better fit the object of one's interest (whose idea of it is made of expectations). Instead, it is to fit one's interest in the object, versus introversion, one's interest in one's expectations (for the object). The extraverted person wants to observe the object as it is, not as it expects it to be, hence unaffected by one's presence, and will affect oneself and one's expectations instead for this purpose.

Consider that the object of interest is an unexpected boulder wich is about to crush someone. In the former become-the-object case, extraversion would be to stay still, let oneself be crushed and repaint it in red. In the latter observe-the-object case, extraversion is to move away and let it pass, unaffected by one's presence. The one who shows the most respect for the boulder makes the effort to learn to dodge so that the boulder won't be repainted in red.

Jung might assume lyrically that repainting the boulder is some seemingly sort of mystical self abandon of life energies to wholly embrace the fate of the overpowering influencal boulder, because he missed his carreer as a poet, but doing so is actually influencing the boulder. Hence he goes on:

- It might almost seem as though it were an absolute determination, a special purpose of life or fate that he should abandon himself wholly to the object. But, in the latter case, the subject is and remains the centre of every interest. It looks, one might say, as though all the life-energy were ultimately seeking the subject thus offering a constant hindrance to any overpowering influence on the part of the object.

The keywords are: almost seem. Those are not observations but allegories.

Removing the poetry, it remains that introversion is a hindrance to external influences. It's introversion that is all about getting in the way of the boulder. Might be crushed though instead and become part of its nice red coating, but hey, that's the spirit. Because one can't suck the life-energy out of a boulder. It only works with people, like for example, some idiot will pollute this thread and suck my precious life-force into a black hole of fallacies and denial. I can't be a boulder but I can be a poet. So keep reading you sick little shits.

Immediately after:

- It is not easy to characterize this contrasting relationship to the object in a way that is lucid and intelligible ; there is, in fact a great danger of reaching quite paradoxical formulations which would create more confusion than clarity.

Yes Jung my boi, that's exactly your problem here. But you give it a new try right after that so let's keep quoting.

- Quite generally, one could describe the introverted standpoint as one that under all circumstances sets the self and the subjective psychological process above the object and the objective process, or at any rate holds its ground against the object.

Ok pause. This is again a problem with Jung and his subjective/objective allegories. What is an objective process? There are no informations to really know what semantics Jung hides behind those words in most situations. On the other hand, holding one's ground is pretty clear. The introverted doesn't change one's mind despite surrounding activity. Immediately after:

- This attitude, therefore, gives the subject a higher value than the object. As a result, the object always possesses a lower value ; it has secondary importance; occasionally it even represents merely an outward objective token of a subjective content, the embodiment of an idea in other words, in which however, the idea is the essential factor ; or it is the object of a feeling, where, however, the feeling experience is the chief thing, and not the object of its own individually.

New pause. Luckily the more Jung rephrases the more un-misinterpretable informations he provides as his poetry vanishes. We start with a vague concept of value to end up with how for an introvert, the object can be the embodiement of their ideas (of it) : because the idea, the expectation, is what matters, and since it is a certified rephrasing, Jung assuredly associates the idea with what he calls a subject here. Valuing the subject above the object is valuing the idea, how it is felt and presumed, of the object above its actual reality, causing the subject to hold its ground against changes in the object.

Right after that:

- The extraverted standpoint, on the contrary, sets the subject below the object, whereby the object receives the predominant value.

Thus from the light of the previous statements, what Jung thinks really is that the extraverted strives to change one's mind so that it fits the changes of the object. However he gets all paradoxal when this leads according to him the extraverted to get physically intimate with the object (in a goethian diastolic motion) of one's thoughs to the point of becoming the object itself. Giving up on one's vitality can be both the unfortunate result of either attitude, for it isn't life that is valued or not but one's expectations, habits of thinking. On a less poetic mood he concludes:

- It is plain that the psychology resulting from these antagonistic standpoints must be distinguished as two totally different orientations. The one sees everything from the angle of his conception, the other from the view-point of the objective occurence. Every human being possesses both mechanisms [...]

Now it is perfecly clear and summarized by Jung, one one side, introversion and extraversion respectively are about giving more weight to one's expectation, conception of reality, versus the occurences that would contradict it.

On the other side, not only those are antagonist but, and since they are, don't feed each other. At this point Jung already implies that a dominating attitude dominates all the secondary functions. Sensing, intuition, feeling, thinking. There is no cooperation of attitudes, one exists in spite of the other and in Jung's sense, for some greater biological good. Shortly after:

- Outer circumstances and inner dispositions frequently favour the one mechanism and restrict or hinder the other ; whereby a predominance of one mechanism naturally arises. If this condition becomes in any way chronic a type is produced, namely an habitual attitude, in which the one mechanism premanently dominates ; not, of course, that the other can ever be completely suppressed inasmuch as it also is an integral factor in psychic activity. Hence there can never occur a pure type in the sense that he is entirely possessed of the one mechanism with a complete atrophy of the other. A typical attitude always signifies the merely relative predominance of one mechanism.

Here he reafirms again that both mechanisms exist at the expense of the other with one dominating at various degrees the other, turning this domination into a habit that will be challenged not by oneself but external factors. One mechanism could dominate almost all the time but not erase the other's existence. That's as likely as it is simply fortuitous, and unverifiable in the realm of psychology, in which there is virtually no difference between someone who will never find an opportunity to inhibit an overwhelmingly present aspect of their thinking process, and isn't equiped with the internal ressources to do so.

Shortly after again and to close the introduction after a brief exposition of sensing thinking feeling and intuition's existence:

- My experience has taught me that individuals can quite generally be differentiated, not only by the universal difference of extra and introversion, but also according to individual basic psychological functions. For in the same measure as outer circumstances and inner disposition respectively promote a predominance of one definitive basic function in the individual. As basic functions, i.e. functions which are both genuinely as well as essentially differentiated from other functions, there exist thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. If one of these functions habitually prevails, a corresponding type results. I therefor discriminate thinking, feeling, sensation and intuitive types. Everyone of these types can moreover be introverted of extraverted according to his relation to the object in the way described above.

Jung's technical language of a type is detailed in the previous quote. A type is produced when the predominance of one mechanism arises at the expense of its antagonism. A type is a typical attitude, or a typical function, namely a habitual attitude, or function, habitually dominating its antagonist. Hence in the last quote it is important to keep this in mind. Jung never implies that a type is made of one function and one attitude. It is made of any function and attitude which habitually dominates its antagonist. From this logic, if someone is habitually dominated by sensing, thinking and extraversion, that person is habitually using them all at once. Both predominant functions are predominantly extraverted. By the way, nothing in further chapters will ever contradict this.

And he concludes:

- In two former communications concerning psychological types, I did not carry out the distinction outlined above, but identified the thinking type with the introvert and the feeling type with the extravert. A deeper elaboration of the problem proved this combination ot be untenable.

That conclusion is ironical, as Jung introduces his introduction with a quote from Heine, yet another poet, to illustrate introversion and extraversion under the characters of Plato and Aristotle, when the latter is supposedly introverted, but also a thinker in opposition to Plato.

Yet Plato and Aristotle were preaching some similarly extraverted epistemologies, stating that things are what they are no matter what the subject thinks of it, the subject must study and adapt one's thoughts. Their epistemological discord lies instead in the topic of Forms. For Plato, the objects that we perceive - as Forms - are an imperfect manifestation of pure concepts. As for Aristotle, concepts are the characterestics of the object. For Aristotle, a tree is made of leaves, colors, bark, the tree is the object because the rest can change. It can lose its bark and leaves, and change colors. What persists is the object of reference and everything that changes is its property. For Plato, a color, a bark, a leaf, are concepts that happen to manifest themselves at the same time and as a result condition the existence of the tree. The tree is incidental and doesn't matter, a sensorial illusion, what matters is to decipher the perfect concepts that manifest themselves with more or less accuracy, through the exercise of reason/dialectic. In this regard, Plato's epistemology is simply giving more credits to the unfrequent and the conceptual, Plato distrusts sensations, it's in the antagonism of sensation and intuition that lies their epistemological disagreement.

That is to say, at this point of his writing process, not only Jung was still evolving in his theory of personalities, to the point that he might start a chapter with an idea that he would disprove by the end of it ; he was also displaying an important lack of distance and reflexion over what he decided to publish.

It is now time to end this long and pointless analysis. Why, because it isn't an attempt to spoon-feed the mouthless. It is instead the demonstration of what one should do with such a book before speaking about it. May it enlighten a bit more those who did.

Plague Doctor
INTJ, 5w4, Ni-T type
6,039 Posts
Before I say anything, I'm a bit offended by your use of the r word and all that, but to each their own. It's just off putting to me. ::shrugs::

It was interesting to comb through your analysis and, as far as I can tell, it's mostly on point among modern Jungians so good job. It would be helpful to cite your sources, but since you gave direct quotes, it's easy to look up on one's own.

There are two problems that I see with the direction that this project is going. The first is obvious: while this is more simple than the way Jung has asserted his thoughts, it still reads as "dry" (I imagine) to the masses and might not be as accessible as you might think. It's still a noble attempt though and I don't want you to feel criticised in that way. Second, Jung's theory of personality from the development of the psyche, the map of the soul, the processes by which one can transform and individuate and so on is the real "meat" of Jung's work.

Because this is a personality forum, this tends to be lost in the clutter. People tend to come to this stuff through MBTI and only really care about Psychological Types as a reference for Jung. Most people are too lazy to put in the effort or work to fully understand, or attempt to understand, his personality theory in its entirety. I find even for my friends who are disenchanted with MBTI and the Grant stack and so on, their eyes glass over and they don't want to learn about the most ingenious personality theory there is (in my mind). They only want the abridged version.

I'd be interested to see what you do with this because I'm interested in how one can simplify Jung. It is something I've struggled with personally.

7,027 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The title was ironical since it was a correction rather than a simplification. Alas, the correction of a fallacy cannot be easier to understand than the fallacy itself.

It might not be the center of Jung's work, however it might be the least impertinent. The real meat I'm personally interested in, that is the methodology of questioning oneself, in its philosophical and biological dimensions. Jung's psychological types got close to really assess the problem as it revolved around actual mental functions that shape one's epistemology (save for his fantasist analysis). As for the persona/ego/anima stuff, I'd argue, is not a function but an idea, the self, that would certainly call for more debunking I guess, but it seems even more pointless to me to make it the center of the problematic when it is merely a byproduct.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts