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Carl Jung

Swiss Psychologist

1875-1961

A selection from the essay
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TYPES

Narrated by William Dufris

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In the following pages I shall attempt a general description of the types, and my first concern must be with the two general types I have termed introverted and extraverted.

The introvert's attitude to the object is an abstracting one; at bottom, he is always facing the problem of how libido can be withdrawn from the object, as though an attempted ascendancy on. the part of the object had to be continually frustrated. The extravert, on the contrary, maintains a positive relation to the object. To such an extent does he affirm its importance that his subjective attitude is continually being orientated by, and related to the object.

The relation between subject and object, considered biologically, is always a relation of adaptation, since every relation between subject and object presupposes mutually modifying effects from either side. These modifications constitute the adaptation. The typical attitudes to the object, therefore, are adaptation processes. Nature knows two fundamentally different ways of adaptation, which determine the further existence of the living organism the one is by increased fertility, accompanied by a relatively small degree of defensive power and individual conservation; the other is by individual equipment of manifold means of self-protection, coupled with a relatively insignificant fertility. This biological contrast seems not merely to be the analogue, but also the general foundation of our two psychological modes of adaptation, At this point a mere general indication must suffice; on the one hand, I need only point to the peculiarity of the extravert, which constantly urges him to spend and propagate himself in every way, and, on the other, to the tendency of the introvert to defend himself against external claims, to conserve himself from any expenditure of energy directly related to the object, thus consolidating for himself the most secure and impregnable position.

The Extraverted Type

Everyone is, admittedly, orientated by the data with which the outer world provides him ; yet we see that this may be the case in a way that is only relatively decisive. Because it is cold out of doors, one man is persuaded to wear his overcoat, another from a desire to become hardened finds this unnecessary; one man admires the new tenor because all the world admires him, another withholds his approbation not because he dislikes him but because in his view the subject of general admiration is not thereby proved to be admirable; one submits to a given state of affairs because his experience argues nothing else to be possible, another is convinced that, although it has repeated itself a thousand times in the same way, the thousand and first will be different. The former is orientated by the objective data; the latter reserves a view, which is, as it were, interposed between himself and the objective fact.

Now, when the orientation to the object and to objective facts is so predominant that the most frequent and essential decisions and actions are determined, not by subjective values but by objective relations, one speaks of an extraverted attitude. When this is habitual, one speaks of an extraverted type. If a man so thinks, feels, and acts, in a word so lives, as to correspond directly with objective conditions and their claims, whether in a good sense or ill, he is extraverted. His life makes it perfectly clear that it is the objective rather than the subjective value which plays the greater role as the determining factor of his consciousness. He naturally has subjective values, but their determining power has less importance than the external objective conditions.

Never, therefore, does he expect to find any absolute factors in his own inner life, since the only ones he knows are outside himself. Epimetheus-like, his inner life succumbs to the external necessity, not of course without a struggle; which, however, always ends in favour of the objective determinant. His entire consciousness looks outwards to the world, because the important and decisive determination always comes to him from without. But it comes to him from without, only because that is where he expects it. All the distinguishing characteristics of his psychology, in so far as they do not arise from the priority of one definite psychological function or from individual peculiarities, have their origin in this basic attitude. Interest and attention follow objective happenings and, primarily, those of the immediate environment. Not only persons, but things, seize and rivet his interest.

His actions, therefore, are also governed by the influence of persons and things. They are directly related to objective data and determinations, and are, as it were, exhaustively explainable on these grounds. Extraverted action is recognizably related to objective conditions. In so far it is not purely reactive to environmental stimuli, it character is constantly applicable to the actual circumstances, and it finds adequate and appropriate play within the limits of the objective situation. It has no serious tendency to transcend these bounds.

The Introverted Type

The introverted is distinguished from the extraverted type by the fact that, unlike the latter, who is prevailingly orientated by the object and objective data, he is governed by subjective factors.

Introverted consciousness doubtless views the external conditions, but it selects the subjective determinants as the decisive ones. The type is guided, therefore, by that factor of perception and cognition which represents the receiving subjective disposition to the sense stimulus. Two persons, for example, see the same object, but they never see it in such a way as to receive two identically similar images of it. Quite apart from the differences in the personal equation and mere organic acuteness, there often exists a radical difference, both in kind and degree, in the psychic assimilation of the perceived image. Whereas the extraverted type refers pre-eminently to that which reaches him from the object, the introvert principally relies upon that which the outer impression constellates in the subject. In an individual case of apperception, the difference may, of course, be very delicate, but in the total psychological economy it is extremely noticeable, especially in the form of a reservation of the ego. Although it is anticipating somewhat, I consider that point of view which inclines to describe this attitude as autoerotic, egocentric, subjective, or egoistic, to be both misleading in principle and definitely depreciatory. It corresponds with the normal bias of the extraverted attitude against the nature of the introvert. We must not forget although extraverted opinion is only too prone to do so that all perception and cognition is not purely objective: it is also subjectively conditioned. The world exists not merely in itself, but also as it appears to me. The excessive development of the introverted standpoint in consciousness, for instance, does not lead to a better or sounder application of the subjective factor, but to an artificial subjectification of consciousness, which can hardly escape the reproach 'merely subjective'. For, as a countertendency to this morbid subjectification, there ensues a desubjectification of consciousness in the form of an exaggerated extraverted attitude.

The introverted attitude is normally governed by the psychological structure, theoretically determined by heredity, but which to the subject is an ever present subjective factor. This must not be assumed, however, to be simply identical with the subject's ego; it is rather the psychological structure of the subject that precedes any development of the ego. The really fundamental subject, the Self, is far more comprehensive than the ego, because the former also embraces the unconscious, while the latter is essentially the focal point of consciousness. Were the ego identical with the Self, it would be unthinkable that we should be able to appear in dreams in entirely different forms and with entirely different meanings. But it is a characteristic peculiarity of the introvert, which, moreover, is as much in keeping with his own inclination as with the general bias, that he tends to confuse his ego with the Self, and to exalt his ego to the position of subject of the psychological process, thus effecting that morbid subjectification of consciousness, mentioned above, which so alienates him from the object.

The psychological structure is the same. I call it the 'collective unconscious'. The individual Self is a portion, or excerpt, or representative, of something universally present in all living creatures, and, therefore, a correspondingly graduated kind of psychological process, which is born anew in every creature. Since earliest times, the inborn manner of acting has been called instinct, and for this manner of psychic apprehension of the object I have proposed the term archetype. I may assume that what is understood by instinct is familiar to everyone. It is another matter with the archetype.

The archetype is a symbolical formula, which always begins to function whenever there are no conscious ideas present, or when such as are present are impossible upon intrinsic or extrinsic grounds. The contents of the collective unconscious are represented in consciousness in the form of pronounced tendencies, or definite ways of looking at things. They are generally regarded by the individual as being determined by the object-incorrectly, at bottom-since they have their source in the unconscious structure of the psyche, and are only released by the operation of the object. These subjective tendencies and ideas are stronger than the objective influence; because their psychic value is higher, they are superimposed upon all impressions. Thus, just as it seems incomprehensible to the introvert that the object should always be decisive, it remains just as enigmatic to the extravert how a subjective standpoint can be superior to the objective situation.

The introvert usually lacks the right argument in presence of this prejudice; for he is just as unaware of the unconscious, though thoroughly sound presuppositions of his subjective judgment, as he is of his subjective perceptions. In harmony with the style of the times, he looks without, instead of behind his own consciousness for the answer. Should he become neurotic, it is the sign of a more or less complete unconscious identity of the ego with the Self, whereupon the importance of the Self is reduced to nil, while the ego becomes inflated beyond reason. The undeniable, world-determining power of the subjective factor then becomes concentrated in the ego, developing an immoderate power claim and a downright foolish egocentricity. Every psychology which reduces the nature of man to unconscious power instinct springs from this foundation. For example, Nietzsche's many faults in taste owe their existence to this subjectification of consciousness.

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