The Introverted Thinking Type

Posted by Arkham on October 7th, 2008

Adapted from Jung, C.G.Psychological Types“:

The introverted thinking type is decisively influenced by ideas; these, however, have their origin, not in the objective data but in the subjective foundation. Like the extravert, he too will follow his ideas, but in the reverse direction: inwardly not outwardly. Intensity is his aim, not extensity. In these fundamental characters he differs markedly, indeed quite unmistakably from his extraverted parallel. Like every introverted type, he is almost completely lacking in that which distinguishes his counter type, namely, the intensive relatedness to the object. In the case of a human object, the man has a distinct feeling that he matters only in a negative way, i.e., in milder instances he is merely conscious of being superfluous, but with a more extreme type he feels himself warded off as something definitely disturbing. This negative relation to the object-indifference, and even aversion-characterizes every introvert; it also makes a description of the introverted type in general extremely difficult. With him, everything tends to disappear and get concealed. His judgment appears cold, obstinate, arbitrary, and inconsiderate, simply because he is related less to the object than the subject. One can feel nothing in it that might possibly confer a higher value upon the object; it always seems to go beyond the object, leaving behind it a flavour of a certain subjective superiority. Courtesy, amiability, and friendliness may be present, but often with a particular quality suggesting a certain uneasiness, which betrays an ulterior aim, namely, the disarming of an opponent, who must at all costs be pacified and set at ease lest he prove a disturbing- element. In no sense, of course, is he an opponent, but, if at all sensitive, he will feel somewhat repelled, perhaps even depreciated.

Invariably the object has to submit to a certain neglect; in worse cases it is even surrounded with quite unnecessary measures of precaution. Thus it happens that this type tends to disappear behind a cloud of misunderstanding, which only thickens the more he attempts to assume, by way of compensation and with the help of his inferior functions, a certain mask of urbanity, which often presents a most vivid contrast to his real nature. Although in the extension of his world of ideas he shrinks from no risk, however daring, and never even considers the possibility that such a world might also be dangerous, revolutionary, heretical, and wounding to feeling, he is none the less a prey to the liveliest anxiety, should it ever chance to become objectively real. That goes against the grain (does something that is the opposite of what is usually done). When the time comes for him to transplant his ideas into the world, his is by no means the air of an anxious mother solicitous for her children’s welfare; he merely exposes them, and is often extremely annoyed when they fail to thrive on their own account. The decided lack he usually displays in practical ability, and his aversion from any sort of réclame assist in this attitude. If to his eyes his product appears subjectively correct and true, it must also be so in practice, and others have simply got to bow to its truth. Hardly ever will he go out of his way to win anyone’s appreciation of it, especially if it be anyone of influence. And, when he brings himself to do so, he is usually so extremely maladroit that he merely achieves the opposite of his purpose. In his own special province, there are usually awkward experiences with his colleagues, since he never knows how to win their favour; as a rule he only succeeds in showing them how entirely superfluous they are to him. In the pursuit of his ideas he is generally stubborn, head-strong, and quite unamenable to influence.

His suggestibility to personal influences is in strange contrast to this. An object has only to be recognized as apparently innocuous for such a type to become extremely accessible to really inferior elements. They lay hold of him from the unconscious
. He lets himself be brutalized and exploited in the most ignominious way, if only he can be left undisturbed in the pursuit of his ideas. He simply does not see when he is being plundered behind his back and wronged in practical ways: this is because his relation to the object is such a secondary matter that lie is left without a guide in the purely objective valuation of his product. In thinking out his problems to the utmost of his ability, he also complicates them, and constantly becomes entangled in every possible scruple. However clear to himself the inner structure of his thoughts may be, he is not in the least clear where and how they link up with the world of reality. Only with difficulty can he persuade himself to admit that what is clear to him may not be equally clear to everyone. His style is usually loaded and complicated by all sorts of accessories, qualifications, saving clauses, doubts, etc., which spring from his exacting scrupulousness. His work goes slowly and with difficulty. Either he is taciturn or he falls among people who cannot understand him; whereupon he proceeds to gather further proof of the unfathomable stupidity of man. If he should ever chance to be understood, he is credulously liable to overestimate. Ambitious women have only to understand how advantage may be taken of his uncritical attitude towards the object to make an easy prey of him; or he may develop into a misanthropic bachelor with a childlike heart. Then, too, his outward appearance is often gauche, as if he were painfully anxious to escape observation; or he may show a remarkable unconcern, an almost childlike naivete. In his own particular field of work he provokes violent contradiction, with which he has no notion how to deal, unless by chance he is seduced by his primitive affects into biting and fruitless polemics. By his wider circle he is counted inconsiderate and domineering.

But the better one knows him, the more favourable one’s judgment becomes, and his nearest friends are well aware how to value his intimacy. To people who judge him from afar he appears prickly, inaccessible, haughty; frequently he may even seem soured as a result of his anti-social prejudices. He has little influence as a personal teacher, since the mentality of his pupils is strange to him. Besides, teaching has, at bottom, little interest for him, except when it accidentally provides him with a theoretical problem. He is a poor teacher, because while teaching his thought is engaged with the actual material, and will not be satisfied with its mere presentation.

The thinking of the introverted type is positive and synthetic in the development of those ideas which in ever increasing measure approach the eternal validity of the primordial images. But, when their connection with objective experience begins to fade, they become mythological and untrue for the present situation. Hence this thinking holds value only for its contemporaries, just so long as it also stands in visible and understandable connection with the known facts of the time. But, when thinking becomes mythological, its irrelevancy grows until finally it gets lost in itself. The relatively unconscious functions of feeling, intuition, and sensation, which counterbalance introverted thinking, are inferior in quality and have a primitive, extraverted character, to which all the troublesome objective influences this type is subject to must be ascribed. The various measures of self-defence, the curious protective obstacles with which such people are wont to surround themselves, are sufficiently familiar, and I may, therefore, spare myself a description of them. They all serve as a defence against ‘magical’ influences; a vague dread of the other sex also belongs to this category.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 at 01:11 and is filed under books, psychology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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