Carl Jung on Introvert-Extrovert Type Theories ~Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones
Dr. Evans: Dr. Jung, another set of ideas, original with you and very well known to the world, center around the terms “introversion” and “extroversion.” I know that you are aware that these terms have now become so widely known that the man on the street is using them constantly in describing members of his family, his friends, and so on. They have become probably the psychological concepts most often used by the layman today.
Dr. Jung: Like the word “complex”—I invented it too, you know, from the association experiments—this is simply practical, because there are certain people who definitely are more influenced by their surroundings than by their own intentions, while other people are more influenced by the subjective factor. Now you see, the subjective factor, which is very characteristic, was understood by Freud as a sort of pathological auto-egotism. Now this is a mistake. The psyche has two conditions, two important conditions. The one is environmental influence and the other is the given fact of the psyche as it is born.
As I told you yesterday, the psyche is by no means tabula rasa here, but a definite mixture and combination of genes, which are there from the very first moment of our life; and they give a definite character, even to the little child. That is a subjective factor, looked at from the outside. Now if you look at it from the inside, then it is just so as if you would observe the world. When you observe the world, you see people; you see houses; you see the sky; you see tangible objects. But when you observe yourself within, you see moving images, a world of images generally known as fantasies.
Yet these fantasies are facts. You see, it is a fact that the man has such and such a fantasy; and it is such a tangible fact, for instance, that when a man has a certain fantasy, another man may lose his life, or a bridge is built. These houses were all fantasies. Everything you do here, all this, everything, was fantasy to begin with, and fantasy has a proper reality. That is not to be forgotten; fantasy is not nothing. It is, of course, not a tangible object; but it is a fact nevertheless.
Fantasy is, you see, a form of energy, despite the fact that we can’t measure it. It is a manifestation of something, and that is a reality. That is a reality, like for instance, the Peace Treaty of Versailles, or something like that. It is no more; you can’t show it; but it has been a fact. And so psychical events are facts, are realities. And when you observe the stream of images within, you observe an aspect of the world, of the world within, because the psyche, if you understand it as a phenomenon that takes place in so-called living bodies, is a quality of matter, as our bodies consist of matter. We discover that this matter has another aspect, namely, a psychic aspect. And so it is simply the world from within, seen from within. It is just as though you were seeing into another aspect of matter. That is an idea that is not my invention. The old credos already talked of the spiritus atomis, namely, the spirit that is inserted in atoms. That means psychic is a quality that appears in matter. It doesn’t matter whether we understand it or not, but this is the conclusion we come to if we draw conclusions without prejudices.
And so you see, the man who is going by the external world, by the influence of the external world—say society or sense perceptions—thinks that he is more valid, you know, because this is valid, this is real; and the man who goes by the subjective factor is not valid, because the subjective factor is nothing. No, that man is just as well based, because he bases himself upon the world from within. And so he is quite right even if he says, “Oh, it is nothing but my fantasies.” And of course, that is the introvert, and the introvert is always afraid of the external world. This he will tell you when you ask him. He will be apologetic about it; he will say, “Yes, I know, those are my fantasies.” And he has always resentment against the world in general.
Particularly America is extroverted. The introvert has no place, because he doesn’t know that he beholds the world from within. That gives him dignity, and that gives him certainty, because it is the psyche of man. Nowadays particularly, the world hangs on a thin thread. Assume that certain fellows in Moscow lose their nerve or their common sense for a bit; then the whole world is in violent flames. Nowadays we are not threatened by elemental catastrophes. There is no such thing as an H-bomb; that is all man’s doing. We are the great danger. The psyche is the great danger. What if something goes wrong with the psyche? And so it is demonstrated to us in our days what the power of psyche is, how important it is to know something about it. But we know nothing about it. Nobody would give credit to the idea that the psychical processes of the ordinary man have any importance whatever. One thinks, “Oh, he has just what he has in his head; he is all from his surroundings; he is taught such and such a thing, believes such and such a thing, and particularly if he is well housed and well fed, then he has no ideas at all.” And that’s the great mistake, because man is just that which he is born, and he is not born as tabula rasa but as a reality.
So I began an examination of the human attitudes, namely, how our consciousness functions. I couldn’t help seeing, for instance, the difference between Freud and Adler, a typical difference. The one assumed that things evolve along the line of the sex instinct. The other assumed that things evolve along the line of power drive. And there I was, in between the two. I could see the justification of Freud’s view, and also could see the same for Adler; and I knew that there were plenty of other ways in which things could be envisaged. And so I considered it my scientific duty to examine first the condition of the human consciousness, that which is the originator of ways of envisaging.
It is the factor that produces attitudes, conscious attitudes, towards certain phenomena. So when you know, for instance, that there are people who see the difference between red and green, you can take it for a fact that everybody sees that difference? Not at all. There are cases of color blindness. You know, the one sees this: the other sees that.
Thus, I tried to find out what the principal differences were. That is the book about the types. I saw first the introverted and extroverted attitudes, then certain functional aspects, and then which of the four functions is predominant.
Dr. Evans: Of course, one of the very common misconceptions, at least in my opinion, about your work among some of the writers in America is that they have characterized your discussion of introversion and extroversion as suggesting that the world is made up of only two kinds of people, introverts and extroverts. I’m sure you have been aware of this. Would you like to comment on it? In other words, do you perceive of the world as one made up only of people who are extreme introverts and people who are extreme extroverts?
Dr. Jung: Bismarck once said, “God may protect me against my friends; with my enemies I can deal myself alone.” You know how people are. They have a catch word, and then everything is schematized along that word. There is no such thing as a pure ‐ extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.
Those are only terms to designate a certain penchant, a certain tendency. For instance, the tendency to be more influenced by environmental influences, or more influenced by the subjective fact—that’s all. There are people who are fairly well-balanced who are just as much influenced from within as from without, or just as little. And so with all the definite classifications, you know, they are only a sort of point to refer to, points for orientation. There is no such thing as a schematic classification.
Often you have great trouble even to make out to what type a man belongs, either because he is very well‐ balanced or he is very neurotic. The last one is hard because when you are neurotic, then you have always a certain dissociation of personality. And then too, the people themselves don’t know when they react consciously or when they react unconsciously. So you can talk to somebody, and you think he is conscious. He knows what he says, and to your amazement you discover after a while that he is quite unconscious of it, doesn’t know it.
It is a long and painstaking procedure to find out of what a man is conscious and of what he is not conscious, because the unconscious plays in him all the time. Certain things are conscious; certain things are unconscious; but you can’t always tell. You have to ask people, “Now are you conscious of what you say?” Or, “Did you notice?” And you discover suddenly that there are quite a number of things that he didn’t know at all.For instance, certain people have many reasons; everybody can see them. They themselves don’t know it at all.
Dr. Evans: Then this whole matter of extremes—introvert and extrovert—you say is a schematic approach, a frame of reference.
Dr. Jung: My whole scheme of typology is merely a sort of orientation. There is such a factor as introversion; there is such a factor as extroversion. The classification of individuals means nothing at all. It is only the instrumentality, or what I call “practical psychology,” used to explain, for instance, the husband to a wife, or vice versa.
It is very often the case, for instance—I might say it is almost a rule, but I don’t want to make too many rules in order not to be schematic—that an introvert marries an extrovert for compensation, or another type marries a countertype to complement himself. For example, a man who has made a certain amount of money is a good business man, but he has no education. His dream is, of course, a grand piano at home and being around artists, painters or singers or God knows what, and intellectual people; and he marries accordingly a wife of that type, in order to have that too. She has it, and she marries him because he has a lot of money. These compensations go on all the time.
When you study marriages, you can see it easily. And, of course, we analysts have to deal a lot with marriages, particularly those that go wrong, because the types are too different sometimes and they don’t understand each other at all.
You see, the main values of the extrovert are anathema to the introvert, and he says, “To hell with the world, I think.” His wife interprets this as his megalomania. But it is just as if an extrovert said to an introvert, “Now, look here fellow; these here are the facts; this is reality.” And he’s right! And the other says, “But I think, I hold—,” and that sounds like nonsense to the extrovert because he doesn’t know that the other one, without knowing it, is beholding an inner world, an inner reality; and that other one may be right, as he may be wrong, even if he found himself upon God knows what solid facts. Take, for instance, the interpretation of statistics. You can prove almost anything with statistics.
What is more a fact than a statistic?
Dr. Evans: Of course, tied in with your typology of introversion-extroversion, we know of your four functions of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. It would be very interesting to hear some expansion of the meaning of these particular terms as related to the introvert-extrovert orientations.
Dr. Jung: Well, there is a quite simple explanation of these terms, and it shows at the same time how I arrived at such a typology. Namely, sensation tells you that there is something. Thinking, roughly speaking, tells you what it is. Feeling tells you whether it is agreeable or not, to be accepted or not, accepted or rejected. And intuition—there is a difficulty because you don’t know ordinarily how intuition works. When a man has a hunch, you can’t tell exactly how he got that hunch, or where that hunch came from. It is something funny about intuition.
I will tell you a little story. I had two patients. The man was a sensation type, and the woman was an intuitive type. Of course, they felt attraction, so they took a little boat and went down to the lake of Zurich. And there at the lake were those birds that dive after fish, you know, that come up again after a certain time, only you can’t tell where they will come up. My two patients began to bet about who would be the first to see the bird. Now you would think that the one who observes reality very carefully, the sensation type, would win out. Not at all. The woman won the bet completely. She was beating him on all points because by intuition she knew it before. How is that possible? You know, you can really find out how it works by finding the intermediate links. It is a perception by intermediate links, and you only get the result of the whole chain of associations. Sometimes you succeed in finding out, but more often you don’t.
My definition then is that intuition is a perception, beyond ways or means of the unconscious. That is near as I can get it. This is a very important function, because when you live under primitive conditions, a lot of unpredictable things are likely to happen. There you need your intuition because you cannot possibly tell by your sense perceptions what is going to happen. For instance, you are walking in primeval forests. You can only see a few steps ahead, and perhaps you go by the compass. You don’t know what there is ahead; it is uncharted country. If you use your intuition, then you have hunches; and when you live under such primitive conditions, you instantly are aware of hunches. There are places that are favorable and there are places that are not favorable. You can’t tell for your life what it is, but you better follow these hunches, because anything can happen, quite unforeseen things. For example, at the end of a long day you approach a river.
You had not known that there was a river there, but unexpectedly you come upon this river. For miles there is no human habitation. You cannot swim across; it is all full of crocodiles. So what? Such an obstacle hasn’t been foreseen. It may be though that you have a hunch that you should remain in the least likely spot and wait for the following day; or that you should build a raft or something of the sort; or just a hunch that you should wait and look out for possibilities.
You can also have intuitions—this constantly happens —in our jungle called a city. You can have a hunch that something is going wrong, particularly when you are driving an automobile. For instance, it is that day when nurses appear in the street. At one corner a nurse runs in front of the automobile. Now they always try to get something interesting, like a suicide, you know; to be run over, that’s too barbarous apparently. And then you get a peculiar feeling really, for at the next corner a second nurse runs in front of the automobile. A multiplicity of cases, that is the rule, that such chance happenings come in groups.
So you see, we have constantly warnings or hints, that consist partly in a slight feeling of uneasiness, uncertainty, fear. Now under primitive circumstances you would pay attention to these things; they would mean something. With us in our man-made, absolutely, apparently, safe conditions, we don’t need that function so very much; yet we have seen it and used it. So you will find that the intuitive types, some bankers, Wall Street men, follow hunches, you know, diagnoses of all descriptions. You find that type very frequently among doctors because it helps them in their prognoses. Sometimes a case can look quite normal, as it were, and you don’t foresee any complications; yet a little voice says, “Now you look out here, because there is something not quite all right.”
You cannot tell whv or how, but we have a lot of subliminal perceptions, sense perceptions, and from these we probably draw a great many of our intuitions. But that is perception by way of the unconscious, and you can observe that with intuitive types. You see, intuitive types very often do not perceive by their eyes or by their ears; they perceive by intuition. For instance, once it happened that I had a woman patient in on a morning at nine o’clock. Now I often smoke my pipe and have a sort of smell of tobacco or a cigar. When she arrived, she said, “But you begin earlier than nine o’clock; you must have somebody at eight o’clock.” And I said, “How do you know?” You see, there had been a man there at eight o’clock already. And she said, “Oh, I just had a hunch that there must have been a gentleman with you this morning.” I said, “How do you know it was a gentleman?” And she said, “Oh well, I just had the impression that the atmosphere was just like a gentleman here.” here.” All the time, you know, the ashtray was under her nose, and there was an unsmoked cigar in it; but she doesn’t notice it. So you see, the intuitive is a type that doesn’t see the stumbling block before his feet, but he smells the hunt for ten miles.
Dr. Evans: How did you develop your conceptualizations of these four functions?
Dr. Jung: Now mind you, these four functions were not a scheme I had simply invented and applied to psychology. On the contrary, it took me quite a long time to discover them. Take the thinking type for example, as I thought my type to be. Of course, that is human. Is it not? There are other people who decide the same problems that I am faced with and have to decide about, but they make their decisions in an entirely different way. They look at things in an entirely different way; they have entirely different values. They are, for instance, feeling types.
And so, after a while I discovered that there are intuitive types. They gave me much trouble. It took me over a year to become somewhat clear about the existence of the intuitive types. And the last, and the most unexpected, was the sensation type. And only later I saw that those are naturally the four aspects of conscious orientation.
You see, you get your orientation, you get your bearings, in the chaotic abundance of impressions through the four functions, these four aspects of total human orientation. If you can tell me any other aspect by which you get your orientation, I’m very grateful. I haven’t found more and I tried. But those are the four that covered the thing.
For instance, the intuitive type, to discuss it once again, which is very little understood, has a very important function because he is the one going by hunches. He sees around corners; he smells a rat a mile away. He can give you perception and orientation in a situation where your senses, your intellect, and your feelings are no good at all. When you are in an absolute fix, an intuition can show you the hole through which you can escape. This is a very important function under primitive conditions or wherever you are confronted with vital issues that you cannot master by rules or logic.
So, through the study of all sorts of human types, I came to the conclusion that there must be many different ways of viewing the world through these type orientations—at least 16, and you can just as well say 360. You can increase the number of guiding or underlying principles, but I found that the most simple way is the way I told you, the division by four, the simple and natural division of the circle. I didn’t now the symbolism of this particular classification. Only when I studied the archetypes did I become aware that this is a very important archetypal pattern that plays an enormous role.
Dr. Evans: Do you make a distinction between an intuitive extrovert and an intuitive introvert?
Dr. Jung: Yes, all those types cannot be alike.
Dr. Evans: More specifically, what would be an example of the difference between an intuitive extrovert and an intuitive introvert?
Dr. Jung: Well, you have chosen a somewhat difficult case, because one of the most difficult types is the intuitive introvert. Intuitive extrovert you find in all kinds of bankers, gamblers, etc., which is quite understandable. The introvert is more difficult because he has intuitions as to the subjective factor, namely the inner world; and, of course, that is very difficult to understand because what he sees are most uncommon things, things which he doesn’t like to talk about if he is not a fool. If he did, he would spoil his own game by telling what he sees, because people won’t understand it.
For instance, once I had a patient, a young woman about 27 or 28. Immediately after I had seated her, she said, “You know, doctor, I came to you because I’ve a snake in my abdomen.” What! “Yes, a black snake coiled up in the bottom of my abdomen.” I must have made an awful face at her, so she said, “You know that I don’t mean it literally.” I then replied, however, “If you say it was a snake, it was a snake.”
In a later conversation with her, which took place about in the middle of her treatment, treatment that only lasted for ten consultations, she reminded me of something she had foretold me. She had said, “I come ten times and then it will be all right,” to which I responded with the question, “How do you know?”” Oh, I’ve got a hunch,” she said. Now at about the fifth or sixth hour she said, “Doctor, I must tell you that the snake has risen; it is now about here.” A hunch.
Then on the tenth day I said, “Now this is our last hour, and do you feel cured?” Just beaming, she replied, “You know, this morning it came up, came out of my mouth, and the head was golden.” Those were her last words.
When it comes to reality now, that same girl came to me because she couldn’t hear the step of her feet anymore, because she walked on air, literally. She couldn’t hear it, and that frightened her. When I asked for her address, she said, “Oh, Pension so and so. Well, it is not just called a pension, but it is a sort of pension.” I had never heard of it. “I have never heard of that place,” I said. She replied, “It is a very nice place. There are only young girls there; they are all very nice young girls, very lovely young girls, and they have a merry time. I often wish they would invite me to their merry evenings.” And I said, “Do they amuse themselves all alone?” “No,” she replied, “there are plenty of young gentlemen coming in; they have a beautiful time, but they never invite me.” It turned out that this was a private brothel. She was a perfectly decent girl from a very good family, not from here. She had found that place, I don’t know how, and she was completely unaware that they were all prostitutes. I said, “For heaven’s sake, you fell into a very tough place; you’ll hasten to get out of it.”
She didn’t see reality, but she had hunches like everything, vraiment. Such a person cannot possibly speak of her experiences because everybody would think she was absolutely crazy. I myself was quite shocked, and I thought, “For heaven’s sake, is that case a schizophrenic?”
You don’t normally hear that kind of speech; but she assumed that the old man, of course, knew everything and did understand such kind of language.
So you see, if the introverted intuitive would speak what he really perceives, practically no one would understand him; he would be misunderstood. Thus they learn to keep things to themselves. You hardly ever hear them talking of these things. In a way, that is a great disadvantage, but in another way it is an enormous advantage that these people do not speak of their experiences, both their inward experiences and those which occur in human relations. For instance, they may come into the presence of somebody they don’t know, not from Adam, and suddenly they may have inner images.
Now these inner images may give them a great deal of information about the psychology of that person they have just met. That is typical of cases that often happen. They suddenly know an important piece of the biography of that person, and if they did not keep things to themselves, they would tell the story. Then the fat would be in the fire! So the intuitive introvert has in a way a very difficult life, although it is a most interesting one. It is quite difficult to get into their confidence.
Dr. Evans: Yes, because they are afraid people will think . . .
Dr. Jung: They are sick. The things that they hint at are interesting to them, are vital to them, and are utterly strange to the ordinary individual. A psychologist, however, should know of such things. When people make a psychology, as a psychologist ought to do, it is the very first question—is he introverted or extroverted? The psychologist must look at entirely different things. He sees the sensation type; he sees the intuitive type; he sees thinking and feeling types.
These things are complicated. They are still more complicated because the introverted thinking, for instance, is compensated by extroverted feeling, inferior, archaic, extroverted feeling. So an introverted thinker may be crude in his feeling, like for instance the introverted philosopher who is always carefully avoiding women may be married by his cook in the end.
Dr. Evans: So we can take your introvert-extrovert orientations and describe a number of types; the sensation-introvert and extrovert types, the feeling-introvert and extrovert types, thinking-introvert and extrovert types, and the intuitive-introvert and extrovert types. In each case these combinations do not represent a concrete category but simply, as you have indicated, a model that can be helpful in understanding the individual.
Dr. Jung: It is just a sort of skeleton to which you have to add the flesh. One could say that it is like a country mapped out by triangulation points, which doesn’t mean that the country consists of triangulation points; that is only in order to have an idea of the distances. And so it is a means to an end.
It only makes sense as a scheme when you deal with practical cases. For instance, if you have to explain an introverted-intuitive husband to an extrovert wife, it is a most painstaking affair because, you see, an extrovert sensation type is furthest away from the ‐ inner experience and the rational functions. He adapts and behaves according to the facts as they are, and he is always caught by those facts. He himself is those facts.
But if the introvert is intuitive, to him that is hell, because as soon as he is in a definite situation, he tries to find a hole where he can get out. To him, every given situation is just the worst that can happen to him. He is pinched and feels he is caught, suffocated, chained. He must break those fetters, because he is the man who will discover a new field. He will plant that field, and as soon as the new plants are coming up, he’s done; he’s over and no more interested. Others will reap what he has sown. When those two marry, the extrovert-sensation and the introvert-intuitive, there is trouble, I can assure you. ~Conversations with Carl Jung and Reactions from Ernest Jones