Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6) (Bollingen Series XX)
Intuition Intuition as the function of unconscious perception is wholly directed upon outer objects in the extraverted attitude. Because, in the main, intuition is an unconscious process, the conscious apprehension of its nature is a very difficult matter. In consciousness, the intuitive function is represented by a certain attitude of expectation, a perceptive and penetrating vision, wherein only the subsequent result can prove, in every case, how much was [p. 462] ‘perceived-into’, and how much actually lay in the object. Just as sensation, when given the priority, is not a mere reactive process of no further importance for the object, but is almost an action which seizes and shapes the object, so it is with intuition, which is by no means a mere perception, or awareness, but an active, creative process that builds into the object just as much as it takes out. But, because this process extracts the perception unconsciously, it also produces an unconscious effect in the object. The primary function of intuition is to transmit mere images, or perceptions of relations and conditions, which could be gained by the other functions, either not at all, or only by very roundabout ways. Such images have the value of definite discernments, and have a decisive bearing upon action, whenever intuition is given the chief weight; in which case, psychic adaptation is based almost exclusively upon intuition. Thinking, feeling, and sensation are relatively repressed; of these, sensation is the one principally affected, because, as the conscious function of sense, it offers the greatest obstacle to intuition. Sensation disturbs intuition’s clear, unbiassed, na[umlaut]ive awareness with its importunate sensuous stimuli; for these direct the glance upon the physical superficies, hence upon the very things round and beyond which intuition tries to peer. But since intuition, in the extraverted attitude, has a prevailingly objective orientation, it actually comes very near to sensation; indeed, the expectant attitude towards outer objects may, with almost equal probability, avail itself of sensation. Hence, for intuition really to become paramount, sensation must to a large extent be suppressed. I am now speaking of sensation as the simple and direct sense-reaction, an almost definite physiological and psychic datum. This must be expressly established beforehand, because, if I ask the intuitive how he is [p. 463] orientated, he will speak of things which are quite indistinguishable from sense-perceptions. Frequently he will even make use of the term ‘sensation’. He actually has sensations, but he is not guided by them per se, merely using them as directing-points for his distant vision. They are selected by unconscious expectation. Not the strongest sensation, in the physiological sense, obtains the crucial value, but any sensation whatsoever whose value happens to become considerably enhanced by reason of the intuitive’s unconscious attitude. In this way it may eventually attain the leading position, appearing to the intuitive’s consciousness indistinguishable from a pure sensation. But actually it is not so. Just as extraverted sensation strives to reach the highest pitch of actuality, because only thus can the appearance of a complete life be created, so intuition tries to encompass the greatest possibilities, since only through the awareness of possibilities is intuition fullysatisfied. Intuition seeks to discover possibilities in the objective situation; hence as a mere tributary function (viz. when not in the position of priority) it is also the instrument which, in the presence of a hopelessly blocked situation, works automatically towards the issue, which no other function could discover. Where intuition has the priority, every ordinary situation in life seems like a closed room, which intuition has to open. It is constantly seeking outlets and fresh possibilities in external life. In a very short time every actual situation becomes a prison to the intuitive; it burdens him like a chain, prompting a compelling need for solution. At times objects would seem to have an almost exaggerated value, should they chance to represent the idea of a severance or release that might lead to the discovery of a new possibility. Yet no sooner have they performed their office, serving intuition as a ladder or a bridge, than they [p. 464] appear to have no further value, and are discarded as mere burdensome appendages. A fact is acknowledged only in so far as it opens up fresh possibilities of advancing beyond it and of releasing the individual from its operation. Emerging possibilities are compelling motives from which intuition cannot escape and to which all else must be sacrificed. ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types, Chapter 10.