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Dr. Jung on misconceptions about “Types.”


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C.G. Jung Speaking

The classification of individuals [By Type] means nothing at all ~Carl Jung, Jung-Evans Conversations, Page 23.

In my book about types I have given a number of examples illustrating my modus operandi. Classification did not interest me very much. It is a side-issue with only indirect importance to the therapist.” ~Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 550-552

Dr. Jung: Naturally I have devoted a great deal of attention to that painful question, you know!

Question: And reached a conclusion?

Dr. Jung: Well, you see, the type is nothing static. It changes in the course of life, but I most certainly was characterized by thinking.
I always thought, from early childhood on, and I had a great deal of intuition too.

And I had a definite difficulty with feeling, and my relation to reality was not particularly brilliant.

I was often at variance with the reality of things. Now that gives you all the necessary data for a diagnosis! ~Carl Jung, C.G. Jung, Speaking, Pages 435-6.

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 vou 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? ~Carl Jung, Evans Conversations, Page 23.