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Carl Jung on The Extraverted Type
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Psychological Types

In our description of this and the following types it is necessary, for the sake of clarity, to distinguish between the psychology of consciousness and the psychology of the unconscious.

We shall first describe the phenomena of consciousness.

a. The General Attitude of Consciousness

Although it is true that everyone orients himself in accordance with the data supplied by the outside world, we see every day that the data in themselves are only relatively decisive.

The fact that it is cold outside prompts one man to put on his overcoat, while another, who wants to get hardened, finds this superfluous.

One man admires the latest tenor because everybody else does, another refuses to do so, not because he dislikes him, but because in his view the subject of universal admiration is far from having been
proved admirable.

One man resigns himself to circumstances because experience has shown him that nothing else is possible, another is convinced that though things have gone the same way a thousand times before, the
thousand and first time will be different.

The one allows himself to be oriented by the given facts, the other holds in reserve a view which interposes itself between him and the objective data.

Now, when orientation by the object predominates in such a way that decisions and actions are determined not by subjective views but by objective conditions, we speak of an extraverted attitude.

When this is habitual, we speak of an extraverted type.

If a man thinks, feels, acts, and actually lives in a way that is directly correlated with the objective conditions and their demands, he is extraverted.

His life makes it perfectly clear that it is the object and not this subjective view that plays the determining role in his consciousness.

Naturally he has subjective views too, but their determining value is less than that of the objective conditions.

Consequently, he never expects to find any absolute factors in his own inner life, since the only ones he knows are outside himself.

Like Epimetheus, his inner life is subordinated to external necessity, though not without a struggle; but it is always the objective determinant that wins in the end.

His whole consciousness looks outward, because the essential and decisive determination always comes from outside.

But it comes from outside only because that is where he expects it to come from.

All the peculiarities of his psychology, except those that depend on the primacy of one particular psychological function or on idiosyncrasies of character, follow from this basic attitude.

His interest and attention are directed to objective happenings, particularly those in his immediate environment.

Not only people but things seize and rivet his attention.

Accordingly, they also determine his actions, which are fully explicable on those grounds.

The actions of the extravert are recognizably related to external conditions.

In so far as they are not merely reactive to environmental stimuli, they have a character that is always adapted to the actual circumstances, and they find sufficient play within the limits of the objective situation.

No serious effort is made to transcend these bounds.

It is the same with his interest: objective happenings have an almost inexhaustible fascination for him, so that ordinarily he never looks for anything else.

The moral laws governing his actions coincide with the demands of society, that is, with the prevailing moral standpoint.

If this were to change, the extravert’s subjective moral guidelines would change accordingly, without this altering his general psychological habits in any way.

This strict determination by objective factors does not mean, as one might suppose, a complete let alone ideal adaptation to the general conditions of life.

In the eyes of the extravert, of course, an adjustment of this kind to the objective situation must seem like complete adaptation, since for him no other criterion exists.

But from a higher point of view it by no means follows that the objective situation is in all circumstances a normal one.

It can quite well be temporarily or locally abnormal.

An individual who adjusts himself to it is admittedly conforming to the style of his environment, but together with his whole surroundings he is in an abnormal situation with respect to the universally valid laws
of life.

He may indeed thrive in such surroundings, but only up to the point where he and his milieu meet with disaster for transgressing these laws.

He will share the general collapse to exactly the same extent as he was adjusted to the previous situation.

Adjustment is not adaptation; adaptation requires far more than merely going along smoothly with the conditions of the moment. (Once again I would remind the reader of Spitteler’s Epimetheus.)

It requires observance of laws more universal than the immediate conditions of time and place.

The very adjustment of the normal extraverted type is his limitation.

He owes his normality on the one hand to his ability to fit into existing conditions with comparative ease.

His requirements are limited to the objectively possible, for instance to the career that holds out good prospects at this particular moment; he does what is needed of him, or what is expected of him, and
refrains from all innovations that are not entirely self-evident or that in any way exceed the expectations of those around him.

On the other hand, his normality must also depend essentially on whether he takes account of his subjective needs and requirements, and this is just his weak point, for the tendency of his type is
so outer-directed that even the most obvious of all subjective facts, the condition of his own body, receives scant attention.

The body is not sufficiently objective or “outside,” so that the satisfaction of elementary needs which are indispensable to physical well-being is no longer given its due.

The body accordingly suffers, to say nothing of the psyche.

The extravert is usually unaware of this latter fact, but it is all the more apparent to his household.

He feels his loss of equilibrium only when it announces itself in abnormal body sensations.

These he cannot ignore.

It is quite natural that he should regard them as concrete and “objective,” since with his type of mentality they cannot be anything else—for him.

In others he at once sees “imagination” at work.

A too extraverted attitude can also become so oblivious of the subject that the latter is sacrificed completely to so-called objective demands—to the demands, for instance, of a continually expanding
business, because orders are piling up and profitable opportunities have to be exploited.

This is the extravert’s danger: he gets sucked into objects and completely loses himself in them.

The resultant functional disorders, nervous or physical, have a compensatory value, as they force him into an involuntary self-restraint.

Should the symptoms be functional, their peculiar character may express his psychological situation in symbolic form; for instance, a singer whose fame has risen to dangerous heights that tempt him to
expend too much energy suddenly finds he cannot sing high notes because of some nervous inhibition.

Or a man of modest beginnings who rapidly reaches a social position of great influence with wide prospects is suddenly afflicted with all the symptoms of a mountain sickness.

Again, a man about to marry a woman of doubtful character whom he adores and vastly overestimates is seized with a nervous spasm of the oesophagus and has to restrict himself to two cups of milk a
day, each of which takes him three hours to consume.

All visits to the adored are effectively stopped, and he has no choice but to devote himself to the nourishment of his body.

Or a man who can no longer carry the weight of the huge business he has built up is afflicted with nervous attacks of thirst and speedily falls a victim to hysterical alcoholism.

Hysteria is, in my view, by far the most frequent neurosis of the extraverted type.

The hallmark of classic hysteria is an exaggerated rapport with persons in the immediate environment and an adjustment to surrounding conditions that amounts to imitation.

A constant tendency to make himself interesting and to produce an impression is a basic feature of the hysteric.

The corollary of this is his proverbial suggestibility, his proneness to another person’s influence.

Another unmistakable sign of the extraverted hysteric is his effusiveness, which occasionally carries him into the realm of fantasy, so that he is accused of the “hysterical lie.”

The hysterical character begins as an exaggeration of the normal attitude; it is then complicated by compensatory reactions from the unconscious, which counteract the exaggerated extraversion by
means of physical symptoms that force the libido to introvert.

The reaction of the unconscious produces another class of symptoms having a more introverted character, one of the most typical being a morbid intensification of fantasy activity.

After this general outline of the extraverted attitude we shall now turn to a description of the modifications which the basic psychological functions undergo as a result of this attitude. ~Carl Jung, Psychological Types, Pages 333-337