This thread is intended as both an introductory course to typology and an inquiry into the field. Or in other words, I am here to answer the most basic questions on the subject and to explore further ideas which hopefully will lead to discoveries in the field.
I invite all to participate in this discussion for the purposes above.
The essay below will hopefully provide us with sufficient inspiration. I do not request for all to read the piece in entirety, and accordingly shall compartmentalize ideas into a number of categories, so you may read selectively at your own discretion.
When it is all said and done, the following is intended to serve as a workshop to deal with the following matters and more.
A.Basic questions concerning typology, for beginners entering this community to get better acquainted with the subject. This thread should be a good place to start.
B. Intermediate and above level students of the field can turn their inquiry over to here.
C.Help with your type.
D.Connections of typology to other intellectual fields. Carl Jung studied philosophy as a step in his inquiry into human nature. Most of my work in this field employed the same method (as readers of my profiles must know by now), namely approaching matters of type through the perspective of philosophy of mind rather than behaviorism. Typology could be equally interfused with psychology, sociology, anthrpology, etc, any field that is concerned with the nature of mind and the nature of persons. As this inquiry shall hopefully evince, intellectual and practical applications of typology are multifarious. However, it is my hope that Jung's quest for meaning in life will be furthered by the instruments he has bequeathed to us, and this present inquiry and exegesis of typology shall greatly contribute to our quest for meaning in life. I believe this is both possible and desirable and shall support this claim with the argument that Jungian typology evinces invaluable insights in human mind and human nature on a broader account.
I.What is a type
"The fact that children often exhibit a typical attitude quite unmistakable even in their earliest years forces us to assume that it cannot be the struggle for existence in the ordinary sense that determines a particular attitude. It might be objected, cogently enough, that even the infant at the breast has to perform an unconscious act of psychological adaptation, in that the mother's influence leads to specific reactions in the child. This argument, while supported by incontenstable evidence, becomes rather flimsy in face of the equally incontestable fact that two children of the same mother may exhibit contrary attitudes at an early age, though no change in the mother's attitude can be demonstrated. Although nothing would induce me to underrate the incalculable importance of parental influence, this familiar experience compels me to conclude that the decisive factor must be looked for in the disposition of the child. Ultimately, it must be the individual disposition which decides whether the child will belong to this or that type despite the constancy of external conditions.
This, is the most important question of typology since this field by definition is the study of types. We have no reliable way of thinking clearly about the present matter if we are unsure of the fundament of our edifice. If we were to ask our most well-known propagandist, David Keirsey, he without a doubt would tell us that type is a person who tests under these or those 4 letter categories. Yet, again the question to follow is, where do those 4 categories derive. If we take the typical Meyerrs Briggs test, I answer several questions reminiscent of the following ' Do you prefer to make decisions logically or personall?', 'At funerals do you cry', 'Do you believe in love at first sight?'.Etc.
Without a doubt, if I were to answer those, the test would indicate a Thinking preferrence. For the sake of the thought experiment, lets suppose that I had a mid-life crisis, or a tragedy which has forced me to function in a way uncommon to the way I usually tend to. Had I taken the test on that occassion, I would be labelled a feeler? In this case, could there truly be 'anything solid' to type.
To answer my own question, I shall ask what exactly compels one to cry at funerals or believe in love? Intuitively, it becomes obvious to any sober and reasonable person that there is a psychological predisposition that leads us to behave in those certain fashions. All of us, should we be given right circumstances would exhibit such behaviors, as they require a merely adequate emotional climate. Such behaviors are associated with a display of a Feeling function, and any psychologist shall attest that all humans have emotions. This shows that all of us to some extent are Feelers, or we have a certain quantity of the essence of Feeling immanent within us. This is not to emphasize the function of Feeling per se, this was but a random example. The same could be said for how we all are to some extent thinkers, as we all confront situations in life which insist on impersonal problem solving. Situations in life that insist on attunement with facts, concrete tasks, and memories, which is proof that all of us contain the essence of sensation. As well as situations in life where abstract thought and entertainment of visions and ideas are highly vouched for proves that all of us are Intuitors to some extent.
In this essay I shall argue that the behaviorist approach which is reminiscent of Keirsey's typology is inadequate. As a token to that school of thought, one may argue that a Thinker is one who displays more Thinking behaviors than that of Feeling, Sensation and Intuition. This idea rings plausible, however, in order for us to definitely state such a conclusion about the individual we must thoroughly observe his lifestyle and biography. We are not in the position to accomplish this due to the limitation of our faculties. But even if we were able to do so, our question for what a type is would be answered only indirectly. A behaviorist would still be at a loss to explain what drives the said individual to display more Thinking behaviors than those associated with other functions?
The most obvious answer our imagination can conjure is that there is an unconscious predilection in our essence that makes us gravitate towards behaviors associated with Thinking. However, we must not discount the chasm between our unconscious tendencies and the action itself, as it is our psychological state that propels us to action. Or in other words, our unconscious tendencies first lead us to reason in an impersonal fashion, and only at the opportunity presented by the external world could we have a chance to demonstrate such a mindset. On this account, we could boldly declare that the behaviorist is not aware of the essence of type itself, but only of the external manifestation thereof.
From the path of a behaviorist, we shall ask, what if it is the case that a person was born with a strong Thinking tendency, yet his external environment forced him to behave like a Feeler, would not such a person by the behaviorist method be labelled as a Feeler because he demonstrates more behaviors associated with Feeling? Imagine an ENTJ female sailor of the 15th century Shipwrecked in the Arabian waters. If she were to be observed in the Middle Eastern society of the time, no doubt she would exhibit more behaviors associated with Feeling rather than Thinking. Yet, manifestly this would go against her core and she would shake the facade off of herself at the first available opportunity. Yet, the behaviorist, once more, would be compelled to regard this character as a Feeler. This shows that such a method is to be rejected as superficial at best.
Hence, here, I shall lay down for what I understand for type to be. Now, let it be made clear that this is no dogma. This is intended as an open-ended discussion, I invite all to challenge even the most basic and axiomatic propositions of my system such as this.
A type is an inherent unconscious predilection towards certain habits of mind which to an external observer manifest as either Thinking, Feeling, Intuition or Sensation. The type in itself is amorphous and indescribable because it inheres within the nature of mind incommensurable to anything we may observe in the external world and intelligibly depict in the terms of our language. However, to make matters bearable, we can have some access to this phenomenon by embracing the approach of philosophy of mind and not behaviorism, as the latter stultifies us in the shallow waters. Instead of saying a Thinker is one who behaves logically and tells others to supress emotion, we should say that a Thinker is one who unconsciously gravitates towards the impersonal.
Essentially, the type that we have the strongest predilection towards we tend to use naturally and freely. The type that is the opposite of the previous, shall be the one that we will likely incur most difficulty utilizing.
Hence, we have the four categories of thought. Thinking, Sensation, Intuition and Feeling, or unconscious predilections which tend to form thoughts in those four fashions. All of which could equally be categorized either into the Extroverted sector or the Introverted. This is the most salient functional demarcation with which I propose we start our inquiry into functions.
A. Extroversion and Introversion
"The attitude types, as I have repeatedly emphasized in the preceding chapters, are distinguished by their attitude to the object. The introvert's attitude is an abstracting one; at bottom, he is always intent on withdrawing libido from the object, as though he had to prevent the object from gaining power over him. The extravert, on the contrary, has a positive relation to the object. He affirms its importance to such an extent that his subjective attitude is constantly related to and oriented by the object. The object can never have enough value for him, and its importance must always be increased. The two types are so different and present such a striking contrast that their existence becomes quite obvious even to the layman once it has been pointed out. Everyone knows those reserved, inscrutable, rather shy people who form the strongest possible contrast to the open, sociable, jovial, or at least friendly and approachable characters who are on good terms with everybody, or quarrel with everybody, but always relate to them in some way and in turn are affected by them.”
The extrovert orients primarily by the data of the external world. His thoughts and feelings are subordinate to what is externally observable. Empiricism is the school of thought most in tune with this mindset. Theorizing is only sound to the extent it is confirmed by objectively verifiable data. As Jung further elaborates
“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 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 subordinate to external necessity, though not without a struggle; but it is always the objective determinant that winds in the end. His whole consciousness looks outward, because the essential and decisive determination always comes from outside. ”
Thus to exemplify this matter, the Extrovert interacts with the external environment directly, whilst the Introvert interacts directly with his internal perceptions of what he has observed. To exemplify this matter, if the Introvert and the Extrovert are both informed of a flood in the city, the Extrovert would be more inclined to imagine the situation the way it has been described to him, or exactly the way he has seen or in any way experienced the news. Yet the Introvert would filter the news through his own perceptions. He would ask, is this account truly sound? Could X be the cause of Y as the informer stated. Moreover, if I saw X happen, could it have been the case that I have misheard, or I was not seeing clearly, or that it was an illusion? The deciding factor for the introvert would derive from his own thoughts. Yet the extrovert is externally compelled to choose whatever action he may. He typically would run on autopilot, simply do what the external factors compel him to. Of course, this would be the case if the character in question is a pure Extroverted type. In human nature there are no such An Extrovert is simply one who has more tendencies towards Extroversion than to Introversion, he has access to both, just more natural to the former than to the latter. Accordingly, in his case it would mean that it would be more natural to act in a fashion prescribed by external factors than by his own mind. The danger of any type is over-emphasizing faculties that we are most comfortable with and neglecting those that we are less comfortable with. For the Extrovert, the most comfortable will be the faculty of Extroversion, and the one that could likely be neglected is the faculty of Introversion. Introversion is primarily concerned with the subjective factor.