This is an excerpt from Principles of Typology.
Principles of Typology
Chapter 16-ISFJ Profile
ďSensation, which by its very nature is dependent on the object and objective stimuli, undergoes considerable modification in the introverted attitude. It, too, has a subjective factor, for besides the sensed object there is a sensing subject who adds his subjective disposition to the objective stimulus. In the introverted attitude sensation is based predominantly on the subjective component of perception. What I mean by this is best illustrated by works of art which reproduces external objects. If for instance, several painters were to paint the same landscape, each trying to reproduce it faithfully, each painting will be different from the others, not merely because of differences in ability, but chiefly because of different ways of seeing; indeed, in some of the paintings there will be a distinct psychic difference in mood and treatment of color and form.Ē Psychological Types PPs 393-394.
I. Introverted Sensing
The introverted sensing type is primarily concerned with the concrete environment beside him. However, unlike the Extroverted Sensor he does not assume the identity of the object to exist in its own right, he interpolates his own perceptions between his inner life and the external object. In other words, he derives his ideas of what pens and desks look like not based directly on what he has seen, but based on the notes his unconscious mind has taken of the perceived objects. Thus a subjective perception is interpolated between the object itself and the mind of the introverted sensor. This is indeed a very peculiar psychological set-up. As sensation is concrete by definition as well as oriented strictly by the external entities, yet is admixed with a flavor of introversion. The question to ask is, does Introversion detract from sensation or does it contribute to this faculty. The subjective of this type is further increased by the Feeling factor of the ISFJ. Thus the already distorted objects are not judged logically and objectively by what they appear to be, but by the Feelings and values of the person.
The most intuitive answer to the question previously posed seems to be that it detracts from sensation, or makes sensation less productive. This appears to be the case because sensation is primarily externally oriented and introversion, obviously, internally oriented. However, it should be noted that even the most externally focused faculties are indirectly fueled by the inner life or the mind. The extrovert is internally inspired to be externally oriented. In the same respect Introverted Sensation focuses on what is to be sensed, as the extroverted faculties focus on entities that one can interact with outside of his inner life. Thus the Introverted Sensation is the most intense form of sensation or most focused on the concrete and therefore most attuned with the senses. This is the case as it has been shown in many places in this book that introversion intensifies all faculties. As has been stated in the description of Introverted Intuition, perceptions are favored or disfavored not by their ostensible and objective merits or demerits, but by how they relate to the mind of the Introverted Perceiver in question. Some perceptions are attractive because they set of an inner trigger within the unconscious of the introverted sensor and some are repelled because there is little within the mind of the introverted sensor to attract such entities. Even though such a mindset brings about a keen awareness of the external physical environment, it is deeply puzzling why the judgment of this type appears aloof and arbitrary.
Once more, as for every introvert, the introverted sensor orients more by what is to be found in his inner life than what is outside of himself. ďThe predominance of introverted sensation produces a definite type, which is characterized by certain peculiarities. It is an irrational type, because it is oriented amid the flux of events not by rational judgment but simply by what happens. Whereas the extraverted sensation type is guided by the intensity of subjective sensation excited by the objective influences, the introverted type is guided by the intensity of the subjective sensation excited by the objective stimulus. What will make an impression and what will not can never be seen in advance, and from outside.Ē Psychological types. P. 395.
The primary difference between the Introverted and the Extroverted Sensor is that in the case of the latter it may be easily figured out why the type is attracted to particular sensations as they all could be observed with unaided eye. All that is necessary to do is simply an observation of concrete, external objects which require little more than our five senses. Yet the taste in perceptions of the Introverted Sensor remain enigmatic. As mentioned in Chapter one, Introverts, especially Introverted Sensors tend to have a nostalgia for the past due to their inability to properly interact with the external environment. Fluent interaction with the external environment requires Extroverted perception most of all, and proper cognitive assessment of the external environment requires Extroverted Intuition which often appears to be wanting in the Introverted Sensing type as the Extroverted Intuition is the inferior faculty.
Because this type focused on impressions of what has been observed, he has an easier time recollecting what has been observed rather than using his imagination to concoct new ideas. This makes the Introverted Sensorís affinity with the past even stronger. His perceptions tend to be focused on what is of interest, just like that of the Introverted Intuitionist. Unlike the Extroverted Sensor, the Introverted Sensor can easily focus only on what most stimulates him, and not all that could be observed with the five senses. When these variables are translated into personalities of Western Culture, it often follows that the Introverted Sensor prefers only one kind of exercising routine, as opposed to experimenting with many, only one or few kinds of meals, and only the few selected sporting activities or activities which require active use of sensation. In the case of the interpersonally oriented ISFJ, it often happens that only certain kind of relationships are deemed worth pursuing and the rest live in the world apart. Perception is also concerned with how one leads his lifestyle, as perception by its nature is concerned with the environment around us. For the reasons mentioned above, the Introverted Sensor prefers to have a static lifestyle with few changes, unlike the Extroverted Sensor who tends to enjoy a variety. It should also be noted that such a focus on what is important, in addition to the general focus on the concrete and the detail makes it easy for the Introverted Sensor to pay meticulous attention to tasks of importance to him. Especially those that could be easily located in the concrete world of physical occurrences. In most cases, such tasks tend to be interpersonally oriented such as service to the community and to the people close to them.
In effect, the Introverted Sensor collects perceptions and memories that are of value to him and is forced to cling to them. Anything that disturbs his inner vision is deemed highly undesirable as he tends to see little distinction between the external world as a thing in itself and the external world as perceived by his vision. Seeing the external environment as a thing in itself is a matter of Extroverted Perception, which the Introverted Sensor by and large tends to lack. Adapting to the changes of the External environment requires a high intuitive capacity which orients around the External world, this is too to be associated with Extroverted Intuition which for the Introverted Sensor is an inferior faculty. For this reason the Introverted Sensor tends to experience immense difficulties when he is forced to adjust to the external environment.
ďAbove all, his development alienates him from the reality of the object, leaving him at the mercy of his subjective perceptions, which orient his consciousness to an archaic reality, although his lack of comparative judgment keeps him wholly unconscious of this fact. Actually he lives in a mythological world, where men, animals, locomotives, houses, rivers and mountains appear either as benevolent deities or as malevolent demons. That they appear thus to him never enters his head, though that is just the effect they have on his judgments and actions. He judges and acts as though he had such powers to deal with; but this begins to strike him only when he discovers that his sensations are totally different from reality. If he has any aptitude for objective reason, he will sense this difference as morbid; but if he remains faithful to his irrationality, and is ready to grant his sensations reality value , the objective world will appear a mere make-believe and a comedy. Only in extreme cases, however, is this dilemma reached. As a rule, he resigns himself to his isolation and the banality of the world which he has unconsciously made archaic. Ē Psychological Types, P.398.
In the case of the ISFJ often past relationships are mythologized and the prospects of future ones are treated with unreasonable fears or pleasant expectations which are often altogether divorced from reality. By and large, the impressions of such relationships tend to be negative, self-sabotaging and thoroughly depreciatory because the attitude of uncompromising introversion tends to lead to hostility towards the external world. This is not at all to say that ISFJs by and large tend to hold such attitudes, but only do so in cases of neurosis. Most of all a neurotic Introverted Sensing type reviles intuition, Extroverted Intuition most of all, and in effect holds a negative attitude towards possibilities concerning their relationships and impersonal affairs. The attitude towards impersonal affairs is even more negative because it is the Thinking faculty of the ISFJ that is in charge of those endeavors. The Thinking of the ISFJ tends to be negative as any under-developed function does.
The Introverted Sensor, even though firmly in tune with the concrete, shall have difficulty finding a satisfactory concrete environment in the external world as his perceptions tend to be very rigid in their affinity with the inner life. This is even more so the case for the more emotionally minded and idealistic ISFJ. Moreover, such a type, unlike the ISTJ, will seek to forge a very harmonious concrete environment for the people and communities ISFJs value. Accomplishing this is even more difficult than the Introverted Sensation oriented tasks of the ISTJ as such an emotionally oriented agenda is even more subjective and difficult to define. Without a doubt it is difficult to accomplish a task that we ourselves are not clearly aware of. It is much akin to solving a mathematical problem where we do not exactly know what the problem is to begin with.
For the Introverted Sensing type it is the case that what he senses is either in tune with his inner, seemingly arbitrary hunches and impulses or they are not. Since he is lacking Intuition and abstract or Introverted judgment he is not in the position to do the proper assessment, therefore he but compares what he observes with what he deems to be fitting and proper. Such rigidity of thought is most firmly pronounced in military and religious regimes. Very often, people who do not observe the exact ways of behaving the ISFJ endorses are ostracized. To exemplify this phenomenon we should consider how many professed Christian with values compatible of that of Christ are not recognized as brothers and sisters of many church communities because they do not observe the particular practices and rituals endorsed by those communities. We recognize that this is in even further affinity with the unconscious tendencies of the Introverted Sensing type as religious practices tend to be loyal to one tradition that has been established many centuries ago, and the tradition is almost always faithfully preserved to resemble the vision that has been established originally.
As a dominant sensation type, the Introverted Sensor is clearly in tune with his instincts, because he is the most sensation oriented of all types, his physical sensations are most intense. Since he is in tune with subjectivity of his personality and matters of taste he reflects upon it more with the Feeling faculty to further intensify the sensations. Usually such types are adept to participate in almost all physical activities that shall serve their interests. Since this typeís sensations tend to run in intensity and not extensity, as well as are more influenced by the past than the present, this type is most influenced by the occurrences that has happened in childhood, or occurrences that have happened before the type has attained a firm outlook on life. They serve as foundational to all experiences he will encounter in the future as Introverted Perception naturally imposes what has previously been collected onto what is to be embarked on next. Unlike the Extroverted Sensor who deems the external environment as an end in itself and is experiential, therefore can easily overcome the influences of the past, the Introverted Sensor cannot divorce himself from his perceptions. This is even more reinforced by the ISFJís Feeling faculty which limits their judgment to their values and prejudices.
After those foundational entities have been established, they tend to haunt the thought of this type to the very end, often in mystical ways that he himself is not aware of. Unconsciously, as a result his perceptions concoct a vision of the world that combines all that he has observed in the past and is currently observing, though clearly with a more intense focus on the past than on the present moment. This is the case because the Introverted Sensor is in closer affinity with his inner perceptions than with the immediate external observations. ďWe could say that introverted sensation transmits an image which does not so much reproduce the object as spread over it the patina of age-old subjective experience and the shimmer of events still unborn. The bare sense impression develops in depth, reaching into the past and future, while extraverted sensation seizes on the momentary existence of things open to the light of day.Ē Psychological Types. P.395
As a concluding remark on the nature of Introverted Sensation, I shall remind the reader that introversion tends to deem oneís own judgment favorable and what has not been judged to be pernicious. This is the typical preference for the subject over the object. The emotional sensitivity of this type further reinforces this tendency as attachments to objects and people are easily formed, the type often also lacks the impersonal analysis skills to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. This renders the ISFJ as close to the quintessential Introverted Sensing type as possible. Since it is the sensation that is subject oriented, whatever has not yet been sensed is to be deemed a threat. For this reason, the Introverted Sensor tends to be highly risk averse and on a look out for potential dangers, even those coming from the simplest concrete objects. The same agenda is often applied to the new people, Xenophobia is not at all an uncommon result. For this reason, among many others, novelty and whatever may disturb the current modus operandi is decried with extreme prejudice. Even minor changes in the physical environment often lead to great upsets, such as the change of temperature in the room or the change in content of daily meals. This too often leads to extreme sensitivity in changes of peopleís moods and manners. Great upsets are incurred by the ISFJ when people are not behaving in a way they are supposed to be. The greater the neurosis, the greater the upset. As typical of an introverted function, a very high standard is propounded to assess the external environment which obviously must be in the heavens, as nothing of the like is to be found on earth! Since the introverted perception in this case is primarily oriented by sensation, the focus is placed on creating the most sensually congenial physical environment. The behavior of a fictional detective Adrianne Monk represents this phenomenon. An exaggeration of this tendency is most expressed in the obsessive compulsive personality disorder. He certainly was a textbook example of an ISFJ, though the obsessive compulsive disorder certainly isnít.
Extroverted Feeling is a rational function which is usually employed to organize and make assessments of the irrational perceptions of the Introverted Sensation. Since Extroverted Feeling, in the case of the ISFJ lacks the content of abstract qualities (as distinct from the Introverted Intuitive type), the Extroverted Thinking is often not fit to exonerate the Introverted Sensor from the irrational biases his unconscious mind has harbored. As it has been stated by Jung earlier, namely that the Introverted Sensor is not aware that he anthropomorphizes concrete objects, yet inevitably behaves as he does. The personification of objects is even further strengthened by the interpersonal feeling factor of this type. Since the Introverted Sensory type is governed primarily by impulse without being aware of this, as is characteristic of a dominant sensory type, it is the case that he succumbs to many irrational practices. The lack of objective assessment due to poorly developed Thinking further compounds the problem. This is well evinced in many religious rituals. Unlike the Extroverted Sensor who almost always shows the true banality of his actions, the Introverted Sensorís impulses tend to be well hidden in his inner world. Instead of the irrational sensation, this type shows the rational Feeling to the external world. However, there needs to be adduced very little evidence to show that Feeling is the slave of sensation, as by virtue of the Hegelian master-slave dialect, the auxiliary faculty, as a general rule tends to be subservient to the primary function. Since thinking is Extroverted, it tends to serve an external rather than the internal agenda. Very often, as a result of the inner focus, the Extroverted Feeling of this type tends to be less concerned with the value of endorsed practices, but simply with the justification of them. This is also inspired by the longing to preserve the status quo. For this reason the ISFJs are often the staunchest defenders of traditional ways.
III. Introverted Thinking
Introverted Thinking is one of the lower faculties of the ISFJ and is therefore often abused. The problem this type encounters is the same as any extroverted Feeling type. Malfunctioning Introverted Thinking can be made to abide by all sorts of strange superstitious laws of reasoning as it relies on no solid objective basis. Unlike Extroverted Thinking, it is not easily subjugated to conventional laws of reasoning. In effect, alchemy, black magic, etc are often endorsed. The Thinking is negative and since it is directed at the subject and not the object by virtue of introversion of the essence, self-sabbotage is very common. In combination with Introverted Sensing which deems the whole concrete world in itself dangerous often proves to be a great menace.
IV. Extroverted Intuition
ďBut when the influence of the object does not break through completely, it is met with well intentioned neutrality, disclosing little sympathy yet constantly striving to soothe and adjust. The too low is raised a little, the too high is lowered, enthusiasm is damped down, extravagance is restrained, and anything out of the ordinary reduced to the right formula Ėall this in order to keep the influence of the object within the necessary bounds. In this way the type becomes a menace to his environment because his total innocuousness is not altogether above suspicion. In that case he easily becomes a victim of the aggressiveness and domineeringness of others. Such men allow themselves to be abused and then take their revenge on the most unsuitable occasions with redoubled obtuseness and stubbornness.Ē
As aforementioned proper interaction with the external environment requires Extroverted Intuition which this type sorely lacks. Thus, he simply resigns himself to the proposition that he shall deal with circumstances that he dislikes, but has no power to alter. Yet the will to impose his perceptions of the external world remains strong, as that of any introvert. The aforementioned stubbornness derives from the inability to entertain foreign perspectives, this has been depicted earlier in the essay. Since this type lacks the affinity with the external environment, the way he interacts with the external world is often unfitting to the external environment. This is compensated by the type electing environments that tend not to vary greatly, where his modus operandi shall be committed to memory and then executed by Extroverted Feeling. Intuition of this type tends to be negative, as any inferior function does, for this reason the vision of the introverted sensing type tends to be fraught with many irrational fears and catastrophic ideas. This presence is rarely unnoticed by others, and for this reason many may feel that the Introverted Sensing type carries a dark aura.