Carl Jung’s Personality Typology Continued – Part 4

This is an ongoing series about personality and focuses on the personality typology of Carl Jung.

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9/19/16 The Human Personality – Part 1
This first post is available on this blog on the date above. It discusses personality as enduring and distinct from intelligence. It also notes that Jung was correct that it continues to evolve over our life span.

10/3/16 Personality Types – In General – Part 2
In the second installment, also available on this blog at the above date, the general structure of Jung’s system is presented. Personality is seen as a rising wheel with two attitudes and two pairs of four functions which are presented in thumbnails. Greater detailing is given in later posts.
10/17/16 Psychological Types – Introversion and Extraversion – Part 3
In the third installment available at the above date the two attitudes of introversion and extraversion are covered. You are probably at least somewhat familiar with them. They compose a context which shapes the functions to be described in future posts.
Next in the Series:

The Thinking Function – Part 4

Part of a Pair

The thinking function is paired with the feeling function. No specific value is attached to either one. They are simply different types.

As regards thinking, consider for a moment the scientist or engineer sitting in his laboratory focused intently on a problem. It is technical and requires a hard-headed, rational approach. There is no need at the moment to consider the implications of the solution. Solving the problem is everything. This kind of problem is what this person prefers solving.

The thinking type is a person who is systematic, rational and deals in factual matters. Feelings don’t enter into what they are doing to any significant degree. Why would they? Motives are intellectually considered.

In considering this person we need not attach a value to their approach. It is technical and focused. This person may be a Dr. Strangelove or he may be a Michelanglo who is constructing a flying apparatus. The outside world may attach a value to what they do and may have feelings about it. These two men may attach no feelings or very limited feelings. In a pure sense this is the thinking type. They may feel detached to us but they are not necessarily good or evil.

But There Are Feelings

With this description we need to be clear that they do have feelings which may run deep but feelings are not the core of how they approach the world. Their skills and orientations are quite useful in certain settings.

In writing fiction such a person may come to be a hero or a tragic figure to those around them. When extraversion is attached such a person is guided by tradition and education. Those are outside values from the world at large. The focus is on generally accepted ideas and absolute truths. Taste and friendship are secondary concerns.

The Effect of Attitudes

When introversion is attached, the person may be equally enraptured by facts and systems but personal conclusions rather than more widely accepted conclusions may be central. We at once see the more personal basis. With extraversion the inclusion of other people is more likely along with their viewpoints.

If there is an attempt to put this person in a romance novel it will take skill because underlying attributes will have to be teased out and brought to bear. This type is capable of deep love and caring but the manifestation of it is not always clear and may be difficult to convey to the reader.

In general, thinking types are very often likely to be male. There are some thinking type women, but they are much less common than thinking type men. Surely you know such men. They may be quite dedicated, helpful and we may appreciate them, but they do not hand out warm fuzzies.

Again, it is important not to attach a value to the types. Their choice of setting is important and the application of their function may take some tending.

For More Information

If you want to dig deeper into these personality types, in this information age it is easy. Simply google Carl Jung’s personality typology or the specific functions and attitudes and it will all be unfolded before you in detail.

Are there certain personality types you prefer to interact with?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon Home Page

The Universality of Mythology

Life Dramas

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In college I was utterly captivated by mythology. Suddenly I could see that it was manifested everywhere. The themes presented themselves in my history of art classes, they crept out to engage me even in my psychology courses. There was Carl Jung who brought back themes from across the world. Never before had I contacted celtic spirituality, mysticism in all its forms or the intentions of prophesy in human drama. The inspirations were boundless.

At first it is easy to see mythology as little more than fantasy. But gradually it is revealed that it is drama and art in all their forms. And then it dawns on us that it is visionary and metaphysical and ultimately it brings us vibrant reality.

Life Instructions

We can tell stories in a straightforward fashion in our fiction or we can choose different vehicles. All forms have their own allure. But we can come to understand that reality may take shape in dreams. And those dreams may be rich and instruct us about our endeavors and our future.

Over time I could not get away from it. Mythology revealed itself when I was engaging in therapy with my clients and in my studies it gave me instructions. When I looked at Freud I saw a man clearly embedded in western thought and the specificity of the field of medicine. Yet, he was drawn away as he spoke to us about the meaning of our dreams and especially the unconscious mind. Some of his colleagues scoffed. But recently, with our ability to scan the brain we have evidence of the unconscious process.

My Personal Favorite

And then there was Carl Jung. He foraged for myth across the world and, like Marco Polo, even brought us things from Asia. The mythology he gathered from his world wide searches brought us illumination of all kinds. His study of the world organized reality in his personality typology. He found, in his comprehensive studies, that who we are spoke of clear diversity of definable personality types. And they could be seen in myths.

In my doctoral dissertation I chose to study if the personality of the artist (painters in that instance) was manifested in his or her paintings. There had been endless speculation about the inner life of the artist in psychiatric literature, but nothing systematic or definitive. I found their personality was manifested in their paintings and also found that the personality type was the definitive component and not the degree of that type.

A Love Affair With Mythology

And it was my fascination with myth that led me to resolve to bring myth into my writings. And as I used myth to develop the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I found more and more myths revealed themselves to me.

The human imagination is so rich and from it we weave all forms of dreams and realities as well. And, of course, as I’ve noted, myths are not just born of our imagination, but also of real world events so revealing of who we are.

In the first book of the trilogy, Gaia’s Majesty: Mission Called – Women in Power, we see a process where myth and the movement to empower women are being woven in our world.

How does myth manifest itself in your life and, if you write, how does it reveal itself?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon Home Page

The Four Functions in Carl Jung’s Personality Typology

 

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Where does personality lead you?

Paired Opposites

And now we continue the personality series. This will be a general discussion of what Jung called the functions. Later we will focus on each in more detail.

Jung posited two pairs of functions composed of opposites. They are thinking- feeling and intuition-sensation. He spoke of thinking-feeling as being judgmental and intuition-sensation as being perceptual. When you begin to explore these pairs the meaning of the designation becomes apparent. At first it seems subtle but the distinction inevitably grows on us.

Judgement: Thinking-Feeling

Our feeling response, whether it is to a person or an environment is, in fact, judgmental. When we state what we are feeling, we are stating our response or judgement. And these people, in their focus on feeling, may be the people who welcome us and bring us together in the most warm environment.

When it comes to thinking we can understand its meaning immediately, especially if we encountered a hard nosed teacher or professor. But judgement need not mean harsh. That darling person welcoming us is making a judgement but for positive engagement. And the critical thinking type may really be making a judgement or definition in our behalf. As you begin to explore these judgements it becomes apparent that there are huge benefits and it does not necessarily imply criticism although it might.

Perception: Intuition-Sensation

The perception pair brings up another world entirely. We can understand why intuition is called perceptual. Intuitive types are interested in possibilities. That truly is a matter of perception. One person’s possibility may be a matter of disinterest to someone else. So it is a matter of how a person sees things.

When it comes to sensation, we open one of the most fascinating functions. By sensation Jung is talking about all manner of experiences. It may be a matter of being a foodie, a designer or simply someone who deals in, well, sensations of various sorts. Or the clarity of their perceptions may lead them to be very conventional. This type takes some study. And, in fact, Jung struggled with it because it is the function which, for him, was most deeply buried in his unconscious.

Clarifying Our World

When we look in detail at the typology it opens a rich world. We can see the subtle reactions and interactions which are possible. And then the degree within each function begins to come into play. Our understanding of people’s roles and endeavors is enriched.

In Fiction

One of the things I find intriguing is that in reading a work of fiction I often can see the type being played out in the characters and in their interactions. It often explains a lot to me. Granted, when we are reading fiction we don’t necessarily have to do an analysis. If you are a feeling type you will have one reaction, a thinking type may throw the book down in disgust and an intuitive type may be turning events round and round in an analysis. Sensation types may have a variable set of reactions. And, in fact, we may be able to perceive the personality type of the author.

I have found the typology more than just a matter of interest. In writing the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy I ended up writing down the description of the personality types of the characters. I couldn’t resist and uncovered the reasons for linkages and actions I created in writing. And I put together a book showing how the typology can be used in fiction writing. Creating Characters and Plots is available on Amazon.

In Depth

Should it be of interest to you, Jung wrote a very detailed book about his typology. It is dense, deep and long but you might find it worth exploring. Psychological Types by C. G. Jung is available on Amazon.

In coming posts I will be offering detailed discussions of the functions.
Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Psychological Types – Introversion and Extraversion

 

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In his book Psychological Types Carl Jung conceptualized two attitudes of introversion and extraversion. I’ll keep this nontechnical. One way to describe the attitudes is to refer to them as offering a context for how we approach the world. There is no value judgement attached. Each attitude has its own special place and its own annoying attributes as far as people of the other attitude are concerned.

The Introvert

We all know an introvert. They tend to be quiet and not easily engaged. Yes, they do come in degrees. There are some people who are extremely introverted and some people not so much. But the type shapes the person more than the degree. An introvert is an introvert first and foremost and his view of the world and relation to it is very different from an extravert of any degree.

The introvert directs his attention inward. His personal viewpoint is more important to him than the views held by the people around him. He finds and restores his energy inside himself and rejuvenates himself. It is tempting to be dismissive, but their independence and detachment has its own reward for the introvert and for the people they relate to. They are not easily swayed by the crowd which can be a saving grace.

And with the source of energy being generated within, it means they will limit their relationship with those around them because those experiences drain him or her of energy. But, yes, they do form friendships and they may be deep, rich and anything but superficial. You can share the greatest depth with an introvert. They will not fly away. Just give them some space and time. You can give them energy but it must be in a way that is like a comrade not someone making demands.

Their detachment means they may well come up with unique solutions because the prevailing orientation of the moment may not influence them very much. The intimacy can be intense. An interesting aspect of the introvert is that they may seem to be an extravert in public when they know exactly what to expect and how to be in command. But you may be sure their referent ultimately is deep inside them.

The Extravert

Of course we all know an extravert. They may be the life of the party and will be in touch with a lot of people. While the introvert seeks restoration in his inner private self the extravert finds it in personal contact with others. To the introvert, they are an energy drain, but, to fellow extraverts, they sustain each other.

The extravert directs their attention outward. The viewpoint of their fellows is important to them and they find their niche in the public. Group gatherings are rewarding to them. They build the crowd and the enthusiasm. They have their own special place in the group and weld it together.

They find their gratification in the group and reward the group at the same time. They serve a special purpose because the person to orchestrate the group is essential. They bring us together and mobilize us. It would be hard to imagine a world peopled only by introverts. How dull and quiet that would be. And so we must tolerate the differences and recognize the rewards offered by each.

A Part of the Whole

These attitudes are then a context and condition the relationships with the functions which will be described shortly. The attitudes indicate direction and then we add on the orchestra which they conduct. It is truly fascinating to see the multitude of abilities, orientations and talent which grow out of this system.

Are you clear about your attitude type?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Personality Types – In General

Now The Personality Will Unfold

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Truth in Myth

Where have you heard or seen echoes of your personality?

Today I’m going to start the series about personality. The context chosen is the work of C.G. Jung. He was not confined by the European cultures but foraged in the world. He came back with in depth observations some of them refined by his attention to mythology. Why mythology?
Because mythology speaks deeply about who and what we are and reflects our various facets.

In Depth Information

Jung organized a personality typology which is complex and deep, although, given the basic elements, at first look it may seem simplistic. It is not. Future posts will provide specifics. If you wish greater detail there is a wealth of information online. Googling The Personality Typology of C.G. Jung will open it. If you wish to get specific information on yourself, then google The Myers Briggs Type indicator. It is a test you can take online and it is not very expensive. It will explain a lot to you.

The General Structure

Lets look first at the overall structure of the typology. There are two Attitudes which are introversion and extraversion. You may not need basic information to begin to open your understanding. We talk a lot about introverts and extraverts.

And then there are the four paired functions of Intuition-Sensation and Thinking-Feeling. Now you will require more explanation.

Visual Instruction

But first let’s look at the basic construction which can be done visually. One way to look at it is that the attitudes give a context. If the focus is inward to the self, we are generally looking at an introvert. If the focus is outward to the other we are looking at an extravert. Those attitudes help shape the functions and give a context.

The Personality Wheel – The Rising Wheel of Life

The functions come in pairs. Picture a wheel with two lines drawn all the way across but at right angles to each other. Stand the wheel on edge and put it in water. Make sure it floats half way submerged. What is above water is in consciousness, what is below is in the unconscious. Each function sits on the rim of the wheel. The one which is most out of water is our primary function. The one which is still in consciousness but not as high out of the water is less developed and is the auxiliary, Then you can see the other two functions are in the unconscious.

I’ll go into the descriptions of the functions in more detail in other posts but we’ll stick to the basics for now.
The Four Functions – In Thumbnail

Intuition – Seeking possibilities is paramount and logic and reality are considerably less important. The person wants novelty and is not detail oriented. OMG! Sounds like a recipe for floundering without any focus. Except there is a logic and a focus. Also, it has help and structure from the other functions.

Sensation – This one is especially interesting. Jung defined it but could not grasp it. Partly because it was the function buried most deeply in his unconscious. This person is reality oriented but logic is clearly secondary. They tend to be very conventional but are sensual at the same time. I think you can see that may contribute an irrational element. I believe there is a moderator variable here which is undefined. That means a variable, the form of which may severely affect the outcome and direction of this personality type.

Thinking – This one is easy and you certainly know a thinking type. They are very logical, rational, factual and systematic. Think of a very focused scientist or technician. Almost everything is intellectually considered. Feelings are their opposite and so feelings don’t count for a whole lot. It’s not that these people have no feelings, it’s just that they don’t count for much. If they have guidance from a loving partner it helps a lot.

Feeling – Surprise! This is the other end of the thinking-feeling dimension and a lot of it has to do with feelings. Whether they are introverted or extraverted they tend to be people oriented and especially they seek to create harmony. They are rational in a different sort of way. You really want them to organize the party since everyone will come away happy.

On the Horizon

Shortly we begin with the attitudes. Look for friends, family and yourself.

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

The Human Personality

 

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Of course you have a personality. How would you describe it?

What It Is
Character is defined as the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. As such it is hardly pinpoint. And there is no system which clearly defines what makes up character. But being open ended is part of its utility. Sometimes, though, it’s useful to have clear definitions about stable components of a person. When we turn to personality we find such a system is available.

The American Psychological Association defines personality as “referring to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving”. Are you now perfectly clear? Probably not, because human beings are layers of characteristics, orientations, effects of history, biochemical interactions and on and on. But it is useful personally and in many environments to have an understanding of what is stable in how we are in our interactions and our approach to the world.

Multiple Realities But No Illness

It is important to understand that the description of a person’s personality has no connotation of mental illness at all. It may condition our behavior and reactions but primarily variations are normal and merely different. And, in describing a given person, their personality may have characteristics of certain groups and elements which are wholly idiosyncratic. It need not refer to intelligence because, more than anything, intelligence refers to management and processing of information, knowledge and abilities.

Distinct From Intelligence

We have been in a debate about intelligence for a very long time. Measurement initially was oriented toward having information about aptitude for school. But a man by the name of Wechsler divided it into Performance skills which are needed for hands on work and Verbal skills which are more closely related to education. I’ll leave it at that except to say that intelligence can relate only to being able to retain and regurgitate information but at other levels the person can be hopelessly “stupid”.

An Enduring Framework

Personality is another matter. Yes, it is enduring and it seems that we are born with the fundamentals of it. Decades ago when I was first studying psychology it was assumed that for both intelligence and personality a stable level was achieved with adulthood. A few people, among them Carl Jung disagreed. We now view ourselves as moving through stages of adult development and that major crises can reshape us.

A Lifelong Process

Part of Jung’s contribution was to see humans as continuing to develop through life and he put it in visual specifics. Later I will go into the details of his glorious personality typology but for now I will bring in the wheel. What he calls the four functions are paired in opposition and the pairs fall at right angles to each other. Picture a wheel with just two spokes across the diameter at right angle. Now place that wheel on edge in water and to begin with it floats halfway submerged. The part above the waterline is in consciousness and the balance in the unconscious. That means we have a full conscious command of some of it but the other parts play a role but not under our full understanding or control.

Over our lifetime this wheel is said to rise and we gain more and more command of all facets of our personality. Our abilities broaden and we have a broader perception and experience of the world. It is a glorious process.

Coming to This Blog

In blogs that will follow I will present you with the information on the two attitudes and four functions that make up the parts of our personality as Jung defined it. The wonder of it is that Jung did not just sit in Switzerland doing an intellectual exercise leading to an organized system. He went far out into the world. Freud was focused on Western medicine and Jung on mythology and the substance of a rich and powerful world. He brought back the recognition of the existence of his typology which is found across the world and in all people.

As we proceed you will see yourself, your neighbors, people you utterly dislike and people who are dear to you. When we see our personality, we understand how people different from ourselves can be rewarding, how we can bond with people like or unlike ourselves and so on.
I’m sure you will enjoy this journey.

How would you describe your personality?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

The Personality of the Artist (Painter)

 

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Our Own Personal Style

While I did well in school it often did not hold my attention. Some things were fascinating and some things trivial. So frequently I “went out the window” which meant dreaming and exploring while the teacher went on his or her way. This process continued into graduate school. Some part of the subject matter was really interesting, other parts not so much.

As the time came closer for me to choose a doctoral dissertation topic I was working with a professor who held my interest. We were very different personality types but he engaged me and would challenge me in very useful ways. I liked that. He made me think.

Creativity Versus Intelligence

At the time he was studying creativity as it related to intelligence. Of course to some people that was a verboten area to explore. Creativity is simply supposed to be creative and that’s that. He didn’t view it that way. And his study came up with an interesting conclusion. Creativity and intelligence are orthogonal. Wow! Really?

Orthogonal is a rarely used word which means unrelated. The conclusion was that you could be really smart and not at all creative or really creative and not so smart in the ordinary sense. I liked that idea. It was what I would call unbinding. For one thing, we don’t have to put the creative types into scholarly straightjackets.

His studies led me to take a look at the literature about creativity in the psychological/psychiatric realm. What a hopeless morass. I did my major thesis (predoctoral) on the subject. I didn’t like what I found and neither did the professors who reviewed it. But it was what it was.

Eternal Gratitude to My Professor

But It led me to discuss doing my dissertation on the personality of the artist (painter in this instance). My professor thought it worth doing. At the same time such a dissertation is risky. In psychology you are to demonstrate your grasp of the scientific method and it is usually safest to pick up on a line of study, tweak it and do a dissertation study. I decided to take the risk.

At the time the department was deep into the work of Carl Jung and that meant in part we were looking at his personality typology which had been translated into an actual test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Business people loved it, because once you know a person’s personality, it tells you a great deal about what jobs they will be best at.

Off To Hang Out With the Artists

The long and short of it was I set out for an art school in Richmond, Virginia. The faculty thought the study might be interesting so I went in and took photos of the paintings and paid the students the princely sum of $2 each to take the test. I had long and interesting discussions with the students and hanging out with them was great fun.

I took the data back to Duke and had the paintings rated on a variety of dimensions which then were compared statistically with the personality types. Most of the literature was floundering around in psychoanalytical thought. This time we had real evidence. And it worked.

Surprises and Validation
I’ll cut to the chase. Not surprisingly the majority of the students were primary intuitive types which fits because they were exploring visually and conceptually. There was a smaller subcategory of other types whose work was really, really different. If you ever see a dark painting of a bleak woods against an evening sky, the chances are you are looking at the work of a primary thinking type.

A couple of other things stood out. Contrary to expectations, the artists with thinking as an auxiliary had rich and deep color choices while the ones with feeling as an auxiliary had muted color choices. Some findings were consistent with hypotheses, some counterintuitive.

Validating Jung

And then my professor asked me to do a different analysis. He wanted to know if the primary determinant of the effect was the type or whether there was an influence from the degree of that type. The analysis validated Jung’s contention. Within type there was the matter of degree but there was little variation. It was the type far and away that determined the characteristics of the art. My dissertation was easily defended and accepted.

What did we learn other than what was stated above? We learned about the power of what Jung had put together. I validated my perception that the psychoanalytic floundering was trash. And again, we learned the power of personality among other things I won’t bore you with. The paper was actually picked up by a major psychological journal. I had many other thoughts about such research but have never found the time. It’s interesting what’s out there if you go exploring and again it validated by love of the “What if”.

Coming: Starting in the fall I’m going to devote some of the columns to examining the different personality types. You will see yourself and other people as well. I think you’ll find it interesting.

I’m also going to write specific columns about the women in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. I think you will find them fascinating.

Are you surprised by any of these findings?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

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