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?

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The Four Functions in Carl Jung’s Personality Typology



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.
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