Tracking the Elusive Human, Vol. I

Part II: Talking About Types

We have all had the experience of reading a book or listening to a lecture and wanting to say, "Now wait just a minute," and ask a question that would help clarify the subject for us. Therefore, I have tried to pose and answer some of the questions that come to mind while reading Part 1.

C.G. Jung's Psychological Types

A friend of mine went to a Jungian analyst and they never discussed types. You seem to be implying that psychological types is equivalent to the process of individuation. Is it?

Yes. It is certainly possible to deal with the process of individuation without mentioning psychological types, not that I am saying that this is an ideal state of affairs, but it is not possible to deal with the full scope of psychological types without considering them from the point of view of individuation. In fact, I feel that types represent the most visible and tangible way of approaching the question of individuation. They are a wonderful antidote for anyone who thinks that Jung's psychology is other worldly or mystical. Types help us see that the quest for individuation should be part of the ordinary affairs of our daily lives.

Some books I have read have left me with the impression that Jung abandoned psychological types after his book came out. Is this true?

No. Jung wrote his first essay on psychological types in 1913, then he put a great deal of effort into refining his initial ideas on introversion and extraversion in the years up until the publication of Psychological Types in 1921. Types was the doorway through which he approached the process of individuation. Once he went through the door he didn't have the same need or inclination to speak about them, but he did continue to indicate that he had in no way abandoned them. This can be seen in the essays on types he wrote after 1921, in his letters, and interviews. Another reason why he didn't speak much about types was because he felt that they were not properly understood in relationship to individuation, and so there was no point in making ever more refined comments when the basics were not being grasped.

How did Jung decide that there were eight types?

He first described introversion and extraversion, and then felt that that was inadequate, and after a great deal of discussion and pondering he came to the conclusion that there were four kinds of introverts and four kinds of extraverts. But this wasn't a theoretical conclusion. This is what he finally saw in his patients, friends, etc. So there weren't eight types because he thought there should be eight types. There were eight types because that's what he found.

Are we born a certain type?

It certainly appears that way. Jung was struck by the fact that very young children have highly distinctive personalities even when they grow up in the same home. While he didn't minimize the powerful impact of parents on shaping their children's personalities, he felt that psychological types were innate. And I think a lot of parents would agree with him. The same probably holds true for body and temperament types. There have even been studies of infants where the researchers divided the children up into suckers, kickers and watchers, which would be roughly equivalent to Sheldon's endomorphs mesomorphs and ectomorphs.

Then why do people talk about their types changing?

The fact that we are born a certain type is not opposed to type development. It means we are inclined to certain developmental pathways rather than others, and if we stray too far from our own pathway, if, for example, we are an introvert and someone tries to bring us up as an extravert, then we are storing up trouble for the future. But within our own pathway there is ample room for our unique development. The reason why people talk about their types changing is because they are experiencing the dynamic process of type development. Sometimes it is a question of discovering their own type after a long time of accepting society's or other people's definitions of who they are. At other times, it is a matter of the introvert making contact with his more extraverted side, or the feeling type with her thinking, and so forth. And so they experience how they differ from what they were before. But I think that if we take a larger view of the matter, it's not so much a question of becoming a different type but rather progressing in the process of individuation in which we discover that we somehow have to embrace all the different kinds of types within ourselves. In other words, instead of saying, "I was one type and became another," if we look deeper we would see that we were one type and now we have broadened that type by experiencing deeper levels of that same type. An introvert, for example, by going through this developmental experience, will be more extraverted as he becomes acquainted with and uses his third and fourth functions.

I know someone whose type I can't figure out even though I have tried and tried. Why is it so difficult?

Type recognition, in the concrete, is enormously complex. There is no guarantee that our first impressions of another person convey something about their dominant attitude or principle function. It may be that we meet someone, and it's their inferior function that creates our initial impression of them. In other words, we can experience many different aspects of the other person's type, and it can be difficult to decide what is coming from the developed, more conscious side of the personality and what is coming from the unconscious. The whole problem is made even more complicated by the fact that we are all in various stages of development, and so we are continually changing our type appearance. In addition, when we are engaged in creative activities we are reaching down into the other side of our personality and so this, too, can mislead someone about our type. Neurosis, as well, if we understand it as an uncontrolled breaking forth of material out of the unconscious, makes type recognition more difficult.

All this is just one side of the question. We are looking at this enormously intricate totality, which is the other person, but we are looking at them from our own typologically conditioned perspective. We are looking at the other person through the colored glasses of our own type. Sometimes, we will be really keen in discerning a certain aspect of their personality, but at others we will be blind to what is right before our eyes. All these reasons make type recognition a skill we have to learn, a skill which is intimately connected with our own development, and not something we can master simply by reading a book.

I can't decide what type I am. Would it help to take a professional type test?

It might. But don't expect the test to produce magical results. Let's suppose the best of all possible outcomes; you take a type test and it actually does indicate what your type is. The creators of these tests make it clear that this doesn't always happen for a variety of reasons, but let's suppose that in your case it does. This can only be one step in the process of the discovery of your own type. Just because we know the words doesn't mean we understand their implications. If the test tells me I am an extraverted intuition type, those words remain ineffective until I have a concrete grasp of what extraversion and intuition are. In short, the test is an aid to help us in the process of type discovery, but we can't let it take the place of our own attempts to see typologically.

If the test gives us a wrong answer there is no way to tell whether it is right or wrong unless we have learned how to make our own typological judgments. Right or wrong, tests don't excuse us from putting in dirt time.

Does anyone know how many introverts and extraverts there are in the United States?

I don't think so. My own guess, and it's a rough one, drawing on some of the results that have been generated by type tests, and some of our own work, would put the figures at around 40% introversion and 60% extraversion. This makes the U.S. an extraverted country, but it acts a lot more extraverted than the figures suggest. That's because the extraverts are running it. Other countries are more introverted, but world-wide most countries are trying to imitate a Western extraverted model.

You seem to be implying that most men are thinking types and most women are feeling types. Is this true?

This is a difficult issue. As soon as we start talking about gender roles it is hard to peer through the thick fog created by our stereotypes about men and women. But, yes, I do think that most men have thinking as the first or second function, and most women have feeling as the first or second function. This is a position that finds some support in Jung's remarks in Chapter 10 of his Psychological Types, and is based on our own experience. When we have met men who have feeling as one of the first two functions and women who have thinking as one of the first two functions, I have found them to be interesting and intriguing personalities. In the women, for example, their thinking has no tinge of what Jung calls the animus possessed woman, a sort of ambivalence in which thinking is swayed by emotions. It has a solidness and clarity that is very appealing. Feeling in the first or second place in a man is equally distinctive. I think these people have particular problems adjusting because society doesn't understand them. There's a difference between these people and a much larger group of men and women who have developed their thinking and feeling functions.

How much difference Is there between two people who have the same type except that their second functions are different?

The second function makes an important practical difference in our types. Both Jim and I are introverted intuition types, but I have feeling as my second function and he has thinking. Sometimes when he is going on and on about different intuitions, I first enjoy the process because of my own intuition, but then I get tired because my intuition is feeling-toned and so if he is describing all the places we could live, for example, it is theory to him, but I feel myself living first in one place and then another, and end up exhausted. Or if Jim starts discussing something in a theoretical way I like to turn the discussion to concrete examples.

Can you give me an example of what it is like to work on the third function?

My own third function is extraverted thinking, while Jim's is extraverted feeling, and there are situations in which we are both involved in a business matter, and instead of Jim bringing his thinking function to bear and me my feeling function, we are in our third function mode. This means he's relating to the person we are dealing with, while I am left with the task of doing the negotiating and nailing down the business decisions. This, incidentally, illustrates why type recognition is so difficult because it looks like he is the feeling type and I am the thinking type.

One time when we were designing frames for our mirrors, Jim did some with graceful curves, coming, no doubt, from his feeling function, and I created one that was like a sunburst with pointed rays. What a mistake! Almost all the ladies who bought this piece exhibited characteristics of the animus possessed woman. Most of our sales were straightforward, but for this mirror the women wanted to buy it but were compelled to make all sorts of negative comments. They would haggle about the shape, the construction and the price in a way that was quite uncharacteristic of the rest of our customers. It got so bad that I would expect trouble when a woman began to show interest in it, and I wasn't disappointed. It just seemed to bring out the ambivalence that can come from the third function of thinking.

You can experience the negative impact of the third function in many ways. Some of my favorite examples are among women who work as bank tellers, clerks or secretaries. They know the rule book inside out, or think they do, and they have definite opinions about how things should run. How many times have you gone to the bank, or you make a business call because you need information, or you are trying to get through to the boss and the secretary says, "I'm sorry, sir, he can't be reached," "I'm sorry, sir, it can't be done." "I'm sorry, sir, we don't handle that," when you know all along the boss is right there smoking his pipe, or the organization can, and did, in fact, handle that matter, or can give you that information. It is not so much what she says, but the way she says it, and her tone gets you in the guts. She has a certain tone of definiteness, of immovability, of absolute sureness of what she is saying even though she is really incorrect. And she won't let you talk to anyone else, either! She believes she is Reasonableness, personified, and you, with your irregular request, are the unreasonable one. It is as if she really doesn't want to make the effort to think on her own, and you are forcing her to do it.

Does individuation mean that eventually we will no longer have an inferior function?

I wish it did! There is a great deal of progress we can make in dealing with the fourth function. It can be a lot more functional than we ever imagined. It doesn't have to be, and cannot be, relegated to some kind of esoteric hobby. But at the same time the fourth function remains the fourth. If it could become as developed as the first function it would no longer be related to the unconscious, or we would have turned the unconscious completely into consciousness, which is impossible. The fourth function is like an object bobbing on the surface of the ocean. Sometimes we see it well on the peak of a wave, but at other times it disappears. We can't bring it into perfect focus. It's as if we are thinking about something else when we should be concentrating on the fourth function activity. It just slips away from us.

Why does our fourth function get upset so easily?

After Houdini's mother died, whom he was very close to, he would have liked very much to believe in communications from the dead. But he was a trained magician, so he would go to all sorts of seances and try to discover how the mediums were doing their tricks. I suppose he was hoping to find one who was legitimate. Before one session he tied something around his leg so his leg became tender and swollen. Then during the seance he could feel the medium move her leg in order to create the special effects. Well, the fourth function is much like Houdini's leg. It's tender and sensitive, even hypersensitive, and it doesn't take much to set it off. We don't have to wait for someone of the opposite type to do it, though they may have a special knack. Anybody's fourth function can set off our own. It's like a contagion. Have one person in the family succumb to the fourth function, and if they don't pull themselves out of it, sooner or later they can set everyone else off, as well. I might be feeling good because everything is going well, and then I get tired or overstimulated, or my hormones change at the end of the month, and my fourth function is ready to explode. Or things may be going fine and I feel I am finally getting everything together when, for no reason I can put my finger on, I start losing things, forgetting things, making stupid mistakes, and so forth. I think overall we make progress, but it's not smooth progress. It can come in fits and starts, and we can suffer reversals and dig holes for ourselves which we have to climb out of.

Does the midlife crisis have anything to do with type development and the fourth function?

Yes, I think it does. The fourth function with its particular kinds of difficulties can often appear at what Jung called our second half of life, which is usually around our 35th to our 37th year. For many of us our energy up until this point has been directed outwardly to things like education, career, marriage and family, getting our own home, material security, etc. Let's suppose we have been modestly successful in accomplishing these goals which represent our status of being an adult in this society. Then one day, much to our surprise, we find that we don't have the energy we used to for these things. We are puzzled by our lack of enthusiasm and wonder if we are somehow losing our grip. This can lead us to intensify our use of our one-sided consciousness. Our sense of dissatisfaction can be projected outward in the search for a new mate or new career, but often these attempts to reinforce who we are make us feel even emptier. What is happening? It just may be that we have entered a new stage of development at the heart of which is the fourth function. More of the same is not going to work. What we need to do is to become attentive to the demands of the other side of our personality.

There is no reason to believe that all types go through the same kind of midlife development. What I have just described would seem to fit extraverts more than introverts. You meet people who have finally arrived at their time to introvert. But what about the introverts? It may be that they finally arrive at their time to extravert, or to make it a little more nuanced, there can be various rhythms and patterns of introversion and extraversion that weave their way through the days, weeks and years of our lives.

Do you think most marriages are marriages of opposites?

I don't know. There are certainly enough of marriages of complete opposites to make them a useful example of the kinds of projections that go on in falling in and out of love. And I would think that every marriage, even if the two people are exactly the same type, which I don't think happens very often, would still have a large measure of projection and working out to do because we are dealing with two distinct people who have their own stage of development, and, indeed, their own unique voyage into the unconscious to make. The dynamics that I described in terms of marriage will fit, in their own way, the relationship between parents and children, and other close relationships. What goes on between the analyst and the analysand in terms of transference and countertransference can be seen as an example of similar processes that fill many of our important relationships.

What about types and school? My son is bored and restless. Could part of the problem be his type?

That's something to look into. I have enough difficulties dealing with the distinct types of my children when it comes to education, even though I know what their types are and I am teaching them at home. Therefore, I am sympathetic with the school teacher who is faced with thirty children of all different types at different educational levels and she has to teach a set curriculum, test them and grade them. On top of that, school as an institution doesn't have, as yet, any real awareness of type differences. Like so many institutions, it is concerned with imposing one way of doing things on everyone. The end result is a form of schoolroom discrimination. Instead of it being the introverts and ectomorphs being discriminated against, I think at times it is the other way around. Many ectotonic introverts do well in academic situations, but pity the poor extraverts who are loaded with energy and are supposed to sit still and be quiet for most of the day. No wonder they are constantly squirming around. And think of the endomorphic extraverted sensation types who are socially and visually oriented. These people are highly reactive. They like to interact with people, and they need that kind of interaction in order to get themselves up to speed, as it were. Is it any wonder that they tune out? I think it would be a lot different if school activities could be much more concrete for them, more hands-on and tangible. And imagine the intuition type who is already three jumps ahead of everybody, but has to wait while everyone slowly and laboriously does everything step by step. Sheer torture.

To get back to marriage for a moment, would you advise people of opposite types not to marry?

Who can say? Or perhaps more to the point, who is going to listen, anyway? We are attracted to the power and sense of completion that comes with these kinds of projections in marriage. They tell a story of how Kibbutz children from different families who have grown up together communally look elsewhere for marriage partners. One girl said, "How can I marry a boy who grew up sitting on the next potty?" We want projection, for we equate it with romance and love, but let's look at it this way. If one of our children wanted to marry someone from a very different culture, I would certainly be concerned that they were aware of these differences before the marriage took place. Well, this kind of common sense should be extended to types, as well. The more opposite the person is, the more time and energy we should spend before the marriage in trying to truly understand their viewpoint. Hopefully, this would short-circuit some of the projections which are so nice In the beginning, but soon become hard to handle. We feel smugly superior in the fact that our marriages are based on romance instead of parental arrangements, but we haven't learned how to come to grips with the projections this implies.

Sheldon's Body and Temperament Types

I am interested in psychological types. Is it important for me to learn about body and temperament types as well?

You can't do everything at once. In fact, it might be better if you are starting out to choose either psychological types or body and temperament types, and get a handle on one of them lest everything get confused.

Which one should I do first?

I could make a case for either side, but I think I favor doing psychological types first. The reason is that Sheldon left the therapeutic side of his psychology undeveloped. He does make some interesting comments about development, but most of his energy went into description. Jung's psychological types, on the other hand, are part of his whole psychology, and that means they have a readily grasped therapeutic or developmental dimension. But still and all, follow your own inclinations and insights. The two complement each other beautifully, and they form a much more complete typology than one alone. It's like body and soul. The basics of body types are easier because they are visible, but more difficult because they lend themselves less well to type development. Psychological types are just the reverse.

I have heard the names ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph, but I have never really heard anyone talk extensively about Sheldon's work before. Why not?

Sheldon championed what he called constitutional psychology, which was a biologically oriented psychology, at a time when such an approach was not popular. This led to his work being involved in a lot of controversy, and the controversy formed a smoke screen that tended to prevent people actually trying to become conversant with it. They did not become body and temperament type trackers, and without that skill his psychology didn't find the applications it could have.

I have gotten heavier as I have gotten older. Has my body type been changing?

No. Simple weight changes as we get older or if we go on a diet don't change our somatotype, for the somatotype is based not just on surface appearance but tries to take into account the underlying bodily structure. Our weight history is just one element that goes into determining our body type. Sheldon has height-weight graphs for many somatotypes in his Atlas of Men in which we can see how most types gain weight as they grow older, and then lose weight late in their lives.

I have a general idea of what my body type Is, but is there some way I can determine it more exactly?

There are a variety of methods which depend on photography and/or taking measurements of different parts of the body. Perhaps the easiest method, one that doesn't demand the use of special equipment, is the one that Sheldon proposes in his Atlas of Men. He provides a chart by which we can determine our height over the cube root of our weight, and then use this number, together with our age, to find what somatotypes are in our own area. Then we can compare our physique with the photographs in the Atlas and arrive at a relatively good estimation of our somatotype number.

I noticed that while you had Santa Claus and Tarzan as examples of the endomorph and mesomorph, is there a better example of an ectomorph than lchabod Crane?

Your question points to the fact that ectomorphs are not public figures to the degree that other types are. If I were going to look for examples of prominent ectomorphs I would look among scientists and scholars, especially mathematicians and theoretical physicists.

One ectomorph who has received a great deal of nation-wide attention is Bernhard Goetz, the man who shot four teenagers in a New York subway. A Time magazine article described him "with his hunched narrow shoulders, his chin tucked resolutely into his chest, and his slinky, slouched walk, Bernhard Hugo Goetz looks rather like a human question mark." And, "The original, eerily accurate police drawing of Goetz showed the face of the "before" figure in comic-book ads for body-building devices, the pale visage of the scrawny, bespectacled fellow at the beach who gets sand kicked in his face by a burly bully." Then they went on and described his personality as "gentle but demonstratively violent. Personable, but introverted. Idealistic, but cynical. He desires privacy, but has courted publicity. He is humble, but strangely messianic." And when he was interviewed, Goetz kept saying all he wanted was privacy.

Goetz is an ectomorph and ectotonic, and probably an introverted thinking intuition type or introverted intuition thinking type, though that is just a guess. And I find it interesting that even though he became a public figure with partisans on both sides, he remained an enigma as illustrated by Time magazine, treating him like a paradox with his desire at once for privacy and publicity, humble and messianic, etc. He just didn't have the kind of personality that the American public could unambiguously embrace, even if we leave aside the reason for his fame. Abstracting from his own personal problems, part of the incomprehension that surrounded him was precisely because of his type. There is a highly introverted conscious personality and the less developed extraverted side with feeling and sensation.

Can a midlife crisis be related to body and temperament as well as psychological type?

I think so. Sheldon noted that ectomorphs are often late maturers in contrast to mesomorphs, who mature early. Ectomorphs often marry late, make career choices later on in life, and mature mentally well into middle age. They give the appearance of being less adapted to outer events, but this lack of adaptation can be seen in a positive light as well. The ectomorph, in order to deal with an outer event, has to deal with the inner impact and implications of that event, and therefore his outer adaptation tends to be a more complete adaptation. I would imagine that both ectomorphs and mesomorphs cope with the second half of life in different ways. The ectomorph could well have been dealing with the question of the other side of his personality during much of his adult life, but slowly and in connection with his problems of outer adaptation, while the mesomorph arrives at the second half of life with a firmer grasp of the outer world, but with fewer clues about what his inner adaptation should be.

If body types don't change, why is it that I seem to be seeing a lot more muscular physiques in both men and women?

There are three factors we should look at. The first is a positive one in which more people are taking an interest in physical fitness. They are making the most of the mesomorphy they have, and it shows. The second aspect is less positive. Jung once commented that he thought that America was "as extraverted as hell," and Sheldon, in the early 1940s, thought that the United States was in the midst of a mesomorphic revolution that was overturning the ectotonic values of an earlier age. What would he say today?! There is certainly nothing wrong with being mesomorphic. We all are in one degree or another. But when we accentuate this aspect of our personality to the detriment of the others we are headed for trouble. We don't want to be just muscular and competitive.

This brings us to the third factor, which is artificially induced mesomorphy, or mesomorphy at any price. I am talking about the wide-spread use of anabolic steroids. We have so exalted professional athletics in terms of recognition and material reward that it has become a prime symbol of our overaccentuation of the mesomorphic part of our personalities. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that steroids are so widely used, despite the health hazards involved. But since body type is so closely connected with temperament, the use of steroids produces personality changes as well. People become more competitive and aggressive and more intensely single-minded, all qualities that may have some payoff momentarily on the playing field, but can have a negative impact on the quality of life as a whole. We are entering a new era where the potential for the manipulation of body, temperament and psychological type will be much greater than ever before. If steroids represent an artificial mesomorphy and LSD and mescaline an artificial intuition and introversion, then the wave of the future is going to include human growth hormones, which will be used as a form of artificial ectomorphy or height, and many other products produced by genetic engineering. The only real remedy is a thorough understanding of what our complete personality is like, that the goal is individuation and not overaccentuation of one part of the personality at the expense of the rest.

Can you give an example of some well-known figure whose body, temperament and psychological type agree with the connections you have made?

It is always tempting to illustrate typology with public figures, but not only do some types predominate more than others among public figures, but public personalities have highly developed personas, or public images, so they don't necessarily make the best examples. But let me try anyway. Let's take someone whose somatotype is unmistakable. I think everyone would agree that Arnold Schwarzenegger is an extreme mesomorph. Sheldon describes men who are high in mesomorphy, for example, the 2-7-1, as "lions and Bengal tigers. Strongest, heaviest, most compact of the modern great cats ... The traditional royalty of the animal world." And Arnold describes in his autobiography the impact he wanted to make in his bodybuilding contests. He "wanted to move like a cat, going gracefully from one pose to the next, making a lyrical sweep and then hitting it with power: Boom! Just like a cat when it jumps - making this beautiful, silent jump - then landing with a lot of noise and force. A cat kills, a big cat. And that's what I wanted to do."

And he shows many of the characteristics of the mesotonic. Mesotonics, for example, don't like small, enclosed places. For Arnold it wasn't just a room or a closet. He felt that all of Austria wasn't big enough for him! He describes himself in his early days, "I already felt I was better than anyone else. I felt as if I were a Superman or something. That was my attitude: macho. I was strong and I walked the streets feeling and acting tough. If someone made the slightest remark or gave me trouble I would hit them over the head. I was aggressive and rude. I'd go into a beer hall where we ate dinner after training and start a fight for no reason at all." And he summed up his philosophy of life, "The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer."

And it is possible to interpret some of his remarks in terms of his psychological types, as well, which I imagine to be extraverted thinking. He wanted, for example, to make his body look like that of the famous muscle-builder Reg Park. "The model was there in my mind." And he single-mindedly tried to implement his plan of becoming the best-built man in the world, and let nothing get in his way. "I knew the secret (of success): Concentrate while you're training. Do not allow other thoughts to enter your mind." If thinking was his most developed function, feeling was least developed. While he was involved with many women on a physical level, he guarded his feelings. "I couldn't be bothered with girls as companions. My mind was totally locked into working out, and I was annoyed if anything took me away from it. Without making a conscious decision to do so, I closed a door on that aspect of growing up, that vulnerability, and became very protective of my emotions. I didn't allow myself to get involved period. I grew accustomed to hearing certain questions: "What's wrong with you, Arnold? Don't you feel anything? Don't you have any emotions?""

I noticed that this is Volume I. What is in Volume II?

Volume II is about the formal study of types. It asks questions like, "How did psychological types develop out of Jung's life and works?" "What happened to psychological types after 1921?" "What new developments have there been in the field in recent years?" It also presents a detailed study of Sheldon, who was one of America's best, yet least-known, psychologists, and it looks at some of the criticisms that surrounded his work. It goes on to explore the question of a biochemical typology, and looks into the interesting issues of type and mental disease, type and heart disease, and type and genetics.

I am puzzled about your diagram (p. 120) in which you show the endomorphic-mesomorph as being either an extraverted thinking type or an extraverted sensation type, or an introverted thinking sensation type. Can people of this physique have three different psychological types?

As far as the extraverted thinking types and the extraverted sensation types, it means this is where the two type territories meet. The more muscular endomorphic-mesomorphs are extraverted thinking types, and the more endomorphic people are extraverted sensation types.

In the case of the extraverted thinking sensation types and extraverted feeling sensation types, I have seen men and women who seem too chunky and muscular and too lacking in ectomorphy to be placed with the introverted thinking intuition types. I don't know where to put them. Whether the different type territories overlap is something that could only be determined by using sophisticated methods of somatotyping on people whose types are well known. I am inclined to think that they don't overlap.

By likening types to tracking are you saying it is more an art than a science?

I am trying to emphasize that it is a skill that needs to be learned by practice. Sheldon compared somatotyping to stock judging at county fairs and to wine tasting. Both Jung's and Sheldon's typologies emerged out of their personal experience and were developed in systematic ways. But this scientific elaboration rests on concrete experience and is meant to serve concrete goals, like how to help someone go on the journey of individuation. If we make typology into a science which forgets to look at individuals, we soon become enamored with the theory of typology and forget it is about understanding you and me and helping us grow. Psychological types, for example, is rooted in Jung's entire psychology but in itself it is a practical science. Therefore, typology is something we learn by doing. Whatever we study has to be transformed into our own personal insight by contact with people of different types. Happily the raw material is all around us!

What would be a good way to learn this practical science?

When our family meets someone new we frequently discuss our type impressions afterwards. Our son might say, "Well, he is certainly an intuition type." or our daughter might comment, "He was no extravert!" And so a discussion will ensue which often leads to a fairly unanimous judgment. I think that an effective way of learning about types would be to create a slightly more formal version of this family assessment. Any small group could present cases, as it were, by discussing their own types and seeing if everyone can agree. This can't be done cold. We need a certain amount of knowledge about the person, but this knowledge is not particularly hard to come by. What's hard is its interpretation.

Jim and I have done typological interviews where we give a person with no knowledge of types a capsule summary of the basic elements. For example, we explain the difference between introversion and extraversion for a couple of minutes, and then have that person decide what predominates in them. Then we go on to thinking vs. feeling, and sensation vs. intuition, and finally which of the functions is strongest. This is often surprisingly effective.

A small group of people interested in learning more about types could stage their own typological interview. How a person enters a room, his hesitations or lack of them in speaking up and making small decisions, his personal history, how he responds to a type interview, etc., all can be good signs of what his type is, and the group could learn to interpret them.

Sheldon, in fact, created a temperamental interview of this sort, and a roughly organized psychological type interview along the same lines, which could include a psychological type test and a discussion of its results, would be a valuable tool for type training. It is easy to see how its use could be extended to any number of job and school situations when basic typological knowledge would be invaluable.


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