Tracking the Elusive Human, Vol. 2

Part I: C.G. Jung's Psychological TypesChapter

1: The Origins of Psychological Types


When Jung's Psychological Types, stretching nearly 500 pages, first appeared in 1921, it seemed to emerge from nowhere. It was a disconcerting volume that concealed as much as it revealed about the new Jung, or at least that's how it appeared on the surface. Jung had been relatively silent since 1913, and now this: an involuted dissertation on Tertullian and Origen, the problem of universals, ancient debates over Holy Communion, etc. What did it all really mean to Jung? Tracing its origins will give us some clues. Its remote roots were in his word-association tests. In 1904 he had set up a laboratory in Burgh8lzli, the mental hospital where he was working under the direction of Eugen Bleuler, and proceeded to measure the reactions of patients to different words with something like an early forerunner of the lie detectors of today. He noticed that their answers could be sorted into two large groups, one of which he called "egocentric" and the other "impersonal". And while he initially related them to the psychiatric classifications of hysteria and schizophrenia, he saw that they had a wider application in the field of normal psychology, and they were related to what William James had called the "tough-minded" and the "tender-minded". It was Jung's work with these word association experiments that helped create his reputation in America and led to his invitation by Stanley Hall, together with Freud and some of the other early psychoanalysts, to talk at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1909.

In 1911 he wrote of two kinds of thinking in his Transformation and Symbols of the Libido. And all during this time his thought was diverging further and further from that of Freud's, and the tension between them was increasing. It was in Munich in 1912 that the famous incident of Freud fainting took place during a discussion about the theme of the death of the father, and it was again in Munich the next year that we find the formal beginnings of typology when Jung delivered a paper to the 4th International Psychoanalytic Congress entitled, "A Contribution to the Study of Psychological Types". This paper is a microcosm of much of what was to appear in expanded form in Psychological Types. It describes the nature of extraversion and introversion, and the need of psychology to take into account these distinctly different viewpoints. The "hysteric" exhibits exaggerated emotivity, while the "schizophrenic" shows extreme apathy. But Jung does not restrict the application of these attitudes to pathology. His attention is drawn more and more to the role they play in normal psychology. He is already amassing his amplifications of how introversion and extraversion under various guises appeared in the past, amplifications that were to fill so much of his Psychological Types. He cites William James at length and goes on to examine poetry, language and psychiatry in the work of Schiller, Nietzsche, Worringer and Gross. Then he takes the bull by the horns and boldly announces in the presence of Freud that Freud's work represents an extraverted psychoanalysis, while Adler's is an introverted one. And he concludes with a line that can be taken as an embryonic program for his own psychology:

"The difficult task of creating a psychology which will be equally fair to both types must be reserved for the future." (Collected Works, Vol. 6, n. 882, p. 509).

Just what this means he has hinted at in the body of his paper several times. The first time occurs when he is discussing the hysteric and the schizophrenic. The hysteric's exaggerated outward flow of energy is compensated by a regressive introversion: "The patients cease to partake in the common life, are wrapped up in their daydreams, keep to their beds, remain shut up in their sickrooms, etc." (859/ 500).

The schizophrenic, in his turn, exhibits his own peculiar kind of extraversion: "...he seems constrained to draw attention to himself, to force himself upon the notice of those around him, by his extravagant, insupportable, or directly aggressive behavior." (859/ 500)

What he is suggesting is that both introversion and extraversion are intimately connected in the individual in one energetic system. This becomes clear when he is describing Schiller's two kinds of poets. There is the "naive" extraverted poet who is contrasted with the "sentimental" introverted poet, and he adds: "But Schiller also saw that these two types result from the predominance of psychological mechanisms which might be present in the same individual." (875/506)

This manifesto of independence couched in typological form represented the beginning of Jung's open break with Freud. It could not be published in German in the normal psychoanalytic circles and after the Congress at Munich, Freud and Jung never met again.

Later, in the fall of this fateful year of 1913 Jung asked himself, "What is your myth by which you live?" And he had no answer. He stopped lecturing at the University of Zurich in order to focus his attention on this question, and he leaves us the exact date of Dec. 12, 1913, when he gathered up his courage and took the decisive step down into the inner world of the unconscious on a voyage of self-discovery. He was 38 years old and this adventure was to last until 1918-19. Jung was going through what he was later to call the process of individuation, and he was going through it alone without chart or guide. He was traveling towards the self. He had painted his first mandala in 1916, but he had not understood it. It was not until 1918-19 that he began to grasp the central meaning of the self. He says,

"During those years between 1918 and 1920 1 began to understand the goal of psychic development is the self ... This insight gave me stability and gradually my inner peace returned. I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate." (1961, P. 196-7)

But what particularly interests us here is not the individuation process directly, which was to so dominate Jung's later thought, but the fact that this process of individuation was directly connected with lung's formation of his typology. There are two interwoven strands that gave birth to Psychological Types. One was interpersonal, as for example when Jung attempted to distinguish his own point of view from that of Freud and Adler, and the other was intrapsychic, or personal, when he confronted the unconscious. And in Jung's mind they were both connected. He did not want to simply add a third position to Freud's and Adler's, but effect a reconciliation. The differences that existed as typical differences manifested in individuals existed within himself, and needed to be reconciled there. In the next few years Jung worked on the structure of his typology by striking out on the voyage of individuation, dealing with his patients, and collaborating with his colleagues. C.A. Meier in his seminal paper, "Psychological Types and Individuation", describes this outer collaboration:

"In many a paper read to the Psychological Club in Zurich and subsequent discussions with his friends, colleagues and pupils, Jung's concept was clarified step by step. It was particularly Dr. Hans Schmid-Guisan who made it clear to Jung that extraversion was not of necessity correlated to feeling as he had originally been advocating, and Toni Wolff was highly instrumental in introducing sensation and intuition as two indispensable orienting functions of consciousness. In particular, intuition was dealt with more critically in those days by Dr. Emil Medtner." (p. 278)

The correspondence between Schmid, a Swiss psychiatrist, and Jung during 1915-16, which had been excluded from Jung's published letters, later appeared in a book by Hans Iselin. Despite their attempts, Jung and Schmid, who considered himself an extravert, could not overcome their typological differences. In one place Schmid says, "Without the object I cannot develop myself." And he cites Goethe in his support: "With all striving after self-knowledge ... we do not go further in life." (p. 140) By calling Goethe to his aid he anticipates a theme which was to appear in Psychological Types itself, as we shall see. After their relationship became deadlocked and their correspondence was about to cease, he wrote to Jung: "In a tower on the upper lake you sit and have taken Nietzsche's inheritance. No father, no friend, you, yourself, sufficient." (p. 141)

This break with Schmid, following the loss of his relationship with Freud and most of his psychoanalytic colleagues recalls Jung's remark, as Iselin notes, that after his break with Freud all his friends and acquaintances fell away. Even during his emergence from his confrontation with the unconscious, he broke with a woman, whom he leaves unnamed, who was determined that he should give these interior fantasies an artistic meaning.

When the massive volume of Psychological Types appeared, it was, then, hardly a question of a miraculous birth. Psychological Types represented the compass that Jung was fashioning as he went on the process of individuation, and it is the first major crystallization out of the fiery magma of his journey into the unconscious. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that there is a chapter where he defines his basic terms, nor to find one of the first uses of the term "the self". When H.G. Baynes translated the book into English in 1923 bearing the subtitle "The Psychology of Individuation", this was no exaggeration. In fact, the subtitle had been suggested by Jung himself. The point here is not to get lost in a thicket of historical details, but for us to concretely grasp a point of overriding importance. Typology was always in its very inception and development intimately connected with individuation. It is a certain visibility of the individuation process, a view of individuation from the point of view of the psychology of consciousness, and if we fail to grasp this it loses its real depth of meaning.

Let's take a closer look at the book itself. There is no escaping the fact that for most readers the book divides itself into two parts. There is Chapter X, the general description of types, and then there is the rest, honored more in the breach than actually read. And this kind of division is very understandable, for Chapter X is much more accessible than the rest of the book. But this is a fact that always upset Jung. He says, for example, in the "Forward to the Argentine Edition" that the reader who really wants to understand his book should: "Immerse himself first of all in chapters 11 and V" and "Far too many readers have succumbed to the error of thinking that Chapter X represents the essential content and purpose of the book in the sense that it provides a system of classification and a practical guide to a good judgment of human character."

The import of these remarks will only become clear if we bear in mind the intimate relationship between typology and individuation and spend a few moments looking at these chapters that Jung laid so much emphasis on. In Chapter I Jung had shown how introversion and extraversion had existed in ancient and medieval times. But Chapter II is different. It is an examination of the dynamics that connect the superior and inferior functions, and Jung does this by describing Schiller, an introverted thinking type, and his psychological counterpart, Goethe, an extraverted feeling type, and these were not merely handy literary examples used to dress up the "typical conflict of the introverted thinking type". Rather, they were Jung's alter-egos, the way he could impersonally describe the process of individuation he had been going through. He felt he was, himself, an introverted thinking type, and Goethe played and was to play a large role in Jung's inner drama both as the author of Faust and as a putative ancestor which symbolized, in Jung's mind, not so much a connection of flesh and blood, but a deep symbolic link to the unconscious. So when Jung says the reader should turn to Chapter II, he is saying, in essence, typology is not a classification of the visible consciousness of a person, but it is a way to explore the inner dynamics of the psyche, and he is also saying, "What I am speaking of here is derived from my own experience." If Jung was an introverted thinking type, this would help explain his earlier identification of introversion and thinking and extraversion and feeling, and it would also help explain why it would be extremely difficult for Jung to express this process of individuation except in a veiled manner, for Jung was really exposing his greatest discovery, the process of individuation, and along with it his emergent extraverted feeling and all the sensitivity that must have existed with this function. In Chapter V he is again describing the interrelationship between conscious and unconscious that will ultimately lead to the self. And, again, he does so in highly involuted and difficult language, but the message is there, and it is rooted not in deductions made academically from literary works, but in his own experience of the process. If this does not come across clearly in the text, it is certainly clear in Chapter X, and Jung tries to make it explicit at the very beginning in the "Forward to the First Swiss Edition":

"This book is the fruit of nearly twenty years' work in the domain of practical psychology. It grew gradually in my thoughts, taking shape from the countless impressions and experiences of a psychiatrist in the treatment of nervous illnesses, from the intercourse with men and women of all social levels, from my personal dealings with friend and foe alike, and finally from a critique of my own psychological peculiarity." (1921, p. xi)

This personal psychological peculiarity is in part Jung's own type, and the emergence of his extraverted feeling. This is why the intellectual thinking ramparts of the book tower so high, as if to protect the delicacy of this new birth, which is not only the inferior function with all its sensitiveness, but the inferior function as the gateway to individuation and the self. Under these conditions Jung must have certainly wished for a warm reception for this newborn child being presented to the public for the first time in his Psychological Types. What he got instead was summed up by Spittler's reaction, whose Prometheus and Epimetheus; featured largely in what Jung felt to be a critical chapter, "The Type Problem in Poetry". Jung writes in Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

"I was presumptuous enough to send a copy of my book to Spittler. He did not answer me, but shortly afterward delivered a lecture in which he declared positively that this Prometheus and Epimetheus 'meant' nothing, that he might just as well have sung 'Spring is come, tra-la-la-la."' (p. 207)

It would not be surprising if Spittler, himself, was a fourth-function feeler, and just as Jung had honed in on Schiller because there was a certain coincidence of typological perspective, he might have penetrated into the psychological background of Spittler's work for the same reason, but in doing so set off a reaction from Spittler's unconscious.

In the medical world Jung felt unjustly accused of having invented psychological types as a kind of intellectual parlor game, and then using it to stick superficial labels on people. This continued to bother him for a long time. Fourteen years later he says:

"... it is not the case at all that I begin by classifying my patients into types and then give them the corresponding advice as a colleague of mine whom God has endowed with a peculiar wit once asserted." (Letters, v. I, p. 186)

When he sees his own journey to individuation trivialized by such an accusation and the whole inner meaning of types destroyed, he seems to say, "Let these people go crack their heads on Chapters Il and V. That, if it won't cure them, might at least silence them."

There were exceptions to the indifferent or hostile reception of Jung's book. C.A. Meier says:

"When I read the book on types in 1922, it simply hit me between the eyes. It had such an impact that I could not help telling Jung immediately. He could hardly understand my reaction, for so far all the reviews of the book had been more than cool and totally lacking a deeper understanding. When he asked me what it was that had moved me so deeply, I said I thought that he had given nothing less than the clearest pattern for simply all the dynamics of the human soul. Then he said that this was exactly what he had intended to do, but so far nobody seemed to have noticed." (P. 278-9)

All this helps make it clear why Jung did not spend a great deal of energy developing the typological aspects of his thought further. He at once was pursuing typology by exploring individuation, and at the same time he was deterred from explicitly developing typology because it was so prone to misinterpretation, and the initial lesson, Psychological Types itself, had not been adequately fathomed.

In 1937, writing in the "Forward to the Seventh Swiss Edition", he says: "In particular the somewhat terse descriptions of the types could have been expanded." But among his reasons for not doing so he states, "...there is little practical purpose in making the problems of typology still more complicated when not even the elements have been properly understood." Elements in this context should not be understood in terms of the basic descriptions of introversion and extraversion and the four functions, but how these elements combine in a dynamic view of the psyche, which is no different from the process of individuation itself. Jung goes on and vents some of his irritation at the superficial criticisms leveled at his work, which failed to see how typology has not been imposed on empirical material, but has emerged out of it:

"What I have to say in this book, therefore, has, sentence by sentence, been tested a hundredfold in the practical treatment of the sick and originated with them in the first place." And he scolds his critics for a lack of experience which is at the root of their failure to understand what he was saying.

It is possible to imagine that this mixed reception together with the difficulty that exists in grasping the dynamic nature of typology made Jung, himself, give up on his own typology. That this is untrue can be demonstrated by a brief examination of his writings. Jung wrote three subsequent essays on psychological types in the years 1923, 1931 and 1936. And these essays are not at all apologetic or merely derivative. In them Jung considers the matter of typology, finds it as valuable as ever, but open to misunderstanding. For example, in his 1931 essay, delivered first at a congress of Swiss psychiatrists in Zurich in 1928, he remarks on the many years in which he had treated innumerable married couples trying to explain their typical differences to them, and he goes on to recount how he was led to go beyond his initial formulations of introversion and extraversion. Certainly this is not a setting that Jung would have chosen to talk about psychological types if he had become hesitant and doubtful about them. He writes: "...scarcely had I published the first formulation of my criteria when I discovered to my dismay that somehow or other I had been taken in by them. Something was amiss. I had tried to explain too much in too simple a way, as often happens in the first joy of discovery.

"What struck me now was the undeniable fact while people may be classed as introverts or extraverts, this does not account for the tremendous differences between individuals in either class. So great, indeed, are these differences that I was forced to doubt whether I had observed correctly in the first place. It took nearly ten years of observation and comparison to clear up this doubt." (p. 535)

Types appear in his Psychology of the Transference (1946), and elsewhere throughout his writings. Even in 1957, towards the end of his life, we have a good example of his attitude about psychological types in his conversations with Richard Evans recorded in the Houston films. Jung discussed typology at length and, indeed, this is one of the principle topics of these filmed interviews. For example, he amplified how he differentiated the various functions: " took me quite a long time to discover that there is another type than the thinking type ... There are, for instance, feeling types. And after a while I discovered that there are intuitive types. They gave me much trouble. It took me over a year to become a bit clearer about the existence of intuitive types. And the last, and the most unexpected, was the sensation type. And only later I saw that these are naturally the four aspects of conscious orientation." (p. 341) In short, Jung could honestly say about psychological types: "but one thing I must confess: I would not for anything dispense with this compass on my psychological voyages of discovery." V. 6, p. 541)

Psychological Types, despite its initial reception, went on to become one of Jung's most popular books, especially in its English version. It was eventually translated into Dutch, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. Something was getting through, and perhaps it was the flavor of the experiences that Jung had built his types upon, which gave promise to the reader that he would actually be able to make sense of his own life.




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