The Introverted Thinking type

~ an excerpted description [“in quotes”] from The Portable Jung (1976) ~ a collection of writings by psychologist and philosopher C.G. Jung on the Introverted Thinking” personality type ~ {Link: just the description}
+ alongside my own analysis and commentary of it [below each quotation], given my belief that it aptly describes myself and parts of my own personality to the point of eliciting the below reaction inside my undressed soul upon reading it:

OH SHIT! aaaaaarrrghh

Jung: “Just as we might take Darwin as an example of the normal extraverted thinking type, the normal introverted thinking type could be represented by Kant. The one speaks with facts, the other relies on the subjective factor. Darwin ranges over the wide field of objective reality, Kant restricts himself to critique of knowledge. Cuvier and Nietzsche would form an even sharper contrast.

Me: ~ Consider not just the disparate realms of science — biology vs. psychology, physics vs. metaphysics — but the scientists themselves and their personal choice of what to pursue. Naturally, their choice reflects their own persona as much as their aptitudes. Darwin and Cuvier — as the fathers of the natural sciences, such as biology and paleontology — are the ‘men of action’; whereas Kant and Nietzsche, the philosophers and moralists, working in the abstract world of human psychology and ethics — are ‘men of mind.’ Each wield passion in their arts, they just cast it into different worlds. It stands to reason that it takes certain types of minds, certain types of personalities, to effectively pursue and discover within these distinct realms. This contrast of great thinkers lays down the groundwork of the object versus the subject; the objective reality consists of facts, the concrete stuff of the world, actions and reactions — while the subjective reality, the personal conscious x unconscious of an individual human being, accounting for the unique imaginative properties of any given mortal in their explicit time and place… is much more myriad.

“The introverted thinking type is characterized by the primacy of the kind of thinking I have just described. Like his extraverted counterpart, he is strongly influenced by ideas, though his ideas have their origin not in objective data but in his subjective foundation. He will follow his ideas like the extravert, but in the reverse direction: inwards and not outwards. Intensity is his aim, not extensity. In these fundamental respects, he differs quite unmistakably from his extraverted counterparty. What distinguishes the other, namely, his intense relation to objects, is almost completely lacking in him as in every introverted type. If the object is a person, this person has a distinct feeling that he matters only in a negative way; in milder cases he is merely conscious of being de trop (not wanted; unwelcome), but with a more extreme type he feels himself warded off as something definitely disturbing. This negative relation to the object [the ‘objective’ external world, as opposed to ‘subjective’ internal one], ranging from indifference to aversion, characterizes every introvert and makes a description of the type exceedingly difficult.”

~ Living in the relatively *infinite* realm of mind and imagination and inner subjective foundation, the thinking introvert by default discounts the object [which, as Jung does not fully describe in this particular excerpt, is simply the external world, the people and places and structures of reality o u t s i d e of the mind]. Inclusive of this minimization is the thinker’s self, their own actions as a person, as well as any other person; the introverted thinker is concerned with ideas, not people. People just get in the way, including {and especially} the thinker themself.

“Everything about him tends to disappear and get concealed. His judgment appears cold, inflexible, arbitrary, and ruthless, because it relates far less to the object than to the subject. One can feel nothing in it that might possibly confer a higher value on the object; it always bypasses the object and leaves one with a feeling of the subject’s superiority. He may be polite, amiable and kind, but one is constantly aware of a certain uneasiness betraying an ulterior motive — the disarming of an opponent, who must at all costs be pacified and placated lest he prove himself a nuisance. In no sense, of course, is he an opponent, but if he is at all sensitive he will feel himself repulsed, and even belittled.

~ As a result of predisposition to thought, and not action — subjective experience and not objective happenings — the introverted thinker as a body fades away. Who they are, what they are doing — what kind of judgments they hold — what their judgments, once revealed, really mean to specific persons or unto other ideologies. All of it goes by the wayside, caught in the thrall of inner rumination no one else can see. Some of it calculated to its barest roots, some of it never even called up to clarify itself. Their extrinsic place in the world, how others may deign see them — is rarely ever considered. This lack of sight, or just self-awareness, before such coldness or even small kindnesses in outward behavior, betrays an ulterior motive. The introverted thinker may not be an active antagonist, someone truly cruel or pathological. But perhaps no one can trust someone with an unknown ulterior.

“Invariably the object has to submit to a certain amount of neglect, and in pathological cases, it is even surrounded with quite unnecessary precautionary measures. Thus this type tends to vanish behind a cloud of misunderstanding, which gets all the thicker the more he attempts to assume, by way of compensation and with the help of his inferior functions, an air of urbanity which contrasts glaringly with his real nature. Although he will shrink from no danger in building up his world of ideas, and never shrinks from thinking a thought because it might prove to be dangerous, subversive, heretical, or wounding to other people’s feelings, he is none the less beset by the greatest anxiety if he has to make it an objective reality. That goes against the grain. And when he does put his ideas into the world, he never introduces them like a mother solicitous for her children, but simply dumps them there and gets extremely annoyed if they fail to thrive on their own account. His amazing unpracticalness and horror of publicity in any form have a hand in this. If in his eyes his product appears correct and true, then it must be so in practice, and others have to bow to its truth. Hardly ever will he go out of his way to win anyone’s appreciation of it, especially anyone of influence. And if ever he brings himself to do so, he generally sets about it so clumsily that it has just the opposite of the effect intended. He usually has bad experiences with rivals in his own field because he never understands how to curry their favour; as a rule, he only succeeds in showing them how entirely superflous they are to him.

~ The vicious circle of misunderstandings and failed reckonings with such misunderstandings creates the conditions for a descent. To the ends of clearing the clouds before whatever community they find themselves in, false confidence, or else false awareness or false cultivations within their own character, are adopted by the introverted thinker. “False,” not so much that their ideas — and the all-important good faith understanding of them — are not worthy or true. But false in that the introverted thinker begins to put on masks to try to get their inner world across. False in that such motions are instrumental, means and not ends in themselves. False in that this is not them; moreover, false in that such tactics do not work, in the end. The introverted thinker presents their urbane mask(s) as the play to communicate, even going as far as to passionately commit to self-serious or comedic or transgressive means to consummate these layered communications. But the content, the true underlying ideas to their work and their thinking, are never cogently offered or laid out. They are sometimes even hidden, buried underneath other, less-significant {to them} ideas or stories, molds and masks. Or they are just left out, to maybe be found but only to an inquisitive searcher. A part of the introverted thinker understands this is a poor way of operating, and that they should not really expect anyone to go out of their way to do the digging to find the truth they want them to find. The potential satisfaction of that theoretical explorer conscientiously doing said work, to scale or break down the walls due to their own intrinsic motivation to get at what the thinker prepared for any comers willing to do so, is, of course, boundless and infinitely hoped for. But they never come. The others remain ignorant because they don’t see any of this; maybe they care, maybe they don’t. The fact of the matter is that the thinker did not prepare a pitch. Presentation and salesmanship and publicity and solicitation are necessary in order for their ideas to be understood, let alone adopted. But the pitch is not prepped, not really because of laziness but because the introverted thinker does not want to have to prep it. The paradox comes in a comprehension that the introverted thinker may end up fearing the leading, intermediary actions required to get their ideas out in the open, before the community to behold — MORE than they fear their ideas staying dormant in the darkness, only for their own soul to continue to hold. Perhaps the necessity of the pitch corrupts the idea itself; perhaps the prospect of such devoted commitment and its steady maintenance is simply unconscionable.

“In the pursuit of his ideas he is generally stubborn, headstrong, and quite unamenable to influence. His suggestibility to personal influences is in strange contrast to this. He has only to be convinced of a person’s seeming innocuousness to lay himself open to the most undesirable elements. They seize hold of him from the unconscious. He lets himself be brutalized and exploited in the most ignominious way if only he can be left in peace and pursue his ideas. He simply does not see when he is being plundered behind his back and wronged in practice, for to him the relation to people and things is secondary and the objective evaluation of his product is something he remains unconscious of. Because he thinks out his problems to the limit, he complicates them and constantly gets entangled in his own scruples and misgivings. However clear to him the inner structure of his thoughts may be, he is not in the least clear where or how they link up with the world of reality. Only with the greatest difficulty will he bring himself to admit that what is clear to him may not be equally clear to everyone. His style is cluttered with all sorts of adjuncts, accessories, qualifications, retractions, saving clauses, doubts, etc., which all come from his scrupulosity. His work goes slowly and with difficulty.”

~ The introverted thinker’s ideas are bulletproof, mostly indestructible to external tides; their friends, colleagues, romances, however — are just the opposite. People and ‘things’ have always been secondary to them. Thusly, they do not understand them, people — what they are capable of doing, what they may really want. Or what they really think of them. They may be direly concerned about such things; by definition, such uncertain ruminations drive them more toward their subjective ideas and further away from the object — i.e. other people and their own overabundant unknowable-ness  —  out of fear. But all it takes is a little kindness and attention, and the introverted thinker opens the doors wide to their influences and presences. Their baseline solitude unconsciously cultivates an appreciation for any and all positive interactions. They can be taken advantage of because they always see their own inner problems, concerning their ideas and their work, as the primary issue within life. Their failure to efficaciously bring their ideas to bear in objective reality — in their own life — is, in part, what drives such suggestibility from potential companions, potential listeners. Another paradox drives a maddening strain within the introverted thinker’s inner life — that of their core ideas being both 1) profoundly complicated to the point of a constant and exasperating reevaluation and reinitialization along the lines they’d previously founded, and 2) so obvious and clear so as to infuriate them when others do not come to the same conclusions on their own.

“In his personal relations he is taciturn or else throws himself on people who cannot understand him, and for him this is one more proof of the abysmal stupidity of man. If for one he is understood, he easily succumbs to credulous overestimation of his prowess. Ambitious women have only to know how to take advantage of his cluelessness in practical matters to make an easy prey of him; or he may develop into a misanthropic bachelor with a childlike heart. Often he is gauche in his behavior, painfully anxious to escape notice, or else remarkably unconcerned and childishly naive. In his own special field of work he provokes the most violent opposition, which he has no notion how to deal with, unless he happens to be seduced by his primitive affects into acrimonious and fruitless polemics. Casual acquaintances think him inconsiderate and domineering. But the better one knows him, the more favourable one’s judgment becomes, and his closest friends value his intimacy very highly. To outsiders he seems prickly, unapproachable, and arrogant, and sometimes soured as a result of his anti-social prejudices. As a personal teacher, he has little influence, since the mentality of his students is strange to him. Besides, teaching has, at bottom, no interest for him unless it happens to provide him with a theoretical problem. He is a poor teacher, because all the time he is teaching his thought is occupied with the material itself and not with its presentation.”

~ The introverted thinker, regarding others {potential friends}, is caught in conflicts quite fraught. A pair of extremes instinctively kick into motion within every interaction: stark coldness or overwhelming warmth. Silence… or excited screaming! The introverted thinker either assumes no one will care — or that everyone will care a lot! As much as them, maybe even more!! A few cycles of feedback from such behavior synthesize their disposition into new, lesser orders; soon, after failures or shenanigans or exasperations from such action, one then becomes riddled with anxiety, suddenly incapable of drawing either card in their deck of two. Or, one becomes numb. No longer even silent, because they are no longer *present.* Simply, they stop showing up to the community. The dark truth of the introverted thinker is that only those that truly know them can appreciate them or find their company fruitful. But, along the lines of this awaiting descent, with their aforementioned demeanor and commonplace set of tendencies and tactics, and recursions to don masks worn of hot and cold salvos… how many truly know them? As a teacher, their inability to relate to their students — alongside the lack of tangible problems to delve — sink their art from the start. In all respects, without conscientious stemming, estrangement arrives on the backs of such tides.

“With the intensification of his type, his convictions become all the more rigid and unbending. Outside influences are shut off; as a person, too, he becomes more unsympathetic to its wider circle of acquaintances, and therefore more dependent on his intimates. His tone becomes personal and surly, and though his ideas may gain in profundity they can no longer be adequately expressed in the material at hand. To compensate for this, he falls back on emotionality and touchiness. The outside influences he has brusquely fended off attack him from within, from the unconscious, and in his efforts to defend himself he attacks things that to outsiders seem utterly unimportant. Because of the subjectivization of consciousness resulting from his lack of relationship to the object, what secretly concerns his own person now seems to him of extreme importance. He begins to confuse his subjective truth with his own personality. Although he will not try to press his convictions on anyone personally, he will burst out with vicious, personal retorts against every criticism, however just. Thus his isolation gradually increases. His originally fertilizing ideas become destructive, poisoned by the sediment of bitterness. His struggle against the influences emanating from the unconscious increases with his external isolation, until finally they begin to cripple him. He thinks his withdrawal into ever-increasing solitude will protect him from the unconscious influences, but as a rule it only plunges him deeper into the conflict that is destroying him from within.”

~ More vicious circles abound for the introverted thinker as their convictions concretize, so much so that objective reality begins to shutter and recede. The wider world of strangers and uninitiated action becomes closed off entirely; their ideas can no longer even be expressed through available means, with the mere mechanisms of language. The introverted thinker lashes out at critics of unrelated forces, fighting tooth-and-nail, as in a last stand upon a hill, back to a precious tower none can surmise. The introverted thinker’s inner battle subsumes all of reality, bathing it in an all-or-nothing light that no one else can see or possibly appreciate. The introverted thinker fights under this overcast — of their own unconscious making — with sword in hand, as the lodestar of the whole saga’s play. That inner world — all those ideas and all that work for so long progressed upon, perhaps without any real cycle of sharing or feedback or achievement — becomes their reality. Totalizing in effect, the introverted thinker’s personality merges with their art. Natural outcomes from this come down upon them via confusion, alienation, rejection. Self-imposed exile begins, as an imperative reaction to the world’s negative response to their transformed affect; the loop goes violent as the decision to fall more deeply into their own, self-designed meta-reality — as an honest means to escape from harm and secure what they believe to be their proper position — only accelerates self-destruction.

“The thinking of the introverted type is positive and synthetic in developing ideas which approximate more and more to the eternal validity of the primordial images. But as their connection with objective experience becomes more and more tenuous, they take on a mythological colouring and no longer hold true for the contemporary situation. Hence his thinking is of value for his contemporaries only so long as it is manifestly and intelligibly related to the known facts of the time. Once it has become mythological, it ceases to be relevant and runs on in itself. The counter-balancing functions of feeling, intuition, and sensation are comparatively unconscious and inferior, and therefore have a primitive extraverted character that accounts for all the troublesome influences from outside to which the introverted thinker is prone. The various protective devices and psychological minefields which such people surround themselves with are known to everyone, and I can spare myself a description of them. They all serve as a defence against “magical” influences — and among them is a vague fear of the feminine sex.” ~

~ Now, primordial images arise within. The world becomes smaller and personalized. Myths are recomposed with the self as the embarking hero. All becomes fantasia, a recursive dream to protect, but more importantly — to hide within. The introverted thinker, upon this shadowing stage, now lives utterly outside of themselves. The caliginous metamorphosis is complete. No one else may enter the stronghold or its many, byzantine tenebrous hallways and dungeons. No person. No piece or tatter of objective reality. No man. No woman. No friends or foes. No other heart; nothing that could risk upsetting the wayward balance they believe they have created for themselves. For that, of course, is what the walls always conceal within the innermost core: the introverted thinker’s own heart.