Psychological Types

Excerpt from Jung: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair. Published in 2003 by Little, Brown and Company.

From Chapter 19: “The Work of a Snob and a Mystic,” pp. 286-288

When Jung published Psychological Types in 1921, Freud was among the first to read it – and to dismiss it as ‘the work of a snob and a mystic, no new idea in it. . . . No great harm to be expected from this quarter.’ The book is, as Freud also noted, ‘of enormous size 700 pages thick.’ His main objection was that Jung was still insisting, as he had done since he published Symbols in 1913, that there could be no ‘objective truth’ in psychology because of ‘personal differences in the observer’s constitution,’ or, as Jung now defined it, ‘typology.’ Jung wrote Types with Freud’s primacy of sex and Adler’s power firmly in mind and eagerly expressed his differences with both.

In a very real sense, the book’s genesis occurred around 1913, when Jung separated from Freudian orthodoxy; arguably, his entire oeuvre leading to the 1921 publication can be read as notes toward a gradually emerging unified theory of typology. Freud’s shadow looms over this work, as Freud’s extraversion and Jung’s own introversion provide a convenient explanation for why they were unable to harness their differences. Extrapolating from himself and Freud and seeking to explain how individuals perceived the world and related to it, Jung offered other famous historical feuds that originated in intellectual disagreement. His examples were religio-philosophical, among them St. Augustine and Pelagius, Tertullian and Origen, and Luther and Zwingli. From philosophy and literature he employed Nietzsche’s distinctions of Apollonian and Dionysian; Wilhelm Ostwald’s classical and romantic attitudes; Carl Spitteler’s differentiations of Prometheus and Epimetheus; and Goethe’s diastole and systole, terms coined to indicate expansion and contraction.

The book is a stunning compilation of Jung’s extensive reading, but there are no references to anything he had not read before he wrote Symbols. He simply examines the type problem as it occurs in the many writings that would serve as his workhorses for many years to come, the standard references he would trot out repeatedly to support theoretical positions. Fortunately, he chose well, for he culled works that are the finest in (among others) poetry, psychopathology, aesthetics, modern philosophy, and biography. He devoted a chapter to William James’s types, particularly the characteristic pairs of ‘tough’ and ‘tender-minded’ opposites, which he examined in many different ways. He acknowledged that the type problem has fascinated humankind forever, from ancient astrology to palmistry, phrenology, physiognomy, and graphology, and to those most recently as Wilhelm Ostwald and Otto Weininger. Jung admitted that he had chosen to write only of those theories that supported his own but did not insist that his was ‘the only true or possible type-theory.’ Admitting this allowed him to fault James’s typology as ‘almost exclusively concerned with the thinking qualities of the types.’ His criticism of James drew heavily on the views he had expressed in his earliest letters to Schmid and that he continued to hold: of Pragmatism, ‘which restricts the value of ‘truth’’; of Bergson and ‘intuitive method,’ ‘élan vital,’ and ‘durée créatrice’; of Nietzsche’s Zarathustra; and of Schopenhauer and Hegel, who since his school days had provided Jung with corroboration for whatever idea he sought to prove.

Jung saved his own typology for the last chapter, which comprised the final 150 or so pages of his text. To the ‘attitudes’ of introvert and extravert, he added four further differentiations called functions. To ‘feeling’ and ‘thinking,’ he now adopted Schmid’s and Toni Wolff’s suggestions and gave equal status to ‘intuition’ and ‘sensation.’ Feeling and thinking he grouped under the rubric of ‘rational,’ while sensation and intuition became ‘non rational.’ He now acknowledged the importance of non rational functions to the development of the psyche, because they allowed for a priori knowledge, something he had stabbed at but could not spear in the dialogue with Schmid. ‘A type theory must be more subtle,’ he believed, and in his schema, the two attitudes and the four functions thus permitted a grand total of eight possible psychological types.

In the years following the 1921 publication, Jung was asked repeatedly why he had proposed a system composed of two types, four functions, and eight possible types. ‘That there are exactly four is a matter of empirical fact,’ was his consistent response:

The four functions are somewhat like the four points of the compass; they are just as arbitrary and just as indispensable. Nothing prevents our shifting the cardinal points as many degrees as we like in one direction or the other, nor are we precluded from giving them different names. It is merely a question of convention and comprehensibility.
— C.G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, pp. 93-94

But few persons, it seemed, read the book as Jung intended. By the time it had gone through multiple printings in many languages, he felt compelled to address the ‘regrettable misunderstanding[s]’ that had turned the book into ‘nothing but a childish parlour game.’ He complained that even within the medical profession his typology was used to slot patients into his system and give them corresponding ‘advice.’ He insisted that his ‘typology is … not in any sense to stick labels on people on first sight: It is not a physiognomy and not an anthropological system, but a critical psychology dealing with the organization and delimitation of psychic processes that can be shown to be typical.’

He believed that the primary value of his book was ‘not merely for the obvious, all too human reason that everyone is in love with his own ideas,’ but rather ‘for the objective reason that it offers a system of comparison and orientation which makes possible something that has long been lacking: a critical psychology.’

~Deirdre Bair, Jung: A Biography, pp. 286-288

Edward Edinger

Excerpt from An American Jungian: In Honor of Edward F. Edinger, Part VIII: More Tributes, Editor’s Foreword by Daryl Sharp, Jungian analyst and general editor of Inner City Books.

The world is full of unconscious people – those who don’t know why they do what they do. Edward F. Edinger did as much as anyone I know to correct this situation. To my mind, he was as true to Jung as one can be. Like Marie-Louise von Franz, he was a classic Jungian: he took Jung’s message to heart and amplified it according to his own talents.

For those who find Jung himself tough going, Edinger has been the preeminent interpreter for more than thirty years. In lectures, books, tapes, and videos, he masterfully presented the distilled essence of Jung’s work, illuminating its relevance to both collective and individual psychology. Thus, for instance, his Mysterium Lectures and Aion Lectures are not only brilliant scholarly studies of Jung’s major works, they are also a practical guide to what is going on in the laboratory of the unconscious.

Since Inner City published his book, The Creation of Consciousness in 1984, Ed and I had more than a good publisher-author working relationship. I visited him a couple of times at his home in Los Angeles and routinely sent him complimentary copies of each new Inner City title as it was published. He always responded quickly with a hand-written letter giving his considered opinion of its merit or failings.

Every year or two, he offered Inner City Books a new manuscript. We took every one because they were always good meaty stuffy. Clean, crisp writing, no padding, no blather. Never mind that they would never appear on the New York Times list of best sellers; they fit perfectly with our professed mandate ‘to promote the understanding and practical application’ of Jung’s work. We are proud now to have fifteen full-length Edinger books under our wing – and this one.

Personally, I loved the man. I feel privileged and fortunate indeed to be in a position to keep his work and spirit alive, to the benefit of everyone who strives to become psychologically conscious.

~Daryl Sharp, Jungian analyst, pp. 272-273

Daryl Sharp is a Jungian analyst in Toronto and publisher of Inner City Books. This foreword appeared in Edinger’s Science of the Soul: A Jungian Perspective.


An American Jungian: In Honor of Edward F. Edinger, Edited by George R. Elder & Dianne D. Cordic - Inner City Books | Amazon

The Creation of Consciousness: Jung’s Myth for Modern Man, by Edward F. Edinger - Inner City Books | Amazon

The Mysterium Lectures: A Journey Through C.G. Jung’s Mysterium Coniunctionis, by Edward F. Edinger - Inner City Books | Amazon

The Aion Lectures: Exploring the Self in C.G. Jung’s Aion, by Edward F. Edinger - Inner City Books | Amazon

Science of the Soul: A Jungian Perspective, Edited by Daryl Sharp & J. Gary Sparks - Inner City Books | Amazon

The Path of Individuation

Jung coined the term “individuation,” but what is it? And how do we, for all practical purposes, individuate?

Here is Jungian analyst Dr. Ken James on that very subject:

Virtually every other school of psychology, especially depth psychology, that has given rise to a form of treatment has done so from the perspective of pathology – that there has to be a pathological situation, or state, that the person who is coming for the psychological work wants to be relieved of. And a test as to whether or not the given method of treatment works is whether or not the person’s symptoms are relieved.

Jung completely erased that perspective. I won’t even say that he changed it, he just obliterated it. Because for Jung, doing psychological work had to do with becoming whole. It «didn’t» have to do with ameliorating symptoms.

In fact for Jungians, what is called in other schools of psychology a symptom is considered to be a message that needs to be decoded, much as a dream or a slip of the tongue or a projection needs to be decoded. This is very important because whereas other schools of psychotherapy and analysis seek to cure, Jungian psychology teaches us that we have to understand.

The goal is not cure, the goal is to become who we are UNDIVIDED. The term that Jung used to explain this is individuation. And in that term lies the secret of understanding Jungian psychology.…

Jung was very clear that what his psychology was attempting to do was to help people to become individuals, and that we actually «are» individuals and we have to work to bring all of the parts together. So, individuation is the process by which we come to the point where we recognize our divided state and then seek to ameliorate that situation.

Jung never taught – and there is no orthodox Jungian teaching – that when you finish a course of psychotherapy, or working on yourself for a finite amount of time, that you are then an individual and you’re done. Jung wasn’t even altogether clear that the process stopped with what we call death.

The fact is, individuation is a process. And what we can hope to do is engage in that process in a meaningful and deep way. … When people come to see me in analysis a fairly sensible question at the beginning is, ‘How long will this take?’ And I always get them because my answer is, ‘Well, if you’re lucky, all your life.’ And they kind of look like, oh god, he wants to put a wing on the house! And then I explain to them, ‘But you’re not always going to be seeing me, or necessarily anybody, all your life. But what we want to do is start a process by which you can engage in your life through the method of seeking meaning, and that process ought to continue all your life.’ That’s how we become individuals. That’s the path of individuation.

~Ken James, Ph.D., Jungian analyst, The Path is the Goal: Walking the Way of Individuation, C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago, 1997

Dr. James was our guest in Episode 45