Friday, 25 October 2013

Accessing C. G. Jung 3. Personality types

Charles Le Brun, 1619 - 1690
The four temperaments 
A great way to access Jung is to let the old man analyze you. Considering that he died in 1961, that might seem to be impossible, and I am certainly not advising the hire of a "medium"! Instead, there is a class of expert systems called a personality analysis. Sometimes, these are called "tests", but a test implies that you can pass or fail, and that is absurd in this case. A well-known cult actually gives young or gullible people a "free personality test", and then offers to "cure" them -- for  a price, of course, as a part of their indoctrination process.

One of the best personality analyses, in my opinion, is based on Jung's Personality Types, which he first published in 1921 and which can be found in The Portable Jung (see my last post). I am not going to summarize it here, that would be well-nigh impossible, best let the old man tell you about it, himself. This was cleverly turned into an expert system called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) after its inventors which underwent its own evolution over time. It has received some criticism, I think unfairly, because it is used in business to test for suitable employees -- there's that word, again. This is really just a misapplication, and should not be used to criticize Jung's work. The MBTI also added a fourth set of two terms to Jung's original three: judging and perceiving. There are also other analyses which are based on Jung's work and use the same four-letter designations. Some of them are free, and you can take one of those here. You can also Google MBTI and find others. I have taken a couple of them, and while the actual percentages vary somewhat, the results are the same down to the level of whether a particular characteristic is expressed slightly, moderately, or distinctively. It is also said that the best way of all is to have the test administered by a professional. That may well be true, but the advantage to taking a free on-line version is that you will likely be more honest than you would in front of an actual person -- that is also part of the many problems one finds in survey questionnaires. Of course, a well designed analysis, conducted by a perceptive and knowledgeable practitioner should be able to avoid such problems, if you can be sure that you are getting such a person!

Among the temptations that such web sites and businesses fall into for various reasons -- not the least of which is public demand, is the identification of personality types of celebrities and famous people in history. I have to admit, they are certainly entertaining, and they do credit to Jung's work by showing that there are no good or bad personality types, as each can be expressed healthily, or not so much, in each person; personalities have their plus points, but they can also have their shadow (another Jungian term you will eventually become familiar with). I will give you a personal example: I am an INFJ, the rarest of all personality types (considered by most to be only about 1% of the population and, even then, mostly encountered in females. It is Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging. (think: female intuition). To be more precise, in both tests that I took, I am the following:
* slightly expressed introvert
* distinctively expressed intuitive personality
* moderately expressed feeling personality
* slightly expressed judging personality
There are many web definitions of an INFJ, this one is mostly very good, but others mention different traits that also have validity.

So, I found a site that gives famous people's types (the link goes to my own type). Looking at the top line, I see: Plato; Jung, himself; Niels Bohr; and Mahatma Gandhi -- now there's an ego boost! But scrolling down, the ego glow soon dissipates when I see: Adolf Hitler; Ayatollah Khomeini; Osama bin Laden... -- well, it was fun while it lasted! You might remember from the movie "In Cold Blood", where Truman Capote, after interviewing on of the killers, said: “It's as if Perry and I grew up in the same house. And one day, he stood up and went out the back door, while I went out the front." Truman Capote is often listed as an INFJ, too. Jung also pointed out that the differences between a good and an evil person are not as extreme as most would imagine --as if only a thin veil separated the two.

Jung's identity as an INFJ might be questioned -- in the video, yesterday, he clearly says that he is Intuitive, but also cites Thinking and says he had "a definite difficulty with Feeling". Now, the latter might be interpreted that he had no Feeling and thus that part was taken up by Thinking which certainly goes along with what he says about Thinking, but it also might mean that his Feeling function was only slightly expressed -- you see how difficult assigning another's type can be? That he was an Introvert is obvious -- he not only looked inward for answers, but sung the praises of doing such in his ideas and practice. Today, Jung is mostly called an INFJ, but in the past, there was some discussion about whether he was INTJ or INTP (as might well be questioned from  what he said of himself in the video. However, he also said that the personality type changes over time, and he was mostly talking about his younger years. I might add, also, that there is that old saying: "A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client". You will notice that even lawyers usually hire other lawyers for their own problems. Analysts do the same sort of thing -- you have to be a bit removed. Jung had no choices in developing his own techniques, he was thus forced into self-analysis after his break with Freud, and before he had trained others. Personally, I think he was, or soon became, an INFJ.

Of all the characteristics, the core is Extravert or Introvert -- this is how one initially approaches life's problems: The seer, the philosopher, the highly creative artist, all look inward for inspiration; the analytical chemist, the accountant, the field archaeologist, all look outward -- at the material -- "Just the facts, Ma'am" Physicists are a mixed bunch. Mathematics is certainly an extravert profession, and while physics, also, is dealing with the material universe. it is also involved in building conceptual models. Quantum physics is certainly more introverted than Einsteinian, and the latter is more introverted than Newtonian. I think that in the spectrum of quantum physics, The Implicate Order of David Bohm, is far more introverted than String Theory, as the latter postulates immeasurable strings of energy, while the former cannot say whether energy even exists, as we understand it, below the levels of perceivable reality. Bohm was also a mystic and close to Krishnamurti. Wolfgang Pauli, as readers of my blog, will realize -- is a bit of a paradox. While ostensibly an extravert with a finely tuned concentration on mathematics, was yet first a patient, then a friend and collaborator with Jung. None of this is absolute, if you are an accountant, you might well take the personality analysis and find out that you are an introvert! Nature can best advance with unusual solutions -- we are not automatons.

There is another important Jungian definition within his personality types and that is the rational and the irrational -- their definitions are quite different from what you will find in any dictionary. This Jungian has a firm grasp on the situation, and his whole blog is well worth your exploration.

This brings us to another core subject in Jungian psychology: the objective and the subjective -- I covered this previously, in discussing Pauli. I will leave you with a brain teaser: Jung, in the interview, said he knew that God existed, but he was always rather coy about that subject. I think I know what he was thinking, and it all has to do with objectivity and subjectivity. But he never revealed the nature of that paradox, and neither will I.

No comments:

Post a Comment