Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reflections: The Insider, Part 2

X

So I climbed the stairs, up out of my basement study, and went to the big wall of bookshelves in the family room, pulling volumes by and about Carl G. Jung— four, five, six, seven… All of this to fulfill the intention expressed at the close of my previous post, to write on the subject of the Introvert vs. the World, as expressed in Jung’s theory of psychological types. But then I had a change of heart.

X
For one thing, I’ve already got so much reading lined up that I don’t want to undertake the review of Jung that the post I had contemplated putting together would entail.
For another thing, I just want to cut this short and move on to other interests.

X
What I am going to do, therefore, is first quote the paragraph on introversion from the Wikipedia article, “Extraversion and Introversion”. This is as good—and accurate—a general description of the type as any I found in a quick survey of the Jung books in my possession, and it covers all of the salient points that I had planned to discuss.

X
Next, I will put forth a little rant of my own devise on the nature of introversion. This is kind of poetic sketch, which says what I believe without laboring to heap up a mountain of words to support any of it: like it or lump it.

X
Finally, instead of directly quoting Jung himself, I will provide you with a really neat quote from Heinrich Heine’s Deutschland, which Jung used to preface his introduction to his own work, Psychological Types, or The Psychology of Individuation. This paragraph just blows me away. One could write on the ideas condensed within it for a lifetime. So, here goes. First, Wikipedia:
X
Introversion
X
Introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life". Introverts tend to be more reserved and less outspoken in large groups. They often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, drawing, and using computers. The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, composer, and inventer are all highly introverted. An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though they tend to enjoy interactions with close friends. They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate. Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement. They are more analytical before speaking.
X
Introversion is not the same as shyness. Introverts choose solitary over social activities by preference, whereas shy people avoid social encounters out of fear.

And now, Rodak’s rant:
X
Extroverts make life on earth possible. Introverts make that life worth living.

Extroverts make things work: they organize; they build the hives and drive the drones to their tasks. Without extroverts, ours would be a world of solitary men, scavenging in virgin forests for roots, berries, and psychotropic herbs.

Those things which the introverts contribute to the lives of men are not susceptible, however, to such animal imagery. Bees and ants don’t compose music, recite poetry, or have visions of another world. While both hives and factories have their managers; while both ants and men have their soldiers; while both bees and men have their cooks, their nannies and their hod carriers, only men engender artists, philosophers, and visionaries. There are no prophets in the animal kingdom. And, although one must never discount the value of friendship, even the best of good dogs is only a friend, not a saint.

Finally, as promised, Heine, as quoted in Psychological Types:

Introduction

Plato and Aristotle! These are not merely two systems: they are also types of two distinct human natures, which from time immemorial, under every sort of cloak, stand more or less inimically opposed. But pre-eminently the whole medieval period was riven by this conflict, persisting even to the present day; moreover, this battle is the most essential content of the history of the Christian Church. Though under different names, always and essentially it is of Plato and Aristotle that we speak. Enthusiastic, mystical, Platonic natures reveal Christian ideas and their corresponding symbols from the bottomless depths of their souls. Practical, ordering Aristotelian natures build up from these ideas and symbols a solid system, a dogma and a cult. The Church eventually embraces both natures—one of them sheltering among the clergy, while the other finds refuge in monasticism; yet both incessantly at feud. ~ H. Heine, Deutschland

Thus endeth the thoughts of this introvert on the introversion that is both his gift and the cross he was given to bear through life.

X

No comments: