, ,

[Text taken from Chapter 10 of Carl Gustav Jung’s Psychological Types, first published in 1921.]

9. The Extraverted Intuitive Type

Whenever intuition predominates, a particular and unmistakable psychology presents itself. Because intuition is orientated by the object, a decided dependence upon external situations is discernible, but it has an altogether different character from the dependence of the sensational type. The intuitive is never to be found among the generally recognized reality values, but he is always present where possibilities exist. He has a keen nose for things in the bud pregnant with future promise. He can never exist in stable, long-established conditions of generally acknowledged though limited value: because his eye is constantly ranging for new possibilities, stable conditions have an air of impending suffocation. He seizes hold of new objects and new ways with eager intensity, sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, only to abandon them cold-bloodedly, without regard and apparently without remembrance, as soon as their range becomes clearly defined and a promise of any considerable future development no longer clings to them. As long as a possibility exists, the intuitive is bound to it with thongs of fate. It is as though his whole life went out into the new situation. One gets the impression, which he himself shares, that he has just reached the definitive turning point in his life, and that from now on nothing else can seriously engage his thought and feeling. However reasonable and opportune it may be, and although every conceivable argument speaks in favour of stability, a day will come when nothing will deter him from regarding as a prison, the self-same situation that seemed to promise him freedom and deliverance, and from acting accordingly. Neither reason nor feeling can restrain or discourage him from a new possibility, even though it may run counter to convictions hitherto unquestioned. Thinking and feeling, the indispensable components of conviction, are, with him, inferior functions, possessing no decisive weight; hence they lack the power to offer any lasting resistance to the force of intuition. And yet these are the only functions that are capable of creating any effectual compensation to the supremacy of intuition, since they can provide the intuitive with that judgment in which his type is altogether lacking. The morality of the intuitive is governed neither by intellect nor by feeling; he has his own characteristic morality, which consists in a loyalty to his intuitive view of things and a voluntary submission to its authority. Consideration for the welfare of his neighbours is weak. No solid argument hinges upon their well-being any more than upon his own. Neither can we detect in him any great respect for his neighbour’s convictions and customs; in fact, he is not infrequently put down as an immoral and ruthless adventurer. Since his intuition is largely concerned with outer objects, scenting out external possibilities, he readily applies himself to callings wherein he may expand his abilities in many directions. Merchants, contractors, speculators, agents, politicians, etc., commonly belong to this type.

Apparently this type is more prone to favour women than men; in which case, however, the intuitive activity reveals itself not so much in the professional as in the social sphere. Such women understand the art of utilizing every social opportunity; they establish right social connections; they seek out lovers with possibilities only to abandon everything again for the sake of a new possibility.

It is at once clear, both from the standpoint of political economy and on grounds of general culture, that such a type is uncommonly important. If well-intentioned, with an orientation to life riot purely egoistical, he may render exceptional service as the promoter, if not the initiator of every kind of promising enterprise. He is the natural advocate of every minority that holds the seed of future promise. Because of his capacity, when orientated more towards men than things, to make an intuitive diagnosis of their abilities and range of usefulness, he can also ‘make’ men. His capacity to inspire his fellow-men with courage, or to kindle enthusiasm for something new, is unrivalled, although he may have forsworn it by the morrow. The more powerful and vivid his intuition, the more is his subject fused and blended with the divined possibility. He animates it; he presents it in plastic shape and with convincing fire; he almost embodies it. It is not a mere histrionic display, but a fate.

This attitude has immense dangers — all too easily the intuitive may squander his life. He spends himself animating men and things, spreading around him an abundance of life — a life, however, which others live, not he. Were he able to rest with the actual thing, he would gather the fruit of his labours ; yet all too soon must he be running after some fresh possibility, quitting his newly planted field, while others reap the harvest. In the end he goes empty away. But when the intuitive lets things reach such a pitch, he also has the unconscious against him. The unconscious of the intuitive has a certain similarity with that of the sensation-type. Thinking and feeling, being relatively repressed, produce infantile and archaic thoughts and feelings in the unconscious, which maybe compared with those of the countertype. They likewise come to the surface in the form of intensive projections, and are just as absurd as those of the sensation-type, only to my mind they lack the other’s mystical character; they are chiefly concerned with quasi-actual things, in the nature of sexual, financial, and other hazards, as, for instance, suspicions of approaching illness. This difference appears to be due to a repression of the sensations of actual things. These latter usually command attention in the shape of a sudden entanglement with a most unsuitable woman, or, in the case of a woman, with a thoroughly unsuitable man ; and this is simply the result of their unwitting contact with the sphere of archaic sensations. But its consequence is an unconsciously compelling tie to an object of incontestable futility. Such an event is already a compulsive symptom, which is also thoroughly characteristic of this type. In common with the sensation-type, he claims a similar freedom and exemption from all restraint, since he suffers no submission of his decisions to rational judgment, relying entirely upon the perception of chance possibilities. He rids himself of the restrictions of reason, only to fall a victim to unconscious neurotic compulsions in the form of oversubtle, negative reasoning, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation of the object. His conscious attitude, both to the sensation and the sensed object, is one of sovereign superiority and disregard. Not that he means to be inconsiderate or superior — he simply does not see the object that everyone else sees ; his oblivion is similar to that of the sensation-type — only, with the latter, the soul of the object is missed. For this oblivion the object sooner or later takes revenge in the form of hypochondriacal, compulsive ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation.