In my book The Shyness Guide, I’ve written about C.G. Jung’s different conception of ‘introvert/extrovert’ – different, that is, from the view of most people today. In his 1921 book Psychological Types, he proposed that there are four principal functions:
Two perceiving functions: Sensation and Intuition
Two judging functions: Thinking and Feeling
We all think, feel, sense, and intuit, but to different degrees. Each of us has one of these as a dominant function, another as a secondary function, and two repressed (unconscious) functions. In addition, each of us is modified by a tendency to introversion or extroversion. The result is eight possible “psychological types” of which you will have four:
What does this all mean? Well, for example, while I used to think of myself as a full blown introvert, I discovered while reading Psychological Types that Jung considers me to be intuitively and sensually an extrovert. I have introverted thinking and feeling, but I’m intuitively and sensually an extrovert.
An intuitive introvert is most interested in the ‘inner’ questions of life, like those in philosophy and religion.
An intuitive extrovert is more interested in what those unusual clouds mean for oncoming weather, or what that cat is staring at, or whether the river below the highway bridge I am passing over has fish in it, and what species they might be.
I’m like that. Nature caught my attention early in life and I’ve never looked away. According to Jung, I’m only an introvert with respect to my relationships with people. Where trees, rocks, animals or galaxies are concerned I’m an extrovert.
I think many people are like this. Darwin, my favorite introvert, was probably an intuitive and sensual extrovert too. He was acutely shy when he was among people, but he didn’t shy away from the world. He was physically adept – a fast runner as a boy, an accomplished horseman, and an expert with guns – very comfortable in the physical world. Where the non-human world was concerned, he was very unshy, riding over mountains, or hiking through jungles.
Anyway, I hope you see that you too might be both an introvert and an extrovert.