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This Jungian Life

May 13, 2021

The terms introversion and extraversion, now cultural staples, originated with Jung and describe the overall direction of life energy. The widely used Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator (MBTI), now available online, is drawn directly from Jung’s theory of personality types. Although extraverts direct their energy outward, introverts direct their energy inward. External-world relationships and events tend to pale in comparison to ideas, internal images and reflective processes.

The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke expressed this idea pithily: “I am in love with you and it’s none of your business.” Introverts are not shy, reclusive, fearful, detached or avoidant—they simply find their inner world enlivening. Introversion places a high value on receptivity, quietude in a busy world, and relationship with oneself.  Jung, himself an introvert, valued the ability to claim inner life, freedom and independence. 

Here's the dream we analyze:

"I'm in the central square of my native city with my grandmother and my cousin (he and I are in our teenage years). We hear a deep rumbling as though a huge mass of water is approaching. We look around trying to figure out which way it is coming from. I see a gigantic wave crashing over the clock tower which looks more ancient than the one in my real city. The three of us stand facing the wave. My grandmother grabs both of our hands and says, "We hardly have a chance." I think that it might be the end but still hope to survive. The wave hits us (I often dream of huge waves but never been hit by one before). I'm holding my breath under water. It is dark. Then the water subsides. Now it's completely gone. People walk around as though nothing much happened. I meet a couple of my classmates who are not at all surprised that they survived."


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Susan Cain.