Jung discerned four functions of consciousness: intuition, sensation, thinking, and feeling. These, as modified by either an introverted or extraverted libido, form his eight basic types. Of these eight modes of awareness, none is as enigmatic as introverted sensation. On the Gifts Compass Inventory, we refer to it as the "aesthetic" gift set, for wherever artistic expression is being exercised, introverted sensation is often in the mix.
Introverted Sensation: The Aesthetic Gifts
We could consider this type a "crossover" type for it is oriented in two directions simultaneously. It begins with a functional orientation to the world; yet it is drawn inward toward the collective unconscious, where concrete perceptions are commingled with an ethereal patina.
"Introverted sensation apprehends the background of the physical world rather than its surface . . . We could say that introverted sensation transmits an image which does not so much reproduce the object as spread over it the patina of age-old subjective experience and the shimmer of events still unborn (CW 6, par 649)."
It is as though perceptions walk through the closet door of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia into a magical and dazzling world within.
We see, in the work of many visual artists, these confluences of outside perceptions with inward images. Artists notice something special; they sense an invisible resonance within.
In the paintings of Van Gogh and Gaugain, one can almost feel the inner life vibrating in the pigment. Georgia O'Keeffe, the American painter, took simple objects from the New Mexico landscape and translated them into captivating images, magically transformed.
Introverted sensation, the most enigmatic of the 8 types, has been instrumental in expressing the collective inner life for millennia. It keeps us grounded, not so much in the world as we know it, but as it is known in the mirror world within.
James Graham Johnston
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