In the last letter, we looked at the rational function "feeling" in its extraverted mode. With this letter, we turn to its cousin, introverted feeling. Comparing the two types illustrates just how dramatically the directional attitude influences the resulting composite attitude--
the type. Introverted feeling is quite different from extraverted feeling; the two are in many ways utterly incompatible. One is iconoclastic; the other conforms. One is inexpressive; the other is bountifully expressive. While we referred to extraverted feeling as the extensive "social gifts;" when introverted, feeling is intensively focused on inner images. We could refer to its new functional role, and their accompanying gifts, as "idealistic."
Introverted Feeling: The Idealistic Gifts
The "inner object" that Jung called the "collective unconscious" is the primary orientation for introverted feeling. That inner orientation is dramatically different from extraverted feeling with its orientation to people, groups and norms.
Introverted feeling tends to sink to the depths of the inner life. The aim of this feeling is to realize the images issuing from the unconscious. Introverted feeling is enthralled with them.
"It is continually seeking an image which has no existence in reality, but which it has seen in a kind of vision. It glides unheedingly over all [outer] objects that do not fit in with its aim. It strives for inner intensity, for which the [outer] objects serve at most as a stimulus" (CW 6, par. 638).
Introverted feeling continually enhances and clarifies the illusive inner image. It seeks to feel what is real, good and true. On the surface, people who are disposed to this type may seem cold or unfeeling. They are often misunderstood because their chilly veneer conceals a passionate inner life.
Introverted feeling may disregard social traditions. "Feeling progressively emancipates itself from the [outer world] and creates for itself a freedom of action and conscience that is purely subjective, and may even renounce all traditional values" (CW 6, par. 639).
Introverted feeling resolutely pursues the feeling-toned qualities of the inner images until they emerge as coherent values or ideals. It connects the human experience with timeless ideals. It could be compared to the keel of a sailboat--remaining fixed, deep in the water of its feeling-values, keeping the life of the individual, and society as a whole, from careening off course.
James Graham Johnston
Orienting people to their greatest potential
and highest well-being.