Among the functions of consciousness, intuition holds a special place. With intuition, "a content presents itself whole and complete, without our being able to explain or discover how this content came into existence. Intuition is a kind of instinctive apprehension, no matter what the contents" (CW 6, par. 770). This peculiarity is true of extraverted intuition in a special way. It is a sort of "cross-over" type, simultaneously oriented to the images of the inner world and to the so-called "real" outer world.
Normal Extraverted Intuition (EN)
Intuition has an inherent orientation to internal images, but with extraversion, it is also related the tangible and practical, rendering it in many ways similar to extraverted sensation. "The primary function of intuition . . . is simply to transmit images, or perceptions of relations between things, which could not be transmitted by the other functions . . . But since extraverted intuition is directed predominantly to objects, it actually comes very close to sensation . . . " (CW 6, par. 611)
These two worlds "thrown together" create a fascinating type with highly unusual characteristics. Informed by deep-seated intuitions that enable perceptions of the "not yet revealed," yet at the same time attuned to the outer world, this type is highly creative and aware of outer possibilities.
Innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs are good representatives of this type. They are continuously questioning the status quo, since the traditional ways of interpreting the world collide with their highly developed creativity. They bring forth possibilities as abstract concepts, but they are also able to make them happen. Their fruitful creativity keeps them engaged in various projects, often leaping to a new project before the last one is finished. With contagious energy, they can be highly charismatic and catalysts for change.
Extraverted Intuition in the Shadow
In Jung's psychological model, consciousness and the unconscious are dynamically related. The preferred conscious types colour the individual's typical attitudes and behaviours, but that which differs from or contradicts these attitudes tends to be ignored or repressed, and therefore is relegated to the unconscious, or "shadow," in opposition to the ego/ persona identity. The attitudes relegated to the shadow are "archaic" in the sense that they are primitive and less developed.
While in the conscious disposition, extraverted intuition has a capacity for seeing the world and future as pregnant with possibilities. But when archaic and in the shadow, it can become suspicious and negative about the future. "Whereas true extraverted intuition is possessed of a singular resourcefulness, a 'good nose' for objectively real possibilities, this archaicized intuition has an amazing flare for all the ambiguous, shadowy, sordid, dangerous possibilities working in the background" (CW6, par. 654).
Extraverted intuition in the shadow can block attempts to conceive potential opportunities. Life may seem constrained to the very practical "what it is" rather than "what might be." Everything that is not objective and immediately available could be cast as unreal or impossible. Life and the world may lack colour and imagination. The intuitions and "gut-feelings" that allow us to go beyond the obvious and the well-known, can be dismissed as pure "wishful-thinking" or childish beliefs.
Extraverted intuition questions the pragmatic and conservative ways of conceiving and doing things, and therefor offers an important personal and social function. It needs to be developed when not naturally part of an individual's disposition. Individuation enables a conscious engagement with the less developed aspects of the psyche. It requires effort and energy, but first of all, awareness and acknowledgement.
Engaging Jung's types for individuation
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