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Introverted Thinking in the Shadow I

April 2016
"What he dislikes most of all is introverted thinking - thinking about philosophical principles or abstractions or basic questions of life." Marie-Louise von Franz

  
Greetings!
In this issue, we will consider introverted intuition in its normal conscious position, and also in its more primitive, or inferior position in the shadow. In the next issue, we will review introverted thinking as a shadow projection and as destructive opposition to extreme one-sidedness.

Normal Introverted Thinking
 
 
The thinking function in general applies logic to assess and order reality. Introverted thinking is poised to organize images arising from the collective unconscious through conceptual and abstract thinking. The images issuing from the collective unconscious often present new views and possibilities in the form of ideas.

"External facts are not the aim and origin of the thinking, though the introvert would often like to make his thinking appear so. It begins with the subject [collective unconscious] and leads back to the subject. . . . New views rather than knowledge of new facts are its main concern." (CW 6, par 628)
 
 
Unlike their extraverted counterparts, their starting point is not the outer facts and data, but rather the vague image of an idea that often contains complex models and theories in need of development.
 
"Its aim is never an intellectual reconstruction of the concrete facts . . . It wants . . . to see how external facts will fit into and fill in the framework of the idea." (CW 6, par 628)

People using introverted thinking can be intensely focused on resolving some theoretical question or creating a new model. Their intellectual endeavors might occur in the fields of science, philosophy, mathematics, or complex business strategies. Rather than focusing exclusively on precise facts, they think in terms of the big picture, with any facts fitting comfortably into that larger framework.

Introverted Thinking in the Shadow 
When in introverted thinking is in the shadow, this kind of thinking is not easily accessible; it is relatively undeveloped or primitive. A person having introverted thinking in the shadow might have difficulties using abstract thinking comfortably or effectively.

Because extraverted feeling is opposed to introverted thinking, this tendency will often be found in people favouring extraverted feeling, but not exclusively so. In her book Lectures on Jung's Typology, von Franz writes about the extraverted feeling type: "What he dislikes most of all is introverted thinking - thinking about philosophical principles or abstractions or basic questions of life. Such deeper questions are carefully avoided." (von Franz, 1986)  
 
Such a person has well developed social skills but might feel bored or repelled by any form of deep theoretical thinking. "What is the use of all this useless thinking," he might ask himself. "How will that improve my relationship with my wife anyway?" Or he might not trust his capacity to think in an abstract way, and thus tend to rely on what others have to say about philosophy, for example.

As introverted thinking is oriented to the inner object, it has an intuition-like quality, by virtue of the introverted attitude. When it is in the shadow, one might experience difficulty generating or grasping new and creative ideas.

In general, the shadow type can also manifest as fascination or sudden surges of interest. In the case of introverted thinking, that might occur as sudden new ideational interests that carry an aura of fascination. For example, a person might want to read books on philosophy, but may proceed unsystematically, in a somewhat chaotic way, dipping into one book one day and another the next.
 
    
        
Vanessa Prins-Goodman

 
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VANESSA PRINS-GOODMAN   
is a Jungian analyst and coach based in the Netherlands. 
Education: IAAP, Diplomate Analyst;
M.A. Clinical and Industrial Psychology, Brussels University (ULB) 
Contact Vanessa at: info@prins-goodman.nl 
 Learn more at: www.prins-goodman.nl  
 
 
 
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