Friday, June 15, 2007

A Rose is a Rose, but not a Pickle.

I've finished my reading of the works of Carl Jung, and apart from one very important distinction dealing with the personality types, there was little that hadn't already been included in my education up to this point. The one main definition that I thought was interesting was the definition of the Introvert and the Extrovert. This deals with the relationship between the person and what Jung calls the "object." What he means comes directly from Plato's Form theory. An extrovert relates himself with the object by letting the object influence him. An extrovert draws energy from the world around him, and derives all meaning and sensation from the things around him. He is the one, who, in a social situation, draws energy from the people who he sees. Being in a social situation excites him, and so therefore, most outgoing people are therefore extroverts. Jung further shows that society has come to consider extrovertism as the positive side of the conscious mind. Someone who is not outgoing and engaging obviously has some sort of mental problem. Of course, I feel differently.

The "object," of course, does not have to be just a person or a thing. An extrovert also becomes excited about an idea, a philosophy, and lets those ideas draw him along, influencing his daily decisions. Jung goes further into the personality types and demonstrates how each type would act given a certain situation. While I cannot agree with him on everything, since the time that he was writing was filled with different expectations upon people in the society (there are certain sexism beliefs that I would not agree with today.), I can say that a lot of what he says is concurrent with my observances of myself and others.

The introvert, on the other hand, relates to the object by using his own ideas and philosophies and applying it to the object. This includes prior knowledge, empirical experiences, and unconscious connections with buried knowledge, emotions, "archetypes" etc... For instance, an introvert would take a rose and instantly apply the archetypes that go along with the rose that has been expressed over and over in literature. Beauty, life, death, the loss of beauty or innocence...etc. A pure extravert would revel in the beauty of the individual rose, the smell, the happiness that his loved one would feel when given the flower. Or he would curse in pain after hitting a thorn.

Of course, most of us express both, since we are not purely one or the other. We all exist on a graphed line, somewhere in between the extremes that Jung uses in his essays. Further, we exist on other lines in that graph, ones that have been expounded upon by Briggs in the personality test that have been so popular. I am, for practical purposes, an INFP, or Introvert, Intuitive (instead of Sensing), Feeling (instead of Thinking) and Perceptive (instead of Judging). I found it interesting that, while looking at articles on the internet about the personalities (Wikipedia, actually), I found a psychologist named David Keirsey who argued that ADHD was simply the combining of different personality types, and the bias of society against those particular types. Anyway, what Jung drew up as far as my personality was concerned, actually worked, even to the point of demonstrating how people that are Introverted and Feeling would not be very good teachers, since the introvert relates everything upon himself. Society negatively applies this personality as one who is egocentric, arrogant, and selfish. And while I would agree that I do tend to be self-centered, to some extent, I disagree with the idea that the introvert is unable to care for other people and to see beyond his own needs and thoughts.

The other interesting thing about Jung and his philosophies is how he is biased toward the introverted personality. The introvert, he argues, is able to access the thoughts that are hidden within the unconscious and collective conscious states. For the extrovert, all meaning and thoughts are applicable only from the outside, and the inner mind is of no discernible consequence. Of course, that's when the rational extrovert will start to behave irrationally, when forces from the unconscious mind surfaces and directs the person into a more balanced course of action. It also might be irrational when an extrovert develops some sort of neuroses from ignoring the important forces that are located within. To me, the introvert is much more able to understand and interpret the thoughts coming from within and to apply them to the outside world. To express them, in art or poetry perhaps. Without this, a rose is simply a rose.


I have also decided that I will die by removal of pickle. It is troubling enough to get out of the McDonald's parking lot without getting run into, but the added difficulty of trying to remove the pickle, the bane of my existence, from the cheeseburger, so that I may eat it without finding that green mutant of a vegetable, will eventually get me killed. If I am going to be destructive enough to go to McDonald's and order a double cheeseburger, the last thing they need to do is to try and improve the nutrition of the fast food by adding a vegetable. Burger King has it right when they made the double stacker burger. Why bother putting a pickle in there?

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