Personality Types

The table of contents for the book, Personality Types: Jung's Model of Typology, by Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp.

I'd like this podcast to be useful to people. One of the most useful books I've ever read {Yes, ever.} is Personality Types: Jung's Model of Typology by Jungian analyst Daryl Sharp. Later this week I'll be interviewing Daryl when I return to Toronto to see him, and that book will be the focus of the next episode of the podcast.

Types. The two attitudes {introversion and extraversion}, the four functions {thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition}, and the eight combinations therein.

You may know all of that already – habitual ways of being, the superior function. But what about the inferior function? Not our strong suit. Buried in the shadow. Do you know what your inferior function is? Are you working on it? Sharp includes a little something Marie-Louise von Franz had to say about that:

"[P]eople hate to start work on it; the reaction of the superior function comes out quickly and well adapted, while many people have no idea where their inferior function really is. For instance, thinking types have no idea whether they have feeling or what kind of feeling it is. They have to sit half an hour and meditate as to whether they have feelings about something and, if so, what they are. If you ask a thinking type what he feels, he generally either replies with a thought or gives a quick conventional reaction; and if you then insist on knowing what he really feels, he does not know. Pulling it up from his belly, so to speak, can take half an hour. Or, if an intuitive fills out a tax form he needs a week where other people would take a day." 

Sharp's book explains, in laymen's terms, Jung's original research. And that's what present-day personality tests are based on. Someone recently told me that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator "bastardized" Jung's model of typology. I'd like to ask Daryl what he thinks about that.

Above you'll see the book's table of contents. Through the generous efforts of Inner City Books, Personality Types is also available online as a free ebook. Yes, it's free. You can open it in your browser or download the PDF file and open it in a PDF viewer. There are some other useful books on that page, too: Jung Lexicon {A Primer of Terms & Concepts}, Digesting Jung {Food For the Journey}, Live Your Nonsense {A Jungian Perspective on Individuation}, Not The Big Sleep {A Jungian Romance}, and Chicken Little {The Inside Story}, each of them written by the very prolific Daryl Sharp.

I can't emphasize enough how much this book has changed the way I look at people. It's helped me to understand how and why we communicate and interact differently. So to everyone I've ever gotten into a feud with: come back. I see things differently now.

The concluding remarks are feisty and direct, just the way I like them. Sometimes we need a kick in the teeth to wake us up. The last section of the last chapter deals with the persona and the shadow. Here's a taste:

"[T]he shadow constantly challenges the morality of the persona, and, to the extent that ego-consciousness identifies with the persona, the shadow also threatens the ego. In the process of psychological development that Jung called individuation, disidentification from the persona and the conscious assimilation of the shadow go hand in hand. The ideal is to have an ego strong enough to acknowledge both persona and shadow without identifying with either of them."

The book also includes two appendices. The first is on the clinical significance of extraversion and introversion, by Dr. H.K. Fierz, former medical director of the Zürich Clinic and Research Center for Jungian Psychology  and training analyst at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich. The other is a wonderful example of each of the eight combinations called "A Dinner Party with the Types," translated from the German. It's not to be missed. Useful, indeed.

UPDATE

I visited Daryl Sharp in Toronto on October 8, 2015. You can listen to that interview in Episode #5.