Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Introversion and Extraversion

Now that we've established the concepts of Subjective and Objective, let's link these concepts to their other synonymous forms, those of Introversion and Extraversion.

Daryl Sharp is another noted Jungian lecturer, and has provided to the public a lexicon of Jungian terms. It is from this that we quote the descriptions of Extraversion and Introversion.

Extraversion: A mode of psychological orientation where the movement of energy is toward the outer world.
Introversion: A mode of psychological orientation where the movement of energy is toward the inner world.

From this point on, Extraversion will often be abbreviated as just "E" and Introversion will be abbreviated as just "I".

Originally, Jung thought that E and I were enough to differentiate, and apply to, people. Later we'll see he realized that it wasn't necessarily *people* who were E and I, but mental functions of the mind that had an orientation (and we'll get to those mental functions later). It's not incorrect to say that people can be broadly classified to prefer E or I, but we can easily be in danger of stereotyping people if we limit our descriptions of their total psyche to just those two categories.

So another name for Objective is Extraversion (from one's self, outward to the objective world), and another name for Subjective is Introversion (within one's self, inward to the subjective world). When we describe people as Introverts and Extraverts, we're describing people whose most preferred mental function is either Introverted or Extraverted.

Introversion vs. Extraversion and Internet Communications

We can apply these adjectives to computer communications as well. A computer whose orientation is outward is called a server, and a computer whose orientation is inward is called a client. A dummy terminal model is about as extreme of an Extraverted server as you can get. A stand-alone PC with no disk drive is about as extreme as a Introvered client as you can get, too. It wasn't so long ago that we actually existed in a dichotomous bi-polar world.

The Internet began to create the infinite shades of gray between these two poles. The preferred orientation between these two worlds has oscillated between servers and clients many times with each revolution in communication and computer capabilities. It can be said that the total personality of the Internet is as complex as the synergistic sum of its components, so it would take a lot of study to say at any given point in time exactly which world the Internet preferred at any certain time. Although, parts of the Internet can be described thus. And the components of the Internet (the computers ,the connections, the people, and the information) can be compared to Jung's mental functions and archetypes. But yet again, we'll get to those mental functions later ;-)

In Myers-Briggs terminology, the first letter of the (four-letter) MBTI code is either E or I. It indicates that People prefer either the Extraverted world or the Introverted world. They spend time in both, but in the end, prefer one to spend most of their time, and in which to re-energize.

One fun analogy is to pretend that every coin manufactured has a tendency to prefer one side or the other, and either Head or Tails wins out in a toss of 100 coins. And a very, very few prefer to land on their edges. Since the US Mint has created 50 different Types of quarters now, and plan to make 43 different dollar coins, it would be fun to see is the different designs create a situation where certain states are Heads states and others Tails states. To hell with labeling them as Red and Blue (or Purple). And don't get me started on the guess if JFK and Bill Clinton's dollar coins are going to be Heads or Tails.

I find it quite ironic that the most popular prefixes for anything on the Internet is either E or I. Maybe it's time to start differentiating between eCommerce and iCommerce, eGoogle and iGoogle, eMacs and iMacs. So let's have a little fun with this idea as we go along. Anything Server-like is e and anything Client-like is i. [Violations of trademarks are unfortunate, coincidental and nyah nyah, this is just a blog anyway.]

Maybe in the next post, we'll get to those darn mental functions.
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