How We Sense Our World

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Image source: http://jessica-poe.com/

BY SIMONE SMITH 

I am starting to realize more and more how important my role is in the community. I have been blessed with post-secondary education and with this education I know that I am able to do more for my community. I can do so by taking what I have learned and presenting it in a way that is not offensive, intimidating or daunting. This week I want to shed some light on how we, as individuals and a community view the world. I will be referencing Carl Jung, an analytical psychologist who provided numerous insights into how a human’s personality functions. Our personalities are complex, dynamic, and confusing; Jung did his best to clear up the confusion by introducing four functions of our personality, or the way in which each of us relates with our world. The four functions are: sensing, thinking, feeling and intuition. Sensing is the experience of an event without the use of reason. We do this with our five senses and it is the basic way in which we interact with the world. Thinking then takes over from this point and it helps us to understand the events that we have experienced. With thinking comes the use of reason and logic. After thinking, we then begin to feel through these events by judging whether they are good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable. Finally, our intuition kicks in; this is the part of us that relies on that inner feeling; hunches that help us deal with strange situations.

Jung split these four functions into two groups: rational functioning and irrational functioning. Thinking and feeling fall under rational functions; they involve judgments about things that we experience. Sensing and intuition are labeled as irrational functions because they are experiences that we deal with without evaluating or interpreting them. These four functions operate at different levels, and are displayed differently in our personalities. If you are a thinker, the reason and logical parts of our brain are well developed and the feeling part is usually underdeveloped. This explains those individuals who we know as being very logical; they can often come off as cold and uncaring. A thinker uses sensing and intuition to compliment their developed way of thinking. For example, a thinker who relies on reason and logic to solve problems may utilize their intuition to aid her vision of a correct solution to a problem. Any one of these functions can be dominant; of course, each of these types lacks full development because this is just how we as humans are; we have our strengths and we have our weaknesses.

Jung also took a look at two fundamental attitudes that many of us are familiar with extraversion and introversion. Extraversion refers to a nature that is considered outgoing, candid and accommodating; extraverts are known for adapting well to their environments. Introversion is significantly different; it is hesitant, reflective and introverts tend to keep to themselves. Introverts can be slightly on the defense and can be mistrusting. Jung looked at the whole concept as a flow of energy; energy can flow outward toward life, or inward toward personal experiences.

Jung decided to further explore personalities and came up with the theory of psychological types. There are sixteen possible personality types:

  • Extraverted thinking type
  • Introverted thinking type
  • Extraverted feeling type
  • Introverted feeling type
  • Extraverted sensing type
  • Introverted sensing type
  • Introverted intuitive type
  • Extraverted intuitive type

Next issue we will take a closer look at how each of these personality types represent themselves in the world. Looking forward to sharing more with you Toronto; have a great week!

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