Jung’s Ni, Abridged
These articles are an attempt to condense Chapter X of Psychological Types into a more readable format. I’ve tried to stay as true to the original texts as possible. Enjoy!
Introverted Intuition is directed at the contents of the unconscious. However, just as our senses only give us an approximate image of the objective world, so does Ni give an approximate image or impression of the inner world and its contents. Although it may be triggered by an external stimulus, it doesn’t focus on the external possibilities, but on what images are released in the psyche. Unlike Si, these images don’t concern the course of sensations, but their underlying causes or hidden meanings. However, since the Ni type represses Sensation, he rarely manages to connect the resulting hunches to himself or his bodily existence, instead seeing them as if they had an objective existence of their own.
Just as Ne chases every possibility in the outer world, Ni chases every image that arises from the inner world, “the teeming womb of the unconscious”. Again, the Ni type doesn’t connect them to himself, and since he’s only concerned with perceiving them, he isn’t impelled to shape them into rational judgements like Ti or Fi. The latter are also only affected by the images subconsciously – by contrast, Ni seeks to explore every detail of them, with the same clarity that Se has with respect to the outer world.
Ni is the function which is most intimately connected with the collective unconscious. The archetypal patterns, which have evolved over millions of years to represent eternal patterns of life, are the main source of the insight which Ni often provides. Its tendency to project into the future is thanks to an almost direct consultation with these archetypes. If paired with Feeling, it has the potential to paint a more or less complete picture of another person’s psychology.
The Introverted Intuitive Type
This type is oriented by his inner vision, and the more intensely he relies on intuition, the more he is divorced from tangible reality. In exceptional cases he might be something like a seer, or an artist whose work is far-off and psychedelic – all at once beautiful and grotesque, since it represents the Janus-faced nature of the psyche. If he neglects to share or express his perceptions, he might become an eccentric or a crank, someone completely incomprehensible to his peers.
The pure type stops at the perception his vision, and perhaps the aesthetic shaping of it in art. He suppresses any attempt to make it into a moral problem. However, as soon as he differentiates an auxiliary Judging function, he begins to face certain questions. What does this image mean for me and for for others? What task or duty does it represent for me? He begins to dimly perceive that he is actually connected to his vision, and subsequently feels he has to actualise it somehow. However, since he’s more adapted to his inner world than present-day reality, he has great difficulties in bringing his vision to his society. His life becomes symbolic, with little relevance to any concrete reality. His arguments fall short, since his reasoning functions are secondary to his vision, and at a certain point he can only claim “I just know”.
This type is characterised by a risky tendency to suppress concrete reality. Even the normal type has trouble connecting his inner vision to his own life. He might becomes increasingly unaware of his bodily existence or its effect on others. If he becomes completely one-sided, his outer life hits him through Sensation in his unconscious, causing a neurotic, compulsive dependence on concrete reality. He begins to suffer from all kinds of hypochondrial symptoms, hypersensitivity to sensations, and exaggerated ties to certain objects and people.