Jung’s Portrait of the ESTP / ESFP Types

Jung did not distinguish between the ESTP and ESFP types. Instead he focused on what was common to these two types as both were dominated by Extroverted Sensing (Se). Jung has been noted by many to be a forbidding and inaccessible writer and reading him is indeed difficult.

Jung’s Portrait of the ESTP / ESFP Types

by Carl Gustav Jung, first published 1921

Extroverted Sensation (Se) in General

Sensation, in the extraverted attitude, is most definitely conditioned by the object. As sense-perception, sensation is naturally dependent upon the object. But, just as naturally, it is also dependent upon the subject; hence, there is also a subjective sensation, which after its kind is entirely different from the objective. In the extraverted attitude this subjective share of sensation, in so far as its conscious application is concerned, is either inhibited or repressed. As an irrational function, sensation is equally repressed, whenever a rational function, thinking or feeling, possesses the priority, ie. it can be said to have a conscious function, only in so far as the rational attitude of consciousness permits accidental perceptions to become conscious contents; in short, realizes them. The function of sense is, of course, absolute in the stricter sense; for example, everything is seen or heard to the farthest physiological possibility, but not everything attains that threshold value which a perception must possess in order to be also apperceived. It is a different matter when sensation itself possesses priority, instead of merely seconding another function. In this case, no element of objective sensation is excluded and nothing repressed (with the exception of the subjective share already mentioned). Sensation has a preferential objective determination, and those objects which release the strongest sensation are decisive for the individual’s psychology. The result of this is a pronounced sensuous hold to the object. Sensation, therefore, is a vital function, equipped with the potentest [sic] vital instinct. In so far as objects release sensations, they matter; and, in so far as it lies within the power of sensation, they are also fully accepted into consciousness, whether compatible with reasoned judgment or not. As a function its sole criterion of value is the strength of the sensation as conditioned by its objective qualities. Accordingly, all objective processes, in so far as they release sensations at all, make their appearance in consciousness. It is, however, only concrete, sensuously perceived objects or processes which excite sensations in the extraverted attitude; exclusively those, in fact, which everyone in all times and places would sense as concrete. Hence, the orientation of such an individual corresponds with purely concrete reality. The judging, rational functions are subordinated to the concrete facts of sensation, and, accordingly, possess the qualities of inferior differentiation, i.e. they are marked by a certain negativity, with infantile and archaic tendencies. The function most affected by the repression, is, naturally, the one standing opposite to sensation, viz. intuition, the function of unconscious perception.

The Extraverted Sensation [ESTP / ESFP] Types

No other human type can equal the extraverted sensation-type in realism. His sense for objective facts is extraordinarily developed. His life is an accumulation of actual experience with concrete objects, and the more pronounced he is, the less use does he make of his experience. In certain cases the events of his life hardly deserve the name ‘experience’. He knows no better use for this sensed ‘experience’ than to make it serve as a guide to fresh sensations; anything in the least ‘new’ that comes within his circle of interest is forthwith turned to a sensational account and is made to serve this end. In so far as one is disposed to regard a highly developed sense for sheer actuality as very reasonable, will such men be esteemed rational. In reality, however, this is by no means the case, since they are equally subject to the sensation of irrational, chance happenings, as they are to rational behaviour.

Such a type — the majority arc men apparently — does not, of course, believe himself to be ‘subject’ to sensation. He would be much more inclined to ridicule this view as altogether inconclusive, since, from his standpoint, sensation is the concrete manifestation of life — it is simply the fulness [sic] of actual living. His aim is concrete enjoyment, and his morality is similarly orientated. For true enjoyment has its own special morality, its own moderation and lawfulness, its own unselfishness and devotedness. It by no means follows that he is just sensual or gross, for he may differentiate his sensation to the finest pitch of æsthetic purity without being the least unfaithful, even in his most abstract sensations, to his principle of objective sensation. Wulfen’s Cicerone des r¨cksichtlosen Lebensgenusses is the unvarnished confession of a type of this sort. From this point of view the book seems to me worth reading.

Upon the lower levels this is the man of tangible reality, with little tendency either for reflection or commanding purpose. To sense the object, to have and if possible to enjoy sensations, is his constant motive. He is by no means unlovable; on the contrary, he frequently has a charming and lively capacity for enjoyment; he is sometimes a jolly fellow, and often a refined æsthete.

In the former case, the great problems of life hinge upon a good or indifferent dinner; in the latter, they are questions of good taste. When he ‘senses’, everything essential has been said and done. Nothing can be more than concrete and actual; conjectures that transcend or go beyond the concrete are only permitted on condition that they enhance sensation. This need not be in any way a pleasurable reinforcement, since this type is not a common voluptuary; he merely desires the strongest sensation, and this, by his very nature, he can receive only from without. What comes from within seems to him morbid and objectionable. In so far as lie thinks and feels, he always reduces down to objective foundations, i.e. to influences coming from the object, quite unperturbed by the most violent departures from logic. Tangible reality, under any conditions, makes him breathe again. In this respect he is unexpectedly credulous. He will, without hesitation, relate an obvious psychogenic symptom to the falling barometer, while the existence of a psychic conflict seems to him a fantastic abnormality. His love is incontestably rooted in the manifest attractions of the object. In so far as he is normal, he is conspicuously adjusted to positive reality — conspicuously, because his adjustment is always visible. His ideal is the actual; in this respect he is considerate. He has no ideals related to ideas — he has, therefore, no sort of ground for maintaining a hostile attitude towards the reality of things and facts. This expresses itself in all the externals of his life. He dresses well, according to his circumstances ; he keeps a good table for his friends, who are either made comfortable or at least given to understand that his fastidious taste is obliged to impose certain claims upon his entourage. He even convinces one that certain sacrifices are decidedly worth while for the sake of style.

But the more sensation predominates, so that the sensing subject disappears behind the sensation, the more unsatisfactory does this type become. Either he develops into a crude pleasure-seeker or he becomes an unscrupulous, designing sybarite. Although the object is entirely indispensable to him, yet, as something existing in and through itself, it is none the less depreciated. It is ruthlessly violated and essentially ignored, since now its sole use is to stimulate sensation. The hold upon the object is pushed to the utmost limit. The unconscious is, accordingly, forced out of its me[accent]tier as a compensatory function and driven into open opposition. But, above all, the repressed intuitions begin to assert themselves in the form of projections upon the object. The strangest conjectures arise; in the case of a sexual object, jealous phantasies and anxiety-states play a great role. More acute cases develop every sort of phobia, and especially compulsive symptoms. The pathological contents have a remarkable air of unreality, with a frequent moral or religious colouring. A pettifogging captiousness often develops, or an absurdly scrupulous morality coupled with a primitive, superstitious and ‘magical’ religiosity, harking back to abstruse rites. All these things have their source in the repressed inferior functions, which, in such cases, stand in harsh opposition to the conscious standpoint; they wear, in fact, an aspect that is all the more striking because they appear to rest upon the most absurd suppositions, in complete contrast to the conscious sense of reality. The whole culture of thought and feeling seems, in this second personality, to be twisted into a morbid primitiveness; reason is hair-splitting sophistry — morality is dreary moralizing and palpable Pharisaism — religion is absurd superstition — intuition, the noblest of human gifts, is a mere personal subtlety, a sniffing into every corner; instead of searching the horizon, it recedes to the narrowest gauge of human meanness.

The specially compulsive character of the neurotic symptoms represent the unconscious counterweight to the laisser aller morality of a purely sensational attitude, which, from the standpoint of rational judgment, accepts without discrimination, everything that happens. Although this lack of basic principles in the sensation-type does not argue an absolute lawlessness and lack of restraint, it at least deprives him of the quite essential restraining power of judgment. Rational judgment represents a conscious coercion, which the rational type appears to impose upon himself of his own free will. This compulsion overtakes the sensation-type from the unconscious. Moreover, the rational type’s link to the object, from the very existence of a judgment, never means such an unconditioned relation as that which the sensation-type has with the object. When his attitude reaches an abnormal one-sidedness, he is in danger of falling just as deeply into the arms of the unconscious as he consciously clings to the object. When he becomes neurotic, he is much harder to treat in the rational way, because the functions to which the physician must appeal are in a relatively undifferentiated state; hence little or no trust can be placed in them. Special means of bringing emotional pressure to bear are often needed to make him at all conscious.

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