”It is our feeling function that gives a sense of joy, worth, and meaning to life . . . . No one ever succeeded in finding a reason for living by the reasoning process,” writes Robert Johnson.
“It is as if we have gained the highest technical civilization in the history of the world but at the cost of losing the simpler virtues of happiness and contentment,” writes Robert Johnson.
Every country and every culture throughout the world take on a certain character. The Italians have a reverence for extraverted feeling, says Robert Johnson. This is also true for Mexico. Whereas the Germans have a preference for introverted thinking. Within each culture there are individuals with a great variety of personality types, yet a culture as a whole makes a collective choice about what is revered. The Japanese prefer introverted sensing which can be seen in beautifully manicured Zen gardens throughout Japan.
In India, introverted feeling is revered. “One quickly sees the wealth of vocabulary and corresponding consciousness in the realm of feeling but suffering from a crushing poverty in awareness of the practical elements of science, politics, and planning. One can learn by observing a society that has exactly the opposite pattern of inferiority and superiority from one’s own,” writes Robert Johnson.
Whole cultures make a typology decision. Collectively America has made the decision that thinking is the most virtuous capacity that a human being can portray. “Our superior function has given us science and the highest standard of living the world has ever known – the envy of the third world – but at the cost of impoverishing the feeling function,” writes Robert Johnson.
Apple builds the iPhone. Boeing assembles 767 airliners. These types of accomplishments come from a highly disciplined thinking function. Bill Gates writing computer software code, late at night, is the symbol of the useful, brilliant, and noble man in modern life. The person who develops mastery with the extraverted thinking function is our contemporary hero. The development of the thinking function is the focus of most American schools and universities. In the United States, individuals with a well-developed thinking function are offered the best jobs and are the best paid. The development of the thinking function and the things produced have great value for the world.
Yet when one specializes in one function, then the opposite function is neglected. One specializes in extraverted thinking by robbing from its opposite – the introverted feeling function. “One feels this coldness around people who are who are feeling wounded, and they seem to reply to warmth or relatedness in some objective or dispassionate manner that stops all feeling ‘cold’ in its tracks. It is as if such a person is unable to see over his own woundedness and contact another on a human level,” writes Robert Johnson.
Yet it is our greatest weaknesses that provides us with the means to our greatest triumphs. In the English-speaking world, thinking is the superior function. Therefore, it is in our feeling function that our salvation lies collectively.
Unfortunately, discussing the feeling function in English is a challenge, because there are no suitable words. When we lack vocabulary, it naturally follows that we lack consciousness. “Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one. . . . Imagine what richness would be expressed if one had a specific vocabulary for the love of one’s father, another word for love of one’s mother, yet another for one’s camel (the Persian’s have this luxury), still another for one’s lover, and another exclusively for the sunset,” writes Robert Johnson.
No matter how much we think or things we buy – homes, cars, jewelry – we cannot soothe the suffering and wounded feelings. Money and power will not restore our creativity. “I am often puzzled in going to India to see people who have so little in an outer sense but have so much happiness,” asserts Robert Johnson.
Please watch this video by John Gallagher about personality and the feeling and intuitive functions: