Extraverts and Introverts 1
In the ancient Upanishads, some of the highest teachings are given, but the name of the sage who gave them is not given. So, my teacher laid great stress on this point. Not to believe things because they come from a particular source. But that they should stand – the truth must stand – on its own. So, although it’s flattering to hear this and that about some person, in actual fact it’s a question of truth and my teacher laid great stress on this point.
Sometimes when he went out to lecture, he would take some junior disciple, like myself, and he would speak. Sometimes even without giving warning, he would ask us to speak for five minutes on some aspect of yoga. He wanted to show that, although he himself was a far greater scholar than anything I could aspire to – and he was a fully realised, God-realised man – but just the same, the truth could be expressed through someone who was relatively ignorant and who had not realised [the Self]. So, this was one of the great points my teacher made. Note in the Upanishads how often the teaching is given, not from a personal source – and this doctrine is: Apurusha. It’s not from a man. Even when a man speaks it, it comes from an inspiration which is beyond the merely human.
Well, one such verse is that the Creator made man and pierced the senses, pierced the channels of the senses by which we see and we hear, we feel, we taste, we smell and we have many other senses, such as the sense of balance, for instance. These relate to external things and such a man is externally turned when he’s using these senses, and solely dependent on the reports of the senses and his reactions to these reports.
If we translate it correctly into the Latin it will be: outward – ‘extra’, turn – ‘vert’. Jung first coined this word, extravert, and he formed it correctly from the Latin, ‘extra-vert’. It has been confused with extrovert but there is no ‘extro’ prefix in the English language. ‘Turned outwards’. Now an extravert is a man who habitually, according to Jung, needs interaction with the environment. And although he looks very energetic, in fact he’s less energetic than the introvert. He needs constant stimulus and reinforcement – a bit like a man who is drunk. He looks very energetic, doesn’t he? He’s shouting and moving, and so on. But he can’t actually do a job. He can’t actually think things through. He’ll make these statements, “Oh, everyone should speak English.” “Why?” “Well, most of the people in the world speak English.” “Oh well, no they don’t. A quarter of the population of the world speaks Chinese.” “Oh well, there’s more countries in the world speak English.” “Well, really if you counted the South American countries, you would find that it was more who spoke Spanish wouldn’t you?” “Oh well, the important countries.”
Well, that’s the way he answers. It seems very energetic. It seems very positive, but actually there’s nothing there at all. An extravert can easily fall into this. He’s constantly reacting, very actively and emotionally and powerfully to his environment. But when the environment changes, he changes. When the environment is dull, he’s dull. When the environment’s cheerful, he’s cheerful. If things are going well, he’s on top of the world. If things are going badly… He depends on the environment for his energy and if he’s cut off from a lot of stimulus he tends to become apathetic. He’s got no inner resources at all. Interrogators know this.
An introvert is a man who is turned within – on his own, his memories, his thoughts. In the yogic psychology, if he trains his mind he can have access to a great world of inspiration and experience. If he does not train his mind, then his experience will be past memories and past complexes which are formed, and it will tend to be self-devouring, but it’s very energetic. He can keep going for weeks, months, years without any external reinforcement. He’s the chemist who obsessively tries six hundred different remedies for a disastrous disease – six hundred – one after another. And the most obsessive man you’d think would try, well, one, or two, hundred remedies. Perhaps there isn’t a remedy. But he persists. Obsessively. No feedback as they say. No results. No success. None. But finally the chemist found it. But the introvert has more energy of the energies within and if that energy is not focused his net effect on life will be to – he will, so to speak – cancel himself out. The internal frictions will cancel him out.
© Trevor Leggett
(Continued in ‘The yoga of action’)
Titles in this series are:
Part 1: Extroverts & Introverts 1
Part 2: The yoga of action
Part 3: Be independent of results