The withdrawal of the interest from life is termed introversion. Life is not regarded with confidence, but with suspicion. The assault on life does not occur naturally, as a joyous impulse towards expression ; but in place of it a defence against life is prepared. Such people are called introverts, and they correspond in some degree to the undercompensated type discussed in the eighth chapter. The form of extroversion that characterizes these people is through a plan or scheme. The extrovert, as we have seen, is a type that finds life acceptable, and assumes it is only fitfully hostile to him. The opposite type, the introvert, finds life difficult at all stages, and tends to assume that it is continually hostile. He is not backed up by social feelings. His emotions are not practical. The childhood of these types is quite distinctive. The extrovert child needs little encouragement, accepts the casual explanations of the moment, and seems to assume naturally that the world and everything in it was made for its personal enjoyment. The introvert child needs a great amount of encouragement and careful explanation; and its attitude will often suggest that it thinks a mistake was made in sending it to this particular planet.
The individual whose psychology is fundamentally introvert finds that his main problems lie in discovering a means of extroversion. interest persistently turns inwards, away from the contact of the world, and finds its easiest and most natural utilization in thought. To get out into life it has to pass through thought as through a stencil, and thus it comes about that some plan is necessary to get into touch with reality. Unless this extroversion is made, the individual, in some cases of extreme introversion, gets completely out of touch with life and lives in a fantastic world of his own thoughts. That is always his tendency and danger ; he prefers infinitely to read of a thing rather than experience it. He is capable of being an authority on an aspect of fife that he has never witnessed or felt. The attitude of the unconscious in such cases is one that demands a return to the world.
The introvert type, in its most characteristic expression, is reserved, outwardly cold, guarded, watchful, and difficult to understand. Unlike the extrovert, who hides little, the introvert hides everything because he dreads the exposure of his emotions, because they are too raw and intense. They have not been worked up into useful feelings. Emotion, in itself, is not practical. It requires to be moulded into feeling before it can help anyone. Thus the introvert tends to be helpless when in an atmosphere of strong feelings. He may have admirable sentiments, but he forgets to act up to them. He reveals-himself only to his most intimate friends, and then only in part. He is thoroughly aware of his inner life, and is a keen and serious critic of himself. His tendencies lie in the direction of self-depreciation, which he often counterbalances by an outer air of self-appreciation. His approach to everything is critical and suspicious. The extrovert welcomes the fresh features of existence without criticism. The introvert looks at them from a distance, dubiously weighing them up, weapon in hand. Anxiety is a constant state of mind with him ; he is anxious about the future and anxious about the present. Pear is the predominant factor behind his psychology, and this causes him, when in a position of responsibility, to leave nothing to chance. His plans are exhaustive and cast with an eye continually fixed on the possibility of failure. In this his organizing powers exceed those of the extrovert, who rushes into plans confident of success and impatient of the suggestion of failure. I recall at this point the type of intellectual fantasy indulged in by an elderly introvert as an aid to sleep : he would plan the fortifications of a district with minute distinctness. The extrovert will exist happily in positions of great danger, serenely unconscious or serenely confident, seeing only the omens that herald success ; the introvert sees the danger-signals to the exclusion of the possibilities of success, unless he is well-balanced.
This picture only portrays one aspect, but that a familiar one, of introvert psychology. There are introverts of as many grades and qualities as there are extroverts ; and the introvert who has learnt his weaknesses and balanced his fears may be as daring and original a leader as the high type of extrovert; indeed, he may far surpass him, as in the case of Napoleon. But the point of importance to remember, in contrasting him with the extrovert, is that he knows himself, if he knows nothing else, whereas this is one of the last things that the extrovert learns. To accuse an extrovert raises a storm of protest; he is so blind to himself that he will vigorously deny motives behind the most obvious and damning actions. If the introvert be accused, he tends to be too ready to feel the truth of the accusation. This peculiar difference renders it difficult for the extrovert to understand the introvert. To the introvert the extrovert is a source of amazement; while to the extrovert the introvert is an object of impatient speculation and uncertainty.
As I have said, the attitude of the unconscious towards the introvert is one which urges a pushing-out of interest. In the case of the extrovert the unconscious teaches a doctrine of cutting down of activities, of withdrawal, or, in short, of introversion. To the introvert it presents a policy of extroversion. The following dream, which was experienced by a man showing a fundamentally introvert psychology, will serve as an illustration that contrasts with the dreams given at the end of the last chapter.
"I was in an amphitheatre. Tiers and tiers of seats rose steeply to a considerable height. I found myself in a seat high up, which was so constructed that it was a matter of some difficulty to maintain my balance. Below me, at a distance of about a hundred feet, I saw the arena. It was sanded, and two bulls were fighting in it. I saw the dust rising, and the bulls goring each other, and some figures running about. I felt great fear—the fear that I always associate with heights—and clung to the framework of the seat in case I would fall straight down into the ring below. Then there was a kind of earthquake, and I fell and struck something on the way. I found myself lying on a plank looking down at some women who were doing something to a tub full of water. I think they were catching some fish or animal hidden there."