Related articles and topics:
MBTI Tests and Resources
MBTI: Descriptions of cognitive functions from various sources
Jung's Theory of Psychological Type: Lenore Thomson Interview
MBTI: Foundations and Personality Types
MBTI: Experiencing Different Function-Attitudes
MBTI: A Closer Examination of Feeling & Thinking
MBTI: Functional Descriptions by J. H. van der Hoop
Cognitive Processes and Epistemologic Parallels
Psychological Types by C. G. Jung: Chapter X
Individuation and Differentiation of Functions
Lenore Thomson's type profiles.
Socionics Information Elements
Conflicting ways of assigning meaning
Humans have four fundamental ways of giving consciously understood meaning to what they experience--which we will call "functions". Each of them can be used in a way that is independent of or grows out of socially accepted beliefs and morals--that is, in an Introverted or an Extraverted attitude. Each combination of function + attitude provides the vocabulary and ground rules for developing an epistemological and ethical perspective on life. No one of them, however, provides enough for a full life that incorporates all your potential, talents, and callings.
Each way of assigning meaning leads to very different conclusions in everyday life about what is trustworthy and what is important. It is not possible to develop a coherent, functioning self by holding all of the perspectives in a balanced manner. As people become adults, they usually develop their epistemological and ethical perspectives along one pattern of assigning meaning. This is a person's Dominant Function.
Eventually, they reach difficulties in their lives that cannot be resolved within the rules of the Dominant Function. At this time, they need to turn to an alternative way of making sense of things that modifies their dominant attitude without nullifying it. This natural alternative attitude is the person's Secondary Function. It's natural partly because we've been developing it all along. Extraverts have been using their secondary attitude to hold a piece of themselves in reserve--to cultivate a perspective that enables them to respond in ways not obviously dictated by their situation. Introverts have been using their secondary attitude to cultivate a definite place for themselves in the world.
Introverted Function Attitudes
The Introverted perspectives draw upon our innate, inherited potential to think and understand, without regard to present-day opportunities or social conventions.
Introverted Sensation (Si) tunes you in to the chaos, unpredictability, and unknowability of the concrete world, leading you to value whatever few signs you can find that have stable meaning. For example, the stripes of tabby cats might hold a particular meaning for you, and you might come to treasure that. As an epistemological perspective, Si leads you to view anything from outside a familiar context as dangerous and untrustworthy. You are in tune with the fact that nearly all possibilities lead to destruction. For example, if you're designing an airplane, nearly all combinations of the variables fail. Of the possible combinations of wingspan, wing placement, wing shape, fuselage shape, and so on, there is only a tiny subset that make an aerodynamically workable plane--and then only if you get a whole lot of other things just right, too. All of life is like that, only much more complicated. We live only in the small islands of the world that we've grown up with and are suited to us. And we can't possibly know why these small islands are relatively safe. As an ethical perspective, Si leads you to protect the integrity of the things and signs that we depend on. This usually takes the form of setting up barriers against the unpredictable. For example, saving for a rainy day (hardships come at unpredictable times) or inspecting buildings for fire safety (so people can trust that "being inside a building" is a sign of safety against the elements). Within these barriers, where all is trustworthy and familiar, we can survive and enjoy what is precious to us--for a while.
Introverted Intuition (Ni) focuses on what is inexpressible--the incommensurable and chaotic things that exist outside of any conceptual framework. For example, what do you hear in the theme-and-variations movement of Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 131? There is a meaning there, but you can't put it into words. Any attempt to put it into words will result in only a tawdry parody of the reality. Better to remain silent. As an epistemological perspective, Ni leads you to view all signs as meaningless or even deceptive, not necessarily connected to what they're supposed to represent. The true reality is something that exists beyond all signs and appearances, and can only be apprehended by a kind of direct intuition. To learn truth, one must learn to see through appearances--to make contact with a reality that cannot be seen or said. As an ethical perspective, Ni leads you to hold yourself apart from and unaffected by the meanings that others attach to words and events--to keep your own vision pure and pursue your own path regardless of evidence, reasons, or the opinions of others.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) makes sense of the world by apprehending it in terms of effects emerging from a cause, or a harmony of elements. For example, the way a beautifully made desk appears to emerge from a single idea. As an epistemological perspective, Ti leads one to trust only things that you understand first-hand for yourself, preferably through direct, hands-on interaction. You must see for yourself how a given thing or subject makes sense. Knowledge must emerge from the concrete reality itself, not from preconceived categories or criteria, and the search for knowledge must follow wherever logic and the subject matter lead, regardless of how people feel about it. As an ethical perspective, Ti leads you to do what is best for the system regardless of reward or gain or social conventions that define right and wrong behavior. For example, the sense of "natural law" that guides Clint Eastwood to do what needs doing in Old West towns regardless of the law.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) makes sense of the world by relating everything to universal human needs and callings. For example, understanding the actions of a bully as the expression of an unmet need to be connected and feel important. Understanding that, we can see the bully without judgement: we can see him as a living being not so different from ourselves, seeking to fulfill his needs just as we do, but in a way that creates unnecessary conflict. As an epistemological perspective, Fi leads you to take whatever a person thinks or believes as an expression of that person's unique nature--not to criticize it because it fails to live up to some externally imposed criteria like whether or not it's "logical" or "appropriate". As an ethical perspective, Fi leads you to act out of empathy regardless of the social status or "deservingness" of the beneficiary. Fi leads you to view all living things as equal in value, all needing to thrive in interpersonal harmony without giving up any of their uniqueness.
Extraverted Function Attitudes
The Extraverted perspectives lead you to use present-day opportunities and circumstances as the ultimate building blocks of your beliefs. Extraverted perspectives provide ways to negotiate through the present-day world, making sense of situations quickly and knowing where you stand in relation to them and what you want to do.
Extraverted Sensation (Se) makes sense of the world by attending to what exists concretely here and now, and trusting your instincts. As an epistemological perspective, Se leads you to believe only in what you can see and experience concretely, and to trust your immediate, gut-level responses to it. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, then it's a duck. Whatever a sign means is obvious and inescapable; if a sign's meaning is not obvious, then it's meaningless. Whatever is physical, immediate, gut-level cannot be faked and must be right. For example, if you sense that someone is up to no good, then you trust that sense. If you have an impulse to paint the town red, then you go out and do so. As an ethical perspective, Se leads you to believe that life is to be lived right now, "in the moment", responding to things immediately and without thought. What matters most in life is what makes the biggest perceivable impact, whatever stands out in a way that can't be ignored. Se leads you to develop a persona that is attractive and "hip" according to the conventions of your society and your time--to go with the flow without stopping to question the direction. If something isn't fun, then don't do it.
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) makes sense of the world by seeing ways to incorporate what is known into a broader context--breaking through the limits of current concepts. For example, sensing, before nearly anyone else, that high-bandwidth communication networks would "change the rules" of commerce. As an epistemological perspective, Ne leads you to practice "out of the box" thinking. There are never any final answers, just more and more opportunities to shift concepts and make sense of things in new ways. Whatever we think things mean today, we'll probably find out tomorrow they mean something different. As an ethical perspective, Ne leads you to take risks and dive into the unknown--stacking the deck to some extent by diving into areas that look especially fertile, but genuinely entering the unknown and allowing it to send your mind in new directions. If you don't know, just guess! Try something, and information will come to you--but only if you stir up the pot. From an Ne perspective, life is a succession of opportunities to pounce on, each opportunity opening up more that you can't yet see.
Extraverted Thinking (Te) makes sense of the world by viewing things "objectively": in terms of categories and measurements that can be defined in advance of observation. For example, defining the specifications of a wheel that make it acceptable for use on the road. Stable categories and measurements enable people to define shared goals and enforce agreements fairly. You can tell whether the wheel met the specifications or not; anyone can tell, because the specifications are defined independently of both the wheel and the person doing the measuring. As an epistemological perspective, Te leads you to be concerned with logical and empirical justification. No conclusion may be accepted until it has been grounded on a firm foundation of other facts that have themselves been firmly established. What has not been tested is unknown; what cannot be tested is meaningless. As an ethical perspective, Te leads to a life of "rational hill-climbing": making every decision according to well-defined criteria for what counts as better and worse. You might not know how to get to your goal, but at each decision, you take the choice that leads closer to it: you improve your position at every opportunity. Moral codes in a Te worldview emphasize keeping one's promises. Justice is understood as a social agreement negotiated by all parties, which specifies rewards and punishments that must be enforced fairly according to objective rules.
Extraverted Feeling (Fe) makes sense of the world by viewing it in terms of where you stand with other people: interpreting signs that indicate the category of your relationship. As an epistemological perspective, Fe leads you to view every sign as an expression of people's loyalties. A simple example is that displaying a flag demonstrates your loyalty to country. What matters is how you go above and beyond efficient means to an end. For example, throwing a party in someone's honor is not "necessary" for survival: it's a gesture that goes above and beyond survival, expressing your feelings for the guest of honor in a way that all can understand. From an Fe perspective, words are never neutral descriptions of fact: your choice of words, your choice of topic, is a declaration of your feelings and loyalties. As an ethical perspective, Fe leads you to believe that "life is with people": to understand one's value and meaning in terms of your standing in the community--in terms of the people whom you influence and their feelings about you.
p. 41: "When we use Feeling in an Introverted way, it operates as a kind of inner flame--a sense of personal values that may be difficult to explain or express directly but whose character informs our choices and inclinations."
p. 366: "Introverted Feeling ... encourages a personal relationship to an evolving pattern, a will to gauge the situation by an experiential ideal. For example, if we use Introverted Feeling to make a good spaghetti sauce, we won't follow recipes or measure ingredients. We'll sample the sauce as we're making it, gauging its taste, smell, and texture by their ideal outcome and adjusting for circumstantial variables so the emerging pattern stays on track."
p. 367: "To invoke Introverted Feeling, we have to know the difference between a good outcome and a bad one--know with our senses, in our bones [on the basis of living, breathing, first-hand experience]."
p. 370: "Introverted Feeling relies on the inward, right-brain criteria of experience and empathy to mark off decisions that go beyond our roles in society to affect us as human beings. Law and custom, after all, are the lowest common denominator of a defined community. We associate character and humane behavior with the moral imperatives shaped by inner values."
p. 371: "An inner point of reference, one trained by personal experience. [Bypassing matters of social standing] to focus on the quintessentially human."
Proposed definition #1
Introverted Feeling (Fi) is the attitude that everything that is manifest (apparent, observable, described) is the expression of a soul or life force, in terms of which everything ultimately makes sense. Everything that happens is the result of a soul expressing its unique nature.
From this attitude, each living thing is completely unique, and has unique needs. Every living thing needs to express itself and grow in its unique way. None of this can be put into categories or measurements, at least not without blotting out that utter uniqueness of each living thing. Because we are all living things, even though each of us is unique we can still connect to the life force as it exists in others. From an Fi standpoint, the way to respond to things is in a way that is faithful to that underlying life force.
Proposed definition #2
Introverted Feeling (Fi) is the attitude of judging things good or bad based on how they harmonize or clash with a living being's inner essence. That inner essence or soul, and how things in the environment get along with it or conflict with it, is knowable only first-hand--ultimately, only by that soul. It is known by attending to one's own emotions in response to things. What you like is good--for you, not necessarily good for others. What you don't like is bad--for you, not necessarily bad for others. Anything outside your own soul is irrelevant to evaluating anything or choosing your course in life.
As a language of Ego Orientation
As a Dominant Function, Fi leads IFPs to live a life based on empathy and harmony between self and others--and/or to see life as a never-ending conflict between souls that are intrinsically different and opposed. ISFPs typically seek out a space in which they can be completely and spontaneously themselves, following their artistic impulses without regard to social expectation or definition of any sort. Some do their best to live life as a soap opera: creating and living out intense drama wherever they go. INFPs typically seek to understand the world in terms of drama, emotion, and people seeking their own unique callings (perhaps Garrison Keillor is a good example of that). Some, like John Gray, attempt to help others understand each other through empathy with each other's differences, and thereby find peace and synergy.
Developed Fi naturally leads people to favor mercy or forgiveness for people who have done heinous acts--anything from theft to murder to genocide--acts that, under the ordinary laws that make a society manageable (see Extraverted Thinking), would usually merit their imprisonment or execution. From a developed Fi perspective, the criminal is still a living soul, still unique and precious despite whatever he may have done. If we walked in his moccasins for a while, maybe we could see it his way. Without condoning his crimes, maybe we could see how we ourselves could have done the same things under similar circumstances. This use of empathy as one's ultimate anchor of orientation leads to a resolute non-judgementalness. First empathize--find something in your own heart that lets you see how someone could feel and act the way he did--and then you will probably find that you no longer feel hatred or a desire for retribution.
As a Secondary Function, Fi typically leads EFPs to tune into the unmet needs and callings of others--as an avenue to making a sale, as a way to intuit what would entertain people, as a channel to political gain by demonstrating that you understand people's pain (e.g. Bill Clinton), as a way to chart a course through life based on a calling felt to be unique to them. Sometimes it leads them to sense a higher calling to answer to, a sense that their actions have cosmic meaning by virtue of how they aid or hinder life.
As a Tertiary Function, Fi typically leads ITJs to retreat into solitary actions that have no constructive worldly effect but are aimed at providing a justification for calling themselves good people. Another example is obsession with the purity of one's soul. For example, being a vegetarian while working at Taco Bell--not out of any great love for animals (the person might hardly know anything about what cows are like), but to be able to say, "Well, at least I never ate any animals." Or engaging in pointless acts of honor, like maintaining super-self-control or "doing one's duty" or going down with the ship. Nothing is gained by going down with the ship; it's a hyper-introverted act aimed at providing a rationalization for one's goodness without regard to real-world consequences. Nearly all of these tertiary-Fi acts involve refraining from action viewed as unethical rather than taking positive action that would accomplish something. They're a retreat from the world--or rather, a rationalization for disregarding worldly matters.
As an Inferior Function, Fi typically leads ETJs to acts of self-destructive hedonism, creation of opera-like drama in their lives and the lives of those around them, obsession with "integrity" (like going down with the ship), instant and irresponsible abandonment of anything they don't like (the opposite of going down with the ship), and bizarre solitary acts of atonement for the harms they've done to others. Sometimes inferior-Fi leads ETJs to preach and even practice a sort of hyper-selfishness, e.g. Ayn Rand and the Landmark Forum. "I'm doing fine, so why should I give a damn about you?" (Very different from highly developed Fi, which leads you to see all people as connected and the highest joy of life as the experience of that connection.)
Tertiary and inferior Fi also sometimes lead TJs to view large numbers of people as "troglodytes": soulless or stupid creatures whose rotten situations in life derive only from their own intrinsic rottenness-of-soul. To take a comic example, Lex Luthor's lamentation in Superman, "Why is the world's greatest criminal genius surrounded by nincompoops?"
Perhaps the most typical manifestation of tertiary and inferior Fi is an attitude of psychologizing other people: a sort of pseudo-empathy in which one explains other people's behavior in terms of pitiful needs and psychological flaws that anyone would be ashamed to have. "Notice the defensiveness. He clings desperately to his ideas. Such weakness." (Nearly all psychological theories offer plenty of ammo for psychologizing, including Lenore Thomson's ideas.) Where developed Fi leads you to find something in your own soul in terms of which to truly understand someone else and see things their way, tertiary and inferior Fi typically lead you to find something in your own soul that you despise, in terms of which you can "explain" them and justify putting them down.
Naturally, you can see plenty of dominant-style Fi in ETJs, secondary-style Fi in IFPs, and so on--even inferior-style Fi in IFPs.
Introverted feeling is judgement with an emotional slant that causes the individual to view the object on a Subjective level. It is primarily a silent inaccessible function that is difficult to conceptualize. Therefore, unlike its extraverted counterpart, Extraverted Feeling, it is entirely individualistic, with a leaning toward the mystical. Introverted feeling is generally disconnected with typical external stimuli. Introverted feeling is only concerned with the external to the extent that the object has some relevance to a deep, internal value. Its primary objective is to harmonize ideologies, concepts, relationships etc. with the internal guiding force.
Whatever the individual values the most will dominate the motivations, goals and chief objectives of the individual. For example, if the primary value is God, then all other values will find themselves inexorably subjugated to this primary one. Often, unbalanced introverted feeling will create in the individual dramatic mood swings and decisions based on illogical rationales. However, at its best, introverted feeling provides a navigational quality that creates in the personality tenacity, idealism, honor, relationship wisdom and a unfaltering value system that is seldom compromised.
Introverted feeling is a counterpart to Extroverted thinking, as are all inferior elements to the dominant. Everyone attempts to accomplish the inferior through the dominant. By following first principles and proverbial logic (Te) i.e. literal proverbs, they accomplish being "good"(Fi). Though the elements look different they simply reverse the horse and carriage. An Fi will look at a business tycoon and blame them for the state of the poor. A Te realizes that simply feeling bad for the poor won't accomplish anything, because you can't take emotions to the bank (a common Te proverb) you need to actually DO something. Even if you don't FEEL for them, building a huge corporation and then donating your equity to charity is worth more than a single person volunteering their entire life. For this reason, even though still hated by a generally large amount of people, Bill Gates (textbook ENTJ according to typology forums) is more effective in donating ~$30 billion to build business around the globe for the poor and promoting philanthro-capitalism than an army of Mother Teresa's.
p. 42: "When we use Thinking in an Introverted way, we get a mental image of the logical relationships in an entire system. For example, if we're crocheting an initial into a sweater, we're likely to draw a picture rather than work out the logical relationships analytically."
p. 342: "Introverted Thinking is a right-brain form of judgement that makes us aware of a situation's many variables. When we use it, we recognize our power, as individuals, to exploit some variables at the expense of others."
p. 343: "This kind of awareness is not only impersonal: it's graphic, immediate, and wholistic. It prompts no predetermined categories of good and bad. Variables that have unusual or perverse potential are accorded the same consideration as variables that assure a socially appropriate outcome."
p. 287: "As a right-brain function, Introverted Thinking is not conceptual and linear [contra Extraverted Thinking]. It's body-based and wholistic. It operates by way of visual, tactile, or spatial cues, inclining us to reason experientially rather than analytically."
p. 288: "The right brain, with its all-at-once approach to life, doesn't require exact predictability before it takes action. Its decisions are based on probabilities, and it leaves room for the random and the unexpected."
p. 290: "These perceptions aren't peripheral. They're crucial to our intended effect. And they aren't reflexive. They're unspecified. As we're selecting and responding to them, we're not defining them and telling ourselves about them in a left-brain way."
As a Dominant Function:
p. 292: "Introverted Thinkers understand reality only in terms of their ability to 'converse' with it, to take part in its 'becoming'."
As a Secondary Function:
p. 210: "Unlike Extraverted Thinking, which is conceptual and generalized, Introverted Thinking motivates strategic action in a specific situation. When ENTPs use it, they don't start with abstract rules and apply them, step by step, to bring about a goal. They recognize themselves as part of an ongoing process, and they keep adjusting their behaviors in terms of the whole picture."
p. 210: "When combined with Extraverted Intuition, Introverted Thinking can be highly cerebral, and it usually involves a complex imaginal pattern of relationships. For example, an ENTP might enjoy playing chess, because such types can usually anticipate the results of many potential combinations of moves. An ENTP salesperson might pull together a host of small details and recognize in one mental image how a customer is likely to respond to a product. An ENTP cultural historian might see how a seemingly insignificant detail in a popular movie actually defines the underlying ethos of a culture."
Proposed definition #1: Orientation to underlying cause
Introverted Thinking (Ti) is the attitude that beneath the complexity of what is manifest (apparent, observed, experienced) there is an underlying unity: a source or essence that emerges and takes form in different ways depending on circumstances. What is manifest is seen as a manifestation of something. From a Ti standpoint, the way to respond to things is in a way that is faithful to that underlying cause or source and helps it emerge fully and complete, without interference from any notion of self. The way to understand that underlying essence is to learn to simultaneously see many relationships within what is manifest, to see every element in relation to every other element, the relationships being the "signature" of the underlying unity. This can only be experienced directly, not second-hand.
Proposed definition #2: Orientation by "the groove"
Introverted thinking is a form of mental representation in which every input, every variable, every aspect of things is considered simultaneously and holistically to perceive causal, mathematical, and aesthetic order. What you know by Ti, you know with your hands, your eyes, your muscles, even a tingling sensation "downstairs" because you sense that everything fits. Every variable is fair game to vary, every combination of variables worthy of consideration; the only ultimate arbiter is how well the parts form a unified whole rather than a jumble.
Orienting by Ti, you track causal harmony: you are part of the system, you do your part to fit in with that overall way that things make sense and harmonize. You get into "the flow" or "the zone". You need a gestalt sense of order to know what to do--a sense that you feel in your body, in your mind, in everything at once. "I get it." Without that, you are lost.
For example: You hear a Brahms piece that you've never heard before, and you're sure it's Brahms. How can you tell? You can't name a criterion, like the pitch of the notes, the number of notes, or some simply measurable criterion like that (see extraverted thinking). You know "all at once" because of the way in which the notes all relate to each other. You sense the overall pattern as an indivisible gestalt way in which the music makes sense.
For example: You are composing a piece of music, and you sense that something "doesn't fit". A dominant seventh chord here just doesn't fit the style of the piece. You take it out and replace it with a peculiar series of ambiguous chords, bridging two sections of the piece in a way that leads to but doesn't give away what is to come. Ahh, now that's right. That's what the piece really wanted. It's not what "you" wanted, it's what the emerging causal harmony of the music wanted. "Your" only job is to create faithfully to that emerging harmony--to follow the groove.
What is that groove? What distinguishes the harmonious whole from the jumble, or the almost-whole? This cannot be said, it can only be pointed to. It cannot be defined in advance of knowing it. It cannot be defined separately from the physical material that it potentially exists within. You can "say" it only by directing someone's attention to the parts and how they fit together. You acquire terms of discourse--a vocabulary of things to say--only through "conversation" with the material itself: interacting with it, letting it take shape. Once you've found the groove, you can explore it endlessly--the infinity of ways in which the underlying Idea of the Whole necessitates the arrangement of the parts, the infinity of different ways that the same Idea can be realized in different parts and different situations, and what that Idea is.
In contrast to the "linear thinking" necessitated by extraverted thinking's representation in terms of verbally defined criteria, Ti takes in everything at once and converts it into a "way in which the whole fits together." You can't stop and explain each step as you go; there are no steps, only flow, only finding the groove and going with it.
In contrast to other attitudes, especially left-brain and Feeling attitudes, Ti does not lead you to experience a sense of self. There is no "you" who is separate from the process in which the material takes on the form that is natural to it. Whether people find the way the parts want to arrange themselves into a harmonious whole offensive, whether you find it pleasant or painful, whether you personally like it or not--you see these as distractions. Your job is to get yourself in harmony with it. The Idea of the whole must become real, and it must be necessitated by the nature of the parts. What "you" create must already be there, as form latent within the material, already yearning to exist. You bring no notion of self to your work except perhaps that of midwife to Nature.
This last paragraph is a fairly high-fidelity description of using Ti as a dominant function, at least to this INTP reader. Midwife to Nature was especially apt. Writer, would you describe Introverted Feeling similarly to this?
Introverted Thinking leads you to relate whatever you are doing to some larger principles that you have identified. Hence, Ti is like having some kind of book in your head, which describes the inner workings of things. When interacting with reality, you are constantly writing and re-writing your book. To deal with anything, you have to be able to understand in terms of the observations in your book. Whenever you are dealing with any new system, you start writing a new chapter on it in order to attain complete understanding of it.
This approach may seem very cumbersome from an extraverted standpoint. You don't really need to understand how a bicycle works in order to ride one. You don't have to actually understand a subject in school if you simply cram and memorize. You don't have to understand computers to check your email. Yet Ti leads you to desire complete understanding of whatever you are doing, instead of looking up the correct procedure, or asking your friends for help, or kicking it when it's not working. With Ti, you don't simply try to understand a system well enough to manipulate it. You try to become such an expert on how it works that you could write a book about it if you had to, even if your expertise is unusable or useless to everybody (sometimes even to yourself).
Hence, Ti is a kind of high-bandwidth understanding, because it leads you to try to understand the entire causal, aesthetic, or logical mechanism of any system of interest. This kind of understanding takes much more time and effort to develop, but it is more flexible once attained, because it allows you to deal with aspects of reality that cannot be described through social norms or sets of discrete procedures.
True knowledge comes through the fingers
In a sense that everyone understands, true knowledge comes through the fingers, not through the ears or the eyes.
To illustrate what we mean by that, consider what happens when someone tells you how to do something moderately complicated with a certain computer program (say, MS-Word or Excel). They tell you how to work it, but that day you don't operate it yourself (maybe they were telling you over the phone when you weren't at a computer). When you finally try it yourself the next day, you can't get anything to work. All sorts of crucial details are missing from your memory. Or perhaps you remember everything perfectly, but they forgot to tell you something crucial. Now consider what happens when someone sits down in front of you and demonstrates how to operate the program. They run through the whole thing and explain as they go. The next day, you try it yourself for the first time. And barely anything works, again because crucial details are missing. And now consider what happens when they show you how to work the program by having you sit down at the computer. You type as they tell you what to do and point things out on the screen. Every time they forget a detail, you catch it immediately, and they supply the missing info. Every time you run into something you don't understand, you just ask them right away, or they tell you without your asking because it's obvious what you need to be shown. When you work the program again the next day, you're not a pro yet, but you can actually do stuff.
What's relevant here is not the sense of touch, but whether you are actively engaged with the tool. When you interact with the tool using your very own body, the reality of the tool becomes known to you in a different way than when someone tells you or shows you how to use the tool. You understand in a right-brain way rather than a left-brain way. The reality of the tool is guaranteed to have shown itself, because you had a concrete experience with the tool, not just a verbal or symbolic representation of it. The causal relationships of the tool get burned into your brain in a way that transcends words. You could try to translate your understanding into a linear stream of words, but you would indeed be translating: the actual knowledge that you have is not linear and not words. It's an "all at once" thing, and it seems that the knowledge resides in your hand. Or in other words, you have come to understand the tool in the Ti way.
Another example: Let's say you want to make a tower out of random irregular objects. For example a book, an eraser, a pencil and a cup.
A Te approach would be to think of the tower as a list. And try to reduce variables to a minimun. For instance, you would only use the book closed to keep variables down. If you use every object in only one way you only have 24 combinations in total. That way you can be sure that you make the best choice. Then you can decide to put the book with the biggest base first. So you put the book first, then the cup, the eraser and the pencil. Done.
Ti, on the other hand, would encourage you to pick two objects and try to add more. Feel them, consider all the possibilities. Once you are very familiar with each object you can picture everything in your mind. You can see how they fit and how they interact with each other in time. But you don't longer think in 'objects', you think in gestals. You see everything as a fluid. For instance, you consider now the table and your breath as part of the system. You are familiar with the everything in a way that you can consider things like keeping the book open, or taking pages out of it and add them elsewhere to keep balance. After playing with everything a little you see how it would work best and you just do it.
Perhaps the notion of a goal explains why Lenore calls Ti Subjective:
p. 288: "We have to recognize, in the midst of action, which variables are best taken into account and which are irrelevant to our goal."
p. 290: "When we're Thinking in an Introverted way, we're coordinating our behaviors with the variables in a situation related to our intended effect. This is a matter of logic, limitation, and goal orientation--all the things we associate with a rational approach to life."
p. 287: "Subjective logic--a way to coordinate our behaviors logically with immediate sensory data: the position of the ball, the skill of the batter coming up, the distance we can probably slide, the actions of the other players."
p. 287: "When we use (Introverted Thinking), we're not structuring experience before it actually exists. We're engaged by conditions here and now, and we're adjusting to them in light of their impact on our goal."
Perhaps in these passages Lenore is describing Ti as something other than a Dominant Function. My own experience is not one of seeking goals. Seeking a goal usually seems to me unpleasant, going against the grain of things. My own experience, and I think what most ITPs report, is more an attempt to coax something out, to give form to some idea that I won't fully understand until it's been given form. A goal known in advance of this process would interfere with the process; it would corrupt the idea so that what emerges wouldn't be pure.
EXTPs do not seek goals either, not in the TJ sense. I recognise opportunities. My goal then is to exploit them, but I often meander because of what I discover along the way (or because of sheer laziness). I have an idea of what I want, but that idea is very flexible, and I go where emerging discoveries and circumstances take me.
Semiotically Disoriented in dominant-Ti style
p. 293: "Unless the man had direct involvement in the unfolding process and could exert some effect on its logical outcome, he didn't know how to relate to it."
As a Language of Ego Orientation
As a Dominant Function, Ti leads ITPs to follow a quest of figuring out the workings of the world firsthand. ITPs want the world to make sense. If they lack the power to command nature to follow its own harmony and rules, at least they can make sure that their actions make sense (at least to themselves). Whether their actions please anyone else, or follow social custom is simply irrelevant. Social rules usually appear arbitrary and meaningless to ITPs, because the goal of those rules is to meet human needs, not to follow the principles of how the ITP thinks the world should work. For ITPs, the world is a set of systems that are governed by certain underlying rules and principles (physics is an example of such a system). ITPs seek to grasp an inductive understanding of the system as a whole though firsthand observation. For an ITP, humans (even oneself) are simply represented as another set of variables in the system.
As a Secondary Function, Ti helps ETPs find some order and continuity in their quests for sensory or mental stimulus. Ti also helps them figure out how to get whatever Se or Ne impels them to want. need more...
As a Tertiary Function, Ti leads IFJs to.... ?
...."advise others on the wisdom of their choices"(edited from Lenorep.231 on INFJs.) vis a vis Ti as a primary attribute. Also, tertiary Ti leads to an important emphasis on personal experience. Yet unlike dominant and secondary Ti, tertiary Ti can often lead sweeping generalizations induced from sparse evidence. Tertiary Ti leads can lead to a narcissistic focus on your own experience, or the experience of people who stand with you. If someone disagrees with you, then they must be naive. This kind of narrow view is often used defensively. Especially when combined with dominant Ni, tertiary Ti can be used to defend bizarre theories that are completely unfalsifiable.
As an Inferior Function, Ti typically causes EFJs to aspire to behavioural standards that aren't defined by typical social norms. EFJs with low confidence may reject or even demonize Ti, preferring to instead go along with the observable expectations that others place on them. Because it is so adverse to the standpoint of Extraverted Feeling, Ti may sometimes seem too cold or emotionally detached, and thus EFJs might avoid it out of fear of losing their sense of self in the community. EFJs who can accept an introverted stance will realize that things don't have to be determined by what can be observed, and that they don't always have to agree with others just to get along; they can introduce their own ideas, think with their own minds, and determine how the world works through their own subjective perceptions.
As an Ethical Perspective
As an ethical perspective, Ti leads you to do the best for the system regardless of your relationship to it.
Take, for example, this anecdote from an interview with Vince Vaughan, who played "Trent" in the movie Swingers.
Vaughn: The teachers thought I was crazy. I was sort of a wild kid. But I always felt like, if a kid is getting up to give a speech and he's starting to cry, he's gotta go to school with us for the rest of the year, and your f***in' with him, making him stand up there. I'd tell the kid to sit down. And they'd say, "You can't tell him that, it's my class." And I'd say, “Give him a break on the speech, he just f***in’ cried in front of you." What do you want? He's gotta go and hang out, he's gotta go to school for the rest of the day. You want him to sit up there the whole period and cry? And then when high school comes around he's the guy who cried forever? So I would get in a lot of trouble for that kind of stuff. I was always confident enough to say, "This is f***in' crazy."
Vaughan is probably motivated by introverted feeling also, but his justification of his actions clearly demonstrates introverted thinking. It makes no sense that someone should have to give a speech when they are crying. Vaughan doesn't only employ pathos, but he appeals to the long-term consequences that the teacher's arbitrary use of power would cause on the kid, such being made fun of. In doing so, he violates the rules of extraverted judgement that students should not question teachers. From his standpoint, there is nothing wrong with doing so, because he is appealing to principles that are much larger than arbitrary classroom rules and transcend the social roles of "student" and "teacher."
...but doesn't 'transcend' the roles of student and other students, since his reasoning is that he thinks people will make fun of the kid? Is it innately good or bad to cry while giving a speech? Does the kid want to give said speech or not? Vaughn doesn't seem to care.
On another note, another great example of dominant Ti would be the character (an ISTP) Dustin Hoffman plays in "Tootsie" in fact that whole film is a Ti-Fe theme movie basically. And the clearest dominant Ti moment was probably the first arguement that Dustin Hoffman's character has with his (extraverted thinking?) agent.
A similar simple example of the Ti approach to ethics would be a student correcting a teacher when they get something wrong. Of course, from the standpoint of Je, correcting a teacher is not acceptable because it subverts the authority of the teacher. Yet from the standpoint of Ti, the teacher only holds authority to the extent that they are true to the material. Hence, by correcting a teacher, you aren't subverting their authority, but rather showing that their authority is an illusion in the first place. Your loyalty is to the material being taught, not to the teacher.
Another example: Suppose a new theory in biology says that rape behavior in humans is an evolutionary product which ensured that the losing males can pass on their genes. If you're not oriented to Ti and you have feminist leanings, you would probably object angrily to this theory because it views rape as natural. If you're oriented to Ti, you would judge this theory only according to the objective evidence. Whether the theory attacks your position is irrelevant; if the evidence is good then you have to accept it.
The Connection between Critical Thinking and Introverted Thinking
According to some of the definitions of Introverted Thinking, it seems as though this function can be described as taking a holistic, right-brained approach to observing and understanding the variables, causality, and inner-mechanics of an idea or situation. This information is generally too specific to subjective experience and too ethereal for most Extraverted Thinking to understand.
The aspects of this general definition which seems to illuminate a connection between this function and most notions of Critical Thinking would be in how Critical Thinking is, much like Introverted Thinking contrasted to Extraverted Thinking, involved in understanding the logical consistency inherent in the mechanics of an argument, idea or any system of principles which rely on self-consistency in order to function reliably. Critical thinking, unlike problem-solving, is less directed towards the application of ideas to a conflicting situation, and more concerned with the overall logical cogency of an intellectual construct, regardless of the construct's intentions towards the external. Furthermore, in order to use critical thinking effectively, one needs to have an understanding of a "situation's many variables", in order to judge that the "larger picture" is being sustained by the smaller components acting in synchronicity with one another, regardless of one's ability to interpret the rules from more linear processes.
Usually when I've come across the phrase "Critical Thinking" in practice, I've understood it to mostly refer to analysis of a claim or argument with the aim of (a) treating it as an idea to evaluate at second hand, and (b) rejecting it as being insufficiently justified (even though Critical Thinking is seldom, if ever, explicitly defined this way). By "second hand", I mean that the Critical Thinker treats the claim completely as something other people said rather than from first-hand experience, and consequently treating the claim without much regard for context, especially theories that would make it more or less plausible.
For example, when evaluating a claim of alternative medicine, one would ignore all theories within which the claim is meant to be understood, and view it simply as a recipe for cure: "perform this procedure, get these measurable results" rather than "attune yourself to this aspect of life, and from that attunement, perform this procedure, and you'll shift the person's body toward more harmony" (i.e. you have to be in tune with the theory to even perform the procedure). The basis for rejection is usually something to do with bias on the part of the person supplying the facts. "This person is a practitioner of the procedure, who charges a lot for it, so of course they're going to make a lot of factual claims that seem to support it."
Of course, the term "Critical Thinking" is vague, so different people probably use it to stand for many different things. The way I've just described it, though, suggests a left-brain state of mind. The emphasis on bias and the theory-less, context-less way of interpreting a claim suggest Introverted Intuition, and the emphasis on repeatable procedures and measurable results suggests Extraverted Thinking. Here's a (wow, testable!) hypothesis: maybe most people who get heavily invested in Critical Thinking are NTJs.
While I understand your mention of repeatable procedures and measurable results, and how that refers to the concept-based extraverted thinking approach, you seem to refer to an observation one makes ABOUT those procedures and measurable approaches. The Critical Thinking itself deviates from left-brain processes ( to some degree, anyway) in how there are usually very vague rules and concepts one applies when looking for "unjustified argument" as you put it, and correctly so, I believe. Seeing as though Extraverted Thinking, as defined by Lenore Thomson mainly anyway, seems to emphasize the extraction and application of predefined rules and concepts, and seeing as though Critical Thinking has to do with reacting to the immediate, structural aspects of an argument, I would argue that it seems Critical thinking is at least somehow aligned with Introverted Thinking. So far as Introverted Thinking doesn't rely on predefined rules to apply in order to make judgements about immediate, structural aspects of a situation. However, this comparison relies on Critical Thinking as being seen as a sort of "fuzzy logic" system, that is best dealt with by someone using a subjective criteria for deciding "the best questions to ask". Subjective, rational reaction seems to be very much Introverted Thinking. However, the closer the subject of critical thinking gets to FORMAL reasoning, and the land of clearly defined, concrete rules, the closer I believe this type of thinking gets to Extraverted Thinking. Also, your mention of "contextless" information is interesting. Indeed, Introverted Thinking is very much aligned with the ideas of looking at form and context. I think this may simply indicate something about the improvisational aspects of Introverted Thinking, and how the way one deals with a subject can change based on it's relation to environmental variables. In that sense, one could potentially state that there is form and context that is created WITHIN the set that is being looked at critically, which constantly evolves one's reaction to the entire situation, or subsets of it. I'd like to try and flesh this out more, but I'd like have to refresh my memory on some more specific examples of Critical Thinking.
Perhaps the less popular "Design Thinking" is more aligned with Introverted Thinking?
Far forethought based on inductive reasoning of current social/personal/etc situation. Less a focus on human dynamics than the tools, scientific methods, etc... that humans will use in the future.
Opposing View: Far forethought and distant extrapolation from the present suggest extraverted intuition rather than the "body-based reasoning" and "conversation with the material" that Lenore speaks of. Lenore's theory would be that NTP types often engage in this kind of extrapolation, since it brings to bear the "holistic, imaginal" orientation of Ti as well as the orientation toward context and the currently unknown that characterizes Ne. STP types, however, understand the world no less in holistic, Ti terms, but their emphasis is more on the present, especially on matters that bring immediate payoffs, are immediately verifiable, and connect with others by being immediately apparent and emotionally impactful (extraverted sensation).
p. 169: "When we use Introverted Sensation, we don't adjust to our surface perceptions. We package them and take them with us--in the form of facts, numbers, signs, and memories."
p. 170: "When we use Introverted Sensation, we stabilize our immediate sense impressions by integratng them with the ones we remember and care about. We "find ourselves" in whatever is happening, because our perceptions are anchored by what we already know."
p. 170: "Introverted Sensation gives us the will to accumulate information--names, dates, numbers, statistics, references, guidelines, and so forth--related to the things that matter to us. ... Such facts are highly selective. ... They're part of our self-experience. They define the specific nature of our passions and interests. They become our basis for taking in new data."
p. 171: "From an Introverted Sensate viewpoint, immediate conditions have no stable meaning. They're just an influx of data impinging on the senses. And our response to these impressions depends on our mood, our state of mind, our desires, our feelings. It's our commitments and priorities, the facts we hold inalienable, that give our circumstances enduring significance."
As a dominant attitude:
p. 174: "ISJs...don't believe for a minute that the universe is inherently rational. For these types, the outer world is a jumble of ever-changing perceptual experiences, dictating ever-changing behavioral responses. What ISJs maintain, and maintain unconditionally, is their priorities, which stabilize perceptual reality and give it consistent meaning."
Proposed definition #1: You need a map
Introverted Sensation (Si) is the attitude that what is manifest (apparent, observable) is overwhelming in its complexity and patternlessness, and that the only way we can find our way through it is with a map. To make our way through the unpredictable, we need to anchor ourselves in some way, to know what, in that vast chaos, to focus on. (See Orienting.)
Proposed definition #2: The unknown is dangerous, so anchor yourself in the known
Introverted Sensation (Si) is the attitude that the unknown mostly contains threats that will undermine life and order. Given the precariousness of life--so many things have to be jjjjust right--the odds of something unknown being beneficial are very low. Consequently life demands that we carefully filter the unknown before letting it into a position of influence, that we construct barriers against the unknown, etc.
For example, in engineering, one is primarily concerned with designing systems that won't fail even though most of the exact causes of failure are not knowable in any precise way. Engineers learn many different ways in which things fail, and learn to design so that the things work, or at least major disasters don't occur, even when things go wrong--as they inevitably will. A bridge is typically designed to hold a load 6 times bigger than the biggest anticipated load, simply so it will resist unexpected troubles--shearing winds, or cracks in unexpected places, or who-knows-what that might come along and can never be fully anticipated. The full breadth of relevant dangerous factors is inherently unknowable.
An everyday example is to allow some extra time when leaving on a trip. The reason for leaving some extra time is because the world is filled with unpredictable things that could make you late. Very few unpredictable things could come along and make you early if you left late.
From the Si standpoint, the more you're going to depend on something, the more carefully you'd better inspect it, because you never know what unknown things might go awry, you only know that most of them are bad. Compare Extraverted Intuition, which leads to the exact opposite attitude toward the unknown.
Si in the Inferior Position
Si provides information about the fixed and stable, the facts / constancies of the universe. At it's best, it provides such information as a firm basis for proceeding forward into the world. Where Si occupies the inferior position (as it does for those with dominant Ne), it is strongly tainted with unconscious contents. In these cases, Si may manifest as negative/malevolent images of eternal tendencies in people and situations that will not change. Such tendencies may well be present, but inferior Si sees the part as the whole. Inferior Si is also linked to feelings of nostalgia, overwhelmingly vivid internal imagery and a selective recall of facts and memories that are highly emotionally charged.
p. 222: "...draws our attention to immediate sensory phenomena. ... It prompts an interest in perception itself--the process of recognizing and interpreting what we take in."
p. 223: "Introverted Intuition would prompt us to liberate our sense impressions from their larger context, thereby creating new options for perception itself."
p. 229: "Introverted Intuitions are not really ideas. They're like trains at the edge of articulated knowledge. You can't claim them or advocate them. You put on a hat, grab hold of a boxcar door, and see where they go."
p. 153: "Introverted Intuition suggests that absolute meaning is an illusion--the result of having incomplete information."
As a dominant function:
p. 225: "For INJs, patterns aren't 'out there' in the world, waiting to be discovered. They're part of us--the way we make sense of the riot of energy and information impinging on our systems. A disease syndrome is a useful construct, but that's all it is--an aggregate of observations attached to a label, telling us what to see and how to deal with it."
p. 225: "Where Extraverted Intuitives see many behavioral options, INJs acknowledge many conceptual standpoints. They experience no need to declare one inherently better than another. Indeed, these types have the disconcerting habit of solving a problem by shifting their perspective and defining the situation some other way."
p. 234: "For INJs, truth isn't about logic. Truth is a frame of reference, a way of organizing information, which serves one set of needs or another."
Proposed definition #1: Seeing past interpretations
Introverted Intuition (Ni) is the attitude that whatever is manifest (apparent, observable, described) is only the tiniest fraction of the total reality and all of its potential, and it is manifest only because it serves a purpose--a purpose that it achieves by exploiting a certain way of interpreting or navigating by signs. Ni is attunement to what lurks in the shadow of that manifestation. What is that assumed way of interpreting or navigating? What could we see if we were free of it?
Proposed definition #2: What cannot be said?
Introverted Intuition is the attitude of attunement to what cannot be said, by virtue of the structuring that "saying" requires.
For example: At work, we don't dare say our true feelings (or we can only say them if they're positive), because we know that sharing them would bring dire economic consequences. There is no other way, because the structure of the workplace (people working cooperatively to get stuff done that they get paid for) requires that people refrain from saying anything that might put their loyalty in doubt. If an accountant, in his office, says that he loves accounting, you view this as meaningless because, well, what else is he going to say? In fact, he might very well hate accounting. You have to be highly attuned to what's really going on in order to read the true meaning of what people say--which is often the opposite of the literal meaning of their words. (See Eric Berne.)
For example: Why do we put North at the top of most maps? Because the mapmaking tradition began among northern-dwelling people, who considered people who lived further south to be less important. Putting North at the top of the map frames geography in a way that, perhaps unwittingly, conveys the belief that Europeans are better or more important than Africans. This can't be said by anything within the map; the very way that the map is structured and related to reality says it.
For example: What does music mean? You can't say it. It's ineffable. (See Introverted Intuition and the Meaning of Music.) What is God? What is spirit? Any attempt to capture these things in words only cheapens them.
Introverted Intuition is an attitude of "seeing through" the distortion that any interpretation creates, to see the underlying reality. It's a left-brain attitude in that it's sign- and symbol-oriented: attempting to grasp the system of interpretation that makes any particular way of representing reality work, as a prerequisite for using that system. From an Ni ego-state, you want to understand the assumptions of a system of representation before you use the system, so that you can use it with true freedom--including the freedom to use the built-in interpretations in ways that violate those assumptions.
Proposed definition #3: Orientation by manner of orientation
Introverted Intuition is a way of orienting yourself to your environment by consciously attending to the expected interpretations of things. In this manner of orientation, you hold agnostic about whether those interpretations are true. You view them as expected interpretations, nothing more. Your world is a world of expected interpretations defined by others; you navigate through those interpretations and use them without regard to whether they're true, always keeping the interpretations separate in your mind from the actual objects.
For example, whereas from an Extraverted Sensation perspective, you might feel very impressed upon meeting a man wearing a fancy Italian suit (signs call forth a natural response and need no interpretation); from an Ni perspective, you would consciously say to yourself that he's wearing an Italian suit and this is supposed to make you think he's wealthy or upper-class or really has his act together or something like that, and therefore is supposed to make you feel impressed (signs and what they mean are connected only arbitrarily). Whether he really does have his act together is a matter upon which you reserve judgement. Consequently you don't feel impressed. You merely note the expected interpretation as no less a part of your environment than the suit itself.
Without knowing the expected interpretations of a system--the way signs are interpreted within that system, and the expected responses that make the system work--you can't get oriented via Ni. The expected interpretations must be stabilized and clear to you. Then you can comment from an outside perspective, or see ways to respond to the signs that violate the system's assumptions, or simply know how to operate the thing. First you have to get "outside" it, then you can deal with it. The process of "getting outside it" can take a long time. As you identify expected interpretations, you find yourself uncovering ever more and more hidden assumptions, and you feel the need to distance yourself from those, too, before you get your hands dirty or draw a conclusion.
Proposed definition #4: Just knowing
Ni is a way of knowing (or at least thinking you know) that bypasses reason, facts, evidence, the expected or intended interpretations of signs, or anything you can point to, simply giving you an awareness or belief that seems indisputably true to you, period. You can't tell by introspection how you got this idea. There is no thought process. There is only tuning into this form of awareness and just knowing.
For example: You've been interviewing candidates for a job. One of them has all the credentials, and scored the highest on all the company-defined criteria for the job. Another of them was pretty good but not in the same league. You have a sense about the high-scorer, though, that he's bad news, and that the "so-so" one will work out well. You can't point to anything that's let you to this conclusion, you can't justify your belief, but you have this sense just the same. To trust this unjustifiable idea is to orient by introverted intuition.
For example: The song Bad Moon Rising illustrates an Ni sense of danger. The belief is strong yet vague.
For example: A co-worker calls you on the phone and says that he has a cold and won't be able to come in that day. You "see through" what he said: you "just know" it's a lie: really he has an interview at another company. You can't point to a single thing that leads you to such a specific conclusion, and yet there it is.
For example: You are trying to solve some problem--an interpersonal problem, a mathematical problem, it could be anything. Everything seems to be snared and confused. You ask yourself, "What's really going on here?" And an answer comes.
For example: Jack Groverland (ENTJ?) preaches to "be still" and just "tune in to what that greater intelligence that is the universe wants you to do."
With extraverted intuition, you bypass the socially defined interpretations of signs by broadening the context, and thus relate to other people's ideas in a definite way: you propose something "outside the box"--the box that other people are thinking in. You expect that other people's minds will be blown, probably pleasantly, inducing a feeling of "wow!" With introverted intuition, you also bypass the expected interpretations of signs, but your belief is self-contained, and you have no sense that anyone else would find it interesting or compelling. It came to you, for no reason that you can fathom, and you can't show anyone else any reason why they should take it seriously. The belief might be very specific, too vague for words, or even too specific for words.
Orienting by Ni, you are likely to view belief as something that simply arises within each person when they tune into it. If two people have different beliefs, there is no resolving it. I have my belief and you have yours. End of story. New ideas or evidence seem beside the point. If you think there's a bad moon rising, how could mere "evidence" persuade you otherwise?
Lenore's writing doesn't emphasize this aspect of Ni. It's hidden in little notes here and there, like the way tertiary Ni can give ISFPs the will to hold to a belief even when others don't agree with it, or the way ENTJs "see around the corners" of an organization's official rules. For the most part, Lenore emphasizes neutrality between conflicting ideas. The present hypothesis proposes that this emphasis is a possible, maybe illustrative, but not necessary consequence of the basic idea: "just knowing" in a way that bypasses built-in or conventional interpretations of signs: seeing past the signs, and just "getting" the truth (or at least thinking you have).
Proposed definition #5: Orienting by explicit representation of the mapping between signs and meaning
Ni is orienting yourself by an explicit representation of the mapping between signs and meaning. For example, "This dark-stained mahogany table is supposed to make me think the owner is upper-class" or "We put north at the top of maps (rather than, say, the bottom or the right), because northern countries traditionally had more power, and we perceive 'higher on the page' to mean 'more important'." From an Ni standpoint, one doesn't feel oriented until one can articulate explicitly what are the signs one is supposed to look at and what are the meanings one is supposed to take from them.
Because the mental space that Ni "lives in" is the world of all possible ways of mapping signs to meanings, Ni leads you to consider not only the accepted ways of mapping signs to meanings, but others. For example, why couldn't dark-stained mahogany mean "lower class"? For example, what if instead of viewing failing a test as an occasion for shame, we viewed it as an occasion for celebration? How might our lives change if we merely rewired the interpretations we are giving to things?
An Ni perspective leads one to seek out the leverage points of any system. What is triggering what? What "good faith" assumptions are being made, and what would happen if those assumptions were violated? For example, ants "interpret" certain pheromones as "meaning" that something is a larva that needs to be fed. Some parasites have evolved the ability to give off these same pheromones, triggering the ants to feed them. The parasites have found a way to game the system by exploiting its assumptions. The parasites don't orient by Ni, of course, but this kind of analysis takes an Ni approach. One can apply this same kind of analysis to almost anything: looking at a system not through the lens of "how it's supposed to work", but from outside the system, merely characterizing how it converts a sign into an interpretation, triggering a cascade of behaviors.
Lenore characterizes Ni as "about the box" as opposed to Extraverted Intuition's "outside the box". That is, an Ni orientation leads you to describe the assumptions and rules that a given system of thought or perception is following.
Ni on this perspective is a decidedly left-brain orientation. It doesn't lead you to flow with anything or even participate. It leads you to stop, get "into your head", and even act in ways that go against the spirit of a system, or to think about ways that going with the spirit of rules can lead to unexpected and undesired results.
In contrast to most other definitions, this one has nothing mysterious or particularly "intuitive" about it. Ni on this definition is simply a matter of looking at things from a "meta" perspective, explicitly characterizing how signs are getting mapped to meanings. This simple definition, combined with the idea of ego-orientation, explains the many standard observations about NJs and SPs: the "commenting from an outside perspective" usually seen in INJs, the coldly "objective, impersonal" style usually seen in INTJs, the interest in pointing out that social myths exist to support power structures usually seen in INFJs, the interest in gaming a system or throwing a monkey wrench into it usually seen in SPs, the seeking of the social "cat-bird seat" usually seen in ENJs, the endless levels of meta-discussion found in INJ-filled academia, etc.
Proposed definition #6: Transformation in general
Ni is a function that serves the process of "transformation". Transformation is to be considered on many levels (logical, ethical, personal etc.) In many instances, situations are hard to escape or avoid and Ni allows a person to focus on a specific version of themselves so as to minimise a problem or enhance understanding of it.
Example #1: Those with a habit of not completing their studies, fall into a mindset where they feel justified in not undertaking the workload and are perhaps concerned with pleasing immediate sensations (partying, lounging around etc.) or have personal problems to deal with.
Once the person has realised the consequences of their laziness, an underlying mindset is discovered as the cause. Whilst every function has a unqiue manner in the solution of a problem, Ni engages the individual with their unconscious thoughts and mindset to focus on a particular trait. "How can I avoid this scenario from happening again?" "What talents of mine can I capitalise on to escape this problem?"
Such problems are derived from habit/behaviour rather than by natural alignments and they can be solved if the individual chooses to focus on another "version" of themselves, which always existed but never was accessed. Further supporting the notion that Ni is a search for new angles or perspectives, requiring a solid insight to gauge action.
The common experiences of individuals having to come to their own realisations to truly grasp a problem or change their attitude, has its foundations in the Introverted Intuition function. External data or resources are not enough to create a solution, it requires a transformed way of thinking from the person's past behaviour.
Example #2: When a person has a comprehensive goal for the future, its success depends upon the many contingencies considered (problems or opportunities that could come about) and whether it is of a well-defined nature such as following a career path, raising a family, developing a theory etc. whilst knowing how to get from Point A to Point B with realistic expectations.
The process of Ni reassures the person such intentions are possible, not just on the certainty that future change will unfold in a certain way but because the plan/strategy is transformative of the person's present situation. It is like a framework, as time goes on the final goal will ensure events or details come into play whilst omitting all the unnecessary dilemma that could sidetrack or distract many people from the original plan.
Against this definition
This definition is completely clear and precise. And therefore it runs against the Jungian spirit in Lenore's thought. Whatever introverted intuition is, it can never be captured by a clear definition. Rather, Ni (and all the other function attitudes) is a kind of force within the mind, revealed only in its effects, and always capable of revealing more when it's pushed into new circumstances. Its true essence can never be known—except, perhaps, intuitively, inarticulately.
The reason they are not parallel is the same reason that the sea is not parallel. It doesn't mean anything. You can slice the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash any way you like and you will generally come up with something that someone will call home." Taken from Mostly Harmless. I think that explains how Ni does what it does, and it explains it in a Ni way.
As a language of Ego Orientation
As a Dominant Function, Ni leads INJs to anchor themselves primarily in discovery of and attunement to that "what else"--to seek communion with it for its own sake. INJs are typically concerned with finding an independent and all-encompassing perspective on whatever interests them, so they can see it without bias, without being fooled or led along by ways in which other interests have set things up, and without a merely partial understanding.
As a Secondary Function, Ni typically leads ENJs to be aware of alternative ways of negotiating the social world, that exploit the assumptions that people make in order for there to be a social world. One might use this awareness to be on guard against cheaters, to prevail by setting knots and traps for others to fall into, to commit to a vision that might currently seem impossible, or a thousand other ways to serve or create an Extraverted goal.
As a Tertiary Function, Ni typically leads ISPs to suspect others of hypocrisy and cheating and putting on appearances aimed at exploiting people's credulity--especially hypocrisy inherent in social institutions. Sometimes ISPs draw upon Ni to find ways to throw a monkey wrench into social systems that call them into some kind of obligation: to respond in ways that don't make sense within the system's explicitly stated ways of interpreting behavior as cooperative or hostile (but are indeed hostile).
As an Inferior Function, Ni typically leads ESPs to either self-doubt or claim to a mystic vision--to see themselves as an oracle of transcendent truth, bypassing the need for finding things out through observation, reasoning, and putting ideas to a test.
Naturally, you can see plenty of dominant-style Ni in ENJs, secondary-style Ni in INJs, and so on--even inferior-style Ni in INJs.
What do ant pheromones mean?
The following might illustrate Introverted Intuition as a Semiotic Attitude.
There are certain organisms that live as parasites on ant colonies. They live nearly motionless most of their lives, inside an ant colony. Ants bring them food. Ants just keep on bringing them more and more food, which the parasites eat and eat and eat.
Why do the ants do that? Because the parasite emits the same pheromones that ant larvae emit to signal that they need to be fed. It doesn't matter that the parasite grows to 20 times the size of an ant larva and never seems to take a break from eating. The ants receive the pheromone that means "I'm a larva and I'm hungry" and they obey.
What, then, do those pheromones really mean? From the standpoint of Introverted Intuition, the pheromones do not mean "I'm a larva and I'm hungry." Clearly they don't mean that, because they can be sent by non-larvae. What they mean is the way the ants respond.
More generally, the meaning of a sign is whatever an interpreter of the sign does with it, not something external to the interpreter.
Heuristically, Introverted Intuition can lead you to use signals in ways that have nothing to do with or go directly against their built-in or "intended" interpretations. Hence the common INJ fondness for irony.
Against this hypothesis
responsiveness - this seems more extraverted sensation in orientation. You respond to the moment. Modifying effect to get a response. (ie. Lenore p.151: finally admitted to his girlfriend he was never really a vegetarian; he just liked the reactions he got with socially conscious women). Ni would recognize that people are doing this and then describe it, Se would innately recognize it and exploit it. -- Robert Evans
*** Response (not from Ben Kovitz): It's Ni interpolated through Ne. The basis for the sign-interpretation in the example is the pheromone release, not anything intrinsic to the pheromone. But the example is only an approximation of Ni, albeit a good one if I understand what he's doing. Ben Kovitz identifies himself as INTP, keep that in mind. Here he's making an analogy, relating an understanding of Ni anchored in Ne.
Logically, Ni versus Si is like validity versus soundness. What happens is, ENTJs use Ni to *abduct* things all the time. The result is an imperfect argument, and its conclusion may not be true. This is also known as affirming the consequent. The result is fundamentally unsound. But the bottom line is, ENTJs claim to know their proof demonstrates something depends on whether (if) the application worked.
Te/Ni stresses people out because it's not too worried about perfect soundness. To make matters worse, the experiment hasn't happened yet and even if it had it's not correct for the ENTJ to believe his stated conclusion has been proven or logically forced. (I'm trying to use Ti here by the way, and probably not that well.)
Also: Lying about being a vegetarian to get a reaction from someone is an activity (lying) that any person using any function attitude might do sometimes. My best guess is that the lie hinged on Si and Fe, "This signifies something really important to them, this puts me on their internal map in the 'favorable' rather than 'unfavorable' zone," which means the person is (probably) an SFJ. Or it could be Ni, as in the person with Ni believes that Si and Fe govern the semiotics of the interaction. --Kiernan
Hypothesis: Science and semiotics
Introverted Intuitives (especially INTJs), when oriented to science (especially the social sciences), tend to become entranced with semiotics (how signs are interpreted and objects are seen as signs), as in the first Quasi-defining statement.
Hypothesis about reading: genres, etc...
Significant subsets of introverted intuitives (particularly INTJs) are drawn to Cyberpunk. This genre most encapsulating INTJs inferior function Sensation desire for physical and mental supremacy (or, ideally, a world in which strength and charisma have no power). (Though it's possible other types will be drawn to it for differing reasons)
p. 40: "When we use Feeling in an Extraverted way, it facilitates a complex social vocabulary, by which we express and recognize the values we hold in common with others."
p. 318: "...organizing data by relatedness to ourselves."
p. 318: "Extraverted Feeling is conceptual and analytic. It encourages us to make rational choices, to measure our options for relationship against an external standard of behaviors. What distinguishes this function from Extraverted Thinking is the fact that relatedness involves human beings, not impersonal abstractions."
p. 323: "The customs that constitute our [Extraverted?] Feeling vocabulary are (socially) inherited forms that shape the relationships we establish and maintain. Their meaning is not straightforward but cumulative, becoming apparent as we use them and recognize their effects." (As a Function Attitude, then, Fe would be the ability to see people's behaviors in terms of such customs: as recognizable declarations of different kinds of relationship.)
p. 370: "Extraverted Feeling relies on the outward, left-brain criteria of custom and law to mark off decisions that go beyond our immediate experience to affect the larger community. For example, in chapter 20, I mentioned rape and child abuse, which are not matters of individual choice, because they poison the society that tolerates them." (Compare Introverted Feeling.)
Proposed definition #1
Hypothesis: Extraverted Feeling is the attitude of viewing everything in terms of what role it defines for people to play in regard to each other. When you say "How are you?" to someone, you are playing a role. It's a role that is intrinsically connected to other people's social roles; you can't play it by yourself. When the other person says, "Oh, not too bad. How about yourself?", they are playing out the complementary role. From an Fe perspective, by definition, every act is a declaration of what role you would like to play in the social setting.
When people speak of someone else's action as an attempt to "define them", they are making a proposition that only has meaning through Fe. For example, if a male boss says to a female employee, "Get me a cup of coffee," from an Fe perspective, this would be an attempt to "define" the employee as subservient and as a waitress or personal caretaker. If she goes along with it, then she is accepting that as her social role. Of course, she has the option to not go along with it. She can negotiate to play a different role, and the only way to do this is to push her boss into modifying his role. She could say, "I'm an engineer, not a waitress." Her boss now must choose roles when he responds. He could insist firmly on the dominant/subservient roles, with something like "I'm the boss here, and I just asked you for a cup of coffee. Now get it," in which case he risks having other people refuse to play along with his desired role, which could leave him playing big boss all by himself, which is no fun. Or he could go along and establish his boss role in a slightly modified form: "Ah, terribly sorry. I'll call the cafeteria staff. What'll you have to drink?"
In this manner, from an Fe standpoint, everyone is continually defining each other and getting defined by each other, as they establish social roles that others implicitly agree to go along with.
Proposed definition #2: Orientation by the social language of relationship
Fe is a way of orienting yourself to your environment in terms of the culturally defined language of social relationship. The relationships of friend-friend, parent-child, husband-wife, teacher-student, teammate-teammate, leader-follower, and many others are all ultimately defined by and exist in the medium of gestures exchanged between people--gestures that they recognize as defining that relationship. When a jockey on the track tips his hat while passing the Queen of England, he is displaying a sign that says that he recognizes and participates in the relationship of British subject-British monarch. Each such relationship carries obligations for each party: both to display the signs that create the relationship, and to do more tangible things that give the relationship important stakes for all concerned--such as, in time of war, fighting for England or willingly giving up luxuries (e.g. rationing).
Absolutely everything that people say to or do with each other can be interpreted as an invitation to participate in a social relationship that exists primarily through signs. This is because everything that we do says, "I care." Giving a woman a ring along with a proposal of marriage says "I care to have the relationship of marriage with you." Arguing heatedly with someone says, "I care that you see what I'm saying."
Every act a display of loyalty: neutrality not possible
Sometimes you get into situations where some people you know will play along with one role and other people will give you a hard time if you do. For example, if you do things outside of the usual gender roles, some people won't care and others will ostracize you or worse. Or if you wear the traditional clothing of one religion, other people of that religion will treat you with great respect, but people from different religions will often treat you badly. Because of this ever-present possibility, every act you take is a proclamation of which group of people you choose to cast your lot with. From the Fe perspective, everything you do says, "My loyalties are with these people. Deal with it."
There is no escaping the fact that everything you do is such a declaration; no statement, no matter how factual or impersonal, can be truly neutral. Every statement is acting out a role, which some people will play along with and others won't.
As a mode of ego-orientation
As a mode of ego-orientation, Extraverted Feeling leads you to understand yourself as having a personal stake in the role that others in your community cast you in. By the role they cast you in and that you play--the role that emerges from the sort of negotiation described above--you exist. If that role is bad, then it's a loss to your very self. If that role is good, then your very self has increased.
People with developed Fe tend to create implied bargains with other people about what sort of role they will play in regard to each other. They make an opening "bid" where they cast the other person in a positive role, e.g. "Would you be willing to spare a moment of your time to share your expertise with me?", casting the other person as an expert and a very important person. The implied contract is that if they treat you as a very important person, then you will each have very satisfying social roles. But if you get out of line, then you will withdraw your willingness to cast them in that role. Each line where you play the other person up thus creates a sort of debt: now they "owe" you some response that makes you important.
Eric Berne writes, in Games People Play, Chapter 3, "Procedures and Rituals", that the purpose of stereotyped behaviors like saying "hello" is to give each other strokes--recognitions of your existence--and to demonstrate that you are "reliable"--that is, willing to play your social role. Berne sees strokes as necessary to keep "your spinal cord from shriveling up". Demonstrating a dominant-Fe attitude, Berne views recognition of your social role as the most important thing in life, at least for most people. He says that strokes--even "negative strokes"--are as necessary to human life as food and water.
He says that we perform intuitive "calculations" to see how many strokes we "owe" or "are owed". If someone "owes" you a lot of strokes--say, because they went on vacation for a couple weeks and are back--and they don't give you an exceptionally effusive greeting, this is slighting you. If they keep it up, they will "cause some talk in their community".
Viewed from the Fe perspective, then, everything is in some way a stroke and an attempt to get a stroke from someone else.
Hypothesis: Chapters 3 and 4 of Games People Play are pretty thorough theoretical description of the Fe attitude.
This is in the realm of the left brain's selective attention to the things we value, particulaly in terms of human relations and relatedness, not necessarily in a sentimental way, but a rational way. So, who we befriend, love, hate are reflected here.
Is it possible to take an Extraverted Feeling attitude alone on a desert island?
Extraverted feelers are forced to, but they might very well quickly become neurotic. If they had at least one other person to orient to they would probably be ok, or at least stable. Long term effects of isolation would be interesting (possibly look at psychological records of people who have been kept in solitary (some of which would probably be Fes)). To maintain sanity, they would most likely turn to romantic fantasies (esp. romantic fantasies of being rescued), etc. This might actually force them to focus on improving themselves.
p. 255: "The discernment of a standard, or principle, that can be pried apart from its context and applied to a new set of objects."
p. 254: "In the inner Perceptual world, we need not organize acquired facts or determine their relationship to each other. It's in the outer world that the left brain requires predictability. Confronted with multiple objects in a sensory context, the left brain has to decide where to place its focus. ... Extraverted Thinking is one way of creating [a systematic basis for concentrating our attention]--an impersonal way. It prompts us to notice the qualities that objects have in common, and to use those shared aspects as a standard of sequential order. Whenever we Think, we're relying on such standards--to organize multiple objects and to establish logical relationships between them."
p. 256: "[From the standpoint of Extraverted Thinking], the objects that illustrate our general principles are less important than the principles themselves. ... What's important is their relationship--the expectation that we retain."
p. 256: "As we move from one context to another, a throng of such ghosts [known causal relationships] come with us, and we assess their possibilities for tangible embodiment."
p. 257: "When we Think, we're either extracting a logical relationship from its material context, turning it into a portable ghost, or we're translating our familiar ghosts into form in some new context."
p. 265: "If you can't measure something, you can't predict its behavior, and hence it isn't real."
Sequential order (aka Cause and Effect)
What Lenore meant by "sequential order" might be illustrated by this sentence:
p. 255: "The relationship between act and result [dropped spoon and clang] is so utterly predictable that it suggests a fixed sequence of events--the idea that the same thing will occur with other kinds of objects."
This relationship is what leads Extroverted Thinking to accomplish its complimentary function Introverted Feeling (which itself accomplishes Extroverted Thinking in its own manner). Introverted Feeling can also be thought of as Relational Feeling; it is the ability to perceive, and maintain relationships i.e. souls (ghosts) interacting. The spoon MUST fall and MUST create a clanging noise. Surely it may hit the table instead, or fall on a rug or is caught by someone else (Introverted Thinking). However, if the result of the spoon and floor did not occur without serious imposition from external forces, it would mean a cataclysmic shift in the Extroverted Logic of known reality.
This can then become a ghost; the spoon can become any handled object and the floor can become any stationary field. Taken to its ultimate "perfect" state by Introverted Intuition: Unstoppable Force meets Immovable Object. While Extroverted Thinking is independent, dynamic, mobile and disconnected from any specific instance of reality, it still understands there to be a static, unchanging relationship between objects. Things happen because there is an immutable relationship between them. Conversely, Introverted Feeling considers that for things to happen there must be a relationship. You did X with person Y therefor you have some kind of relationship Z. Also why introverted feelers value traditions so much.
A proposed definition
Hypothesis: Extraverted Thinking is the attitude of viewing the world through measurable criteria for choosing different responses. Both the criteria and the possible decisions are defined in advance of making the decision. In Extraverted Thinking, there is always a definite space of possibilities--all the possible measurements--and a defined cleavage of that space into regions that correspond to different responses.
For example, you might specify to a sporting-goods shop that your tennis racket be strung to a tension between 55 and 57 pounds. If you measure it and it's not within those parameters, you send it back; if it is within those parameters, you accept it and pay the amount specified in the contract. The "space" is string tension on the racket. It's cleaved into three regions that correspond to distinct responses: 55-57 lbs. maps to "accept"; less than 55 lbs. maps to "reject"; and more than 57 lbs. maps to "reject".
From the Te perspective, anything for which you can't give an operational definition in terms of measurement (an "objective test") doesn't exist. The decision criteria are defined not exactly in terms of the things: they're defined in terms of observations of a sort that anyone can do and get the same result. You put the totality of the real-world situation onto your scales, so that all causal factors come into play--both known and unknown. What's accessible to you is the reading on the scale: that and only that is the basis for your decision.
As a dominant function, Te typically leads one to pursue and collect reliable ways of making decisions to get predictable results. The repeatability of a process becomes one of the main criteria for finding it valuable. Repeatable processes are valuable from a Te perspective because they enable you to make agreements with other people, where there is no doubt as to whether each party has fulfilled its part of the agreement. Making and delivering on promises is often how a Te attitude leads one to understand ethics.
The statue of the blind woman holding a balance scale, to symbolize justice, might be one of the clearest symbols of the Te attitude.
Steven Covey is no doubt one of the leading exponents of the extraverted thinking attitude toward life, though partly leavened by an alternative viewpoint of introverted intuition.
As a tertiary defense in ENFPs: Integrity means not quitting when you can no longer add anything useful, or are hindering the smooth operation of those/that with which you are working.
As a dominant function in ETJs: Integrity means sticking with it until it's done right, or quiting when those you are working with are interfering with your ability to do it right. (Like your mom)
p. 145: "As a right-brain function, Sensation comes into play when events are changing so rapidly that linear analysis is impossible. We respond immediately, on the basis of visual and tactile information, guided by what we've done before."
p. 145: "Once we...know how to dance, we aren't thinking about rules or instructions. We're directly engaged by our surface perceptions--the rhythm of the music, the movements of a partner. We're changing as our situation does."
p. 146: "[Quoting Pirsig] 'The material at hand determines his thoughts and motions, which simultaneously change the nature of the material at hand. The material and his thoughts are changing together in a progression of changes.'"
p. 146: "It happens when we're kneading bread and the pressure of our hands changes with the texture of the dough. It happens when we're moving a ball downcourt for a chance at the hoop. It happens when we're driving, alert to a whole field of sights and sounds. It happens when we're playing in a band. It happens when we're knitting a sweater. Every time our actions are changing immediately and directly in concert with our surface perceptions, we're drawing on Extraverted Sensation."
p. 146: "The only way to cultivate Extraverted Sensation is by hands-on involvement--by strengthening the link between sensory perception and neural response. Our bodies have to get into the act. For types who use this function as their primary approach to life, true knowledge is always concrete, a product of firsthand experience."
Proposed definition #1
Extraverted Sensation (Se) is the attitude that whatever is manifest (apparent, observable) calls forth an obvious and natural response, that has nothing to do with the way you need to respond in any other moment. The meaning of everything is readily apparent--at the time that it appears. Whatever stands out and gets your attention here and now is precisely what needs your attention here and now. Your instincts at each moment will tell you what to do; there is no point in anticipating.
Proposed definition #2: Orientation by gut
Extraverted Sensation is orientation to your environment by immediate, gut-level response. "Trust your gut." Orienting to your environment this way, you don't think, you don't reflect, you just react. If you feel disgusted by something, you back off from it. If you like something, you dive into it. If you feel like bopping someone on the head because they made you mad, you bop them on the head. You completely trust your immediate, instinctive response.
To orient yourself the Se way, the meaning of the signs you encounter must be obvious and trustworthy, without your having to think. If your natural response or interpretation of something is wrong or doesn't immediately work, you can't deal with it.
When you are oriented in the Se way, you live completely in the moment. You respond now to what is happening now. What happens later, you'll deal with later. What's happened in the past is irrelevant.
As a language of ego orientation
As a dominant function, Se leads ESPs to live a life of fun and pleasure, enjoying the now. From an unmitigated Se perspective, what there is to do in life is get attention and make a visible impact in the world: create a spectacle, be popular and well-liked, enjoy wine, women, and song, go along with the crowd (that's where the action is), dress fashionably, see and be seen, eat at the hippest restaurants, and generally "have a good time". If it looks good, if it feels good, what else matters? They cultivate a public image to fit what is attractive according to the currently prevailing standards of their culture (see Orientation by Pop Culture), and they merrily shift along with shifting fashions. They learn what "plays", and they play to that. They don't worry about internal contradictions, or continuity of present behavior with past traditions, or long-term consequences. They do what gets an immediate effect right now, of a sort that requires no explanation. What you do from an Se perspective is plain to everyone. From an Se perspective, anything complicated is mere speculation. What's true is what works now. Whether it works tomorrow is a matter for tomorrow. They negotiate for every physical pleasure they can possibly get, and they negotiate hard. They develop a gut sense for reading what a person really wants, and what a person really fears, and they work that for all it's worth.
As a secondary function, Se leads ISPs to make "what plays" into the object of their thoughts. The world of appearance and spectacle provides them with a subject matter to analyze and comment on from an outside perspective, especially to point out (from the sidelines) how people are attempting to be cool but failing, ha ha. ISPs often see themselves as the true leading edge of cool, hipper than hip, into what becomes popular before it becomes popular. As a path of further development and expansion of consciousness, Se shows ISPs how to "go with the flow", to "accept" what is, to "be present" to what is happening right now, recognizing that they can't control it. Incorporating an Se way of orienting themselves, they find a way for their dominant moral perspective to bear fruit in any circumstances they find themselves in. Their dominant function has led them to cultivate a way of being, or state of grace, that feels possible only in a private space, where public perception is not a factor (e.g. Michael Jackson's Never-Never Land Ranch). Se tunes them in to public perception in a way that enables them to fully be themselves wherever they are, freely giving their gifts to all comers, and unconditionally accepting the results.
As a tertiary function, Se often leads ENJs to maintain a certain show of force. If reason won't persuade you to play along sensibly, maybe that rifle on my wall will. I won't say anything explicit, but you know as well as I do that we don't want to go there. The unstated threat need not be violent, of course. It might just be to fire you. There's always something in the ENJ's bargaining position held in reserve, which would really pinch if he used it, and you know at a gut level that he wouldn't hesitate to use it if you got out of line. Some ENJs depend heavily on a Douglas Macarthur-like sense of theatrics and spectacle to keep the masses bedazzled while they do what they think needs doing. Sometimes tertiary Se leads ENJs to practice a peculiar philosophy of "honesty": the sort where if you feel like punching someone in the face, you view it as "dishonest" to refrain from doing so--a philosophy of giving vent to whatever your animal nature comes up with at the moment, and having the "courage" to deal with the consequences without anticipating them. Mild forms include yelling louder than someone to win an argument, or demonstrating by your physical demeanor that you are viscerally more committed to something than an opponent. From the Se perspective, "in a conflict, the more committed party always wins." (An Ni perspective would lead you to search for a third way, one that dissolves the conflict rather than winning it.)
As an inferior function, Se often leads INJs in either (or both) of two directions: to shun everything of a bodily nature as corrupt and animal (e.g. Immanuel Kant), or to crave "letting loose" and table-dancing or delivering some serious violence. In the grip of the inferior function, they try to make others feel weak by displays of physical power (or trying to get others to compare themselves with physically powerful people), but usually end up only making themselves feel like helpless bugs. "See how POWERFUL I am? See my ANIMAL MAGNETISM?" Some get into guns or karate, taking an off-kilter delight in fantasies of getting into a confrontation with someone and surprising the hell out of them with the damage they can do (see Taxi Driver). Some idolize jazz musicians as people who are completely in touch with their animal selves, able to "let go". Some join academic cliques where the object is to make other people feel unpopular by snubbing them for not being up on the latest intellectual fashions--a sort of faux popularity contest, where the wider social standards are reversed and the most unintelligible gibberish gets the most attention. Some use esoteric jazz or modern art to make a twisted marriage of Ni and Se: "It might sound like an incoherent mish-mash of notes to you, but that only shows that you lack the finer discernment of the really cool people." A different way, perhaps the genuine reunification with the inferior function, is to find an unconditional pleasure in "the now" and a peaceful, live-and-let-live philosophy--enjoying each moment, "being present" no matter what comes.
Less dramatic, more recreational (and more common) forms of tertiary and inferior Se include athletics and engaging in physically dangerous activities, like auto racing and bungee jumping--providing the participants visceral proof that they have power over the physical world. Or simply enjoying these activities in a pure way, for the thrills they offer, no differently than an SP.
Naturally, you can see plenty of dominant-style Se in ISPs, secondary-style in ESPs, tertiary-style in INJs, even inferior-style in (criminal) ESPs, etc.
Extraverted Sensation in the New Testament?
And why take ye thought for raiment [clothing]? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.
When people negotiate Se-style, they make it viscerally apparent that pleasure immediately follows doing as they want and pain immediately follows turning them down.
The sort of negotiation that Joe Pesci's characters engage in in movies would be a hyper-Se form of ESTP-style negotiation. The person he is dealing with knows, at a physical, visceral, undebatable level, that he will be much happier if he plays along. Joe Pesci's characters expand their power, influence, and sense of who they are by sensing what viscerally matters to the people around them and using it.
As an inferior function
p.235-36, on INJs: However, when these types are defending their inner world against inferior aims, they invariably focus on terms that suggest a sensate viewpoint--that is, one determined by surface criteria: gender, race, color, and so forth.
p. 196: "Intuition draws our attention to context and we adapt to sensory events in terms of it."
p. 197: "Once we've grasped a whole pattern, we can envision options that don't yet exist. Indeed, one of the drawbacks of Intuition is that it conjures up a future before we know very much about the present. For example, given enough elements to suggest a star or a square, we have a hard time not filling in the blanks and seeing the complete image."
p. 198: "...to leap from a few immediate cues to a quick impression of the whole..."
p. 223: "Extraverted Intuition would move us to unify our sense impressions with their larger context, thereby creating new options for meaning and response."
p. 224: "Extraverted Intuitives are right-brain types who deal with their sense impressions by unifying them into larger outward patterns. An ENP physician, for example, may realize, with sudden insight, that several unexplained symptoms are actually part of a single disease. As an Extraverted type, the physician has no doubt that the disease syndrome really exists. The pattern was always there, waiting for someone to discover it."
Proposed definition #1
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) is the attitude that what is manifest (apparent, observable) is a reflection of a greater reality. The dinosaur bone hints at the dinosaur, the cloud hints at the coming thunderstorm, the thunderstorm is a reflection of the rotation of the Earth within its atmosphere. Whatever you find, there is something more to find: a broader context, a whole, which will change your understanding of the part.
Proposed definition #2
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) is the attitude that the unknown is filled with wonderful things. To make use of them, you must be flexible in your goals. If you try to set things up so that only something known to be good can happen, you close your eyes to the zillions of opportunities that you can't know or define in terms of what you know now. As more of the unknown becomes clear, the more it changes your understanding of the (currently) known.
To live, then, you need to continuously welcome the unknown, by always being ready to adjust in unanticipatable ways. What seems like a mistake is not a mistake when viewed in a larger pattern--and it's your job to find that larger pattern.
(Compare Introverted Sensation, which leads to the exact opposite attitude toward the unknown. Ne says to anchor yourself nowhere, so you can continuously adapt to exploit unknown opportunities; Si says to anchor yourself firmly to what matters regardless of change, in order to keep out the unknown and its attendant, unknowable risks.)
I known ENPs who aren't specially optimistic or brave. Ne makes them see all the horrible things that can go wrong as well as the ones that can go very good. Yet they are undeniably ENPs. I don't know. I remember reading in the book thet ENFPs where the most optimistic of the types. Maybe their optimism depends on their society being extraverted perciever? --Michelini
Proposed Definition # 3
Ne is curiosity (but of course it's not that simple). Describing it as "looking" isn't deceptive, because Ne as an attitude is one of seeing what's there. The idea is that possibilities are visible in the Ne sense.
There's a film called the Zero Effect. The main character is probably an INTP. A quote from the film that encapsulates Ne:
"If you go looking for something in particular, your chances of finding it are very bad, because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. If you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good, because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them."
Even if you look for anything at all, and find nothing, then you found something. You just didn't find anything new, but this is an opportunity in disguise. That's Ne. It's the attitude that searching is inherently valuable because no matter what outcome you get you find something.
(Tangent: This also highlights the importance of Lenore's idea about developing the secondary. Ne by itself is very indiscriminate. There's a point at which "looking for anything at all" really risks being too randomly useful or too randomly pointless to be helpful. A dominant Ne type needs to be able to distinguish between the relative importance of things, or be able to identify the needs and people they really care about, to make the most of it.)
Proposed definition #4: The "outside the box" attitude
Extraverted Intuition (Ne) is orientation by what is outside the box and how it could change the way people are thinking if the box were expanded.
"The box" means the context that governs the way people are giving meaning to objects of attention. Going "outside the box" means broadening the context: exploring or including things that are outside the currently accepted definitions and assumptions.
Some examples: How would the restaurant industry change if really good, healthy food became available very cheaply? How would physics change if the speed of light were a constant in every reference frame? How would our culture change if we had portable phones that we could carry with us everywhere, instead of having each phone tied to a specific location? How would this organization change if we brought in my friend Terry? Terry brings a peculiar focus on the bottom line: that will alienate some people and endear him to others, likely causing various relationships and alliances to shift. See "Outside the Box" in Improv.
Proposed definition #5: Snapshot of Reality
Ne is no different from its Se cousin. It creates a singular snapshot of the current state of reality. Unlike Se which is sensory based, Ne is everything extra-sensory. This includes everything that senses cannot pickup. (Disclaimer: "Senses" are not limited to just the 5 senses, all additional sense must be included i.e. balance, acceleration, kinesthetic etc.) For Ne primary type ENTP that snapshot of is dissected with the Ti function to see just how all of it works and fits together, while ENFPs use it to discern how to manipulate human relations and feelings. Einstein's famous thought experiments painted an impossible picture of reality which could then be studied.
This is what "outside the box" refers to, because human definition of box is an entirely sensory phenomena, everything is measured in terms of senses. Box defined in intuition would relate to this snapshot, which has a specific scope, its also a box. So Ne think outside the physical box, but they are within their own mental box. This isn't to say its inferior to true outside the box thinking which is actually Te.
To investigate this Ne and Ni must be compared. Ni would be the rolling of a camera, taking successive images of a situation until the events of which conclude. In order for this to have any meaning some arbitrary point must be defined by Extroverted Judgement. An investigation of a crime scene, probing witnesses for the events attempts to build a reconstruction of what occurred. Ni would piece together enough pictures to create a record.
Ne on the other hand simply takes an intuitive snapshot of the scene and uses the internal logic of the event. Specific occurences within the event may or may not have happened because it is impossible for blood to splatter etc. etc.
When dreaming Ne paints a portrait of reality and then attempts to understand it (Ti/Fi), while Ni moves through frames to eventually stops at some arbitrary point (Te,Fe). Ni is brick by brick from the ground up, Ne is large scale demolition, taking large chunks of an idea and refining down. Ne is a completed sudoku puzzle and Ti makes all the numbers fit. Ni is a chess match where every move is recorded along the way and Te determines where something can move at a given time (also fits into gameboard exegesis). So Te is "Outside the Box" because it defines that it wants to go to another box, which is within a larger box (Ni). While Ti wants to study the current box, and Ne says "Hey there's this other box."
Whether you switch to another box as an Ne type depends on whether you want to study this box longer, because you are Ti dominant INTP, or whether you are Ne dominant ENTP.
This also fits with the Static/Dynamic qualities of Ne/Ni. That Ne wide angle snapshot is always possible, regardless of what reality is like now. While Ni is always in motion along a course of events.
Proposed definition #6
Ne, or extroverted iNtuition, is dominant for ENxP, secondary for INxP, tertiary for ESxJ and inferior for ISxJ. It is an outwardly exploratory attitude that encourages us to change, reinvent and experiment with the external world in order to find new and interesting combinations and patterns. Ne looks for novel outcomes and imagines how the things around you could be changed into other, more interesting things. Ne sees new information as part of a larger, emerging, as of yet unseen pattern that extends far beyond the self, and whose meaning will continue to change as the context grows and we discover more of the all-encompassing pattern. Rather than directly confront an issue, Ne will often broaden the context until the issue seems insignificant by comparison to the much bigger and more expansive ideas it imagines.
As with all extroverted functions, Ne needs to be validated by external/objective information to have meaning. So Ne users will often have many ideas very quickly but not know if they're good until they hear other people's reactions to them, or have a chance to experiment and see what happens. Ne wants very badly to be understood and appreciated by others. Note that Ne songwriters (e.g. Brandon Boyd, ENFP) will typically write enough context clues and such into their work that you can put the pieces together and infer what they were thinking when they wrote it. They want others to put the pieces together and get it.They like to learn things via a hands-on, figure-it-out-by-experimenting-as-you-go, direct experiential approach (in this way they are similar to Se) but they are more focused on what their surroundings might be changed into than what is immediately tangible
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