So I have been studying the functions for a while, and tbh I am sometimes frustrated by some people's refusal to learn the actual applications of the IM definitions, because for me, it has been integral to actually understanding what the functions "mean," at least as I have come to understand them. Therefore, I will now attempt to describe the functions as best I understand them, and show how they make a "complete" model of the perception of reality by the dichotomies that they define, as well as how they fit together to define Model A.
Section 1: Components of Functions
Section 2: Naming Functions
Section 3: The Functions As Conglomerates
Section 4: How the Functions Work Together
Section 1: Components of Functions
In this section, I will attempt to explain the most basic nature of the functions as they are defined by Augusta in what is known as her "cubic model," otherwise known as the Information Metabolism Elements, or simply the Information Elements.
*(note that this dichotomy is not used in most definitions of the functions, and while it is not necessary to understand the functions as they are applied in Model A, I think it is an interesting component of the functions that follows logically from the other dichotomies, helps define the boundaries of the functions and how they interact in Model A, and creates a nice counter-balance for the Internal/External dichotomy in terms of displaying the common qualities between Intuition and Logic/Sensing and Ethics)
NOTE: For the sake of these definitions, the word "things" will refer to any"thing" that is observed by the functions (you will see why this distinction is important when you read Object/Field relations)
NOTE 2: In all cases in which words appear that are used as the names for particular socionics terms, they refer to their dictionary definition unless the first letter is Capitalized, in which case they refer to their Socionics definition.
NOTE 3: By virtue of the fact that the Socionics system is devised to interpret concrete phenomena rather than observe them objectively, no examples that are given as part of the descriptions of functional components or the functions themselves are "pure" examples of that particular dichotomy; simply by making a concrete example, which can be observed by or seen through the lense of any function, the example is flawed, but I have attempted to put sufficient emphasis on what is integral to the elements I am attempting to demonstrate. For example, you will see that the quip about God and your mother in the Internal section referring to Intuition quite clearly involves both Logical and Ethical elements, but I have attempted to make specific references to Ne and Ni, respectively.
External functions observe things that are readily observable to the senses and require no deduction to "know;" there is no guess work involved. These things are simply apparent to those who observe them. All sensory or factual information is External in nature. The color of a fire truck, a baseball traveling from the pitcher to the plate; these are all Sensory qualities, which can be observed with the naked eye. Logical functions work on the basis of concrete information that has basis in the real world, or at least direct implications on the physical nature of things: the number of marbles in your basket, or the order in which you must put together the pieces of a car in order for it to work properly
In short, External functions comprehend things that are innately physical, have concrete basis in physical reality, or direct implications in observable physical reality.
The internal aspect defines an element as comprehending things that are not readily visible to the naked senses; in a sense, there is an act of deduction involved. They take concrete, observable processes or qualities, and see them as indicators or signals of something that is underlying. Ethical functions use concrete information, for example a facial expression or tone of voice, to deduce something about either a person's emotional processes or their subjective attitude towards another person or an issue (I want to make a fine distinction between Fi and Ti in this sense, and would appreciate a reminder if I forget to do so at some point). Intuitive functions use gathered information about qualities or aspects that are not readily observable by the physical senses as persistent physical qualities (for example, that God is ESSENTIALLY an immaterial being, or that your mother TENDS to be feisty in bed).
In short, Internal functions comprehend things that are not apparent to the naked eye, and must be deduced from things that are.
Dynamic functions observe motion, changing, or qualities of things related to their temporality, in either a concrete or abstract sense; this can be physical movement, fluctuation of internal states, or slow changes over time. Anything that exists in the space time continuum is susceptible to change, is constantly being influenced by everything around it in some way, shape, or form, and even if some elements of its being are constant, something is always changing, and this is what Dynamic functions seek to measure.
In short, Dynamic functions observe everything as a continuous flow of events, not as separate but always changing.
Static functions comprehend aspects of reality that do not change over a specified period of time. Persistent physical characteristics, relationships between people; static functions examine these things not as passing phenomena, but with the inherent assumption that the qualities observed are only relevant for as long as something "stays the same." Take, for example, a set of instructions for programming a remote control: they specify that everything must be done a certain way in order for the remote control to work; the inherent underlying assumptions are that everything is in working order, the control is in one piece, the TV is functioning as it should, etc; as long as these things are true, then the instructions should work.
In short, Static functions see the world in snapshots, observing phenomena not as a continuous flow of events, but as singular occurrences, as existing in assumed "chunks" of time.
The Object half of the Object/Field dichotomy refers to functions that observe phenomena in isolation, conglomerations of parts that form one "thing." It is, in a very literal sense, "objective," seeing things not as they relate to anything else in particular, or the rest of the world, but in isolation, simply as "things." They view these things, and the connections within them, as individual, singular entities, and attribute characteristics not to individual parts of the "thing," but to the "thing" itself. Take, for example, a government: it is comprised of numerous departments, sets of rules and strictures, and even individual people doing their jobs, but in the end, all of these things comprise one singular entity: the "government."
In short, Object functions focus on seeing the world in terms of separate entities and how they are comprised, rather than as being inherently connected to other entities.
In contrast to Object functions, Field functions view the world in a way that is very literally "subjective," in that they focus not on individual entities, but rather the connections between them. Their emphasis is not so much on "things" as how things interact, affect each other, or relate or are relevant to one another. Take, for example, the act of catching a ball in motion: observing the ball move takes for granted the physical characteristics (size, shape, color, etc) of the ball itself, and instead focuses on the moment-to-moment connectedness of the ball's continuously shifting position in order to actively deduce its final location. One might also give the example of observing a painting, or perhaps the colors used to decorate a room: the focus is not so much on individual "spots" of color, but rather how they mingle as a whole to create a conglomerate impression.
In short, Field functions measure the relationships between objects, how they interact.
*to be continued*
Section 2: Naming the Functions
More to come.