This is part of something I've been working on aiming to clarify the IM elements. Let me know what you think! Also, keep in mind the definitions of the IM elements as internal statics of fields, external dynamics of bodies, etc. while you're reading this.
Socionics is a theory of the transformation of perceptual experience into conceptual understanding. It describes the way we organize the constant stream of isolated bits of data we perceive into the webs of information that form our conceptual understanding of the world. Organizing pieces of data into structures of information means placing everything into a context.
Different socionic types don't perceive different aspects of reality; rather, they orient the same perceptions in different contexts. Therefore, two types are able to draw radically different meanings from the same sequence of events – it may even appear that they are perceiving altogether different aspects of a situation because different kinds of data are more readily integrated into specific contexts, so different types assign varying levels of importance to the same events.
IM elements are a putting into context of data, and different IM elements are merely a preference for different contextual structures.
Impact and Flux
IM elements can be divided into Fi, Ti, Ne, Se on the one hand, and Fe, Te, Ni, and Si on the other – the former are 'static' and the latter 'dynamic.' These two classes of IM elements understand the transitions and transformations of reality from different perspectives: static functions in terms of impact, and dynamic functions in terms of flux.
Static IM elements conceptualize transition in terms of discrete, sudden, and instantaneous changes. Think of a rock being thrown through a window: static types understand this situation in terms of impact: the instantaneous transition from an unbroken window to a broken window. Statics model change as a juxtaposition of states with decreased emphasis on time.
Dynamic IM elements, on the other hand, understand change as part of a broader reality that is in constant flux. In terms of the previous example, dynamic functions would conceptualize the shattering of the window as a moment in the trajectory of the rock. The change the window undergoes is not a juxtaposition of two distinct states – rather, it is an element of a system that is in flux before the rock actually impacts the window. Dynamics model change as a multiplicity of forces that form a trajectory.
Contextual Impact and Flux
These two concepts – contextualization and impact/flux – outline a method of understanding the IM elements that supplements and clarifies traditional definitions.
Se places objects in context by modeling their ability to impact surrounding objects (objects can be either physical or abstract).
Ne places objects in context by modeling how they can be impacted in different ways (ie. How different impacts can transform their internal structure).
Ne is sometimes falsely reduced to 'potential,' but the truth is that both Se and Ne perceive different types of potential. For Se, the context of an object is its potential to transform other objects, and for Ne, the context of an object is its potential to be transformed. It could also be said that Se sees things as 'subjects' and Ne sees them as 'objects.'
Ti places objects in context by modeling the channels through which they can impact other objects (Se) or be impacted (Ne).
Fi places channels in context by modeling the way they can impact the objects they connect (Se), or be impacted by the objects they connect (Ne).
To put this another way, Ti models relationships between objects, and Fi models the connection between those relationships and the objects they relate.
Ti and Fi are blocked with either Se or Ne, so they always model channels of impact. To put this another way, Ti and Fi create context by building a map of possible routes through which objects can potentially transform other objects (Se) or be transformed themselves (Ne). The difference is that Ti focuses on these routes themselves whereas Fi focuses on the relationship between these objects and the routes that connect them.
Te places objects in context by modeling the flux of their effects on other objects.
Fe places objects in context by modeling the flux of their reactions to other objects.
The Te/Fe dichotomy is similar to Se/Ne in that the former places things in context as subjects, the latter as objects. In this sense, Te is simply the dynamic counterpart to Se and Fe is a dynamic “Ne.”
Si places objects in context by modeling the channels through which the flux of an object's effects on other objects (Te) or the flux of an object's reaction to other objects flows.
Ni places channels in context by modeling the flux of their effects on the objects they connect (Te) or the flux of their reactions to the objects they connect (Fe).
The Si/Ni dichotomy is closely related to its static counterpart, Ti/Fi. The essential difference is not in the definition of Si/Ni vs. Ti/Fi as isolated functions, but the functions they are blocked with. Si and Ni are blocked with dynamic functions, so while both Si/Ni and Ti/Fi model channels of interaction between objects, Si/Ni model the channels of constant flux between objects whereas Ti/Fi model channels of impact between objects.
To be continued...