# Thread: Introverted Internal Functions: Ni and Fi

1. ## Introverted Internal Functions: Ni and Fi

I want to run through my current thoughts on all the functions so I can get some comments on my thoughts to refine them further. Any reactions or opinions or disagreements or support or confusions or questions or what have you are much appreciated. I'm going to start with the introverted internal functions, Fi and Ni. Note that throughout I personify the IEs themselves--you can substitute IE-valuer or IE-ego for the personified functions if that is easier to understand!

Ni: Whence and Whither
Lately my phrase for NI has been whence and whither: Ni wants to know where a thing has come from, tracing it all the way back to its origin if possible, and it wants to know where a thing is going, tracing it all the way out to its end. I like this description because it doesn't get totally caught up in the trap of thinking of Ni is a solely temporal thing. For instance, if you are following the thread of a logical argument, the "whence" is not a temporally prior thing, but rather a logically prior thing, a question of what must be true in order for the current proposition to be true. Ni is interested in whence and whither in basically every possible area except the literal question of movement in space over time, which we are confused by and bad at. However, I will use the metaphor of movement in space over time to illustrate how I think Ni operates:

Of course, in understanding the origin and end of a thing, one must understand the interactions that have propelled it thus far and will propel it going forward. This is how Ni gradually advances towards a global vision, because to understand the motion of one thing, you have to understand the motion of many things. Imagine the course of a football (/soccerball) from one goal to another. In order to trace the path of the ball, you have to also trace the path of every kick that moves the ball, which means you have to trace the path of every player on the field whose foot (or hand) comes into contact with the ball. And the ball may suffer several reversals, may even go back to the first goal (the origin, if you will) before it finally reaches the goal on the opposite end of the field (the end). This is how Ni often ends up in vague, universal visions: we see how in order to trace the path of the soccer ball, you have to more or less recreate the entire game. This also relates to Ni's aspectonics description as (internal) dynamics of fields---we want to understand how the relationship changes over time, which foot is kicking the ball when, how hard the ball is kicked, from what angle, etc., etc.

Fi: Scent of a Room
I like to think of Fi as a gestalt---Fi is like the mind-body's summary of all the interactions you've had with a given person or object. I imagine every Fi judgment as being like the smell of a room. Fi stands in the middle of the room, and in the room is every interaction the person has had with a given thing. Each of those interactions gives off a scent. It might be a strong scent or a subtle scent, but each one gives off some kind of a scent. Now, to begin with, there are certain levels of natural attraction or repulsion from certain scents, right? But then on top of that, each scent is colored by the person's whole experience of that scent, across their lives. So while, say, the smell of honey and the smell of basil might be equally nice inherently, Fi may have lived its whole life with the smell of basil immediately being followed by the smell of shit. Accordingly, honey will smell better to the Fi valuer than basil will, even if the shit smell stops following.

The thing about Fi (that drives Ti-valuers nuts) is that the overall feeling towards the thing can't be picked apart anymore than one specific chemical can be identified within an overall scent, or one specific scent can be identified in the overall smell of a room. Its a gestalt, it's not about each individual scent, it's about the smell as a whole, and of course, that smell-as-a-whole creates attraction or revulsion or nostalgia or relaxation or nervousness, etc., etc. And people with strong Fi have very sensitive noses, whereas people with weak Fi have very weak noses. So strong Fi people might notice subtle qualities of a scent where weak Fi people can only detect one broad smell with no gradation or subtlety. But at the same time, strong Fi people might be completely overwhelmed and immobilized by a strong scent (feeling) whereas weak Fi people might put their hand over their face, but won't really be affected strongly.

I just want to quickly mention that Fi is static in the sense that once you've added a lot of things to the room (once you've added a lot of interactions to the experience of a given thing), it's hard to change the overall scent of the room. To me, Fi isn't static so much as sticky. Well, it is also static insofar as the judgment Fi arrives at (the smell of the room) is sudden, particular thing, a snapshot, not a story about how something changes. But I want to make the point that it is not so much that Fi is invested in things never changing, but rather the Fi emotion simply becomes hard to change after a while. Also, the association between Fi and humanism or empathy simply arises from the human tendency to overgeneralize our own experience. Because Fi has a strong "sense of smell," it assumes everyone else does too. So Fi assumes that others feel as strongly about their experiences as Fi does, so it tries to aid others in managing their emotional reactions (the "scents" they have to smell---because when you're in a room, you have no choice but to smell the scent of the room). And depending on what Fi is blocked with, it will be particularly sensitive to shielding people from bad feelings caused by ideas (Ne-devaluer) or by experiences (Se-devaluer)

That's all I have time for now. Hopefully I'll be able to continue with this soon. I hope to get through all eight in more or less this fashion, with a general theme and two or three paragraphs of thoughts. Any and all comments are deeply appreciated, and I will try to respond to each one in a somewhat timely fashion.

EDIT: OH also I'm sure every one of these thoughts is stolen from someone else on the board who posted them first at one time or another. Let me know if I've stolen from you and I'll gladly give you credit in the original post.

2. Doesnt function define the slot of the elements, and Ni/Fi fall under elements?

On a tangent, maybe its weak valued Ti that makes me compulsively explicit about semantics.

3. I think more or less perceptions take in something that is more mental state-oriented, whereas rationals pick what is averaged out and thus more or less independent of experiences.
With E-directed N, you're more or less summing up all the potentialities inherent to the state you're in. With Ni, you withdraw some libido from the state involved in, and relate two different states -- naturally, this is a certain foggy thing, where you might envision the continuous progression in between. Note that Ni is seeing the complementary POV to Se, so in each single state, the unconscious association is with the impact it is having on you, and you on it (or that you could have on it), so it's as if it sees a continuous progression of changing potentialities.

4. Originally Posted by chemical
I think more or less perceptions take in something that is more mental state-oriented, whereas rationals pick what is averaged out and thus more or less independent of experiences..
I dunno, isn't the concern with essence a way of producing knowledge that is independent of experience? That seems like a pretty N thing to me.

With E-directed N, you're more or less summing up all the potentialities inherent to the state you're in. With Ni, you withdraw some libido from the state involved in, and relate two different states -- naturally, this is a certain foggy thing, where you might envision the continuous progression in between. Note that Ni is seeing the complementary POV to Se, so in each single state, the unconscious association is with the impact it is having on you, and you on it (or that you could have on it), so it's as if it sees a continuous progression of changing potentialities.
Huh. I like the bit about removing libido from the object. That's a very good point. Exploring alternate states of the object is enmeshed with withdrawing libido from the current state. When I know the past and the future I, in a sense, un-know the now (I withdraw libido from the object, gathering it in something that exists within my mind, my imagination of the past and the future of the object.)

I am, however, a little skeptical of the focus on the individual, just in terms of seeing Ni as a way of generating knowledge about the relationship of the observer to the object. Certainly that's a common manifestation, but I don't think that's the essence of Ni. I find that Ni is introverted in the way that Ti is introverted: all knowledge of the object is dependent upon the relationship of the object to something that exists/is happening in my mind. But it's still a knowledge of the object. It's not a knowledge, I think, of my relationship to the object (or isn't experienced that way necessarily), but rather a knowledge of the object's place in my framework. A concrete(-ish) example: just today, I was doing a bit of problem solving at my job, and I had a hypothesis about what the problem was, and then someone provided me with a new piece of information, and instantly I understood that information in terms of my solution to the problem. That's Ni in action: you create a narrative and then every new fact is understood for its relationship to that story. It's like you have a point A and a point B (hence the goal metaphor above), and a story about how the object moves from A to B. That story is introverted insofar as it exists inside my head... the knowledge is knowledge of a story about the object. So it's removed from the object (as libido is removed from the object), but it does not necessarily include information about the perceiving subject. But then I guess you said unconscious association, so I could see how the way Ni works is based on an unconscious feeling of "rightness" or "wrongness" about the relationship of the new object to the current state of mind/narrative.

5. Originally Posted by Pookie
Doesnt function define the slot of the elements, and Ni/Fi fall under elements?

On a tangent, maybe its weak valued Ti that makes me compulsively explicit about semantics.
Oh yeah, I'm 100% wrong about that terminology. I never know the difference between function and IM and IE and I don't really care so I basically use them interchangeably. I think you're correct to say that function pertains to the slot, but the phrase "function-attitude" is the term Myers-Briggs uses for what I guess socionics calls the information elements. But like I said, I find it confusing so I ignore it, lol.

6. Originally Posted by silverchris9
I dunno, isn't the concern with essence a way of producing knowledge that is independent of experience? That seems like a pretty N thing to me.
Usually they only mention the N type of abstraction, and don't go into the logical side of abstraction.
In one case you're withdrawing from sense experience to the highest degree, viewing the background processes of mental consciousness and so forth.

But on the other hand, the kind of abstraction that lets you define a single physical law behind many sensory occurrences strikes me as more T than N from IE point of view on T and N (see below note on how your comment seems to apply more to the MBTI-conception of N).

Similarly, one may notice through intuition that the essence of two frameworks in programming are the same, but intuition/irrationality tend to be absolute perception oriented, so it tends to be more of a sense of how the mind synthesizes associations... logic can help define a common framework that almost "cleans up" the intuition that knows that they're in essence the same. Notice here intuition sees that the two frameworks have the same absolute potential, but it cannot abstract away from conscious mental experience (irrational+internal). Logic plays the role of averaging here -- an average is less absolute, but it works to the effect of selecting what it is you seek from a multitude of occurrences. I would of course err saying Ti more so captures what I'm saying here than Te, as Te is more likely to include a barrage of facts (extraverted, more expansive and inclusive -- tends to have a more descriptive flavor).

When someone complains "that's so abstract, it's just a bunch of symbols on paper", they're usually complaining about logical abstraction, and what they're saying is it doesn't evoke any kind of mental picture. Logical form of concept being withdrawn from your mental experience states.

In MBTI-esque frameworks though, both of these types of abstract are kind of subsumed into N, but the thing is that's because it's defining dichotomous scales instead of trying to define the types of information.
It's true that both the impulse to seek the common unified explanation of phenomena through logical definition and the intuitive peering behind are more or less getting at psychologically similar impulses to a degree (although not so similar that they don't form relatively different aspects of MBTI N so you could reasonably be high in one and low in another). But informationally distinct, despite being psychologically similar.

7. I think as far as the other part, I don't think it has to be relations between observer and object at all. If anything that part of my post was describing involvement (Se) with objects influencing their kinetic energy.
I think of Ni more in terms of things like changing potentialities.

I do not, for the record, think of introversion in terms of relation to Self. I think that's closer to Jung's presentation -- the Self vs external object dichotomy. The reason I abandoned that as the exact framework is that it tends to mix up too many types of "inner" vs "outer" into one.

I think in socionics, the many types of inner vs outer are expounded upon. E.g. internal vs external is such an example that I think to some degree Jung put in his category.

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