The issue of how INTPs think is one that I've found pretty difficult. It's something I've thought a lot about because most of my close male friends are INTPs. (feelers dominate the women) In particular, a cousin of mine is an INTP. I credit him with introducing me to many of the activities I enjoy. I saw him doing them, first!
My cousin and I have a lot in common. He is an avid roleplaying game fan. (console-style only, no pen and paper stuff) I, too, play roleplaying games often, but not for the same reason. For me, it's about knowledge: seeing the game's storyline in action and relating the way the characters act to other people I know. (in particular, I use crosstyping a lot to solidly type the characters, and so better understand their motivations. Most storylines don't stray from the socionics models that much... but that's a story for another post.) I take everything in the games seriously: if it doesn't make sense, I make it make sense by designing some hypothesis with which to fill in the blanks. (like, for example, explaining the presence of magic by postulating a kind of warped electromagnetic field left over from a previous era, placing the event period of the story on earth in the distant future.) My cousin doesn't do this. He takes the story at face value, acknowledges any inconsistency as a plothole, and just goes on with the game. For him, the experience of playing the game, of interacting with its gameplay system, is an end to itself. He says there is no point trying to draw a link between inconsistent elements in the storylines, because the motivations for the people who write them can't be known, nor can their ideas of who the characters are.
The entire concept of "freethinking" to me is very foreign. I avoid it because I think that if I started, I wouldn't know when to stop. Instead I closely associate my appraisal of direction in life with the flow of my agenda. When it is blocked, I at first get frustrated. The blockage usually happens for some reason I could not have forseen, usually some completely random event (like a snowstorm, or a sudden computer glitch) or some idiosyncracy of people's emotions. (overreaction, for example) Only after I have taken at alternate path, and over the course of following that path for several days, or even a few hours, had a new insight that I might not have had before into my agenda, do I feel that there was a reason for the blockage.
Most INTPs I know don't take life so seriously. I think it's common for INTJs to. (though they rarely let on) My question is this: how does the experience of the INTP differ from that of the INTJ? I've heard that INTPs have absolute control over their spatial functions, but I am not clear how to understand what "absolute control" is. I can determine "what" is imagined, but I cannot control how I imagine it. What thinking process capable of having pinpoint control over how something is created mentally can be logically consistent? How can it be consistent? Is it a blur of extremely fast algebra, moving everything into place with the precision of a computer program? As I reckon it now, that's what my assessment of the INTPs thinking process reduces to. It may not be correct though, so I figure it best to ask the people who experience it themselves.