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More clarification on function definitions

June 28, 2013

Based on Jung’s definitions of Sensation as telling you “what it is”, iNtuition tells you “where it’s going”, Thinking “gives it a name” (i.e. categorizes it), and Feeling tells us what it’s worth.
Sometimes Thinking would be cited as “what it is” as well. I saw a parallel there, and then it would figure that both iNtuition and Feeling would also bear a parallel in dealing with more than simply “what is”. When I first learned about Interaction Styles, I noticed that S and T together were always “directive” or task (rather than people) focused. N and J together were also, but N+J indicated the function-attitude of introverted iNtuition, and it makes sense that that function would be directive, compared with its “light and airy” extraverted counterpart.

But what was it about S and T that seemed to add up to a consistent directiveness? I only needed to remember back to my ISTJ parents always telling me in their trite fashion “life is what it is”, where I wanted more possibilities to be open. Also, in different function descriptions, you could see “facts” associated with either S or T.
So it’s N and F that deal more with “meanings”, whether the possibilities or symbols behind something, or the value we assign to it (when we value something, we often say “this means something to me”). This would explain why the NF temperament would be described as so “idealistic”. (The “mirror temperament” of ST is often called “the empiricist”). The introverted attitudes of both functions (Ni, Fi) are also described as the most “deep”, and the hardest to understand or explain.

So this parallels them according to “is” vs “meaning”, to highlight how they differ from each other:

Sensation: observation that a thing is
Thinking: assessment of what the thing is
iNtuition: observation THAT the thing means something
Feeling: assessment of WHAT the thing means

Products of the functions (NOT what they ARE)
S physical sensation
T impersonal aspects of objects
N inferences
F personal relating to people and events

In terms of DOMAINS:
(information gathering)
S the tangible world
N concepts, ideas and possibilities
(rational assessments, decision-making)
T the properties of objects and how they work
F living souls and their inner states –properties of subjects
Pair with:
e objective orientation
i subjective orientation

So:

Se: Sees the tangible world from an external orientation (emergent experience).
Si: Sees the tangible world from an internal orientation (storehouse of facts/experience)
Ne: Sees the world through concepts from an external orientation (meanings/possibilities inherent in the object)
Ni: Sees the world through concepts from an internal orientation (storehouse of patterns and meanings)

Te: assessment based on objective standard of properties of objects (orders according to outer world efficiency)
Ti: assessment based on subjective standard of properties of objects (orders according inner world efficiency)
Fe: assessment based on objective standard of properties of subjects (orders according to outer world’s human needs)
Fi: assessment based on subjective standard of properties of subjects (orders according to inner world’s human needs)

The four functions look at a field of grass:
S seeing the grass and its color for what it is
(e: just takes it for what it is in the moment; i: stores this and compares from it)
T recognizing it as a green object (categorizing; this is what Allen L. Hammer said at a recent presentation).
(e: we should plant more grass, because green is known to be relaxing; i: ponder on some aspect of it, like the color, species, etc)
N Recognizing green’s significance (e. g. it’s alive)
(e: perhaps this area is well irrigated or fertilized; i: draw a symbolic meaning)
F seeing the color as pretty
(e: this would look nice for inviting people over; i: this makes me happy. I should enjoy and share with others)

All types will go through that same four step process (And both attitudes will be at least implicit).
I would say that inasmuch as every instance of processing we do will include all four, but will focus on only one or two (in one attitude or the other), the unfocused ones could be the basic “unconscious” or “undifferentiated” version of the functions.

Continued:
https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/further-clarification-of-tf

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8 Comments
  1. Functions as we discuss them, are what are considered “abstract” rather than “concrete”. “Concrete and abstract” have become associated with S/N, it seems from Myers and especially Keirsey, and it is understandable why, but the terms are ambiguous used this way, having broader meaning.

    Looking over a discussion I had with someone that touches upon this (and it took me time to realize it would answer some of the questions I had on “concretism” as discussed on the forums recently), another way to express the definition of “abstraction” was “abolishing distinctions among many concrete things in order to focus on what they share in common, which can thereafter be treated as an idea.”

    We can see why this would sound like iNtuition, but it’s really all functions that do this. This is what the functions are; what I’ve been calling “perspective” or “sense of meaning”.
    As further described to me, “we don’t see reality, we see what’s important to us, and the rest of it we take for granted. A differentiated function represents the manner in which we prefer to abstract from the whole.”

    So this concept of “abstraction” in terms of “singling out” then is the key to understanding just what the functions are!

    Sensation singles out tangible or “at hand” elements
    e focuses on external, emergent sensations. Aware, by way of literal senses, of exactly what needs to be done in order to exploit the conditions from moment to moment
    i focuses on an internal storehouse of sensations, what they know through experience to be true, and organizing it in a predictable way through Je.

    iNtuition singles out “larger pictures”, which are not at hand (and thus, the N process is sometimes called “unconscious”)
    e focuses on external, emergent elements matching them to a larger picture that gives them meaning
    i focuses on an internal storehouse of arrangements of elements used to infer what’s left out of patterns

    Thinking singles out the impersonal, technical qualities of things
    e draws upon impersonal aspects of objects as the standard of order
    i draws upon an internal blueprint of impersonal order

    Feeling singles out the “personal” or “interpersonal” (I’m trying to collectivize this as “pan-personal” or “humane”) qualities of things, which would include emotions, and often called “feeling-values” (have always thought this common term was too vague).
    e draws upon personal qualities of objects, such as group values, as the standard of order
    i draws upon an internal blueprint of personal elements, such as individual or universal values

    Concretism marks the undifferentiated forms of the functions, which are expressed as images (the example given me was someone describing themselves as feeling “heavy, slow and inert, like a blob sitting there and getting nowhere”, where the doctor might simply abstract the condition as “burnout”. The latter is one “idea” that can be shared in common by many different people, while what the patients is using an image or metaphor, which has meaning for her. This is said to be the language of the psyche (as opposed to the ego).
    You cannot always isolate a particular function in such examples, as concretism usually reflect admixtures of functional products. They’re all “mixed up with each other”, hence “undifferentiated”.

    This I’m still trying to understand fully.

    Jung’s examples:
    S: sensuous as opposed to aesthetic sensation
    N: fantastic as opposed to symbolic intuition
    T: being unable to conceive of anything except immediately obvious facts transmitted by the senses
    F: the inability to discriminate between subjective feeling and the sensed object (I guess like unusual attachment to objects?)

    (primitive T/F examples: (F) “the magical influence of the the fetish is not experienced as a subjective state of feeling, but sensed as a magical effect”, (T) men experience objects as divinity. In either case, there is a “projection of inner factors into objective data, produc[ing] an almost superstitious veneration of mere facts”).

    So I imagine, when the patient describes feeling slow like a blob, we can’t really single out S, N, T or F. Obviously, sensation is involved, but it’s not really singling out any tangible or at hand element; it’s an image.
    It’s mixed up with personal and impersonal aspects of the situation, and perhaps an inferred (non-tangible) “big picture” (pattern) in there somewhere, but you cannot really separate anything into a “use” of S, N, T or F.

  2. Here I attempt another “from scratch” definition of the functions based on this:

    Differentiated functions are defined as abstracting of data as opposed to remaining “concrete”. This may be confusing because concrete/abstract have commonly been associated with the two functions of Sensing and iNtuition, by Myers and especially Keirsey. But what Jung meant by “abstraction” is the process of abolishing distinctions among many concrete things in order to focus on what they share in common, which can thereafter be treated as an idea.

    A function can be in an “passive” or “active” form. Passive is when a content excites or attracts the function and compels a participation on the part of the subject and active is a deliberate perception or evaluation of contents in accordance with the function and not in accordance with intellectual intention. The example Jung gives is loving as opposed to being in love. The former is an activity or an act of will and the latter is a condition, and a limbic response.

    The differentiated functions we speak of are the active ones. This is what will help clear up what a functional preference is, since everyone “senses”, “intuits”, “thinks” and “feels”.

    So the functions can be thought of as processes of the conscious ego actively abolishing distinctions in the data we run across, or the particular perspectives of these aspects of the data.
    Neurologically, they represent different ways of building connections from the frontal cortex back to the limbic area, resulting in greater abstraction from representation as images freighted with emotion, which are filled out by personal experience. This translates limbic motivation into cognitive data.

    Sensation: abstracts tangible data.
    To consciously separate out sense impressions from data physically “at hand”, and what can be exploited by what you know how to do.

    iNtuition: abstracts intangible data.
    To consciously separate out, basically, things not at hand, such as “bigger pictures” such as meanings (that can be taken from one thing and applied to another), inferences, hypotheses, etc.

    Thinking: abstracts the impersonal, aspect of objects (including ourselves). To consciously separate out technical details and “if-then” effects and personally detach from the situation to make “valid/invalid” assessments.

    Feeling: abstracts the more “personal” (meaning individual, or regarding “persons” in general, including “interpersonal”) side of data.
    To consciously separate out how things affect us, assessed by mirroring a person’s inner state and adjusting one’s behaviors to the correct relationship to an event or person. Will judge more in terms of “good/bad”.
    I use the term “humane”, and also propose “pan-personal” as the opposite of “impersonal”, since it covers all of these meanings).

    For each of these perspectives, we can turn outward to take the data at face value from the external object, or turn inward to further “abstract” subjectively according to an internal storehouse or blueprint of data (where we separate out of the data what is irrelevant according to the internal model).

    All data has all four (or by extension, eight) of these perspectives implicit. All types will recognize all of them, but the different types are defined by a preference for paying more attention to one or the other of these perspectives. There will be one preferred “observation” (S/N) and one preferred “assessment” (T/F). The ego will also have a dominant internal or external orientation (where it prefers mainly to go either inward to the subject or outward tot he object), and one function will be dominant and placed in this realm. This will be the ego’s main “world-view”. The other will be “auxiliary” and placed in the opposite realm.

    The remaining two functions (or six “function-attitudes”, which are the combinations of function and orientation) are basically hypothetical “reflections” of the first two. Your dominant is superior, and for the ego to prefer that functional perspective that much, its opposite will naturally become “inferior”. The second function (which is not as preferred as the dominant) will similarly be reflected by its opposite, and thus not be as suppressed as the inferior. So it ends up in third place, or “tertiary”.
    The ego structure also places the tertiary in the same orientation as the dominant, while the inferior remains in the opposite orientation. This creates a further “reflection” (or “shadowing”) where the opposite orientations of the four are even further suppressed from consciousness.

    These have been associated with various archetypal complexes in one theory, and with a ship crew analogy in another.

    I normally look at things by turning inward (i) to make impersonal (T) assessments, which leads to a need for things to “make sense” (according to an internal blueprint. And coupled with N, it does not have to be tangible or “at hand”, but rather hypothetical, having “meaning” beyond what’s literally observed).
    In the “Crow’s Nest” theory, because an impersonal outlook might not explain everything in a situation, then while still operating internally, I might switch to a more “personal” perspective, such as “personally relating” to (mirroring) an evolving variable. Usually, it is assumed that when I need to switch to a personal outlook, I would go “outside” to access the version of Feeling that lies in the first four (called “ego-syntonic”). But the internal orientation (seen as the most repressed of all the function-attitudes, hence #8, or “Demonic” archetype complex), does share the same “P” attitude (meaning the preferred Perception is externally oriented, and thus, the Judgment is internal), and in this theory, the same brain hemisphere (right). So it is in some way like my dominant Thinking. (This leads to a lot of confusion between FP and TP when they find they “use” both Ji functions a lot).

    So when pondering on the way things “should be” in the world based on what “makes sense”, when I run across a more human-oriented piece of data, then I’ll turn inward to personally identify. (Also referencing painful experience, which may in some cases tie, at least loosely, into the complex called “Demonic”). Otherwise, when assessing person-related situations, I’ll generally turn outward and entrust the judgment to others, such as a group.

  3. What it is What it means
    Observation S N
    Assessment T F
  4. Should lay out the eight function-attitudes in terms of the “turning inward/outward” concept I learned from MBTI class, which I’m seeing is the best way to express them:

    Se turning outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)
    Si turning inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)
    Ne turning outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)
    Ni turning inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns)
    Te turning outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object)
    Ti turning inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)
    Fe turning outward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined based directly on the group)
    Fi turning inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)

  5. The types as combinations of preferred functions:

    ISTJ
    Si turn inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)

    Te turn outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object)

    ISFJ
    Si turn inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)

    Fe turn outward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined based directly on the group)

    INFJ
    Ni turn inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns)

    Fe turn outward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined based directly on the group)

    INTJ
    Ni turn inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns)

    Te turn outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object)

    ISTP
    Ti turn inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)

    Se turn outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)

    ISFP
    Fi turn inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)

    Se turn outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)

    INFP
    Fi turn inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)

    Ne turn outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)

    INTP
    Ti turn inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)

    Ne turn outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)

    ESTP
    Se turn outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)

    Ti turn inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)

    ESFP
    Se turn outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)

    Fi turn inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)

    ENFP
    Ne turn outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)

    Fi turn inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)

    ENTP
    Ne turn outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)

    Ti turn inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)

    ESTJ
    Te turn outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object)

    Si turn inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)

    ESFJ
    Fe turn outward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined based directly on the group)

    Si turn inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)

    ENFJ
    Fe turn outward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined based directly on the group)

    Ni turn inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns)

    ENTJ
    Te turn outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object)

    Ni turn inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns)

  6. Was going to do up all 16 types like this, but with must my type, you get the idea (you basically use the other types whose preferred functions form the other “blocks” (tert/inf, etc) as the templates for how those functions will play out in those complexes):

    INTP

    Lead with Ti (hero):
    Default ego worldview is to turn inward to make impersonal assessments (determinations stem from an internal blueprint of order)
    May overdo it and neglect the personal side of things and the outer world.

    Support with Ne (parent):
    Supply worldview with data, and tend to help others by turning outward for conceptual observations (emergent inferences extracted from objects)
    May overdo it and resist tangible reality (life “as is”), details, etc.

    Find relief with Si (Puer):
    Reflects aux. by turning inward for tangible observations (referencing a storehouse of experience)
    May overdo it and become stuck in the past (in a childish way), or stubbornly cling onto what is known to be true and not change it

    Aspire to Fe (inferior/anima):
    Deep down inside want to turn outward to make personal assessments (harmony determined based directly on the group)
    May overdo it and on one hand, become too dependent on acceptance by others (neglecting any inner sense of self), yet still not be willing to adapt to social situations seen as illogical

    The SHADOWS:

    Oppose with Te (also backup):
    When ego feels obstructed by something, turn outward to make impersonal assessments (the determination of logical order is implicit in the object).
    Use this to try to beat others at their logic using their own principles.

    Critical with Ni (Senex):
    When ego feels negated, turn inward for conceptual observations (referencing a storehouse of inferential patterns).
    Parental “authority” which focuses on a lot of possibilities now locks in on one (stored inside, and previously ignored), usually reflecting the negative pattern associated with what caused the feeling of negation in the first place.
    It can become good if more attention is paid to such inner intuitions, in which case “big pictures” would be found, with more positive implications.

    Trick with Se:
    When ego feels double-bound or put upon; turn outward for tangible observations (emergent experience)
    Throw facts back at people to get them off my back or reverse the expectations. Child, storing past facts and burdens, now turns “bad” and grabs emergent data against the accuser (usually what the other person is doing that is the “same thing they criticize me for”).
    Use of tangible contrasts and oppositions (sights, sounds, etc) can come in handy in a comical way.

    Be destructive with Fi (Daimon):
    When ego feels threatened with destruction; turn inward to make personal assessments (harmony is determined from an internal blueprint)
    When not getting the acceptance the inferior complex desires, and especially when it just doesn’t make sense, as the hero(ego) desires, then there may be feelings of being “no good”, totally, or that maybe even life itself is corrupt.
    Eventually, can draw a sense of worth from stressful feelings. It seems to involve realizing that ego (at least in this current earthy state) is temporary, and the things it wants is not really worth such feelings of destruction.

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