Taking it Again From the Top: Functions from their Generic Roots
Functions all deal in “positive/negative”
IS or ISN’T YES or NO
(no course of action if negative; it’s just data gathering)
S experiencing with what exists, or is observable (tangible [edit: is/isn’t; physical items])
N filling in according to what’s possible (inferred/implied; imagined; intangible contexts [edit: could/couldn’t; mental constructs])
judgment: RIGHT or WRONG
(if negative, we are prompted to action, including mental; i.e. the “judgment”)
T dealing with its impersonal qualities (true/false, in/correct)
F considering its personal affect (good/bad, dis/like)
This ties into my last attempt to clarify the definitions: (https://erictb.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/another-crack-at-function-definitions-relationships-of-objects)
T’s “true/false” is basically a judgment of the “correct [impersonal] relationship between objects”
F’s “good/bad” is a judgment of the “correct interpersonal relationships between subjects”.
The perception functions (S/N) are still basically “tangible/intangible”, and what exists [“is”] is basically experienced as tangible (even if it’s something like light rays, which “touch” the neurotransmitters in your eye); and anything else that we surmise exists [i.e. “could” be], therefore needs to be “filled in” from a larger context like a “pattern” (even a physical or visible one, like in comparing to something unrelated, but has some sort of inferred similarity; focusing on a property to compare, like its shape, you have turned into an “idea”), and is thus, intangible. [Edit: What you’re actually perceiving is either things itemized from the physical world, or things constructed mentally].
But when you speak of “judgment”, it’s good to clarify what “judgment” actually is. We often say “how we make decisions”, but that’s so vague.
So what it is, is ultimately an assessment of what’s “right” (good as it is, and should be striven for), or “wrong” (and likely needs to be changed to what’s right).
S: What exists (tangible “at hand” reality [edit: physical items]) can be:
•immediate (current), external, emergent
•stored in a mental canister to integrate new experiences with
N: intangible connections ([edit: mental constructs]) can be inferred (filled in) from:
•the objects themselves (including ones stored in memory, to unify with larger contexts)
•the subjective unconscious (impressions that have no tangible basis; often symbols)
T/F: both true/false and good/bad assessments can be:
•set by the objects themselves and/or what’s learned from the culture (taking on a “localized” nature)
•set by subjective models of the nature of things generally learned individually, and from nature (thus, universalistic)
Introverted functions end up dealing in “universals” because they are readily available to us, rather than the [“artificial”] judgments of a “manmade” group. We develop them by interacting naturally with our environment. So they’re unadapted to a specific cultural design and more individual than social. Anyone (in any culture) who is attuned to the environment in this way will reach similar conclusions. (So it’s not really about the universe; it’s about human embodiment). Introverted functions are about mapping our environment in our heads, where we then recognize landmarks and adjust ourselves to changes.
Examples of learned from culture are alphabetic order, math formulas and social etiquette. These rational standards are local, linking us to a specific place and time, where relationships (whether personal or impersonal, like math) requires a social contract held in common.
What can be learned naturally, individually (from our own experience, in contrast with cultural norms) can be the principles behind those things: how numbers work, or even technical details of [manmade] languages (the glyphs used in both fields are just abstract representations agreed on by a culture), or universal principles of what people like. That certain things you like or dislike you can assume (i.e. infer from within*) will be liked or disliked by others, since we’re all alike on a fundamental level. Like we all like to be comfortable, and don’t like to be attacked by others.
All of this data is implicit in all experience.
*(Now, I’m saying inferring is iNtuition, and here, we see how the functional perspectives all overlap. [edit the products of “inference” are “constructs”; so this is the more elemental term].
In fact, “abstract”, which has come to be used for iNtuition, really means “separated out”, where “concrete, used for Sensing, means “mixed together”. All differentiated functions “abstract” their respective data from the concrete reality, and the introverted functions in particular, further separate out of external reality the internal “blueprint” of things the we’ve retained for reference).
We have often said “we all use ‘all eight functions’, but…”‘; but what exactly does that mean? It’s almost a cliché sometimes: “We all use all functions, but only ‘prefer‘ some…” This still isn’t really telling us much, thus it has not really been grasped, and we still end up thinking if someone “values” something, it has a necessarily bearing on his T/F preference.
But in everything we process, there is some sort of tangible object or energy (light, sound, etc.), that can be taken in immediately or stored in memory. It can be intangibly connected to other objects, contexts, ideas or impressions, either directly or through less conscious means. We will think something about it is true or false, and this based either on external means we’ve learned from the environment or are dictated by the local situation, or internal principles we’ve learned individually, often through nature; and we may like or dislike it or something about it, again, based either on an external values we’ve learned from the environment, or internal values we’ve learned individually through nature.
Yes, we all do all of these things constantly. So what do we mean when we declare some of these processes as “preferred” in making up a “type”?
It’s when an ego selects one of them, in addition to the internal or external orientation as its primary way of approaching life.
The other functions are initially, in a state called “undifferentiated”, which means they remain pretty much in the “GDE” (“Generic Data Elements”) form, which is connected with the limbic brain of emotional motivation (to responses to immediate experience).
What exists, it’s larger context such as a pattern, whether it works or is understood correctly or not, or is “good” or “bad” for people all figures in this process (and even animals are affected by this, but they are not considered to use the “functions” as we describe them, as “cognitive”). But when a function “differentiates”, we then begin cognitively interpreting the data, where the raw motivation turns into investment in activities that have meaning for us.
Since this is all about how the ego artificially divides an undivided reality, then for the sake of balance: they will need to both perceive and judge, and have access to both the inner and outer worlds; another function fitting those two opposite criteria will end up in a “supporting” role.
This then sets the type. All of the remaining possible function/attitude combinations, which will basically mirror these first two in being the opposite function and/or attitude and level of suppression in favor of the preferred ones, will become associated with complexes which similarly mirror the ego and its “supporting caretaker” complex.
Thus we have the complete type and function+archetype(complex) model.
So the ego divides reality into these different perspectives. What’s preferred will be the driving force between the polarity.
S: what’s existent * is used to assume implications (n) [Edit: comment below]
N: what’s inferred/imagined * is based on, and elevated to a kind of existence (s) [Edit: comments below]
T: what’s true/false * is liked/disliked or good/bad (f)
F: what’s good/bad * determines true/false (t)
e: what’s _____ *according to an external reality* is…
i: what’s _____ *according to an internal blueprint* is…
These complexes in the psyche are organized around emotions, which again, are what the functions interpret. Complexes are what we project onto others, so the GDEs that can’t be fit into the dominant framework get projected outward on to others as well, making them conscious to us, as they help us justify or deny the reactions with which they’re allied.
(Thus, attitude is connected to the differentiated dominant, and so below not noted in the other [undifferentiated] functions, whose attitudes are set more by the complexes they associate with. The undifferentiated functions by themselves don’t split the world into subject and object; it’s the complexes, starting with the ego (the main sense of “I”), and then the others ⦅which are lesser senses of “I”⦆ that do that. Here we see all functions entering awareness, when linked to the dominant standpoint).
i-Tf/Ns perspective: what’s true (T) according to my internal blueprints (i) I like (feel is good: f); my dominant standpoint is informed by what’s inferred (N) from what exists (s). [Edit: or mental constructs connecting physical items; or what “could” exist]
[edit: full type breakdown in comment]
Here are how common descriptions or even ‘names’ of the functions fit:
Berens function names:
Experiencing (i.e. …what exists, currently, tangibly)
Recalling (i.e. internal storehouse of what exists tangibly)
Inferring (i.e. …from other [external] objects, contexts, patterns)
Envisioning (i.e. inferring from internal unconscious impressions)
Organizing (i.e. external environment sets correct impersonal order)
Analyzing (…according to sense of what’s [impersonally]correct, learned individually/naturally)
Considering (i.e. the environment sets the standard of what’s good [for people]).
Evaluating (…according to sense of what’s good [for people], learned individually, from nature)
Hartzler & Hartzler function names:
The Scout (e.g. the part of us that seeks current tangible experience)
The Conservator (e.g. the part of us that measures tangible experience according to what’s known [to the subject])
The Brainstormer (e.g. the part of us that infers possibilities by comparing objects and contexts)
The Seer (e.g. the part of us that infers from unconscious impressions)
The Administrator (e.g. the part of us that orders impersonally according to the environment)
The Analyzer (e.g. the part of us that assesses impersonally, based on what’s known internally)
The Guide (the part of us that determines what’s “good” [for self and others] from the environment
The Conscience (e.g. the part of us that decides what’s “good” [for self and others] from within
[Edit: “what exists” and “tangible experience” can be interchanged with “physical items”, and “mental constructs” or “what could be” can be added to what’s “inferred”].
I would say that some of these terms might hold, IF they are understood as at best fitting GDE’s, and not differentiated functions (since any type can do these things).
I would distinguish the GDE’s from regular “functions” as such:
Natural: Sg, Ng, Tg, Fg
With attitudes: Sge, Sgi, Nge, Ngi, Tge, Tgi, Fge, Fgi
Dominant perspective (experiencing/filling in perception, or true/good judgments)
Since the ego is most concerned with the dominant function (Jung originally had only eight types, based on the dominant function and attitude and the auxiliary simply distinguished two different variations of each type), then the way to help determine the dominant is by which perspective is really central to your view of the world. It can still be difficult, since the functions are not “gears” that are used one after the other, but simultaneously, and each element, again, being present in all data.
Like I knew that both Ti and Ne figured in my perspective, but found it hard to tell what was really the driving force. Especially since it’s easy to confuse Thinking with iNtuition, since both are more “in the head”.
But the terms “true/false” and “good/bad” have finally made it clear that judgments, of “true/false” are what everything is all about for me.
When I discover and put together facts of the past, like what was where in the Five Points, this is a succession of “true!” judgments. This may seem like S, but the gratification I get in finding out stuff is really in terms of a declaration of “true”! (i.e. this was here, that was there, and that is a fact, just for it’s own sake).
It was for me the same sort of “sleuthing” that I grew up fascinated by watching Batman do (on his own shows or the Superfriends), in finding clues, and then putting them together and making a determination (judgment) of what was true; (the correct sequence of events; who did it, why, what things meant, etc. Scooby was that way as well, and the best were the pairups of Batman and Scooby!)
S by contrast would be a fact for the purpose of either exploiting in the moment, or referencing later to inform judgments.
(You could say S and T both deal in “fact”, but S is about experiencing “fact” while T is about judging “fact”.
And for Fi the judgment would be “good!” instead of “true”. Te and Fe would be “true” or “good” determined by its external impersonal or interpersonal efficiency.
Now, it’s funny, as at one point, Ne seemed strongest for me, but I actually find it hard to imagine what an Ne dominant standpoint is like. I imagine, NeTi is like TiNe, but not as grounded upon technical [judged] “fact”, but more into the experiential aspect of it).
As far as S is concerned, ego does have further investment in the data through the Puer (“eternal child”) complex processing the Si elements (data that is being added to the internal storehouse, and comparing what was there then, with what’s there now, and some things even surviving), and then Ne is looking at what could have been, etc. (intangible interconnections or the larger contexts, including the overall “story”, and alternate “stories”. Like if other neighborhoods and buildings survived to the present, and are familiar, then this one would have been another one like them if it survived, but with its own particular layout and landmarks).
How to tell the dominant from the auxiliary, cont’d. Other confused terms
As I’m trying to come up with simpler expressions of the functions now, and emphasizing somewhat that the the ego is framed around the dominant, I used to wonder how to tell the difference in all of that, between iNtuition and Thinking. But clearly, the focus is more on the “true/false” (or “correct/incorrect”) judgment than on filling in simply experienced data with inferences. That’s why the data may even seem more ‘sensory’ at times. (There’s even a debate as to whether Jung held the aux. and tertiary to be really “two auxiliaries”).
It may be easier to “see” the Ne, because it’s extraverted, while introverted functions (especially Ti, Fi and Ni) are harder to “see” because of the fact that they are so “deep”, and then when preferred, and especially when dominant, they become so “second-nature”.
This is actually another form of “unconsciousness”, according to Jung —which makes it hard to know what he’s talking about when he uses terms like that in so many different contexts. (“Concrete/abstract” and “subjective/objective” being the two other key examples of this). “Unconscious” we normally think of as the opposite of our conscious preferred functions; like the “shadows”. Then, he also uses it for introverted functions as it is; and for iNtuition of both stripes as well.
(“Conscious” is basically presumed to be whatever is external and sensory. Notice how all three ambiguous term pairs deal in external reality vs the subjective experience. That’s because we automatically divide reality into “outer” [objective, concrete, conscious, sensory] and “inner” [subjective, abstracted, unconscious, interpreted] just by being sentient egos, yet our ego’s perspective can still be either internal or external in one of those ways or another).
So we can see right there why Ni, which for me fits all three “unconscious” definitions (introverted, iNtuitive, and a shadow function), is so hard to understand.
But it also became hard to really sort out Ti vs Fi, especially when popular teaching associated emotion with Feeling, and that only F’s (and particularly Fi) ever decided things by “personal values”.
But Ne is about matching things to larger contexts, and while this figures heavily in my interests, the “true” judgment made from the data has more of an emotional investment than the collecting of the data itself. The data gathering was only to feed the judgment process.
Thus, Ne dominants (even with Ti as auxiliary) are more able to jump from topic to topic, where I want to stay fixed on a subject. One time, I tried to jump to a tangent in a conversation, and then apologized, but the ENTP said it was OK, and wanted to go with the new direction. (In this case, the data collection has more of an emotional investment, and true/false judgments are what they lean towards in rationally processing the data).
Hence, ENP’s (of either T or F variety) end up both “Sanguine” (on the surface, or “Get Things Going” Interaction Style). The purest Sanguine is the ESFP (Se+Fi, and both GtG and the Keirseyan SP group), and the Sanguine temperament is heavily described as very “sensory” (especially in APS material, which described it as such mainly in the surface, social “Inclusion” area), while Se is the ENP’s least conscious (8th place or “daimonic”) function, and even Si is inferior.
But the common thread between Se and Ne is the “go with the flow” openness (which is one of the main Sanguine drives), and while Se is sense impressions as they occur, Ne is simply comparing them to larger contexts (which also maintains “openness”; hence the common “P” designation).
So that way, ENP’s can still be just as “sensory”-focused as other Sanguines, but what they’re doing with the data is different, shaped by the blended temperament (Choleric or Supine, in the leadership of conative” area denoted by the Keirsey group), connected with the N preference.
The importance of the dominant is one reason Socionics reverts back to “j/p” as dominant function rather than preferred extraverted function (though this won’t work with Interaction Styles or Cognitive Styles, as ENp and INp end up on opposite sides of the “directing/informing” scale as well as preferred function-attitudes. And even Personality Junkie tries to put more emphasis on dominant j/p).
So this is a good way to know what your dominant is.
Each pair of types (sharing the same “dominant” can be seen as the “servant” of that functional perspective (and the aspect of it they are most gratified by):
ESP: Servant of current tangible experience (“let’s jump on it for the experience!”“)
ISJ: Servant of experience by learned fact (“let’s learn from the experience“)
ENP: Servant of filling in interconnections between objects (“let’s add this idea to it“)
INJ: Servant of filling in patterns with unarticulated ideas (“this is left out of the idea“)
ETJ: Servant of local impersonal “correct”ness (“this is correct for the situation”)
ITP: Servant of universal impersonal “truth” (“it’s true!”)
EFJ: Servant of local interpersonal “likes” (“people will like this”)
IFP: Servant of universal personal “good” (“it’s good!”)
So the question to first ask, is whether your main outlook (and what you’re most energized by and take the most pleasure in) is taking in information, or making some sort of positive/negative judgment (particularly looking for the positive: the “correct” or the “good”).
E/I and J/P together are supposed to tell you that, but a more direct way to do that is to go back to Jung’s original use of j/p (i.e. rational/irrational), as referring to the dominant function.
The MBTI use, referring to the extraverted function came in handy for the more “interactive” (temperament and Interaction Style) side of type, but it was originally framed around the more internal dynamic of each ego’s dominant perspective.