Unfortunately, I’ve never been satisfied with the definition of introversion/extroversion dichotomy as being the source of one’s energy. For example, extroverts get their energy from outside sources (e.g. socializing, brainstorming); and introverts get their energy from within (e.g. being alone, reflection). The reason is that according to this definition, I (along with many others) could easily fit under both categories equally well. However, even when looking at cognitive functions, I’m still not quite satisfied to think of an extroverted function as being ‘external’ or ‘out-loud’ while introverted functions are seen as ‘internal’ or ‘silent.’ The reason for this is that this is defining cognition (inherently an internal/unobservable process) as behaviour (inherently an external/observable process), and I feel that just doesn’t work. I like to believe that introverted functions and extroverted functions have the ability to be both internal and external in the sense of observability.
Introversion and Extroversion
Whether or not a function is introverted or extroverted technically changes whether the direction of the action is guided inward (reflection) or outward (alignment), as far as my understanding goes. But when a function is being used, how can we understand which direction it is flowing? Especially since all too often, these cognitive processes are indeed internal (in the sense of cognition rather than direction of a function), and rarely observable (in the sense that outward behaviours are observable). In other words, someone may arrive at the same outcome (e.g. sympathy/empathy for another) but have travelled completely different paths to get there (e.g. reflection on how their own feelings; aligning their feelings to the other person’s).
Moreover, these processes of cognition are nearly instantaneous, and only by going back in the past and putting these functions in slow motion through the discussion and interviewing of actual instances can we realize the differences in a person’s process compared to another’s. So when Thinking and Feeling are involved, how do we understand if these processes are flowing internally or externally?
Personally, I like to think of them as tall and wide when regarding judging functions (T/F). (I know this sounds ridiculous, but stay with me for a moment.) Introversion of a decision-making function is tall, much like validity – relying on intrinsic values within the context of oneself. These introverted processes are subjective, meaning that they are defined mostly on a singular, individual context.
Extraversion of decision-making functions are wide, much like reliability – reaching outward to universal values that can be applied regardless of the context. These extraverted processes are objective, meaning that they are defined mostly on multiple, external contexts. Both validity and reliability can be achieved when a balance of both decision making functions is reached – something that is both deep and far-reaching. So basically, the result looks as follows:
Ji – tall/deep, aspiring towards validity, intrinsic values, subjective.
Je – wide/broad, aspiring towards reliability, extrinsic values, objective.
Thinking and Feeling
Thinking and feeling are both decision-making, evaluative processes (judging). They are in a search for value in their different terms of the word. It is difficult to define these functions in words without automatically choosing words that lean towards introversion or extroversion. The reason for this, I think, is because these are merely theoretical constructions of half-functions. The moment they are brought into actuality is the moment that they must take on either an introverted process or an extroverted process. Therefore, I will leave this section to the traditional sense of head vs. heart. Thinking being the head (i.e. intellectual); and feeling being the heart (i.e. emotional). The end result is as follows:
Tx – head, intellectual.
Fx – heart, emotional.
Combining the Two Factors
When we combine these two factors together, they may look something like this:
Ti – tall/deep head; aspiring towards intellectual validity; subjective thinking.
Te – wide/broad head; aspiring towards intellectual reliability; objective thinking.
Fi – tall/deep heart; aspiring towards emotional validity; subjective feeling.
Fe – wide/broad heart; aspiring towards emotional reliability; objective feeling.
While this may seem to make some sort of sense, the whole thing seems contrived, almost as if it were cut and pasted together hastily. This is not far from the truth, and there is wisdom to be said for such evaluations. This is because the whole is often more than the sum of the parts. If we were to think of these parts together to get an idea of the holistic picture, we would get a better understanding of how each function differs. The following is my best attempt at finding specific words which fit the constructs I’ve made in an attempt to understand these functions on an equal level:
Ti – logic.
Te – principles.
Fi – morals.
Fe – ethics.
As far as I understand, logic (Ti) aspires towards intellectual validity; fits well and deeply within individual contexts; and searches for value intrinsically. Whereas principles (Te) aspire towards intellectual reliability; fits well and broadly across multiple contexts; and searches for value extrinsically.
Likewise, morals (Fi) aspire towards emotional validity; fits well and deeply within individual contexts; and searches for value intrinsically. And ethics (Fe) aspire towards emotional reliability; fits well and broadly across multiple contexts; and searches for value extrinsically.
I apologize if this endeavor to understand introverted/extroverted thinking/feeling functions on a relatively equal and non-biased context has either previously been explained or contains several grievous misunderstandings. I also realize that all of these are completely lacking in good, concrete examples from reality. If I can come up with any of these in the mean time, I'll let you know! I would also like to explore I/E perceiving functions possibly at a later date.
Thank you for reading! I look forward to any thoughts!