[ESFJ] Feeling as a Rational Function

Feeling as a Rational Function

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  1. #1
    ESFJ - The Caregivers

    Feeling as a Rational Function

    I already posted this in the Cognitive Functions forum, but I figured I'd post it here too because this seems to relate to other ESFJs I know (and other F-dom types).
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    Feeling as a Rational Function

    “What I mean by feeling in contrast to thinking is a judgment of value; agreeable or disagreeable, good or bad, and so on. Feeling so defined is not an emotion or affect, which is, as the words convey, an involuntary manifestation. Feeling as I mean it is a judgment without any of the obvious bodily reactions that characterize an emotion. Like thinking, it is a rational function. (p. 219)”
    -Carl Jung, Psychological Types

    Jung gives a good explanation of the validity of feeling as a cognitive function that I would like to touch upon. And I want to explain why feelers may have a lot of difficulty in explaining the nature of their understanding of things.

    Many associate the feeling types with irrationality, which is untrue in terms of the manner of which feeling serves as a judging function (this is without the association of emotions). Feeling as a function is not so much emotional subjectivity (or emotions at all), but the ability to feel the essence of something, and quite objectively, as it is a manner of gathering information, and as Jung states, ”Like thinking, it is a rational function. (p. 219)”

    The point of conflict with thinking vs feeling usually resides in emotional justifications, or the lack of ability to provide rational explanations and thereby attempting to translate with emotions. When emotional expression is misused or insufficient, the idea is lost in translation. The state of emotional subjectivity in which blindly passionate support or opposition clouds one’s view of the truth may also be a problem; however, becoming passionate about something is not always an indicator of close-mindedness or frivolous devotion. Some people are used to emotional expression and may simply relay their ideas in this manner.

    The greater issue arises when emotions come to serve as a basis for irrational decision (by irrational I don't mean unjustified, but not emotionally detached). To the thinkers (referring to all thinking types, not just NTs specifically), a spectacle of rampant emotions in the face of an argument is absurd, and rightfully so. But the actual function of feeling, although a precursor for emotions, is explained by Jung as a completely rational manner of observing and understanding (as a judging function) the essence or manifestation of an object or idea. This method may often bring the person to an understanding about something that is completely unanimous with a rational understanding derived from a thinking perspective; however it is a different manifestation, rather, intangible and sometimes difficult to explain. It is described differently, and almost felt, but without the subjectivity of the person's feelings. That comes into existence later on, when the person forms opinions and emotional attachments around the many things they know.

    In this way, feeling as a method of judgment is no more flawed or unreliable than thinking, but a lack of a strong 'thinking' ability may cause a person much difficulty in translating this understanding in their head to another person, and thus cause confusion and frustration in the face of an argument or debate. How does one justify the validity of their understanding when that understanding manifests itself as an intangible essence, that when compared is very much the same as a solidly rational explanation, but difficult to communicate? This is quite possibly where some tend to substitute emotions when faced with difficulty explaining themselves, and most definitely where some go wrong, as no explanation or translation of thought is often achieved.

    Consider this hypothetical situation:

    Person A (a thinker) and Person B (a feeler) are having a debate about the type of laptop that would best accommodate the needs of a first-year college student.

    Person A: “I would personally prefer a Mac, but I know that a Dell or Toshiba with a Windows operating system would be more useful for a college freshman.”

    Person B: “I like Macs better. They’re definitely better. I can do so much more on a Mac than I can on a PC. The software is much better too.”

    Person A: “Yes, but almost all professors require Microsoft Office formats for electronically submitted assignments, and school security software and web pages often service Windows computers. I know I would probably have a hard time formatting everything for a Mac, so it would probably be easier having a PC. And it doesn’t matter what you like, or what cool features you have. The point is that you’ll be getting homework done and passing your classes because it didn’t take more effort to format your paper for submission than it did to open Photo Booth and snap 230 pictures of yourself in 30 different filters.”

    Person B: “Oh, so I’m going to fail because I have a Mac? I have a 4.0 GPA asshole.”

    What Person B probably meant was: “Macs actually have good software compatibility and can run Windows program software, such as Microsoft Office, and support internet systems such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Also, they’re extremely user friendly, which would probably work well for a college student, and they have exceptional security systems, which would help prevent hackers and viruses on the unprotected school Wi-Fi, especially when you have a paper due the next day that you can’t risk losing. Windows computers have a history of diminished reliability in the field of security and anti-virus protection. Macs are also optimal for an art student because of the multitude of art-based software and programs available.”

    The problem is that person B knows all of this, but can’t seem to explain it clearly, or even recall it in the moment because of the pressure of urgency to respond to the argument made by person A. All of this usually comes to person B about 20 minutes after the argument has ended and after they have already taken Person A’s remarks personally. This is why there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to reply, because you might have an easier time saying what you really meant to say.

    Person B wants to justify their opinion because they know it’s completely valid, but becomes angry when Person A does not see their point. Well, that is likely to happen if Person B forgets that they didn’t explain their point at all. Person B probably does not feel the need to explain, as the idea is already clearly known to them through much they have already learned or observed and they may not care to explain it all to Person A. Person A might not feel the need to explain themselves past a factual justification, and probably won’t understand the lack of desire to provide such and thus justify your point. Person B can then forget that Person A needs an explanation of facts before they believe it or acknowledge their point.

    As a result of the above situation, we are left with one person making an argument and looking for evidence whilst pointing out discrepancies, and another trying to translate their ideas in the same manner, but saying all the wrong things, becoming frustrated, and lashing out emotionally. Person A is most likely confused, baffled and annoyed at the lack of argumentative tact displayed, and by no means sees any credibility in Person B’s argument whatsoever. And person B is now emotionally spent, frustrated with the other’s carnivorous questioning, and annoyed at his/her own inability to translate ideas. This only one of many ways in which a situation can turn sour.

    From a personal point of view, this explains how often I have such a strong understanding of many things in an intangible manner, but must find concrete explanations for them through the words of others. It is also why I do not translate my own true thoughts, as the complexity and indistinct nature of these thoughts is very difficult to explain. Unfortunately, it is almost habit for me to resort to black and white logic in attempt to explain my point, but I am learning to encompass ration, reason, and clarity, as each serves a very useful and practical purpose. In order to avoid a bad argument, I have to remind myself not to think of how the person is saying something, but rather, what they are actually saying. I used to be extremely sensitive to how things were said, and arguments would end much in the same way that the above scenario did. It is much more refreshing to actually accomplish something by explaining myself, or by taking the time to explain myself, or even by explaining how I can’t explain myself. At least the other person understands something productive this way.

    Also, when in the face of an argument, I have the most difficult time explaining the complexity of my point of view or how I am quite certain of its validity because there are so many points of truth I could provide the other person with as facts, but never know which to begin with. Often, I don’t expect the other person to actually want to know how I came to a conclusion, as I am not expecting them to agree with me; I am simply stating my opinion in the most simplified manner, and probably enjoying conversing with them more than the debating itself. The frustration of being pressured to quickly answer, especially in the face of false assumptions and ad hominem attacks (which distract me from the main point, and ultimately serve no purpose in advancing or assisting the argument or problem at hand) can often cause a pressured response, usually then affected by personal emotions and no longer clear, logical, rational, or even what I really wanted to say in the first place.

    Overall, trying to format your ideas into explanations that fit a rational model of discussion causes many problems, and often the idea is lost in translation. Instead, it may be preferable to find a way to translate your ideas not necessarily to fit the rational model of argument, but to complement it and still remain true to your original, genuine train of thought. Although, it makes more sense to explain something in that manner, as it is a formula for concise clarity.

    The point is that it should not be a struggle for you to explain yourself all the time; however, it may be inevitable if you simply don’t try. It is probably best to determine a manner of explaining yourself that works for you, and to improve upon it so that others can understand you. You will not be taken seriously if you can’t explain yourself, as I have become quite used to intellectual dismissal from others and have most definitely been considered an illogical, unintelligent, irrational, and invalid debater (and person) in terms of my beliefs/knowledge. I cannot object to those previous opinions, as I only presented myself in the worst of ways, and emotionally as well. However, the misunderstandings resulting from my inability to communicate properly are not something that I wish to decide my credibility as a person. This is why I attempted to explain the validity of feeling as a rational function to separate it from the generalized idea of feeling=emotions.

    This only begins to touch the surface of feeling vs thinking, but I hope it provides some clarity in that regard. And please remember that feeling does not translate to irrationality, it is hyper-emotionalism, close-mindedness, hyper-sensitivity, immaturity and ignorance that translates to such. And although it is likely to be derived from emotions and feeling (feeling types), this irrationality can be found in many people (if not most), regardless of type.

    --------
    (Just the usual disclaimers)
    I may have flawed grammar/spelling from 'hyper-typing'
    I have not even come close to exploring or including all the facets of this idea, as this is a very complex subject.
    Apologies for writing a book and for over-explaining and repeating as usual (still working on it).
    Also, note that this is extremely generalized, and different types specifically may deal with these things in different ways (depending on cognitive functions, or other things). Some may even disagree with this explanation.
    Hope this helps.



  2. #2
    Unknown

    This is a really great explanation. I liked how you illustrated the differences between feeling and thinking with the computer scenario. I also resonated with the idea that we know exactly what our opinion of something is and that it was rationally informed, but we have trouble recalling all the specific reasons why and explaining them in words.

  3. #3

    Person A pissed off Person B and then Person B got defensive/hurt big time. It's okay, I'm person B. I was in programs with Person A all the time (and with many) and it wasn't easy... back into that again, so I try to breathe and attempt to have reason instead of being pissed off... but it's so hard. Of course, if you respond with something that sounds feeling or very opinionated, they just write it off as crap... which makes it worse. I grew up with a Person A type in my household that we argued all the time and he played Devil's advocate with me, so I become more resilient... and he was a hard Person A type. Being "forced" into programs and growing up with someone that requires more laid out logic has helped in the long run, but is a very painful process....

    And I very much relate with what's written above. Excellent! Thank you so much for writing this!

  4. #4
    ENFP - The Inspirers

    I can definitely relate with Person B. Thank you!
    rd93 thanked this post.

  5. #5
    Unknown Personality


    Firs off, I'd like to compliment you on your writing abilities. Excellent. Your clarity, transition from one idea to the next (including paragraph transition). Your grammar is in check, making it easy to read and understand. Not to mention, the references, and page numbers you provide as evidence. Bravo. INTP approved if that holds any value to you.

    This is why I believe writing is a better alternative to speaking. It doesn't require spontaneous recall while at the same time trying to translate your thoughts into words that the outside world can comprehend. You can pause, think it through at your own pace, then write.

    I broke down certain sections to what I thought were key and wrote why.


    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    Feeling so defined is not an emotion or affect, which is, as the words convey, an involuntary manifestation.
    For so long I thought, F = Emotional creature, not, F can lead to emotion. Completely different.

    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    In this way, feeling as a method of judgment is no more flawed or unreliable than thinking, but a lack of a strong 'thinking' ability may cause a person much difficulty in translating this understanding in their head to another person, and thus cause confusion and frustration in the face of an argument or debate. How does one justify the validity of their understanding when that understanding manifests itself as an intangible essence, that when compared is very much the same as a solidly rational explanation, but difficult to communicate?
    Exactly what I was searching for. I literally typed, "Feeling, a rational function?", "Why is Feeling a rational function?" into the Google search bar. As stated above earlier, I thought Feeling = emotion. Emotion = subjectivity. The second sentence led me to this thread. This explains a lot.



    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    Person B: “Oh, so I’m going to fail because I have a Mac? I have a 4.0 GPA asshole.”

    What Person B probably meant was: “Macs actually have good software compatibility and can run Windows program software, such as Microsoft Office, and support internet systems such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Also, they’re extremely user friendly, which would probably work well for a college student, and they have exceptional security systems, which would help prevent hackers and viruses on the unprotected school Wi-Fi, especially when you have a paper due the next day that you can’t risk losing. Windows computers have a history of diminished reliability in the field of security and anti-virus protection. Macs are also optimal for an art student because of the multitude of art-based software and programs available.”
    This is what I need to see in order for me to determine you even understand what you're talking about. This, I understand and continue discussion with. I always express my point in this manner: very detailed, thorough which seems to irritate others. I have had people say to me, "you don't have to explain, (my name), I get it." In my mind, *You obviously don't based on your response*. They skip to the conclusion without giving the process of reasoning which led them there in the first place. Which is what I try to provide every time.

    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    Person B wants to justify their opinion because they know it’s completely valid, but becomes angry when Person A does not see their point. Well, that is likely to happen if Person B forgets that they didn’t explain their point at all. Person A needs an explanation of facts before they believe it or acknowledge their point.
    Likely due to people "thinking" or assuming that their inner world is a universal phenomenon. What they experience in their head is spread throughout the atmosphere and therefore should have no trouble being able to grasp their point of view (perception). E.g. "I'm screaming it in my head! How can you not hear it?". It's impossible to withdraw from your head and view from a different perspective as a separate entity (Unless you're one of those people with an out of body experience lol). I believe the only way to do this is to record yourself on video, it is only then you understand this concept fully. A million things go on in a person's head with no physical sign of its occurrence.

    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    As a result of the above situation, we are left with one person making an argument and looking for evidence whilst pointing out discrepancies, and another trying to translate their ideas in the same manner, but saying all the wrong things, becoming frustrated, and lashing out emotionally. Person A is most likely confused, baffled and annoyed at the lack of argumentative tact displayed, and by no means sees any credibility in Person B’s argument whatsoever. And person B is now emotionally spent, frustrated with the other’s carnivorous questioning, and annoyed at his/her own inability to translate ideas. This only one of many ways in which a situation can turn sour.
    Story of my life. It has gotten to the point where I mostly keep my mouth shut even when I have the urge to speak up. With the exception that I sense the other person is of like mind, and by that I mean in regards to debate style.

    Overall, my revelation is the biggest reason for the human species to read. It relieves ignorance and pre-conceived notions of the world and those in it. I now have another tool to put in my tool box when I encounter people such as yourself in person. I have a new understanding/perspective of the world that will allow me to interact with it more efficiently.

    No longer will I immediately say to myself, *Note to self, person "x", does not know what they're talking about* or *Note to self, person "x" is unintelligent*. We just have different forms of "manifestation". F's have a "feeling", where I have an immediate translation into streams of thoughts expressed in words.

    Thank you RD93.
    rd93 and Pockyist thanked this post.

  6. #6
    ESFJ - The Caregivers

    I think when I wrote this I didn't understand the Jungian concept of rational as judging (more consciously manipulated) and irrational as perceiving (more unconsciously manifesting). But I think the point is still effective. Feelers take heat for emotional stereotypes, when I actually observe them handling and controlling their emotions better than thinkers on occasion, who are more prone to emotional outbursts as they surface from neglect.

    But yes it was always an issue and still is explaining myself to a thinker who sometimes speaks a different language. It depends for every person and how they are/react/function. Like you said, I just get used to being so certain of what goes on in my head and not explaining it because it would take patience on the behalf of the listener to fully portray. This patience isn't common, so I try to be receptive to how other people communicate and 'learn their language'.

    Also from what you said about your previously dismissive attitude, I noticed that it intimidates some xxTx types when I don't follow their advice or comply with their point and offer no reason why. They assume I'm being unreasonable like 'hey why can't you see how a+b=c? I just outlined it so clearly for you.' And I've already gone there, I just value different things in my decision that they don't quite understand. My reluctance to communicate is a large part of the problem. The other part would be their reluctance to comprehend it.

    I'm really glad it was useful to you :) Thanks for reading it all the way through.
    dude123456 and Zombie Devil Duckie thanked this post.

  7. #7
    Unknown Personality


    I would say INTPs have more extreme outbursts. The "surface through neglect" you are referring to is the rationalizing of an emotion. In our heads, you should be able to destroy an unwanted emotion with conscious thought. When we don't feel it anymore, we assume it went away. This is incorrect. The emotion was supressed. Do this enough times and the pressurized tank of supressed emotion explodes. Unfortunately, waves emotion can't be held back with a custom dam. You have to ride it out until it is gone.

    This process ironically occurs because of an emotion. The need to be competent. Emotions often lead to irrational/unwanted decision making such as making bad purchases. An attempt to be as objective as possible knowing that complete objectivity is impossible.

    I'm not sure about "intimidation" (fear), possibly irritation?
    rd93 and PeachyKeener thanked this post.

  8. #8
    ESFJ - The Caregivers

    Quote Originally Posted by mcstuart17 View Post
    I would say INTPs have more extreme outbursts. The "surface through neglect" you are referring to is the rationalizing of an emotion. In our heads, you should be able to destroy an unwanted emotion with conscious thought. When we don't feel it anymore, we assume it went away. This is incorrect. The emotion was supressed. Do this enough times and the pressurized tank of supressed emotion explodes. Unfortunately, waves emotion can't be held back with a custom dam. You have to ride it out until it is gone.

    This process ironically occurs because of an emotion. The need to be competent. Emotions often lead to irrational/unwanted decision making such as making bad purchases. An attempt to be as objective as possible knowing that complete objectivity is impossible.

    I'm not sure about "intimidation" (fear), possibly irritation?
    Irritation was the word I was looking for.

    This makes perfect sense. But complete objectivity isn't really possible, and if it is it isn't healthy. I guess that might be the root of detachment seen with your type. Learning to let the emotions simmer to the surface for air rather than waiting until they explode would lead to a more balanced sense of self.
    This is the main struggle of judging dominant types, feelers accepting the logic that might conflict with their value assessment, and thinkers accepting the emotions that interfere with the flow of their logic. Getting them to function in harmony is hard when the inferior feels like it's betraying or invalidating the dominant. It's just like a trust relationship that forms internally; slowly and with difficulty.
    dude123456 thanked this post.

  9. #9
    Unknown Personality


    Quote Originally Posted by rd93 View Post
    Irritation was the word I was looking for.

    This makes perfect sense. But complete objectivity isn't really possible, and if it is it isn't healthy. I guess that might be the root of detachment seen with your type. Learning to let the emotions simmer to the surface for air rather than waiting until they explode would lead to a more balanced sense of self.
    This is the main struggle of judging dominant types, feelers accepting the logic that might conflict with their value assessment, and thinkers accepting the emotions that interfere with the flow of their logic. Getting them to function in harmony is hard when the inferior feels like it's betraying or invalidating the dominant. It's just like a trust relationship that forms internally; slowly and with difficulty.
    That detachment is us not placing any importance on external stimuli (uninteresting or not needed for purpose) combined with withdrawal into our internal world. We mostly have a neutral outlook on life, no reason to be happy, no reason to be sad. Reality often washes over us as time elapses. This is the opposite of a Sensor I believe.
    rd93 thanked this post.

  10. #10
    ESFJ - The Caregivers

    Quote Originally Posted by mcstuart17 View Post
    That detachment is us not placing any importance on external stimuli (uninteresting or not needed for purpose) combined with withdrawal into our internal world. We mostly have a neutral outlook on life, no reason to be happy, no reason to be sad. Reality often washes over us as time elapses. This is the opposite of a Sensor I believe.
    While my focus is on reality I find it difficult to live in immediate reality. I do more so than an INTP but my attention is on the future and past; I'm always thinking of something else, usually to do with people. I get restless with what is immediately happening around me because I'm looking towards what's to come. It's like there's a gray tint over everything I do because of it.
    Often I find myself disappointed with the way things are so I seek to change them. Nothing ever satisfies though, I've come to understand this, and there's no real worldly goal to work towards that is of importance to me. Everything just passes through like wind. To be at peace in some way I have to keep changing as I always do and moving into something new. I am off topic now but that's okay.


     
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