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So based on some of the many articles available on the INFP, I've gathered that he/she has two primary postures, the monastic and the crusader. Presumably, and this syncs with my own experience, the majority of life is spent living monastically, up until a sufficient amount of data had been sifted through and the crusader has found a suitable cause. But there's truly no amount of sifting that would provide the INFP with a complete picture. At some point mid-crusade new data will inevitably present itself that undermines the grounds upon which the infp had so meticulously crafted his mission. It seems as though every crusade must eventually be aborted in order to get a fuller view.

I've only had brief experience as a crusader...and I've loved those moments. The majority of my life has been quiet and reflective, and it's felt so good, in those less common episodes, to give myself over completely to action. Yet each time there has been a moment when my crusade becomes transparent to me as evil and selfish and I have to give it up, and this process is always painful. For example, there was a brief window of time where I had become totally absorbed in my classes at university. In my head the reasons for doing so were very lofty (if I do well I can get such-and-such degree and do such-and-such to help others with) but all a friend had to do was make a slight comment (something along the lines of "you like friend X more than you like me!") and I had to shrink back in to myself and abandon my focus. The comment wasn't even directly related to the goal I was attempting to achieve but in effect it made me feel as though my success (socially and otherwise) was causing him pain. And suddenly his pain became mine, because slamming the breaks on my project was very, very painful. It's been a year-and-a-half since that comment was made and I'm still thinking about it!

And what I think about the most is the implications. Because assuming that there will never be a time when those around you will refrain from having their feelings known, there is always going to be a need for sifting and sorting. And that would mean that to some degree every crusade ends in tragedy unless you manage to insulate yourself from others to the point of complete solitude. Is a life-long crusade simply too much to ask for?

edit: Uh-oh...I didn't mean this for the Articles Forum...
 

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I think I understand most of what you are saying. I think a lot of the early years of an INFP are spent trying to understand the world outside of us, the world inside of us, and how those are supposed to interrelate, before the INFP gains the proper perspective for a strong impetus to become a crusader. However, I think that before the major crusades are smaller crusades that relate to what the INFP deems important; defending what he or she believes is right and the way things should be. Or when a nugget of particularly compelling truth makes its effect upon the INFP, strong motivation wells up to proclaim it, understand it, and find a way to use it. These first experiences begin the process of reinforcing certain priorities of Fi, priming one's self for future action and crusading if that point can be reached.

During the INFP's earlier years, I believe the values and activity within the Fi are still amorphous, yet understood enough so as to have a good reading of what is desirable and what is not. But until the values can be more clearly delineated, effective crusading is unlikely. That is why Ne activity increases during early years; to seek out answers through exploration of different ideas, symbols, and possibilities that can help to formulate clearer pictures of inner values and truth. Throughout the years Si will accumulate many different experiences that the INFP can refer to in order to recognize what is of value, what is stable, and what is desirable. Ultimately, those things will be determined by what Fi finds congruent with inner purpose.

I believe that it is when Ni and Te begin to develop, that the INFP becomes prepared for real crusading. The constant activity of Ne helps to feed and bolster Fi, developing strong opinions and fascinations, but Ne doesn't create the catalyst and vision, per se. When Ni develops, the multiple possibilities and desirable outcomes coalesce into one blazing vision that lights a fire beneath the primed Fi and catalyzes the INFP to action. The methods used and the outcome itself largely depend on the development of Te. If the Te function is weak, the INFP will rely too much on instincts and feelings to make decisions and set goals, which usually leads to unrealistic goals and disappointing results and responses from others, which can set off a cycle where the INFP becomes offended and uses even more unbalanced and unstable Fi to try to force the crusade ahead. When strong, Te will help the INFP to make realistic goals and plan a set of objectives that, when combined with the ignited forces of the ripened Fi, will be driven ahead with vigor and effectiveness.

The nature of the crusade partly depends on the development of the Fe function. With a stronger Fe, the INFP will likely choose crusades that pertain more to humanitarian purposes, as he or she recognizes the needs of others and the deficits of this world in meeting those needs. If the Fi overshadows the Fe too greatly, the crusade may be bent more toward fulfillment of self-geared desires, even though the benefit of others may result in the process. At the extreme, the crusade may be only for the fulfillment of selfish desires.

Se and Ti are also important to consider in the process of an INFP's crusading. A way developed Se will help reduce the anxiety of the INFP that may naturally be fixated on what is missing and what should be, is by helping to ground the INFP in the experiences, growth, and benefits of the present, which, by calming the INFP, allows him or her to have more focus and satisfaction, which is critical in the process of crusading. Ti is important in helping the INFP to analyze and understand what is needed to accomplish a goal or overcome a problem, or to put the pieces together so that a coherent plan can be created, and ultimately to objectively analyze the motives and purposes of Fi's values so that the INFP is kept honest.

For all of these reasons, it usually isn't until sometime after the late teens before an INFP is ready for real crusading, and some INFPs may never manage to manifest it. In such a case, problems arise as the INFP has very strong feelings about the way things ought to be, and without a formulated mission to pursue, days will become filled with the accumulation of observed injustices to self and others, bitterness, helplessness, etc. This is why the development of the other cognitive functions is imperative to allow the INFP to successfully engage life and pursue dreams and crusades.
 

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This picture sounds eerily familiar. I have had many shorter and longer monastic and crusading phases in my life.
I believe the overarching storyline is the one leading up to my present relationship. That certainly qualifies as a crusade including the defining moment only a few weeks ago, where I had to take a moment and re examine my motives and reasoning.
But the crusade has by no means failed, it is still ongoing and hopefully i have learned valuable lessons.
 
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