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Extraverted Thinking: ESTJ and ENTJ Types

Unlike the Perceiving functions, which encourage us to process sensory impressions as they occur, the Judgment functions are rational in operation. They prompt us to organize our sense impressions--by focusing on the ones that happen regularly enough to recognize and predict.

Although rational thought is usually discussed as a left-brain phenomenon, Judgment operates in both hemispheres, just as Perception does. Left-brain reasoning is more apparent because it depends on language--concepts and signs that tell us what things are and how they relate to each other. Right-brain reasoning is experiential and immediate, inherent in the situations in which it's operating.

Te, the subject of this article, is a left-brain Judgment function. Like all left-brain functions, it gives us a conceptual, one-thing-at-a-time approach to life. It prompts us to notice sense impressions that are stable or occur regularly, so we can define them and focus on them as distinct objects and events.

Even the left-brain Perceiving functions, Si and Ni, work this way. They encourage an awareness of sense impressions as they happen, but we acquire them as facts and ideas, one at a time, in light of what matters to us. The difference between these latter functions and Extraverted Judgment is that Si and Ni are not rational.

In the inner Perceptual world, we need not organize acquired facts or determine their relationship to each other. It's in the outer world that the left brain requires predictability. Confronted with multiple objects in a sensory context, the left brain has to decide where to place its focus. To that end, it deploys Te or Fe.

These functions enable us to make our knowledge systematic, so we have a basis for concentrating our attention. Te is one way of creating this basis--an impersonal way. It prompts us to notice the qualities that objects have in common, and to use those shared aspects as a standard of sequential order. Whenever we Think, we're relying on such standards--to organize multiple objects and to establish logical relationships between them.

The process is as familiar as finding a name in a telephone directory. If we couldn't assume the logical relationship of each letter to others in the alphabet, we'd spend half our lives looking up a phone number. It's the same with celebrating a birthday. We're recognizing the logical position of a date in a calendar sequence of days and months.

Like all Extraverted functions, Te harmonizes us with general ideas about reality, so most of the standards of order we employ are collectively determined. Indeed, when collective Te standards are operating successfully, we take them pretty much for granted. We "know," for example, that letters run from A to Z, that numbers progress by tens, that a year has 365.24 days, that a day has twenty-four hours, that presidents have more power than vice presidents, that a high grade point average is better than a low one, and so forth.

It's natural to associate the capacity for reason with the conceptual systems we've learned to rely on. But this association can get in our way. Te is a universal skill, and it need not lead to the systems of order we define as rational.
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