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Discussion Starter #1
Fe is nearly always described in terms that makes me believe that I cannot use it—conformist, can't think for itself, traditional, subscribes to social values, can't feel for itself, bows to the majority rule, doesn't value anything individually, etc. While Fi is described as individualistic, unique, doesn't subscribe to social values, feels deeply for itself, doesn't follow traditions, etc. If I was to pick which function fit me better in those terms, I'd choose Fi every time. However, when I rationalize it, without all the commonly quoted crap about the two functions, in my own terms, I subscribe to the Fe category more than the Fi:



Fi focus: The universe and all of reality is completely subjective; we each have our own perception of reality, we view the world through a sort of tinted glass, so that no one sees the same thing. Everyone has a different perception of the universe that is completely unique to them, so that everyone has their own distinct universe that no one else can truly understand. There is no objective truth, since all truths are personal and subjective, reliable only to the person to whom they belong.
Looking inward for universal truths—exclusive truths.
Each man is an island.


Fe focus: Everyone has their own bubble universe, but there is a universal, objective truth that all must conform to. The universe affects us more than we affect it. The universe is a reality that is separate from all subjective realities, so that it can be viewed by all in at least similar hues, even though it be tainted by our subjective perceptions. So ultimately our subjective truths must conform in some measures to the objective, universal truth.
Looking outward for universal truths—inclusive truths.
Each man is an island in a sea.

Both observe the same situation, but they focus on different areas.

So...agree with my evaluation of the functions?



BTW, I adore Fe and Fi equally when they're healthy, and I'm tired of seeing people battle it out over which function is "better." So please, no bickering over functions, because unhealthy Fe and Fi are equally overbearing, destructive, and irritating as hell.
 

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Speaking as an Fi user, I disagree with your description.
You are right in putting emphasis on subjectivity. However, your description seems to imply that Fi's deny an objective universe. I believe that there is one, but it is incomprehensible to humans. I believe, rather, that there is no objective truths to abstract things like beauty and morals, and that what we perceive is extremely biased by how we were biologically programmed. Because of this, I find it's pointless to try and conform to an objective reality, as it is largely incomprehensible to us.
So, I suppose "The universe is a reality that is separate from all subjective realities." fits for Fi philosophy as well, but Fi users find more value in the subjective realities.

I do also believe there are objective truths to certain things, such as the laws of physics. They will never differ from person to person, and no normal Fi-user will believe otherwise (i think).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Speaking as an Fi user, I disagree with your description.
You are right in putting emphasis on subjectivity. However, your description seems to imply that Fi's deny an objective universe. I believe that there is one, but it is incomprehensible to humans. I believe, rather, that there is no objective truths to abstract things like beauty and morals, and that what we perceive is extremely biased by how we were biologically programmed. Because of this, I find it's pointless to try and conform to an objective reality, as it is largely incomprehensible to us.
So, I suppose "The universe is a reality that is separate from all subjective realities." fits for Fi philosophy as well, but Fi users find more value in the subjective realities.

I do also believe there are objective truths to certain things, such as the laws of physics. They will never differ from person to person, and no normal Fi-user will believe otherwise (i think).
Yeah, but that's what I was trying to say: we view the universe similarly; we focus on and value different portions of what we view. So you obviously comprehend that the universe is a separate reality, but you focus more on the way you perceive the universe. And I comprehend that the universe is affected by our individual viewpoints, but I try to piece together the individual viewpoints to form a whole.

For instance, I tend to focus on the universality of abstract concepts such as beauty and morals, and the universality of human experience, since I believe that, ultimately, human emotions and experiences are universal (and that there is a universal moral code). You, however, are focused more on the individual variants.
 

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@candiemerald:

While human beings have a lot in common, and there are some/many aspect to life that are universally true. There is also a large portion that is highly subjective. Some fill this subjective void with mostly logic, some others mostly with feeling/values/ethics, or anything in between. Some people use the outer word to guide their logic or feeling/values/ethics, some prefer their inner world as guide.

While I prefer Fi over Fe, that doesn't mean that this is universal. This is my own inclination. Just as you have yours.
 

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I've used the analogy before, that Fi protects the form, or the raindrop/snowflake, and Fe protects the essence/substance, or the water. Fi values the distinctiveness as the raindrop/snowflake. Fe knows it is an artificial distinction. The criticism of Fe, is that we are untrue to the form, but we are true to the essence, which both precedes and succeeds, the form.

:proud:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've used the analogy before, that Fi protects the form, or the raindrop/snowflake, and Fe protects the essence/substance, or the water. Fi values the distinctiveness as the raindrop/snowflake. Fe knows it is an artificial distinction. The criticism of Fe, is that we are untrue to the form, but we are true to the essence, which both precedes and succeeds, the form.

:proud:
That's an interesting analogy, and works for me.

I'm simply trying to understand the feeling functions in a way that makes sense to me. I'm tired of hearing about how Fe has no feelings of its own, needs other people to feel, that a Fe user can't feel as deeply as a Fi user, or whatever, because that's bullshit; the feeling functions have nothing to do with emotional reactions, but with value reactions. As a Fe user I'm concerned first by how my actions affect others - am I infringing upon their rights or values, etc. - and then how they affect me. And a Fi user will react converse to that. But it doesn't mean that I don't have my own feelings, or that I don't have my own values, or that I can't react in a way that goes against the values of others - it simply means that I am factoring other people's values into the equation when I make a decision about something. Because their values are as important to them as mine are to me, and I'm willing to entertain the notion that perhaps my values aren't completely correct, or that I've missed something that another person has observed, which would change my belief.

Anyway, I think that analogy works well, and demonstrates the complementary nature of the functions, too.
 

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@candiemerald

Your emotions are yours, no doubt about that. What is you have a is a value system/ethics/"feeling" that has more focus on other people. You seek harmony first with others, Fi-people seek harmony with themselves first.

But how you achieve this harmony is your own choice, you simply enjoy bringing harmony to (groups of) people.
 

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IMO, Fi is about our internal feelings/emotions/values while Fe is about the external ones. Yet being a mainly Fi or Fe user doesn't mean we don't use the other one at all. It's just about a matter of preference. So if you're Fi mainly, you still have some Fe, and vice versa. In some cases both can be fairly developed, or poorly developed.

So Fe users doesn't necessarily lack self emotions and values (Fi), it's just they tend to prefer to observe and listen to what others feel or value in order to form their own. While Fi's are not necessarily unshakeable, it also depends on how much Fe they have developed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@candiemerald

Your emotions are yours, no doubt about that. What is you have a is a value system/ethics/"feeling" that has more focus on other people. You seek harmony first with others, Fi-people seek harmony with themselves first.

But how you achieve this harmony is your own choice, you simply enjoy bringing harmony to (groups of) people.
Yes, agreed. Fe is focused first on the object; Fi is focused first on the subject. My Fe attempts first of all to create harmony between other people, in the social group, by attempting to solve external problems; Fi will concentrate first and foremost on creating harmony within itself. And I'm more likely to sacrifice my own values in order to accommodate the values of others than a Fi user would be.
Which is why I think Fe and Fi are complementary: a Fe user needs to be reminded sometimes that their problems are as valid and important as the problems of others (something I love about my xNFP friends, who always remind me of this when I most need it); and a Fi user sometimes needs to be reminded that social problems must be resolved.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
IMO, Fi is about our internal feelings/emotions/values while Fe is about the external ones. Yet being a mainly Fi or Fe user doesn't mean we don't use the other one at all. It's just about a matter of preference. So if you're Fi mainly, you still have some Fe, and vice versa. In some cases both can be fairly developed, or poorly developed.

So Fe users doesn't necessarily lack self emotions and values (Fi), it's just they tend to prefer to observe and listen to what others feel or value in order to form their own. While Fi's are not necessarily unshakeable, it also depends on how much Fe they have developed.
True. And I was always very influenced by my ENFP older sister, which probably causes me to have better-developed Fi than I would otherwise.

I do agree that Fe prefers to observe first the values of others before it makes a value judgement; I don't agree that it needs the emotions of others to feel emotion, because I know that doesn't work for me. For instance, just because everyone else around me is happy does not mean that I'll be happy, and just because everyone else is feeling one way does not mean that I'm going to naturally mimic that feeling. I do empathize a great deal with the emotions of others, but that doesn't mean that the emotions of others are my emotions.
 

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Alright, since we are talking philosophy..

I have said that Max Weber preceded Jung on Fe and Fi; what he called the "ethic of responsibility" is Fe, what he called the "ethic of ultimate ends" is Fi.

We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an 'ethic of ultimate ends' or to an 'ethic of responsibility.' This is not to say that an ethic of ultimate ends is identical with irresponsibility, or that an ethic of responsibility is identical with unprincipled opportunism. Naturally nobody says that. However, there is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends--that is, in religious terms, 'The Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord'--and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one's action.

You may demonstrate to a convinced syndicalist, believing in an ethic of ultimate ends, that his action will result in increasing the opportunities of reaction, in increasing the oppression of his class, and obstructing its ascent--and you will not make the slightest impression upon him. If an action of good intent leads to bad results, then, in the actor's eyes, not he but the world, or the stupidity of other men, or God's will who made them thus, is responsible for the evil. However a man who believes in an ethic of responsibility takes account of precisely the average deficiencies of people; as Fichte has correctly said,he does not even have the right to presuppose their goodness and perfection. He does not feel in a position to burden others with the results of his own actions so far as he was able to foresee them; he will say: these results are ascribed to my action. The Believer in an ethic of ultimate ends feels 'responsible' only for seeing to it that the flame of pure intentions is not quelched: for example, the flame of protesting against the injustice of the social order. To rekindle the flame ever anew is the purpose of his quite irrational deeds, judged in view of their possible success. They are acts that can and shall have only exemplary value.


This is actually the conflict that plays out in the Grand Inquisitor vs Jesus scene, in The Brothers Karamazov. Jesus comes back to Earth, during the Spanish Inquisition, and the Grand Inquisitor locks him up before burning him, and lectures him in his cell. Brilliant scene.

He says that they have had to clean up Jesus's mess over the past thousand years, and this is just the conclusion of that. He says Christ's main mistake, was giving people choice. Giving them freedom; a virtue which Christ holds above all others. But look what freedom has brought us. Jesus laid down these ideas, and didn't take into account how weak, and evil people are. So these ideas have no power over them. At best, they only save the strong. The people who can live like Christ; but what about the vast majority who aren't capable of living that life? They are created as a mockery. What else can be their purpose. And the Inquisitor remarks, that the more you respect somebody, the less you feel for them. And that really resonates with me. I feel for people, because I have no respect for them. Jesus has far too much respect for people. He made their load too heavy. Love should be light. So Jesus, only saves the strong, who are capable of living like him, whereas the inquisitor saves everybody. Exactly because he takes into account their faults, and adjusts accordingly. As Weber mentioned.

This is also seen well in the movie Lincoln. Both Fi and Fe, want to go North. They agree that is the path. But Lincoln gave the analogy, that north is never "just North". You have to look at the map. If you just go straight north, you're gonna wind up in a ditch, over a cliff, an ocean, etc. You can't just follow North. You have to take into account the terrain. That is why Fe needs exterior facts to operate. We will get North, but we will take some detours on the way. This is actually the best way North. So, Jesus just went blindly north too, was the inquisitors main critique.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@FearAndTrembling
Very interesting. You do pose good points.

I remember you using Lincoln's analogy before, too, and I definitely subscribe to that form of thought. I don't believe it's the better way, that Fe is better than Fi, but it is the way that works best for me - following more detours in my path as the situation requires, accommodating others if at all possible, so I don't trample their values; while a Fi user will head in a straight line, without deviation.

I think another good example of Fe vs Fi is Aesop's fable of the reed and the tree:

"Well, little one," said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, "why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?"

"I am contented with my lot," said the Reed. "I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer."

"Safe!" sneered the Tree. "Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?" But it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.

Obscurity often brings safety.
The reed (Fe) bending and contorting as the situation requires, while the tree (Fi) remains unmovable and is eventually destroyed by its unwillingness to change with the situation, no matter the force. They eventually both retain their form, but the outcome is different.

I think Fi and Fe are tools of a similar make, each which work best in different situations. Fe becomes dangerous or unbalanced when it is too willing to make concessions, makes too many deviations and eventually loses itself - for instance, an alternate end to the story would be that Fe made so many concessions that it had lost its original goal, and became muddled in its own dextrous deviations. Or became the sniveling character that always bows to the will of others and has no backbone or integrity. Fi becomes dangerous and unbalanced when it can't see anything but its own point of view, when it is so focused on its goal that it tramples anything in its way, despite the consequences. Therefore, Fe needs Fi to keep it to its course and protect its identity, and Fi needs Fe to direct its attention to the outcome of its actions and how they affect others, and remind it that the ends don't always justify the means.
 

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Fi can do a lot that Fe can, but it depends on the person. A wrong act or situation is not just wrong when it happens to me, but also when it happens to others. So Fi-values are not always exclusively self centered. But a relative pure, sincere and balanced set of values is needed to avoid constant clashes with Fe-people. Fi-values combined with Te-logic can be pretty powerful.

As a general remark for topics like this, watch out for conformation bias, a search for understanding is not the same as validating your own beliefs.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Fi can do a lot that Fe can, but it depends on the person. A wrong act or situation is not just wrong when it happens to me, but also when it happens to others. So Fi-values are not always exclusively self centered. But a relative pure, sincere and balanced set of values is needed to avoid constant clashes with Fe-people. Fi-values combined with Te-logic can be pretty powerful.

As a general remark for topics like this, watch out for conformation bias, a search for understanding is not the same as validating your own beliefs.
Yes. Fi and Fe are complementary, not competitive (unless they're unhealthy). They balance each other. Neither is better, though both are more functional in different fields. Fi is focused first on self, but that doesn't mean it's selfish. Fe is focused first on others, but that doesn't mean it lacks self-identity.
 

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True. And I was always very influenced by my ENFP older sister, which probably causes me to have better-developed Fi than I would otherwise.

I do agree that Fe prefers to observe first the values of others before it makes a value judgement; I don't agree that it needs the emotions of others to feel emotion, because I know that doesn't work for me. For instance, just because everyone else around me is happy does not mean that I'll be happy, and just because everyone else is feeling one way does not mean that I'm going to naturally mimic that feeling. I do empathize a great deal with the emotions of others, but that doesn't mean that the emotions of others are my emotions.
Yeah, while Fe users tend to use more Fe than Fi, it doesn't mean that that they need others to feel, since they still have Fi and their own emotions and values. Fe is more about capacity to empathize and gather information about other people's emotions and values, but not necessarily depend or follow them. It's like coming to an online forum to see what others might think of a topic, but after gathering the values and opinions we still see what we really incorporate into our own values system or thinking system.

Being an INFJ 4w5, I have a developed Fi and I don't get confused with what emotions are of others and what are of my own, when I empathize with others.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, while Fe users tend to use more Fe than Fi, it doesn't mean that that they need others to feel, since they still have Fi and their own emotions and values. Fe is more about capacity to empathize and gather information about other people's emotions and values, but not necessarily depend or follow them. It's like coming to an online forum to see what others might think of a topic, but after gathering the values and opinions we still see what we really incorporate into our own values system or thinking system.

Being an INFJ 4w5, I have a developed Fi and I don't get confused with what emotions are of others and what are of my own, when I empathize with others.
Precisely. I do like to first glean some knowledge by hearing what others have to say about things before I make a decision about what I value. Which is why I always feel a need to hear contrasting sides of an argument, so that I can be certain I get a glimpse of the entire issue before I commit myself.
 

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I view things the same way you do, but doing so implies that many of us use both Fe and Fi to at least a 1:4 ratio (made on the spot btw). I personally find myself pondering on this every day and I still don't have answers.

Like since I must be an INTJ, I use Fi. But I do accept both universal and personal truth and realize that sometimes I have to compromise and put universal truths above personal ones.

Yet being a mainly Fi or Fe user doesn't mean we don't use the other one at all.
Yup. I've even watched a video where it was explained that INTJ's for instance, start developing Fe in their late teens and it made a lot of sense to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I view things the same way you do, but doing so implies that many of us use both Fe and Fi to at least a 1:4 ratio (made on the spot btw). I personally find myself pondering on this every day and I still don't have answers.

Like since I must be an INTJ, I use Fi. But I do accept both universal and personal truth and realize that sometimes I have to compromise and put universal truths above personal ones.



Yup. I've even watched a video where it was explained that INTJ's for instance, start developing Fe in their late teens and it made a lot of sense to me.
Exactly. The functions aren't exclusive, after all, and I think how one reacts to situations depends upon how balanced and developed one is. So I notice Fe behavior in myself in how I try to create social harmony, and often consider the values or feelings of others before my own; and Fi behavior in my valuing independence and individuality over social situations.

Also, I do think it matters in what order the functions are, and which functions are paired up. ISFJ Fe, for instance, tends to be quite different than my INFJ Fe. And the way ENFPs and INFPs use Fi is rather different, too - I've often observed rather Fe-like behavior in certain ENFPs, which I haven't observed in INFPs. Plus, since my Fe has Ni in front of it, I react to it rather differently than an ENFJ would, since my primary impulse in a situation will be to act according to my Ni, not according to my Fe (which often makes me rather detached in social situations, and makes it a bit hard for me to display my emotions with people, which probably comes off as rather Fi-like).
 

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Fe is nearly always described in terms that makes me believe that I cannot use it—conformist, can't think for itself, traditional, subscribes to social values, can't feel for itself, bows to the majority rule, doesn't value anything individually, etc. While Fi is described as individualistic, unique, doesn't subscribe to social values, feels deeply for itself, doesn't follow traditions, etc. If I was to pick which function fit me better in those terms, I'd choose Fi every time. However, when I rationalize it, without all the commonly quoted crap about the two functions, in my own terms, I subscribe to the Fe category more than the Fi:



Fi focus: The universe and all of reality is completely subjective; we each have our own perception of reality, we view the world through a sort of tinted glass, so that no one sees the same thing. Everyone has a different perception of the universe that is completely unique to them, so that everyone has their own distinct universe that no one else can truly understand. There is no objective truth, since all truths are personal and subjective, reliable only to the person to whom they belong.
Looking inward for universal truths—exclusive truths.
Each man is an island.


Fe focus: Everyone has their own bubble universe, but there is a universal, objective truth that all must conform to. The universe affects us more than we affect it. The universe is a reality that is separate from all subjective realities, so that it can be viewed by all in at least similar hues, even though it be tainted by our subjective perceptions. So ultimately our subjective truths must conform in some measures to the objective, universal truth.
Looking outward for universal truths—inclusive truths.
Each man is an island in a sea.

Both observe the same situation, but they focus on different areas.

So...agree with my evaluation of the functions?



BTW, I adore Fe and Fi equally when they're healthy, and I'm tired of seeing people battle it out over which function is "better." So please, no bickering over functions, because unhealthy Fe and Fi are equally overbearing, destructive, and irritating as hell.
What you described as Fe is really more rooted in Si. Conformity/not valuing individuality has a negative connotation, and even a conformist would likely not admit to being one - which is why conformity is rooted in aversion to differences, born of fear.

Fe is a judgment application that strives to do what the individual feels is best for the external whole, based on the person's own value system. This differs from Fi, where the judgment application strives to do what the individual feels is best for the internal self, self-preserving. In both cases, the individual is still making a judgment for his or herself.

With Fe, what the individual feels is best for the external whole, will depend largely on perception functions and individual experience. Part B of Fe, is that the individual, through experience, determines ways to impress their Fe vision on the world. Very often, charisma is the result, but it need not be the only way. Fe could just as easily find bullying or keen manipulation to be the means of choice to achieving an end. Some of the biggest players are Fe dominant, but also some of the most generous and selfless are too. The key isn't the resulting person, but rather the way in which the judgment is applied - externally, influentially.

The most interesting part about this all, is that Fi dominants can be some of the biggest conformists of all, if conformity does not cross their value system (and sometimes even if it does). Not necessarily because they want to be conformists, but because objecting to the external influences can be stressful, and Fi avoids negative internal states. Also, just going along with external influences can actually alleviate the stress of having to organize and determine a course, which would require the use of the inferior Te, or risk the use of impulsive unplanned decision making (which can also cause stress, if the impulsive choice has systemic negative ramifications).
 

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What you described as Fe is really more rooted in Si. Conformity/not valuing individuality has a negative connotation, and even a conformist would likely not admit to being one - which is why conformity is rooted in aversion to differences, born of fear.

Fe is a judgment application that strives to do what the individual feels is best for the external whole, based on the person's own value system. This differs from Fi, where the judgment application strives to do what the individual feels is best for the internal self, self-preserving. In both cases, the individual is still making a judgment for his or herself.

With Fe, what the individual feels is best for the external whole, will depend largely on perception functions and individual experience. Part B of Fe, is that the individual, through experience, determines ways to impress their Fe vision on the world. Very often, charisma is the result, but it need not be the only way. Fe could just as easily find bullying or keen manipulation to be the means of choice to achieving an end. Some of the biggest players are Fe dominant, but also some of the most generous and selfless are too. The key isn't the resulting person, but rather the way in which the judgment is applied - externally, influentially.

The most interesting part about this all, is that Fi dominants can be some of the biggest conformists of all, if conformity does not cross their value system (and sometimes even if it does). Not necessarily because they want to be conformists, but because objecting to the external influences can be stressful, and Fi avoids negative internal states. Also, just going along with external influences can actually alleviate the stress of having to organize and determine a course, which would require the use of the inferior Te, or risk the use of impulsive unplanned decision making (which can also cause stress, if the impulsive choice has systemic negative ramifications).
Aha...you make a great deal of sense.

Yes, a do believe you're right about how Si affects Fe - since the stereotypical description of Fe generally seems to fit Si-users better than it does me (with extremely low Si). Not trying to be negative about Si-users, either, and say they're all unoriginal and conformist. But I do think that the combination of the functions matters more than the individual functions do, since they react with each other.

And, like you say, if the situation suits the values of a Fi-user, or doesn't infringe on them too much (or makes them too uncomfortable, personally), they will be as conformist as any other type (besides, I think the term "conformist" is used rather freely, sometimes used to denote something negative where the characteristic might not be negative).

I like your descriptions of Fe and Fi, too. Makes a lot of sense.
 
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