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Hi guys,

I was having a conversation with my ISTJ friend recently about imagination. He said that he really struggles to imagine anything before he has experienced it, so in order to empathize and help someone he has to have had the same thing happen to him and then he can relate back to it in his memory in order to understand. It was a funny conversation, because he doesn't know anything about Myers Briggs but it sounded to me like what he's talking about is Si compared to my Ne. He said that when he was helping teenagers with drug problems he went and tried all the same drugs they had tried, just once, so that he'd be able to relate to what it does to you. I find that fascinating when to me empathy and imagining how someone feels comes very naturally to me.. I can hardly stop myself from doing it. I had the same thing with an ISTJ regarding depression - he couldn't imagine how depression would feel, no matter how much his depressed friend described it to him he couldn't empathize in the least... but then a few years later he went through a period of depression as well and now uses that experience to relate to others. For me on the other hand if someone describes a feeling to me then even if it's something I haven't experienced at all I find I can usually imagine it very clearly. So just wondering if you have had the same experience when it comes to imagination.. can you imagine how something would feel if you haven't experienced it and is your imagination accurate?
 

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MOTM May 2011
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No, that's not correct. It only needs to be something similar that we can relate to. If what your friends have indicated were true, then it would be impossible for an ISTJ to read a book and understand anything that we have not personally experienced, and that is simply not the case.

Furthermore, the personal experience with something like drugs is very individualized. Most people describe their experiences with drugs in ambiguous terms so that any one could relate their experience to what is being said. Each persons actual experience is different.

Nothing against your friends, but I find it hard to imagine an ISTJ that has lived for any length of time--through their teen years especially--that has not experienced some form of depression at some time. And I think taking drugs to be able to relate--umm, well that's just nuts. No offence meant...:crazy:
 

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I consider myself to be out of touch with others feelings. It's really hard to understand how others think, feel, and live as there are just too many variables. I don't care to get that close to people to understand well enough about what they are thinking and feeling. They will live life as it comes at them and get by.

Depression for me has always been there for me, but its very light, and I don't let the feelings harm me. I remember times when family has died, and I manage through them slowly letting me it burden me less and less each day. Never have feelings recked my way of life.

I generally will not understand to what extent things will feel like others until I experience it myself. I can figure that something will hurt someones feelings, but until they open up I'm normally clueless. Generally I will expect others to begin to find solution to emotional issues instead of morning on them too long.

That drug story sounds ridiculous by the way.
 

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I guess I'm the odd one out in thinking that the drug-taking seems to make logical sense, kind of. I can see why the guy did it, although had I been in his place I probably wouldn't have risked my own health even for the sake of counselling.

When it comes to other people's feelings (ie. depression), I often attempt to offer solutions instead of empathy. I'm not very interested in trying to imagine what another person is feeling, because 1) that really drains me, 2) I get vexed with the ambiguity of 'emotions', and 3) I don't see its practical point. For me what matters is that I provide effective assistance (ie. lift that person out of his funk) by focusing on that person's situation, hearing him out, and voicing my thoughts, along with a little pep talk.

I don't have that much difficulty in imagining anything else. If I'm asked to try to imagine specific sensations or hypothetical situations I'll do it with ease.
 

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Hi guys,

I was having a conversation with my ISTJ friend recently about imagination. He said that he really struggles to imagine anything before he has experienced it, so in order to empathize and help someone he has to have had the same thing happen to him and then he can relate back to it in his memory in order to understand. It was a funny conversation, because he doesn't know anything about Myers Briggs but it sounded to me like what he's talking about is Si compared to my Ne. He said that when he was helping teenagers with drug problems he went and tried all the same drugs they had tried, just once, so that he'd be able to relate to what it does to you. I find that fascinating when to me empathy and imagining how someone feels comes very naturally to me.. I can hardly stop myself from doing it. I had the same thing with an ISTJ regarding depression - he couldn't imagine how depression would feel, no matter how much his depressed friend described it to him he couldn't empathize in the least... but then a few years later he went through a period of depression as well and now uses that experience to relate to others. For me on the other hand if someone describes a feeling to me then even if it's something I haven't experienced at all I find I can usually imagine it very clearly. So just wondering if you have had the same experience when it comes to imagination.. can you imagine how something would feel if you haven't experienced it and is your imagination accurate?
i dont know about imagination, i cant see myself writing much fiction. but when forced to wait 36 minutes for the bus, like i do every saturday, i often find my thoughts are enough to keep me from getting bored to the point of irritation.
 

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This may just be INTP nitpicking, but are you sure "Imagination" is the best title for the thread? I have quite a bit of imagination, but empathy is a different story...

PS. My ISTJ Dad actually used to think that empathy meant "feeling what others feel because you have experienced it yourself"; comparing his perceptions with this thread is interesting...
 

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This may just be INTP nitpicking, but are you sure "Imagination" is the best title for the thread? I have quite a bit of imagination, but empathy is a different story...

PS. My ISTJ Dad actually used to think that empathy meant "feeling what others feel because you have experienced it yourself"; comparing his perceptions with this thread is interesting...
seemed fitting enough to not bother to make an issue of.
 

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lol...yeah, pointing out inaccuracies is pretty much crack for a Ti dom. does anyone know if there is such a thing as "grammar nazis anonymous"?:tongue:
Yeah, I've been through it...they really help you to embrace your inner grammar-nazi. :tongue:
 

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I have plenty of imagination, I'm a fiction writer. Coming up with dozens of individual characters, each with their own unique personalities and life experiences, is a tough job. In the end you have to know how each character is going to act in any given circumstance, and the corresponding characters reactions. It's like dominoes, you set the stage, you set the circumstances, and you set the characters, you push one into action and the rest writes itself.

To sum it up I can imagine what something feels like without having experienced it myself and my imagination is pretty accurate. Do I actually feel the things my characters go through? To a point I do. Can this apply IRL? The understanding can, but the feeling can't. Don't expect much empathy from me.
 

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Hi guys,
He said that he really struggles to imagine anything before he has experienced it, so in order to empathize and help someone he has to have had the same thing happen to him and then he can relate back to it in his memory in order to understand.

For me on the other hand if someone describes a feeling to me then even if it's something I haven't experienced at all I find I can usually imagine it very clearly. So just wondering if you have had the same experience when it comes to imagination.. can you imagine how something would feel if you haven't experienced it and is your imagination accurate?
If someone is telling me about how they feel and I have never been in a similar situation/mentality before, my 'imagination' of the feeling is based on what I have read on it or what others have told me about it. I wouldn't say that I am able to understand the feeling if I have never felt it before, but I can imagine what it might feel like. I don't need to know what the feeling is like to give advice, as the advice I give is more based on the facts of the situation.

No, that's not correct. It only needs to be something similar that we can relate to. If what your friends have indicated were true, then it would be impossible for an ISTJ to read a book and understand anything that we have not personally experienced, and that is simply not the case.

Furthermore, the personal experience with something like drugs is very individualized. Most people describe their experiences with drugs in ambiguous terms so that any one could relate their experience to what is being said. Each persons actual experience is different.

Nothing against your friends, but I find it hard to imagine an ISTJ that has lived for any length of time--through their teen years especially--that has not experienced some form of depression at some time. And I think taking drugs to be able to relate--umm, well that's just nuts. No offence meant...:crazy:
Agree with everything Niss said except that I don't think I've experienced depression before. Then again maybe I don't know how to recognise depression or I'm just lucky.

I guess I'm the odd one out in thinking that the drug-taking seems to make logical sense, kind of. I can see why the guy did it, although had I been in his place I probably wouldn't have risked my own health even for the sake of counseling.

When it comes to other people's feelings (ie. depression), I often attempt to offer solutions instead of empathy. I'm not very interested in trying to imagine what another person is feeling, because 1) that really drains me, 2) I get vexed with the ambiguity of 'emotions', and 3) I don't see its practical point. For me what matters is that I provide effective assistance (ie. lift that person out of his funk) by focusing on that person's situation, hearing him out, and voicing my thoughts, along with a little pep talk.
Agree with all of that. I guess it does make 'logical' sense to try the drugs for knowledge/experience but the risks and costs far outweigh the benefits e.g. health/potential addiction/ illegal acts vs chance of being able to understand someone you are counseling.

I don't have that much difficulty in imagining anything else. If I'm asked to try to imagine specific sensations or hypothetical situations I'll do it with ease.
I agree with this, though I'll imagine these situations from my viewpoint. If I have to imagine something from someone else's viewpoint I would probably have an inaccurate picture of it. I know what that person's viewpoint is 'meant' to be via my knowledge/facts but that doesn't mean that it is accurate.
 
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