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Introverted intuitive type
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In this thread I wish to share what I've learned about Ni-Te in order to clarify the relationship between these two functions in cognition, to make it easier for people to identify them in both themselves and others, and as a last resort, to provide some food for thought. I will also discuss a few misconceptions about these two functions that can create confusion when trying to type oneself.

First I will discuss the dynamic between Ni-Te as compared to Te-Ni, and then compared to Ti-Ne.

It is important to remember that for INTJs, Te is an auxiliary function. Thus, while it is true that INTJs favor objective, well-known, and communally accepted systems for communicating with, the utility of such systems is always subordinate to their hyper-theoretical nature as Ni-dominants. What this means is that INTJs are extremely well-equipped for recognizing the conceptual limits of an objective system, and less likely to understand the utility of an objective system. To compare to ENTJs, ENTJs are proportionally less likely to recognize the limits of an objective system, but they are far more likely to recognize the utility of objective systems. This is because the ENTJ's Ni is subordinate to their Te.

It is worth noticing the difference, however, between dominant Ni with auxiliary Te, versus dominant Ti with auxiliary Ne, as many INTJs might mistype along the J/P dichotomy. I myself commonly score near the middle favoring J over P.

Ti-Ne begins with a completely original "road map" to reality that begins forming at an early age. This road-map is a systematic categorization of all perceptual information into logical models. But the generation of these models is done entirely in private - they are not derived from objective, external systems of knowing, rather, such systems are assimilated into the road-map of Ti-Ne, or discarded when they do not seem consistent with hyper-rational analysis. The INTP is far more likely than an INTJ to completely disregard and even throw out an objective body of knowledge on the basis of either a) not requiring it, or b) not agreeing with it. They will only assimilate/accept objective bodies of knowledge when their auxiliary process, Ne, has had an ample chance to "read into" the objective state of reality enough to warrant an adjustment to their private schema.

The INTJ, with Ni-Te, is not so quick to disregard objective bodies of knowledge, for two reasons. One reason is that objective bodies of knowledge have utility, in that they offer a means of delivering a concept or an idea inside the "wrapper" of a communally accepted concept or idea. The other reason is that it is generally easier to refine an existing model than it is to build a new one completely from scratch. However, in the INTP's (or perhaps the INTJ's) defense, this is because the INTP has been doing this from day one, whereas the INTJ has not. If the INTJ were instead an INTP, it might not come across as inefficient or difficult to abandon established systems and methods of doing things.

Thus, INTJs tend to work within existing systems to improve them by bringing their dominant intuitive perspective to work, showing them the limitations of an objectively based model so that it can evolve into something more effective at doing whatever it already does.

INTJs are extremely effective at recognizing the hierarchies of ideas within systems. This is due to the fact that Ni aims at depth rather than breadth. Ne in contrast tries "not to miss anything" and so it applies itself to a wide variety of information in order to synthesize a novel insight rooted in things as they actually are. This makes it easier for those with Ne to justify their intuitions, as they need only spare the time to sit down and draw up all the relationships they've seen and show them to you. In the end, there is no doubt that you would see what they saw, so long as you are patient enough to let them set it all up for you. However, Ni goes deeper rather than broader. It aims to reach what Ne begins with, but comes at it from the opposite angle.

If you want to visualize the process of Ne clearly, try to imagine beginning with 12 or more related ideas, not just one. This is crucial to understand - you are beginning from the start with a variety of associated concepts, not merely one; breadth, rather than depth is the crux of Ne. From there, you proceed to compare all those ideas up with each other, and as you do this, new ideas are generated, arising both from the synthesis of these ideas, and from the analysis of each idea.

Ni is the inverse of this process. Ni takes a conceptual system and pares it down by systematically eliminating concepts in an effort to reverse engineer ideas down to their most abstract, primordial origins. Whereas Ne generates new concepts that are then assimilated into a framework that just keeps getting bigger and bigger, thus creating the impression that "the universe is vast and complicated", Ni reduces existing concepts down to their most essential, universal truth, thus creating the impression that "the universe is simple and unified".

Thus, as a Ni-dominant type, the impression one gets is that behind everything seen there is something simpler and more fundamental at work, which is much more powerful than the realm of the apparent. That there are primordial forces at work that are, in themselves, archetypical and, to borrow from Jung himself, representative of images that exist within the collective unconscious of mankind. With that kind of perspective, the Ni-dominant/Te auxiliary comes into an objective body of knowledge, such as any scientific discipline, and immediately begins asking, "what's really going on here?" And their approach to finding an answer to that question is to limit and reduce information down to it's bare essence, reaching farther and farther into the abstract until it reaches a point where all information begins to synthesize into the ineffable unity of everything - into that single, resplendent glimpse of a singularity.

The ironic problem inherent in all of that, is that the closer you get to absolute truth from the perspective of Ni, the farther you get from apparent systems - in other words, the farther you get from objective systems of knowing and explaining things. And it would seem to be the easiest thing to just discard objective systems in favor of a private system, to discard Te for Ti. But that would be disastrous, because then you'd be speaking in tongues or drawing mystical symbols and nobody would understand you at all. Believe me, I've been there.

In fact, I suspect the truth of the matter is that INTJs do actually remain conscious of Ti quite a lot, and that it might even come before Te in terms of conscious preference with certain INTJs (not just INFJs), but that Ti is never really perceived to be the "main event" in the process of judgment. While Ti may be implicit along with Ni, it isn't really the goal of thinking, the way it is with say an ITP or an ETP - the goal is to bring the Ni insight into the Te realm of the understandable - to find that compromise that doesn't destroy the original insight, but still makes a contribution in a measurable way. I assume that Ni has to get "parsed" through some kind of Ti on its way down the pipe to Te output, but because both Ni and Ti are introverted, and Ni comes primary, you probably won't see it in the end result, which is Te. And even the INTJ themselves might not be aware of themselves engaged in a very introverted style of thought before they arrive at something objective that lines up with real information.

Now, you see, there I go speculating. And even as I do, Te is there like an angry parent telling me to stop "making shit up". I can't exactly verify my conjecture here, but I will say that it comes from a very strong intuition that I'm right. But that's the point, you see. Te is there telling me to do your homework and back it up somehow with evidence. I can't very well just expect my audience to take my word for it. And in fact, if you read everything I've wrote so far and you're thinking, "my god he's got it!" without having done your own research and having evidence to support your agreement with my statements, then your agreement is practically worthless and does more harm than good. Absolute rigor is necessary, always, in justifying anything, not your sentiment or your anecdotal private understanding/personal experiences.

To that extent, I will end by directing you toward the source material from which I draw much of my own understanding.

Sources ->
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