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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, this is my first thread on this website, but I'm just going to get straight to the point. For quite some time now I've found most descriptions of Ne and Ni to be rather useless since they more or less just say the same things. Both functions notice patterns, make connections, dig deep into ideas, and make predictions. This is simply an intuition thing and isn't unique to either function. I think in order to properly differentiate the functions, it is vital to consider the difference in focus the two functions have. This is just a hypothesis, so I would like some constructive feedback on any potential shortcomings in my descriptions.

To put it simply, I'm arguing that Ni is primarily focused on finding deep insights, while Ne is focused on finding all of the things that connect to a singular insight. Both functions will do things like draw connections, but I think the motivation behind finding said connections is what makes the difference. I speculate that Ne makes connections between ideas simply because it likes to see how many ways a single principle is/can be applied and enjoys seeing the connections between these things simply because it is fun. Ne may go back and think about the underlying mechanism or meaning behind an idea, but only so it can find more situations where that insight also applies. I think this is supported by the fact that dominant or auxiliary Ne is always paired with a dominant or auxiliary introverted judging function. When Ne finds more ideas that stem from a single insight, Ti or Fi can spend more time playing with those ideas and coming to decisions about them internally. I believe for Ni it is the opposite. Ni may bounce around from idea to idea, but it only does that as a means to an end. For Ni, bouncing around from idea to idea, or from observation to observation, only matters insofar as it leads to the production of one deep, original insight that can be acted upon. If the upper Ni user can glean a mind blowing insight from a single observation they will be more than satisfied with that, whereas the Ne user will only care about gleaning a powerful insight if it allows them to spend time finding more tangentially related ideas to think about. I think upper Ni is helped in this matter by the fact that it is always paired with a dom or aux extraverted judging function. Ni will glean an incredible insight about some system, which will then energize the Ni user, and inspire them to take action with Fe or Te.

To illustrate how I think this might play out in a real example, I'll use something I commonly observe in myself. I'm fairly certain I'm an INTJ, and I find alot of joy in coming up with novel ways to solve problems in mathematics and physics. However, my way of going about it is rather formulaic, I've come to notice. 1. analyze problem 2. Develop hypothesis on how to solve said problem based on some inexplicable realization 3. See if hypothesis is valid 4. repeat process if invalid, move on if valid.... I'm entirely satisfied with coming up with a single original way to solve the problem. Even if there are other ways to solve it, I'll only consider spending a lot of time thinking about them if my own method turns out to be inefficient. I imagine a high Ne user would be more likely to think about how to solve the problem in every conceivable way just for the fun of it, before moving on when they finally run out of potential methods. They might look at the method derived by the Ni user only because it might help them to think about other ways to accomplish the same result.

I suspect this has a lot to do with the stereotypical INTJ scientist classification. It's a description of how Ni and Te work together to come up with hypotheses and make plans to verify or falsify them. I'd be willing to wager it's much the same for INFJs, ENTJs, and ENFJs. Basically I look at it like this: Ne and Ni are both both circles of data points orbiting one central idea like a ring of stones around the larger boulder they broke off from. Ni will analyze the rocks on the out side, but only to learn what they want about the boulder on the inside, so they can act on their insights. Ne will analyze every rock around the boulder and will sometimes return to study the boulder on the inside, but only so they can see if they may have missed some other rocks on the outside that may have broken off of it.

Tl;dr Ni works by connecting ideas, noticing patterns, changing perspectives, etc, etc, but only so it can gain some crucial deep insight that Te or Fe can verify and act upon. Ne works by noticing patterns, gaining insights, changing perspectives, etc, etc, but only so it can find more emergent possibilities and ideas that Fi and Ti can play with.

Tell me if I'm off base.
 

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Hello, thanks for sharing all that. I got through about half of it. Paragraphs and organization is easier to read than a wall of text. Wall of text always screams INTP to me for some reason lol.

Regarding your thoughts, I always felt like a lot of what you described was when Ne was paired with Ti, or even just Ti. I’m not sure I agree on Ni either, but like I said I only read half. I’ll use INTJs as an example to explain my thoughts just because I know our functions best...

We are products of all 4 functions, but the first 2 are key. For example, intj is Ni>Te, which means that the way we process information is through Ni and the way we communicate our, let’s say, findings, is through Te. This is a lot different than someone who is Ni>Se.

The best way I’ve seen Ni and Ne explained was somewhere deep on this site, and it said that Ni was like a nebula, and we connect different points within our vast nebula of knowledge, and we love adding to our nebulas making them grow larger. Ne was like a supernova, starting at one point and exploding outwards with ideas and possibilities and points. Maybe there’s more to it than that?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello, thanks for sharing all that. I got through about half of it. Paragraphs and organization is easier to read than a wall of text. Wall of text always screams INTP to me for some reason lol.
Thanks for the feedback. In hindsight, I definitely should have broken it up into chunks.

Regarding your thoughts, I always felt like a lot of what you described was when Ne was paired with Ti, or even just Ti. I’m not sure I agree on Ni either, but like I said I only read half. I’ll use INTJs as an example to explain my thoughts just because I know our functions best...
I definitely agree that the pairing of functions makes a big difference. I talked about how I think XiNe/NeXi and NiXe/XeNi work together later in my dissertation. Although, based on the description below, I don't think we actually disagree on Ni either.

We are products of all 4 functions, but the first 2 are key. For example, intj is Ni>Te, which means that the way we process information is through Ni and the way we communicate our, let’s say, findings, is through Te. This is a lot different than someone who is Ni>Se.
In part of my wall, I go in depth about how I believe INTJ's use Te with Ni. I definitely agree that Te is how we communicate our insights, but I also think It's generally how we validate our vision. Ni will observe something, then come up with some intuitive inference about, inspiring Te to take action to validate it. This could be through communicating our findings, setting up an experiment, starting up a business or any number of things.

The best way I’ve seen Ni and Ne explained was somewhere deep on this site, and it said that Ni was like a nebula, and we connect different points within our vast nebula of knowledge, and we love adding to our nebulas making them grow larger. Ne was like a supernova, starting at one point and exploding outwards with ideas and possibilities and points. Maybe there’s more to it than that?
I definitely think there's a bit more to it than that, and that's the distinction I was trying to make. I think descriptions like that, while elegant, fail to grasp where the difference in Ne and Ni stem from. Ne may be a supernova exploding out from a single point, but after a supernova occurs a nebula is left in its wake. That analogy implies that Ne likes to see possibilities, which is certainly true, but doesn't address the tendency for Ne users to draw connections between concepts and jump from idea to idea. The description of Ni talks about how Ni user constantly consume information, but the way it describes the nebula of knowledge doesn't really seem to cover Ni's primary function. Ni gathers these info and connects it all in order to see the underlying causal factors behind all of them. Ni's most prominent desire, is to gain deep insight into whatever it is observing.
 

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My somewhat uninformed view is that Ne is more exploratory in its nature. It goes more into the abstract and draws dots and lines in areas not always related at all to the subject in matter. (e.g. random)

Ni, I think, is a bit more like a calculator. more focused, less random. You feed in 2+2 and it replies 4. But you don't know how it concluded 4.
Te, being more objective, needs to double check the results from Ni.

Although that Ni-calculator is capable of more then just simple math; it can "calculate" more subjective and abstract things to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My somewhat uninformed view is that Ne is more exploratory in its nature. It goes more into the abstract and draws dots and lines in areas not always related at all to the subject in matter. (e.g. random)

Ni, I think, is a bit more like a calculator. more focused, less random. You feed in 2+2 and it replies 4. But you don't know how it concluded 4.
Te, being more objective, needs to double check the results from Ni.

Although that Ni-calculator is capable of more then just simple math; it can "calculate" more subjective and abstract things to.
I almost completely agree with this description, especially in regard to the difference in focus. I think the calculator like nature of Ni is fueled by its desire to gain deep, singular insights about ideas. I definitely agree Ne is more exploratory. In essence, I think the difference is Ne explores for the joy of exploring and finding new things so it can explore some more. Everything it does is in the service of finding more things to explore. Ni on the other hand, may explore on occasion, but only so it can find some hidden gem that can be used or verified by Te in some context.
 

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I almost completely agree with this description, especially in regard to the difference in focus. I think the calculator like nature of Ni is fueled by its desire to gain deep, singular insights about ideas. I definitely agree Ne is more exploratory. In essence, I think the difference is Ne explores for the joy of exploring and finding new things so it can explore some more. Everything it does is in the service of finding more things to explore. Ni on the other hand, may explore on occasion, but only so it can find some hidden gem that can be used or verified by Te in some context.
Ni being an introverted function I imagine it's driven by the individual and his/her preferences.
So if it goes exploring, it's because the individual wants to. It does not go exploring for the sake of exploring.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ni being an introverted function I imagine it's driven by the individual and his/her preferences.
So if it goes exploring, it's because the individual wants to. It does not go exploring for the sake of exploring.
That's an interesting take that may very well be true. In INTJs specifically, I'd imagine tertiary Fi would have a lot to do with that as well. Afterall, Fi is associated with personal values, so it stands to reason that such strong values would be a powerful driving force behind Ni insights and exploration.
 

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That's an interesting take that may very well be true. In INTJs specifically, I'd imagine tertiary Fi would have a lot to do with that as well. Afterall, Fi is associated with personal values, so it stands to reason that such strong values would be a powerful driving force behind Ni insights and exploration.
Not sure, adding in Fi seems like a bit much speculation for me atm. I think Ni could be "programmed", but I can't specifically think how.
 

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Tl;dr Ni works by connecting ideas, noticing patterns, changing perspectives, etc, etc, but only so it can gain some crucial deep insight that Te or Fe can verify and act upon. Ne works by noticing patterns, gaining insights, changing perspectives, etc, etc, but only so it can find more emergent possibilities and ideas that Fi and Ti can play with.
I like that you mention that Te or Fe want to act upon the information. I recently posted something in the INTJ forum about wanting to know how to build all kinds of machines. It was suggested that it would be easier to just live a simple life in which those machines weren't necessary. I felt my point was missed entirely—it's about knowledge for its own sake and the potential, not actually executing anything with it in the real world.

I like to summarize like this (though take this with a grain of salt as I'm not sure any of it is necessarily correct):

NeNi
Divergent/outward orientation (extroverted function)Convergent/inward orientation (introverted function)
Possibilities/potentialProbabilities/prediction
More open to simultaneously accepting multiple perspectives/
sometimes struggles to not see shades of gray
Prefer one correct/appropriate view/answer
May be focused more on the questionMay be focused more on the answer

In picture form (was looking for inward and outward arrows to indicate divergence/convergence and thought this seemed rather congruent with my mental image of the two functions), Ne on the left, Ni on the right:


Additional thought: I find that Ne is the function I most often associate with the feeling of pure joy. Being handed a topic that generates lots of questions that generates lots of answers, especially when there's an absence of mutual exclusion in many of those answers, is akin to that feeling a child has waking up on Christmas morning—it's one of the most exciting and fun toys I can think of. Not sure if that's a thing unique to Ne or has something to do with its position in my particular functional stack (brainstorming impractical possibilities irritates the heck out of my ISFJ mother for sure!).
 

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I like that you mention that Te or Fe want to act upon the information. I recently posted something in the INTJ forum about wanting to know how to build all kinds of machines. It was suggested that it would be easier to just live a simple life in which those machines weren't necessary. I felt my point was missed entirely—it's about knowledge for its own sake and the potential, not actually executing anything with it in the real world.
Yeah, I think that's the one of the biggest differences between INxPs and INxJs. For INxJs, insight and knowledge serve as catalysts for actions, whereas I think INxPs (especially INTPs) tend to gather knowledge and insights for the pure joy of it.

I like to summarize like this (though take this with a grain of salt as I'm not sure any of it is necessarily correct):

NeNi
Divergent/outward orientation (extroverted function)Convergent/inward orientation (introverted function)
Possibilities/potentialProbabilities/prediction
More open to simultaneously accepting multiple perspectives/
sometimes struggles to not see shades of gray
Prefer one correct/appropriate view/answer
May be focused more on the questionMay be focused more on the answer

In picture form (was looking for inward and outward arrows to indicate divergence/convergence and thought this seemed rather congruent with my mental image of the two functions), Ne on the left, Ni on the right:
That image is pretty much exactly what I was trying to get at with my rock analogy.

Additional thought: I find that Ne is the function I most often associate with the feeling of pure joy. Being handed a topic that generates lots of questions that generates lots of answers, especially when there's an absence of mutual exclusion in many of those answers, is akin to that feeling a child has waking up on Christmas morning—it's one of the most exciting and fun toys I can think of. Not sure if that's a thing unique to Ne or has something to do with its position in my particular functional stack (brainstorming impractical possibilities irritates the heck out of my ISFJ mother for sure!).
That's an interesting take on the matter, and I think it's fairly accurate as well. I think there's a certain joy in Ni also, but it's more of the stereotypical 'eureka' type spikes in joy that come from some sudden insight that can be acted upon. I think those sudden moments of deep insight are essentially what Ni users are fueled by. Ne users seem to be characterized more by a consistent state of carefree, yet contemplative, fun.
 

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Not sure, adding in Fi seems like a bit much speculation for me atm. I think Ni could be "programmed", but I can't specifically think how.
I think the combination of aux Te, a strictly utilitarian function, and tertiary Fi, a generally idealistic function, are up to the task of directing Ni. INTJs with abnormally strong Fi are probably prone to having somewhat utopian philosophical views and basing their insights and predictions off of that. INTJs with particularly strong Te are probably more prone to using Ni to find objective truths about things and coming up with extremely well thought out plans to accomplish some predetermined goal.
 

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It does not go exploring for the sake of exploring.
mmmmpghnmnnnn . . . i want to agree with you. in fact, based on my limited contact with people i knew to be using ne, i do. it's just that i put it up against my own lifelong experience of 'why are you bothering to think of that' and 'no reason, just thinking' and so on, and i start to question how come i do want to agree.

my (again pretty limited) observation of ne-ers is that for them it's the stuff they collect that has meaning for htem. or generate out of thin air. they magpie. it's swag. 'what you want to go bringing all that back for' 'no reason, shiny!'

ni (mine) is exactly the same but it's not about generating things. it's about connections. i'm more excited about collecting the joins and relationships between things than the things themselves.
 

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mmmmpghnmnnnn . . . i want to agree with you. in fact, based on my limited contact with people i knew to be using ne, i do. it's just that i put it up against my own lifelong experience of 'why are you bothering to think of that' and 'no reason, just thinking' and so on, and i start to question how come i do want to agree.

my (again pretty limited) observation of ne-ers is that for them it's the stuff they collect that has meaning for htem. or generate out of thin air. they magpie. it's swag. 'what you want to go bringing all that back for' 'no reason, shiny!'

ni (mine) is exactly the same but it's not about generating things. it's about connections. i'm more excited about collecting the joins and relationships between things than the things themselves.
My POV comes more from the discussions and things I've experienced with Ne-users. When I've engaged in their "exploration".
Because the handful of Ne-users I've meet haven't been "thing" oriented at all, it maybe a bit different to your experience..

But all of them have been into the whole "intellectual exploration", or generating things and ideas out of thin air.
They're the kind that would ponder on if the universe isn't just a lab-bottle in an alien lab being rattled about. Because it's fun.
 

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I think the combination of aux Te, a strictly utilitarian function, and tertiary Fi, a generally idealistic function, are up to the task of directing Ni. INTJs with abnormally strong Fi are probably prone to having somewhat utopian philosophical views and basing their insights and predictions off of that. INTJs with particularly strong Te are probably more prone to using Ni to find objective truths about things and coming up with extremely well thought out plans to accomplish some predetermined goal.
So, I've had some time to ponder on it. And I think you may be jumping to conclusions.
Because it depends on what values Fi holds to, being another individualistic function. What if a strong Fi values being a realist?


INTJs with strong Te, I think, tend to be "problem solvers", in a way.

It gets intriguing if the INTJ in question has both strong Te and Fi, though.
 

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the handful of Ne-users I've meet haven't been "thing" oriented at all, it maybe a bit different to your experience..
it may be terminology too. not that i know very much about people's real-life types, forget about remembering which ones are a sign of ne. but i'm thinking about a definition of 'thing' that includes the intangible, i.e. a concept or an idea is a thing to some folks. idk if that sheds any light; not that i'm trying to pull your pov into alignment with mine.
 

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it may be terminology too. not that i know very much about people's real-life types, forget about remembering which ones are a sign of ne. but i'm thinking about a definition of 'thing' that includes the intangible, i.e. a concept or an idea is a thing to some folks. idk if that sheds any light; not that i'm trying to pull your pov into alignment with mine.
No worries. I see it is an exchange of ideas/experiences, so thanks for the clarification, I did read it like you meant a more materialistic "thing".:proud:
 
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