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Ne has always been a sort of associated thought for me, it's a loosely related line of thoughts. It can breed ideas, similar to brainstorming.

The difference is that Ne is a non-forced process, whereas brainstorming is active.
It sure feels like a storm in my brain at times. I'd rather have some Se sunny weather sometimes.
 
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I've realized right from childhood that I could never come up with good ideas forcefully, but that I had moments when multiple ideas would just come to me out of nowhere. I've learned how to 'jump-start' my Ne almost...of course, I didn't know what Ne was when I was a child. But jump-starting my Ne involves 'brainstorming', however awkward it really is for me. I've done that most often for school projects and essays. For instance, if I have to write an essay but had no idea what to write on the subject, writing a few disconnected sentences usually gets my Ne going.
I definitely know what you mean by "jump-starting". As a graphic designer, I purposely look through magazines, photos online, take a walk and observe the atmosphere, put music on, etc, all to get "inspired". For me, I can also turn inward - how do I feel about the topic? Then I relate that to something external and now I have an idea of how to move forward with a project. I tend to "free-write" in my head or start with some outline (since I don't have much natural structure to my thoughts), and that can trigger an idea also.

And I love to be given a set of rules (a system if you will) that makes it harder, or that I can circumvent or trumph in some way.
The challenge forces creativity, definitely. It's almost like, if there are no boundaries, then you don't even know where to start. You're swamped with possibilities so that nothing clear emerges. Once you get boundaries, you can at least start with, "Why are these even here?", and that narrows the field a bit.
 
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I definitely know what you mean by "jump-starting". As a graphic designer, I purposely look through magazines, photos online, take a walk and observe the atmosphere, put music on, etc, all to get "inspired". For me, I can also turn inward - how do I feel about the topic? Then I relate that to something external and now I have an idea of how to move forward with a project. I tend to "free-write" in my head or start with some outline (since I don't have much natural structure to my thoughts), and that can trigger an idea also.



The challenge forces creativity, definitely. It's almost like, if there are no boundaries, then you don't even know where to start. You're swamped with possibilities so that nothing clear emerges. Once you get boundaries, you can at least start with, "Why are these even here?", and that narrows the field a bit.
Yes. And I also work with design (on different levels) and similar stuff, so I really can relate to what you wrote.
 

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Ne sees things that other people don't normally see
 
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Me and my friend (INFJ) were talking about my Ne and his Ni and we came to the conclusion that (this is in my words):

NI: It's almost like you get the thought, put a metal box over it and just shove input into this box, once enough input is put into the box it explodes and "viola!" there is a pearl! (your answer):proud:

NE: Just keeps going and going and going until either it runs into the answer with all its tangents or it gets so far off with its tangents that it just all in all forgets about what the original thought was!:crazy:

This would explain how they feed off each other so well, the Ni is just waiting for enough input to float its way so it can suck it in and make the answer. Ne just enjoys shoving all of its ideas into the box.
 

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Ne wants to outshine, outsmart, and outrun the world any way it can, even if it means creating a new sandwich combo. It's deliriously exciting - and sometimes just so natural.

"Peanut butter jelly and cream cheese?! [Intermission] GOODNESS GRACIOUS, THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING...! !11"

Sometimes the best thing about it is that these resultant discoveries don't go away.
 

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1. Anyone can brainstorm.
2. Everyone has some level of Ne.

As for the difference: there is a distinction between contrived brainstorming (intentionally trying to find ideas that you need) and inherent brainstorming (which is natural to strong Ne types), where multiple ideas and possibilities simply spring out of mid-air on their own, without any sense of intention or active effort. In this sense, Ne is a more innate sense of brainstorming, where the person with Ne doesn't actually try to think of ideas, but naturally generates them all the time without much effort. It's as if the ideas just come to us, rather than us finding them.

So, I would say that the difference is somewhat like a person who naturally knows how to dance and someone who learns to dance, or someone who naturally knows how to draw and someone who learns to draw, or someone who naturally knows how to play music and someone who learns to play music, or someone who naturally knows to sing and someone who learn to sing, or someone who naturally knows how to give a great speech and someone who learns the art of rhetoric: in all of these situations, there is someone who just naturally does something by nature, without effort, and there is someone who does it as they've been trained and/or consciously prepared to do it .

Hence, Ne is just a cognitive function which inherently allows for the brainstorming of ideas without much effort. Therefore, when people are actively brainstorming, it's not necessarily akin to Ne, I would say. Ne is the function of a natural inventor. Parts are seen and used for the potential, and must be reconfigured into new shapes and that material must be reformed and built into something marvelous. This all probably happens more naturally, as the inventory personality just naturally generates more and more ideas based on the situation. If there is a problem, their mind will naturally incline them to think, "Hmm... perhaps if I just do this... or maybe that, and if not that than this," and so on... until the answer is eventually found, and a level of congruence is reached whereby the entire system makes sense and works as intended.

The average person who happens to be brainstorming may not have this strong inherent drive to just generate ideas out of thin air as if by second nature, whereas it is true of Ne types. The average person may have to actually try a bit harder to actually move from one idea to another, but it can be done. And this is why people brainstorm -- to force their mind to look for possibilities, which isn't usually the case with Ne, again, because it's just natural.
 

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I hate brainstorming, because they won't let you criticize.
And it's always too bloody vague.
And they just want quantity rather than quality. I prefer quality.

I can think up all kinds of ideas when I want, but the way brainstorming tends to be framed, it is just irritating.
Well, that's just how it is. Ne is usually coupled with some introverted judging function (Fi or Ti). Therefore, the person usually isn't looking for a finished product or a perfect and well-defined set of ideas that should be subjected to harsh criticism when in the process of formation. I understand that Ni types -- specifically INTJ's -- do have a need to seek out the best ideas, possibilities, and solutions to problems, but this just isn't the point of Ne and introvert judging types could really care less to think in this way.

When the product is finished, people can feel free to critique all they want. Yet, when ideas are still bubbling around and different possibilities are still being tested and experimented for the sake of curiosity, it usually doesn't do any good for someone to come along and point out why they think these ideas will not work. Sometimes, they just happen to work, even when someone has assumed that they will not, while other times, they do not work, just as someone assumed. But the point is this: Ne types usually enjoy experimenting with different possibilities, so we will usually throw out tons of ideas (some good, some bad) just for the sake of curiosity and in the hope that something will actually work, because we usually have a feeling that there is something out there that will work. When other types give up and assume that there's no chance, an Ne types might continue to search for a possible solution, even if it seems unlikely. And that's the difference between how we all think.

Therefore, different approaches to problem solving and whatnot have pros and cons. Ne might be vague; it might involve many tangents that you just don't understand; it might be poorly understood and/or worded; it may have so many intricate interconnections that you can't fathom how it all seems to makes sense to the mind of an Ne type. But then again, it may make sense and it may actually work, even if your mind cannot make sense of it. On the other hand, types who prefer to look only for what might work, rational possibilities, things which seem practical and reasonable, may limit themselves to notions of possibilities which may not actually work, whereas if they hadn't narrowed their vision so strongly, they might have realized a solution an Ne type would not have overlooked, but would have tried for the sake of curiosity.

So, in the end, there is no perfect way of doing things. Ne is one way; Ni is another. Introverted judging types works things out internally; extraverted judging types work things out externally. There really is no right or wrong way of doing any of this. And therefore, if some Ne type has ideas that seem to annoy you, you should simply wait until they've developed a prototype of some sort which has actually moved beyond the idea stage and has actually become serious enough to implement on some level. Or, you can provide constructive criticism in the hope that you'll actually help the ideas move into some implementing stage, out of the idea stage, and if that never happens, then perhaps you have the right to criticize until your heart's content. But there really is no reason that Ni/Te types should feel compelled to shoot down every thought or possibility or idea which a Ne type happens to imagine. It's presumptuous, it's rude, and it's often times unnecessary.

The best thing is to just tolerate what you do not understand. Ne types generate tons of ideas, some good some bad. You may not like them all, but you must understand and respect the fact that Ne types aren't inherently looking for perfect ideas a main priority. Ne types want to try everything until they've proved themselves that they do not work; Ne types do not like sifting through possibilities, easily discarding those which seem fruitless. To us, all ideas are potentially fruitful and it's a pity to overlook many that will work simply because they don't seem useful. Thus, given that Ne types want to try all ideas, even those which seem, it's just really annoying when someone comes along trying to point out how they don't seem realistic enough to work, because it's often very presumptuous and just gets in the way of the inventing/creative process.

Fi or Ti deal with ideas as they come. We do this internally. We like exploring possibilities with others to really experiment with them. We do not do this expecting others to treat out thoughts as if they are highly serious proposals, because they usually aren't. It's a matter of curiosity, often. "Perhaps this will work, if we do X, Y, Z. What do you think?" = give me some constructive input. It doesn't mean that we're asking for a detailed critique; it's simply a loose proposal we're asking you to imagine and loosely assess, not to entirely step on every detail that may be missing or wrong. When we've done enough exploring and testing and experimenting, we may make it to the stage where we are comfortable actually saying we have some form of developed product with which we are confident. Then you can critique away like crazy. But when ideas are still in the testing, exploring, discovery phase, where curiosity is going rampant, it's usually best to try to offer constructive criticism and to try to be polite about these ideas. They weren't taken serious in the first place, and therefore shouldn't be seriously assessed. And this is often the problem I tend to have with Ni/Te types, as I can infer from your statements.

So yeah, Ne may be vague and annoying, but have some tolerance for the inventing mind. It's a creative process -- not one of ultimate intellectual rigor. It requires lots of creativity to come up ideas that most others have overlooked and to make them work. Te has no business critiquing Ne when it's the process of creativity.

And surely INTJ's can think up ideas as well, using Ni. Ne just happens to be done in a more holistic, leaping fashion, where we bounce around from one idea to another, like leaping over many lily pads. Ni seems to see things in a much more organized fashion, moving steadily and internally. Ne just goes crazy with all kinds of global visions. So even if we can all develop ideas, Ne types develop ideas in a much different fashion. And even if you can't stand it, it's how many inventors usually come up with their ideas that revolutionize the world. So let's not forget that.
 

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Ne sees things that other people don't normally see
True. But then again, Ni also sees into situations (new understandings/perspective perhaps) which others overlook, as well. Ne just happens to notice very fine possibilities that most people think are nuts.
 

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I actually have some problems when brian storming because it is so forced. It's like trying to fall asleep. Something that happens natually, may seem much more difficult when your consciously trying to make it happen.
 

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Ne considers the possibilities of things while staying within the boundaries of what already exists.

Neither Ne or Ni or Se or Si are better at brainstorming because it depends entirely on what you are brainstorming for.
 
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