Personality Cafe banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone,

My goal with this thread is to try to form a consensus around what functions really are psychologically. I have no doubt that Jung had his own very clear idea of this, but since we can't ask him for his input and the field has moved forward quite a ways in his absence, I think trying to suss this out for ourselves could help end a lot of disagreements and misunderstandings.

I'll start with my own contention: We all, as human beings, have to make use of sensing (to perceive and think about the external world), intuition (to generate and test ideas), thinking (to categorize and validate our perceptions), and feeling (to tie things together and harmonize our thoughts). From early on we prioritize one kind of perception and one kind of judgement. However, we also need a mix of externally- and internally-driven thoughts in order to have a fruitful thought process. Thus one of our leading functions takes-on a preference for introversion and the other for extroversion.

The subconscious response to these leading functions is to counter-balance with the tertiary and inferior functions. For example, dominant Te structuring implicitly relies on a set of Fi personal values to give the structures purpose (though the Te-dom mind might be reluctant to admit it).

In this model, the functions are not separate sections of the brain that operate independently of each other. They're more like colored lenses that overlay our entire thought process. A Te-dom and an Fe-dom will respond similarly to the same situation, but their way of looking at it will be different: the Te-dom will be giving structure and the Fe-dom will be fostering harmony.

This is why, in my mind, there is no need to call-up a set of 4 other "hidden" functions, since Fi is not different in nature from Fe (it just has a different focus) and since situations that are typically associated with Fi can be managed by using combinations of other functions (Ni and Fe for example).

TL;DR There is no agreed, fundamental difference in nature between introverted and extroverted functions. There's no proof that all 8 functions correspond to discrete brain patterns. So why insist that all people make use of all 8? And what is the benefit of discussing "hidden" functions?

[To the reader: Please feel free to introduce your own understanding of the nature of the functions, or to argue the points I've made here]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
As an illustration I thought I'd introduce some working definitions of the 8 functions (please don't focus too much on these, they're not meant to be perfect) and associate colors to them to better illustrate my point that they overlap.

Perceiving
- Si: Introverted sensing, being of the introverted attitude, prefers reflecting on memories and stored information over working directly with immediate inputs. It has a distrust of immediate external stimulus since it sees it as a source of risk and uncertainty.
- Se: Extroverted sensing, being of the extroverted attitude, is directed outwardly at immediate experiences or immediate possibilities. It will quickly draw inferences from the information it is provided. It distrusts memories and subjective information which it does not consider reliable.
- Ne: Extroverted intuition, being of the extroverted attitude, prefers external stimuli as prompts for its idea generation. It will quickly generate ideas and patterns connecting external objects. It distrusts stored memories and material which it does not consider real or reliable.
- Ni: Introverted intuition, being of the introverted attitude, prefers stored information as a prompt for its idea generation. It has a distrust for external prompts which it sees as being chaotic and unpredictable.

Judging:
- Ti: Introverted thinking, being of the introverted attitude, prefers stored information as a reference for its logical rules. It seeks to harmonize new information with an internal logical framework. It has a distrust for external rules or facts which it sees as poorly representing the underlying truth.
- Te: Extroverted thinking, being of the extroverted attitude, prefers externally gathered information as a reference for its logical reasoning. It seeks to harmonize new information with externally gathered facts. It has a distrust for internal rules or logic which it sees as unfounded in the external reality.
- Fe: Extroverted feeling, being of the extroverted attitude, prefers externally gathered impressions as a guide for thought. It seeks to harmonize new information with a complex of externally gathered impressions. It has a distrust for internal impressions which it sees as being of little value or reliability.
- Fi: Introverted feeling, being of the introverted attitude, prefers its internally gathered impressions as a guide for thought. It seeks to harmonize new information with an internal complex of impressions. It has a distrust for external impressions which it sees as being false or misleading.

Associated colors could be: Fi - Red; Fe - Orange; Ne - Yellow; Ni - Green; Ti - Turquoise; Te - Blue; Se - Indigo; Si - Violet;

Just like colors, if you put someone in a situation that calls for a function they don't "have" in their stack, they can simply mix the functions they already have to arrive at a satisfying result. Fe and an introverted perception function can be used to simulate the INFP's artsy behavior, Ti, with an extroverted perceiving function can search for or give INTJ-like structure, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
The only functions are thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition, respectively.

They are further influenced by attitude (introverted/extroverted). Someone having a preference for feeling judgements that are habitually extroverted would be EF type. Whence one function gains predominance, it alters the other functions to fall in line either to support it or to be completely suppressed - thus some speculation on the nature of the stack ensues.

Imagine however that a person WOULD not have "all" functions - say, lacking Si ; how would they ever deal with sensations altering their inner state? They would die of hunger without it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The only functions are thinking, feeling, sensing and intuition, respectively.

They are further influenced by attitude (introverted/extroverted). Someone having a preference for feeling judgements that are habitually extroverted would be EF type. Whence one function gains predominance, it alters the other functions to fall in line either to support it or to be completely suppressed - thus some speculation on the nature of the stack ensues.
Totally agree with this part. Your explanation is a lot more succinct and readable than mine! :p

Imagine however that a person WOULD not have "all" functions - say, lacking Si ; how would they ever deal with sensations altering their inner state? They would die of hunger without it...
I think the reason I disagree lies in the way I view the functions. I don't think of internal sensations as being the domain of Si. Rather, the Si function represents a tendency of the individual to pay closer attention to their subjective (introverted) experiences of things and drawing associations with other subjective experiences over taking in the experience as is (Se).

From this perspective, Se is fully capable of acknowledging hunger and responding to it by seeking food, but it will probably reflect less on the experience of hunger, contrasting it with other previous experiences and in stead will feel it (just as intensely) and look outward to remedy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
1 - Introversion is not "subjective". Everything is subjective (I used to think the opposite but I was wrong). Introversion is "collective unconscious". Collective unconscious is the default operating system for "what should be" according to the 3 billion years of evolution shaping our brains. Fi judgement sees an injustice and according to that and reacts. Si perceiving looks at something and decides if it is disgusting or beautiful according to that. Ti judgement is confronted with something and categorizes it impersonally according to that. Ni perceiving is in communion with the person's collective unconscious and when confronted with anything, checks how it fits according to that. (I'm not gonna get into Ni because I could write pages).

Introversion is "refer it to collective unconscious" and nothing else.

2 - Extroversion is not "objective" or "based on norms" or any other thing. Extroversion is about you, merging your psyche with the environment, leaving the collective unconscious in the dirt (if you completely give in to it).

An example could be, after a few drinks you hook up with a chick and find out in the bed that she smells disgusting. When you say "eff it, I'm here, I need this for whatever reason and going for it anyway", you're killing your Si, putting all your libido into Se (libido means psychic energy). Se only perceives the smell's strength and doesn't give a shit about what its relation to your collective unconscious sensibilities. Strength is quantitative, not qualitative.

Te represses Ti, says, "I don't want to give a shit about the underlying rationale of things, I'm only interested in what is in the objective reality as far as I can see and what can be done." You see that tension in economics and politics every day. Or in workplaces.

If Fe represses Fi, "I don't want to consider what is respectful or just (what should be), I can see what is going on with people and can make people feel a certain way (whatever that may be).

If Ne represses Ni, "I don't want to have feelings of understanding that are colored with shit I can't put to words properly, I'm interested in having feelings of understanding that have no color and about... every freaking thing under the sun".

Are you getting the theme I'm trying to convey here? That leads me to the next point.

3 - Extroversion and Introversion "support" each other. And you recognize all of the functions (and if they're introverted or extroverted) in everybody else.

Without Fi understanding, you can't successfully employ Fe and make people feel better without disrespecting them for example. Without Ti, you can't know the real boundaries of what can be done or what is in the objective reality. Without paying attention to Si, you can't get into Se situations. Without paying attention to your intuition of outside reality and if you ignore ideas and understandings that exist outside, you're extremely limited in your capability to compare what are you confronted with to your unconscious (you will be led to wrong understandings about things). Goes without saying that all the reverse situations of these are valid as well.
Not gonna give more examples of these, with a little bit of imagination you can draw your own examples. (See my relation to Ne there? I want to ignore it, it's boring to me)

4 - The real dilemma of all of human psychology is my next point.

When your consciousness is in one function mode, the next function it wants to go towards is the complete opposite. Namely, opposite in attitude and opposite in what its purpose is. Because it gets so repressed, it tries to claw its way into consciousness. When I'm Ni mode for a bit, I then want to engage in an Se activity automatically. When I'm in Te mode for a bit, the same goes for Fi. This kind of relationship builds dopamine pathways into the brain over the years and we always like it when we can indulge in our weak functions. But they don't lose their weakness and an 8 sided reality hits us hard when we indulge too much.

And there's a disgusting misunderstanding about the weak functions, let me explain. Weak functions exist from the moment you're conscious as a baby and they are what makes us balanced individuals. Te without Fi is tyranny of the past ages, Wall Street of today, dictatorships of the cold war. Ti without Fe is the lost arts and knowledge of history, no sharing of ideas and no scientific progress. Si without Ne is humanity never going beyond Africa thousands of years ago. Ni without Se is nobody leading by example. Reverse versions of these would be a little different but you get the gist.

I think that Te-Fi example of Wall Street could be misunderstood here and is misunderstood generally. People mistake what their emotions are with their feeling functions. People think that inferior Fi is about being proud, being the best and all that kind of shit but it's not. Fi is always about being just, being fair, being understanding of how people should live and relate to each other according to millions of years of evolution. Fi is about thinking every living thing has value unless they themselves violate Fi. This is always the case. The reason Wall Street guys are disgusting assholes is because they are marrying their strong Te with Ti. And when you can't get to Fi with Te, you feel negative shit. That's the Shadow and Shadow is always negative. Shadows of strong functions make you angry, bored, superior, right, being full of yourself, righteous, cranky, criticizing. When you kill weak Fi and give rise to strong but negative Ti, you form all kind of messed up judgements about what life is. When you completely kill your Fi and marry Ti with your dominant Te, you begin to believe "this is the way life really is, this is the actual reality, I've been an idiot emotional child all those years ago trying to be just and good and respectful to others. I'll leave those kind of feelings forever". It is not Fi being inferior that gives rise to these emotions, it is killing the Fi (inferior) and becoming unbalanced and stuck that makes your emotions so negative. What leads to you killing your weak functions can be every kind of bad thing but what you have to realize is that it's just the nature of reality. Our consciousness is limited and we get punished for it eventually.

This is the point in everyone's life when they lose hope and surrender to what they understand well. But a prolonged state of this leads to resentment and every kind of toxic behavior. You can apply this idea to every type, every function and can see them at work in people, who are sad, angry, resigned all the time. This is why having the right partner in life is so important. You need someone to naturally pull you towards your weak functions and remain in the light, even if you have to marry your strong functions with their shadow for your job and such. You need to come home to that person and that function to heal yourself, remain balanced, hopeful, positive. But yes, life doesn't make it easy. You actually do need to marry your functions with their opposite attitude to get what you want as I've said in my 3rd point. Without that, you can't have a complete picture regarding that function.

And this is the dilemma: how are you going to balance marrying functions to their complete opposites and marrying them to attitude opposites? I can only say this about that: try to relax and return to your childishness, your deep desires to become someone else once in a while when there's no danger of harming yourself or anyone. But don't remain there when there's serious shit to be done, serious problems to solve. Become wise and hardened when it's necessary and do what is necessary and smart, but, release your hold on yourself when you have the chance.

And of course, avoid falling down to the Shadows of your weak functions. Because if you do happen to fall into them and if you stay with them long enough, the road will end in murder or suicide or both. Those are the ones that give birth to unimaginable crimes or unimaginable suffering.

5 - Lastly, if I didn't make it clear enough, 8 functions all exist in everybody, what makes you you is your relationship with them. Emotions and archetypes are about the ordering and what value you give to your functions. There's a sticky thread about Beebe's 8 function model in this subforum, I would suggest reading it. Really great ideas there.

Of course, I can be wrong, but I hope I have at least provided some food for thought.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,699 Posts
Each type has a dominant, auxiliary and tertiary function. The fourth is the subconscious. The 8 cognitive functions website should be of help to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
169 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
@Insentient:

Thank you for your elaborate post. You've definitely given me (and hopefully others) food for thought on this. I will get back with a more detailed reply if I have the time tomorrow, but the short and unsatisfying answer is that I think you and I interpret the fundamentals of MBTI theory in slightly different ways. I agree that everything is subjective (I use subjective and objective as a shorthand) also, i and e to me are attitudes of the four base functions, so Fi is fundamentally the same function as Fe, it's just directed the opposite way. (When I say fundamentally I really mean it, like a basic psychological mechanism of seeking harmony, whatever the content.)

Maybe this will help you to see my perspective, although I'm definitely still trying on yours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
I think the reason I disagree lies in the way I view the functions. I don't think of internal sensations as being the domain of Si. Rather, the Si function represents a tendency of the individual to pay closer attention to their subjective (introverted) experiences of things and drawing associations with other subjective experiences over taking in the experience as is (Se).

From this perspective, Se is fully capable of acknowledging hunger and responding to it by seeking food, but it will probably reflect less on the experience of hunger, contrasting it with other previous experiences and in stead will feel it (just as intensely) and look outward to remedy it.
I think what you describe there can be explained by preference for either one approach, yes.

You can think of it as a tendency, but then you have to find a way to arrange the functions in the psyche. Say I prefer to focus on introverting the sensation instead of extroverting it; but how do you determine whether that is my dominant preference or whether I just need it to balance my dominant extroverted intuition - for example?

Although, if you consider function in relation to certain "domains" - you can pretty much come up with a system which is based on a fundamental division of energy, according to which you can then arrange all information (from human perspective) into the system. Also thinking of it as a domain makes it easier to see the "root" of the function (e.g. basic sensations that are essential for survival, or primitive emotional reactions to things) and see how it develops and adapts into a "mature" function (e.g. sophisticated estimation of sensed experiences, complicated value judgements). You can also estimate the prevalence of the function in the psyche by looking at how differentiated it is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,856 Posts
Hey everyone,

My goal with this thread is to try to form a consensus around what functions really are psychologically. I have no doubt that Jung had his own very clear idea of this, but since we can't ask him for his input and the field has moved forward quite a ways in his absence, I think trying to suss this out for ourselves could help end a lot of disagreements and misunderstandings.

I'll start with my own contention: We all, as human beings, have to make use of sensing (to perceive and think about the external world), intuition (to generate and test ideas), thinking (to categorize and validate our perceptions), and feeling (to tie things together and harmonize our thoughts). From early on we prioritize one kind of perception and one kind of judgement. However, we also need a mix of externally- and internally-driven thoughts in order to have a fruitful thought process. Thus one of our leading functions takes-on a preference for introversion and the other for extroversion.


In this model, the functions are not separate sections of the brain that operate independently of each other. They're more like colored lenses that overlay our entire thought process. A Te-dom and an Fe-dom will respond similarly to the same situation, but their way of looking at it will be different: the Te-dom will be giving structure and the Fe-dom will be fostering harmony.

This is why, in my mind, there is no need to call-up a set of 4 other "hidden" functions, since Fi is not different in nature from Fe (it just has a different focus) and since situations that are typically associated with Fi can be managed by using combinations of other functions (Ni and Fe for example).

TL;DR There is no agreed, fundamental difference in nature between introverted and extroverted functions. There's no proof that all 8 functions correspond to discrete brain patterns. So why insist that all people make use of all 8? And what is the benefit of discussing "hidden" functions?

[To the reader: Please feel free to introduce your own understanding of the nature of the functions, or to argue the points I've made here]
I think the best way to frame it, is that functions are divisions of reality (I have been comparing them to actual space dimensions, with one we are looking in, its opposite totally outside our direct consciousness, and the perpendicular ones partly conscious).
So yes, there are ultimately four functions. I've been defining them as the division of reality into spatial and temporal perception (S/N), and "things" vs "people" judgment (T/F).

It's complexes, (lesser senses of "I") within our ego structure, that choose and assign an "individual" or "environmental" orientation (i/e) to these perspectives, and thus divides reality according to the function-attitudes, beginning with the one chosen as dominant (along with the dominant orientation), and auxiliary (with opposite orientation and j/p rationality, for the sake of balance).

The "other six" are just reflections of the split off aspects of reality we pay less attention to, which tend to be picked up by other complexes which themselves are split off reflections of the first two.
So the tertiary and inferior will be the direct splitting off of both the function and attitude of the first two. The "bottom four" are just the same four, but with the attitudes reversed. This is a less direct splitting (since it will have the primary function mixed with the opposite attitude), and so get picked up by even less conscious complexes. (Sometimes, they get acted out, unconsciously, and so some models and even "cognitive process test" results will have them coming out as actually "stronger" than the tertiary and especially inferior, which often leads to type confusion. Hence, these are very good to still be aware of and not say they don't exist or are unimportant, or too far from consciousness to be worth discussing).

So then type is really about two functions, and the others fall into place based on them. This is the way to avoid thinking of the functions as eight "things" and wondering what determines where they fall in our consciousness.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top