Determining Function Axes, Part 9

Lee Morgan is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Lee’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. In this article, Lee seeks a tighter, Wittgensteinian definition of the function axes. 

By Lee Morgan

  1. The Quiddity Perception Axis (Se/Ni): This axis yields a cognitive preference for perceiving in terms of quiddity (that is, whatness, essence, usage). This preference expresses itself in two distinct ways, namely as appearance and immediate reality, which is the specialty of Extroverted Sensation, and extrapolations from givens and the archetypical thing-in-itself, which is the specialty of Introverted Intuition.
  2. The Abstraction Perception Axis (Si/Ne):This axis yields a cognitive preference for perceiving in terms of the abstractions they evoke. This preference expresses itself in two distinct ways, namely as compilation and continuity, which is the specialty of Introverted Sensation, and as possibility and analogy, which is the specialty of Extroverted Intuition.
  3. The Rounded Judgment Axis (Fe/Ti):This axis yields a cognitive preference for judging in terms of qualifications. Just as all points on a circle may lead to its center, so every initial viewpoint, if undertaken in earnest and apprehensive of the right qualifications, may eventually lead to the truth. This preference expresses itself in two distinct ways, namely as courtesy towards, and validation of, the viewpoints of others, which is the specialty of Extroverted Feeling, and as qualification, or the doubting of and continuous precision-seeking with regards to existing judgments, which is the specialty of Introverted Thinking.
  4. The Angular Judgment Axis (Fi/Te): This axis yields a cognitive preference for clearly stated and definite judgments. Just as a square is defined by its four angles, giving structure and form to the whole edifice (and other ways of defining a square would be less categorical), so each judgment is posited in opposition to competing judgments, with each judgment being irrevocably different from its counterparts. This preference expresses itself in two distinct ways, namely as sincerity and candor in the presentation of one’s own judgments, which is the specialty of Introverted Feeling, and the forceful and compelling marshaling of facts, which is the specialty of Extroverted Thinking.

Star Wars Big Five: Darth Vader

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

Below Average Openness...

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Star Wars Big Five: Emperor Palpatine

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

High Openness...

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Star Wars Big Five: Obi-Wan Kenobi

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

Above Average Openness...

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Star Wars Big Five: Han Solo

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

Low Openness

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” While individuals who are high in Openness are prone to hold unusual or bizarre beliefs, low-Openness individuals are more likely to have a keen eye for reality and both of their feet more on the ground. Whereas Luke Skywalker was a romantic dreamer, and Leia a political revolutionary, Han Solo was a man of no illusions who preferred to place his trust in real-world tangibles such as cold cash, a good blaster, and a few “special modifications” that he had made to the Millennium Falcon himself. Furthermore, while open individuals may often lose touch with real-world practicality on account of getting lost in “big ideas,” Solo did not place much stock in Ben Kenobi’s ancient teachings (“It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”), and nor was he keen to let himself get dragged into the political conflict between Republic and Empire, preferring to focus on more clear-cut considerations instead (“I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.”).

Low Conscientiousness

“Yeah, but this time I got the money.” Whereas high-Conscientiousness individuals are likely to follow the tried-and-true way to the top (doing one’s homework in school, working hard and obeying authority, etc.), individuals who are lower in Conscientiousness are more likely to procrastinate, to go their own way, and to rely on thinking outside the box when it comes to achieving results in life. From smuggling himself in the Millenium Falcon‘s hidden compartments in Hope, to hiding said Falcon in an asteroid field (and slipping away in the garbage stream of an imperial Star Destroyer) in Empire, Solo repeatedly demonstrated an aptitude for solving problems through improvisation rather than through by-the-book thinking. Additionally, where high-Conscientiousness individuals are less likely to get in trouble with the law (since they tend to obey authority and aim to be responsible citizens), people who are lower in Conscientiousness are statistically more likely to view rules and regulations as guidelines rather than as absolute laws. In Solo’s case, he makes a living smuggling contraband, fraternizes with criminals (such as Jabba the Hutt), and openly admits to having had to “outrun imperial starships” – and not just the local “bulk cruisers” either.

High Extroversion

“I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other.” While extroverted individuals are outgoing, adventuresome, and socially assertive, introverts tend to be more reserved and solitary and to have less of a need for adventure. Not only has Solo flown “from one side of the galaxy to the other,” he also has many acquaintances and “old buddies” (such as Greedo and Lando Calrissian) scattered throughout its various systems. Furthermore, while introverted individuals are likely to be homebodies, extroverts are more prone to seek out opportunities for excitement and thrills (such as volunteering to lead dangerous missions, or making romantic passes at attractive people in their vicinity, even when they stand a chance of rejection), indicating that Solo is again an extrovert on these parameters. Finally, while introverted individuals tend to be less socially self-confident, Solo was clearly assertive in social situations, haggling with Jabba at gunpoint (“Fifteen, Jabba. Don’t push it.”), and hastening to neg and ascribe nicknames to anyone who came within reach (Luke is a “kid,” Leia is a “sweetheart,” and Obi-Wan is a “fossil”). This was done as an act of social one-upmanship, and as Princess Leia also admits, Solo’s high levels of Extroversion and social assertiveness make him a natural leader of men.

Average Agreeableness

Luke: “I knew you’d come back! I just knew it!” / Han: “Well, I wasn’t going to let you get all the credit and take all the reward.” Whereas Agreeable individuals tend to be kind, cooperative, and concerned with the welfare of others, disagreeable individuals are often more cynical and more exclusively focused on their own affairs. On the face of things, Han appears as a low-Agreeableness individual who is selfishly unwilling to help the Rebellion and who doesn’t mind being the one to shoot first in a confrontation over unpaid debts. Upon closer inspection, however, Han comes back to help the Rebellion in Hope, ventures out to rescue Luke from the Wampa in Empire, and volunteers to lead the strike team in Jedi. The harsh life of a smuggler and rogue has taught him not to trust others, but as his actions make clear, he is possessed of a deeper-lying altruism that goes against the rough facade. In this way, much of Solo’s personality can be seen as a conflict between his low Conscientiousness (which prompts him to resist commitment and to put his own needs ahead of those of others) and his average Agreeableness, which provides him with a compassionate and generous (if also well-hidden) heart of gold.

Below Average Neuroticism

“Don’t get jittery, Luke.” While neurotic individuals often have a hard time absorbing setbacks and tend to be prone to excessive worry and guilt, individuals who are lower in Neuroticism tend to remain composed and unflappable in the face of frustration. Neurotic individuals also tend to be interpersonally insecure and vulnerable to feeling overlooked or rejected, whereas non-Neurotic individuals tend to be less concerned with how others perceive them. With Solo, we have already mentioned how he managed to keep his cool and haggle with Jabba at gunpoint, and throughout the trilogy we see many examples of him taking setbacks in stride (such as Leia’s rejections, or the Falcon’s failures to go to lightspeed). On the other hand, a closer look reveals that Han does have some interpersonal vulnerabilities, such as a reluctance to be the first to express his feelings to Leia (“Come on! You want me to stay because of the way you feel about me!”) or his concern that he is being left out in Jedi (“Did you tell Luke? Is that who you could tell?”). However, while Solo does have a mildly neurotic disposition, he has in the main learned to cover it up and to hide his vulnerabilities behind his unflappable alpha persona.

***

The idea of intermixing Star Wars and the Big Five was first conceived by the website Outofservice.com, to which this series of articles pays homage.

Spiritual Star Wars: Luke Confronts Vader

By Ryan Smith

Watch this piece as a video here.

George Lucas has said that “Star Wars is a synthesis of all religions.” But which religions inspired what? What religion inspired this?

VADER: The Emperor has been expecting you.
LUKE: I know, father.
VADER: So, you have accepted the truth.
LUKE: I’ve accepted the truth that you were once Anakin Skywalker, my father.
VADER: That name no longer has any meaning for me.
LUKE: It is the name of your true self. You’ve only forgotten. I know there is good in you. The Emperor hasn’t driven it from you fully. That is why you couldn’t destroy me. That’s why you won’t bring me to your Emperor now.
VADER: I see you have constructed a new lightsaber.
VADER: Your skills are complete. Indeed, you are powerful, as the Emperor has foreseen.
LUKE: Come with me.
VADER: Obi-Wan once thought as you do.
VADER: You don’t know the power of the dark side. I must obey my master.
LUKE: I will not turn… and you’ll be forced to kill me.
VADER: If that is your destiny.
LUKE: Search your feelings, father. You can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.
VADER: It is too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now.

In Vedanta – or what some might prefer to call Hinduism – the true self is indestructible, eternal, and unchanging. However, a person might get cut off from his true self, causing him to live a life of suffering and bondage, being a slave to illusions and false self-knowledge.

This conception of the self is decidedly not Buddhist, since Buddhists don’t believe in an unchanging self (that is, with the exception of the Pudgalavada school, which did believe in individual personhood, but was unanimously condemned as a heresy by all other Buddhist schools).

There are clear allusions to a Vedantic conception of the self in this scene: Though Vader has certainly changed, being “more machine now than man,” the good man that was Anakin Skywalker is still postulated to be the “true self,” still awaiting Vader in unchanged form beyond the veil of ignorance. Like the Vedantins who claim that the true self is unchanging, all of the bad deeds that we have seen Vader commit throughout the movies have presumably not changed this true self. This is a major contention between the Vedantins and the Buddhists: The Vedantins essentially consider the self to be outside the realm of cause and effect, while the Buddhist believes that there is no ‘self’ as such and that whatever we call a ‘self’ is affected by cause and effect exactly like everything else is. With the Vedantins, the self is the innermost and unchanging truth about a person, just like Anakin Skywalker is the innermost and unchanging true identity of Darth Vader. But to the Buddhists, whatever it is that we falsely call the ‘self’ is just as changing as everything else. Thus, in the Samyutta Nikaya, the Buddha says that everything about the human being is conditioned and that all conditioned things are like that: Impermanent, changing, and not lasting.

At the intersection between these teachings, the Christian doctrine of an immortal soul (which is really not in the Bible, but which the church fathers took from Plato) is decidedly closer to Vedanta than Buddhism. Indeed, almost all religions have taught some variation of the doctrine that the soul is immortal and lives on after death, and it is Buddhism that stands out when taking a grander view of these things. However, most Christian teachings on the soul have traditionally been dualistic, that is to say, they’ve posited the soul to be different from the material world. Vedanta is not dualism but monism: The self is not different from the material in any way, it is all one substance. The monism has traditionally posed some problems for the Vedantins, since if everything is all one substance, how could it be then possible to lose contact with the truth, the way Darth Vader has lost contact with his true self? The Vedantic answer involves turning the tables on the questioner, and to point out how his experience of multiplicity begets adverse effects. Thus the Vedantic text, the Katha Upanishad says “he who sees multiplicity runs after things on every side, but he who sees oneness becomes one with true wisdom.”

In Star Wars, Vader lives in bondage since he has lost contact with his true self. In the scene where Luke surrenders to him, he says that he must obey his master, thus giving the audience a concrete allusion to bondage. In other scenes of the trilogy too, Vader preaches the doctrine of giving in to a variety of intense feelings (as does Palpatine).

VADER: Now release your anger. … Only your hatred can destroy me.

EMPEROR: Good. Use your aggressive feelings, boy! Let the hate flow through you.

These scenes give credence to the Vedantic doctrine that those who have lost contact with their true self “run after things on every side”; they are at the mercy of their emotions and thus to the external conditions that give rise to them.

By contrast, Luke is at liberty to control his hatred; to back down from destroying Vader and to reject the Emperor’s attempt to turn him to the dark side. In contrast to Vader, Luke’s liberty is the liberty of someone who has retained contact with the true self and who has therefore gone beyond the tyranny of external conditions.

EMPEROR: Good! Your hate has made you powerful. Now, fulfill your destiny and take your father’s place at my side!
LUKE: Never! I’ll never turn to the dark side. You’ve failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

As the Katha Upanishad says, to be in contact with the true self is equal to “the renouncement of all desires that surge in the heart” and the means by which “the mortal becomes immortal.” And in Star Wars, Vader becomes immortal in a quite concrete way after having re-established his connection to Anakin Skywalker – “the name of his true self that he had only forgotten.”

This scene must therefore squarely be credited to Vedanta.

Star Wars Big Five: Boba Fett

By Sigurd Arild, Eva Gregersen, and Ryan Smith

***Watch this article as a video here.***

This series of articles analyzes the characters from ‘Star Wars’ (original trilogy only) on the basis of the Big Five system of personality which is the most widely used personality test in social science and which has sometimes been referred to as “the only truly scientific personality test.” Compared to Jungian typology, the Big Five is more empirical and ‘external,’ positing a straightforward relationship between personality and observed behavior, which makes it easier to achieve consensus.

Below Average Openness

“He’s no good to me dead.” Whereas open individuals often get lost in impractical ideas and whims of the imagination, everything about Fett’s operation was stripped to the point of expediency. Not one to be lost in reveries, Fett had no trouble tracking the Millennium Falcon to Cloud City or anticipating the moves of his opponents. Furthermore, while open individuals may often call attention to themselves by way of ostentatious aesthetics or dress, Fett preferred to carry himself as a semi-anonymous, low-key presence who could easily blend into the background and avoid calling attention to himself (even preferring to fly an outdated spaceship, the Slave I, in order not to attract attention). Finally, whereas open individuals tend to get “lost in big ideas” at the expense of what is going on right in front of them, Fett did not appear to get caught up in the conflict of political visions that engendered the conflict between Rebellion and Empire, preferring to live by a simple code of harsh justice and pecuniary gains.

Below Average Conscientiousness

Whereas conscientious individuals prefer predictability and routine, people who are low on Conscientiousness prefer to improvise and to be free to shift gears whenever they please. Fett’s low Conscientiousness can be seen in his professional record as a bounty hunter, as his wanderlust and sense of adventure prompts him to shift employers often instead of remaining with a single organization in the long run, in order to accumulate standing and rise through the ranks. Another facet of Conscientiousness is a person’s stance towards risk, with high-Conscientiousness individuals typically being afraid to take risks while people who are lower in Conscientiousness tend to thrive on it. Apart from his more conventional blaster, Fett’s unconventional choice of secondary weaponry (which includes a jetpack, a grappling hook, and a body-mounted rocket launcher) attests to an audacious individual who is no sucker for predictability and who is not afraid to take risks.

Below Average Extroversion

Whereas other bounty hunters in the galaxy worked in teams, gangs, or groups, Fett preferred to operate alone and saw little need for frivolous words or drawn-out conversations. He was not enthusiastic about spending time with others, nor did he appear to get a kick out of the social stimulus of interacting with others. In fact, Fett consistently displayed the social reserve and interpersonally detached demeanor of an introvert, thus attesting to his lower-than-average levels of Extroversion. On the other hand, another facet of Extroversion is Excitement-Seeking, which is to be understood as a person’s fondness for fast-paced action, thinking on one’s feet, and seizing opportunities as they arise – predilections without which any bounty hunter would be lost. Hence, though Fett was predominantly an introvert, he was not completely without extroverted traits once this facet is factored in.

Low Agreeableness

“What if he doesn’t survive? He’s worth a lot to me.” While Agreeable individuals tend to have high levels of emotional empathy and to take an active interest in the welfare of others, individuals who are lower in Agreeableness typically care more about their own interests and tend to be less concerned about whether they are likely to hurt others when setting out to achieve their own aims. In Empire, Fett cares little about the prospect of Solo’s death, thinking primarily about whether his bounty is at risk. By its very definition, the nature of Fett’s job as a bounty hunter requires him to hunt down people with whom he has no personal beef, indeed, to do so simply because someone else had put a price on their head. Fett’s status as one of the most feared bounty hunters in the galaxy and Vader’s need to remind him (specifically, out of all the bounty hunters in his employ) that the captives are wanted alive both testify to Fett’s low level of Agreeableness (“No disintegrations!”).

Below Average Neuroticism

Neurotic individuals tend to worry a lot and they easily succumb to mental distress and the normal demands of everyday life. By contrast, individuals who are lower in Neuroticism tend to be remarkably stable and robust. They evince a strong “fighting spirit” and are often good at shrugging off setbacks and frustrations that would leave others at pains to catch up. In the Battle at Sarlacc’s Pit in Jedi, Fett experiences numerous blows and setbacks without letting his fighting spirit give way to anguish. He remains cool under fire, and indeed is not afraid to charge Luke Skywalker head on. Instead of succumbing to stress, Fett kept improvising and battling on, unruffled, until the very end.

***

The idea of intermixing Star Wars and the Big Five was first conceived by the website Outofservice.com, to which this series of articles pays homage.

Primer on Parmenides

Shawn Daniels is a Ph.D. of classical studies and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Daniels’ piece represents his own insights and assessments and not necessarily those of the site. 

By Shawn Daniels, Ph.D.

Parmenides was born in the colony of Elea, a coastal town in the southwest of Italy. A part of Magna Graecia (the string of Greek-speaking colonies scattered throughout the south of Italy prior to Rome’s ascendance), Elea was destined to spawn its own school of Pre-Socratic philosophy: The Eleatics, of whom Parmenides was the first and founding member....

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Determining Function Axes, Part 8

Michael Pierce is a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. In this article, Pierce elaborates on the concept of function axes. 

By Michael Pierce

All types have one perceiving axis (N/S) and one judging axis (T/F). Each will always take one of two forms: The perceiving axis can be either the Se/Ni or the Si/Ne axis, while the judging axis can be either the Fe/Ti or the Fi/Te axis. I shall now attempt to lay out some differences between each of these.

The Judgment Axes

With regard to the judgment axis, Fe/Ti asks “What do I think and how can I communicate that?” while the Te/Fi axis asks “What do I want, and how can I get it?”

The Fe/Ti axis seeks to understand the logical structure or form underlying the phenomena that are encountered by the psyche. This discernment includes sentiment-related phenomena, which it approaches in an analytical manner, just as it may pertain to more mechanical analysis, which the Fe/Ti types then often take care to present in an agreeable manner and with a human face.

The Fi/Te axis seeks to apprehend a hierarchy of desires and passions that motivate the individual to create expedient arrangements in reality with the aim of furthering one’s ends and accomplishing one’s desires. Ultimately, the arrangements are there to serve the individual’s aims, and not in order to construct some impersonal, idealized model that can then be thought to be true for all time.

Hence it is my contention that the Fe/Ti axis is more naturally wired to seek knowledge that is abstracted from the individual’s personal situation, while the Te/Fi is more naturally wired towards making sure that the individual’s personal desires are transformed into reality. This distinction harks back to Sigurd Arild and Ryan Smith’s article, NTP Knowing vs. NTJ Willing, although in my opinion, the distinction holds true for all types, and not merely to NTPs and NTJs like they said. To put it another way, the reason their distinction pertains to all types is because these properties are in fact properties of the two judging axes, and not of NTP and NTJ types as such.

As is so often the case, however, the difference is clearest if we turn to philosophy where Nietzsche (the Fi/Te type) says:

“Behind all logic and its seeming sovereignty of movement, too, there stand valuations or, more clearly, physiological demands for the preservation of a certain type of life.” – Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil §11

While Hume (the Fe/Ti type) says:

“… amidst all the variety and caprice of taste, there are certain general principles of approbation or blame, whose influence a careful eye may trace in all operations of the mind.” – David Hume: Essays (Alex, Murray & Son 1870) p. 138

Thus, in the Te/Fi attitude, we see that people are thought to do things because they want to, desire to, and have a passionate drive to: No matter what intricate logical justifications are produced, the real fuel of all spirited human activity will in the end be shown to be personal wishes and goals, that the individual is willing to fight to obtain or preserve. Meanwhile, with the Fe/Ti attitude represented by Hume, the reason people do things is because they operate under the influence of general principles, which they may not even understand in full themselves, but which nevertheless influence “all operations of the mind.”

It should be noted, of course, that these distinctions pertain to the psychological structure of consciousness, and not to its contents, as the other writers on this site so often take care to point out. That is to say, it is not impossible that an Fe/Ti type would end up agreeing with Nietzsche that everything ‘principled’ is really a masked power play that serves the promotion of one’s desires, as in fact, the Ti/Fe type Michel Foucault did, at least in part. However, the Fe/Ti style of thinking will still be his root metaphysical prejudice, as Ryan Smith has pointed out in Part 6 of this series. With Foucault, for example, we might say that what he did was essentially to analyze Nietzsche’s spirited accusation against principles and impartial logic on the basis of principles and impartial logic! He saw that even though people say they act on the basis of impartial principles, most of them simply don’t, and then made that his new principle, indeed extending Nietzsche’s argument to all people in a universalistic Fe/Ti fashion that would probably have been mildly amusing to Nietzsche himself. Though he had assimilated Fi/Te type contents, the structure of his consciousness was still opposite to that.

The Perceiving Axes

So much for the judgment axes. As far as the perceiving axes go, their general nature can be described as follows: Se/Ni asks: “What is the most likely outcome on the basis of the raw data?” while the Si/Ne axis asks: “What is the relative truth behind each perspective?”

The Se/Ni axis seeks to apprehend the most likely future outcome that we can expect, based on a raw and direct experience of reality. This configuration lends an unhindered and self-evident quality to the insights of Se/Ni types where they are often able to fuse direct experience of reality with compelling mental schemata for how to cognitively lock on to what’s going on in the world, as Boye Akinwande and Ryan Smith have pointed out in Part 4 of this series.

For its part, the Si/Ne axis seeks to cognize the most dependable and lasting qualities of phenomena, based on a tentative sampling of varying perspectives, with each perspective recommending some insights while lessening the importance of others (and concealing others still from view). This configuration leads to a more inhibited or indirect style of cognition on the part of the Si/Ne type where their contributions owe much more to an aggregate general wisdom that has formed over time than to acute observation of the present matter.

Hence, these observations effortlessly lead us back to what was originally said in Part 1 of this series: On balance, Se/Ni is much more trusting of, and interested in, whatever empirical data that is available and pertains directly to the matter at hand. As I have said, it is simply in the nature of Se/Ni to rely on direct observation and direct conjecture from the empirical data.  As the original article said, the Se/Ni type will be cognitively engrossed in one perspective, which is coincidentally also likely to be the perspective that generates the greatest yield. There is a manifest and immediate quality to their insights, since they are naturally hooked into a more direct and straightforward perception of the world.

Even when Se is a person’s inferior function, one can still see this facet of the Se/Ni axis at play. All else being equal, a dominant Ni type takes in the least amount of factual outside experience of all the Se/Ni types. Yet if you observe them, you see them constantly mulling over and conjecturing from whatever data they do have. Oftentimes, they simply cannot help but do so, and so they often feel like they have a lot to say on a broad range of topics, regardless of their actual levels of expertise.[1] Their saving grace, however, is the subjective originality of the Ni function, which frequently allows them to concoct novel and intriguing points of view, even on the basis of a few morsels of data that would leave others lost.[2]

Meanwhile, the Si/Ne axis is far less trusting of direct observation. This is hardly a mystery, since their Sensation function is introverted. Where Se/Ni types are straightforward and direct in their object representations, Si/Ne types are more cautious and indirect, abstracting experiences so as to produce subjective mental facsimiles of them at the expense of cognizing them directly. This is why Part 1 of this series pointed out that Si types will frequently experience an unconscious striving to organize the contents of their experience into a mental regimen which is not just valid in the here and now, but which might conceivably end up in a future textbook on the subject.

Si types focus their cognitive energy on the apprehension of the carefully and cautiously culled characteristics of phenomena that have been proven to endure over time. Hence their stereotypically thorough, cautious, and reserved nature. Meanwhile, Ne types tend to focus their energy on provisional exploration and experimentation, where the subject matter is approached from various angles at once. The Si type’s caution can here be seen in the Ne type’s tendency to eschew dogma and never truly commit to anything. It’s all experimentation and exploration, with a series of tentative snapshots amassing to form a composite mental image, though their trouble is that they never want to stop. The Si type’s trouble, on the other hand, is that they do not want to start.

NOTES


[1] Roy Harrod: “[Keynes spoke] on a great range of topics, on some of which he was thoroughly an expert, but on others [he had] derived his views from the few pages of a book at which he had happened to glance.”

[2] Nietzsche: “One should not know more about a thing than one can digest creatively.”

Jung in Plain Language, Part 2: Fi

By Ryan Smith

Fi is chiefly determined by the internal psychic landscape. It is quite different from Fe, just like Ti is different from Te. But it is very difficult to describe Fi with words, or intellectually, because its nature is so peculiar.

jung3However, even if we cannot describe Fi intellectually, we can become aware of what it looks like and learn to notice it in the world. In fact, Fi is very noticeable once we have become aware of its existence....

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