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  1. #1
    beyondaurora
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    Default Ni: "Mapping Between Signs and Meaning"

    I was reading the Lenore Thomson Exegesis Wiki page on introverted intuition, and I was extremely fascinated by Proposed Definition #5, particularly the areas in bold below:
    Ni is orienting yourself by an explicit representation of the mapping between signs and meaning. For example, "This dark-stained mahogany table is supposed to make me think the owner is upper-class" or "We put north at the top of maps (rather than, say, the bottom or the right), because northern countries traditionally had more power, and we perceive 'higher on the page' to mean 'more important'." From an Ni standpoint, one doesn't feel oriented until one can articulate explicitly what are the signs one is supposed to look at and what are the meanings one is supposed to take from them.

    Because the mental space that Ni "lives in" is the world of all possible ways of mapping signs to meanings, Ni leads you to consider not only the accepted ways of mapping signs to meanings, but others. For example, why couldn't dark-stained mahogany mean "lower class"? For example, what if instead of viewing failing a test as an occasion for shame, we viewed it as an occasion for celebration? How might our lives change if we merely rewired the interpretations we are giving to things?

    An Ni perspective leads one to seek out the leverage points of any system. What is triggering what? What "good faith" assumptions are being made, and what would happen if those assumptions were violated? For example, ants "interpret" certain pheromones as "meaning" that something is a larva that needs to be fed. Some parasites have evolved the ability to give off these same pheromones, triggering the ants to feed them. The parasites have found a way to game the system by exploiting its assumptions. The parasites don't orient by Ni, of course, but this kind of analysis takes an Ni approach. One can apply this same kind of analysis to almost anything: looking at a system not through the lens of "how it's supposed to work", but from outside the system, merely characterizing how it converts a sign into an interpretation, triggering a cascade of behaviors.

    Lenore characterizes Ni as "about the box" as opposed to Extraverted Intuition's "outside the box". That is, an Ni orientation leads you to describe the assumptions and rules that a given system of thought or perception is following.

    Ni on this perspective is a decidedly left-brain orientation. It doesn't lead you to flow with anything or even participate. It leads you to stop, get "into your head", and even act in ways that go against the spirit of a system, or to think about ways that going with the spirit of rules can lead to unexpected and undesired results.

    In contrast to most other definitions, this one has nothing mysterious or particularly "intuitive" about it. Ni on this definition is simply a matter of looking at things from a "meta" perspective, explicitly characterizing how signs are getting mapped to meanings. This simple definition, combined with the idea of ego-orientation, explains the many standard observations about NJs and SPs: the "commenting from an outside perspective" usually seen in INJs, the coldly "objective, impersonal" style usually seen in INTJs, the interest in pointing out that social myths exist to support power structures usually seen in INFJs, the interest in gaming a system or throwing a monkey wrench into it usually seen in SPs, the seeking of the social "cat-bird seat" usually seen in ENJs, the endless levels of meta-discussion found in INJ-filled academia, etc.
    I have been looking for an elegant description of Ni, and I feel I've found it with this one. I especially love the contrast of Ni and Ne: thinking "about the box" versus thinking "outside the box".

    Because this description is so different than the usual ones, I'm curious to hear whether you agree with this description and whether you find it sufficient (as in, it is not necessary to add the 'future seeing' aspect of Ni to the description).


  2. #2
    rawr Costrin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beyondaurora View Post
    I was reading the Lenore Thomson Exegesis Wiki page on introverted intuition, and I was extremely fascinated by Proposed Definition #5, particularly the areas in bold below:


    I have been looking for an elegant description of Ni, and I feel I've found it with this one. I especially love the contrast of Ni and Ne: thinking "about the box" versus thinking "outside the box".

    Because this description is so different than the usual ones, I'm curious to hear whether you agree with this description and whether you find it sufficient (as in, it is not necessary to add the 'future seeing' aspect of Ni to the description).

    Yay Lenore Thomson Exegesis Wiki (quite a mouthful)! Discovered this site a month or two ago, it's really interesting. Anyway, I like this definition of Ni much better than others, it actually makes some sense to me. Of course, I don't really use Ni all that much, so I can't really comment on its accuracy.
    "All humour has a foundation of truth."
    - Costrin

  3. #3
    Senior Member VagrantFarce's Avatar
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    Based on those descriptions, would imageboards like 4chan be considered Introverted Intution Incarnate?

  4. #4
    Senior Member velocity's Avatar
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    undermining assumptions tastes so good

  5. #5
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VagrantFarce View Post
    Based on those descriptions, would imageboards like 4chan be considered Introverted Intution Incarnate?
    In a very limited and overused cliche sense, yes.

    At the same time, it's also good to keep in mind that Ni isn't restricted to that sort of humor.

    In response to beyond's question

    Because the mental space that Ni "lives in" is the world of all possible ways of mapping signs to meanings, Ni leads you to consider not only the accepted ways of mapping signs to meanings, but others.
    Very much so. Ni based on what others told me and my personal experience likes to entertain possibilities. Just because there's an obvious explanation for something to happen doesn't mean it's the truth. Ni will explore all of them. Although the exact opposite case like a poor person owning an expensive piece of furniture is less likely to happen. It's more likely to look at things on a tangent. The person might not have brought it... it could have been inherited... or the person is a carpenter that makes tables... etc

    Lenore characterizes Ni as "about the box" as opposed to Extraverted Intuition's "outside the box". That is, an Ni orientation leads you to describe the assumptions and rules that a given system of thought or perception is following.
    I don't necessarily agree with this. Ni doesn't care about boxes. It cares about "objective truth", as in what IS. It sees that any information we gather is subjected to bias. Therefore only by looking at all the pieces, seeing how they all fit, that allows you to get at this truth. Hence Lenore's comment on objectiveness of INTJs.

    With that said, the "box" defined by Ni in the end is "the universe and everything". The ultimate unity of all that we know into one system is what Ni would like to do. Other than this box, there is no box.

    In contrast, from the ENTPs I've talked to... they try very much to "push the boundaries". Perhaps that's why Ne thinking is considered "outside the box". But they first must define something using boxes in order to move beyond. Ni doesn't see one at all. It moves to whatever that fits.

    Ni on this perspective is a decidedly left-brain orientation. It doesn't lead you to flow with anything or even participate. It leads you to stop, get "into your head", and even act in ways that go against the spirit of a system,
    Never got the idea behind left-brain/right-brain processes. Ni does need time to work. Throw a problem at an Ne dominant, and you'll see them poking at things to see how it work. Throw a problem at an Ni dominant, and you get the opposite. They stare at the thing, ask questions and try to develop a mental model of the thing. Then they try to solve it by run virtual simulations using the model in their head.

    The last bit about "even act in ways that go against the spirit of a system" is misleading. Ni doesn't deliberately go against the system. It doesn't even see it unless you factor the existing system as one of the parameters you have to consider.

    In contrast to most other definitions, this one has nothing mysterious or particularly "intuitive" about it. Ni on this definition is simply a matter of looking at things from a "meta" perspective, explicitly characterizing how signs are getting mapped to meanings.
    Ni is not mystical. It's really just connecting A -> B -> C -> D -> E, each connection using slightly different set of parameters, then presenting you with the just A -> E to save you some time.
    My stuff (design & other junk) lives here: http://nnbox.ca

  6. #6
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    ^^^ What Nightning wrote.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

    My Photography and Watercolor Fine Art Prints!!! Cascade Colors Fine Art Prints
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  7. #7
    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    Nightning seconded
    I N V I C T U S

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnyz22 View Post
    undermining assumptions tastes so good
    If you're actually correct...

  9. #9
    beyondaurora
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Very much so. Ni based on what others told me and my personal experience likes to entertain possibilities. Just because there's an obvious explanation for something to happen doesn't mean it's the truth. Ni will explore all of them. Although the exact opposite case like a poor person owning an expensive piece of furniture is less likely to happen. It's more likely to look at things on a tangent. The person might not have brought it... it could have been inherited... or the person is a carpenter that makes tables... etc
    Nightning, it seems to me you are describing Ne, in that you are brainstorming various reasons for why a situation is.

    The furniture example given illustrates the mapping of signs (mahogony furniture) to an accepted meaning (upper-class status).

    I highlight the following:

    Because the mental space that Ni "lives in" is the world of all possible ways of mapping signs to meanings, Ni leads you to consider not only the accepted ways of mapping signs to meanings, but others. For example, why couldn't dark-stained mahogany mean "lower class"? For example, what if instead of viewing failing a test as an occasion for shame, we viewed it as an occasion for celebration? How might our lives change if we merely rewired the interpretations we are giving to things?
    Per this description, Ni takes the accepted mapping and flips it (and/or turns it upside down and inside out!) to uncover various potential.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MrME's Avatar
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    Thank you for that link. It will provide me with some interesting reading!

    INFJ
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