I've seen so many people asking what Ni is like. I feel I've found a few examples that may be elucidating for others and take them down the rabbit hole with us.
ENTJ, INTJ, ENFJ, INFJ, ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, ISTP: feel free to chime in.
I'm going to start with a quote from Walter Pater's "The Renaissance". I feel that it's not only a reflection of how I absorb things, but also how I deal with and perceive Ni.
If we begin with the inward world of thought and feeling, the whirlpool is still more rapid, the flame more eager and devouring. There it is no longer the gradual darkening of the eye, the gradual fading of colour from the wall --movements of the shore-side, where the water flows down indeed, though in apparent rest-- but the race of the midstream, a drift of momentary acts of sight and passion and thought.
At first sight, experience seems to bury us under a flood of external objects, pressing upon us with a sharp and importunate reality, calling us out of ourselves in a thousand forms of action. But when reflexion begins to play upon these objects they are dissipated under its influence; the cohesive force seems suspended like some trick of magic; each object is loosed into a group of impressions --colour, odour, texture-- in the mind of the observer.
And if we continue to dwell in thought on this world, not of objects in the solidity with which language invests them, but of impressions, unstable, flickering, inconsistent, which burn and are extinguished with our consciousness of them, it contracts still further: the whole scope of observation is dwarfed into the narrow chamber of the individual mind.
Experience, already reduced to a group of impressions, is ringed round for each one of us by that thick wall of personality through which no real voice has ever pierced on its way to us, or from us to that which we can only conjecture to be without.
Every one of those impressions is the impression of the individual in his isolation, each mind keeping as a solitary prisoner its own dream of a world.
Analysis goes a step further still, and assures us that those impressions of the individual mind to which, for each one of us, experience dwindles down, are in perpetual flight; that each of them is limited by time, and that as time is infinitely divisible, each of them is infinitely divisible also; all that is actual in it being a single moment, gone while we try to apprehend it, of which it may ever be more truly said that it has ceased to be than that it is.
To such a tremulous wisp constantly re-forming itself on the stream, to a single sharp impression, with a sense in to, a relic more or less fleeting, of such moments gone by, what is real in our life fines itself down. It is with this movement, with the passage and dissolution of impressions, images, sensations, that analysis leaves off --that continual vanishing away, that strange, perpetual, weaving and unweaving of ourselves.
This was ably provided by our own MDP2525 (ISTP) in my blog. It blew my mind so much I had to include it here. A quote from "American Psycho":
"There is an idea of a Patrick Bateman; some kind of abstraction. But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there. "
This is a piece called "The Windhover" by Gerard Manley Hopkins that I think illustrates the use of strong Ni in structure and substance:
I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
For me, Ni makes impossible strings of connections and builds something like a spider web of nodes and lengths and meanings. It reflects in my thought processes and my writing.