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Thread: Ni - What the hell is it?

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    reborn Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    I have heard you all say nothing can force Ni, that to even try to do so impedes that actual moment of insight.

    But are there any things you do to try to feed your Ni? Are there any kinds of activities that facilitate Ni processing? Books, movies, recreation, meditation ... I am curious to hear what all of your thoughts might be on that.


    (For example, I will wrap my head around trying to solve a problem, then feel weary of it, and say to myself, "That's it, I have to leave this to the subconscious for awhile ..." and deliberately put it out of my mind and continue on with other issues, or go for a walk, or watch a movie. Next time I pick the issue back up, an answer can formulate from that quickly, with much less effort. Other things though, I just beat on them with an Ne/Te hammer til I have a solution, I don't let myself retreat from it, until I get the Fi "ring of truth" for an answer.)

    Compare / contrast ...
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    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I have heard you all say nothing can force Ni, that to even try to do so impedes that actual moment of insight.

    But are there any things you do to try to feed your Ni? Are there any kinds of activities that facilitate Ni processing? Books, movies, recreation, meditation ... I am curious to hear what all of your thoughts might be on that.


    (For example, I will wrap my head around trying to solve a problem, then feel weary of it, and say to myself, "That's it, I have to leave this to the subconscious for awhile ..." and deliberately put it out of my mind and continue on with other issues, or go for a walk, or watch a movie. Next time I pick the issue back up, an answer can formulate from that quickly, with much less effort. Other things though, I just beat on them with an Ne/Te hammer til I have a solution, I don't let myself retreat from it, until I get the Fi "ring of truth" for an answer.)

    Compare / contrast ...
    I have been believing for a while now that Fi is the "judgey" version of Ni. Both engaging in a fuzzy, holistic approach to problem solving. I'm a bit biased as an INTJ with reasonably balanced Fi, so I naturally feel like Ni and Fi go together, so I'm glad to have your non-Ni feedback on the matter.

    I think this is a tactic that works for several types, and isn't specific to Ni users. I've often retreated from a problem where no solution was apparent, yet arrive back at it and look, there's a solution in my head, all ready to go. It works so well, I purposefully use it by breaking off as soon as I recognize my thoughts looping around to no purpose.

    Also, I completely believe that it's Fi that you're using, and not Te or some other "brainy, more reasonable function." I've long held that Fi users are very smart, and to say that they use "feeling logic" belies the power of the approach. I'd say it's more like "fuzzy logic," in that it accounts for things that normal logic doesn't or cannot.

  3. #253
    Member Array amazingdatagirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I think this is a tactic that works for several types, and isn't specific to Ni users. I've often retreated from a problem where no solution was apparent, yet arrive back at it and look, there's a solution in my head, all ready to go. It works so well, I purposefully use it by breaking off as soon as I recognize my thoughts looping around to no purpose.
    Agree - this property of Ni has mystified me. How can not thinking about the problem result in a solution? I think that the answer lies in the intrinsic nature of introverted dominant functions. The process is hard wired into our brains.

    Think about it - an INTP Ti-dom doesn't learn to "feed" their introverted thinking. It is as natural as breathing. They express their Ti through extroverted intuition (Ne).

    Ni-doms like INTJ and INFJ express their intuitive insights through their extroverted functions. A mastermind supports the introverted function through extroverted thinking. The Ni-Te loop strengthens and enhances both functions.

  4. #254
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I have been believing for a while now that Fi is the "judgey" version of Ni.
    I wholly endorse this sentiment.

    Sometimes it becomes a bit hard to cipher between the two...

    At what point did your subconscious come up with a new way to perceive the situation, and at what point did this lead to a judgment about it?

    That's why I've come to believe in this idea of loops... both NiFi loops and TeSe loops make a lot of intuitive sense to me... I think I use functions in tandem a lot of the time...

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Also, I completely believe that it's Fi that you're using, and not Te or some other "brainy, more reasonable function." I've long held that Fi users are very smart, and to say that they use "feeling logic" belies the power of the approach. I'd say it's more like "fuzzy logic," in that it accounts for things that normal logic doesn't or cannot.
    Yeah, there's definitely an advanced logic to the F functions.

    It's different than T logic, but it's logic nonetheless.

    I think it's a logic that has more to do with one's personal values, though; not something inherent to the object itself necessarily, but inherent in your valuation of the object.

    It's kinda like, in the absence of an objective, T-based axiom to use to come to a conclusion regarding a matter, F functions bring in a subjective axiom (one's personal F-based values) to arrive at a conclusion.
    Last edited by Zarathustra; 10-21-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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  5. #255
    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I have been believing for a while now that Fi is the "judgey" version of Ni. Both engaging in a fuzzy, holistic approach to problem solving. I'm a bit biased as an INTJ with reasonably balanced Fi, so I naturally feel like Ni and Fi go together, so I'm glad to have your non-Ni feedback on the matter.

    I think this is a tactic that works for several types, and isn't specific to Ni users. I've often retreated from a problem where no solution was apparent, yet arrive back at it and look, there's a solution in my head, all ready to go. It works so well, I purposefully use it by breaking off as soon as I recognize my thoughts looping around to no purpose.

    Also, I completely believe that it's Fi that you're using, and not Te or some other "brainy, more reasonable function." I've long held that Fi users are very smart, and to say that they use "feeling logic" belies the power of the approach. I'd say it's more like "fuzzy logic," in that it accounts for things that normal logic doesn't or cannot.
    I can agree with this. Fi is imaginative in the sense that it imagines an ideal (and both Fi ideals & Ni visions arise from the inner world, so Fi does not really respond to external stimuli like many think, so much as have a vision of the ideal fabricated from some innate place, or the collective unconscious), but being that it is ideal, there is a value attachment. It is a judgment of what should be rather than an insight into what could be. Ne presents an NFP with what could be, and then Fi judges which is closest to their image of the ideal. In an ISFP, with Se & decent use of Ni, you may see someone perceiving what are the immediate real options, but there can be an insight into which of those is most likely to lead to an ideal in the future. This is why I think INFPs & ISFPs are very hard to tell apart for many people. Since ESFPs have inferior Ni, they tend to be less inclined to see how their current choice will turn out down the road.

    This is why Fi is really holistic - it doesn't break down things into parts to judge so much as have a whole vision to evaluate it against. Only when you realize you need to break it down into something you can communicate to others will you analyze the feeling (which is really what gets analyzed, not so much the external issue). Until then, it kind of just remains a feeling, which is vague & fuzzy, and too deep to define specifically without losing significance. When something hits on that image of the ideal, it is like a lightening strike also, or maybe an alarm going off. I think this is why NFPs may feel like they use Ni or they relate to descriptions of it. Frm what I understand of Ni, I don't feel I use it any major capacity, but FiNe sort of mimics it in a way.
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  6. #256
    Alchemist of life Array Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    But are there any things you do to try to feed your Ni? Are there any kinds of activities that facilitate Ni processing? Books, movies, recreation, meditation ... I am curious to hear what all of your thoughts might be on that.
    Every experience feeds Ni, not so much with facts, but with patterns. None of these prior patterns may ever correspond to a new situation; it's more like the cumulative experience of having perceived these paves the way for the new one. One of the best ways to feed, or rather to exercise Ni, however, is simply to use it. In a way, we are always using it, but apropos of your question about setting aside time to devote to it, Ni can be disrupted, interrupted, interfered with by an excess of interaction requiring the use of much different functions. To avoid this, I need to have large, uninterrupted blocks of time to focus. Sometimes, the insights I get are not even related to the subject of my focus, but that's just how it works.

    I, too, will set aside problems that are proving difficult to solve. To me, though, it is not so much from a wish to revisit them with fresh eyes as from a realization that I am trying to solve them the wrong way. Usually I have been taking a direct Te-based approach, and see that it is too mechanical and "uninspired" to come up with a good solution, especially if I am trying to balance or maximize many competing variables. Setting it aside essentially turns it over to Ni to come up with a solution framework.

  7. #257
    Moving to the BVI Array highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I have heard you all say nothing can force Ni, that to even try to do so impedes that actual moment of insight.

    But are there any things you do to try to feed your Ni? Are there any kinds of activities that facilitate Ni processing? Books, movies, recreation, meditation ... I am curious to hear what all of your thoughts might be on that.


    (For example, I will wrap my head around trying to solve a problem, then feel weary of it, and say to myself, "That's it, I have to leave this to the subconscious for awhile ..." and deliberately put it out of my mind and continue on with other issues, or go for a walk, or watch a movie. Next time I pick the issue back up, an answer can formulate from that quickly, with much less effort. Other things though, I just beat on them with an Ne/Te hammer til I have a solution, I don't let myself retreat from it, until I get the Fi "ring of truth" for an answer.)

    Compare / contrast ...
    One of the flaws is that you sometimes don't get enough external information before leaping to a conclusion.To "feed it", I think:
    - Information and learning - of all kinds i think is the fuel - enough detailed disconnected related concepts, facts, stories, whatever - that helps to fuel the quality of the insights
    - Practice - the more you use it in different situations, the better you get with it. for example, I use it all the time when interacting with people; i'm extraordinarily sensitive to minor body language, voice, intonation, reactions - Ni is a substitute for some other functions in this regard; i can over-interpret - that's one risk
    - Quiet - this is key. It's why I actually don't hate driving a stick shift 90 minutes into work. i get to think. Not being busy
    - Sleep - should be obvious but a mind without sleep is not particularly creative
    Last edited by highlander; 10-21-2010 at 08:11 PM.

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    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    There is an interesting book I've been reading, that appears to be a rather good "Fi manual," called The Fifth Agreement, by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz. Yeah, it's related to The Four Agreements I mentioned in an earlier post. I just ran across the following, last night:

    If we just stop thinking, we no longer try to explain anything to ourselves, and this keeps us from making assumptions.
    This is a rather good characterization of the "not-thinking" I was talking about, and which PB later described as something she occasionally did with Fi, so this isn't an Ni-exclusive thing. It is, however, a good summation of the Ni approach to things, and kind of explains how all this quiet time is capable of putting ideas together more efficiently than actively "trying to think."

    When we actively think, we are employing our assumptions, including assumptions of which we are entirely unaware, because we necessarily believe all of our assumptions are true. When we go into "not-thinking" mode, the assumptions cease to have a role, or rather, they get applied after the fact, but they don't prevent an idea from emerging in the first place.

    Note how bizarre the conclusions I had in my examples from a few days ago were. If I held onto my assumptions, I would be cognitively unable to reach the conclusions I did. By dropping my assumptions, I was able to make and not immediately reject several observations, which led to my discovering strange-but-true ideas. In the example of my SQLXml diagnosis, everyone's reaction, and I mean everyone's, was "no way, that cannot be true." It was such a strange result, even after being plainly told it is true, they chose to believe their assumptions rather than me. I had to demonstrate its truth, not merely tell them the truth. Their assumptions blinded them to a truth that was staring them in the face: they could see the effect of the truth, but could not believe the cause behind it - I might as well have asserted divine intervention as the cause, for all they believed me.

    It's this same dropping of assumptions that lets the thoughts in my head "rearrange themselves" according to their own logic, instead of according to my logic.

  9. #259
    Member Array TacEight's Avatar
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    I've been tracking this thread since day one, and found it very inspirational in the research I did over the last few days. Perhaps THIS will help others understand Ni vs Ne more, or if not you can advise me on my own perspectives.
    INTP - Ti > Ne > Te > Ni > Fi > Se > Fe > Si

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  10. #260
    ¤ Array Zarathustra's Avatar
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    Sorry to rehash, but I had completely missed this stuff before.

    These are some of the best observations about Ni in this whole thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    The most important aspect of Ni in this regard is that we don't disregard particular possibilities based conventional notions of likelihood, but rather we allow/disallow contexts based on whether they "work." As long as the context is self consistent (kind of like Ti), we'll keep an open mind about it. If it's the ONLY possible context, it sounds like we just predicted something magically, by "just knowing." It even feels like that to ourselves.
    The above was absolutely phenomenal. Undoubtedly one of the best explanations I've ever read.

    I know I've heard this from you more than anybody else, uumlau, and I completely agree with you about it, in that there is a similarity between Ti and Ni.

    It's also one of the reasons I give Ti dom's and aux's so much flack (particularly the ones who bitch that Te dom's and aux's don't "get" Ti, or use sloppy Te-logic), because, ever since I was in elementary school, I remember the annoying struggle between NTJs and NTPs. NTPs think the Ni dom's or aux's aren't following a fully logical progression, simply because the message they receive comes from Te, and, so long as Ni knows that the progression makes logical sense, it doesn't really care about divulging each and every little premise used to get to the final conclusion. If it works, Ni knows it. If it doesn't, Ni will have seen that it doesn't work. We know so in an instant.

    Now, that's not to say that Ni-users can't make mistakes and yada yada yada, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to deal with the nuisance of Ti dom's and aux's who won't simply accept that Ni knows that what it's saying is logical and makes sense, and that Te is just trying to explain it as quickly as possible, by jumping over what it feels are tacitly obvious enough assumptions that they need not actually be verbalized.

    Ni sees the same logical thought-paths that Ti does, it just does so like an instant beam of light.

    And when it sees that the path is good (i.e., that it "works"), then it wants to move forward.

    Ti, however, wants to shine its flash light along the whole damn path for far-too-much-time for my patience, making sure there aren't any inconsistencies or problems anywhere.

    And then, even if they think they've found one, I can Ni-up a whole slew of possible explanations to explain it away, the first of which will probably do the job, and the second and third of which might also provide reinforcement.

    Then those thought-paths have to get checked over by Ti, which takes us away from the original thought-path, which was valid to begin with!



    Fuckin' NTPs!!! WASTING my time!!

    :steam:

    /rant



    ***

    Also, with regards to the underlined, that is precisely why Ps' consistent accusations that Js are close-minded are totally bunk in my opinion.

    How are we close-minded if we are open to non-conventional notions, so long as they are internally consistent?!?

    That's like, the definition of open-mindedness...

    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    In the more conventional arena, I use Ni to troubleshoot. The context shifting in this regard is to come up with a set of possible problems that could have happened, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. I investigate the most likely ones, and quickly find the real answer, which is often but not always my first guess.



    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    In one particularly odd case, a web page was crashing based on some weird SQL error. There was no way that anything was wrong. All the data looked correct. Everyone was puzzled. So I looked at the data for oddities. The main weird thing I saw was that the person's name as given in the data was very long, basically a sophisticated identifier for QA testing to sort results. I changed the name to "Joe Smith" and the bug went away.

    At that point, I knew that something about the name (it turned out to be the length) was somehow corrupting the data. It took forever, though, to explain this to everyone else. Their reaction was always, "No way," and "That makes no sense at all." But I could point at empirical data to prove it, which isn't often the case for Ni. In spite of the empirical data, the conclusion was so odd, that it wasn't easy for others to absorb. My Ni attitude was of the "I don't know why it is true, but I know that it -is- true" and I knew that I would figure out why eventually, and didn't need to know "why" to communicate the problem. It turns out that Microsoft's SQLXml had a bug in it, and we needed to update to a new version of SQL Server to fix it.

    This is how Ni relates to Se. The "singular vision" is often an Se-perspective of the matter, either we want to make the Se-perspective true (by understanding and controlling our environment via Ni) or we want to understand why the "Se-fact" is the way it is. This is entirely analogous to how Ne branches off of an Si-subjective understanding.
    That is an awesome example.

    I have a somewhat similar one from when I interned at HSBC over a summer in college, and after about a month or so of working with some system of theirs, I realized that several different processes which were all being done by different people, could essentially be automated and wrapped up into one much simpler, more efficient process.

    I had to sit in a meeting as this 21-yr old punk explaining to all these 40-somethings how their system could be made so much more efficient.

    After working through all their questions, they all agreed that it would work.

    Have no idea whether they implemented it, though... probably could've made some of 'em obsolete.



    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I hope these anecdotes give others a good understanding of Ni. The results are weird, but all we're doing is admitting possibilities that others immediately discard, because they don't fit those others' context(s).
    Do they even discard them, or do they just not consider them?

    I really think that one of the great benefits of Ni is that it can be just lightning fast.

    Its this potential for speed that allows us to consider so many different perspectives, cuz we can just slip into that context, immediately follow it down its logical progression, and then "feel" whether or not, or to what extent, it makes sense/fits the situation/is sound, etc.

    Of course, the progression that it follows is only as apt as the mind of the Ni-user, so, if the Ni-user is an idiot, then that doesn't mean their flashes should just be trusted.

    This is where learning to deftly use Ni, as well as having enough time to have progressed through many different contexts, comes in handy.

    Practice makes perfect.

    / thinking out loud
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    No matter how airy or earthy or watery you become... to many of us you will always be...a super nova."

    "Behind these gates of seeming warmth sits, loosely chained, a fierce attack dog. Perhaps not crazy, but dangerous"

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