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Thread: Ni - What the hell is it?

  1. #301
    Member Array Affably Evil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    And why do Ni doms always change the subject in mid conversation....
    Ni doms tend to be interested in fluid, unrealized meanings — at the simplest level, once it has solidified into a form and meaning, it becomes less interesting. Because its internal possibilities have reached a singularity.

    ...Unless you can elude that "locking in" and find new sets of implications and possibilities within the subject. So while Ni may often be about pinpointing that meaning, it might also involve relocating or reinterpreting that meaning — and attempting to foresee successive implications and meanings. Whatever depths of (new) possibility within the subject one might see.

    The following might be running into the NiFe area or e5, I have no idea. But for myself, being a metaphysical construct is essential to my conception of self (allowing many possibilities and meanings). That then makes me very wary about how many facets of myself I choose to expose to others — and therefore might make me harder to get to know. I think this is where the perception that INFJs enjoy their mysteriousness probably comes from. It comes down to wanting to shelter those fluid meanings and abstract possibilities. By keeping a part of my interior world separate and in reserve, it can protect my true self against others trying to map meanings or expectations and therefore limiting the kinds of possibilities I might embody.

    Personally, I find most objective systems tend to have a termination point for my interest, whereas individuals — alone or in concert with societies and groups — can have infinite variety and meaning in their external and internal worlds and successive driving possibilities. Always, always interesting.

    Though to be honest, I haven't noticed Ni doms changing the subject randomly, unless I did just now.
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  2. #302
    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Default Ni vs Si memory recall: an explanation of Ni "context shifting"

    To explain "context shifting," I shall introduce a database analogy to demonstrate how Si vs Ni "remembers" things. It's not a perfect analogy, since human minds are far more sophisticated, but it should hold for this limited instance.

    Database tables have what are called "indexes": an index allows a very fast lookup of any particular data in the table that references that particular index. Often, if a query is running slow, the indexes aren't set up in a way that helps the query, and can be reworked a bit.

    The analogy: consider a typical "memory" as being something that stores a "noun" and a "verb" and other miscellaneous properties such as adjectives, and so on. I shall focus on the "noun" and "verb" fields.

    Si has an index on "noun" but not on "verb"; Ni has an index on "verb" but not on "noun."

    How does this play out? I'll give a simple example using "cellphone" and "access the internet" as examples to describe the behavior; this is not to indicate that either cognitive ability is incapable of understanding either side, but is kept simple so that one can observe the "kind" of data and "kind" of lookup being done.

    Si can do a "name" lookup on "cellphone", and immediately know what a cellphone is and does. (Ni does, too, for something so simple as a cellphone, this is just to be illustrative, not definitive.) Si would find under "cellphone": make phone calls, call 911, call my best friend, send text messages, and maybe connect to the internet and send emails and so on. What is stored is all the experiences one has had with a cellphone, and those cumulative experiences are an understanding of what the cellphone is for and how it can be used. This is a very fast lookup for Si.

    Ni can do a "verb" lookup on "connect to the internet", and immediately generate a list of possible ways to connect to the internet, such as computer, router, wireless connection, cell phone, VPN, ISP, DSL, cable, and so on. This is a fast lookup for Ni. Si can do it, too, but it's not the same thing, it's not "fast," especially when one gets to obscure topics/activities.

    When faced with a particular issue, Si immediately knows what "it is" (noun lookup), and works from there. "What it is" is constant, and does not change, and one's experiences with "it" determines the options available.

    Ni, when faced with a particular issue, will have a particular "verb" or "action" or "goal to achieve" in mind, and internally look up on that basis. The goal, the task is the constant, not the thing, the "it." One's experiences with accomplishing similar tasks is what determines the options available.

    So let's say one needs to send an email, but one's computer is failing to connect to the internet. Si will tend to consider the problem to be one of fixing the computer so it connects to the internet: some aspect of "the computer" is incorrect, and correcting it will make it work right. Ni, on the other hand, will often consider the problem to be one of "I need to connect to the internet to send an email." Obviously, if there is some requirement that specifies fixing "this computer" to connect to the internet, then one is constrained to do so within the computer, but in this case Ni regards the goal as sending the email. Ni does a lookup on "I need to send an email," and the computer is offline, Ni will pull out the cell phone, in a pinch, without even having to think about it, because this is where Ni's mind lives: it remembers multiple ways of accomplishing the same thing. (Si won't dismiss the option if mentioned, but may become preoccupied with fixing the computer instead of resolving the send-an-email task that prompted the observation that the computer didn't connect.)

    As powerful as Ni might seem from this example, there are drawbacks. For example, I remember that there is a tool to sync databases, and I know exactly how to access it and run it, but for the life of me, I cannot remember its name. I know the name is correct when I hear it, but I don't think of it in terms of its name, it's noun, but in terms of what it does, in terms of what it is used for, its purpose. (It's meaning, perhaps?) In general, most of life's problems don't require the flexibility of the Ni approach: the Si approach is more direct, and will usually find a solution faster for any issues with which one has had experience. In my "send an email" example in the prior paragraph, it might actually be faster and more efficient to fix the computer's connectivity problem (it's already booted up and running, after all), which might just be a matter of a few practiced mouse clicks, and one can send an email no problem, rather than slowly type out a long email on the limited cellphone keypad. An alternative method is not necessarily better than the straightforward approach.

    My main point isn't which one is better, but rather how their typical approaches differ. Each has practiced remembering things in a different way, and the speed at which the memories appear is dependent on how the entities of the memories are "indexed." One's understanding of the entities isn't lesser or greater: rather, the "shortcuts" one uses to get the right information for the task at hand differ.

    Now, about context shifting (yes, that was a long analogy): Ne/Si will tend to hold names/definitions/what-it-is to be constant, but allow for rearranging such entities into a new configuration; Ni/Se will tend to hold verbs/actions/purposes/goals/problem-to-be-solved/what-I-need-to-do to be constant, and switch out "what-it-is", or especially in the Ni case of trying to figure out "what it really is", keeps on "redefining" "what-it-is" without explicitly saying so, based on a constant understanding of how it needs to "work."

    So Ni/Se will regard Ne/Si as "changing the topic," because Ne will bring in new items not previously under discussion. Ne/Si will regard Ni as "context shifting," when Ni switches around entities or definitions to suit our understanding of the behavior involved, especially in a highly abstract, theoretical topic for which Ni's understanding is undergoing rapid development. It seems like "changing the topic" or "context shifting" because the underlying thought processes are "fast," often making decisions or references "without conscious thought", so explicitly explaining why one considers one's statements as relevant to the original topic can be difficult.

    I'm still working on refining this analogy/explanation, so others' thoughts and contributions are quite welcome.

  3. #303
    Senior Member Array sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Affably Evil View Post
    Ni doms tend to be interested in fluid, unrealized meanings — at the simplest level, once it has solidified into a form and meaning, it becomes less interesting. Because its internal possibilities have reached a singularity.

    ...Unless you can elude that "locking in" and find new sets of implications and possibilities within the subject. So while Ni may often be about pinpointing that meaning, it might also involve relocating or reinterpreting that meaning — and attempting to foresee successive implications and meanings. Whatever depths of (new) possibility within the subject one might see.
    The INFJ perspective fascinates me and more NiFe perspectives would be delightful to hear. If I understand you correctly, the formation of the singularity lessons interest. Do you find that sometimes, just to keep things interesting a continuation of the fluidic Ni analysis will occur, just to prevent boredom? Is there ever a fear or energetic barrier related to formation of a locked down singularity...ie things become much harder to keep doing once the meanings are locked down?

    For myself, the more certainty there is in the singularity, the more freedom I have in the Ne global pattern matching. To try and Ne connect two "object" which are themselves under modification and change, is to create a flawed Ne linkage. I recognize this, thus will resist mid linkage redefinitions. It is especially disruptive in well established patterns. I have heard several older ENFPs say "I have seen this pattern before". Once we have locked a pattern down, to have parts of it evolving can be angst inducing.

  4. #304
    reborn Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Both of those quoted passages are perhaps something other than you think.
    No, nor was I looking for the explanation; and I do appreciate you sharing more deeply on the thoughts, but I was taking another tangent here. I am pointing out to you a few nuggets that could be interpreted as being patronizing to the home audience. Perhaps you choose your words to maximize obfuscation, or to connect more with Ni-users, and being understood by anyone other than yourself bears less relevance. But, if you are opting to participate in a global discussion with a goal towards comprehension, perhaps choosing your words with more specificity and less obliqueness would be not only helpful, but wise.

    Go on, admit. People hype their own functions. And in a sense they have to, because literally how does anyone get by without promoting their own fundamental imperatives? The cool trick of typology is the observation that not only does everyone have cognitive imperatives, but that they can and do have different cognitive imperatives AND THEY"RE (sic) STILL NORMAL!
    I do agree with this paragraph; what's to disagree with?

    Understanding is so ephemeral at times; at times as close as a whisper but generally as far away as the expanse of the sea.



    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    When faced with a particular issue, Si immediately knows what "it is" (noun lookup), and works from there. "What it is" is constant, and does not change, and one's experiences with "it" determines the options available.

    Ni, when faced with a particular issue, will have a particular "verb" or "action" or "goal to achieve" in mind, and internally look up on that basis. The goal, the task is the constant, not the thing, the "it." One's experiences with accomplishing similar tasks is what determines the options available.
    I appreciate the analogies. Perhaps a better contrast would be "cellphone" as the noun and "make phone call" as the "verb" ..... then you could draw the lines more cleanly between the two.

    But regardless, using this example, Si and Ni thus have inherent limitations; Si for knowledge, and Ni for experience. Correct?

    When I add Ne to the mix, Ne says, "There must be more ways to do this that I don't know about yet. Get out there, research and look at all the possibilities."

    When you add Se to the mix, what does Se say?

    So let's say one needs to send an email, but one's computer is failing to connect to the internet. Si will tend to consider the problem to be one of fixing the computer so it connects to the internet: some aspect of "the computer" is incorrect, and correcting it will make it work right.
    Yes, but Ne will quickly assert that there's more than one possible problem here and more than one way to send an e-mail! It's why I have computers (plural), run several different platforms, have a back-up ISP if my primary is down, have more than one e-mail account, have a fax machine (if a fax would work in the situation) etc. The Si memories of having to address an urgent situation in the past prompt me to make plans to address such potential shortcomings in the future, and be ready for them (as much as possible.)

    Heck, I've driven to the library in a pinch, or even bought a new computer rather than wait for the old one to get fixed LOL!

    But, I get your point. As a function in isolation, one tends to gravitate to the first thought ... Si: fix the computer. Ni: send the e-mail. But the Ne voice kicks in so rapidly ... and yet, I likely would try to fix the problem first, but wouldn't get fixated on it.

    Ni, on the other hand, will often consider the problem to be one of "I need to connect to the internet to send an email." Obviously, if there is some requirement that specifies fixing "this computer" to connect to the internet, then one is constrained to do so within the computer, but in this case Ni regards the goal as sending the email. Ni does a lookup on "I need to send an email," and the computer is offline, Ni will pull out the cell phone, in a pinch, without even having to think about it, because this is where Ni's mind lives: it remembers multiple ways of accomplishing the same thing. (Si won't dismiss the option if mentioned, but may become preoccupied with fixing the computer instead of resolving the send-an-email task that prompted the observation that the computer didn't connect.)
    For me personally, the analogy is falling apart here, only because functions don't exist in isolation. I suppose the key is in noting the inherent strengths and weaknesses of one's one tendencies. Thus you can problem-solve more effectively and efficiently.

    My main point isn't which one is better, but rather how their typical approaches differ. Each has practiced remembering things in a different way, and the speed at which the memories appear is dependent on how the entities of the memories are "indexed." One's understanding of the entities isn't lesser or greater: rather, the "shortcuts" one uses to get the right information for the task at hand differ.
    Indeed.

    EDIT: we need an Si dom here for a better comparison.
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  5. #305
    Member Array Affably Evil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    For me personally, the analogy is falling apart here, only because functions don't exist in isolation. I suppose the key is in noting the inherent strengths and weaknesses of one's one tendencies. Thus you can problem-solve more effectively and efficiently.
    I don't think he was necessarily trying to propose concrete examples here, only create analogies for how Ni and Si initially approach information and problem-solving and therefore being able to differentiate between the two. Naturally, using more than one function in concert with each other (aux et. al.) will allow for you to open up more options or overcome more obstacles once you've reached the limitations of your dominant function. I definitely agree with you that you can't rely on a singular function alone.

    But in the interests of defining Ni processing against Si processing, I found the analogy to be very interesting and useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    EDIT: we need an Si dom here for a better comparison.
    I would also be interested in an Si dom's perspective on this.

    Edit: Ni bias, wow I see you there. My apologies, PeaceBaby. You're right that if the analogy starts breaking down for you at a certain point it may require fine-tuning of the specifics. For myself I liked entertaining it — but my bias is for the possibilities within the abstract model.
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  6. #306
    Senior Member Array sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    Now, about context shifting (yes, that was a long analogy): Ne/Si will tend to hold names/definitions/what-it-is to be constant, but allow for rearranging such entities into a new configuration; Ni/Se will tend to hold verbs/actions/purposes/goals/problem-to-be-solved/what-I-need-to-do to be constant, and switch out "what-it-is", or especially in the Ni case of trying to figure out "what it really is", keeps on "redefining" "what-it-is" without explicitly saying so, based on a constant understanding of how it needs to "work."

    PB:
    Yes, but Ne will quickly assert that there's more than one possible problem here and more than one way to send an e-mail! It's why I have computers (plural), run several different platforms, have a back-up ISP if my primary is down, have more than one e-mail account, have a fax machine (if a fax would work in the situation) etc. The Si memories of having to address an urgent situation in the past prompt me to make plans to address such potential shortcomings in the future, and be ready for them (as much as possible.)

    Heck, I've driven to the library in a pinch, or even bought a new computer rather than wait for the old one to get fixed LOL

    PB-Is the stuff in red Si-ish in nature? Previously established generalized Si solutions which Ne connects together as needed?

    AE:
    I don't think he was necessarily trying to propose concrete examples here, only create analogies for how Ni and Si initially approach information and problem-solving and therefore being able to differentiate between the two. Naturally, using more than one function in concert with each other (aux et. al.) will allow for you to open up more options or overcome more obstacles once you've reached the limitations of your dominant function. I definitely agree with you that you can't rely on a singular function alone.

    AE, Is the word in blue the Se component which PB asked about her her post?

    ( i really have no idea, just blatantly speculating...)

  7. #307
    4x9 Array cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    The INFJ perspective fascinates me and more NiFe perspectives would be delightful to hear. If I understand you correctly, the formation of the singularity lessons interest. Do you find that sometimes, just to keep things interesting a continuation of the fluidic Ni analysis will occur, just to prevent boredom? Is there ever a fear or energetic barrier related to formation of a locked down singularity...ie things become much harder to keep doing once the meanings are locked down?
    This was kind of discussed at length earlier on in the thread, but for myself it's hard to say one way or another, or whether things become more interesting or less after locking down on something, or there's less energy or more. Locking down has huge, huge benefits, and personally I love reaching that decision point and clarity. As several of us mentioned earlier on, there can be a level of anxiety/discomfort associated with continued analysis and not finding that 'singularity' (personally some of these terms are a little unfamiliar to me but I'll roll with it as I think I know what's being talked about), and depending on the time constraints or outside expectations (or whatever), for me at least, being in that ambiguous Ni-exploratory zone can be stressful, especially if I really want and need to reach closure and resolution soon. On the other hand, it was also discussed that that 'Waiting' process - the fluidity - can be extremely exhilarating and 'exciting' too. Honestly it just depends on the context. So yes, on a certain level things remain quite interesting and intoxicating and energetic in that limbo state, but also can be quite unpeaceful. Reaching that singularity can bring about the peace and closure, but yes, then boredom can set in.
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  8. #308
    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    I get the idea of Ni shifting the internal context, as far as seeing it contrasted with Ne, which seeks to shift the external context. This is why new info, new experience, & general exposure to new external elements are inspiring; it doesn't even need to be related to the problem at hand. Just new scenery can spark an idea for me, one unrelated to the scenery itself.

    The tendency of Ni to change the internal context seems to add to the overall NiJe external structure/composure that appears, as all the change is being done internally.

    It reminds me a bit of what my INFJ aunt said once; it threw me, as far as typing her (she has been officially typed though...MBTI workshop & all) . She said she is not creative as far as coming up with wholly original ideas, but she's good at perfecting what exists, as in taking an existing system and re-working it internally. To me, this sounded like Si or something, but then I thought about what she really meant & her overall personality (in general terms, not MBTI ones), and I realized that she creates something new within an existing structure. It is wholly original, but it works within the confines by seeing the confines differently. I guess it's the oft-repeated, Ne goes outside the box and Ni works within it by changing perspective on it. I think Ne people just want to tear up what exists & build up from nothing, and Ni people may see that as unnecessary; they just remodel what exists. In this sense, NiJe people can seem more efficient. I think this is why they seem to function better in very SJ environments; their creativity can be appreciated more where the NeJi mindset seems threatening to destroy what exists (because it is!).

    Ni - What the hell is it?
    Last edited by highlander; 10-04-2015 at 08:09 PM.
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  9. #309
    Senior Member Array Forever_Jung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    I realized that she creates something new within an existing structure. It is wholly original, but it works within the confines by seeing the confines differently. I guess it's the oft-repeated, Ne goes outside the box and Ni works within it by changing perspective on it. I think Ne people just want to tear up what exists & build up from nothing, and Ni people may see that as unnecessary; they just remodel what exists. In this sense, NiJe people can seem more efficient...their creativity can be appreciated more where the NeJi mindset seems threatening to destroy what exists (because it is!).
    I agree.

    Ni starts with a design. Then it tries to twist the materials to best realize this design. The object is twisted to the subject's whim.

    Ne starts with the raw materials. Then it tries to twist the design to best use the materials. The subject is twisted to the object's whim.

  10. #310
    Filthy Apes! Array Kalach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    No, nor was I looking for the explanation; and I do appreciate you sharing more deeply on the thoughts, but I was taking another tangent here. I am pointing out to you a few nuggets that could be interpreted as being patronizing to the home audience.
    Pfft. The home audience can hurrumph and rearrange their bulk in indignation for what they haven't seen in what is there to see. Along with all the putatively accurate descriptions of Ni in this thread, there are also displays of in what and how the users value the function. "The understanding of everything," for example. This phrase, pretentious and sadly uncowed by other people's inabilities, surely denotes a thing unlikely to be acquired. Plainly therefore, if Ni people think that's where they're going, then "understanding" and "everything" have been given new, subjective definitions. Nonetheless, the phrase, and all the other mystical, spiritual, fantasmagorical voodoo that Ni users and fans are likely to spout in relation to what the function does or is, carry content. Content frequently misinterpreted as concrete or overly focused or having bearing on only some curtailed topic, and yet the users keep calling it "everything". And you require it translated too? Pfft.

    But y'all caught that, right? In amongst all the technical definiery the subjective importance and utility of the function has been announced. What the users think they do is determine the meaning of everything.

    You are welcome to say that Ni doesn't do what the users think it does.
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