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Thread: Ni - What the hell is it?

  1. #811
    Sugar Hiccup Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I've submitted several posts to this thread, explaining what Ni is. The enduring confusion makes me feel like it's trying to explain quantum mechanics.

    Ni is simple, but people try to make it mysterious because it doesn't fit in their view of how functions work, or because they've read too much about how Ni "taps into the unconscious" (which is just a way of saying, "it's a mystery").

    Both Ne and Ni as part of one's type mean that one thinks in terms of patterns instead of concrete things and experiences (which would be Se and Si). ("Patterns" is a more down-to-earth way of saying "abstract thinking".) So where Se seeks out new experiences and Si remembers/savors experiences, Ne seeks out new patterns while Ni remembers/savors patterns. That's it. It is no more complicated than that. Any further explanation is window-dressing, and not typology, per se.

    It's this "remembering of patterns" that can be interpreted as "tapping into the unconscious". Well, it sort of is, because remembering concrete things and experiences things is a largely unconscious process: you either remember or you don't, it just happens, you "just know". Same thing for remembering patterns. You either remember or you don't. It just happens. You "just know". So Ni "just knows", because Ni types think in terms of patterns and remember patterns and apply patterns on the fly. When an Si type can remember something and informs others of those memories or their implication, no one wonders, "How did he know that?!?!" No one is mystified by someone remembering concrete facts/details/experiences. When an Ni type remembers patterns, and informs others of their implications, there are no words to describe the patterns*. Because the Ni type is just stating conclusions, e.g., "we need to do Y instead of X", the reasoning is along the lines of "because X won't work", and not "Remember last time we did X? It didn't work." So people wonder why X won't work, and often times the Ni type can't explain why, because they remember the pattern, that "this pattern of things doesn't work, or usually doesn't work". Worse, in the Ni type's head, one isn't even calling them "patterns", but just "intuitively" realizing that X won't work (due to the remembered patterns), but it takes a lot of effort to turn that understanding into a concrete explanation. That dynamic is what makes Ni seem mysterious, even though it really isn't.

    *Without words, without a common language to convey the patterns, it seems very mysterious. In some professions, however, there ARE WORDS to describe the patterns. Engineering and computer science have jargon that describes "design patterns", while in physics, the laws of physics are the "design patterns". In these fields, you CAN actually say why you think X won't work and Y will. For these reasons, it can be easy to mix up Ni and Si types in engineering, because they have language and words to talk about abstract things clearly and definitively.
    This is really good! It's so hard to get Ni types to explain Ni in a simple way, and this almost simultaneously explains why they can't explain it .

    I think what confuses people is sensing types (especially SFs) also report instinctive impressions, and they may think this is intuition because they may see them as patterns in experience. But what I notice is they almost always explain these by recalling concrete data (ie when SFs sense things about people, they really sense these things. They recall body language or something else they picked up with their senses & they compare it to impressions of other things they have sensed before and collective meanings (Si+ Fe) or they experience it in the immediate context along with an inner experience which informs them of the general human condition (Se + Fi).... The emotional aspect of Feeling and Sensing creates a system of experience and interpretation that can feel like "just knowing". I agree that the big tip-off of an N type is the difficulty in referencing concrete experience to back stuff up. Because we were focused on the "pattern", any concrete data is hard to recall (can't remember what you didn't study).
    "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself. But it's always with love - So much love it looks like everything else. Charlotte Sometimes - So far away, glass sealed and pretty." - The Cure

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    Sleepy Member Array Forever's Avatar
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    But I've been talking about simply pattern recognition months ago.
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    just hanging in limbo Array Smilephantomhive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    This is really good! It's so hard to get Ni types to explain Ni in a simple way, and this almost simultaneously explains why they can't explain it .

    I think what confuses people is sensing types (especially SFs) also report instinctive impressions, and they may think this is intuition because they may see them as patterns in experience. But what I notice is they almost always explain these by recalling concrete data (ie when SFs sense things about people, they really sense these things. They recall body language or something else they picked up with their senses & they compare it to impressions of other things they have sensed before and collective meanings (Si+ Fe) or they experience it in the immediate context along with an inner experience which informs them of the general human condition (Se + Fi).... The emotional aspect of Feeling and Sensing creates a system of experience and interpretation that can feel like "just knowing". I agree that the big tip-off of an N type is the difficulty in referencing concrete experience to back stuff up. Because we were focused on the "pattern", any concrete data is hard to recall (can't remember what you didn't study).
    But how do you even "see" the pattern if can't reference concrete data? Do you just forget the concrete data after you formed the pattern??
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smilephantomhive View Post
    But how do you even "see" the pattern if can't reference concrete data? Do you just forget the concrete data after you formed the pattern??
    Well, speaking for myself.... I don't use data to form the pattern. I just "see" the pattern itself. I perceive the concept first - think of it as an "outline". If there is data, then I extrapolate a whole pattern off of very little data. Like there are only 3 dots but from that I can tell they will form a picture of a dog if connected, but my subconscious (or whatever) really added dots because I perceived the existing dots leading to a particular whole, or something like that. It seems like going "backwards" to other people, I guess.

    This is also what makes Ne types "creative". We are very much creating patterns, but it feels like we just "find" them. I suppose Ni does the same, but its deeper, more complex, more refined and may have a narrower focus (as is often the case with introverted functions).

    I think N & S types can form similar impressions but they start at different ends.

    It's easier for me to think of it in terms of Si and Ne.... Si types see the data and then build up a pattern of concrete experience to reference. Ne sees a whole pattern/concept emerge and then looks for a few key data points to support it being a real possibility. Ne types basically have to integrate Si for this - we will look to past, stored experiences to back up current intuitions, but since our focus was never on concrete data (can't recall what we never studied), there is a struggle with this integration, of course.

    When younger, my ability at the latter was poor and I had an insecurity over my own intuitions because I couldn't explain them, and if I managed a few data points, then others could rarely see the connection because they didn't make the leaps I made. I would second guess myself and not act with my intuitions, fearing that I'd appear "crazy" or "stupid" if I did. To this day, I mainly remember the gist or concept which emerged (often my own idea) when reading stuff, so I often second-guess my memory of what I have read and will cite things verbatim to make sure I am not simply recalling my own interpretation. Increasingly I trust my creative improvisation abilities and my own grasp of invisible patterns, without needing to verify it with prior experience or citing stuff.

    N-doms usually trust their dom function more, I think, just as I whole-heartedly trust my rational feelings for understanding the human condition. I was scared to act with Ne mentality when younger because I knew it was not "common sense", which I felt out of touch with, and I feared humiliation for my "weird way".
    "Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself. But it's always with love - So much love it looks like everything else. Charlotte Sometimes - So far away, glass sealed and pretty." - The Cure

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  5. #815
    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smilephantomhive View Post
    But how do you even "see" the pattern if can't reference concrete data? Do you just forget the concrete data after you formed the pattern??
    It's more like we don't reference A LOT OF concrete data. Imagine that you only have a few pieces of concrete data, like in Wheel of Fortune, where you have a phrase of some sort and people guess letters, but what the phrase is only becomes obvious after a certain amount of letters are visible.

    After one guess it reads:

    After two guesses it reads:

    At this point some people might guess it, especially based on the last word.
    After a third guess, it reads:

    Then they buy a vowel. E, of course:

    At this point it should be REALLY obvious.

    Obviously, I'm keeping this really simple, and we all share patterns of letters and language, so it doesn't matter if you're S or N. But the analogy I'm getting at is that the more intuitive one is (Ne or Ni), the more likely one is to guess the right phrase based on only a fraction of the data, BECAUSE intuitive types also have the pattern. The moment the pattern clicks into place, just like the ah-ha you get when you realize what the phrase is, you don't need any more data.

    This also helps with analogizing the "how did you know?" How do you know that it is
    and not
    for example?

    See, you "just know" it is the first, and not the second, just because. It matches the pattern, but it doesn't just match the pattern, it matches other clues. The second guess is certainly possible at some point, especially if S isn't guessed early, but it otherwise fits the pattern. You know the correct answer because once you SEE it, you know that it is correct, in part because you get that "ah-ha" realization.

    Now you might say, well, but S and N types do this just fine, and might even argue that S types might even be better at it, especially if they have a great deal of skill and experience with words. (Scrabble, anyone?) And you'd be right. So what's the S vs N difference?

    N types think like this all the time, even when it's entirely useless, just as S types tend to stay in realms of detail when spotting patterns is a more useful strategy. Everything an N type looks at evokes a pattern, evokes connections with other things. So where an S type will be reminded of similar concrete things, N types will be reminded of similar patterns, and the things that those patterns go with.

    In general, I can tell the difference between S vs N by whether or not one has an easier time in discussion hopping from pattern to pattern, or hopping from concrete thing to concrete thing. The N types tend to link from pattern to pattern, barely touching on the concrete. The S types, while perfectly capable of seeing patterns and using and applying them, don't think in terms of them. And vice versa, N types don't think in terms of concrete things. N types understand how important concrete data is, but their key weakness is to ignore too much of it in favor of the pretty patterns in their heads. But balanced correctly, an intuitive type can make all sorts of "WTF" predictions that aren't obvious from the concrete facts.

    Here's an example WTF fact: all humans have an above-average number of legs. This is obvious once you see and understand the patterns, but not obvious in terms of concrete facts where people generally have two legs, and the notion of an "average" number of legs is kind of weird.

    Anyway, the key takeaway here is that in none of this is anyone saying that intuitive types never use details and sensing types never use patterns. We're all human beings. We use both. The question typology looks at is which of these predominates in one's thinking.
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    Active Member Array Poki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    It's more like we don't reference A LOT OF concrete data. Imagine that you only have a few pieces of concrete data, like in Wheel of Fortune, where you have a phrase of some sort and people guess letters, but what the phrase is only becomes obvious after a certain amount of letters are visible.

    After one guess it reads:

    After two guesses it reads:

    At this point some people might guess it, especially based on the last word.
    After a third guess, it reads:

    Then they buy a vowel. E, of course:

    At this point it should be REALLY obvious.

    Obviously, I'm keeping this really simple, and we all share patterns of letters and language, so it doesn't matter if you're S or N. But the analogy I'm getting at is that the more intuitive one is (Ne or Ni), the more likely one is to guess the right phrase based on only a fraction of the data, BECAUSE intuitive types also have the pattern. The moment the pattern clicks into place, just like the ah-ha you get when you realize what the phrase is, you don't need any more data.

    This also helps with analogizing the "how did you know?" How do you know that it is
    and not
    for example?

    See, you "just know" it is the first, and not the second, just because. It matches the pattern, but it doesn't just match the pattern, it matches other clues. The second guess is certainly possible at some point, especially if S isn't guessed early, but it otherwise fits the pattern. You know the correct answer because once you SEE it, you know that it is correct, in part because you get that "ah-ha" realization.

    Now you might say, well, but S and N types do this just fine, and might even argue that S types might even be better at it, especially if they have a great deal of skill and experience with words. (Scrabble, anyone?) And you'd be right. So what's the S vs N difference?

    N types think like this all the time, even when it's entirely useless, just as S types tend to stay in realms of detail when spotting patterns is a more useful strategy. Everything an N type looks at evokes a pattern, evokes connections with other things. So where an S type will be reminded of similar concrete things, N types will be reminded of similar patterns, and the things that those patterns go with.

    In general, I can tell the difference between S vs N by whether or not one has an easier time in discussion hopping from pattern to pattern, or hopping from concrete thing to concrete thing. The N types tend to link from pattern to pattern, barely touching on the concrete. The S types, while perfectly capable of seeing patterns and using and applying them, don't think in terms of them. And vice versa, N types don't think in terms of concrete things. N types understand how important concrete data is, but their key weakness is to ignore too much of it in favor of the pretty patterns in their heads. But balanced correctly, an intuitive type can make all sorts of "WTF" predictions that aren't obvious from the concrete facts.

    Here's an example WTF fact: all humans have an above-average number of legs. This is obvious once you see and understand the patterns, but not obvious in terms of concrete facts where people generally have two legs, and the notion of an "average" number of legs is kind of weird.

    Anyway, the key takeaway here is that in none of this is anyone saying that intuitive types never use details and sensing types never use patterns. We're all human beings. We use both. The question typology looks at is which of these predominates in one's thinking.
    I disagree with right...pattern recognition. But experience is what determines right vs wrong. I know smart and stupid Ni dom people. From genius pattern recognition to what hole did you jump down for that conspiracy theory. Of course Ni ALWAYS thinks or feels right...lol

    Ni types love lack of detail that breaks patterns in real life, but in theory its dead on.
    Take what I say with a grain of salt, because that's all it is compared to the ocean of complexity when it comes to actions and real life.

  7. #817
    ⒺⓉⒷ Array Eric B's Avatar
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    In Beebe's new book, in describing the Ni-Si tandem, we get some good descriptions of Ni. It “trusts one’s own interpretation of what is real, fundamental, and of lasting importance over what others may see and think”. He quotes from Henderson on the difference between the two functions: “Introverted intuition perceives the variety and the possibility for development of the inner images, whereas introverted sensing perceives the specific image which defines the psychic activity that needs immediate attention”. (emphasis added). Extraverted intuition is shortly afterward described as spotting “the still unrealized possibilities in things” While I had heard “possible” used for S; particularly Se; I had recently figured that a better term that is trying to convey is “doable”. The possibility is already realized.

    Ne/Ni difference: “seeing possibilities in what was consciously shared with me that others might never have imagined”.
    “Look[ing] at the big picture of the unconscious where the gestalts that moved nations, religions and epochs lay, even in the midst of apparently individual experience”
    (and other function i/e distinctions) (p.31)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    In Beebe's new book, in describing the Ni-Si tandem, we get some good descriptions of Ni. It “trusts one’s own interpretation of what is real, fundamental, and of lasting importance over what others may see and think”. He quotes from Henderson on the difference between the two functions: “Introverted intuition perceives the variety and the possibility for development of the inner images, whereas introverted sensing perceives the specific image which defines the psychic activity that needs immediate attention”. (emphasis added). Extraverted intuition is shortly afterward described as spotting “the still unrealized possibilities in things” While I had heard “possible” used for S; particularly Se; I had recently figured that a better term that is trying to convey is “doable”. The possibility is already realized.

    Ne/Ni difference: “seeing possibilities in what was consciously shared with me that others might never have imagined”.
    “Look[ing] at the big picture of the unconscious where the gestalts that moved nations, religions and epochs lay, even in the midst of apparently individual experience”
    (and other function i/e distinctions) (p.31)
    You just had to make my generalization technical didnt you...lol

    I second "doable"
    Take what I say with a grain of salt, because that's all it is compared to the ocean of complexity when it comes to actions and real life.

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    ⒺⓉⒷ Array Eric B's Avatar
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    Forgot this quote:

    “unconscious images acquire the dignity of things” (Jung). It naturally “apprehends the images rising from the a priori inherited foundations of the unconscious” (where Ne’s images arise from looking at objects), and thus rather than thinking about, experimentally comparing, or feeling the archetype that arises in relation to a situation, Ni “becomes directly aware of the archetype as an image, as if ‘seeing’ it”. Later, (p.184, citing Jung) it “peers behind the scenes, quickly perceiving the inner image”, and is “directed to the inner image”, and observes “how the picture changes, unfolds and finally fades” (and is the consciousness most consistently devalued in contemporary Western culture).

    It also helps to take this in context of what he says about introversion in general:
    (Beebe citing Psychological Types): dependence “on the idea, which shields him from external reality and gives him the feeling of inner freedom”. The term “idea” is used to “express the meaning of a primordial image, that is to say, an archetype. An introverted function, therefore, is one that has turned away from the object and toward the archetypal ‘idea’ that the object might be closely matched to.
    This archetypal idea, residing in the inner world, can be understood as a profound thought, a value, a metaphorical image, or a model of reality”.

    To translate: an 'image' of “true/false” (T), “good/bad” (F), an image itself (N; i.e. “an image of an image“, and there we see Ni’s “meta-perspective” again!), or “what is” (S).
    When orienting something external, “it is in the end, the comparison to the archetype, not the stimulating object of situation itself, [this will be what Ne is driven by] that finally commands the attention of the function".
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    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    "Intuition and concepts constitute...the elements of all our knowledge, so that neither concepts without an intuition in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without concepts, can yield knowledge." Immanuel Kant.

    The problem with this thread is that it doesn't "yield knowledge" because it presents concepts about Ni without any "intuition" (perceptual examples). All I read here is "unconscious" this and "patterns" that. There's no reality to give it substance.
    "But you forget that there is one value that is greater than all others: human freedom. Because no matter how perfectly you set the world up for humanity, they will always rebel simply to exert their own selves. You cannot win."

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