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Thread: Ni - What the hell is it?

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    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    "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.
    I've provided plenty of perceptual examples, plenty of substance. You've rejected them all. If you'd like to frame the discussion in another direction, feel free. Turning up your nose and saying that 800 posts of people trying to explain Ni don't rise to your standards isn't going to get you very far.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  2. #822
    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uumlau View Post
    I've provided plenty of perceptual examples, plenty of substance. You've rejected them all. If you'd like to frame the discussion in another direction, feel free. Turning up your nose and saying that 800 posts of people trying to explain Ni don't rise to your standards isn't going to get you very far.
    I don't know what examples you're talking about.
    "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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    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    I don't know what examples you're talking about.
    If so, then I might suggest that ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    The problem with this thread is that ...
    The problem with this thread is that ... you haven't read it.

    I'll make it easy. Please explain why my two recent posts (dated 9/19/2016) in this thread are unhelpful to you.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  4. #824
    Senior Member Array Mal12345'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.
    That's a very clear explanation, yet people still complain that they don't understand Ni despite 83 pages on the topic.

    Of course I haven't read all 83 pages. Who has? Maybe you have? Then where are the examples here?

    The idea of "tapping into the unconscious" comes from Jung who was obsessed with the unconscious because he was trying to explain his own thinking method to himself. Using the term "unconscious" was his particular idiom, his theory on the topic. He believed he had a special insight into the collective unconscious of mankind because he was an INFJ. Jung was one of those people who "just knows," but he wanted to theorize about how he knew it - by tapping into the collective unconsciousness of mankind which is the sum-total of all the archetypal symbols representative of humanity throughout history.

    Your take on Ni is more psychological, less mystical than Jung's. But it doesn't get to the heart of what Jung was trying to say, it only describes a cognitive process.

    I saw a movie a long time ago about a group of well drillers. In one of the scenes, most of the well drillers were standing around a table looking at a drawing while they tried to figure out some well drilling problem. But the odd one, the one that stands out as being different from the rest of the group, was taking a nap in a cot off to the side. While the guys were arguing about what to do, the oddball woke up a little, lifted his head up, and said, "use water." Then he went right back to sleep. The other workers stared at each other in amazement as they collectively realized that he had, somehow, produced the solution.

    THAT'S what I mean by an example. Although it doesn't explain Jung's take on the topic, it explains why Ni is represented as mysterious.
    "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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    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    I believe that, by giving examples not explanations, it gives people a chance to form their own patterns and make their own decisions. Learning tends to be easier that way.
    "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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    Active Member Array Poki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    "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.
    I read intuition...its Ni intuiting its right...lmao. if you understand what drives the talk of subconcious, etc. Thats Ni...its an internal pattern based conceptual system based on beliefs. Its puts data together and finds beliefs...aka...truths(internal).

    Si does the same thing with detail.
    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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    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poki View Post
    I read intuition...its Ni intuiting its right...lmao. if you understand what drives the talk of subconcious, etc. Thats Ni...its an internal pattern based conceptual system based on beliefs. Its puts data together and finds beliefs...aka...truths(internal).

    Si does the same thing with detail.
    Do you have any examples?
    "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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    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    Here's another Ni example, a real one this time, about Henri Poincare:
    "He never spent a long time on a problem since he believed that the subconscious would continue working on the problem while he consciously worked on another problem."
    Henri Poincare - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    On the other hand, there is Ne taking the opposite approach - the thought experiment:
    Einstein's Most Famous Thought Experiment
    "...From the very beginning it appeared to me intuitively clear that, judged from the standpoint of such an observer, everything would have to happen according to the same laws as for an observer who, relative to the earth, was at rest. For how should the first observer know or be able to determine, that he is in a state of fast uniform motion?..."
    "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."
    Likes Z Buck McFate, Floki liked this post

  9. #829
    Happy Dancer Array uumlau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    That's a very clear explanation, yet people still complain that they don't understand Ni despite 83 pages on the topic.
    I've mostly been getting messages in thread and reps that people found my explanation helpful. There are some people chiming in negatively in a joking way here in thread, but I'm not seeing the confusion that you see, at least not in this thread after the post you quoted.

    Of course I haven't read all 83 pages. Who has? Maybe you have? Then where are the examples here?
    I've been in this thread since about 3 days after it started in 2010. My explanations of Ni appear every few pages or so as the thread would get kicked alive again. I think my explanations have gotten a lot more clear and less tending towards mysterious/mystical over the years. That's on purpose by the way.

    Why are people confused about Ni despite 83 pages on the topic? Because Jung was horribly vague about it. Heck, he was kind of vague about all of the functions, and certified Jungian counselors use a very different version of Jung's typology than MBTI and function theory practitioners. For example, a Jungian would likely type me as an introverted thinker, not an introverted intuitive. But any INTP or ISTP can tell that I don't think like they do.

    So I try to clear away all of the cruft, all of the ideas that got crammed into Ni from so many sources and look at it more from first principles. Now, one might argue that Jung is rightly the source of these first principles, and I would not deny that, but I fully admit that I am using DIFFERENT first principles than Jung, and this is nothing new under the sun. MBTI is only loosely based on Jung, as is function theory, as is Keirsey, and so on. But now MBTI has, for better or worse, become part of the popular culture. It is easy to find people who have been tested, and it is easy to test people if you're curious, and once you have been exposed to the typology for a few years, it is often-but-not-always easy to type people when you meet them.

    So what I am describing is what those individuals who have been typed as INTJ or INFJ would generally experience as "Ni", assuming that the MBTI instrument is reasonably good at singling out this dominant function, this "INxJ" pattern. And I'm trying to explain it without referring much to "mysterious" or "unconscious" processes, and I refer to those only to point out how I would map my explanation to the explanations of others who indulge more in that unconscious mystery metaphor, to explain why many people SEE IT as mysterious or unconscious, even though it isn't that mysterious nor particularly any more unconscious than any other cognitive processes.

    The idea of "tapping into the unconscious" comes from Jung who was obsessed with the unconscious because he was trying to explain his own thinking method to himself. Using the term "unconscious" was his particular idiom, his theory on the topic. He believed he had a special insight into the collective unconscious of mankind because he was an INFJ. Jung was one of those people who "just knows," but he wanted to theorize about how he knew it - by tapping into the collective unconsciousness of mankind which is the sum-total of all the archetypal symbols representative of humanity throughout history.
    I think he had a lot to contribute to psychology. In fact, I think his focus on the unconscious was far ahead of its time, to the point that only in the last few decades are psychologists taking the idea of an unconscious seriously. Our mind is comprised of many parts, and "the unconscious" describes a few of them. And that unconscious mind has several traits that might be described as being part of a "collective unconscious" though I might describe it more as a very human version of "instinct", where certain kinds of unconscious traits have been selected by the evolution of civilization and culture.

    Your take on Ni is more psychological, less mystical than Jung's. But it doesn't get to the heart of what Jung was trying to say, it only describes a cognitive process.
    I would note that for the purposes of function theory, "only describes a cognitive process" applies to all eight functions.

    I don't think Jung was "wrong" about Ni: he conceived the idea. I would assert, however, that if he had the opportunity to collaborate with others to flesh out his ideas, they'd arrive at something at least sort of like modern function theory. That's what modern function theory is, really - the collaboration of lots of people trying to flesh out Jung's primary ideas. Jung had his own personal understanding that I think he conveyed as well as he could, but he didn't spend that much time on the typology, and considered introversion and extroversion to be the primary traits, while intuition, sensing, feeling and thinking were all secondary to him. It says something that he coined the words "introversion" and "extroversion", and they've stuck with us both in terms of psychology but normal modern language to describe people - his other typological ideas really only stuck around due to MBTI.

    For example, I saw a movie a long time ago about a group of well drillers. In one of the scenes, most of the well drillers were standing around a table looking at a drawing while they tried to figure out some well drilling problem. But the odd one, the one that stands out as being different from the rest of the group, was taking a nap in a cot off to the side. While the guys were arguing about what to do, the oddball woke up a little, lifted his head up, and said, "use water." Then he went back to sleep. The other workers stared at each other in amazement as they collectively realized that he had, somehow, produced the solution.

    THAT'S what I mean by an example. Although it doesn't explain Jung's take on the topic, it explains why Ni is represented as mysterious.
    Heh, that sounds like something I'd do, and it's typical of how an Ni dom has to operate. One thing we tend to learn early on is that if we try to express our ideas right away, we end up becoming part of the argument, which is really tedious. It turns out to be much easier to let people argue out the problem themselves for a while, and THEN, when they're really feeling frustrated, propose the solution. Why? They don't know the ins and outs of the problem until they've argued it out, at which point the tradeoffs start to become obvious, when they were anything but obvious before. By chiming in at this point, the Ni-statement is a huge relief - because it clearly addresses the trade-offs to everyone's satisfaction - whereas early on in the conversation it would seem entirely nonsensical.

    So to give you another concrete example based on your example, this is also an example of Ni synthesis. I would not be surprised if the oddball was listening to all of the arguments, not really caring about it, but having heard all of the arguments could create a model in his head of what was going on, the model being a synthesis of the thoughts of the people arguing. Take everything that is consistent and make sure it is in the model, and take the contradictions and use their resolutions to complete the model. This does go back to the "remembered patterns" stuff I was talking about before, too, but synthesis is how those patterns are used, because we are usually not using just a single pattern, but a bunch of patterns, and using those patterns and building blocks for an overall model.

    It seems mysterious because things that are synthesized often do not resemble the things they come from. A cake doesn't look anything like stalks of sugar cane, grains of wheat, or eggs. And the process to create the cake involves a lot of activity other than just plopping the cane, the wheat and eggs in a pile and turning them into a cake. But if you understand the process and the transformations involved, you understand that particular synthesis. It's just that if you're doing that synthesis inside your head, how the hell are you going to explain it to people? You can demonstrate turning sugar cane into sugar, turning wheat into flour, and eggs and flour and sugar and water into batter, and baking that batter long enough to create a cake, and thus demonstrate that the cake didn't come "from nothing". But for ideas? I can only use words, and there are no words to describe the process in a literal step-by-step sort of way. Even in technical fields where the language allows for the communication of patterns of ideas, a lot of the time ideas just seem to appear from nothing as their pieces just slide into place inside someone's head.
    An argument is two people sharing their ignorance.

    A discussion is two people sharing their understanding, even when they disagree.

  10. #830
    Senior Member Array Mal12345's Avatar
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    A couple days ago I was pondering some examples of Si, and I realize now that, considering that Si examples are numbered 100:1 over Ni (I estimate), there's no question in my mind that this thread is important to help understand Ni. Si is everywhere around us because it consists of concretes. If I call someone an idiot, that's probably Si in some way. Ni and Si have in common a spontaneity of thought. I experience something, I react based on something subjective either based in experience (consciously or unconsciously) - this is Si. Or I experience something, and it causes the proverbial light-bulb to suddenly turn on in my head. Or perhaps I dream it, fall into a trance-like state and experience it that way, or take drugs and allow the creative process to come forward. Intuition in general is creative, and it is often the case that Ni and Ne work in tandem as with the Poincare example I gave a couple posts back.
    "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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