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  1. #1
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Default Ni, motivation, and "_____ is just so...arbitrary!"

    Aside: Oí. I haven't been here in a while. I seemed to have been away from this site long enough to divorce my brain from labeling everything in MBTI terms. However, I reacquainted myself with some MBTI in order to analyze a rut I've been in. Specifically, (something that applies to all NJs I think), I waver back and forth between two points of view...Whether it be work, love, money, and all the other stuff people just out of school suddenly become acquainted with (you think being an idealist is hard in school? HAHA! just wait!):

    1. "This" is so arbitrary! Why do people/things/institutions/life have to be this way? It only makes sense on its own terms...like "just because". These unwritten and written "rules" are so stupid!

    2. "It" may be arbitrary, but if this is what it takes to fit in, advance and be happy, then I guess it's worth it. What's the point in identifying the arbitrary if you aren't prepared to "boycott" (its just not an option in real life!). In fact, its sort of nice that if I just follow these rules (that everyone seems to follow without even knowing) things work out fine.

    If I reside too long in #1, I eventually feel lonely and run back to #2. If I reside in #2 too long, I end up feeling superficial, shallow and ironically "once again" lonely.

    This really put it into perspective for me:

    Ni: See through the game: see the game as just one arbitrary game among many possible games that could be played. Detach yourself from the game, so you can see and evaluate the game itself from an outside perspective.
    So how do people who feel ***this way*** do anything??? I think its a Ni thing.

  2. #2
    Senior Member valentine's Avatar
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    I think/say 1 an unhealthy amount. As far as 'doing' anything, I'll have to get back to you on that, assuming I ever figure it out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    ...I waver back and forth between two points of view...

    1. "This" is so arbitrary! Why do people/things/institutions/life have to be this way? It only makes sense on its own terms...like "just because". These unwritten and written "rules" are so stupid!

    2. "It" may be arbitrary, but if this is what it takes to fit in, advance and be happy, then I guess it's worth it. What's the point in identifying the arbitrary if you aren't prepared to "boycott" (its just not an option in real life!). In fact, its sort of nice that if I just follow these rules (that everyone seems to follow without even knowing) things work out fine.

    If I reside too long in #1, I eventually feel lonely and run back to #2. If I reside in #2 too long, I end up feeling superficial, shallow and ironically "once again" lonely.
    Well, obviously, #1 seems to be Ni at work, and #2 seems to be Fe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    So how do people who feel ***this way*** do anything??? I think its a Ni thing.
    Unfortunately, I find it a bit tough to help you out, because, well, my answer to your question had to do with developing my Fi. See, I like to look at INTJ development through some of the concepts that Martin Heidegger discovered/invented, specifically "thrownness", "groundlessness", "authenticity", and "Das Man".

    • Thrownness is the idea that we are all thrown into an existence; we did not choose to be thrown into this existence (or at least we have no such recollection of this choice), nor did we choose the circumstances of our existence.

    • Groundlessness is the idea that, in this life, we live under the condition that, when it really comes down to it, all our values, beliefs, opinions, and feelings don't necessarily have any solid, objective grounding, or footing, in reality; they could all be based on nothing but our own subjective beliefs, opinions, and feelings.

    • Authenticity is the idea that, in the face of these two conditions above -- our thrownness and our groundlessness -- we can still choose to affirm our beliefs, opinions, and feelings, despite the fact that they may have no basis in reality, other than that they are indeed our beliefs, opinions, and feelings. To do so is, by my understanding, to live authentically.

    • Das Man is the simplest of the four concepts: it's just the idea of society, of everybody else, and, also, of what they believe, value, and feel. It's the "they", and what the "they" believe, put value in, and feel. In some cases, I like to think of it as (adding capitalist/anti-capitalist connotations) "The Man".


    The reason I like looking at INTJ development through this lens is that:

    1. I believe the idea of thrownness is heavily imbued with Ni (particularly Ni-style context-shifting).

    2. I believe the idea of groundlessness is heavily imbued with Ni and Te (when Ni-style context-shifting mixes with the Te-desire for empirical proof [which, when you really get down to it, can never be arrived at with absolute certainty {see: American Pragmatism, Wittgenstein's "On Certainty", Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, et al}, and thus leads to the realization of our inherent groundlessness]).

    3. Lastly, I believe the ideas of authenticity and Das Man are related to Fi and Fe. Fi is looked at as authentic (deriving your values from yourself); Fe is looked at as Das Man (deriving your values from society).

    For me, the way out of the issue you describe was to develop Fi -- to strip myself of all the values, opinions, and beliefs derived from Das Man, and to find what truly mattered to me -- my own personal values... This is how I look at things, and, well, it works for me... Also, not only is it pragmatically true, but it's also internally consistent, and, well, in my opinion, very well may be representationally true...

    *

    Which leads me back to my original point, which is that it's a bit difficult for me to know what to say to you, cuz, well, you're a self-professed Fe-dom, and, well, according to the construction that I just laid out for you, well, Fe is sort of looked at as something you need to shed yourself of, with Fi being the source of "salvation"... Now, that's not to say that, as an ENFJ, you can't develop Fi, nor is it to say that Fe still can't be your dominant function, while, at the same time, you learn to strip yourself of your societal-based values, opinions, and beliefs, and discover and embrace your authentic self-derived values, opinions, and beliefs. I don't see Fe and Fi as one-for-one correlates to the concepts of Das Man and authenticity -- just highly related concepts, in some way.

    Anyway, in my experience, doing what I have prescribed (i.e., striving for authenticity) will help both #1 and #2 go away. As you start living authentically, you start living by your own values, beliefs, and opinions, and thus could really give a damn about the "arbitrariness" of (#1) or need to conform to (#2) Das Man...

    Admittedly, I was/am probably less of a natural Fe-user than yourself, so #2 was probably less of a concern for me than it is for you, but I used to experience #1 a lot in college -- not so much anymore...
    Last edited by Zarathustra; 12-07-2010 at 03:55 PM.

  4. #4
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    [LIST][*]Thrownness is the idea that we are all thrown into an existence; we did not choose to be thrown into this existence (or at least we have no such recollection of this choice), nor did we choose the circumstances of our existence.

    [*]Groundlessness is the idea that, in this life, we live under the condition that, when it really comes down to it, all our values, beliefs, opinions, and feelings don't necessarily have any solid, objective grounding, or footing, in reality; they could all be based on nothing but our own subjective beliefs, opinions, and feelings.

    [*]Authenticity is the idea that, in the face of these two conditions above -- our thrownness and our groundlessness -- we can still choose to affirm our beliefs, opinions, and feelings, despite the fact that they may have no basis in reality, other than that they are indeed our beliefs, opinions, and feelings. To do so is, by my understanding, to live authentically.

    [*]Das Man is the simplest of the four concepts: it's just the idea of society, of everybody else, and, also, of what they believe, value, and feel. It's the "they", and what the "they" believe, put value in, and feel. In some cases, I like to think of it as (adding capitalist/anti-capitalist connotations) "The Man".
    I like this. I think I generally view things this way.

    [*]I believe the idea of groundlessness is heavily imbued with Ni and Te (when Ni-style context-shifting mixes with the Te-desire for empirical proof [which, when you really get down to it, can never be arrived at with absolute certainty {see: American Pragmatism, Wittgenstein's "On Certainty", Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, et al}, and thus leads to the realization of our inherent groundlessness]).
    I don't know... when I sat down years ago and decided to craft/formulate my own beliefs and all of that, one of the things I decided upon was the truth of the groundlessness concept, and then projecting that onto everyone on the planet, every individual ends up being a subjective being; so I am uncertain that it is tied directly to Te.


    [*]Lastly, I believe the ideas of authenticity and Das Man are related to Fi and Fe. Fi is looked at as authentic (deriving your values from yourself); Fe is looked at as Das Man (deriving your values from society).
    Perhaps, although I view the Das Man concept more as values on a grander scale - more like, a bell curve... there will be people on the fringes of the curve with more fringe value sets, and the majority will fall somewhere in the middle. I personally don't think these middle-road values are directly tied to 'deriving values from society' - in fact the majority may in fact have derived them from self and they're personal value sets - it's just that because the majority - the trend - points towards those values, they become part of the cultural value set. Does that make sense? This isn't to say that there isn't that subset of people who are rather sheep-ish, don't think for themselves, and just want to keep up with the Jones.. but I don't know that they're the majority either. Even the Fi's aren't immune to the keeping-up-with-the-Jones thing (taking on society's/cultures values & priorities).

    For me, the way out of the issue you describe was to develop Fi -- to strip myself of all the values, opinions, and beliefs derived from Das Man, and to find what truly mattered to me -- my own personal values... This is how I look at things, and, well, it works for me... Also, not only is it pragmatically true, but it's also internally consistent, and, well, in my opinion, very well may be representationally true...
    I think this is pretty important. Sitting down, really scrutinizing your beliefs and questioning everything. Asking why. Becoming more of an... independent self. Confident in your beliefs/self (whatever beliefs you become solid in, that is), holding to those without putting down or scoffing others' opposing ones (because in the end the nature of yours and theirs ends up being equally subjective, in a way -- i.e. the groundlessness concept.

    ------------

    Re. OP and points 1 and 2. For myself, I have a bit of a different slant / thought pattern with 2). 2) for me is more: "This is the nature of reality/ the system as it is right now. It's easiest just to go with it because it's not going to change anytime soon. Might as well find a way to fit myself into it." 2) is more of a resignation because I decide fighting/ being angsty about what IS doesn't do me any good.

    I think in the end it's a bit of a balance.. as most things are... I've already accepted the fact that a lot of this is just how I am, and it's not going to change. I'll be struggling now and again with various viewpoints/ approaches for the rest of my life I think, and while years ago this aspect of myself caused me a lot of anxiety and I was trying to fight it, I eventually reached a place where I accepted it: accepted the nature of my bouncing from 1) to 2) now and again - or other such things like that. Not to sound all eastern-mysticism-y, but I think a lot of these more existential issues become less of any issue when you accept the nature of both life and its negatives/contradictions, as well as yourself and your own fluctuations/contradictions. I mean I know points 1) and 2) ceased to bother me so much, and I'm more blaise about both now, as a result of my years ago spending a few years really going internal and digging deep and crafting my views and analyzing/assessing a lot of these questions that I had..... the process of doing this was really unpleasant in some ways but in the end I came out of it feeling more accepting of everything. I dunno. I know this probably doesn't help at all because I'm not outlining anything specific, but I think the process is gonna depend on the individual and how much you really want to put into it or whether you really do want to find your personal 'answer'/solution to this.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  5. #5
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    So how do people who feel ***this way*** do anything??? I think its a Ni thing.

    I think it’s important to make sure whatever particular ‘games’ you involve yourself in the most (whichever environments you submerge yourself in) happen to be those you find the most intriguing of their own accord. The more you aren’t personally invested in the actual ‘game’ (iow: the more you are in it for the end, rather than the means), the more arbitrary the ‘rules’ will seem to you- because if you aren’t in the ‘game’ for the game itself, the arbitrariness of the rules will become distracting. [This is basically the same thing as mentioned above- finding authenticity- but it’s also about putting it into practice.]
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  6. #6
    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    Existential problems are, sadly, not an Ni domain.
    In the end, you just find or create a greater meaning for yourself. Or, if failing that, you might as well kill yourself, or not, it doesn't matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Outsider View Post
    Existential problems are, sadly, not an Ni domain.
    No they are not... but Ni could cause existential problems...

  8. #8
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    A lot of what goes on in the world of people looks arbitrary to me - especially what produces success. A lot of it has to do with creating a image and manipulating people into perceiving the same image you have conjured up in your own mind. From a distanced perspective, it is what it is, but from an experiential one it nauseates me. For years I've rigorously tried to have an accurate view of myself by not overestimating, and by always trying to clear away the external influences that affect my perceptions. Then I encounter competition which is all about constructing image and has little to do with making an honest connection to reality. Maybe because I've tended to try to have some empathy for people that the myriad of perceptions warped away from reality are disconcerting. Right now I am demoralized by people as greatly as I have ever precisely because they are capable of such erratic and harmful behaviors that result from a warped view of the world.

    Because of this it is especially important to me to understand reality and the actual connections between everything. I wish people were consistent and valued that honest connection that desires to understand the true nature of the world and maximize on that understanding. Artificiality will never possess as many inherent connections and so results in an arbitrary nature. It is always like building a house of cards, and that is what I see - an overlay of countless unstable systems all built on the bedrock of reality. I see the artificial systems all falling and destroying each other on every conceivable level. I get frustrated with it and then wonder why I can't accept that piece of "reality".
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  9. #9
    man-made neptunesnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annwn View Post
    A lot of what goes on in the world of people looks arbitrary to me - especially what produces success. A lot of it has to do with creating a image and manipulating people into perceiving the same image you have conjured up in your own mind. From a distanced perspective, it is what it is, but from an experiential one it nauseates me. For years I've rigorously tried to have an accurate view of myself by not overestimating, and by always trying to clear away the external influences that affect my perceptions. Then I encounter competition which is all about constructing image and has little to do with making an honest connection to reality. Maybe because I've tended to try to have some empathy for people that the myriad of perceptions warped away from reality are disconcerting. Right now I am demoralized by people as greatly as I have ever precisely because they are capable of such erratic and harmful behaviors that result from a warped view of the world.

    Because of this it is especially important to me to understand reality and the actual connections between everything. I wish people were consistent and valued that honest connection that desires to understand the true nature of the world and maximize on that understanding. Artificiality will never possess as many inherent connections and so results in an arbitrary nature. It is always like building a house of cards, and that is what I see - an overlay of countless unstable systems all built on the bedrock of reality. I see the artificial systems all falling and destroying each other on every conceivable level. I get frustrated with it and then wonder why I can't accept that piece of "reality".
    Wow, yeah. This.

    And as The Outsider already pointed out, I don't know if this is necessarily Ni-only evaluation.

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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neptunesnet View Post
    Wow, yeah. This.

    And as The Outsider already pointed out, I don't know if this is necessarily Ni-only evaluation.
    Not a Ni thing, but I do see Ni as easily finding ways to bridge the gap between the "arbitrary" concerns and the.. umm.. whatever the opposite is. Reasonable, possible, individual, fun Se types don't care much for any of it either, although Se doms might make use of whatever they can if it's useful to their success or image...while some will override those concerns for the sake of freedom. ISPs might rebel or mock it, but some might not be very eloquent about it. It just comes off as angst most of the time.

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