# Thread: Better ways to understand and express function theory

1. ## Better ways to understand and express function theory

Was working on this when the forum went down, and waiting for it to come back up.

Here are some new additions to my page on type, which contain the stuff I have been coming to learn that I believe clarify the theories of the functions.
For those who might have read the full version (Temperament Part 2: The MBTI's 16 types and Cognitive Functions), I have been revamping it, to try to improve the flow. I had been adding new stuff as I went along, understanding the concepts better, and it got to the point that the whole flow was interrupted. So now, I have gone back to just building up the type code letter by letter, and moved some of the deeper info on function definitions and archetypes to later.

I hope those who have read it will give it another chance.

As I have been discussing before, the terms that I have found seem to convey the essence of the functions best are:
Sensing: tangible (aka "concrete")
iNtuition: conceptual (aka "abstract")
Thinking: technical (aka "impersonal")
Feeling: humane (i.e. "personal" in a general sense)

Pe: emergent data
Pi: stored data
Je: set standards determined by the object or environment
Ji: variable situation standards internalized by the subject

So we see that the type defining dominant and auxiliary must be JePi or PeJi because:

Emergent data (Pe) produces variable situations (Ji)
Stored data (Pi) is best for set procedures (Je)

Using these definitions of the functions the tandems come together as follows:
SeNi: emergent experience compared with stored conceptualizations (patterns)
NeSi: emergent conceptualizations compared with stored experience (facts)
TeFi: technical (impersonal) considerations are set, so humane (personal) considerations must then be variable in deference to them.
FeTi: humane considerations are set, so technical considerations must be variable, in deference to them.

They've also been expressed as:

TiFe: "I think, we feel"
FiTe: "I feel; we think"

I've never seen this one, but by extension:
SiNe: I experienced, we infer
SeNi: we experience, I infer

Thinking and Feeling function's connection to literal "thinking" and "feeling":

The literal terms are based on the emotionality of the process, with emotion representing more of a deeper personal involvement in the process, in contrast to a detached impersonal pondering of subjects. This is where the confusion about "Feeling=emotions" comes from, but it says nothing about the humane or technical focused content of the process, which is what the T/F functions are about.

Functions and gender roles

At this point, it's probably good to mention the problem of gender and the judging attitudes, and the roles formed around them. Either can gender can be either T or F. But because females are naturally designed to be the mothers, carrying and nurturing the young child, their natural focus has shifted more to the "humane" or "personal" side of life. (Including being more in touch with the emotions). Since males then were the breadwinners, and the strong protectors, they became more focused on the "technical" or "impersonal". The traditional roles of society formed around this, with the typical model of a woman being said to be SFJ or SFP, and the typical model of a man being STJ or at least STP. (Notice how both are S).
Even though modern society has been changing the roles and integrating both genders to the same sorts of careers and family tasks, the associations have stuck. This can cause type confusion for female T's, and both type and "masculinity" problems for male F's. I have noticed particularly that female ITJ's (especially ISTJ's) and ETP's, who both have tertiary Feeling, will look a lot like Feelers. Male EFP's and I imagine, IFJ's (particularly INFJ) will have tertiary Thinking, and are said to look a lot like Thinkers. The tertiary is often carried by a complex that is said to "inflate". This will lead to it becoming very visible in the personality, so a woman's tertiary Feeling, especially, will often be very prominent and color their outward behavior, fitting the traditional roles.

2. Different perspectives with the functions

Personality theory is a subject that covers both the technical and the humane. It's ultimate goal is humane, or "personal" (how we can improve our lives and relationships), but it consists of technical (impersonal) structures, such as matrices of factors and analysis of linear cause and effect. We are both living human beings (humane) and yet, we are also still physical things (technical). So it is possible to analyze ourselves from either a humane or technical perspective, or a combination of both. We also have likes, wants, desires and values, which are properties of the ego, not the judgment preference. T/F will be determined, not by these things in themselves, but by the perspective we look at them through.

So both T's and F's can be found, pretty much equally, in the discussions. In online discussions, it is often hard for some people to tell which of these two poles they prefer, because we all end up referencing a lot of both logic and personal subjects. There is a predominance of N's, however, as the theories provide a "big picture", so to speak, of human interaction, where when I try to discuss the stuff with an S heavy family and friends, they're not interested. I had noticed, they seemed more focused on just "living" day to day life than building models of its patterns, and their discussions reflect this, in that it is almost entirely recounts of what other people said and did rather than putting together a bigger picture).

Not realizing these distinctions, I had started off jumping into a couple of online lists populated mostly by F's (mostly N also), who discussed all aspects of the theory, focusing on the theoretical big picture as well as technical details, but then had to wonder why they thought I was being too "impersonal" when I focused on factors of comparitive personality systems. For them, it was more about self-improvement and relationships. (Humane purposes). To me, those were just "fringe benefits" of a series of technical symmetries that finally has some kind of practical use to be discussable with others. (Ironically, they all thought I was an F, because of the "enthusiasm". T was supposedly "detached" emotionally. This was a common, but mistaken association, and one of the things I'm really trying to clear up with the "humane vs technical" terms)

The functions represent different ways of building neurological connections from the frontal cortex back to the limbic area, whose motives reach awareness as images freighted with emotion. (Which are generally forms of "archetypes"). An example of this is when something happens, and we use a metaphor to convey how we feel. These images are filled out by personal experience. The functions translate this limbic motivation into cognitive data, allowing us to redirect the instinctual "energies" the limbic system mobilizes to activities that have individual meaning for us.

The way this works is, we have a situation. We take in data from what is happening. If it is a negative situation, then our instinctual reactions and emotions such as fear kick in, just like they do for animals. The difference is that the animals remain guided by the instincts.
Both have "sensation" of what is happening, but the human cortex interprets the data, and if the preference is sensation itself, then the person will focus more on what is seen, heard, felt, etc. and react to it based on these factors. If the preference is iNtuition, the person will instead connect the data to a larger meaning that is not immediately seen, such as the possible or likely outcomes.
If the person prefers Thinking, they will focus on the cause and effect of the impersonal elements of the situation, both in analyzing why it happened, as well as in deciding on courses of action. If the person prefers Feeling, they will focus on the more "humane" or personal aspects of the situation. How it affects people, especially emotionally. That any courses of action should take into consideration their needs and well being.

The types all went through the same situation, yet the functions interpreted it differently, and this by focusing on different aspects of it. Each person will generally prefer one of the first two, to take in information, and one of the second two, to make decisions. However, depending on the situation, the person might use the other functions instead.

For the type preferring concrete tangible data, any immediate abstractions or inferences from this data implied will simply support the emotional investment the person has in that concrete data. For the person preferring abstract data, the concrete reality he sees before him will simply be used to support the inferring process. For the person who prefers technical criteria for decisions, any humane "value" he places on them will support his Thinking, rather than being a differentiated "Feeling" process. And for the person who prefers humane considerations, and logical, technical conclusions will support the humane endeavor somehow. What determines the true "preference" is not the "function" you might see him "using" at any given time, but rather the ultimate perspective it is supporting.

We can see why, when a person is geared to focus on technical things, and suppress the humane; when forced to deal with the humane, such as in a situation where his life is severely affected, it will trigger a strong negative reaction, which is all the repressed stuff erupting from the unsconscious. Likewise, when someone normally focused on the humane is forced to deal with the technical, this might also violently erupt, as the part of themselves that would put logical efficiency first feels cold and inhuman to them.

To sum it up, the different ways the functions manifest:
1) Differentiated (the dominant ego perspective)
2) Undifferentiated: linked to the ego's dominant network
•ego-syntonic archetype complexes (auxiliary-parent; tertiary-child, inferior)
•general "uses" of the functions. We can all process tangible inferential, technical and humane data
3) Undifferentiated: Tied to the emotions at the limbic level through imaginal representation
•ego dystonic archetypes (Opposing, witch, etc), other complexes, instinctual reactions.

Different aspects of behavior can be described by these different models. For instance, SJ is the temperament that values family cells, and such (Keirsey even associates it with a need to "belong to social units"!) This sounds like Fe, but it is not necessarly so; of course, because there are both SFJ's (who do prefer Fe) and STJ's (for whom it is in the deepest shadow). The common need among SJ's of both stripes is Si, for which a family cell (or other organization) meets their need for something familiar that matches their tangible storehouse of data, rather than an externally set humane standard of judgment. So two different perspectives lead to a similar need.

3. Originally Posted by Eric B
Using these definitions of the functions the tandems come together as follows:
SeNi: emergent experience compared with stored conceptualizations (patterns)
NeSi: emergent conceptualizations compared with stored experience (facts)
TeFi: technical (impersonal) considerations are set, so humane (personal) considerations must then be variable in deference to them.
FeTi: humane considerations are set, so technical considerations must be variable, in deference to them.

They've also been expressed as:
TiFe: "I think, we feel"
FiTe: "I feel; we think"

I've never seen this one, but by extension:
SiNe: I experienced, we infer
SeNi: we experience, I infer
This is a very clear way of understanding how these pairs work. I think the extension actually works really well, with NeSi being a sort of 'collaborative' inferencing based on one's own experiences and NiSe being a very individual inferencing based on things that everyone experiences. I almost sort of get this now

Originally Posted by Eric B
What determines the true "preference" is not the "function" you might see him "using" at any given time, but rather the ultimate perspective it is supporting.
And I think this is an awesome way of summing up how to understand type in general.

4. Thanks!
(And I might try to give another shot to coming up with names for the tandems for the types that prefer them).

5. Originally Posted by Eric B
Functions and gender roles

At this point, it's probably good to mention the problem of gender and the judging attitudes, and the roles formed around them. Either can gender can be either T or F. But because females are naturally designed to be the mothers, carrying and nurturing the young child, their natural focus has shifted more to the "humane" or "personal" side of life. (Including being more in touch with the emotions). Since males then were the breadwinners, and the strong protectors, they became more focused on the "technical" or "impersonal". The traditional roles of society formed around this, with the typical model of a woman being said to be SFJ or SFP, and the typical model of a man being STJ or at least STP. (Notice how both are S).
Even though modern society has been changing the roles and integrating both genders to the same sorts of careers and family tasks, the associations have stuck. This can cause type confusion for female T's, and both type and "masculinity" problems for male F's. I have noticed particularly that female ITJ's (especially ISTJ's) and ETP's, who both have tertiary Feeling, will look a lot like Feelers. Male EFP's and I imagine, IFJ's (particularly INFJ) will have tertiary Thinking, and are said to look a lot like Thinkers. The tertiary is often carried by a complex that is said to "inflate". This will lead to it becoming very visible in the personality, so a woman's tertiary Feeling, especially, will often be very prominent and color their outward behavior, fitting the traditional roles.
i kinda disagree with this. the "typical" models of male/female arent typical to start with, they are stereotypical. many people try to fit to these stereotypes, because many of them were raised(not just by parents but society) to believe that the stereotypes are what you are supposed to be. this sort of striving to fit these stereotypes is mostly unconscious, because people(at least the ones who try to fit to them) dont consciously choose that they want or dont want to fit these stereotypical gender roles, they are collective norms

Originally Posted by http://www.nyaap.org/jung-lexicon/c/
Collective
Psychic contents that belong not to one individual but to a society, a people or the human race in general. (See also collective unconscious, individuation and persona.)

-The conscious personality is a more or less arbitrary segment of the collective psyche. It consists in a sum of psychic factors that are felt to be personal ["The Persona as a Segment of the Collective Psyche," CW 7, par. 244.]

-Identification with the collective and voluntary segregation from it are alike synonymous with disease.["The Structure of the Unconscious," ibid., par. 485]

A collective quality adheres not only to particular psychic elements or contents but to whole psychological functions.

-Thus the thinking function as a whole can have a collective quality, when it possesses general validity and accords with the laws of logic. Similarly, the feeling function as a whole can be collective, when it is identical with the general feeling and accords with general expectations, the general moral consciousness, etc. In the same way, sensation and intuition are collective when they are at the same time characteristic of a large group.["Definitions," CW 6, par. 692.]
i think its irrelevant to typology what people look like, F male can look like T and T female can look like F, T male can look like F and F female can look like T, the latter two not being so usual, but it does happen. because they do happen, the looking like somethings shouldnt be considered in typology, they are just stereotypes of types. types come from what functions they use, not what they look like. thats exactly my main issue with MBTI/what evers, they look at stereotypes, not the actual things that differentiate F from T(or S from N), like jung does. imo looking at these stereotypes are harmful, thus they shouldnt be used at all.

an example for how this sort of looking at stereotypes is harmful. lets say the person with XXXX type is in his shadow(jungian shadow, not MBTI), in that situation he should listen to his inferior function and make room for it in his conscious self. the XXXX goes look at some MBTI profiles and he just sees descriptions of stereotypical XXXX who rejects his inferior, now he thinks even more that he should act according to his dom and making him reject his inferior even more(this sort of stuff would most likely happen even if he would have thought that maybe he should just embrace his inferior and not reject it), this would cause him to go even deeper into the shadow and cause more problems, this is exactly the opposite what jung told. the funny thing is that MBTI over internet is thought to be some sort of self help system(which i think it can work on), but in this situation where the person is seeking help, reading the XXXX profile, where he should gain more knowledge about himself, he just sees what he most likely thought about himself and exactly the same things that keep him from embracing his shadow. the part of analytical psychology that could be used for self help, is the opposite of what reading these stereotypes of types causes to people seeking for help.

ofc saying stereotypes of someone not familiar to typology can work as a way to get people interested about it. but i think its pretty unethical to say that because you are this type, you are like this (insert a stereotype), because these stereotypes are what people should strive away from in order to experience personal growth, and just accepting these stereotypes keep you away from the personal growth, because you just accept the incomplete self

6. By "typical", I basically meant stereotypical. (Which is not just an "impression" (type), but rather a "solid impression"). "model" conveyed that it was an artificial construct and not necessarily the real thing being characterized.

BTW, here's an expansion upon an earlier point that should have been included:

We all can engage external tangible data
We all can reference a storehouse of tangible data
We all can infer from the external data
We all can infer from a storehouse of impressions
We all can arrange the technical aspects of life to make sense in the environment
We all can demand that the technical aspects of life must make sense to us personally
We all can arrange the humane aspects of life to be harmonious with the environment
We all can demand that the humane aspects of life must be harmonious in our individual estimation

...but only SOME will focus on certain of these perspectives or others, depending on our functional and attitude preference, or according to the way that these processes surface through the emotionally freighted complexes of the ego's structure.

7. Ergggg... being a

SeNi: emergent experience compared with stored conceptualizations (patterns)

I do find this article very hard to read because I can't see what things do... and I don't think they are doing it as I've understood them doing it before.

8. This quote from The Great Gatsby makes me think of Ne/Si...dreaming of and chasing the future but always been drawn back to the past (impressions).

"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

I think the quote actually means that the future never happens, and almost instantly becomes the past, though.

But Ne/Si is very concerned with Future/Past while Se/Ni is concerned with Present/Timelessness.

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