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Thread: Fi analysis

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    Across time I have been looking for a way to describe how Fi works internally. In past posts, I've described Fi as a process of self-definition. IOW, some event occurs in the outer world, and the Fi-Dominant person asks himself, "What *do* I feel about this? What *should* I feel about this? How does it affect me? Should I get involved and do something about it?"

    Initially I ask a lot of questions of myself; and then with time and experience I find answers to those questions; Fi is a "judging" function. As I find answers to my questions, I build up a personal ethical system that guides my actions. Once I have determined ("judged") how I feel about some situation, I'll know how to react to it in the future.

    And thus, over time, I build a framework of judgments and self-definitions that guide my actions and give me a sense that I'm grounded in something bigger and more permanent than mere action/reaction. As I grow older, life's events don't buffet me or torment me as they did when I was young; my past Fi "judgments" provide a compass and roadmap; I can choose to float above events and take a philosophical approach to life.

    However, it's tough to demonstrate that initial process to outsiders (people who aren't Fi-Dominant): that initial self-questioning process that occurs every time I'm faced with some new situation.

    Recently I was reading an advice column; a guy wrote in and said that he becomes jealous and needy when his girlfriend interacts with other guys; sometimes the jealousy comes out and he becomes overbearing with his girlfriend, poisoning the relationship. In the end, the guys asks the columnist how he should deal with his jealousy:

    Beyond counseling (which I definitely think is a good idea), what can I do to stop myself from worrying that, even if she's not cheating, she's just one super-funny cute guy away from hitting the road?
    In response, the columnist (Carolyn Hax, featured in the Washington Post) prescribes a course of "introspection." She asks him a series of questions to help him build some personal values and ethics for dealing with the situation:

    Are you just one super-funny cute girl away from hitting the road?
    If not, then why question her commitment but not your own?
    And if so, then why do you have a girlfriend, both in general and this one specifically? Have all girlfriends brought out this jealousy?
    Either way, which one scares you here: her cheating, leaving you, or both? Is it humiliation you fear? Loss? Both?
    Do you think limited exposure to other men is what keeps women faithful? If only ignorance kept her around, would you feel loved?
    What do you think will happen if she leaves or cheats -- that you will heal eventually, or won't?

    If you anticipate never healing, would you attribute it to her mistreatment, or to emotional limitations that would prevent you from enjoying single life?
    Would you never trust anyone again? Would only women be suspect?
    Can you envision being better off without a girlfriend who would dump you for the first available super-funny cute guy?
    Can you envision a future that's better for your having suffered?
    Do you think your girlfriend thinks about these things, too? Isn't it possible you'll lose interest/fall for someone else/make a stupid mistake? What is it that makes you "safe" but her such a risk?
    Is it just that you know your own mind but can't possibly know hers?
    And if that's true, isn't she (or anyone else who loves someone) in the exact same position as you?
    And if that's true, why isn't everyone jealous?
    By letting things run their course, and trusting yourself to handle whatever happens, what do you have to lose? Be specific. Make a list even.
    If you don't think that works, what do you think others do to stay emotionally in balance?
    Almost daily, I advise introspection -- to know your own mind, and to open your mind to the ways other people think, feel and behave. This time I've typed out a recipe. Put in mental oven, and bake.

    washingtonpost.com - nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines
    (Carolyn Hax's 4/13/08 column.)
    The list of questions sounds very Fi in nature to me (that is, if one were asking these questions of oneself). The list goes a bit overboard, perhaps; the columnist is making a point, so she goes on a bit ad nauseum.

    Still, these are the kinds of questions that I have raised with myself, particularly when faced with a new situation in relationships. The questions give me a series of "prisms" through which to view the situation, and the answers (as I find or develop them) give me guidelines for behavior beyond merely reacting to the situation at hand or expressing the whims and emotions of the moment.

    Such long lists of questions don't arise for every situation that comes along. As I get older, I have my act down pretty good and can arrive at a conclusion or course of action quicker and quicker. But I remember younger days when I encountered unfamiliar situations and wrestled with questions and scenarios much like this.

    And the columnist's advice at the end seems like a good way for people to develop their Fi when it's not their dominant function:

    Almost daily, I advise introspection -- to know your own mind, and to open your mind to the ways other people think, feel and behave. This time I've typed out a recipe. Put in mental oven, and bake.

    Anyway, here's my question: Do any other Fi-Dominants (INFPs or ISFPs) or even Fi-Auxiliaries recognize this kind of introspective, self-questioning scenario? Is this a good representation of how Fi-Dominants react to new situations and build their "ethical systems"? Or do other types recognize this as something familiar to them as well?

    Just for future reference, here are two other posts where I've tried to play around with other aspects of Fi:

    What it's like to be Fi-Dominant:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...html#post68873

    Fi being about analyzing ethical situations and arriving at situations that create the greatest "harmony" (as opposed to T, which deduces universal rules in order to achieve the greatest fairness)

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post136632

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    Across time I have been looking for a way to describe how Fi works internally. In past posts, I've described Fi as a process of self-definition. IOW, some event occurs in the outer world, and the Fi-Dominant person asks himself, "What *do* I feel about this? What *should* I feel about this? How does it affect me? Should I get involved and do something about it?"

    Initially I ask a lot of questions of myself; and then with time and experience I find answers to those questions; Fi is a "judging" function. As I find answers to my questions, I build up a personal ethical system that guides my actions. Once I have determined ("judged") how I feel about some situation, I'll know how to react to it in the future.

    And thus, over time, I build a framework of judgments and self-definitions that guide my actions and give me a sense that I'm grounded in something bigger and more permanent than mere action/reaction. As I grow older, life's events don't buffet me or torment me as they did when I was young; my past Fi "judgments" provide a compass and roadmap; I can choose to float above events and take a philosophical approach to life.

    However, it's tough to demonstrate that initial process to outsiders (people who aren't Fi-Dominant): that initial self-questioning process that occurs every time I'm faced with some new situation.

    Recently I was reading an advice column; a guy wrote in and said that he becomes jealous and needy when his girlfriend interacts with other guys; sometimes the jealousy comes out and he becomes overbearing with his girlfriend, poisoning the relationship. In the end, the guys asks the columnist how he should deal with his jealousy:



    In response, the columnist (Carolyn Hax, featured in the Washington Post) prescribes a course of "introspection." She asks him a series of questions to help him build some personal values and ethics for dealing with the situation:



    The list of questions sounds very Fi in nature to me (that is, if one were asking these questions of oneself). The list goes a bit overboard, perhaps; the columnist is making a point, so she goes on a bit ad nauseum.

    Still, these are the kinds of questions that I have raised with myself, particularly when faced with a new situation in relationships. The questions give me a series of "prisms" through which to view the situation, and the answers (as I find or develop them) give me guidelines for behavior beyond merely reacting to the situation at hand or expressing the whims and emotions of the moment.

    Such long lists of questions don't arise for every situation that comes along. As I get older, I have my act down pretty good and can arrive at a conclusion or course of action quicker and quicker. But I remember younger days when I encountered unfamiliar situations and wrestled with questions and scenarios much like this.

    And the columnist's advice at the end seems like a good way for people to develop their Fi when it's not their dominant function:

    Almost daily, I advise introspection -- to know your own mind, and to open your mind to the ways other people think, feel and behave. This time I've typed out a recipe. Put in mental oven, and bake.

    Anyway, here's my question: Do any other Fi-Dominants (INFPs or ISFPs) or even Fi-Auxiliaries recognize this kind of introspective, self-questioning scenario? Is this a good representation of how Fi-Dominants react to new situations and build their "ethical systems"? Or do other types recognize this as something familiar to them as well?

    Just for future reference, here are two other posts where I've tried to play around with other aspects of Fi:

    What it's like to be Fi-Dominant:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...html#post68873

    Fi being about analyzing ethical situations and arriving at situations that create the greatest "harmony" (as opposed to T, which deduces universal rules in order to achieve the greatest fairness)

    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post136632

    Introverted Judgment works much like Extroverted in the regard that they both set up notions to be deemed as sound decisions. An extroverted judger appeals to the external environment, his plan of action is derived from the code of behavior proffered by his group.

    The Introverted Judger strives to concoct his own. Since the Introvert does not appeal to the external environment, he appeals to his inner compass. Yet both the Introverted Judger and the Extroverted Judger rely on old plans of actions if they deemed them congenial. The Introverted Judger, however, would be more inclined to edit his plan, as he has more access to judgment itself as it inheres within his inner being. Yet in order for the Extrover to edit his plan of action, inspiration must derive externally, namely the external code of behavior must change.

    To answer your question, I should point out that the psychological tendency you have described is not to be restricted to Fi but to be extended to the whole province of Introverted Judgment. As a dominant Introverted Thinker, I observe this process within myself.

    One distinction to take note of in retrospect comparing the two types is that the Introverted Thinker is less likely to incur anxiety as often as the Introverted Feeler. This is because most decisions in life will insist on the use of Thinking rather than Feeling, which the former is more adept at. However, when the Introverted Thinker is confronted by interpersonal decisions he shall incur the angst similar to what you describe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    To answer your question, I should point out that the psychological tendency you have described is not to be restricted to Fi but to be extended to the whole province of Introverted Judgment. As a dominant Introverted Thinker, I observe this process within myself.
    I agree. I see Ti and Fi doing much the same thing.

    OTOH, I highlighted this particular column (this particular situation and this particular set of questions) as being especially within the realm of ethics and feelings. This column seems to have a more Fi slant. Given the same situation, would a Ti-Dominant come up with much the same list of questions as those asked by the columnist?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FineLine View Post
    I agree. I see Ti and Fi doing much the same thing.

    OTOH, I highlighted this particular column (this particular situation and this particular set of questions) as being especially within the realm of ethics and feelings. This column seems to have a more Fi slant. Given the same situation, would a Ti-Dominant come up with much the same list of questions as those asked by the columnist?
    Yes, Ti will have a set of precooked theories and ideas like Fi will have ethics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Yes, Ti will have a set of precooked theories and ideas like Fi will have ethics.
    "Precooked"--good adjective.

    Anyway, yes I agree with your original point--to be comprehensive, the OP probably should have been expanded to include both Ti and Fi. Both introverted judging functions share pretty much the same analytical process. And I'm gratified to see you confirming that process for Ti as well.

    I just figured I would concentrate on Fi in particular, partly for reasons of focus and partly because Fi is seen as especially mysterious. (Ti, by comparison, is considered more understandable insofar as logic can be brought to the surface more easily than personal ethics and feelings.)

    That particular column seems to me to capture the kinds of value-based questions/judgments that INFPs especially like to wrestle with, so I figured I would concentrate on Fi in particular.

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    To answer your question, I should point out that the psychological tendency you have described is not to be restricted to Fi but to be extended to the whole province of Introverted Judgment. As a dominant Introverted Thinker, I observe this process within myself.
    This is what I was thinking as I was reading along.

    Looking at the list of questions, I see it not as a way to come to one's values and ethics about the situation. I see it as an information-gathering session using logic to narrow down the most likely answers to the questions, all of which are supposed to coalesce to point to an answer to the problem of his jealousy. To me, an inner discussion designed to feel out one's values and ethics regarding a situation would look... well, I honestly can't imagine how it would look. Does the process of coming to a value differ from the process of coming to an idea or theory? To me, the process she's urging the man to embark on seems more like a theory-forming and information-gathering process rather than an arbitrary value-forming process.

    Which leads me to another question. I personally don't know what someone means when they say "form one's own values and ethics." Well, I DO, but I don't understand why this is a process belonging primarily to Fi. Don't we ALL have our values and ethics? Yes, we do, and Fi-doms don't have more of them than anyone else, do they? When an ENTP rigorously defends an idea, why is it called an idea instead of a value? (Obviously, they VALUE the idea.) Is it called an idea because the ENTP used logic to come to that idea? Is a value basically an arbitrary idea with poor logic backing it? I'd really like someone to define these terms for me: value, idea, theory, moral.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    This is what I was thinking as I was reading along.

    Looking at the list of questions, I see it not as a way to come to one's values and ethics about the situation. I see it as an information-gathering session using logic to narrow down the most likely answers to the questions, all of which are supposed to coalesce to point to an answer to the problem of his jealousy. To me, an inner discussion designed to feel out one's values and ethics regarding a situation would look... well, I honestly can't imagine how it would look. Does the process of coming to a value differ from the process of coming to an idea or theory? To me, the process she's urging the man to embark on seems more like a theory-forming and information-gathering process rather than an arbitrary value-forming process.
    Let me put it this way. For years now you yourself, Mempy, have been developing and refining a personal ethic of self-sufficiency, both here at MBTI-C and back at INFP-GC. You have run it through various iterations, talked about how it did or didn't apply to certain situations in your real life, honed it to be more responsive to other situations, questioned it when it left you feeling too lonely and separate from others around you, etc.

    You probably don't see that process of refining your own "self-sufficiency ethic" as being similar to Hax's list of questions. But I do. It's just that in real life an Fi ethic grows across time; the "questions" are posed one at a time by life itself. In that sense, Hax's list may look foreign to an INFP. It may look too clinical or deliberate or whatever.

    Still, one could boil down that list of life's "questions" and pose it much like Hax posed her list of questions in the column. I've done it myself: Personally, as I've gotten older, I've written up lists of rules and guidelines with which to test situations and my reactions, just so that I don't have to keep reinventing the wheel every time a tricky judgment comes up (especially in the workplace). And I've seen you write down your own self-sufficiency guidelines quite a few times.

    To put it another way: When INFPs practices Fi, we do it largely unconsciously. Fi is the air we breathe and the water we swim in. We're likely to be so used to using it that we might not even recognize when we're doing it. In fact, that's the case with all types: All the personality types practice their Dominant function so naturally that they don't even really notice when they're doing it. They're more likely to register their Auxiliary than their Dominant. So you may see your Fi process as kind of mysterious and "arbitrary." (You mentioned "an arbitrary value-forming process.")

    But as BlueWing pointed out, Hax's list is largely an Fi/Ti process: Take a situation and crunch it a number different ways, see it through a bunch of different prisms, test how it works under a variety of different scenarios. That's pretty much what you've done with your own "self-sufficiency ethic" across time--evaluating it and seeing if it worked well for you in a variety of different situations.

    So I don't consider Fi to be "an arbitrary value-forming process". I think that Fi-Dominants in fact spend a lot of time and effort testing and honing their values and ethics. Again, look at all the time you've spent testing and honing your "self-sufficiency ethic" and making sure it stands up to the test of real life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    Which leads me to another question. I personally don't know what someone means when they say "form one's own values and ethics." Well, I DO, but I don't understand why this is a process belonging primarily to Fi. Don't we ALL have our values and ethics? Yes, we do, and Fi-doms don't have more of them than anyone else, do they? When an ENTP rigorously defends an idea, why is it called an idea instead of a value? (Obviously, they VALUE the idea.) Is it called an idea because the ENTP used logic to come to that idea? Is a value basically an arbitrary idea with poor logic backing it? I'd really like someone to define these terms for me: value, idea, theory, moral.
    Put it this way. When faced with the situation described in the OP ("I get jealous when my girlfriend interacts with other guys"), not all types are going to react the same way. For example, some are going to say, "Well, she shouldn't be talking to other guys. Problem solved."

    When faced with a difficult situation, different personalities are going to process the situation in different ways. Some guys will take the guidance from traditional social roles, other guys will say that their own emotional reaction (the jealousy) is paramount and it's up to the woman not to provoke that reaction in the first place, while other guys will question their emotional reaction and ask whether it's appropriate to the situation, and so on.

    Even Fi and Ti may have different motivations for investigating the situation mentioned in the OP. For example, a Feeler might welcome the opportunity to probe the emotion of jealousy and see the situation as an opportunity for self-knowledge. OTOH, a Thinker might see it as an opportunity to dissect the nature of relationships and try to develop rules for how they should work.

    I'm saying that the "introspective" approach sounds particularly Fi to me--"What does that jealousy say about me?" "What fears is it reflecting?" "What will happen to me if my worst fears come true?" I'm not saying that *only* Fi-Dominants will ask those sorts of questions. But a lot of the questions are about developing self-knowledge (as opposed to, for example, asking about traditional social roles for men and women in relationships), and the "self-knowledge approach" sounds like a typically Fi approach. (And I'm asking if others would agree or not.)

    As for whether that reflects a value, an idea, a theory, or a moral, that's largely semantics to me. I tend to refer to Fi "values" or "ethics," but you can call them something else if you want. *shrugs*.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mempy View Post
    Which leads me to another question. I personally don't know what someone means when they say "form one's own values and ethics." Well, I DO, but I don't understand why this is a process belonging primarily to Fi. Don't we ALL have our values and ethics? Yes, we do, and Fi-doms don't have more of them than anyone else, do they? When an ENTP rigorously defends an idea, why is it called an idea instead of a value? (Obviously, they VALUE the idea.) Is it called an idea because the ENTP used logic to come to that idea? Is a value basically an arbitrary idea with poor logic backing it? I'd really like someone to define these terms for me: value, idea, theory, moral.

    Thinker's too end up establishing principles as a result of what FineLine calls 'Hax's list', or a stored plan of action. However, they tend to rely on them less than Feelers because they are able to make decisions pragmatically (based on what is most logically efficient for the given situation) and tend to define their competence in terms of their ability to Think well (which emphasizes logical consistency more than attunement with principles).

    You certainly could say that many doctrines I've propounded on this site that I store as precooked information for further discussion and action could be considered values, but not personal values in the sense that Feelers tend to refer to theirs. As I, as a Thinker am primarily loyal to logic, which allows for me to impersonally re-evaluate ideas that are currently valued.

    I hope this answers your question concerning the difference of the notion of value between the Introverted Thinker and Introverted Feeler.
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    My response to the person in the OP would have been these quotes:

    "If you love something, Set it free... If it comes back, it's yours, If it doesn't, it never was yours...."

    "The tighter you grip, the more it will slip through your fingers."

    The object of this would be to get him to realize the futility and inappropriateness of his possessiveness to this situation. I'm not sure what function that is...

    Although I'd like to note that Fi and Ti feel very different to me as an INFJ. Ti seems fairly harmless (to everyone except its user, anyway) and even useful, while Fi feels like someone is trying to (unfairly) impose an arbitrary structure on me while appearing open-minded. Note that I'm not saying it is arbitrary/unfair, and I acknowledge that it probably isn't. But that's how it feels to me when another person uses it. Can you take any guesses as to why that is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    Although I'd like to note that Fi and Ti feel very different to me as an INFJ. Ti seems fairly harmless (to everyone except its user, anyway) and even useful, while Fi feels like someone is trying to (unfairly) impose an arbitrary structure on me while appearing open-minded. Note that I'm not saying it is arbitrary/unfair, and I acknowledge that it probably isn't. But that's how it feels to me when another person uses it. Can you take any guesses as to why that is?

    Introverted Judgment functions are concerned primarily with the subject and not the object. (Primacy of subject over object is the very core of Introversion) Fi will want to impose structure on itself, yet could care less to impose it on you. An Introvert will have no interest in having you share their beliefs as his views do not require external approval for legitimation, the deciding factor inheres within his thoughts and not public consensus.
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