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  1. #1
    Anew Leaf
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    Default Cognitive Functions as Polarity Systems

    (For the sake of brevity and my own sanity and the fact that I can only work with what I know, I am focusing on the NFP-STJ system for my examples.)

    If we start with the functions at the most basic level, then we have them as points floating in space:



    Taken this way, the functions are defined by isolated data points. Fi is about an internal set of values, Ne is about exploring possibilities, Si collects data and relates it to the past, and Te organizes ideas.


    This is a very limited way of viewing the system, and so the idea that they must be interconnected appears:



    Which brings in mind the idea that these functions are merely a spectrum, and that our abilities fall somewhere along this line... And there they sit.


    However, I think a more balanced view of these things would be to consider them as a polarity system. I think we often view our four main functions in terms of what we like and dislike. We love/prefer/embrace our dominant and auxillary functions, and consider our tertiary and inferior functions as our bad/shadow self only. Viewing them in this way makes it seem as if our 3rd/4th functions are a problem that needs to be solved, or a secret that should be swept under the rug. Problems are things that have end points and can actually be solved. Whereas polarities are something that are ongoing and need to be managed.

    A simplistic look at a polarity we all have is that of breathing:



    It would be detrimental to our health to go too far in either upper quadrant, and so we spend most of our lives mindlessly traversing this path like an ice skater with endless energy.

    I think the same concept can be applied to the cognitive function spectrums:



    The purple butterfly represents the ideal path of necessary motion that must be undertaken in order to reap the full benefits of cognition and content creation. Problems arise when we want to stay forever up in the quardrant of our choice. What goes up comes down, and eventually we sink into the negative aspects of our preference. This is uncomfortable and is a sign that we need to move over to the opposite pole in order to provide relief.

    A Ne dom/aux that has gone too far off into the ocean of possibilities, will have lost sight of the shore of Si. What is often the case is that the island of Si looks like a boring jut of rocks with no trees and no coconuts and should therefore be avoided as long as possible. When the tides inevitably bring the boat to the shore, the positives of such an interaction will be outweighed by the perceived negatives, and the Ne-er leaps out again into the ocean. This action causes further sinking into the negatives of Ne, rather than boosting back into the positives.

    In a perfect system, they would start paddling back to the island to verify their information is true before heading out in a new direction. The return to the island would provide real data and a new focus for further exploration. It would also give a chance for rest from constant searching, and the ability to look at the ocean with fresh eyes.

    My idea here is that this helps represent why we are supposed to develop and manifest the full spectrum of each function as we get older and work towards having a balanced system. I think there can be a fear that if we embrace that opposite side of ourselves, that we will lose the purity of what we think makes us great. When instead the opposite pole serves primarily to enhance the primary.


    This is my short and simple overview. I can, far too easily, expand outward on any of these points if anyone wishes to discuss this with me.

  2. #2
    Chaser of Light Dr Mobius's Avatar
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    @Saturned I do have some questions, but I want to make sure that I understand what you are saying so I put it into bullet point form, in my own words. Then based my questions on that, if they are wrong feel free to correct them, and not answer the subsequent questions.

    Premises

    Functions are to be viewed as polar opposites Ne to Si, Fi to Te

    Extrapolation

    For optimal balance and growth a balanced trajectory is needed.

    This trajectory will encompass both positive and negative aspects, essentially centre focused

    Dwelling on our primary and auxiliary functions will create unbalanced and unhealthy views

    Focusing on developing tertiary and inferior functions will have an even keel effect, clearing the mist and boosting healthy growth.

    Questions

    Isn’t the grasp for inferior functions a lost cause?
    I thought it was considered a visceral function one in which our control is severely limited, one which we jump to in times of stress and anger?

    And whether or not the aforementioned statements are true, how would you precede to balance the tertiary and inferior functions?

    Was there a reason you used polarity, considering that in electric polarity you are either positive or negative?

  3. #3
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    I was kind of under the impression that that was one of the main points of studying personality type in the first place; to give yourself a framework to help you achieve a balanced, well rounded state. I already think of the "opposite" functions as being 2 sides of the same coin. Ne and Si most of all. Seems like pattern recognition would be necessary to develop a baseline to compare things against, and that such a baseline would be required to stereotype things. (Stereotype isn't quite the word I'm looking for, just the closest thing that comes to mind right now)

  4. #4
    Anew Leaf
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    @Trollogo

    Thank you for bullet points. They are a Te-girl's best friend.

    Premises

    Functions are to be viewed as polar opposites Ne to Si, Fi to Te
    Yes.

    Extrapolation

    For optimal balance and growth a balanced trajectory is needed.
    Yes.

    This trajectory will encompass both positive and negative aspects, essentially centre focused
    Yes to the first, Mmm not quite to the bold.

    I am not sure if it would be accurate to say that the centre is the focus so much as the continual movement is the focus. These quadrants of our Dom and Aux are where are strength naturally lies and where we should be. However, we cannot be there to exclusion of all else.

    Dwelling on our primary and auxiliary functions will create unbalanced and unhealthy views
    *for too long. Yes.

    Focusing on developing tertiary and inferior functions will have an even keel effect, clearing the mist and boosting healthy growth.
    Yes. Although the focus starts with awareness.


    Isn’t the grasp for inferior functions a lost cause?
    Is it a lost cause because it is a lost cause or a lost cause because we think it's a lost cause? I shall continue with this thought on the next question/answer.

    I thought it was considered a visceral function one in which our control is severely limited, one which we jump to in times of stress and anger?
    I think this is part of the issue when we view the tert and inferior functions. Because we experience them primarily when are stressed/angry, then we view them as all negative and ignore the potential positives. And just with any tool/skill, when you first weild it, it can be awkward and strange. It takes practice to get better. Which probably explains how much more well rounded a lot of people can come across as they get older. I think the disconnect occurs in that we are supposed to be integrating the systems, not fighting to stay as close to the top of one pole or another.

    And whether or not the aforementioned statements are true, how would you precede to balance the tertiary and inferior functions?
    I think it can be done consciously. But one has to be self aware enough to recognize when you're going off the deep end. And there will most likely be some trial and error involved, because it's a scientific process of sorts. I guess for me, when I feel like I am spiraling out of control, I try to put out some stops. It's very easy as a combination of Fi+Ne to just go off the deep end of possibilities and lose track of what is actually known/real. Pulling myself up with detachment and a search for actual data helps to level me off.

    Was there a reason you used polarity, considering that in electric polarity you are either positive or negative?
    My reason was that I was studying the concept of polarity systems for something completely unrelated to typology, and it struck me that perhaps it could be used to explain the cognitive function systems.

    Let me know what else needs clarification. I am trying to be brief instead of writing giant walls of text with examples and charts and graphs and god knows what else.

  5. #5
    Anew Leaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by jryn1993 View Post
    I was kind of under the impression that that was one of the main points of studying personality type in the first place; to give yourself a framework to help you achieve a balanced, well rounded state. I already think of the "opposite" functions as being 2 sides of the same coin. Ne and Si most of all. Seems like pattern recognition would be necessary to develop a baseline to compare things against, and that such a baseline would be required to stereotype things. (Stereotype isn't quite the word I'm looking for, just the closest thing that comes to mind right now)
    Yes. But there are a lot of discussions about these topics that sort of stagnate a bit with two opposing camps instead of realizing how everything is connected. /Cloud Atlas promo.

  6. #6
    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    Actually, the metaphor of toxins might be a good one. Too much of one functional perspective is toxic (to cognition), so swing on back to another quadrant.

    I like the purple butterfly too. It seems like it could be a path. In "having" some thought or feeling (in the naive, non-technical sense of the words), we go through some process of cognition. the activity of that cognition seems like it can't possibly be centered in some one function, however close to consciousness that one functional area may be. It seems more likely that handling the "thought" means swinging in and around and through the different functional areas, like tossing it back and forth, building it up. This is a particularly easy image to have for the operation of perception. I wonder if it works for judgment too.
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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  7. #7
    ReflecTcelfeR
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    I don't think it should be presented as positive and negative necessarily.

    You used breathing which is a nice comparison, but I wonder if comparing it to a negative feedback loop would be more appropriate.*

    Another note - I think two graphs would be an easier way to grasp balanced perception vs imbalanced, they are technically opposite, but I don't believe they belong on the same scale.

    (*For those who don't know what that is exactly:

    The body is designed to be aware of when excess of some chemical is present and when that occurs it stops the production of that chemical. It isn't necessarily "negative" it is specifically to counter-balance this idea of excess.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Too much of one functional perspective is toxic (to cognition), so swing on back to another quadrant.
    I've been telling it to him for years, and he's finally starting to get it.

  9. #9
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    These dang congitive functions are like mathematical secret equations, codes I have yet to crack, and frankly, I don't care to make my brain hurt for it.

  10. #10
    Anew Leaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalach View Post
    Actually, the metaphor of toxins might be a good one. Too much of one functional perspective is toxic (to cognition), so swing on back to another quadrant.

    I like the purple butterfly too. It seems like it could be a path. In "having" some thought or feeling (in the naive, non-technical sense of the words), we go through some process of cognition. the activity of that cognition seems like it can't possibly be centered in some one function, however close to consciousness that one functional area may be. It seems more likely that handling the "thought" means swinging in and around and through the different functional areas, like tossing it back and forth, building it up. This is a particularly easy image to have for the operation of perception. I wonder if it works for judgment too.
    Yes, the toxins metaphor is a good one... a connection I didn't see at first.

    I like the fact that it is based on movement too. Since ideally that is what our relief functions are built for, at least in my mind. The movement also works best because it is incorporating both internal and external data plots which ultimately yields the most accuracy.

    I've been contemplating how to showcase the Te/Fi scale but I need to information gather a bit more first. Mentally it holds a different vibe than the perception, which haha is sort of an obvious thing to say, but I am wondering if it is different enough to require a different model.

    Hmm, I'll think on this and come up with something that can be tested to ascertain if it has any value or truth to it.

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