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  1. #1
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Default A new language for understanding N and S

    So I was daydreaming in the shower today and it lead me to thinking the nature of Sensing, and by extension, Intuition. I came to a few realisations that made me think about them differently and perhaps eliminate some of the sorts of problems that are created by the current, common language for understanding them.

    This sort of relates to things I've been pondering lately about two Sensors and an Intuitive that I know (this is optional reading, so I'll put it in spoilers):



    All this makes me think that Perceiving is not so much about whether your thinking is abstract or literal (or whatever), it's more to do with context.

    I was also thinking about how we look at Judging functions. People often reduce the difference between T and F and being "logic vs. values", and that often irritates Feelers, as it implies that Thinking is superior and dismisses the Feeling world in a reductive manner. Additionally it fails to recognize that "values" are an indirect result of Feelers' mode of thought, not the means of achieving it. It is like defining professional cyclists as people who compete in the Tour De France, rather than as those who ride bicycles for a living.

    This makes me wonder if way that people talk about N and S is dismissive, reductive and inaccurate in the same sorts of ways and if this is why a lot of descriptions bother Sensors. We say that the differences between N and S as being "conceptual vs. practical" or "abstract vs. literal" or "cerebral vs. sensory", but these never really fit in the right way. It seems there's a failing in the language that makes it hard for us to understand what these things really are; what the fundamental features of each are.

    Looking back at those two examples I gave of Sensor behaviour it seems to me that Sensing is much better defined by its specificity, in contrast to my own Intuitive needs for breadth of understanding. Just as we need to remember that T and F are simply different means of evaluating information, N and S are different ways to perceive and establish context. Ns need more awareness of overall scope in order to comprehend things, and Sensors need more awareness of the specifics (be it through greater detail, personal experiences, more sensory-oriented information, established patterns/characteristics, more narrative driven information etc). In this sense, Sensors aren't less interested in discussing concepts, it's that they often find them too sketchy to easily address. They're not even sure where to begin and therefore lack the jumping off point to discuss them. It's not the concepts themselves that bothers them, it's the vagueness of it all and how prohibitive that is. And it's important to remember that Ns are equally on the back foot when it comes to the specificity of S communication; it can all seems random, arbitrary and bewildering to them until they gain a holistic frame of reference. It's also worth noting that when Sensors express themselves, the broader context is implied, and vice-versa for Intuitives. Both expect others will be able to infer that larger/narrower context from what is said, neither bothering to (or interested in) explicitly articulate it.

    I think this sort of way of looking at it can also be applied to the individual functions too. There is a sort of way of defining Judging functions that I find useful:

    Te - Objectively Objective
    Ti - Subjectively Objective
    Fe - Objectively Subjective
    Fi - Subjectively Subjective


    So this means that Te, for example, externally evaluates impersonal information, whereas, Fe externally evaluates 'personal' information. The same could perhaps be done with Perceiving functions:

    Ne - Expansively Expansive
    Ni - Specifically Expansive
    Se - Expansively Specific
    Si - Specifically Specific


    So this means that Ne, for example, openly perceives a broad context, whereas, Se openly perceives a narrow context, and so on.

    This makes me wonder about the implications this sort of definition suggests for the way we see Sensors. I confess I'm sort of surprised that it was Si that got the place of 'most specific'. Of course, it makes sense if you think about it, but I just assumed it would be Se based on the way I view the function. Also, in contrast to Ne, it gives Si an impression of being keen and discerning, rather than rigid as it is often portrayed. It also highlights the way that Se can extrapolate insights from a limited scope of experience and can learn tremendously well from this.

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

    So, potential questions for discussion:
    - What do you think of this way of describing differences in Perceiving?
    - Do you agree or see flaws in it?
    - Sensors: do you like this better than the usual descriptions? Why/Why not?
    - Does it fit with some of the observations and experiences you have had with people of different types?
    - If this is accurate, what other implications do you see for how we view N and S?
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  2. #2
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    I think all of this sort of stuff that people try to come up with doesent really offer anything. Maybe it will help someone understand something about the function better, but at the same time it leaves something out.

    Simplest way and which still holds as much as what its about imo is:

    Sensing = sense perception.
    Intuition = perception via the unconscious.

    With extraversion the determining factor of focus is in the external world and with introversion its in the inner world.

    Now ofc perception via unconscious doesent tell you everything about intuition, but thats what it is, knowing how the unconscious operates youll know what its about.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

    Read

  3. #3
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    Ti - Subjectively Objective - LMAO, its fun to be subjectively objective

    agree with this one.
    Im out, its been fun

  4. #4
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    I think all of this sort of stuff that people try to come up with doesent really offer anything. Maybe it will help someone understand something about the function better, but at the same time it leaves something out.

    Simplest way and which still holds as much as what its about imo is:

    Sensing = sense perception.
    Intuition = perception via the unconscious.

    With extraversion the determining factor of focus is in the external world and with introversion its in the inner world.

    Now ofc perception via unconscious doesent tell you everything about intuition, but thats what it is, knowing how the unconscious operates youll know what its about.
    This would be all well and good if people subjectively viewed it in this way, but they don't. Firstly, this basically tells us nothing useful regarding behaviour; it's cold and meaningless as an explanation. Secondly, the reality is people are always going to seek to get something more useful out of it. This can be positive or it can end in prejudice, and partly why I'm trying to rethink things is to offer an alternative to the language that generates bias. Thirdly, as soon as even experts actually apply this they're going to start saying more about what it suggests; what it means for how we behave. Clearly there are underlying factors even within your definition - aspects that are fundamental to understanding how these things operate that are worth exploring. Also, it fails to address the way we shape our own perception; what we choose to see and the way we choose to see it. Perception is not like film in a camera, capturing the reality as it is (although even this idea is problematic). Perception is merely a representation of reality.

    The truth is, I'm not actually trying to do away with your definition. I'm just trying to get something more productive out of it.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post

    So, potential questions for discussion:
    - What do you think of this way of describing differences in Perceiving?
    - Do you agree or see flaws in it?
    - Sensors: do you like this better than the usual descriptions? Why/Why not?
    - Does it fit with some of the observations and experiences you have had with people of different types?
    - If this is accurate, what other implications do you see for how we view N and S?
    the concept of Receptivity should always play a part in describing the perceiving functions. Receptivity is a matter of fine-tuning one's consciousness to either a broader or more specific context. Ji, which is risk-aversive, prefers to narrow in like a laser beam on a more specific context. Pe, which is risk-taking, prefers to broaden their context, ever-expanding and taking in even more contexts all at the same time.

    In practice, you will see that Ji has a more-or-less narrow viewpoint that focuses on only a limited number of contexts. At the extreme, there is only one goal and only one method to achieving the goal. Safety is the prime motivator here, they practice the virtues of "tried and true," "never switch horses in the middle of a stream," and "slow and steady wins the race."

    In practice, you will see that Pe has a very broad-minded and flexible viewpoint from which to derive contexts of various sorts. At the extreme, it is hard to get them tied down to any specific notion, they fly from one notion to the next. They draw broad comparisons between ideas and/or objects that often don't make sense to others. The Pe implicitly follows such ideas as, "The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size" (Einstein).
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    "All this makes me think that Perceiving is not so much about whether your thinking is abstract or literal (or whatever), it's more to do with context."

    It's more to do with receptivity.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  7. #7
    is indra's Avatar
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    Love, love, love, expansively specific for Se. It almost makes me want to read the rest of your post.

  8. #8
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poki View Post
    Ti - Subjectively Objective - LMAO, its fun to be subjectively objective

    agree with this one.
    I'd like to take credit for that but I wasn't the one who came up with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    the concept of Receptivity should always play a part in describing the perceiving functions. Receptivity is a matter of fine-tuning one's consciousness to either a broader or more specific context. Ji, which is risk-aversive, prefers to narrow in like a laser beam on a more specific context. Pe, which is risk-taking, prefers to broaden their context, ever-expanding and taking in even more contexts all at the same time.
    So you think this whole idea applies equally to the Judging functions? I would think that Perceiving is driven by context (ie. a framework; shifting or solid) and Judging is driven by criteria (ie. a yardstick; personal or impersonal).

    And why "receptivity"? Can you expand on what you mean by that?

    In practice, you will see that Ji has a more-or-less narrow viewpoint that focuses on only a limited number of contexts. At the extreme, there is only one goal and only one method to achieving the goal. Safety is the prime motivator here, they practice the virtues of "tried and true," "never switch horses in the middle of a stream," and "slow and steady wins the race."
    A lot of this seems like Si to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunyata View Post
    Love, love, love, expansively specific for Se. It almost makes me want to read the rest of your post.
    LOL. I know it's a bit of a wall of information. If you're looking for something that may be of interest to you: inside the spoilers, the first paragraph is about my ISFP friend as an example of Se behaviour (and how baffled it leaves me as a Ne-user) . I'd like to know what a SP thought about that.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  9. #9
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    I really, really like this, SK. I think you've gotten nearer to the heart of it than most explanations I've read. I love the expansive/specific language and how it mirrors the subjective/objective pairings.

    Regarding S/N and context, my only deviating thought would be that I don't know if it's accurate to say Se perceives a narrow context... Unless you mean that Se prefers to limit to the "narrow" present context, which I would agree with, though I hesitate to see it as narrow because the present situation technically contains an infinite amount of information, making it equal to what Ne perceives. I think the specificity comes in more because it zooms in on tangible elements, not because it prefers to limit the context, as Se operates in the ever-changing present. Semantics, really, though I figure I'll leave this thought train since the entire thread is devoted to semantics.

    Si is surprisingly... Spacious. It can seem very rigid and nostalgic, but when I hear my Si-dom unpack it, it's actually quite beautiful, inquisitive, and seeking. Have you ever seen the .gif where it looks like you are infinitely zooming into fractals within fractals? I see Pi functions kind of like that. It's like the deeper down the rabbit hole you go, the more there is to find. I think the fractals correlate a little better to Ni, because of the retained patterns, but the infinite zooming is very Si, too. Worlds within worlds, details within details. He sees an old photo of downtown and immediately catches that there is a random mailbox on the second story wall of a brick building. He wonders whose box it is... Who lived there... Why it was put there. Details within details. It goes deeper than "comparing the past and present". It's more like seeing iterations and traces of the past infinitely within the present.

  10. #10
    ಠ﹏ಠ Glint's Avatar
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    Kross, I like the way you put it! Your explanation addresses well the generally used descriptions of S vs N that have bothered me a lot and caused me to doubt my type. (see my MBTI to the left of this post.)
    Especially the association of S with 'practical' because if you look hard and far enough, just about anything conceivable can have a practical application.
    My insistence on topics having meaning/relevance ("what's the point of blindly memorizing all of these details?") also kept getting me typed as S by other people. hahaha

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