# Thread: Type and Learning Abstract Concepts

1. Originally Posted by Ene

At first, I was like, "I don't know how I come to understand abstract concepts. I just do." But then I realize that I also take concepts apart, attempt to understand how components relate to one another. I think my primary and tertiary functions work in unison to help me first to grasp an idea, to just "get it" and then secondly, to analyze it. I imagine that it is very similar to what @Hard was describing.
So in the example of Newton's 2nd Law, how would you go about understanding it? Btw, what type are you?

2. Originally Posted by GarrotTheThief
i memorize the formulas and then abstract off the objects (formulas) after I internalize. I wrote each one five times and memorized and then pretty much could analyze ratio's and anticipate what plugging different numbers would do.

The thought never occurred to me but one could think of physics as being physical object his or herself but when I was young this sort of thinking would never do. I had to imagine the objects in space moving for themselves and then relate it to the formulas.

Now I can feel momentum. I can start running and try to stop and feel the force moving through me and I can even transfer it to one hand. If you move your body at a constant speed whilst keeping it unified and then eject the hand the force transfers through your body...but if your hand moves slower than your body the force is lost at a hinge, hence you feel stress on your joints.

When I was young the connection between thinking and sensing wasn't present - everything was abstracted, in other words, and my body and sensory perceptions were different worlds. I was entirely inside my head.
Anyone who's been in a vehicle pulling away from an intersection or ridden up and down an elevator or gone for a run will know instinctively what force, mass, and acceleration are. Yet you never connected the variables in the equation to these experiences in high school? And what do you mean when you say you "abstract off the objects (formulas)"? Pls use Newton's law as an example.

3. Originally Posted by doppelganger
Anyone who's been in a vehicle pulling away from an intersection or ridden up and down an elevator or gone for a run will know instinctively what force, mass, and acceleration are. Yet you never connected the variables in the equation to these experiences in high school? And what do you mean when you say you "abstract off the objects (formulas)"? Pls use Newton's law as an example.
Okay...well newton's first law is that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

In highschool, if i rember correctly, the equation frequently used from newto's second law is F = MA.

I would write down F = MA five times. Then I would read the stem of the question and see what it was asking for. If it asked for accelerations I would write on the page "A=?" and then I would write the given variables down and then I would intuitively recall the equation after "Downloading" it and I would solve.

When I was learning physics in high-school every problem had a series of steps and I memorized the steps and executed to calculate. I unconsciously knew some of the things you described but now how I do today because I am more coordinated than I was in high-school and now I can sense the forces in my body. For example hold your body still and roll your arm in a circle with your elbow straight and suddenly stop...you will feel the momentum of your arm carry it one more time before it drops if you relax your muscles at the exact instant you stop.

Each step by the way was like an object...a construct..an externalized objective thing.

As I observed these objects over time I would start to intuitively grasp the issue...it wasn't till after college though that I could think out of the box....or pivot my perspective.

Also, when I think of newton's first law I'm reminded of the fact that he was mistaken if he believe there was such a thing as no force exerting on an object...a body in motion will always experience subtle friction. Space is not a vacuum. When we were learning science it was still believed space was a vacuum. This was nearly 10-12 years ago...so sorry if anything i said is off...I'm not in the sciences...I deal mostly with accounting math and that is quite basic compared to physics...mostly just ratio's and some calculus.

no matter where one is there will be friction.

4. Originally Posted by GarrotTheThief
Okay...well newton's first law is that an object in motion tends to stay in motion.

In highschool, if i rember correctly, the equation frequently used from newto's second law is F = MA.

I would write down F = MA five times. Then I would read the stem of the question and see what it was asking for. If it asked for accelerations I would write on the page "A=?" and then I would write the given variables down and then I would intuitively recall the equation after "Downloading" it and I would solve.

When I was learning physics in high-school every problem had a series of steps and I memorized the steps and executed to calculate. I unconsciously knew some of the things you described but now how I do today because I am more coordinated than I was in high-school and now I can sense the forces in my body. For example hold your body still and roll your arm in a circle with your elbow straight and suddenly stop...you will feel the momentum of your arm carry it one more time before it drops if you relax your muscles at the exact instant you stop.

Each step by the way was like an object...a construct..an externalized objective thing.

As I observed these objects over time I would start to intuitively grasp the issue...it wasn't till after college though that I could think out of the box....or pivot my perspective.

Also, when I think of newton's first law I'm reminded of the fact that he was mistaken if he believe there was such a thing as no force exerting on an object...a body in motion will always experience subtle friction. Space is not a vacuum. When we were learning science it was still believed space was a vacuum. This was nearly 10-12 years ago...so sorry if anything i said is off...I'm not in the sciences...I deal mostly with accounting math and that is quite basic compared to physics...mostly just ratio's and some calculus.

no matter where one is there will be friction.
So you treated physics like math and solved the equations. Your description of each step as an "externalised objective thing" is interesting. Can you elaborate on what you mean or imagined or felt? And did you see each step this way because of Te?

5. Originally Posted by doppelganger
So you treated physics like math and solved the equations. Your description of each step as an "externalised objective thing" is interesting. Can you elaborate on what you mean or imagined or felt? And did you see each step this way because of Te?
I was typed TE by an mbti/analyst because he told me I had trouble seeing the subjective side of things so the theme of the last five years of my life has been subjectivism and understanding my inner world.

But before that and up until around 25 I looked for evidence outside of myself and ignored whatever I felt.

I think this is why I chose to do something when I was young based on external factors like job security and efficiency.

That being said, I believe TE solves problems by memorizing the steps to solve the problems and then using NI to sift through or rearrange the equations.

What I mean by saying that I externalized the equations is that my inner subjective world was never used in physics. I always thought of my imagination as an obstacle and only useful for art.

That being said It's possible that my dominant function is not TE but that my dominant function was supressed and I had to learn TE in order to adapt. I don't know how true that is however.

Later...I came to see how art and math overlap and diverge and I came to make connections between different systems of thought. Some see this as NE but I see it more as NI because my connections are based on principles and abstractions like the ideas of archetypes passing through reality as beams which support by way of order and symbolism. NE is more about making connections between times and sequences and alternative possibilities. The connections I see are more about ideas or things "behind the veil."

But I'm not the pro...just what I think about it.
Radically different to the way I used to think actually...it feels as if I have two ways of thinking now instead of one if that makes sense, and now it feels like there is a third and fourth way of thinking...which might be SE and FI..

I say might because again i've read that someone's mbti or rather typology may have to adapt to his or her environment and I've spoken to jungians who attest that some people have more than 4 functions above the veil, so to speak...some people, based on a Jungian's perspective, may even be proficient in all 8.

6. I use Si a lot when I'm learning abstract concepts. I start by trying to get a good grasp of the laws of a particular system, so that I can apply those rules to any other similar concept I encounter.

Edit: I don't relate to the "externalizing" that @GarrotTheThief is describing above, but I do the exact same thing re: memorizing steps. I think that's part of what I attempted to describe in the previous paragraph -- "learning the rules" is usually rote memorization.

7. Originally Posted by EJCC
I use Si a lot when I'm learning abstract concepts. I start by trying to get a good grasp of the laws of a particular system, so that I can apply those rules to any other similar concept I encounter.

Edit: I don't relate to the "externalizing" that @<a href="http://www.typologycentral.com/forums/members/23213.html" target="_blank">GarrotTheThief</a> is describing above, but I do the exact same thing re: memorizing steps. I think that's part of what I attempted to describe in the previous paragraph -- "learning the rules" would usually be rote memorization, which I got pretty damn good at.
si
http://www.dafenoilpaintings.com/ima...nife/kp155.jpg

te
http://www.povray.org/documentation/...wcase_ref0.png

i'm guessing...sometimes I wonder if I'm si...I prefer to look at the first one but that could be because socionically I'm an ESTj.

8. I have to understand the logic behind them, I have to know why and how. It will sometimes help to explain it in terms of a concrete object doing something, and explaining each component of this action related to a variable. But yeah, first I have to know why, and then how. Otherwise I can memorize equations easily but I won't even be able to apply them to the most simple problem. There were also times when I would just "understand" it, there were not math or science related though, with those, I would understand it first and then think about why it made sense later.

9. Originally Posted by doppelganger
I was talking to a Fi-user who mentioned she tried to feel abstract concepts when she studied physics, math, and other subjects replete with abstractions. So, for example, in Newton's 2nd Law, which can be stated as

F=ma=mdv/dt=dp/dt

where m is mass
a is acceleration
v is velocity
p=mv is momentum, and
d/dt is the derivative wrt time

she said she tried to feel momentum. How do you go about understanding abstract concepts? Do you use your primary cognitive functions, like my friend does, and try to feel, sense, or intuit the concepts? What is that process like?
I definitely don't do that. That's not what Feeling is in the Jungian sense either...that approach sounds like it could be Se, actually.

Anyhow, it's hard for me to describe. I feel like I just "see" stuff without seeing anything. I don't really try... I just grasp it or know it. All of the time I "see" connections between things. Often when I cannot grasp something clearly enough, but it's sort of on the tip of my brains' consciousness, then finding a parallel helps me articulate it to myself and others. I suppose metaphor and analogy are something I use a lot if I have trouble giving form to my understanding so that I can explain it, and I feel a need to explain things to myself, to go beyond just grasping it.

I find it easier to grasp abstract concepts than some simple tasks, honestly. Or perhaps it's not that I cannot grasp a task, but I don't break it into steps to accomplish it that quickly.

With more intellectual things, I definitely reason also. I think that's self-explanatory (?). But to take a stab as describing it - I suppose I sort of explore the abstract idea with a line of reasoning to see how it fits, so as to make sense of it. Sometimes it feels like weighing one thing against another, and to keep adjusting it until there is a balance or symmetry, so then you know it "checks out". This can be very visual for me also, in a way that's hard for me to describe. It's not visual as if I have to relate it to something real - it's more like a visual pattern in the ideas or symbols which represent them.

That sounds way more complicated than it is. I just perceive and reason, and of course my perceiving is abstract and detecting intangible patterns (Ne) and my reasoning creates a context to give something meaning beyond whatever immediate function it may have (Fi).

10. I don't know if this is normal but when I'm dealing with math I think only of symbols and the rules to manipulate them and to derive one from another. So for example, when dealing with problems coming from newton's laws, I think to myself "This ultimately becomes a single second order diff equation or a system of such equations and then the problem is solving the equation".

Now I'm into economics, and my approach there is the same, just solve the maximization problem. Or with simpler problems I just draw the problem and maipulate the different graphs.

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