However, as time went on and I thought about it some more, the Fe metaphor of "fog" started to feel less and less satisfying. It felt more like a Fi-valuer's description of Fe, for some inexplicable reason ( ). Anyway, long story short, I had an epiphany at work today, and have an idea for a better description of Fe.
Let us take Expat's excellent description of Fi as a starting point. Laser beams representing relationships connect everybody; when the relationship is good, the laser beam is blue, when it's bad, it's red.
Expat went on to describe Fe as a sort of coloured fog filling the spaces between people, emitted by the people themselves who 'smoke'. The fog reveals the lasers and helps them to be seen. I don't think this is quite accurate. Fe is described as "internal dynamics of objects", and this fog seems more like a description of some kind of dynamic field.
Here is how I would describe Fe:
While everyone is walking around with these laser beams connecting them, they also have another light source: a sort of internal 'glow', which is Fe. Like the laser beams, this glow can be different colours: blue for positive emotions, red for negative emotions, etc. Unlike the laser beams, however, this light is constantly shifting and changing: now I'm blue and happy, now I'm red and angry, etc.
For base Fe types, this light is very bright. You often hear ESEs, for example, described as "lighting up the room" when they enter (at least by those who value Fe ). Base Fe types are very good at revealing and controlling this light, hiding their unpleasant red light when necessary and revealing their fun blue light when appropriate. They're also very good at seeing the light emitted by others. When an Fe type enters a room, they see the combined glow emitted by everyone there; this is where the sense of Fe being the "mood of the room" comes from.
Fe valuing types love being around people emitting 'blue' light. The colour of the laser beams is not seen as being as important as the colour of a person's Fe glow. Being connected by blue laser beams with people simply means that those people will be more likely to emit blue light when they're around, which is all Fe valuers are really after anyway. When red light appears, they feel the cause of it should be rooted out with Ti, and dealt with. Then the fun blue light can return.
Types weak in Fe have a harder time seeing and displaying this light. They can't always tell the difference between genuine light and fake light. Fe-PoLR types find strong Fe light unpleasant, and avoid it ("It burns us!"). They also mask any light they might have inside, closing it off from the world. This confuses Fe base types, who assume that they must simply be hiding a bunch of angry red light.
Fi valuers see the Fe glow simply as one way to determine the status of the laser beam between them: if one person consistantly reacts to another person with genuine blue light, then the laser beam between them must be blue, and vice versa. However, the Fe light is fickle and ever-changing, so they don't find it to be very reliable.