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  1. #1
    Senior Member Daedalus's Avatar
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    Default How does Ni work? some thoughts

    A post by Coriolis in the "Ask an INTJ" thread made me think about some possible explanation about how Ni works. The following is my take on how Ni works.

    Needless to say that this is but my view regarding this and could be way off target/wrong. Feel free to chime in with suggestions/questions/alternate explanations.

    I'll begin with the Quote I initially started to reply to.
    ---------------------------------

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post

    Ni obviously does not operate in a vacuum. As I mentioned, it is influenced by all my experiences, everything I have learned, observed, or understood. This includes not only previous ideas, but other ideas suggested by those ideas, later versions of those ideas, evolving interpretations, etc. Yes, change is large part of what Ni perceives, but the focus is on how it all comes together in the present: how the convolution of all relevant changes leads to the existing situation, and more importantly, to the future. It is a bit like taking a derivative, where we measure not the value of some property at a specific point in time, but rather how that property is changing at that moment. Another way to look at it is to contrast Ne's view of current external ideas with Ni's view of current internal ideas.
    Great points and I agree wholeheartedly. From what I have been able to gather from analyzing my Ni over the years, I have come to a similar conclusion. (Which might be subject to change..further disclaimers etc etc)

    As you pointed out, I too have noticed that Ni is not something "magical" but is actually the result of processing done in the unconscious surfacing to the conscious mind. I believe this is one of the fundamental differences between Ni and Ne. Ni is not about objects but about the interconnection between objects. Or to be more accurate, an INTJ would Abstract away objects altogether and concentrate on their functions/how they interact with the system. NE, imho seems to concentrate more about the objects than some unifying underlying quality which can be filtered from these objects.

    Ni would look at pots/cups/toys made from clay and abstract away the objects, concentrating on "clay" and its properties. Let’s call this the “clayness” . When the INTJ encounters another object made out of clay in the future..(eg; clay oven) the Ni would unconsciously use the “clayness” quality of all things made out of clay to predict how/and what this clay oven will do/interact with other things around it.

    As others have mentioned...Ni synthesizes information to arrive at ONE answer for a problem(real life or imaginary ). I hasten to add that Ni sometimes gives more than one answer (eg: say..maybe 5). An INTJ would then run Te over these answers and eliminate the ones that fail, resulting in one answer OR an answer that is slightly modified/fine tuned from the Initial version spewn out by Ni.

    The external world is not really “real” to the INTJ in the sense that it is but one “possible version/reality” and is subject to change all the time. Change is probably one of the very few constants thus the INTJ comes to distrust concrete “definitions” due to their oxymoronic nature( How does one define something with absolute certainty when everything in this world/universe is in a constant state of flux?).I have noticed this to be an issue that causes misunderstandings/miscommunication when dealing with other types, especially INTP’s. I hate to find concrete definitions for things because internally I find the notion very troubling, whereas the INTP with whom I am conversing with might find my reluctance a form of dismissal.

    Ni: An internal framework of connections between qualities/attributes?

    INTJ’s tend to accumulate these “connections” (eg : “clayness”) over the years into an intricate internal framework. However this framework is Not a framework of connections between objects, but imho is more of a connections between qualities/attributes. Imagine a 3D net, with a perfect sphere on each of the intersections. Also let us assume that there are an infinite number of intersections. ( such a net with infinite reflecting spheres is known as the “Indras net" in Hindu/Buddhist philosophy btw). Each sphere reflects all other spheres on the framework. This is analogous to a framework of connections.

    One sphere could be “clayness” , another could be “wetness”. The image of the “wetness” sphere reflected on the “clayness” sphere would be a connection between “wetness + clayness”. Thus an INTJ when encountering mud for the first time, could make accurate predictions about its attributes/what it might do almost instantaneously (which he then passes through the Te filter to eliminate incorrect/impractical answers). This I believe is what Ni does.


    Let us look at a real world example. Imagine an INTJ looking at some objects made out of clay, and some other objects/states of water.



    The INTJ starts extracting what he/she thinks to be the essential qualities of the aforementioned stuff and filing them away in its internal network of connections.

    In the following image, the "reflections" of other spheres on a sphere is the "influences" other qualities represented by those spheres have on the quality represented by the sphere we are considering.



    Each sphere is reflected on every other sphere. What I mean to imply by this image is that qualities/attributes all have some “effect” on everything else in the system. Sometimes the effect is very strong, sometimes microscopically small.

    The main advantage of this form of organization imho is that it allows the Ni to “switch its Pov at will”. For example it could look at a problem from the viewpoint if sphere 1. However if it decides that the problem would be better solved from a different view, it could switch to sphere 2 instantaneously without a need to re-compute all the connections again. (Edited to add: or the INTJ could also look at the same sphere from another angle..noting a different set of reflections on the surface, thus pointing at a different set of influences)The framework of connections (spheres in this example), is built over a lifetime, and cannot be re-built from scratch at will.

    There is a system of “weights” given to the connections between the spheres as well. In other words, these “weighted connections” allows the INTJ to quickly asses the relative influences each sphere will have on a problem at hand and eliminate almost all but about 4 or 5 factors(spheres, and their interconnection’s) which might influence the current problem they are working on.


    However as the INTJ learns new things/figures out connections between things they keep on adding these to the framework. This results in spheres being added, existing spheres getting modified, or the ‘weights” of the connections getting updated.



    Te will then go over the answers thrown up by Ni to quickly eliminate the ones which are wrong. The resulting answer will then be the one selected.

    I have to add that sometimes the resulting answer will be a slightly modified version of the initial one given by the Ni. While going over the answers Te would find some errors, which will then be fed into the internal framework. These changes will probably result in some minor tweaks to the framework…for example the weights given to the connections might be changed a bit…or some factor could be added to the milieu. Ni now pops a more “correct” answer which is filtered by Te again.

    In my opinion Te sees to check for “errors”. It does not “prove” that the answer is correct. It only shows that the answer is “not wrong” .



    What was meant to be a short post grew into a super lengthy one
    Last edited by Daedalus; 06-25-2012 at 11:52 PM. Reason: updated image 3
    Extraverted - 25 Introverted - 75
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  2. #2
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    Ni works within spiritual cranks and mystics, the masters of magicka.
    idk really lol

  3. #3
    Bunnies & Rainbow Socks Kayness's Avatar
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    Yep, I deffo use Ni.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayness View Post
    Yep, I deffo use Ni.
    I would be interested if you explained how Ni manifests in your personality, and I am also sure the thread starter would like to hear how it works for you, if you care to elaborate.

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    Senor Membrae Eugene Watson VIII's Avatar
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    I read somewhere something like "an INTJ's leading function will not work with the triangle but instead come up with an entirely new triangle". Thanks for the article. Should I add that an INxJs breakthroughs might already exist or be completely useless? :P

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    Bunnies & Rainbow Socks Kayness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    I would be interested if you explained how Ni manifests in your personality, and I am also sure the thread starter would like to hear how it works for you, if you care to elaborate.
    well, some Ni doms I come across on PerC would have us believe that Ni is this mystical function that magically bestows them with knowledge or enables them to see into the future or something. Even Jung said something similar in his description, "without this type of people, there would be no prophets of Israel" or something like that, but of course that wasn't written in a glorifying tone. But I feel like my Ni is just based on the object and my database of properties surrounding it - there's really no magic or whatever related to it at all.

    the only scenarios that I can think of right now in which I most use my Ni are mostly the ones involving people & interpersonal relations. Like, I have seen how things played out in the past, what triggered what chain of events or reactions, and all these are stored into this database. Then when I see something similar happening, I pull out information from the database to build a framework in which to anticipate & prepare for the outcome. Usually it involves pulling out bits and pieces of information I gathered from different events and put them together to form my projection of the event.

    However, this is only a part of it because in the end I'm always going to defer to the information that I receive in real time. I'm obviously not as attached to it as Ni doms; I've seen a few instances where the INTJs in my life are pretty much running on their own impressions even when there are solid, observable, external indications to the otherwise.

    bleh I dunno i'm kinda tired and it's hard to explain and I cant think of any specifics right now. hope it's not too confusing.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Daedalus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    Ni works within spiritual cranks and mystics, the masters of magicka.
    idk really lol
    Abracadabra!
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  8. #8
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
    In my opinion Te sees to check for “errors”. It does not “prove” that the answer is correct. It only shows that the answer is “not wrong
    In my experience, Te measures the Ni perceptions against some external context or constraints. It does not so much check for rightness as for causality and workability: will the perceived solution work in the current circumstance? How likely is the perceived prediction actually to come to pass given what is really happening in the outside world?

    Quote Originally Posted by minutegovt View Post
    Should I add that an INxJs breakthroughs might already exist or be completely useless? :P
    Both can happen. The completely useless should fail the Te-testing stage. Every now and then, though, I am a bit disappointed when I come up with what I consider a truly innovative and unique idea/solution, only to find out someone else already thought of it. If it is still the best solution, though, I still implement it.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  9. #9
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    Ni pulls together fragments of various memories, especially visual stimuli and combines it in such a way so that it is "harmonius" decreasing the cognitive load of the snippets so they can be experienced simultaneously
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

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    Filthy Apes! Kalach's Avatar
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    I think all intuition anticipates sensing.

    Looked at that way, Ni is the work of knowing ahead of time what can come up in the moment. This is the same as saying "Ni is a rejection of Se". Instead of deigning to experience the physical moment, one sits back to draw up some collage of what is in all moments.

    Obviously this collage is haunted by what experiences you haven't had, what books you didn't read, all the things you don't know. Major efforts go into examining what you are aware of and drawing out themes and images that can be timelessly projected into the future to create foreknowledge.

    As to how that happens...
    Bellison uncorked a flood of horrible profanity, which, translated, meant, "This is extremely unusual."

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