INTP - Tertiary: Introverted Sensation (Si)
As a tertiary function, Si can have a variety of balancing effects on the INTP's total cognition. It tends
to work best when Ne has already been allowed to grow and develop as Ti's natural assistant and
counterpart; however, it's worth noting that, like all tertiary functions, its effects can be potentially
damaging if overused or interpreted out of context.
The most essential purpose of Si is to provide a sense of comfort in familiarity, in the idea that our
internal maps of undifferentiated information work best when we're able to sustain them with a
consistent flow of concrete sensory data, and that we should be wary of people, places, and situations
that the map has not yet charted. For INTPs under the influence of tertiary Si, this can generate a
certain degree of cynicism and potentially even irrational distrust of situations they've experienced
before and associated a negative connotation with. INTPs may develop curious suspicions about the
adverse effects of their surroundings on their physical health; they may select insignificant sensory
details to use as scapegoats for their inability to produce consistent work. ("I'd be churning out fantastic
material here if only these morons could get me some half decent coffee!")
Si's influence, in its infancy, may lead INTPs to avoid new experiences or block out possible new
approaches or changes in methodology that may very well have improved the development of their
ideas or increased the range of options available to them. "I've tried and it didn't work" can become
something of a mantra that allows the INTP to both avoid the uncomfortable nature of leaping into the
unknown with incomplete information, and build more support for the superiority of his personal
convictions and subjective beliefs about the nature of fairness and reason.
Given enough negative reinforcement, as TiSi loop sets in, the INTP may even develop a habit of
avoiding the very situations and mindsets that his personal growth requires most in order to move
forward. Utterly convinced that the deck is stacked unfairly against him, he may devolve into bitter
cynicism about the coldly inconsistent nature of the harsh, stupid, and illogical universe around him.
Sensitive about his failures in the social arena, especially, he may convince himself that the only people
worth interacting with are those who feel "safe" in that they espouse the same kinds of views with
which he is already familiar: locked into a self-serving loop of subjective logic and subjective
reinforcement of the kind of experiential data that supports it, he may simply resign himself to the fate
of being alone and unappreciated, comforting himself with grandiose and romantic ideals of being "the
only one with any real integrity" or "the only one who really cares about The Truth."
The problem with pouring on too much Si too quickly is that it may lead to a tendency to ignore Ne
development. The INTP already has plenty of depth, and plenty of subjective perspective; what she
needs to do first is develop a sense of the objectively observable effects her ideas have on others so that
she can connect their perspectives to her own and learn to communicate the significance of her
convictions meaningfully. Blocking this growth process with more encouragement to indulge in more
of the same familiar experiences will only cause regressive development.
When granted a more balanced and positive role, Si should serve not as a mere excuse to remain
forever entrenched in one's experiential comfort zone, but as a useful counterbalance to Ne's tendency
to fly off the rails and become lost in its own excitement. While Ne teaches the INTP to let herself go
and reach out to embrace the random, Si reins her back in and reminds her that, sometimes, there's a
very good reason we've become familiar with a certain form of experience: it's what's best for us and it
keeps us out of trouble. It reminds us to pay attention when things start to push too far out of our
comfort zone for our own good, and helps us to avoid repeating mistakes that we've already made and
(hopefully) learned from.
Lastly, Si should grant the INTP a sense of real connection to the actual experiences represented by the
theoretical ideas he is constantly mulling over in his head, which will contribute to his slow-developing
ability to concretely identify with where others are coming from. It's one thing to be able to explain to
someone why an idea should work in theory and point out how clearly consistent and logical it is; it's
quite another to be able to honestly say, "Because I've been there and I've tried it for myself, and I
know from experience that it genuinely works." Being able to offer that kind of backup for their
arguments can help INTPs transcend the theoretical basis from which they normally operate, endearing
themselves to others in a way that only real world experience with real world issues can.
INTP - Inferior: Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
At the bottom of the barrel of the INTP's cognitive makeup lies the oft-unconscious and mostly
neglected counterpart to Ti's personalized logic: the collectivized ethics and cultural expectations
represented by inferior Fe. Right out of the gate, INTPs are naturally distrustful of extroverted
judgment: they feel that decision-making is something that rightfully belongs to them and them alone,
and that the idea of letting other people's expectations taint the depth and purity of their primary focus--
for such questionable purposes as making people get along, no less--is, at least consciously, seen as a
disturbing affront to their right to individualism and free thought.
"Why should I be expected to get along with anyone whose beliefs clearly represent incorrect logic and
poor reasoning? It's not my fault people are too stupid to realize their beliefs are ridiculous!" Earlier in
life, dominant Ti may have an exceptionally difficult time even understanding why getting along with
others is desirable in the first place. If those people can't be trusted to make rational decisions
according to the indisputable reality of The Truth, it can't see any value in associating with them at all.
The way angry, adolescent INTPs develop social circles around this common belief represents one of
the great ironies of the Jungian world.
Insistent that emotion is, by nature, a fundamentally invalid form of reasoning, INTPs may actually
become emotionally attached to the idea that their decision-making is unemotional and therefore
perfectly rational and "objectively superior" to other competing value systems. By asserting that Ti's
subjective logic represents absolute or objective truth, they conveniently avoid both having to confront
their own emotional needs and having to accept that their preferred method of reasoning does not
represent absolute dogmatic truth. They will continue to cite "facts" and "scientific evidence" based on
their own subjective sense of truth, using Ti's own axioms as proof of its ultimate correctness, never
realizing the ultimately circular nature of their own declarations of self-superiority. When they meet
other INTPs who feel the same way they do, the fact that someone else identifies both feeds Ti's
conscious desire to be The Most Correct and Fe's subconscious desire to share a collectively derived
ethical viewpoint with a larger group.
Try as they might to deny it, beneath the surface of the unconscious, inferior Fe (aided by auxiliary Ne)
does drive INTPs to seek social acceptance and emotional connection; however, they often find
themselves so hopelessly clueless at understanding and adjusting to social cues that they quickly
develop intensely negative associations with the whole process of attempting to share themselves with
others, content to interact only with those whose beliefs are consistent with their own, and thus non-
threatening. In this way, INTPs may actually act out inferior Fe by seeking out like-minded friends and
acquaintances who dislike the idea of having Fe standards forced on them, thus forming Fe-oriented
bonds based, ironically, around the idea of disliking the very social expectations that end up creating
the common ground on which they identify. "Don't conform to society--be a nonconformist like us!"
By attacking the systems of collective ethical expectations they so despise on a conscious level, they
fulfill their own subconscious needs for cultural and familial camaraderie by replacing "I'm right" with
"We're right"--but good luck to any member of that group who disagrees with the precepts of
correctness by which it defines its membership!
Eventually, once Ne and Si have fallen into their rightful places and developed properly, inferior Fe
should grant the INTP the much-needed realization that sometimes family and friends should come
before theoretical correctness. Even if it's wrong or illogical or unfounded in science, if he wants to
keep friends and family around, or hold a consistent job, or participate in social situations with any
degree of discernible success, he must develop a desire to adjust to their emotional and ethical needs
and preferences, even if he cannot see an imminently "logical" reason to agree with them.
This duality of thought ("I think it's illogical" + "I can still see the value in it and respect it as an
equally valid form of reasoning") is something that takes many INTPs a long time and a lot of soul-
searching to grow into. It requires, above all, the realization that even if absolute truth exists, it's not
really possible or logically plausible to believe any single human being can access or understand it
directly--the addition of competent Fe into his cognitive hierarchy will allow the INTP to admit that
yes, even he is subject to emotional bias, and even he has practical reasons to adjust his ethical outlook
according to the feelings and needs of those he holds dear.
Once the INTP is able to simultaneously value the idea of truth and admit to himself that his own
opinion cannot constitute the entirety of it, he will begin to realize that balancing his personal
convictions against collective moral evaluations can actually move him even closer to the transcendent
vision of universal truth and integrity around which his entire life is centered--and who knows? He may
even develop some deeply meaningful personal connections along the way!