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  1. #1
    Junior Member Majora4Prez's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    5w6 so/sx

    Default How Might an ISTJ Develop His/Her Inferior Ne?

    Hello again. With some input from this website, I have confirmed that a friend of mine is an ISTJ, but despite the reassurances of many that sensing does not necessarily mean "lack of creativity", he is very worried that he is destined to be unable to take up his dream profession of fictional writing. He wishes to know how he might be able to develop his Ne inferior to be more in touch with his mind and dreams (and less so with reality) and be the writer he wants to be.
    This is a better place to list my personality stuff, since I can include temperament and Enneagram Tritype.
    INTP; 5w6 1w9 2w1 So/Sx; Melancholic Phlegmatic; Neutral Good

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2011


    A toughie. I suspect his concern is that he feels the need to develop Ne extensively in every area as a pre-requisite for being a fiction writer but I do not think this is true. He needs to only assemble his inner resources ad hoc for the sake of his work. I would ask him whether he wants to actually be creative or be successful. Neither actually requires the other to exist and if he is after success he is probably a lot more likely to find it with SiTe.

    My suggestions:

    - Ne is about identifing connections between several objects that exist in the world through the identification of abstractions that are shared in seperate objects. This allows innovative ideas and new uses for pre-existing systems to be achieved. In fiction it would allow the creation of a work through weaving multiple concepts together into a new whole. The question is however: How much of this do you need to do in order to produce fiction? I do not believe he needs to do much. He needs only to recite a story that really happened (which is stored via Si) and make very minor innovations to it. For example he changed the names of the characters and the name of the setting but kept most or if not all the details of the characters and the details of the setting the same. By doing this he has produced a work of fiction in line with his modus operandi but has utilised enough Ne to make an original work.
    - Suggest he write down ideas from other sources, change the names, terms etc. and weave them in the plot. For example 90% of it could be a real life experience but have the ending changed, adapted from other media. Fantasy can be applied e.g. HP magic but should perhaps only be done so to enrich the setting and not drive the setting.
    - Tell him to use his Te to organise it effectively. His Fi can be used to assess what is valued in the piece so he removes what he doesn't feel improves his final piece.
    - Tell him to not try and force himself. I write fiction myself and inspiration cannot be forced, you can only encourage it.

    In short:

    - His dominant Si-function should be the framework he is using and whichever life experience he has.
    - He should stop using Ne beyond his comfort as his work will suffer if he tries to.
    - Ne should really not be used beyond mainly a) re-labelling Si-stored data b) Tying together different anecdotes which has shared characteristics about having a similar setting c) assisting the Te in allowing the narrative to flow correctly.
    - Te and Fi can be used as he sees fit.

    If he wants to become more creative across the board then he may need to wait until later in life or can work it out by making a list of the characteristics of two different objects, and identifying where and to the extent they have shared traits and recording them. He then does the same for two more objects. If he can identify shared traits by at least one object in their respective lists and records them e.g. Object A in list 1 is about the same size and mass as Object B in list 2 then he has at the very least simulated Ne. He can expand these connections accordingly. His Ne should be used to support his Si and should use his Si to develop itself.

    Note: In my opinion he has more chance of becoming a professional fiction writer than many NP types as at the very least his subject matter would be something an SJ population can identify with an enjoy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2011
    2 so/sx


    Stay away from forums
    Last edited by Istbkleta; 02-10-2013 at 10:25 AM.

  4. #4
    The Iron Giant


    Quote Originally Posted by Majora4Prez View Post
    sensing does not necessarily mean "lack of creativity"
    You're right, it doesn't.

    he is very worried that he is destined to be unable to take up his dream profession of fictional writing. He wishes to know how he might be able to develop his Ne inferior to be more in touch with his mind and dreams (and less so with reality) and be the writer he wants to be.
    Most people don't get that Si is a very personal, dramatic, and even romantic function. Our use of functions, in function theory, is defined by an interaction between our dominant function and our inferior function. They work in tandem, so it's Si most of the time, Ne the rest of the time. Se is more of an "in touch with reality" function than Si is, which is actually very much the opposite. It's mainly defined by detachment from the object... we Si doms may view things romantically, through a haze of nostalgia. This makes for some intense and beautiful expressions of abstract art, both in the visual arts and in writing.

    Ne is mainly defined by inability to firmly grasp onto things, a kind of flightiness of perception. Ne users lose interest in things very quickly. Inferior Ne in an ISTJ normally manifests as insecurities about what might be, and this is usually through extrapolation. This would be somewhere he goes when under stress. I don't think this is where he should go if he wants to write well, whether it's fiction or not.

    If he does want to become more balanced in his use of Si/Ne, he may simply have to wait. Over time, as these less used functions are needed more in our life experience, they seem to rise up. Greater comfort with Ne for an ISTJ, in my experience, shows itself as greater flexibility of perception: "maybe things are not quite how I've perceived them to be, and that's OK," says Ne.

  5. #5
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    4w5 sp/sx
    IEI Ni


    @Istbkleta is right about the worries being inferior Ne. Ne is not creativity for him, but distortion of future possibilites as negative, which often looks paranoid and mistrusting of newness. A better goal for self-growth would be Te, where he could identify steps for accomplishing his goals.

    The biggest obstacles most face in writing novels is self-discipline, organizing the ideas & story into some kind of structure, following through, and then the practical steps to getting published & read.

    Anyhow, I've met a lot of Si-dom who seem to feel their inner world is dull and that they are not creative at all. However, these people are often very individual (albeit consistent in their quirks so that once you're familiar with them you aren't surprised a lot), and they seem to become very skilled in areas which interest them because they do absorb a lot of detail and have the patience required for developing skill/know-how. Writing takes lot of patience and follow-through. You know how many NPs would love certain traits associated with Si so they could get their 500 ideas on paper & follow them through? :P

    This description of Si is not what most imagine of Si....perhaps show this to your friend and see what he thinks.

    The instinctive introvert is ruled by his emotions and impulses. These form the subjective side of instinctual life, just as sensation represents its objective side. The attention of the introvert is not directed primarily to the source of sensation (as communicated to {31} him through his sense-organs), but to its so-called “feeling-tone”, and to his own impulses. It depends upon the extent to which he is stirred, whether a given experience will make a big impression on him, not upon the intensity of the sensation itself. This aspect of susceptibility to emotion may occasionally, under certain conditions, prevail in anyone, but here it dominates all the other functions. Inherited disposition and early experience have produced a certain susceptibility to impressions and a certain need for emotional experience, and in these cases the whole mental life is directed by these two factors. Adjustment along these lines may, under favourable circumstances, provide for such people a satisfying existence, so long as these needs are met. Since in most cases there is little external evidence of this inner satisfaction, the lives of these people may sometimes appear to others as anything but happy, arousing compassion, for which there is no real reason.

    Children of this type are frequently noted for a certain gentleness and receptiveness, but also for periods of timidity and monosyllabic reserve. There is something a little vague and passive about them. They are attached to people in their environment who are kind to them. They love nature, animals, beautiful things, and an environment with which they have become familiar. Anything strange or new has at first no attraction for them; but they offer little active resistance to it and soon learn to accept the good in it. They are often friendly and easy to get on with, but a little lazy and impersonal. When older, too, these people usually give an outward impression of being reserved, quiet, and somewhat passive. Only in rare cases, for example, in artists, does the distinctive and personal quality of their inner emotion come to expression. In other cases, however, their whole behavior reveals their peculiar characteristics, although it is not easy to define these.

    People of this type have well-developed sense-organs, but they are particularly receptive to anything having lasting value for human instinctual needs. This lends to their lives a certain solid comfort, although it may lead to somewhat ponderous caution, if instinct becomes too deeply attached to all kinds of minor details. The advantages and disadvantages of this type are well brought out in the reserved and conservative farmer, with his care for his land and his beasts, and his tendency to carry on everything, down to the smallest detail, in the same old way. The same is true of the sailor. He also shows a passive resistance to anything new, which can only be overcome by absolutely convincing experience. Other examples of this type are the naturalist, devotedly observing in minutest detail the lives of plants and animals, the lonely collector of beautiful {32} or interesting things, the worker in applied art, and the painter, who manage to express a deep experience in the presentation of ordinary things. In their own field these people are usually very much at home, having a good mastery of the technical side of their calling, but without regarding this as any special merit. They accept both what they can, and what they cannot, do, as simple facts, but they tend on the whole to under-estimate rather than to over-estimate themselves. Pretense and bluff in others may irritate them to the point of protest, which is probably connected with their own difficulty in understanding their own potentialities and worth. These people usually strike one as very quiet and somewhat passive. Except in relation to persons and things in their own immediate sphere, to which they are bound by their instinctual reactions, they show little inclination to activity; they never readily depart from their routine. If anything gets in their way, they put up a peculiarly passive resistance, although under exceptional circumstances there may be an outbreak of wrath. If their environment is not favorable, they will nevertheless try to adapt themselves to it; in such circumstances, they are inclined to regard their emotions, in so far as they differ from other people’s ideas, as morbid. At the same time, they feel extraordinarily helpless and inferior. Or they may turn away from the world and give themselves up entirely to their own emotions. Where this is the case, they see any adaptation to other people as a mere pretense, and may develop remarkable skill in belittling the motives and ideals of others.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  6. #6
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    I also agree that Ne is not the only way to be creative. As a matter of fact, we ISTJs do have the power to create. Where the Ne can pull things seemingly from out of nowhere, we Si do the opposite. We take what we know, and combine them into something new. And we Si know A LOT. It just takes some self-reflection to really understand where you are good at. And then some work to iron out your best qualities.

    I do not know Dan Brown, nor have I read his books, but I've seen two movies based on his books. Through the movies I got a feeling that Dan Brown might actually be an ISTJ, or write in a way that fits for ISTJs. Why? Because he has spent time finding out little details, combining them and then creating a fiction out of them. It all feels very realistic. For all we know, it could be true. I think ISTJ authors would excel in areas such as this, creating urban myths based on facts.

    And anyways, I think one's MBTI only tells you what you are most likely interested in and what motivates you. It doesn't say anything about your abilities. But people tend to be skilled in the things they are interested in. If he really wants to be an author, he just needs to read a lot. And write a lot. As the theory goes, "it takes 10000 hours to master a skill".

    For some years now I've also had a dream that I could write a fiction book (fantasy, something like Robin Hobb). I've been playing role-playing games for two decades, so I'm not new to storytelling. And I've wrote some short novellas too. People have completemented my writtings and told me that they have been interesting. But I don't have that "burn" inside me that would drive me crazy if I didn't write, which is why I haven't written that book. But if I would write, I think I'd built it in a very orderly fashion. It would be very well planned, and very little would happen by accident in that book. Hah, there you have it. ISTJs don't write, they build books. xD
    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."
    -Nikola Tesla

  7. #7
    Member Jstrazz's Avatar
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    Nov 2012


    Quote Originally Posted by Habba View Post

    And anyways, I think one's MBTI only tells you what you are most likely interested in and what motivates you. It doesn't say anything about your abilities. But people tend to be skilled in the things they are interested in. If he really wants to be an author, he just needs to read a lot. And write a lot. As the theory goes, "it takes 10000 hours to master a skill".
    I agree with Habba, the MBTI, though very accurate and a good indicator of how we as unique individuals think, act and obtain information, is merely a tool, and a tool that describes our preferences. The worst thing your friend can do is box himself in. If his heart is for fictional writing, no matter of ISTJ-ishness is going to stop him. It may indeed make his work more difficult, but in the end, the heart trumps whatever our minds may tell us about ourselves.

  8. #8
    Bird of War Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    5w6 sp/so
    LII None


    As an INTP, humor is a good way to use or "practice" Ne. I have no idea if it works like that for ISTJs, it being the inferior function. And I suppose "humor" is vague, because there may be a function-specific component to humor.

    When I say "humor", it's a very in the moment-context specific type of humor. I don't repeat jokes very often, and I very rarely tell "narrative" jokes, unless as a way of explaining where the hell I got the idea for a specific joke.

    And the thing about Ne is that it's sort of like a hummingbird. It's great at helping us to come up with things, but that doesn't always mean we will make anything out of it and follow through.

    I guess, maybe, see if you can think up something funny during group conversations. You don't have to say it, if you feel like it's not appropriate. Try it as more of an exercise.
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