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Questions about how Ni works

AdamK

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Merry Christmas. I'm trying to get a better understanding of what Ni is like and how it works, specifically to make sure I haven't misunderstood the words that are normally used to describe it. If some high Ni users could please answer these questions (although anybody's input is welcome of course) then that would be helpful.

Question 1: It's said that Ni usually works subconsciously in order to solve problems. So, when someone uses Ni, do answers sudden come to them in a light bulb moment? Or, is it more like they are consciously thinking about the problem, then the answer comes while they're deliberately thinking about it? If you could please give me an example then that would be helpful.

Question 2: It's said that Ni is predictive. Is this like you can see why a pattern you are witnessing exists? Is your mind just explaining why the pattern you are currently witnessing is happening, which seems like it's telling you something about the present in my opinion, instead of predicting the future? Or, is it more like you can see why the pattern exists, so you can work out what the next step in the pattern will be, so that you are predicting the next step in the pattern? Again, examples would be helpful.

Finally, is it possible that Jung was wrong that there are only two types of cognitive function which are intuition functions? Could there be a third type of intuition, which Jung didn't identify because he liked to put things in contrasting pairs? Just having two variations of things seems very limited, and I don't see why, for example, introverted feeling (a feeling function) must be paired with extroverted intuition, when intuition has nothing to do with emotions or how you engage with others emotionally.
 

GavinElster

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A few comments come to mind.

In Jung's way of thinking, it is probably more accurate to say there's one function of intuition, and it looks different in introverted/extraverted attitudes. Now there could be other aspects of personality which color how intuition manifests too -- besides I/E, one might study some other differentiating factors. But those are two differentiating factors Jung was interested in at the time.

It was not a part of Jung's original theory that an introverted judging function must be paired with an extraverted perceiving function. That was introduced in the Myers-Briggs formulation of things. In socionics, they try to put Jung's idea together with the Myers-Briggs one -- in one sense, an introverted intuitive-thinking ILI type would have Ni-Te, and in another sense, Ni-Ti.
I think Jung's formulation is more consistent with the Ni-Ti than Ni-Te, and he gave Nietzsche as an example of this. To Jung, you just had a dominant I/E attitude, and both your dominant/auxiliary paired with that attitude -- it was somehow quite simple. The complementary workings of I/E happened more via the conscious-I/unconscious-E complementing each other than with the dominant/auxiliary.

Obviously, though, there is some room to question Jung on this point -- he clearly thought complementary working can put two "opposites" together in the dom/aux for perceiving/judging, i.e. he didn't seem to have a problem with a N-dominant having conscious T or F.
Perceiving and judging are the kinds of things that can both be seen as opposites and as working together.
The question is whether I/E is also that kind of dichotomy -- is it square opposites, or could they be seen as working together. I think it's reasonable, actually, to think of them as working together in a sense -- "I" is about the inner world/the mind,and "E" is about what the mind is representing out there in the world. While someone could reasonably see one perspective as more real than the other, it does seem fair to say that one represents the other, and so they work together just like perceiving and judging.

I like to think of it a bit like the auxiliary is not seen as the most 'real' perspective, but it is the one that is pragmatically real and can complement the dom.





Anyway, now to understand Ni: I think your first question about Ni is in some ways just a question about intuition in general, at least the way Jung formulated it; I know that in the MBTI world Ni is much more explicitly tied to the unconscious than Ne, but I think Jung thought of both as mostly tied to that -- although it is true that introversion oriented one more to the world of archetypes of the unconscious. What is its relation to conscious vs unconscious information processing. There is no question that Jung emphasized the unconscious processing -- that you simply know it in a way you cannot explain it.
I think that's certainly one aspect of intuition, but I personally think it was a little too squarely the focus in some of Jung. Sometimes when we say we can explain the intuitive idea behind something technical, we're doing it more deliberately, making analogies, and so on, and it's not completely unconscious, though it is probably less consciously deliberate than a pure logic formulation, where everything can be made explicit. After all, the very idea of getting the idea without having all spelled out means there's something implicit/unconscious going on -- that you have a sense you could fill in the details without having an instruction manual.

The most direct explanation of what Ni/ Ne are supposed to be is really if the intuitions are getting more at something about how your mind works or something out there in the "objective world." Basically, is the purest form of the intuition that it appeals to how your mind works, or that it correctly approximates the thing as it is independent of your mind.
Perhaps this is why Ne is portrayed as skeptical, brainstorm-y, and so on -- that's the only way we can get out of our heads to approximate what's outside it.
Ni needn't speculate, because it's not about something foreign. It is subject-oriented and cerebral, and in some sense very close to the "limits of our mind," being in some sense the most mind-oriented function.
 

Pionart

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I don't know that Ni really is predictive. That's just a stereotype is I understand correctly.

Ne is more predictive. It scans ahead to what the outcome will be in a given situation.

I've had experience with lightbulb moments, but it's more like "channeling" the answer. Just as Si might channel a memory, Ni channels the right way to understand something.

Every function processes things unconsciously when you're not consciously using them. It's not Ni specific.


Ni is more about understanding concepts than about what you wrote.
 

Pionart

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I'm trying to get a better understanding of what Ni is like and how it works, specifically to make sure I haven't misunderstood the words that are normally used to describe it.
This is Ni. Not the examples you gave.
 

Pionart

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Lastly, about a third type of intuition: check out Tom Dwan.

His intuition is between Ne and Ni.

It happens, but it's rare.
 

INTJ1456

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A lot of MBTI websites describe Ni as being like a light bulb moment, where things come to you and you can’t explain how you got there. They say Ni thinks like a spiderweb, not in a logical sequential order. The descriptions they give of Ni sounds more like a description of P.

I am an N type and supposedly have Ni as my dominant function, and I don’t find these descriptions accurate of myself. I deliberately think creatively. When I don’t trust authority, it’s not a gut reaction, it’s a logical skepticism. I’m good at anticipating effects from causes, but it’s not due to psychic powers, it’s because I’m using my logic to predict the probable outcomes. I can easily explain how I reach all my conclusions.

Jung didn’t combine function types in the way you’re describing. In Psychological Types, he says these are the personality possibilities: Ne, Ni, Fe, Fi, Te, Ti, Se, Si. There were no function stacks. In his book, he said a person has a dominant function, which is his personality type, and ALL OTHER FUNCTIONS are equally inferior in that person. Yes, it’s very different from what MBTI sites say today. I’m still trying to figure out how they reached their conclusions. My function stack isn’t accurate of me, but my personality type description is.
 

Pionart

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@INTJ1456 what does it matter what Jung said? We've moved on since then.

Also, you sound like an SiTe/ISTJ in the above post. I'm wondering where you get Ni from?
 

Coriolis

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@INTJ1456 what does it matter what Jung said? We've moved on since then.

Also, you sound like an SiTe/ISTJ in the above post. I'm wondering where you get Ni from?
We (the field of typology/personality) did not so much move on as expand, sometimes significantly, upon the work of Jung. His views are part of the early foundation of this area of exploration, and as such are worth consideration even if they now comprise only part of the puzzle.
 

INTJ1456

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@INTJ1456

Also, you sound like an SiTe/ISTJ in the above post. I'm wondering where you get Ni from?
I get Ni because websites say INTJ and INFJ have Ni as their dominant function. ISTJ does not describe me. INTJ and INFJ do. When I take the quizzes (and I’ve taken over ten different ones), I get INTJ 60% of the time and INFJ 40% of the time. I have never gotten ISTJ as my result. No function stack fits me. They don’t allow for enough variety. Who determined which function stacks correlate with the 4 letter types? You might notice that the descriptions of Ni do not match the descriptions of N. This is why N describes me but Ni does not.
 

SearchingforPeace

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Ni isn't predictive like Ne. It is bringing understanding of future into a single whole. When paired with Se, it can unconsciously come to a vision of the future.

When I am driving I can see cars about to change lanes, speed up, suddenly turn, etc. well before it happens. Se, the external perceiving function, feeds data to Ni and Ni sees the future event before it happens.

When taking a standardized multiple choice test, Ni provides answers at lighting speed.

In talking in the moment, especially in a flow moment, things just come out.

Ne sees patterns everywhere and sees multiple possibilities. Ne is great at brainstorming. Ni is bad at brainstorming, as it keeps coming to one answer.
 

Doctor Cringelord

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A lot of MBTI websites describe Ni as being like a light bulb moment, where things come to you and you can’t explain how you got there. They say Ni thinks like a spiderweb, not in a logical sequential order. The descriptions they give of Ni sounds more like a description of P.

I am an N type and supposedly have Ni as my dominant function, and I don’t find these descriptions accurate of myself. I deliberately think creatively. When I don’t trust authority, it’s not a gut reaction, it’s a logical skepticism. I’m good at anticipating effects from causes, but it’s not due to psychic powers, it’s because I’m using my logic to predict the probable outcomes. I can easily explain how I reach all my conclusions.

Jung didn’t combine function types in the way you’re describing. In Psychological Types, he says these are the personality possibilities: Ne, Ni, Fe, Fi, Te, Ti, Se, Si. There were no function stacks. In his book, he said a person has a dominant function, which is his personality type, and ALL OTHER FUNCTIONS are equally inferior in that person. Yes, it’s very different from what MBTI sites say today. I’m still trying to figure out how they reached their conclusions. My function stack isn’t accurate of me, but my personality type description is.
Jung was not entirely right
 
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