Clarifying some ambiguous terms

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Some of Jung's terms have been ambiguous, in fitting different type dichotomies at different times, which may cause some confusion when these terms are encountered.

The most notable pair is the common terms “subjective” and “objective”, which are used for both introversion/extraversion, as well as Thinking/Feeling.
One is dealing with an individual or environmental orientation, where only the individual is conscious of his own “soul”, and thus everything in the environment {including other people} become “objects”. The other is dividing all of reality directly between impersonal “objects” and personal “souls” {whether individual or environmental}, and making rational assessments based on which of these two categories we are reacting based on. Hence, in addition to "subjective", you also see "personal" used for both i and F functional perspectives.

Other such "cross-talk" between some other dichotomies as well, includes "concrete/abstract" applying to both Sensing/iNtuition and i/e. (this will be discussed more below). David Keirsey Please Understand Me II p331 had said Myers "inherited Jung's error of confusing extraversion with observation (S) and introversion with introspection (N)". (See So he uses "introspective" for N, and yet others get confused, because they still associate introspection with I. Some EN types are said to "look introverted", because N is "introspective".

Then, in Jung's writings, you even see "conscious/unconscious" used for both S/N and i/e attitude. (It seemed what is deemed "conscious" is whatever is sensory (tangible) and externally oriented (environmental). Internal (individual) is not really conscious, because you're not experiencing it from the real world; it's basically an image you're bringing up yourself; just as N is really dealing just in images without [necessary] "substance".)

The difference can be seen in all three factors (i/e, S/N and T/F) dealing with the primary polarity in our existence, of "I" vs "not I"

i/e deals with this directly, looking at WHERE the data we are processing is coming from. Either the environment ("not I"; object) through direct experience (conscious) or our own individual ("I"; subject) filtration (unconscious; not actual experiencing at the time) of it; often through memory.

S/N is WHAT FORM the data is; either tangible items (and practical situations, etc.; conscious); "as is" ("not I"), or our own [individual; ("I")] grouping of data into intangible (unconscious) concepts. (Your iNtuition really only is perceived by you, until shared with others). Both i and N are creating "ideas" that are processed by an individual, but one is treating 'idea' as the "location" (orientation; exists only in an individual), and the other as a type of data.

T/F is dividing reality essentially into types of understanding; WHO OR WHAT are we understanding in an assessment of a situation: Either impersonal objects ("not I") known through their "mechanics", or living souls; each one an individual "subject" ("I", as part of the larger "us", who are the only things in the known physical universe that can even speak of "I/us". So this is like a collective sense of "I/not I").

We can see here where we can even detach from ourselves and look at the "mechanics" of how we work as "objects" in the universe, even though we are still people with souls. This is how people and things involving them can be seen through a "Thinking" lens.

The most complicated ambiguous term is "concrete/abstract"

Where in Myers' and Keirsey's use, they have come to refer specifically to S/N, in Jung's original conception, they can apply to all of them (and to i/e).

“Concrete” deals with the physical world of sensation, hence becoming associated with the Sensing function. However, the way Jung used it was not really about functional cognition, but rather more closely indicated the lack of it. Sensation in its own right, in which the cognitive functions lied in a state called “undifferentiated”. (“Concrete” actually means “all grown together”).

The opposite of concrete was “abstract”, which was defined as the process of abolishing distinctions among many concrete things in order to focus on what they share in common, which can thereafter be treated as an idea. THIS is where the functions now differentiate according to the type of “ideas” being separated out. The material "substance", as well as hypothetical "ideas" of [observed] reality; and the mechanics as well as soul-affect of assessed reality, themselves are properties of concrete things they share in common, and which we are treating as ideas.
(So notice, how the products of any differentiated function are "ideas", which also is what N deals specifically with. This is why these theories; comprising the study of the functions, fall into the domain of the N perspective).

We also divide reality between what is purely concrete, and what has “meaning” for us as cognizant beings. We can watch animals devouring one another, or nursing their young; or stars exploding and engulfing planets, and spreading the matter out to create new stars and planets. All of this is just the impersonal [T product], material [S product] world behaving according to the laws of the universe (hence, the "mechanics" or the "material" world).
Yet we can personally identify or "relate" [F product] to these things, turning them into “stories” [N product] that we place ourselves into (imagining people hurting or helping each other), thus assigning meanings to these “objects” [e product] that touch each of us as “subjects” [i product]. These stories are the “ideas” that link together what the different data has in common. (In this example, destruction or creation).

We are said to "use" a function when this data is further broken down into the actual awareness and assessments of those products. Sensing and Thinking will deal more with “what is”; either observing it as tangible data “at hand”, or assessing it with logical categories or principles useful in decisions. Impersonal; efficiency; things are true or false. iNtuition and Feeling deal more with meanings; either an awareness of inferences or big pictures (all “concepts”) that are not things at hand, or assessments of how it affects us living creatures. Hence, “value” (such as moral) or “worth”. Ethics, morality, good or bad. Emotional affect may be paid more attention to.

While Sensing (and also, by analogy, Thinking) may deal more directly with the concrete, and iNtuition (and by analogy, Feeling), may separate meaning out of the data; all four are separating out their own data as 'ideas' tying things in common. For the sensations of the tangible world have to be processed through cognitive interpretation as well.

Then, data is further abstracted when a subject turns inward to an internal (individual) storehouse of data rather than turning outward to reference the properties of the object (in the environment) directly; separating out what is less relevant to the internal model in making observations or assessments. Hence, “abstraction” we can see exists on several levels, not just the S vs N distinction (Jung called the opposite, on this level, “empathy”, where the subject merges with the object instead of filtering it internally; rather than “concrete”). So likewise, “subjective vs objective” varies in meaning; fitting either T/F or i/e.

We could also look at it the other way, of dividing reality into awareness and assessment first, and then awareness will divide into tangible vs conceptual, and assessment into personal vs impersonal.

Again, a lot of confusion results from both S/N and the e or i attitudes being connected with "conscious"/"unconscious", respectively. But in one case, the terms are describing how you became aware (consciously taking in reality directly, or conjuring up reality already internalized, thus not currently being taken in) and the other is what you are aware of (something you can be consciously experiencing now or did before, or something only inferred or guessed, where whatever "reality" being hypothesized is not actually a conscious experience.

We can understand Jung's definition of "conscious", as "whatever matches the current environment" (and thus, can be directly "perceived". In referencing an experience through memory, the "experience" (S) part of it was "conscious" (once in the environment), and is thus consciously "remembered", but the individual (i) recollection part, as contrasted with a current actual experience, it's a kind of unconsciousness.

When you abstract meaning by comparing environmental patterns, the fact that these are hypothetical (N) elements and not actual experiences is "unconscious". But again, it's something you're currently (e), consciously engaging (the analogue to "experiencing", in the sense of a hypothetical reality), and thus still has a "conscious" element. So filling those unconscious elements in from these impressions (i) is unconscious in both ways. (And of course, extraverted judgments are drawing from what's in the environment; thus "conscious", while introverted ones are drawing from what's in the individual; thus unconscious to everyone else, and may even be hard for the individual himself to readily notice).

So, basically:
Se=“consciousness of consciousness”
Si=“unconsciousness of consciousness”
Ne=“consciousness of unconsciousness”
Ni=“unconsciousness of unconsciousness”, and hence the hardest to understand or explain.
(Notice both Ni and Se end up as “meta” forms; hence, a straight “realizing”, where the uneven Ne and Si are basically "comparing" things, and will usually end up resorting to “inquiring”; fitting the new "Intentional Styles" terms).

Adapted from:
"Personality Matrix: MBTI and the 16 Types and Cognitive Functions"