The diagram below shows the essential elements of information metabolism. Each of the four energetic functions fills a necessary role in our metabolism of data – from initial input, to comparison with existing data, to evaluation of it against our inner alignment/misalignment, down to a necessary action.

Through this algorithm and its exponential operation, our perceptions and deductions quickly multiply into countless expressions, beliefs and worldviews – each stemming from relatively few fundamental principles working in unison and in rapid succession.

Each human possesses one of these two judgment oscillation pairings and a perception oscillation pairings, completing all the necessary functions for cognitive operation. The necessity for the presence of one oscillation pair at the exclusion of the other relates directly to the energetic relationship that defines those pairings. As we have established in this chapter, the operation of Ne-Si, for example, is entirely counter to that of Se-Ni both in its way of perceiving reality as well as in its process of archiving memories.

The discord that would result from the presence of both oscillations within the same individual would be an inability to properly record or recall memories, or interpret the environment due to conflicting instructions in the same domain.

The overarching algorithm of cognitive type includes an antagonistic relationship between Te-Fi and Ti-Fe as well as between Ne-Si and Ni-Se. However, because each individual human can only possess one or the other, the final antagonistic relationship of this algorithm magnifies and completes itself beyond the individual level and cannot be understood in whole without an understanding of the collective. As some humans represent one aspect of the equation, others will display the opposite – and thus not only are there internal oppositions within the same individual, but this psychic tension exists also between humans.

a. Hierarchy

There are two factors at play in determining differentiation of types between people: the oscillation pairs that are present within them and their energetic arrangement. We see four general sub-classes of human emerge from the mutual exclusion of oscillation pairings, as Ti-Fe and Fi-Te can exist with either Se-Ni or Ne-Si. These four sub-classes each possess all necessary components for psychic operation, however the energetic arrangement of those processes differs in people.

This is because the psyche requires an energetic vector in order to perpetuate the cycling of those processes forward. An individual can either lead with the judgment oscillation pairing or the perception oscillation pairing, and of those two options an individual can either lead with the proactive or reactive function of that oscillation.

The default state of an individual’s psyche will rest in the primary oscillation pair while the secondary oscillation pair will be supportive and feed the first pair, but its aims will never be pursued outside of their ability to properly aide the prime directive.

The primary ‘drama’ within a psyche is the first oscillation; the attention and obsession of the psyche will be directed toward synthesizing the two polar ends most native to it, and while it will never succeed in fully doing so, via its effort it will generate an ever refining comprehension of the themes it touches upon.

If for example we take an individual who possesses the Ti-Fe and Se-Ni oscillation pairs, their core psychological disposition will be either that of judgment or perception. In the case of wielding Ti-Fe as their primary mode of operation they will be lead towards certainty, internal alignment and conclusiveness since both Ti and Fe hold the same decisive disposition and can communicate and compromise with one another even if they disagree on the specific content involved.

They strive for accuracy in deduction and require the antagonistic operation of each other in order to do this successfully. They will then use Se-Ni as subordinate processes to aide them by delivering data from which they can draw more distinguished conclusions. The data fed in by Se-Ni will be analyzed and concluded upon by the joined effort of the Ti-Fe process.

The diagram above shows a depiction of what this arrangement looks like. One oscillation has been expanded, as seen here by Ti-Fe, while Ni-Se is contained within the diameter of the larger oscillation. It is in this sense, also, that cognitive type differs greatly both from type as defined originally by Jung as well as Isabel Briggs Myers.

The psyche does not work as compartmentalized bits, nor does it work with percentages of use of each process. It would be simple to say that each function has a general definition and that an individual has 100% of that first function with progressively less amounts of all the rest, as if assuming functions came in quantities. But instead the functions work as a complex system and that system is interwoven by governing dynamics in ways more nuanced than a simple sliding scale of prevalence in the psyche.

And so a hierarchical arrangement as described by these principles would not be “Fe > Ni > Se > Ti” but instead “Fe(Ni-Se)Ti” – where Ni-Se is contained within Fe-Ti and the psyche is led by proactivity. If instead the psyche is led by reactivity, then the resulting hierarchy is Ti(Se-Ni)Fe. These two hierarchies are the same fundamental sub-equation, differing only in their overall direction of energy flow, making them closer to one another in functionality and information processing than to any other types. This polarity in energy flow exists for each of the other pairings, leading to the sixteen cognitive types.

This snippet has been imported from Cognitive Type, with the author’s permission. We hope you enjoy!