When the explorer process is proactive abstraction (Ne) and the worldview process is reactive and concrete (Si), the psychological approach to information synthesis is prolific; one of plurality. Inversely, the Se-Ni duality has a psychological approach tending toward linearity. If we were to compare the processes via a ratio, the Ne-Si pair generates more connections but with each having a shorter range, while Se-Ni generates fewer connections with each holding a larger range.
In extraverted perception, this phenomenon of plurality arises inevitably when we have abstraction – which is the process of interrelating – oriented outward. If we consider the explorer processes’ operations, then we understand why it is that when the explorer process is also the abstraction process, many more connections are formed in more rapid succession and of shorter range. It’s because the explorer process is real-time, absorbing reality at miniature intervals in order to give us our constant and unbroken sense of reality, and always moving its gaze to new observations. If the exploration process must also be abstract, then the activity of abstracting must keep up with this pace. For Ne, abstraction cannot be a long and premeditated activity, but one which coalesces with, and retains the qualities of its own rapid exploration.
Here we see a diagram that depicts the difference in the process of interrelation as it transpires within the two perception oscillation pairings. As you’ll see, The Se-Ni pairing holds its abstraction process internally and its concrete process is held outward, thus it never abstracts when coming outward.
Inversely, for the Ne-Si pairing abstraction is done by the explorer process when coming outward. This means that for Ne, the interrelation process happens while fast, multiple/prolific exploration of the environment is taking place, shown here by the interconnecting lines. To elaborate on the precise mechanics of this disposition toward prolific, quick and fleeting interconnections, I would like to describe two factors that strongly affect the attitude of Ne.
The first I have termed the refresh factor. The perspectives of the two explorer processes are contingent on what is transpiring in real-time, while the worldview processes are constant perspectives not dependent on the present moment. Each time the mind conceives a topic, an event or happenstance, it is recreated by the explorer process as if it was occurring for the first time. The explorer processes by themselves have no precedent, seeing reality anew each passing moment and this is a crucial element of their operation.
It is the role of the worldview process to echo back a precedent. The perspective of the explorer process alone would be entirely dependent on the present moment and what can be extracted from it were it not in dialogue with the worldview process. Due to this constant refreshing, Ne’s ability to interrelate information is confined to what variables appear in its thoughts at the instance of interconnection.
While this may include some of what it manages to receive from the echo of the worldview process Si, it does not have the whole of Si’s reservoir in mind, lacking its scope and breadth. This shortsightedness inherent to the explorer process contributes to Ne forming short-lived, situational connections rather than long-spanning connections as does Ni. The second and perhaps strongest contributing factor of Ne’s shortsightedness is what I have termed the diverging factor.
As Ne is an explorer process but also an abstract process, its focus in exploration is directed toward the symbolism of things; what something implies. It does exploration for the sake of making connections, not so much to quantify the actual qualities of the environment and this places Ne in a somewhat paradoxical role in the psyche. On one hand, it must assimilate sensory data, but on the other it must disengage from the presently-observed data in order to “leap” its mental or literal gaze to another dataset with which it can make an association.
This leads to a natural divergence of attention away from the literal qualities of objects in the outer world at every leap, causing it to lose focus on an object when it ceases to be a source of correlation. That is to say, unlike Se who looks at an object for its qualities, Ne is less equipped to ascertain the literal qualities of an object – as it becomes, almost immediately, a symbol. Indeed, often Ne may fail to truly grasp what it is perceiving as it does not allow itself to linger long enough to absorb its nuance, but is instead diverted immediately into a chain of interconnections spawned from the symbol that the object represents at a very immediate glance.
When Se explores reality it seeks to assimilate a plethora of data as it appears to its senses without any modification, which is then all synthesized with the help of Ni into interconnections. Ne proactively seeks to interrelate elements together, while Ni generates connections reactively from Se observing reality unfold. Hence, as one would expect, the Ni tapestry is much more tied together due to its interrelating transpiring within the worldview process and not the explorer process.
Ni is not quite as generous in its interrelations as Ne, as the role of the worldview process is to give predictability to the world. In comparison to Ni, Ne carries an optimism in association-forming – as it makes a point of finding ways that data can fit together, and its talent does not lie in making the data rational within itself, nor is its motivation the creation of a consistent and predictable landscape of reality. It will see no limitations as to what can be interrelated, nor does it seek to hold itself accountable for the interrelations it previously formed, as its own interrelations quickly become obsolete to it when refreshing occurs. Se, also being an explorer process, is equally constantly in an accelerated state of refreshing and absorption, but it doesn’t finish absorbing the qualities of an object as quickly as Ne, because it actually is gathering the literal qualities, which are more plentiful than the general symbolic meanings.
Se will linger, both mentally and visually, longer on objects in order to receive their literal qualities. And from this large array of “premises”, the internal process of interrelating weaves together more encompassing connections retrospectively – having also at its disposal all prior knowledge. In other words, for Se-Ni, each new event is synthesized viscerally with all prior connections, rather than with what is brought to mind in the moment. This is not to say Ni-Se is any more rational or objectively accurate in its approach, although it will most certainly experience its own associations with more certainty than Ne would. This self-persuasion toward surety may ebb across the whole psyche, convincing the individual that certain inevitabilities are at play before any situational grounds exist to warrant such suppositions.
I would also like to elaborate on the relation the worldview processes have to memory. As mentioned earlier, the worldview process is a function of the psyche that handles the structure of our memory; the way in which such information is stored and recalled. There is a general reluctance existing in both worldview processes towards new information, as new information offsets the worldview and forces reconsideration.
The worldview process by itself holds no desire for outside information and would be content holding a perception of reality generated entirely by the data already accumulated. While it will not venture into the external world by itself, it is forced to adjust itself by the intake from the explorer process – and as these readjustments occur it regains predictability. While Si accomplishes predictability by storing the real-time associations of Ne as concrete information that can be referenced as static facts, Ni accomplishes predictability through tying together Se’s array of static, sensory input into a lattice of directional outcomes.
Hence, the tapestry of Si is filled with situational, largely isolated and compartmentalized interconnections which are continually being re-triggered into consciousness by the environment and reordered by Ne through active rearrangement before they re-settle again into a static form. It is necessary for Ne that Si store data as static information, as this allows Ne the freedom to rearrange and selectively connect data clusters into new forms without being restricted by the connections they might have to other datasets.
The Ni worldview works in an inverse manner, as new data from Se alters its tapestry in such a way that the rearrangement of any dataset affects all other datasets that it may be connected with – as a ripple spreading through an ocean surface. Such interconnection can cause undesired effects, as what might have been a correct perception, initially arrived at from direct Se experience, is altered by modifications to adjacent datasets into something erroneous. And this new perspective is felt with the same level of inevitability that the original perception was felt with, even though it had no direct sensory basis for its newly modified form.
As is no doubt clear at this point, both the Si-Ne and Ni-Se perception oscillations contain logical fallacies in their functionality. The former is prone to fallacies of anecdotal overreliance and wishful thinking, the latter of unwarranted assumptions and an inability to theorize alternatives. It is the task of the judgment functions to weed out these fallacies, but the tendency to make them will forever exist within the corresponding users, as they are a natural consequence of the perception oscillations’ normal operation.
This snippet has been imported from Cognitive Type, with the author’s permission. We hope you enjoy!