Emotional Attitude

Emotional attitude (Ea) refers to our most dominant pattern of emotional processing within an agreeable-disagreeable spectrum. The measurement of emotional attitude is done along a gradient. A person’s Ea is not an innate feature of their personality, but is the result of their life conditioning and how a person has come to route their emotional pathways over years. However, this early emotional conditioning often becomes a life-long feature of personhood. This spectrum can be summarized in the following two categories:

Agreeable (Seelie/Adaptive) Disagreeable (Unseelie/Directive)
Heads
  • Being interested and responsive to the emotional states of people.
  • Making people feel at ease.
  • Sympathizing with other’s feelings.
  • Permeability to the emotional energies of environments.
  • Being openly kind, warm and cooperative.
  • Being compliant (not stubborn).
  • A quickness towards trusting & forgiving.

Tails

  • Lacking self-assertion.
  • Displaying conflict-avoidant behavior.
  • Giving of oneself, even when there is not enough to give.
  • Yielding one’s power to others; powerlessness.
  • Repressing anger and aggression.
  • Showing passive-aggressiveness.
Heads
  • Having a clear sense of emotional boundaries.
  • Being okay with being disliked.
  • Being tough-minded and thick skinned.
  • Selective receptivity to the emotions of those you care for.
  • Not being afraid to upset those around you.
  • Being stubborn about what you want, and not accommodating.
  • Being selective with who to trust, and cautious to forgive.

Tails

  • Proclivity to be rude and impolite in social settings.
  • Tendency to become combative and aggressive.
  • Repressing vulnerability in relationships.
  • Being out of touch with one’s softer side.
  • Projecting one’s anger onto others; scapegoating.
  • Being unsympathetic to others’ pains and suffering.

Not Cognition

Emotional attitude is a separate phenomenon from our cognitive type, yet one that exists alongside of it. While our cognitive type is a pattern of information processing which resides in the cerebral cortex, the activities of the emotional register are more deeply rooted in the limbic system and the rest of the body. These two systems are computationally divided from each other, yet they run in parallel within us like two separate “centers” of awareness. But to understand what the conjunction between these two systems looks like, we can first summarize what each of them handles on its own:

Cortical – Cognitive Type Limbic – Emotional Attitude
  • Describes typological brain differences in cognitive processing.
  • Manages the construction of mental objects, their values, vectors and coordinates.
  • Gives rise to an abstract representation of reality: consciousness.
  • At high levels, it’s experienced as the phenomenology of our “thoughts.”
  • Describes different modes of “thinking” – such as reasoning, defining, planning, recalling.
  • Describes the typological differences in emotional processing.
  • Describes typical pathways of metabolizing pain, anger, sadness, grief, joy, etc.
  • Describes our social response pattern when around others, and how our bodies react to threats.
  • Describes our relationship to aggression and assertion or submission and martyrdom.

Separate, But Running In Parallel

There are strong connections between the cortex and the thalamus, through the thalamocortical network — a structural highway of neurons that oscillates information back and forth between the two regions at matching brain frequencies. Thus, just as with the two brain hemispheres, biology is simultaneously keeping these systems apart from each other in order to specialize different tasks, then re-joining them through structural pathways. However, this creates a nuanced relationship between the systems that is best understood as “separate, but running in parallel.” What we think (cortex) affects how we feel (limbic), and vice versa. Yet they remain separate operations.

T & F

This parallel processing is especially important to clarify in relation to the biotic (F) and abiotic (T) attributes. The biotic/abiotic attributes are wholly cognitive operations, responsible for our recognition of an object as possessing animation or being inanimate. Neither are emotional in nature, and thus being a high T or F type is unrelated to our emotional attitude. The two dimensions can exist in any combination. We can model these combinations with a diagram like so:

Agreeable Disagreeable
High F + Agreeable:

Habitually highlighting subjects as possessing biotic/living qualities, and having a permeable membrane to their emotional needs at all times.

High F + Disagreeable:

Habitually highlighting subjects as possessing biotic/living qualities, yet having an emotional barrier around these agents at all times.

High T + Agreeable:

Habitually registering people as algorithms or mechanical objects, yet having a permeable membrane to their emotional needs at all times.

High T + Disagreeable:

Habitually registering people as algorithms or mechanical objects, and having an emotional barrier around these agents at all times.

Te + Agreeable:

To give an example of how these two dimensions come together in a real person, we can consider the case of a Te-lead + Agreeable parent. A Te-lead mother may care deeply for her daughter and be sure to take care of her logistical needs. In doing so she will mentally model her daughter as an object/system with inputs and outputs, and take the appropriate mechanical (T) steps to ensure her well-being, as a well-oiled machine. Although the daughter is loved very much, and is treated as a living subject by Fi (essentially), she is perceived as an abiotic object within a mechanical causality at another level (Te).

The agreeable Te user will be compassionate toward people, sympathetic toward their needs at the emotional level, but at the cognitive level their problem-solving thought processes will be robotic. Thus they will employ a dry, logistical methodology towards achieving the aims of their agreeable attitude. These two dimensions are not opposed to each other, since the Te user’s mechanistic focus assists them in being able to help those they love.

Ti + Agreeable:

To give an example of this in the Ti-lead, we can suppose that a Ti-lead mother wishes to help their daughter who is having emotional problems. The mother’s agreeable attitude will cause her to feel sympathy and share the pain of her daughter, due to a permeability towards her. However, in aiming to understand her daughter’s emotional predicament, the mother will psychoanalyze her with a level of mental distance. The daughter is treated, at some cognitive level, as an object that is being diagnosed the same way one might diagnose a patient using a medical instrument. The Ti-lead mother may try to explain the daughter’s emotional condition from some abstract conceptual space, rather than registering her subjective qualities directly as a living essence. However, much like the Te-lead mother, this treatment of the daughter as an object will assist the Ti-lead mother in her own way. The mother may come to form an understanding of her daughter from a psychoanalytical point of view, and then use that knowledge to assist her through issues.

Function Axes Differences

Although the J functions are a separate phenomenon than the emotional register, the J functions have a relationship to the final expression of emotions. Whether a person has Ti-Fe or Fi-Te will influence the way in which they manifest their agreeableness or disagreeableness. These differences are given the following names:

Click on the items in the table below to read more about these emotional attitudes.

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