The following is a general listing of all the major behavioral qualities statistically correlated to Fi development. The focus of this article is to paint as complete and undiluted a picture of Fi’s behaviorism as possible, in an abstract sense and without modulation from any adjacent functions in a type’s hierarchy.
Fi, as a compass function, is driven by an unrelenting quest to find the principles lying at the core of the universe and the nature of being. As a judgment function, it treats all information as subject to an ever-crystallizing explanatory framework which is shaped according to the laws that are sensed to govern reality. Truth means approaching this elusive but unified nexus of all things which doesn’t preclude meaning and value. Fi considers how the divine principle necessarily ties all things together including the living and non-living. Thus for Fi, the truth of “what is” cannot be separated from the essential questions of what constitutes intrinsic value. The Fi user understands that even our pursuit of knowledge is predicated on an impulse which takes the value of knowledge for granted, thus pressing the question further back than knowledge for its own sake. We cherish knowledge as one part of a higher, intrinsic value which must be approached and uncovered through a convergence of subjective and objective information. The Fi user will be a rationally motivated individual but one who does not eliminate the information of their body or emotional register, but instead uses it as a compass to discover what is simultaneously the reality of existence and the truthful way of “being” in that existence. Approaching this nexus means eliminating any incongruencies that might muddle the path to that purity and knowledge. It means resonating with its core structure and having it live through you; an occurrence which for many Fi users is synonymous with harmonizing intentions with the Divine. However, each Fi user will discover different things as they construct their own private gnosis as a consequence of their journey; some describing this apex principle as Love, Reason, Goodness, or God. But always for the Fi user the question of what is truth and goodness are in some way inseparable and irreducible. The answer is to be found from without but also from within — and for that one must necessarily be a clear channel and vessel into that truth.
The Fi user is then left with the difficult task of making sense of themselves – and by extension humanity and the cosmos – from the inside out. But the human interior is multi-dimensional and prone to express emotions that are distorted and thus misshape our view of reality. Like ripples on an ocean surface, or the static noise of a crowded room, the complexity can be overwhelming and obstruct even the most basic truths. In order to abate this inner confusion, the strong Fi user is forced to spend a great deal of time teasing apart emotions in order to see the reality of being, and of other beings. They will constantly ask “am I seeing the truth of them? am I seeing myself?” — focusing on clarifying motivations, intentions and the meaning of sentiments. A lack of clarity can lead to complete freezing and a sense of being utterly lost. For Fi, actions can only rightly flow out of them when the channel is clear, and the intent is understood and pursued with an earnestness of heart. And when this is lacking, it can feel like a foggy cloud or miasma rests over their inner vision which they can’t look past. Their soul may feel sloshy, dense and thick like molasses. Their compass’ needle becomes disoriented in its direction, affected by the energetic interference of inner and outer vectors. This distress will lead them to think obsessively about right-cause, right-motive, right-intent; creating a constant state of inner “maintenance” aimed to alleviate tangles which quickly come to feel like a state of suffocation. The principle motif for Fi becomes “attunement.” It becomes the aim of the Fi user to be a calibrated tuning fork, capable of giving the right tune no matter what the situation may be. Over time the Fi user becomes keenly aware of the dynamics of the heart and tries to pierce through into a transcendent actuality not muddled by personal feelings and hang-ups. They may understand that at the highest level none of those emotions are contradictory, but are explicable from the right kaleidoscope lens which sees everything as a faceted but ultimately harmonious whole. Nonetheless, this active purification remains a constant activity of the Fi user, as they will always possess a high degree of likelihood to be disturbed by evocations from themselves and from the energy around them due to their permeable nature.
The Fi user exists in a constant state of high permeability; an uncontrollable receptivity to the emotional energy of other people and the world. When that energy is undesired, this can lead to a hypersensitivity and jarring friction as the emanations of others register like a violent attack to their clarity and private alignment. A conflict develops between the Fi user wanting to have their own inner state undisturbed, and resisting being drowned by the states of others. They may feel like the outside is trying to change who they are against their will; swallowing their existence and making them subservient. But if the emotional energy is desirable, the Fi user is gifted with an empathic ability and turns their attention to analyzing the emanations from the place of the singular individual; discovering how situations may feel to them from the exact position and context they stand in. To do this the Fi user steps into the shoes of those whose energy they evaluate, opening their heart’s membrane and viscerally assimilating the all essences and sensations of the other from the specificity of their life and coming to know them fully. This unbidden permeability is not only emotional but also carries sexual and erotic undertones woven into it as Fi assimilates all emitted energies indiscriminately – leading eventually to a sensual permeability and overtake. Fi carries a naturally feminine and submissive charge as it experiences multiple types of penetration from the environment and an unfiltered contact with others around her. When contact is not being resisted, their susceptibility to “letting others in” contributes powerfully to a higher openness to sexual exploration, and the exploration of atypical conjunctions. Many Fi users discover within them latent sexual affinities as they dis-inhibit sexuality from their ego; accounting for the much higher representation of Fi users within the LGBTQ+ community. The boundaries between people become easily blurred and affinities for all types of energies are readily discovered to exist within them.
However, because of this very visceral and intimate permeability, the Fi user is inescapably forced to develop powerful charges for or against specific types of emotional information, as it is not possible to allow all emanated energies equal access into their being. But because they cannot be neutral or indifferent about it, and because they are permeable, they must meet undesired energies with strong reactions of repulsion and disgust. An emotional push-back is executed whenever the Fi user says “no” to allowing an experience from another person or the world to have entryway into their otherwise sensitive interior. The Fi user exists in a constant limbo of attraction and repulsion, as their heart becomes a selective valve to people. And each Fi user will be very specific in what contents they allow in and which they cast out, tailored from a lifetime of bombardments that have made a custom whitelist for those things that are acceptable. This case-by-case approval of emotional content will make Fi users appear highly picky or finicky to onlookers who may not be able to guess when the Fi user will appreciate or depreciate their remarks; appearing to them as a frustrating game of chance. A certain word, gesture or look will be enough to flag an individual on the wrong side of Fi’s emotional palate, causing a large barrier to form between them and that person’s energy. Over time the stringent use of this palate is what causes an unseelie attitude to arise where the majority of energies from others are repulsed and defended against by default. The Fi user’s continual use of this palate develops over time into a very idiosyncratic aesthetic; their own uniquely created castle made of all that which they approve of. Through this process of discovering what their tastes and affinities are, they also come to uncover their intrinsic essence.
The Fi user is aware very early on that every individual possesses a unique and sacred soul which remains unmodified at its core, but which can be tarnished and crippled by our necessary collision with an imperfect world. Through years of conditioning, the environment misshapes and warps that essence when we’re forced to live through imaginary characters and personas; to fabricate egos and narratives atop of our neglected and parched nativity. When Fi is strong in a person, an acute aspiration buds forth to boldly return themselves and others to their sacred spark; that purity that remains always incorruptible but buried beneath a mountain of faces. Fi will initiate a rebirth process; a shedding away of skins to decouple our true dreams from outside expectations and to cease being a molded and polished copy of an ideology that is not one’s own. And as many Fi users dive headlong into the unconscious to find their essence, they may discover something feral; wild and untamed. The essence of a human, they find, is animal and creature-like. This creature, the uncivilized soul, is intimately connected to nature just like the rest of the animal kingdom. The Fi user discovers their eternal roots with the rest of life and their kinship with birds and beasts. Many Fi users who discover their inner animal decide to take on the life of a naturalist, living in agriculture with no makeup or intervention the from the loud machinery of the world, and where they can choose not to shave or cut their hair. They will thirst to “be” themselves in as naked and unmodified a way as possible.
However, in other expressions the Fi user can choose to eliminate the cultural persona for the creation of their own as a reflection of their idiosyncratic nature. This can lead to very off-beat existences, such as by the exhibition of cross-dressing, queer or counter-culture identities. They can be creative and eccentric as well as decorative. As a Ji function, Fi cares powerfully about individuality and having an alignment of self-expression with self-identity, inclining the Fi user to beautify themselves in accordance with their aesthetic personal vision. Some Fi users will embody a diva or prima donna that radiates their sexuality freely as an expression of their raw existence. Others may be asexual and choose to be androgynous in their appearance by growing or cutting their hair to neutralize their gender’s energetic tilt. As many different variations will exist as there are Fi users, but all will carry the imprint of a culturally indifferent decision making process. This often places the Fi user in the headlights of difficult social criticism, harassment and verbal abuse. Yet, by their continual advocacy of the individual, they are capable of transforming society away from a shame of our raw nature and into a higher integration of our primal instincts and inner beauty.
As noted, Fi will give a person an unordinary level of sensitivity to incoming energies and when the stress and gravity of life cause a fall out of emotional health, what began as a blessing in understanding others through assimilation inverts into a disability amidst the raw static and noise of an overwhelming situation. Their empathic abilities backfire as their heart’s open channel lets more acute emotions in than what can be healthily processed. They will become hyper-stimulated, far too sensitive to negative vibes and utterly unable to tolerate hostile environments without collapsing in tears. They can come to feel physically ill in emotionally weighted situations; needing to get away from them as soon as possible. There is freezing and paralysis, volatility and hysteria. This will cause them to exist like a raw, flailing electric line — still hot, but exposed. Everything is noisy and it becomes difficult to know what one believes or stands for. Those around the Fi user may criticize them as being moody, sulky and volatile. Their behaviors may appear melodramatic and passive-aggressive from the vantage point of an outsider who is unaware of how sharply affected the Fi user is by their emotional stress. At other times they will pour out poetry and songs to encapsulate their condition, indulging passive-aggressive commentary on the world while containing glimmers of squelched hopes. This Fi user will be a broken bird; a disenchanted idealist who realizes that the world is too wretched a place for beauty to last within. They will talk about their difficulties in life openly with a mournful spirit. The same transparent emotional radiation that was once bashful and giddy becomes melodramatic, sullen and woeful. They will wear their bleeding heart in open display, emanating a private sorrow that also saturates their environment.
However, if the stress and trauma of life persists even beyond this intolerable threshold, the Fi user may shut down their heart completely and enter a state of deep dissociation. When it becomes impossible for the Fi user to exist in connection to their own permeability, the channels of the emotional register are cauterized. They become depersonalized from themselves, unable to sense or track any emotional energies. The rivers of the heart run dry. A blank look falls over their face and their body ceases to belong to them. Reality feels surreal and dream-like. Those in their surroundings may appear as lifeless silhouettes with no more of a soul than they can sense in themselves. This inevitably leads to alexithymia or a dysfunction in emotional awareness, social attachment and interpersonal ability. In these moments the Fi user superficially resembles a Ti user, but for the Fi user this detachment represents a neurotic state that applies great stress on their body and psyche. The dissociation will be unnatural, crippling and inhibiting their normal operations. The Fi user may appear to be on the Asperger’s or Autistic spectrum; lacking any grace or ability to connect with anyone as their primary channel for contact has short-circuited. But beneath that stoicism the unaddressed heart will continue to wail, expressing itself in silence, private tears which may appear to start flowing perplexingly without origin.
The spiritual experience of Fi is called Edin which is described more fully in this page. Edin as a psychological archetype appears in the form of a prince or princess: as a virgin, a siren or a fairy. In symbolic form it is depicted as a red rose, a seed, the moon or as the womb. Of all the functions Fi is the most archetypally female, imbuing individuals with a passive personality. Hence the Edin myth generates an impulse to fully embody the form of the Anima; to become “woman” to the entire world. But the Edin myth goes beyond the energy embedded in biological sex and adds a separate archetypal magic aside from the femininity available to most women, which traces its roots to the spirit of Gaia or the Mother Goddess. Edin is the protector of the life principle, and often takes the form of a spiritual guardian of animals, rivers, lakes and forests. Edin appears in folklore as sprites or spirits, each of which protects their cherished plot of nature in the same manner as Fi protects the boundaries of its prized identity. However, as the feminine archetype also possesses two sides, Edin can lead to a spirit of enticement where the myth holder becomes an elusive and seductive femme fatale, a nymph or succubus. In this form, Edin wishes to be coveted like a princess and enjoys the adulation of her suitors and the protection of her dedicated knight or King. The secret hope for this expression of Edin is to secure the eternal devotion of her masculine champion – wishing to be adored and prized above all else and above all others for her unique identity.
When the Edin myth is in it’s light form, the princess or fairy is a pure and seelie agent of nature which bestows life, vitality and healing to all beings with unconditional love. We see this embodied perfectly by Snow White who surrounds herself with every forest creature, befriending them but also being capable of enlisting their help. The light Edin spirit can often communicate verbally or empathically with animals, generate flora from the ground and speak directly with the trees. One expression of this is seen in Disney’s adaptation of Pocahontas who spoke with grandmother willow, and another can be seen in the elves of Tolkien’s mythology who gave trees the ability to speak. Yet another manifestation is found in Cameron’s Avatar mythology through the Navi’s connection to the Mother Goddess through a fibrous mental interlink which acts as a communication portal. The primary motif of the light Edin myth is that “nature has a voice” and a pulse which can be accessed if we listen earnestly. This myth is the anthropomorphization of the qualities of the emotional resister which provides a direct link into not only one’s own primacy but the primacy of Gaia and the cosmos. Edin acts as the emissary for Gaia; as it’s spokeswoman and the bringer of it’s desires to the rest of the human world.
As with all myths Edin also possesses an inverted and darker incarnation which is commonly depicted as an evil or unseelie fairy. At other times it manifests as a demon or a witch who casts hexes on unsuspecting passerby. The character of the dark Edin archetype is envious, jealous, vile and foul. It delights in seeing the tainting of purity more than it delights in causing death. The primary motif of this archetype is “corruption”, as it wishes powerfully to sully the hearts of others and bring them into shadows. The mythical motif of the witch casting hexes and jinxes is a psychological metaphor for how unseelie Fi radiates foul intentions, wishes and slander in the direction of others. We see this myth embodied clearly in Theodor Geisel’s The Grinch, who is himself an unseelie fairy jealous of the Whoville fairies and intent to destroy their haven by disenchanting them towards the spirit of goodness. We see it again in Tolkien’s mythology in the form of Gollum –the corrupted heart– and more powerfully in the One Ring itself, which represents the epitome of malice which Frodo as the light Edin must not be sullied by. And yet again we see it in Maleficent who, upon appearing at Aurora’s ceremony laid an evil curse over her. Once again we see that the dark Edin wishes not necessarily for death upon its victims but for their suffering and fall out of innocence; making it primarily an ethical drama that motivates its action. This same mythical duality will exist within the hearts of every Fi user, as they struggle with the question of becoming embittered to the true suffering and cruelty of reality, or to remain a clear and open channel despite all the horror that accompanies the experience of life.