Reply To: Redefining “S”

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Hrafn
Participant
  • Type: SiFe
  • Development: l-ll
  • Attitude: Adaptive

Hey @auburn, been a while. I’ve been too busy the past year or so to contribute much to the discussions, but I’ve been following it more lately & some of the new content has been piquing my interest.

So, I’m not sure how much I relate to the notion of every object having boundaries, as I’ll explain below. What I do relate to is the implicit idea of considering each object more as a localized phenomenon with its own unique attributes (rather than as a collection of archetypal themes that occur & recur throughout the universe).

As for boundaries. I’ll happily use natural boundaries when I perceive them there, but the problem is that most objects don’t actually have neat boundaries around them. For example, the scientific notion of a “species” is sort of based on a natural boundary, as I understand it—the point at which two populations become separate enough that reintegration is no longer possible (because they can’t interbreed). On paper, this sounds very neat & tidy, but in reality there are all kinds of contingencies, exceptions & hairsplitting that go into delimiting & maintaining these boundaries. For example, brown bear (Ursus arctos) & polar bear (U. maritimus) are considered two separate species for one reason or another, but they are perfectly capable of interbreeding & producing fertile offspring. (In fact, there’s some evidence that populations of the two are beginning to re-merge as melting sea-ice forces polar bears onto land for more of the year).

“Seeing” boundaries where there are no obvious ones—or relying on preexisting socially-constructed boundaries—can sometimes cause me discomfort & fretting because of how arbitrary such boundaries seem. Something bugs me about the idea of chopping up a fluid whole into disembodied chunks, and thereafter, accepting that hatchet-job as if it were the natural order of things. I tend to be pretty cognizant of how our perception of reality is distorted in all sorts of ways by arbitrary legacy boundaries & categories that (originally) had no naturalistic bases whatsoever.

As I said, the part that I do relate to is the notion that if I’m perceiving an object, I won’t instantly place it within a web of far-flung or widespread connections (unless it really excites my Ne, of course). But as I spend time considering the object, I do tend to gradually inch further & further out toward the its margins, explore the context around it, and only then, maybe, decide that I’ve gotten sidetracked from my original purpose.

Ultimately, my view of the world is more nodular than modular—the nodes each tend to have clear centers & unique attributes, but at the margins, they intersect/overlap heavily with their nearest neighbors. As much as I can understand my Si as a distinct part of my experience (which is probably not much), it feels like it’s more concerned with recognizing these nodes, or centerpoints, than in the more futile exercise of trying to draw edges & boundaries onto the gradients between them.

Rather than viewing the world as a bunch of neatly-bounded patches on a quilt, a better analogy might be a pile of down stuffing that you pulled out from inside the quilt. It’s not all uniform—there are different clumps & clusters, suggesting different objects, but at the end there’s no single, definitive way to bound & define these objects.

There’s even a bit of sadness in being forced (for practical reasons) to break things down into discrete categories: in doing so, I’m seeking more granular clarity, but I’m also flattening down my perception of the object, in a sense. In committing to a particular typology or set of categories, there’s often an anxiety that these lines will become burned into my perception; that I’ll never be able to break out of this particular, arbitrary, way of seeing this part of reality.

Of course, I’m sure some of my attitudes toward this are influenced by my other functions, especially Ti (the concern with arbitrariness) & Ne (feeling reluctant to commit to one definitive way of breaking things down).

  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Hrafn.

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