I'm curious about how the thought processes of J-Leads compare to the thought processes of P-Leads. I'm typed as a P-Lead and I think in words. This means when I'm trying to figure something out, I essentially talk to myself in my own head. There are pretty much no images except when I'm daydreaming or something.
Are you a J-Lead or a P-Lead and do you think in words, images, or something else?
Hmm, if I were to split my cognition into just verbal and visual, it would likely be a 90-10 split of Verbal-Visual.
But when I do have visuals they are often very important. For instance, I had just finished a run and I was winding down
on a walk when suddenly I saw this image of a naked, pure woman trapped behind a brick wall, and I knew that was my unconscious Fe. Then I saw that there was a whole host of construction laborers milling around the wall, and that Jordan Peterson was directing them to break the wall to get to the woman. I started to watch the first bricks come down but I knew what those men would do once the wall had come down and I didn't want that to happen. So I left the visualization, but a short while later I continued it, realizing that I would remain stuck psychologically if I didn't allow the visualization to finish. So I allowed the visualization to continue and for the wall to be broken down and the men to have their way with the woman even though it disgusted me. And once the visualization had nowhere to progress it ended, the woman was alive but changed, and I realized that the visualization was really just an incredibly brutal way of demonstrating what it means to "objectify your feelings" and put them out into the world, that people will do and say horrible things to those feelings, but that that process is an inevitable part of actualizing the self.
This is an interesting question, and one I've paid quite a bit of attention over the years. My thoughts are a mix of pictures, words, and all kind of other things (such as textures & moods, which intersect with the visual, but aren't exactly visual). At most times both pictures & words are present in my thoughts to some degree. While I don't know if it's meaningful to compare them quantitatively (they play different roles), the visuals definitely seem predominant in their importance. They seem much more like a basic unit of comprehension. Words make sense because they have pictures and other sensory content associated with them. For me, being really engaged in reading or listening means visualizing the content. If someone give me directions (e.g. turn left onto 1st, then right after 4 blocks) and I want to remember, I have to be able to imagine myself following that path and making those turns.
However, neither the pictures, the words, nor anything else are usually fully formed in my mind. They are often shorthand, taking form just enough so that I have a sense of understanding before continuing onward. The pictures are sometimes more vivid & sometimes more sketchy, but either way, they are usually fluid and have some feeling of movement/incompleteness, melding into other images. The words are a babbling stream of fragments that make perfect sense to me in their subjective context but--even if it were possible to articulate them--would probably not make much sense to anyone else. I would say that words are essentially like labels or placeholders that provide clarity to images. Even where the words form a narrative, it seems like the genuine nature of the narrative is visual or experiential in nature, and the true role of the words is to help call up the associated imagery. The only time I think to myself in complete sentences is if I'm really in Fe mode--carrying on an internal monologue directed at an imagined audience.
While words provide clarity to what would otherwise be blurry pictures, I've also noticed that they can sometimes lead me away from genuine perception & understanding. It's almost like every single set of words has its own mini-ideology attached to it. The words provide one particular interpretation of a vast, ambiguous milieu of perception...but by doing so, they flatten down the experience and push a particular model of it forward in my mind. Sometimes the story they tell isn't the most accurate one for a given situation--the words lead me astray.
When I'm lying in bed, I can tell when I'm genuinely starting to fall asleep because my thoughts start becoming loopy & disordered...this means that my mind is letting go of its language, releasing my thoughts from the grip of its tyrannical orthography...from its need to make sense.
Another interesting effect I've noticed (which I feel is related to what I just, but I can't quite articulate how) is that at times when I'm thinking more verbally, my visual field seems to become narrower, less responsive to stimuli, and maybe even a bit distorted sometimes. Almost a sort of tunnel vision. I also sometimes get this when I'm focusing particularly on specific, nitpicky/meticulous tasks, such as threading a needle or something like that. When the words are relatively silent, I feel like my peripheral vision is often more engaged. I'm might be less focused on any one, specific object in my environment, but more attentive to the dynamic of my environment as a whole--and thus, more responsive to motion or stimuli in my surroundings.
So, while I think words are useful, they can also have a way of derailing me or tripping me up if they become too loud.
My thoughts are mostly images and sounds. It’s like an avant-garde music video the majority of the time. When I’m attempting to work something out I’ll repeat phrases I’ve heard over and over and possibly rehearse dialogue I intend to have with someone later on. I’ve compared my thought process to both a web with intricate connections that depend greatly on one another and if one breaks the whole system shifts and changes. I’ve also compared the other part of it to a precarious game of jenga that somehow stays erect despite all the infuriating gaps.
Most of my thoughts are verbal (inner monologue/imaginary dialogues) with some visual support. They are pretty fuzzy and unclear if left on their own and become clearer when I am trying to express them in written form. When I daydream, which I do pretty often, I construct little scenes in which the dialogues and inner thoughts of the characters are the most important part. I also vaguely see what's happening, as I would while reading a book.
The.. spiritual explorations 🙂 tend to slide from symbol to symbol, but I don't see these symbols as very clear images with many details. I have to focus my internal eye on a specific object to start seeing/remembering/ imagining these details. I normally can't construct a whole scene like that - scenes are just sketched.
My thoughts become mostly visual only just before falling asleep or during meditation (not that I meditate often but when I do, I see a lot of images).
When I am very tired and/or distressed I can have "musical" thoughts. :)) Like a line from a song repeating itself over and over again.
@rondo - your visualization of Fe really touched me. So, I thought of maybe also sharing the story about my visualization of Ni. I believe unconscious functions and especially the last 2 of them can feel like they are somewhere far from you, in a dark place or blocked by different obstacles between "you" and "them". Like the brick wall you saw. I also believe they can appear as something scary or disturbing.
I am not sure if the best would be to continue here or to make a new thread about how we see or imagine our functions. The thing is I would feel very uncomfortable if I had to talk about the evolution of how I see my Ni in a thread where people would generally talk about positive depictions of their functions. 😉
I think we could open a thread about the demonic side of our lower/undeveloped functions, where we could also try to figure out why we see them in dark, horrifying or disturbing pictures and to find ways to solve this issue. The only way I saw for myself was to slowly transform the dark images in something more palatable. This weirdly led me to start seeing Ni together with Te, like a whole unit. Auburn mentions this too in a way where he talks about how Pi works together with Je like a counselor advising a king...but my Ni transformations are really too horrible to be posted in that thread. :))
I never mentioned this because I thought I was the only person here who had this problem, but you seem to have it too and I feel there could also be others.
Ok, it depends on the thoughts: if we are talking about daily life thoughts, they are definitely verbal, except rare cases when I imagine scenes of a conversation with a person I have to meet and maybe I can imagine the place of the conversation but the actual process of thought is totally verbal. When it comes to writing, it's different, I just imagine scenes and write words and actually I don't think I think in those moments D: but I'm just inspired and let it flow. When it comes to engineering, my job, my thoughts are mainly verbal/numerical, I think mostly in formulas rather than images or geometric figures
@elisaday I relate to yours so much! Except for the sounds, don't think they ever get that complex especially since my inner voice never shuts up.
I wonder if anyone here has Aphantasia (the inability to visualize images in the mind)...
All my thoughts are pictures, objects or abstract things unrelated to each other that are mixed together. In order to at least put some sense and fully transform them into something coherent I try to list them out loud so, later on, they are organized into proper sentences that make sense. I used to do that a lot as a child especially while walking down the street, which thinking about it now wasn't such a good idea since I lived in a rural area where a lot of people could see a 9-year-old talking to herself. Oh, and daydreaming, 24/7, most of the time it takes me a while to realize that I'm doing it.
My thought process is not something I would describe at a very base level as sensory oriented or literal. It is conceptual.
When I was rather young, I examined what my mind was doing and found that between the gaps of whatever form was given to thought - speech, visual, sound, etc. - there was pure concept. I thought to myself that instead of living in the forms those concepts make, the branches off the tree, I might as well live in the concepts themselves - so I basically reworked myself into a pre-form space, where understanding is inherent and concepts arise without having to be made explicit.
The word “grok” resides in my space and is close to my heart. I grok.
I have a fluent process to translate thought into whatever form appears to best express it. I would not consider my visuals extremely rich in detail but they are deep and accurate. I have a long-standing ability to use words as I was able to read before I even spoke. And I am capable of other forms of expression as they come to me. But I truly want to be able to perform controlled telepathy, where I can pass the contents of my mind one-way to another, because that would be their purest expression.
I find it difficult to summarize my thought process in general, but overall especially since my Te has become more refined, my thought process is fairly procedural and fluid. I'll use the example of working on a piece of machinery to illustrate what I mean. Before I would even touch the piece of equipment I first start off with the concept of the machine - what is it for and what does it do. This gives me a brief a glance into the function and inner workings of the machine. Next, I would take off the cover of the machine (if possible). This gives me an overview of the inner workings of the machine - I can see the cords, sprockets, nuts, bolts, and screws and how each component flow into each other. I then address the issue - what's not working or what am I trying to modify? How will working on this component effect the other components and the overall functioning and purpose of the machine? I operate from the general concept and then break it down to its most essential principles and then work my way up from those principles (first principles thinking). Images, metaphors, and symbols are also accompanied with this process.
I've been turning over this topic in my head a bit more, and I've started to feel like it's too simplistic to say that "Judgment processes think in words, whereas Perception ones think in pictures." For one thing, the experiences people've related in this thread don't seem to support that idea in any neat way...although anyway I find it impossibly difficult to sum up my internal experience in a way that neatly corresponds to something like "words" or "pictures."
And this gets at what seems like a bigger issue: in my own subjective experience--and I'm guessing also in those of many others--there isn't really a clear boundary between "words" and "pictures." People tend to think of words as having neat, almost legalistic, definitions...but in reality words are very messy, deriving their meaning from thousands of associations, traditions, memories of experience, and when you start combining words together into entire sentences, or texts, this messiness is only compounded. Words evoke pictures, and vice-versa, in a very close-together sort of way. Even if it's J-processes create language and P-processes create imagery, both must surely be quite adept at handling each other.
So rather than "J is verbal; P is visual" here's another hypothesis: Judgment processes use information in a schematic way, while Perception processes use information in an analogous way.
What I mean by this is that Judgment functions might well rely heavily on imagery (or other sensory information) just as much as words. It's just they prefer imagery that carries meaning, or significance...imagery that explains and delimits things about the world. Actually, I've noticed that Auburn communicates a lot through schematic visuals, and has often mentioned not having ideas fully verbalized yet.
Perception processes, on the other hand, might well use words alongside other information, but they are not particularly concerned with the overall syntactic/structural meanings of how their words are formed together. Instead, I'd say that perception processes are concered with the shape, or form, of things. They use words as a way to mirror the contours of whatever they see, hear or otherwise perceive. P-processes might well speak in nonsense, as long as it's somehow suggested by something in their external or internal environments. Sort of like when you're drifting off to sleep and your mind starts stringing together fragments of words that you heard during the day:
against the backdrop of the snow owl I laid down to sleep where the rushes on high below the fjord that wept across the starry field, but when he gargled down the listerine onto which I had poured an outpouring of hope and sympathy against all odds he trumped my offer with a most cruel tweet, one that had ironically shielded me in the shibboleth of his face against the scabbard of the starts.
Of course, another thing complicated about trying to draw differences between J-leads and P-leads is that most people seem to have a decent amount of both, as it'd be hard to function in life with, say, both judgment processes badly repressed.