Ji is supposed to have purity or alignment as its agenda, but I’m curious as to how introspection develops from this. Ji isn’t supposed to be necessarily focused on the subject as opposed to the object, so how does the development of an identity emerge from its metabolism? Ji can just as easily diagnose the alignment of an external object as it can diagnose the alignment of the subject. If this is the case then where does the interest in self knowledge emerge from in Ji?
Great questions lately!
I'm going to skip over "introspection" since that actually applies very generally to any sort of Ji or Pi activity, and instead begin by addressing "interest in self knowledge" since I think that's where the root of your question lies. Even then, however, it's not a Ji exclusive thing.
Interest in self-knowledge can take the form of Pe exploration (i.e. dabbling with typology models, astrology models, self-help books, training courses, etc) or it can take the form of Pi (where do I come from? where does my culture come from?). Even Je can be focused on self-knowledge through personal challenge and testing one's limits. In short, this is a 'content' problem again. The content can be the self, for any of the four functions.
A Ji-lead can still genuinely lack a lot of self-awareness, especially since half of the truth of oneself is contained in the external. People's lack of awareness of what they look like on video is an example of this. Introspection isn't the only path to self-knowledge, in fact one can argue it may not even be the most effective one -- as counter-intuitive as that may seem -- due to the myopia/insularity of introspection. We often need an outside view to tell us who we are.
so how does the development of an identity emerge
So although Ji is quite interested in self-knowledge, what is specific to Ji is "the question of identity" but not exactly in the "what am I?" sense -- more in the "what do I stand for?" sense. Identity, for Ji, is something of an affiliation with certain beliefs, truths, values and opinions. It's what they hold to be true, and what they elevate as most right. And it's the result of their paradigm construction, or the construction of their own aesthetic. It's only in this domain that I can address the question, so lets see if I can succeed in tracing the metabolic path, beginning with the basic terms:
Together this creates:
The J operation is one of boundary-setting. It delineates between things, and says "this is" / "this isn't". This differentiation can be applied to objects or subjects (subjects are objects when handled mentally), which is why J is also involved in the setting of ego boundaries [ you / me / them ], while P at its purest is an undifferentiated flow between self and everything.
Naturally this means that Ji has the ability to classify what "is" and "isn't" [ me ], just as it can identify what is and isn't consistent within any object. So even in treating itself as one object/subject among many, a form of "identity" develops from Ji -- in the sense of it defining what one is or isn't by themselves.
Furthermore, as Ji is a controlling function, it also organizes that inner content. Inner content can be information about subjects or objects, but it's the collective volume of data at one's disposal. Ji will exert control over how this content is scaffolded, and Ji will have dominion over its own domain. In this domain it is the ultimate arbiter. So the J tendency towards "order" is applied, in Ji, to the context of their inner world with the goal of mind of creating symmetry/alignment/etc. And this is experienced as a self-beautification. The content of this domain can be the universe, society, the world or themselves. But in organizing/structuring their inner content, they are focused specifically on their view and their limited boundary of influence -- making it beautiful inside this walled garden -- an island of truth. I use the word "beautiful" because Ji has an artistic element to it -- which is necessary to tell apart symmetries from asymmetries, for instance, and it is subject to personal choice -- despite how it may be painted as objective.
Now, this beautification doesn't always have to manifest as idiosyncrasy and flamboyancy, as not all Ji's turn to decorative self-beautification. Some go the ideological route; focusing on "beauty" in the sense of structural coherence in their beliefs, values, and integrity. For Ji, the focus on identity emerges as a causal result of them exerting control and organization of their sphere of influence, as well as the need to "stand by" what they conclude. So the ideology or aesthetic that they come to build often becomes synonymous with them. Thus the activity of Ji is the activity of building oneself up into the perfect form, or embodying principles which --while they may believe are universal-- need a vessel to speak or live them. And insofar as they are the vessel for their truth, their identity is wrapped up in it.
Even though Ji seeks for a truth that transcends them, in the end it is confined to them, and is synonymous with them and their identity. So not all Ji-leads may see themselves as self-focused or self-absorbed, but their way of metabolizing information will inescapably put their axioms at the center.
Disclaimer: This applies most to polarized Ji-leads, and less to P-heavy Ji-leads. I'm partly exaggerating the level of rigidity present, and really downplaying the reviser energy for the sake of describing how/where their proclivities come from.
In practice, Ji-leads have a fair deal of self-doubt, and ongoing revision of their own ideas. So they're not closed-minded. But still, there's a clear 'centrality' there; a seed/core that they nurture and covet.
Also, there are two Ji functions, so I wanna go more into them separately:
Of the two Ji processes, Fi is more appropriately focused on identity because it is embodied moral expression. It matters to Fi that they not only hold the truth conceptually but that the truth exists within them/as them, or that they can be a clear channel for it. Metabolically speaking, this happens because Fi is biotic and connected to the emotional register. So these values are coming from the well of their being and are embedded in the fabric of that specific subject. This is what leads to Fi's idiosyncratic expressions and the championing of its own essence. It matters that they be the embodiment of that truth -- thus their personal identity becomes emblematic of their idealistic structure.
Ti is a bit less straightforward, and if placed on a scale we see more Fi individualists and identity-focused people than Ti's. But we still do see Ti-lead individualists such as recently in this post. This lower representation happens because of Ti's abiotic nature, which distances itself from the emotional register and views itself "beside-itself" in some sense. However, although Ti seeks to come up with a third-person scaffold/castle, they still very much hold it as their own project.
So for example, TiSe Elon Musk has proposed 'universal' answers to a sustainable energy future for humanity (third-person) but he has a very specific idea and plan for how to do it, what it should look like, what is the ideal outcome and what starting axioms/principles it should be based on. So he ends up being very involved in his ventures, obsessive and perfectionistic, despite him viewing his projects (like SpaceX and Tesla) as collective in their ambitions and focus.
Alright, so I guess I’m still asking a “content” question. I do think it’s different than the “content” described in the metabolism article. That content seems to be describing the results of metabolism and I think I’m curious about what CT has to say about the inputs. In my case, the input is myself as opposed to external reality. Is there a CT explanation for this?
Edit: Maybe functions at different positions in the hierarchy focus on different aspects of reality. Socionics has function position dichotomies that further modify the manifestation of a given function based on its position. Just an idea.
I truly am confused by your confusion. Content is the nail and metabolism/functions are the hammer. What's so hard to understand here? Content is the input, which is relatively independent of the operation of a function. As @auburn already mentioned, each different function can regard the subject/self as an object of consideration. That doesn't make you an introverted perceiver.
I'm not confused, I have a pretty good grasp on the difference between metabolism and content as defined in the metabolism article on energetics, so I guess you could say that I'm confused by your confusion at my confusion. From what I read, content seems to be about "...manifested opinions, beliefs, values, worldviews and paradigms...". From my perspective, these all seem like outputs of metabolism as opposed to inputs, which is fine. If that is the case, then I'm still curious (what's wrong with curiosity?) about whether or not CT has anything to say about the inputs to metabolism. It's possible that content refers to inputs and outputs and that's fine too. I also understand that each function can focus on the subject or the object, I'm just curious as to whether or not different function positions might potentially modulate this focus. I'm just trying to understand my own behavior and I'm not saying I'm an introverted perceiver.
From what I read, content seems to be about “…manifested opinions, beliefs, values, worldviews and paradigms…”. From my perspective, these all seem like outputs of metabolism as opposed to inputs, which is fine.
That is right, but your mistake lies in thinking that it is solely that. Content is the what and not the how, as Auburn says clearly. The what can be inputs -let's put aside the question of whether pure inputs exist as such, as whether they emerge "through the accumulation of thousands of mental computations over time" or not, we know that the world of inputs is in no way given, and the field of AI is an empirical demonstration of this truth. Anyway, your concept of input is well under the scope of what CT refers to as content.
I hope that helps.
Yeah, like I said, it’s possible that content refers to both inputs and outputs. So now I’m still wondering if function position could have anything to do with which inputs and outputs a function prefers.