@animal I'd be really curious to hear your thoughts on the questions in my response above, if you have the time/desire to answer. I'm thinking I might create a survey for CT members to help tease out the difference between seelie and unseelie, and it'd be helpful to hear some of your thoughts first.
I really think the difference between seelieness and unseelieness is very simple, maybe so simple that it's easy to overlook, and difficult to accurately describe.
I think unseelieness is not a state, exactly, but more of a strategy or process. I believe Fi is partly a cognitive process that acts as an extremely sensitive instrument for detecting pure emotional information, beyond Ji's definitional responsibility. It's Fi's job to detect any emotional signal from any source, and if it is a new kind of signal it has never defined before, define that discreet emotional signature. That is why Fi has to be so sensitive - it has to parse out all the tiny, minute, emotional detail of any given experience to achieve perfect experiential fidelity.
Sometimes though, this high sensitivity can actually make Fi's ability to remain accurate more difficult, and it needs a way to sort out extraneous noise in order to focus on obtaining an accurate reading on the object it is attempting to define. This noise sorting strategy is what I think unseelieness is, and the only way I can think to explain this is through an audio phenomenon known as 'clipping.'
Above is an example of an audio signal. The y-axis is amplitude, or how strong the signal is, and the x-axis is time. The original signal is in grey, and the 'clipped' signal is in red. In audio output, a signal amplifier (a speaker) can only output so much signal before it reaches it's limit. If it reaches it's limit, it simply chops off the top and bottom of the input signal and outputs a new, clipped signal in order to function.
Fi isn't an amplifier (output machine), it is a very sensitive receiver. So imagine the metaphor in reverse - the y-axis is emotional experience, and the x-axis is time. Sometimes in order for the Fi user to function, very strong emotional experiences must be clipped. As people, we do more than just take in discreet emotional signals, even if we are Fi leads. We need to be able to lead entire lives outside of this emotional sensitivity. Sometimes, in order to keep on easily living our lives, we have to dull our emotional experience.
This can happen as little or as much as you need, depending on how much freedom you need to keep on living a productive and stable life. In very extreme cases, the unseelie process can go overboard, and make life into a grey wash of unfeeling, while on the other end, a completely unfiltered Fi experience can be too overwhelming to even process or comprehend.
So in summary, Fi in it's most unadulterated state is a very sensitive instrument for processing emotional information. While this is good for a very accurate ability to define discreet emotional states and experiences, it is not always conducive to living life easily and with stability. Unseelieness is a process that lowers Fi's sensitivity, and while it loses it's ability to define reality as accurately, it gains more ability to actually interact consistently with that reality through making very high highs and very low lows much more even and manageable.
^finished and edited the above post, sorry for that little hiccup! the original version of that post was left unfinished due to technical error.
@alice I think this theory fits fairly well with my experience of unseelieness, but it sounds like it doesn't really fit with animal's (correct me if I'm wrong, @animal), so it seems like something must be missing. Also it's not clear to me why this clipping strategy would result in the excessive contempt signals and an increased vibe of dissatisfaction. I would expect it to result simply in fewer emotive signals overall rather than an increase in negative emotive signals and a decrease in positive ones.
I believe the difference is the perception of a threat (need to do something) vs the perception of safety (can simply be). Maybe not even a threat but baseline acceptance of how things are.
Certainly one can feel threatened and have a more "fawn" (seelie/adaptive) than a "fight" response. However, if one constantly perceives the world as a threat (even an aesthetic one), one will be more determines to either change it (Je), be repelled by it (Fi disgust), or both. On the other hand, those could just be different preferred reactions. A few seelie Fi users, including myself, have described using seelieness for conflict avoidance, so I believe that the dichotomies are multifactorial, and that Je hasn't been teased out properly.
Hypersensitivity to and amplification of emotional detail is actually associated with ASD. So is affective empathy. Those have previously been associated with Fi by some here. Fe doesn't parse out all that data. It sees it as minutia in light of the big picture, the dynamic intrapersonal world.
@fayest42 good points! Hmmmmm, just riffing at off the top of my head here, but the dissatisfaction and general contempt/sullenness of unseelie samples may still be able to be linked to my 'clipping' hypothesis. There are many ways to remain unaffected by and detached from the world, and if you are subconsciously attempting to do so via an unseelie emotive strategy, it may be seen as advantageous to keep your emotive distance from others. Contempt and dissatisfaction are both strong social signals that tell people that someone is not friendly, and thus should probably be left alone. Unseelie Fi seems to be very private to people they do not trust and deem worthy of 'letting in.'
Alternatively, if one is very highly attuned to the emotions of themselves and others, being generally unagreeable will feel bad, and will most likely produce some kind of emotional pain for a very seelie individual. If one is especially unseelie, they may get less of an emotional pain response from themselves and others. Now this sounds pretty bad in a social context, but may actually have some advantages for society at large. If someone who is highly attuned to emotions needs to stick up for themselves or others, it would be difficult to have much of an impact without at least partially blocking out the emotions of those they are standing up to. Archetypally, we all know examples of characters who 'take no shit,' sometimes harshly cut people out of their lives, and don't seem to care what people think of them. These behaviors all seem to coorelate with not being very sensitive to the emotions of others, but remaining sensitive to your own emotions, a kind of emotional selectivity. In general though, this emotional callousness probably has more negative consequences than positives, and is responsible for all sorts of hurts, pains, and villanous archetypes in cultural story and myth.
I found it easier to diagram than explain, but I think the emotional system is the mediating factor between external inputs (Pe with some Je inbound info) and internal judgment (Ji, but especially Fi). I think people who are Unseelie are compressing and minimising emotion in general, whether in the happy positive direction OR the sullen negative direction. Seelies are more in-touch with their inner feelings and emotions and also outwardly radiate emotion, whether that's in the form of a giddy happy fairy or a sullen melancholy wounded bird. Seelie is more likely to have that visceral "triggered" reaction, and is probably easier to offend.
Unseelie in comparison is more neutral and blunted in expression. It's not to the full-extent of Flat Affect, but what might be closed to blunted or restricted affect (without necessarily being a pathology/symptom either, but opening the possibility of a mechanism for seelie/unseelie arising in the first place as childhood exposure to trauma and/or emotional wounding). They might appear gently placid, or slightly sullen, or even devoid of emotion (unless you catch their micro-expressions giving them away). We are out-of-touch with our feelings, and tend to see ourselves as the classic "thinkers" as written on the picture above.
^very much agree with this! Horray consensus! Very nice diagram by the way 🙂
I identify with being Seelie most of the time, I am mostly patient and forgiving, but there are certain moments with certain family members or strangers who catch me off guard, I can become really angry and aggressive and really push boundaries without taking that person's position into perspective, like if that authority figure does something wrong then why is nobody holding them accountable, it can be over petty or silly things like not being polite or coming across as too domineering. Ironically I end up becoming really snappy and domineering myself without realising it. Is this an Se-Te loop perhaps? And do you think its possible for Seelie types to have Unseelie moments and vice versa?
I love your chart! And if that is the case I am as Seelie as they come. Someone needs to change my label. My entire discord who has seen me at my best and worst, agrees that I'm Seelie! 😀 And now with this new definition, if this is about seeing yourself as a feeler or a thinker.. well. I despise thinking. My heart is always right. I'm a feeler (as a person) through and through.
The issue was that I was typed as "unseelie" because I'm hard-core, motivated, comfortable with expressing anger, intense, willing to 'push' for what I want etc. But I do all of this from an emotional place, not a hard-nosed mental one. Even my goals are about finding ways to express my desires.
"And now with this new definition, if this is about seeing yourself as a feeler or a thinker.. well. I despise thinking. My heart is always right. I’m a feeler (as a person) through and through."
Is that new? I feel like that is how I've seen it portrayed, with unseelie being more prone to identifying as Thinkers and seelie as Feelers.
Either way it matches my own experience. I am not necessarily positive all the time despite being seelie, in fact I have been told I am too negative more than once. But I have always been identified with "feeling," and information makes no sense to me if there's no emotional hook to follow.
@animal - hii 👋 long time no see. I probably missed these posts from a year ago with everything that was going on, but I really like the diagram/explanation, and I imagine it is broadly applicable to Adaptive/Directive. I’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into reconnecting with my emotions, and even when they are terribly sad or painful, I feel much better when I feel them 😅
I also very much identify with feeling over thinking, and that’s rather obvious to everyone I’m close to these days.