I periodically ask myself if something is not essential / if it drops away, by querying the Fi database with questions like, “If today was my last day, would I still spend it doing this?” “Is this going to matter in 3 years? 6 months?” “Would I *really* be any happier with any more money?” “Am I going to regret behaving like this so often in the end?”
I found this passage to be very reminiscent of Ti reductionism, but in a different vector. While Ti's reductionism aims to eliminate things which are not essential - in a sort of platonic definitional sense - your use of Fi above seems to describe the question of 'essential' as contextual to the proper life.
But you also describe how even Fi's activity eventually leads to more 'platonic' definitions, yet still tied to biotic questions, and still sourcing from the emotional register as the compass. The Ti user may, instead, derive moral axioms from the aggregate database of Fe object-relations, and thus boil down the axioms from an outside-in view of humanity from its behavioral broad strokes.
however, one thing that jumped out at me as disagreeing was this: “Descartes also held that, unless people believe in God and immortality, they will see no reason to be moral.”
Right. I've seen a lot of Fi users retaliate at that notion too. As if to assume that morality must necessarily come from the outside, and with no outer structure people would be corrupted. I think this is an Fe anxiety that articulates the extreme application of Fe's outside-in morality.
In some form or another, I see almost all Fe-leads do this, and point to some external structure or cultural factor as the "cause" of people's misbehavior. And, therefore, propose a solution as being the institutionalization of an "environment of ideas" more conducive to the desired net societal outcome. Well, not exactly. Fe does believing in personal choice and responsibility, but always understands how the environment influences it. (but I digress)
Thanks for sharing @janie ! Your analysis really is invaluable and it further confirms my suspicions on Fi (and Ji) and fleshes them out considerably as well. I'm still mulling over much of it and may come back after it's simmered in my mind a bit.
(Funny, I just wrote something about this essence-topic that I'm working on, in a draft atm. Perhaps it'll help expand this.)
I am so happy this was so appreciated @auburn !
I was (as usual) very insecure about posting something so revealing.
I'll be sure to check out what you write after things have simmered.
I really wanted to carefully read this whole thread and respond with everything everyone said in mind, but my brain started hurting before I got there. So the later posts were skimmed or not read at all. I'm hoping I can find a chance to come back later to read them more carefully. But here are the parts I wanted to respond to while my brain was still working properly:
So far what I have found is that the evaluation of identity, for Fi, is at the level of personal resonance/dissonance. What the self “is”, comes to be a much more intimate matter that is composed of those things which are affiliated with the self. So affiliation/disaffiliation plays a more important role as to what is accepted as a proper definition of self.
I don't know if this is the type of thing that you were getting at, but this reminds me of something that happened to me back before I came to the CT community, when I thought I was an INTP. My friend sent me a video that was all about discovering your personal preferences (food you like, colors you like, etc) as an essential part of loving yourself. This didn't resonate with me at all. Those things seem totally unimportant to me. I might like the color blue, but it's not part of my *identity*. There's nothing fundamental about that. It's totally changeable. If you take a food you hate and start eating it regularly, you will probably learn to love it. I was kind of baffled by how anyone could think that stuff was important until I realized that maybe it was because my friend had Fi and I didn't. Now I’m not sure what it’s related to.
After re-reading what I just wrote, I’m questioning it. First of all, you probably weren’t thinking of affiliations like “what color you like.” Probably you were thinking of deeper things (like maybe whether you identify as an artist?). But even a lot of the deeper stuff seems sort of arbitrary to me. So much is influenced by things like culture and experience. Even in the absence of any radical event, so many of the affiliations in my life have changed over the years. (There are a few constants that I see as being more fundamental to my identity - things like the tendency to overthink things and the desire to understand the foundations of things. I wouldn’t call those affiliations though.) However, I do remember viewing “affiliations” as important when I was younger. But I also see this as a general characteristic of teenagers. It seems to be very common among teenagers to think that their affiliations are vitally important, will be everlasting, and define them as people.
The Fi diagnostic instrument will select out the specific resonances/dissonances with each item listed, and make a call as to whether the content matches the subject on a case-by-case basis.
Well, that is literally what I did in my email response to you after you typed me, so I can’t argue with that 🙂
Fe, especially with the help of Ti, has a third-person view of people and thus tends to take a more behaviorist approach which evaluates more macro effects on one hand (Fe) but forms an abiotic theory for why that is (Ti), that deals with metabolic “principles of human psychology.” The kind of understanding that Fe develops, of humanity and even of the subject, is always in some way decentralized from any individual. What one comes to understand as true for oneself must then have some wider/universal anchoring in humans at large. With Fi, the self is understood in more nuclear terms.
I’m sorry to say it, but this description of Fe/Ti seems to fit me. For example, many people talk about criminals and the criminal justice system as though “character” is a fixed thing and criminals are just people with “bad moral character.” I totally disagree with that. Any person would be a criminal if put in the right external circumstances. I can buy that some people are more likely to become criminals than others, but I don’t think “bad moral character” is an inherent property of any person. It’s simply a normal human psychological response to certain situations.
But my understanding of my own self and people in general is that they are un-understandable and unreducable to any simple terms. This viewpoint is where a lot of ‘snowflake’ jokes come from probably, but I think for an Fi user, it’s difficult to define anything any way other than completely unique and unlike anything else. I think the dichonimous ‘i am this or that’ idea is closer to Ti than Fi. The concept of dichonomy is inherent in Ti I think, where Fi gets to be a little more specific / less essential in our evaluations[...] Maybe Fi is more concerned with the aspects of every single instance of everything and not in defining things into general categories?
That’s not how I see things though, and I’m apparently an Fi-lead. But if you truly see things that way, what draws you to typology? The whole concept of typology is about seeing the general trends among groups of people and categorizing them.
Edit: something I just thought of! Fi isn’t really that interested in defining things. For example, what is a woman? Who cares! It’s how I view myself! Couldn’t really tell you why!
Ooooh, so not me. I’m definitely interested in defining things. I have had reeeally long conversations trying to figure out what a woman is (actually what gender and sex are more generally).
I could look at someone named Sarah for example and give a list of things she is or is not. “Sarah is a woman and not a man. Sarah is tall and not short. Sarah is smart and not dumb.” Etc etc
OR I could look at Sarah in terms of various qualities, attitudes and motivations she possesses!
So, I’m trying to think about how I identify/describe certain people, and I think I would usually do it in terms of common behaviors. Like “Sarah is very opinionated,” “Sarah is usually quiet,” or “Sarah is very joke-y.”
I'm not sure if any of this is helpful. I'd like to put forth my own ideas about what Fi is and how it differs from Ti, but I don't really have any at this point. I feel pretty confused about the whole thing. Plus my brain is tired after trying to read this whole thread. The constant questioning of whether what I read fit with my personal experience/identity or not was very tiring. By the end, I was like “Is that me? I have no idea. Who even am I? What is identity even? We’re all just constantly changing collections of atoms. How can anyone *be* anything?” I think I’ll recover after some rest 🙂
Hi! I wanted to address my earlier response to this thread, because seeing you respond to my writing made me realize how incorrect I was about functional definitions. I still understand very little about Ti, and I think I was even more confused about it when I wrote my original response to this thread. I have the feeling I was still influenced by socionics' definition, as I used to be really into that theory.
Anything I originally said in response to this thread can probably just be treated as incorrect. My understanding of Fi even seems to be incorrect, or at least misguided. I used some really confusing examples in any case. I'm very sorry I contributed to your confusion about functions, I was mostly making shit up on the spot at that point I think (and I probably still am).
@fayest42 I no longer feel alone. I am supposedly an Fi lead also, and don't feel like it communicates how I metabolize info...and I'm not talking about a point here or there, but the overall pattern. I can go point by point, but that is to try and refute an argument, not start with a fresh perspective. I also find many of the descriptions confusing and vague. I feel like Hrafn described how I function more than the folks that have Fi as a first or second function. (Things would perhaps be easier if I had their gifts)
I wish there were more healthy Fe females on here so we could see the difference, especially in their mid-30's and older. Explaining Fe when it is a lower function will never be as clean as if it were higher in the stack. In many cultures, males are usually conditioned to focus on thinking and females on feeling, so I think the gender does make a difference. That said, maybe people who are not cis could offer insight on how expectations on them have or have not changed over their lifetimes.
If I look at all of the changes I've made over the course of my life, you wouldn't recognize me. I used to be homophobic, conservative, evangelical Christian, boot straps, etc. (I was raised in this and subscribed to it) and then began changing as I learned from life that things are not so easily reduced. In college, my mind was opened as I was presented new ideas and people I wouldn't have been around otherwise. I would never claim to have the right to dictate what is right or wrong, because we never know how we will show up until we are presented with new experiences and challenges. I have done things that some in society would view as wrong, and others would view as self-compassion. I believed the former to be true until many kind people surrounded me with new understanding and love. At no point did I have an innate feel for what was "right", only what was the least shitty option and then worked to make peace with it. This has been the overarching pattern of my life. Don't get me wrong, I have a strong compass, but it is spiritual, not moral. And it has been developed over the course of several nondual experiences, not what I hear Fi refer to.
Maybe CT is attempting to reduce the impossible? Does vultology trump the way someone is behaviorally? Does it matter if they feel they are living a congruent and healthy life? I don't know.
@cedar, glad to know I'm not alone either 🙂 I'm curious how you feel about what Auburn said here:
It seems to me that Fe is more inclined to side with an ontology that is broadly/universally psychological — and then narrow into specifics (and the self) from the universals. One’s specific acquired preferences in life are often decentralized away from the “essential” definition of self. And it seems that is more or less part of what you describe above.
In contrast, I make note of how there’s a trend in high-Fi users to treat the “contents of character” as more essential, rather than starting their self-concept with more generalized aspects of human psychology.
Personally, my thoughts about humans seem to fit better with the Fe description here. As I said in my earlier post, I don't think anyone's "character" is really inherent. I do think there is a certain amount that is determined before we're born by genetics and the prenatal environment (and cognitive functions perhaps), but that is more like our architecture and not the kind of stuff people usually refer to as "character." Character is built by experience and can change greatly over time (like yours has, it sounds like).
Every time my position on something sounds more like what is supposedly the Ti/Fe position, I think about something Auburn wrote (in the "Upcoming Changes to Fi/Ti, and F Attitudes" post) where he talks about how a person's "explicit belief" may not be the same as their "implicit belief." So perhaps the issue is that my explicit beliefs are often opposed to my implicit beliefs? I'm not really sure how to tell what my implicit beliefs are. But I would imagine that if my implicit beliefs and explicit beliefs were at odds, then I would feel more conflicted about them than I do.
@fayest42 I agree. Scientific studies are showing how epigenetics impacts behaviors and can even cause mental disorders in future generations. It's also objectively true that it is neither nature nor nurture in charge of shaping us, but a blend. There's no way I could believe that someone comes into the world with a template of character that they will develop. It wouldn't make sense evolutionary speaking either. All living things are impacted by their environment, experiences, resources or lack of, etc. I do agree that the cognitive functions could be part of our blueprint as I have seen many babies turn into adults; human, dog, cat, chicken, duck, hamster, and on and on. This does seem to be a constant.
I also agree that if our implicit and explicit attitudes weren't in agreement, it would cause stress. This would be due to cognitive dissonance. This tension manifests behaviorally, often with anger.
Back when I was in college, we were tested on implicit bias/attitude to important topics so we would be aware of them and not make hiring decisions without this knowledge. Throughout the years, I have checked myself often to see if I am still aware of my sub-conscience bias and I am. I imagine you are too. It might be interesting to poke around on the link below.
For anyone interested, Harvard has a series of tests you can take at: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html
@cedar, Yes, I've taken one of those implicit bias tests before. Very eye-opening! I wish there was a test that revealed your implicit beliefs about philosophical questions 🙂
@fayest42 Agreed! Since there is no way, at this point, to investigate someone's bias towards philosophy, this can at least show if they know themselves as well as they think they do. This is the closest that I can imagine us getting now. I trust my own self-knowledge and that of those who know me. I am older and have done a lot of work on myself...very uncomfortable work. When I was younger, I lived a life that wasn't congruent to me and it caused a lot of pain. After 15 years of intensive healing, I trust this.
When I took philosophy, we were taught that the person coming up with the argument had to do their damnedest to "prove" it. It is uncomfortable when the baby is thrown out with the bath water over new unproven arguments. I've seem some people struggle with this on here. I'm the queen of moderation though, so it may just bother me.
Do you think humans can be reduced? I don't. I love plants and animals. Even within those species, there is so much overlap and exception after exception. My husband and I survey beached birds as a citizen science project. Many of them don't fit into the "standard" that has been created for the species; legs too long, color wrong, etc. In the end, you take the data and make the best choice knowing that it isn't a clean pick (for those worrying about the science, there are pictures and if we pick wrong a specialist corrects it). As we are all under states of evolution (as species on this earth, as beings experiencing and growing, etc.), fitting into clean boxes seems a tall order.
I liked your response to the computer coding. One function might be deducible, but that's not how we work. We are complex and have many interactions between the functions. In the end, it doesn't thrill me to reduce humanity, but it does to gain understanding of how we can each see the same thing and respond so differently to it. It's nuanced, I see Auburn as trying this but from the mind...thinking a solution...or drilling down into one. I would love to see it balanced with an older healthy Fe lead female so that it also has heart and is built from the ground up as well. As much as he tries, it would be the same as and TePi trying to explain Fi...it just doesn't have the same feel as an FiPe's perspective.
I'm African American with a moderate automatic preference for European American. This fact isn't as surprising. What surprising seeing what it take to digitally get this result. Black / good vs white / bad part was super eye opening. This pretty much tells what I am like before making conscious choice.
Thinking about the changes through out my twenties I can see how I likely got this way. I started off with neutral association between both white and black is from 0-23. The positive association toward white people is from age 23-28. The negative association toward black people was hard hitting at 29-30. Overall through out my life I have consumed more white media than black media. At 23-28 I was parallel with a group of guys all over the world and we put great focus aiming for the most attractive women in our combined minds, which happened to be white chicks most of time. At 28 I stopped that focus as it was rendering me unable to see anyone including myself for who they truly were. At 29-30 I am living some neighbors and even locals that have strong opinions about my current activities in social or shopping areas. The activity was me 'seeing myself for who I was' so deeply that my body would sometimes emanate this persona of effortless power and lust. Some locals a lot of times see this as personally insulting, more often they are black locals seeing it as both culturally dismissive and insulting. It's rare not to see a few of them outside my third story window expressing there displeasure rather loudly. Because I never stopped emanating that natural energy when I wanted to, all this has been happening for over a year. I must say it is hard to give well a mannered black person the instantaneous respect I conscientiously believe they should have. I am hoping that moving from this area will help me recover the neutral sub-conscientiousness I once had in the east coast. This is also my brother's thinking as Doctor in clinical psychology and someone who has attained a black colleges across the east coast.
PS: During my last visit to Las Angeles the locals have been extremely therapeutic and non-collectivist minded. I can't stop myself from uttering "god bless their fucking souls"!
@epicentity I am a white woman from the Pacific Northwest, so I don't know your experience. I imagine what you are saying is stifling and almost like a cage. Having people project onto what they think you are would be difficult. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is sad that since media has represented white as "normal" for so long, people around the world and of all races view it as the standard and what is considered "good".
I hope that as a culture we can begin to move towards compassion and inclusion....I wish it was a switch as that would save so much frustration and heartache. Stay healthy wherever you are!
I’m not sure you believe me yet (and you would have many things on your mind) but your descriptions of Fi vs Fe/Ti confirm for me that I am native NeTi who was forced by an extreme event into becoming NeFi(shadow)Ti. (Being Double Ji is an interesting exercise in being extremely certain of your judgement and having little drive to effect the world, as would be predicted)
My desire and preference clearly fall on the Fe/Ti side of the coin, but its also apparent that I spent all my time from 16Yo onward contemplating my place in the world due to “meeting my shadow”
A saying of mine is “To have unlimited potential is to have the potential for unlimited failure.” When the universe shows you that you’re special, but forgets to mention if your good or bad, it has a tendency to focus the mind on Fi matters no mater your native preference.
I'm just gonna put my own point of view and experience here and let CT decide how to incorporate it into the rest of knowledge about Fi and Ti.
Definition, objectivity/subjectivity, formation of thoughts, feeling, motives, conviction, identity, character, empathy, morality, humanity, possible Fi and Fe dynamics.
Definition is something that for me is cultural, made up, agreed upon, and changing. Just like how language works. In my early years, I was attuned with how words differ in forms. I quickly notice that some words are nouns, verbs, or adjectives, and use that to create definitions such as "noun1 is a thing that is..." or "adjective1 is a trait of being...". This also drove my drive to categorize every knowledge in the universe from the general down to specifics, that was one of my little dream that I never fully followed through because other things were more pressing and once I had time for it I had already became self-indulgent. This was one eager half-assed attempt at that: [ link removed at personal request ] But there was also another attempt at blogging world symbolism that I had lost now.
Objectivity is something that I also strive for, but for me everything, including emotional experience, account to that objectivity. There is an objective reality of emotion on personal and collective level. There is an objective reality of consciousness. It is true that we perceive everything through our own personal bias, even if emotions are put out of the equation, personal experiences and understandings will be the bias. There is also consideration of self-image, reputation, how to not offend people, self-denial and so on which can muddle the search for truth (which includes emotions by the way). So I try to incorporate that subjective phenomenon into the analysis, how I personally feel and what a thing actually is. The problem is when you engage with emotions, it can often consume you and make you reactive and it's hard to get out of that grip.
So to form a clear thought, I have to clear my environment and disengage from people to clear myself from outer influence. Any outer disturbances become very distracting and affective. I become obsessed with a line of thought, and I have to protect that line of thought from being disrupted by outer forces. That results in annoyance, anger, or irresponsiveness. But this only happens when something takes my interest.
And what often takes my interest is the question of feelings. I try to map feelings into recognizable clusters of opposing energies. How they interact with each other. What emotions are social and what are personal. What positive emotions form when certain negative emotions are satiated. That's me in theorizing mode, and I don't need any external input since this would take away my time where a thought might already pass and be lost after learning "adequate information". So I tend to use any knowledge that I already have within. It's often in the form of trying to catch "a ball of a concept" that I don't yet have a name for, and would try to find an adequate or temporary random label for. It's the fear of losing a line of thought if I don't immediately follow it through. Ironically, this kind of knowledge is fragile to keep and I often lost it after it was being thought.
An equal amount of time I spend is by engaging with personal issues. And it's just a typical woe-me dramatization, I don't find anything special about it to describe. It's the same thing you see in TV basically.
About motives. I do question about people's motivations often. But not in the "what are they going to do to me" way. More often if there is a fight, or emotional conflict in my environment, or if someone passes judgment about something. I often notice people insult others with the things they themselves seem to display. I notice when a crowd is caught in the heat and get excited when they find a victim to tease. I notice how when people pass judgment, that could create a feedback loop that basically becomes a situational equivalent of self-fulfilling prophecy, where the one being judged starts to believe it, and their previous capacity of doing something with half-merit is now toned down close to zero.
And those are the convictions that are sometimes hard to be expressed to people (I just now made that connection that those are parts of my "convictions"). I think I can trace my core conviction back to when I was little and I thought "I will never forget how it feels to be a kid when I grow up". So to not severe my understanding of children's irrational behaviors, I thought.
Question of identity. I relate to this question "Who am I?" This question comes from the place of directly experiencing being alive and conscious. Right now, I can feel the difference of living through the physical body and through the more abstract mind. Living through your body feels more peaceful, your emotions are only what your body experience. But I naturally live inside of my head, and the world feels like something surreal. Maybe that's why I'm (or Fi in general are) attuned to my preferences, thoughts, etc. When interacting with people, I am directing from within this mental sphere. How can I describe it? It's like you drag your reflective mode into your interaction. So you're not really where your body is even while talking. The internal thoughts that are triggered by external perception excite you, not the perception itself. That results in external world (Pe and Je) being neutralized when engaged in and of themselves, they're free of affect. The l-l- development might be related to this, I don't know.
(I've spent my time writing long enough, I'll make the next points short.)
I don't think about character that much tbh.
Empathy is something felt viscerally. I think I use more affective empathy (the kind where seeing a murder scene on TV makes you feel it), but I use cognitive empathy adequately too. I have this thing where I imagine all kinds of pain and pleasure imaginable that could happen in the world and get affected by the "what if it's me that went through that". It's kind of masochistic, not that I enjoy it. Imagination like that makes the world feels unbearable. And pointless now that I think about it.
My sense of morality would weigh in that empathetic experience, but doesn't solely depend on it. And the scope has to be universal, that means it include animals, plants, etc. It has to be perfect in all situations and considering every possible factor. Now I realize that is impossible to think about and have to be satisfied enough now with the concept of consensual agreement between humans.
Dynamics between Fe and Fi. Fi drives the societal ideal towards the better change, while Fe tries to assimilate those values into society in practical ways. Fi might also create diversity across cultures because of the off-beat nature.
Addition: That Directive thingy where you condone yourself to be shamed or punished if you do something wrong, that's me. So it's not exclusive to the Directive folks.
Lexical and impressionistic thinking?
I'm having a hard time to explain this one, but I think it might be describing how Ti(Fe) and Fi(Te) operate, and in addition maybe also Ni(Se) and Si(Ne). The latter I've only read on the forum, it's not in the video, and I'm not focusing on them here. In Digi/Digibro's theory, lexical thinkers have this internal need to describe things in words before they can understand them. Impressionistic thinkers don't have that kind of need and operates on impressions. Let's think of lexical thinking as Ti and impressionistic one as Fi and assume that's true. If I'm correctly basing my own internal experience with the impressionistic thinking of Fi (plus Si, as I think it would be different for Ni), and keep in mind I'm only one person so there could be some individualized factors that are subjective to me alone, it would be this fast almost-imagery concept-processing that is quite fragile to keep but one knows is logically sound. If you try to translate it word-by-word correctly and meticulously, unless you have a powerful processing power that matches with the speed that they appear, the idea perishes after it puts you into this state of momentary glitching. But if you don't, you're going to try to describe it in loose terms that are eventually bound to have some contradictions and lead you to false logic, where the idea could also perish unless you can step back to the previous thoughts. So it's quite ironic.
Now, I know these raw concepts themselves are neither Ti nor Fi (we're still assuming Digi's theory is related to them by the way). They are, in and of themselves, produced by the Pi process(es). Ti is constantly trying to order them into coherent words while omitting some irrelevant parts, while Fi is captivated and trying to (for me personally) chase all of them and build them into an almost-imagery construct, barely able to catch up and translate the totality of it into words. Sometimes words appear just as the products of reactive emotional mechanism to a concept and be left at that.
Am I capturing both the processes of Ti and Fi correctly there? Anyhow, I think Digibro's theory is quite interesting to learn even if doesn't have any bearing to CT.
Edit: Seems like I have something different in mind than him because I'm typing him differently than he does in his own system.
This woman almost sufficiently describes the internal experiences that I have. Seeing a picture or a scene and then tries to describe them verbally only after they make some concrete sense. But this is not all the time though. I have a hard time remembering my past experiences while simultaneously observing and describe them, while also being pulled to observe what's happening in my mind at the present moment. It's frustrating and at times I feel like I'm almost popping and zeroing myself in and out of existence, impossibly (I realize) trying to comprehend what I imagine as the experience of other minds (Ti, Fe, Se, Ni). I'm sorry if I'm being too much, guys.
*Also Dr. Hurlburt's study is an interesting topic in regard to inner monologues. I shared a video of his conversation with a Youtuber Ryan Langdon on Discord once.
**The complete sessions with Lena and Ryan Langdon: http://hurlburt.faculty.unlv.edu/lena/do_I_have_internal_monologue_sampling.html