The following is a general listing of all the major behavioral qualities statistically correlated to Ne development. The focus of this article is to paint as complete and undiluted a picture of Ne’s behaviorism as possible, in an abstract sense and without modulation from any adjacent functions in a type’s hierarchy.
The Ne function is motivated to discover new information, whether by absorbing it from the outside or by synthesizing it out of existing datasets through a creative alchemy. It is highly imaginative, which is to say it’s driven by images and information structures of all kinds. However, these images are not immediately evidenced in the environment, but are all those which the environment evokes by containing an adjacent graphical relationship to the present. When faced with a situation the Ne user will only casually consider the literal objects before them as their mind soon drifts up, around and behind those immediate objects to uncover the visual and conceptual implications related to that moment. They are quick to leap beyond the physical world and become lost in their heads; conjuring up novel ways to interpret situations as they unfold. They have a talent for manipulating information spatially and relationally; fitting together ideas that are otherwise largely disconnected from each other. They may find themselves comparing elements of the periodic table to music bands, or imagining what the life of an eraser would be like from the perspective of a Pixar film. As children they may be absentminded daydreamers oblivious to their surroundings and caught up in a self-made world of equal parts fiction and reality. The domain of their imagination can be far more interesting to them than whatever is happening in the outer world. Some may nurture this world with stories they make up, complete with characters, landscapes and perhaps an entire legendarium.
But the time the Ne user spends in their head often translates to time not spent in reality. Far more than the average student, they will be prone to space out in class, be unable to get through long texts or any tasks that require a very slow or arduous pace. Their perception of the world outside of their interests will be faint, hazy or splotchy. If something is not particularly rich with associative potential, the details of objects in daily life will soon fade, leaving only their general impression as an after-image in their mind. When listening to others, as they’re absorbing the person’s words, one word will trigger a mental tangent midway and they’ll pursue it curiously at the loss of what else the other person was saying. They can live a klutzy existence, tripping on objects, wearing mismatched clothes, losing things and forgetting appointments on a regular basis. But despite this exterior inattentiveness, internally they may experience quite a hyperactivity of thought. Far more is happening within than without and this can also cause troubles such as over-thinking, excessive worrying about outcomes or not getting a good night’s sleep from an inability to slow down their mental chatter. They may find it difficult to keep a steady mental pace and can often be diagnosed with ADD, ADHD or Sensory Processing Disorder. Reality can register to the Ne user as a series of information flashes which are somewhat spontaneous in nature and which channel from every previous dataset collected in the unconscious.
Jarring as it may be to be inundated by sporadic correlative flashes, it can also be incredibly stimulating and addictive to constantly be experiencing this imaginative feed. A small rush or high may be felt every time a new idea pops into awareness and the Ne user will thirst after that feeling of realization, the sensation of novelty or the intrigue of curiosity. And when Ne is particularly strong, they will seek this type of experience with undying fervor. They will become media junkies, often binge watching entire seasons, rushing through novels and games, or going on researching sprees for days or weeks on end. A slowdown of volume, or a lack of things to absorb can lead to feelings of stagnation, hollowness and absence of thriving. As such, their impulse will be to pick up something else right after finishing the last thing, needing to have some form of interest always in mind. However, this can be problematic if they find themselves more engaged in the endless flux of information than in the information itself. Despite vast amounts of information entering, much may be going in one ear and out the other. A perpetual challenge for the Ne user will be to be more targeted in their attention and sink deeply into a few topics rather than spread themselves thin across dozens of topics. And indeed, when they learn to channel their focus toward a single direction, they can become over-night experts on subjects, memorizing every minute detail about a favored hobby, genre, pop idol, science experiment, or category of trivia.
The Ne user’s capacity to synthesize such high volumes of information sometimes leads to spooky insights, uncanny realizations and predictions of the relevant situation. Suddenly a vision may flash before their eyes, stitched together from hundreds of unconscious micro-correlations accumulated around this moment; converging into one instance in time. This can lead to a semblance of clairvoyance where the Ne user attains some knowledge into the unseen causalities of the universe. They may come to deeply trust this sense, whenever they feel it manifest. However, these sudden flashes will not represent a stable ability and their appearance will be as unpredictable as their own inspiration. In other cases this can produce a habit of serendipity where the individual participates in a cosmic flow towards meaningful happenstances by consciously or unconsciously directing their energies in those vectors. The Ne user will attune themselves to the real-time synchronicities of the universe, ebbing and dancing in harmony with an eternally unfolding fractal towards undiscovered lands. At a more modest scale, the Ne user’s information synthesis will regularly evoke epiphanies when various information vectors — previously suspended in an unconscious superposition — click into alignment and burst forth immediate realizations that alter the fabric of their mind and their paradigm. In all of these cases the Ne user is rapidly altered — seemingly by a divine act — into a more true alignment with reality as it may exist at the widest scale possible.
At a much more practical level, the strong Ne user is not only driven to absorb and synthesize information but also to actively participate in the information collecting process. They will enjoy engaging with elements of reality through tinkering and experimentation. More than a few household devices may be taken apart as they yearn to see what’s inside. They may take up a variety of interests ranging from sculpting to rock collecting, music composition, cosplaying, animation, voice acting, puppeteering and ventriloquism – but will rarely become expert at any of them. As a jack of all trades and master of none, they will dabble with mediums frequently but may find themselves changing hobbies every few years. This can also cause a great deal of disarray in their personal lives, as they soon lose interest in a once beloved life trajectory. Repetition is among their biggest turn-offs, and this can also lead to a life-long struggle with keeping a set occupation unless the Ne user is fortunate enough to find a job that is as dynamic and evolving as their interests. They enjoy being on the cusp of their understanding and seeing what lies still beyond their reach. Over time, every interest they’ve ever had has the potential to spontaneously reignite itself in them. On a whim they may circle back around to a hobby after having packed it up in the garage for years or decades, and continue their joy for it as if no time had passed. Indeed, they often have closets or garages filled with various unfinished hobbies or projects – waiting for an occasion to become the center of their attention.
The Ne user will also have an integral sense of humor and bring that with them into many of their interactions. They’ll have a capacity to convert their wild imaginings into out of context parallels; comparing a person’s gait to a limping platypus, an unusual jawline to a can opener or a shih tzu to an animated mustache. They’ll juxtapose ideas together in absurd and off-the-wall ways and highlight the unseen peculiarities of things. The Ne user will have a natural drive to spark up the environment; to provide levity and life to situations as well as to their own life. Life is too dreary if you can’t have a little fun. Wordplay can be a favorite medium of humor, where they’ll manipulate the semantics of the situation to make puns and associations. “Oh you can sit here with me, chairing is caring!” or “That omelette was egg-squisite! But the bacon was hogwash” or spoonerisms like “I’m stoing to the gore” may be commonly heard phrases. This sense of humor can lead many Ne users into stand-up comedy or to adopt a role as a talk show host for their ability to improvise and keep the flow of a conversation going in unexpected directions.
The Ne user will also have a playful tendency to parody multiple characters and scenarios in real-time. A certain event or external sound/word will trigger an association chain which reminds them of a scene or meme, and their mind instantly re-enacts the memory both mentally and physically. The Ne user wears many hats and may be a sort of walking record of enactments, ready to sprint into their acting mode at a moment’s notice when the situation presents itself. They will manifest this in the form of “mini-skits” that imitate the iconic qualities of a thing. The Ne user may be an expert at playing with their facial muscles, making a wide range of expressions. They may also excel at modulating their voice tone, picking up and repeating accents from movie stars or obscure demographics. At a more functional and less recreational level, this gives the Ne user the ability to be adaptive and construct personas in social situations. If they are driven to assume a certain professional or social role, they may seamlessly be able to play the part. This can sometimes become a longstanding act, as they use the persona for months until the Ne user may even forget that they assimilated or constructed the character in the first place.
Aside from the aforementioned behaviors, functions also display compensatory behaviors when the individual is under stress. The following behaviors manifest in the Ne user when distressed or when accompanied by high levels of neuroticism.
When the hardships of life cause a fall out of emotional health for the Ne user, their first instinct will be to divert their attention away from the overwhelming pain. Humor, recreation and consumerism will be exercised as an antidote to their pain, often leading them to engage in reckless spending, jovial displays and to seek out more risky experiences. On the inside the Ne user will be viscerally compelled to stay on the run by an avoidance of their own anxieties and fears. They’ll feel that they would not be able to stand up to the full magnitude of their despair, and rather than have it crush them, they choose to highlight or exaggerate positives and downplay or ignore the magnitude of any negatives. They may also become immersed in a certain media, binge-watching netflix or playing video games instead of tending to pressing responsibilities. Despite a completely conscious awareness of the necessity of certain actions, the more pressing a responsibility is, the more their mind will fight powerfully to avoid it, disallowing proper mental focus and follow-through. The Ne user will be in conflict with their mind as it struggles to do anything else but what it’s supposed to do. Therefore, rather than address the issue head on, the stressed Ne user may skirt around the problem and find something more magnetic to focus on and just wait for the project, assignment or relationship to fail on its own.
The spiritual experience of Ne is called Mer, which is described more completely in this page. Mer is a psychological archetype best known as the Puer Aeternus; a Divine Child with the ability to distort or alter reality. As a symbol, Mer appears in the form of a golden egg, a genie lamp, or a deux ex machina. We find the spirit of Mer in characters such as Peter Pan, Paprika, and The Little Prince. These archetypal characters are almost always unbounded by gravity, able to fly and always have some capacity to use magic in a playful manner. They are provisional, innocent, and entirely without responsibility. Like the spirit of Mer, there is a quality that Ne brings to its user which is floaty, flighty, surreal and nebulous. It may feel as if every mental step taken is a leap into new worlds, causing them to have a fantastical, spritely energy or the quality of air. The individual enveloped by Mer may feel non-literal, non-corporeal and as if they were a caricature of themselves. Relating this quality to music, the floaty energy of Ne carries the tone of Mozart’s Turkish March or the Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy.
The myth of Mer, when personally felt, ignites a yearning for reality to contain something other than the mundane and ordinary. There is a craving for something more than this, which hearkens back to a time when reality did exist as an interesting and unknown place which had not yet been dulled by repeated exposure. A return to infancy; rebirth. It represents the way we are before the world’s laws and restrictions oblige us to narrow our perceptions into practical parameters. As such, Mer carries the capacity to rejuvenate weary eyes and to unlearn all that which prevents us from truly appreciating the mysteries of this universe. Mer may notice how odd it is that humans suddenly fall unconscious and helpless for eight hours every day, and nobody seems to mind it. It may ask why we have five fingers and not four, or why we only have long hair on our head or why we have eyebrows – and other questions that any ‘sensible’ adult has long since stopped caring about. The evocation of Mer is like that of a newborn child who is seeing things for the first time. As the laws of physics haven’t yet been established, anything seems possible and the child explores this new universe he has landed into with no prejudice whatsoever. Mer is especially captivated by glittery things such as prisms for their magical capacity to generate a rainbow spectrum, by the allure of distant stars and the reflection of light on morning dew. It holds an eternal wanderlust that compels its user to see what’s beyond the next horizon or around the next corner.
As is true of all archetypes, Mer also has a dark form. When life has remained monotonous and dreary for too long, the Ne user’s psyche will begin to suffocate and atrophy in the wake of their restrictive situation. Anything that can transform their world away from its present parameters — even if it’s violent and destructive — will be felt as better than continuing along the same road. Reality becomes a prison which must be escaped, and they will escape this reality in the only way possible; by going deeper into fantasy. The individual’s repressed desire for life will break the shackles of life through a series of nightmares and eventually into waking daydreams; distorting reality into chaotic and manic dreamworlds. We see this exemplified perfectly in the tale of Alice in Wonderland, where what starts as a playful fantasy devolves into a frightening world of impossible creatures and surreal situations filled with wacky characters made from the juxtaposition of concepts or memes. The form of Mer will switch from a Divine Child into a playfully mischievous daemon. The Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter are, in this tale, the archetypes of the dark side of Mer; speaking to the individual through cryptic, nonsensical absurdities. Here Mer begins to have strong crossover with Ver‘s trickster archetype; enjoying pranks and developing a dark sense of humor. Other depictions of this iteration of Ne are seen in Invader Zim or Rick & Morty where the protagonists are mad scientists that use their talents for chaotic, fantastical amusements. Madness is chosen above the sterility of sanity, and mischief is taken above the blandness of sensibility.