The following is a general listing of all the major behavioral qualities statistically correlated to Se development. The focus of this article is to paint as complete and undiluted a picture of Se’s behaviorism as possible, in an abstract sense and without modulation from any adjacent functions in a type’s hierarchy.
The Se user will constantly be receiving a photographic feed from the outer world, and thus will have a heightened receptivity to sensory information, which can be both overwhelming when undesired and highly stimulating when accepted and honed. If this data absorption is sought after rather than rejected, the Se user will become so immersed in the ‘one thing’ in front of them, that everything else suddenly disappears. The Se user’s attention is cinematic; causing them to take in the world just as it appears with very high fidelity and this can lead to an appreciation for “realism” in the arts and other mediums. The focus of an Se user is linear, rather than divergent. They will want to sink deeply into the experience of a thing, rather than spread themselves thin and broadly. Unsolicited tangents can be too distracting for them; jarring their attention and focus away from their present obsession. Even if the Se user has multiple interests- which they inescapably do – whenever they are immersed in the subject at hand it is with an acute intrigue. This dedicated attention can create a hyper-vigilance and ability to mimic something after seeing it only once or twice. For example, if the Se user is trying to learn a new technical skill, maneuver or dance – they may observe the action and imitate the motion precisely in their own body through a translation of kinesthetic information. If they are learning about a handmade craft, they may notice all the bumps, lumps, scratches, and dents in objects and be quick to see the subtle differences in colors and shapes. Volumes of non-verbal information will collide with their attention constantly and guide them to calibrate their personal experiences accordingly.
The most direct way this sensory calibration happens is through an active flow. For the Se user, flow is when the body/mind moves in rhythm with everything else in the environment, as if pulsing with the same energy. During these moments, the Se user exists in a 1:1 direct contact with life, which creates an intoxicating feeling. One gets lost in the moment as they fine-tune their rhythm with the situation. This can happen when they’re riding the waves of the ocean through surfing, hugging turns on a skateboard, freestyle dancing, freestyle rapping, beat-boxing and the like. The Se user will get “in the zone” and feel most in their element when they can perform in real-time, making up their next move as they go. Adaptation is essential to an Se user and there is nothing more adaptive than reacting instantly, elegantly and with no delay to every twist and swerve life throws at you. The closer they are to this flow, the more aligned they’ll feel. Life is most invigorating when they are perfectly aligning the needs of the body, their own desires, and the situation. It may feel like a symphony coming together in harmony, and indeed many Se users take to music production for its capacity to create this fluidity. In all their activities and ventures, whenever life is not flowing in this manner, the Se user senses it and will feel out of alignment. The environment will feel clumsy, suffocating and static.
Se is also characterized by a sense of volition, as their linearity of focus quickly translates into a clarity of desire. There’s an implicit knowledge of what is wanted and, as a Pe function, a craving for its attainment. The Se type will be a go-getter; motivated to gather what it wants in a literal sense. Se will leverage the environment to work for them, being opportunistic and making the best of what they got. And the quest for this attainment will carry a delicious competitiveness, giving Se users an added layer of vitality, but also of a self-assertion in reality. The Se user occupies the place where they stand, making their will known by their very composure. Then, as they lock onto their target, they inadvertently create adversity as opposite wills always exist and chase after the same or competing resources. This only greater fuels their thirst for stimulation and arousal, as they get immersed in the hunt. The challenge of going after their pursuits will be part of the very flow they so delight in navigating, and this quest for vigor can often manifest in hobbies such as drag racing, martial arts, sports and other daring activities.
By the same token, not having dynamic movement happening will feel like stagnation and an absence of thriving. While Se users are prone to over-stimulation if the stimuli is unwanted, they also are prone to under-stimulation, and they need to constantly monitor this balance; adding or subtracting sensory experiences accordingly, in order to remain in an optimal state. When things are silent and unstimulating, a claustrophobia may be felt. Boredom sets in like a depressive weight. The Se user has a need to “move” and see; to scan the next corner. They’ll be prone to pack up their bags and head off into town on a whim. The Se user lives a mobile life, constantly making things happen as they encounter different situations. But this necessity for motion can also be a curse; interfering with family plans or the practical constraints of life. As children, Se user may be overly active an it may be hard for their parents to find a constructive outlet for their energy at all times. The Se user may have little tolerance for routine and get into trouble for misadventures undergone in an attempt to abate the dread of idleness. Family members may pressure them to stay indoors or not go out as much, but often the Se user will not listen and either sneak out or find a way to explore without permission.
At other times, however, the sensory stimuli is highly unwelcomed – making the Se user more keenly aware of disturbance than all others. The Se users’ sensitivity to stimuli becomes a double-edged sword when there’s a nagging noise in the environment such as an insect’s hum, a squeaky fan or crying baby. Temperature differences and potent smells can also be sources of frustration. Their Se won’t be able to ignore the aforementioned since, as an explorer function, every new “refresh” of the environment yields the same output – leading to a very real and somatic irritation. Ironically, their quality of attuned focus sinks more heavily in on the irritation rather than putting it out of mind, causing it to grow in their mind until it’s the only thing they hear or see; debilitating all concentration. At best this guides the Se user to seek the most pleasant sensory atmosphere available, and at worst it can cause open complaints and outbursts. Because of this tendency, whenever possible the Se user will craft their environment to match what their sensations can tolerate. They will play close attention to minimizing potential inconveniences and maximizing comfort.
Due to this careful crafting of sensory experience, Se users will often take to ergonomics. The look, feel and appeal of something becomes very important. How it fits in your hand, how the grip holds, how it throws, sounds and moves are all heavily considered. The Se user will want “the experience” of a thing to be enjoyable and free of micro-irritations. They will go to great lengths to make that happen in their own life; selecting objects based on their ergonomic and aesthetic appeal. They may be fans of designer brands, which are simply those that take the most efforts to maximize user experience. This leads inescapably to an appreciation for luxury, which is an extension of their need for completeness of sensational exposure. And although they may not always afford the highest luxury, the Se user will often take steps in that direction whenever possible. More than others, Se users understand how to create something seamless and often pave the way in domains of design and fashion. They will create things with beauty and convenience as priorities, while being simplistic and to the point. And due to being an explorer process, Se perpetually seeks newness of experience; leading it to be very contemporary. Se gravitates to the latest, causing them to be trendy or at least have a keen understanding of where the trends are and how they’re evolving.
While we all have an appreciation, capacity and need for the sensual dimension, Se being the sensory exploration process receives a double dose of this facet of our nature. No sensation is more direct, potent and contrasted than the sexual, and from this raw contact with the body Se receives a level of natural eroticism. The amplification of their senses extends to a type of libidinal awareness and intelligence. However, each individual can choose to explore or repress this tactile energy and indeed many Se users – whether by culture or moral verdict – will select to shun this part of themselves. However, for those who decide to explore it, this can add a contagious chemistry to everything they do. The Se user, so predisposed, can be a vixen and leave a seductive trail behind them as they explore and express themselves. They may not shy away from making themselves attractive and showing a little skin or muscle. As Se wishes always to explore all sensory domains to the utmost, this leads to a pointed interest in the subtleties of flirtation, pickup artistry and more exotic artforms. However, this can cause many Se users to grate against social repercussions and taboos. A girl may be frustrated by her mother’s old-fashioned conservatism or a man may be accused of sexual harassment for playful teasing or banter. Se, like Ne, is constantly crashing against the establishment as it seeks to break boundaries, peer around the corner and dabble with all available information with less consideration of restraint or temperance.
Aside from the aforementioned behaviors, functions also display compensatory behaviors when the individual is under stress. The following behaviors manifest in the Se user when distressed or when accompanied by high levels of neuroticism.
Like most people, the Se user is no stranger to a bit of wine or hard liquor. But due to the acuteness and physicality with which they experience life’s stress, the temptation to exhale problems through stimulants or sedatives is all the more pronounced in them than others. It is here where the Se user may dive into their vice to an excess until it becomes a source of debilitation. More than a few Se users have met a short end at the hands of an overdose. Given their sensitivity, an Se user would require an inordinate strength of will to resist sourcing to a physical outlet when times become roughest. Under stress they will seek for an immediate alleviation to the unbearable “here and now.” Their ability to think long-term may suffer or fade altogether as they become consumed only in how disquieting the present feels. This is especially the case if their Ni has made a pessimistic forecast, allowing them little hypothetical escape from their situation. Addiction then acts as a form of escapism and relief; one which is unsustainable at best and fatal at worst. It is in these moments when the Se user most needs to channel from external stimuli. When substances act as a replacement for external stimuli, the Se user may withdraw from the physical world; forgetting that out there is where all life, vigor and vitality is to be found. Substances act as a quick, but ultimately less stimulating replacement for the bliss that is better found in the music, rhythm and flow of a dance and in direct contact with reality.
In other situations, the Se user’s stress can manifest in an unhealthy opportunism. The Se function will always be seeking, quite advantageously, the best experience possible and when distressed this impulsiveness can lead to certain unethical behaviors. As their spiritual reserves become depleted from psychological injuries, they may help themselves to the grace and resources of others; perhaps taking more than may be polite. In heavier cases, they may take more than they were explicitly allotted. This can develop into a habit for the Se user, escalating to shoplifting, and eventually to outright robbery. The Se user feels that scarcity of resources is the cause for their sufferings, and attaining more objects is the solution to their deprivation. As with addiction, the Se user feels robbed of sensational release, suffocated by an unpleasant environment and is seeking somehow to remedy the situation through tactile means. However, real poverty or scarcity may not be the cause of their delinquency but instead may be a sort of greed for that which is unattainable. It may be a relative poverty they wish to abate when compared to a higher tier/class that taunts them with the faraway luxuries and experiences they crave.
The myth of Se, known as Ver, is the that of the trickster. A trickster is an archetype in mythology and folklore that appears as a practical joker. Often taking the form of a spirit, god, half-animal or man/woman, it plays tricks on others and does not recognize the rules of society. The trickster operates outside the framework of right and wrong, and is often malicious, greedy, lustful but is also very friendly, gregarious and clever. For every virtue he possesses, he also carries a vice. He gives the appearance of knowing less than he does, and can appear clumsy, clownish and childlike yet possesses inordinate powers of survival. He appears in mythology also as the Coyote, the court Jester and the Fool. The arrival of the trickster is simultaneously cause for deep concern, as well as an opportunity for new life and fertility. Seemingly on a whim, the trickster may bring fortune or ruin upon others. Precarious, opportunistic and foxy, the trickster delights in turning things over on their head and getting their way. Every Se user has a latent rule-breaker in them, who is driven to wedge situations in their favor, upturn expectations and most importantly – to imbalance order. Like Mer, Ver is a generator of newness and often Ver facilitates this transformation by breaking or disrupting decaying systems. The spirit of Ver is provocative and pokes holes in the weaknesses of things, causing a collapse of what was already stagnant; paving the way for new life, generations and approaches.
The spirit of Ver is aphroditic, having a powerful lust for pleasure and for attaining bliss and heaven through the body. Given to hedonism, drinking, partying and dancing – the light spirit of Ver exists in an unashamed celebration of sexuality. It wishes nothing more than sensory perfection here, now, and forever. Given its erotic nature, it is also a herald of fertility and abundance. Ver is aware of every latent impulse that we delay gratification for and calls it into our consciousness. Having no social restraints, Ver releases all inhibitions and allows its user to “lose themselves” in bliss. This can be a powerful spiritual experience; one that familiarizes you with all that we repress, excavating to a level of self-honesty and transparency which is scarcely appreciated in society. At other times, however, this trance can also be intoxicating and lead to delirium. The senses are pushed to their breaking point until all consciousness and coherence fades. All reservations are tossed aside. And when combined with the spirit of Vin, enthogens may be added to escalate the delirium to transcendent levels, approaching godhood and a state of Nirvana. Ver may also advocate the practice of tantra, kamasutra and other such avenues that allow for a dis-inhibition of the senses and for the possibility to access one’s highest states.
When the spirit of Ver is instead dark, the more chaotic aspects of the trickster archetype arise. Here the trickster wants nothing to do with authority, and will go out of his way to defame that which the establishment holds dear. The individual may enjoy instigating a shock factor, and do so as a way to throw the finger up to the man. The famous peeing Calvin comic graphic is an example of this attitude. The trickster may take to graffiti, vandalism and other such forms of retaliation. Prone to swearing, sexual jokes, and crass behavior such as mooning – the dark trickster has no specific agenda to get across, but is simply dead set on overturning the Father archetype through sheer force of chaos. He is anarchist, impetuous, rebellious and witty. He may know quite well that one day he will be caught, but will gladly defecate on society as long has he can while he is here. The dark trickster is non-political. Rather than fighting injustice with argument and rhetoric, he is content only to show society what it is and to expose its irony and hypocrisy. The Joker in the Dark Knight film series is an example of this archetype, as is Marshall Mathers’ character Slim Shady.