The following is a general listing of all the major behavioral qualities statistically correlated to Ti development. The focus of this article is to paint as complete and undiluted a picture of Ti’s behaviorism as possible, in an abstract sense and without modulation from any adjacent functions in a type’s hierarchy.
While it might be said that all types seek truth of a sort, to the Ti user the quest for truth has a very specific meaning. He is not satisfied with the acquisition of information and indeed he generally avoids information, but is instead drawn to eternally narrow his search down to what he believes is the core of a thing – beyond the senses and beyond the confines of space or time. He’ll aim to get rid of as much as is unnecessary, until only the essence remains. To him, truth means landing upon some elusive and singular convergent principle or nexus which gives formulation, symmetry and justification to everything else in the conscious universe. The Ti user, it may be said, is on a quest for a philosopher’s stone. He will dig for it in all manner of philosophy and theories of the mind and this can cause them to become obsessive in their pursuits, and abandon all sense of context in their research. They may forget that they are not making tangible progress towards any scientific or objective aim, but instead are diving headlong into a conceptual challenge. Indeed it is an epistemological challenge with the bait of the One Truth at the end of it which they chase. And whether this truth is ever known by the Ti user is irrelevant to the visceral belief in its existence. Even if he has come to doubt all truth and has entered an existential dead end in his pursuit, so that he only knows that he knows almost nothing, he was lead into this territory by an inarticulated but deep rooted suspicion that something is there just waiting to be crystallized into knowledge.
For the Ti user the world is often seen as a place of incongruences and complexities; of paradoxes and mysteries. Everything is operating from unchecked assumptions on top of assumptions with no explanation given for why any such thing is to be believed. The world seems utterly chaotic and nonsensical, and this causes a great deal of stress especially as it relates to the pursuit of axiomatic truth. In order to alleviate this, Ti often executes a reductionistic methodology wherein all unjustified things are negated, in an effort to eliminate all untruths and see what is left. Ti in its purest sense will not wish to adapt any form of knowledge or information if it does not understand its underlying formation. It will feel that if the starting premise within them is not correct, then the entire foundation is faulty and all else that can be built from it will be askew. It therefore obsesses over the accuracy of the first few blocks and cornerstones of its epistemology, forcing Ti often times into an infinite regression loop of doubt. If told “go to school” then may think “what is school” and from there proceed to ask “what is a degree?” and “what makes knowledge gained at a school desk more valid than what is self-taught?” This can be terribly frustrating to family members as it may appear that the Ti user is rationalizing his way out of responsibility, when in reality he is contending with the existential questions of meaning, value and purpose – which often must be addressed for them first before a single finger can be lifted towards a task. This can be problematic as Ti will tend to reduce social norms/ideas/things down to parts, without putting them back together. These thoughts will occupy the Ti user’s mind continually and may cause things to lose their value as the process of reduction strips away all meaning. At its most extreme this can lead to to existential dilemmas and nihilism even when nothing in life would suggest a reason to be unhappy. As Ti is a subtractive process by nature, it acts as a diagnostic process that identifies misalignment in any system of premises. Hence it tends to be far better at identifying what things are not, than what things are. It is often up to the other functions to counterbalance Ti’s influence and provide positive affirmation for reasons, motivations and purposes.
However, if enough of a theoretical foundation has been set in the mind of the Ti user, then what emerges is a crystalline structure at the core of their being. Like the growth of an ice crystal from water, a theoretical castle begins to form. Each block of this castle is a premise or argument that helps structure the incoming information of reality in such a way as to create an interpretive scaffold. For Ti, this scaffold serves as a sort of Rubik’s cube or kaleidoscope that allows the complexities of life to be viewed and understood from a convergent point. Should there ever be a mismatch between the reality outside of them and the kaleidoscope’s prediction, the Ti user hurries to try to reformulate and refine their instrument (to fix the Rubik’s cube), but an instrument they must use. The Ti user does not interface with reality directly, but does so through this instrument which acts as their proxy and go-between and allows them to make sense of things without needing necessarily to engage in the difficult task of materialism or empiricism. This leads inescapably to the formation of a personal theory, often beginning with phenomenology of the mind/consciousness. One such example of a crystalline theoretical structure is René Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum” which, through his efforts and thoughts, was the cornerstone he came to develop and which helped him make sense of all other premises that cascade from this first axiom. But each Ti user may place a different conclusion as their starting premise. For some, the fundamental principle may be consciousness, for others it may be bodily experience, and for others it may be God or love.
The Ti function is inherently philosophical in nature, producing in the Ti user a gravitation towards what we might call ontology. It becomes important to the Ti user to define what things are in and of themselves. In this sense, Ti seeks to describe reality absolutely and almost as though they were to vanish themselves from existence. It must be able to be true without them in the picture, otherwise it is not true. By this metric Ti seeks for a sort of timeless abstract definition for everything. The Ti user usually seeks to encapsulate the essence of a thing through semantic precision; meticulously working out where the boundaries lie between two adjacent thought groupings. There is little more satisfying to them than when data suddenly clicks into perfect arrangement, revealing a fundamental truth. The Ti user lives for these rare and magic moments of clarity and by engaging in this differentiation process, they gain a firm mental grasp on the world; dissipating the fog of the unknown. The further the Ti user is from clarity of definition in his own thoughts, the more internal dissonance will be felt. This can also make the Ti user a bit of a grammar nazi and their semantic proclivities can lead them to spend hours discussing starting terms without ever making headway related to the real-world problem in question. The Ti user may be highly stimulated by such a discourse even though the original point of the discussion has been left far in the past. More than a few Ti users thus take to linguistics for their proximity to philosophy and their capacity to organize the very structure of our knowledge paradigms.
Additionally, there is a perfectionist quality to the Ti user wherein their personal desire for purity of logos is at once a desire for purity of the self. Indeed, the Ti user’s success in building this logic framework is tied to their sense of identity, as they may view themselves primarily as a truth-seeker and truth-speakers. There will be an ethical quality to their pursuit which manifests in a valuing of neutrality, honesty, authenticity and clarity. Lack of neutrality, honesty or lack of clarity will be sensed as a transgression; one which they avoid in their own behavior and which they may also depreciate in others. As a compass function, Ti will strive for a type of nobility of character which it can sustain only if it feels it is being honest with itself and avoiding as many impurities as possible in its own thinking. This high personal standard can cause the Ti user to become entirely mute as their ignorance forces them to retract any opinion or utterance that they cannot firmly stand behind. The strong Ti user may be a very silent presence at school or in the workforce, speaking only occasionally and after minutes or hours of reflection on what he wishes to say. If their logical devotion is towards an art project or creative endeavor, the same bottleneck may appear, causing them to hesitate in publishing any works until everything feels entirely perfect. They may feel their works are never quite precise enough and will spend countless hours in the refinement process – aiming always for their writings, paintings or manifestations to capture their thoughts and intentions with no compromise. This can lead to negative feelings and self-blame forming for mistakes made or inaccurate information given.
While the Ti user may not know many things, he will stand firm by what he does know. The Ti user can be stubborn and difficult to negotiate with if they have fixated on certain ideas they feel are true, and so long as their idea remains in their head, their heels remain sunk in that interpretation. This can lead them to become impractical in many real-world situations when the consequences of their carefully crafted definitions collide with certain necessary actions and obligations. They’ll often refuse to participate in something that seems necessary to some, but misaligned to them. And while no amount of pressure, external circumstance or logistical necessities can bend their opinion, a properly aimed rebuttal can radically shift their entire stance in moments. The Ti user’s logical apparatus operates like a lock combination. When the right inputs (deductions) are received, suddenly the gates of their thoughts reconfigure and allow for a completely new mental trajectory to be possible and new actions to emerge from them. But without this reconfiguration, they may remain deadlocked in certain conclusions or philosophies even when those conclusions are negative and harmful to them. The strong Ti user must reason his way out of a certain conceptual hole and cannot simply ignore it or choose a more convenient path which doesn’t fit into the structure and rules of their self-made castle.
Aside from the aforementioned behaviors, functions also display compensatory behaviors when the individual is under stress. The following behaviors manifest in the Ti user when distressed or when accompanied by high levels of neuroticism.
When the stress and gravity of life cause a fall out of emotional health, the strong Ti user’s already faint emotional energies become even more deeply coveted. Unable to operate meaningfully in the environment, they will flee fully from the world and into a protective barrier of their own making. They will shut off emotionally and may become suspicious and avoidant of intrusions to their private space. This can lead to a very isolated experience where they feel they can only rely on themselves to figure out the answers to emotional problems which it often treats as intellectual problems. Driven equally by feelings of self-sufficiency and fear of emotional openness, they will aim to shoulder their pain entirely alone.
They will meet the problem with callousness of feeling. What is not felt cannot hurt, and here their natural capacity for dispassion is repurposed and used to strip power away from the heart. They may sever their connection to others with surprising ease, and forget the magnitude of their inner affect. What is non-ideal is rejected as they continue their pursuit for the ideal both in themselves and others. Yet the content remains present but buried in the unconscious, and they may harbor unresolved feelings for years at a time – often freezing their heart in the process. Merciless as they may be, they will intellectualize their decisions, satisfying their need to act from just premises and retain a proper sense of self.
Wailings and charged emotional reactions may be perceived as irrational and therefore inappropriate and to be avoided. However, as stress accumulates further, their logic will become gradually more distorted as they aim to rationalize what is essentially an emotional objection underneath. Unable to clearly and cathartically convey their heart’s voice, having stripped it of its power, their inner pains will emerge through distorted logical arguments and skewed claims. Their tendency to intellectualize matters of the heart will lead them to push the narrative into a form that aligns with their repressed feelings. As their stress furthers, they may disconnect themselves from others entirely and fall into schizoid tendencies.
In another scenario, if the Ti user’s heart remains open, they meet the problem with honesty of feeling. In their pursuit for authenticity of self, they allow the full gravity of their situation to hit them and they familiarize themselves with their darkest disappointments, losses and despair. Because they are perfectionists by nature, they will turn their attention to themselves to understand what is wrong. They may come to feel responsible for all that is not going well in their life and will be prone to episodes of melancholy and deep ruminations about their shortcomings. Worse yet, if a conclusion emerges (“I’m horrible”, “I’m responsible”) that cannot be rationally refuted, be it true or not, they will need to continue believing it in order not to betray their compass, even if believing such a thing causes continual pain. Moving past certain damages can be challenging unless their paradigm changes to reinterpret their past in a way that puts them in a more merciful place. They will have trouble accepting positive emotions just for the sake of it, without cause to feel positive. They will feel dubious of any trajectory of healing that isn’t somehow also justified in a certain sense. In this way, they do themselves no service; holding onto their negative beliefs so adamantly can be the cause of their own demise.
The spiritual experience of Ti is called Alin which is described more fully in this page. Alin is a psychological archetype or concept within the Ti user which appears in certain religions as the “Void” or the Śūnyatā. Alin is the myth of Silence, of Stillness, of Emptiness and of the No-Self. It is an invitation into a cessation of all striving, and a pure and clear awareness. Alin brings a spiritual awareness that things simply are, and no action is necessary. Things are neither perfect or imperfect and the illusion of meaning – which gives birth to expectations and disappointment – is disassembled. Alin brings with it an appreciation for the subjectivity of definitions, and simultaneously relinquishes and transcends all its own concepts. It also brings with it an unflappable demeanor; one that is stoic and entirely unphased by any hardships that may arise for themselves or others. This, however, can sometimes cause an acute loss of love for others as the notion of attachment is itself disassembled along with meaning.
When the Alin myth is in its light form, there exists a belief that one’s consciousness is paramount and absolute; being the single defining attribute to one’s existence. A sense develops that “my mind is me, and my mind has the capacity to understand all.” Consciousness is elevated as an axiom of existence and may be seen as transcendent of one’s biological confines. To that effect, absolute detachment from one’s humanity and human emotions is sought in order to aide one’s transcendence. One might fantasize of leaving their bodily form, floating out into the cosmos as a disembodied being and encompassing all that can be known and understood. Efforts may be directed towards unlocking an unlimited awareness through it. Here Alin seeks a type of omniscience; to achieve godhood by becoming aware of all things. This may lead to an obsession with memory exercises and an interest in expanding one’s cognitive capacity through brain training. Multiplying and dividing large numbers in their mind, memorizing π to dozens of decimal places, or playing a chess game entirely in one’s head are examples of the sort of exercises that may be fantasized or achieved.
When the Alin myth is dark, the deconstruction of all essential ideas leads to a cynical nihilism where the meaninglessness of life is met with feelings of defeat and bitterness. The quest for truth is abandoned, now seen as simply a fable among many that momentarily motivates a finite existence to seek value where there is objectively only absence. The universe is felt as cold, indifferent, and hollow. The Ti user falls deeply into absurdism; seeing all thoughts, actions and aspirations as pointless Sisyphean nightmares. They may scoff at those who still believe in hope, truth, love and value – having lost all concept of them within themselves. “All is for naught” is the sentiment that saturates every waking moment, evoking in them perhaps just as much tears as laughter.