MBTI Types and Conventional Religion

This started out as just a post about INFJs, but I have some further thoughts about other types as well. My bias, stated upfront, is that of an INFP. The two types, despite both being introverted idealists (INF), are in many ways complete opposites: dominant introverted intuition with auxiliary extraverted feeling vs dominant introverted feeling with auxiliary extraverted intuition. That said, I can’t say I’ve ever felt direct conflict with INFJs.

I was just visiting Typology Central (an all type MBTI discussion board). I was looking at threads about religion. I noticed an INFJ in some of those threads who I know from Global Chatter (an INFP discussion board). He is an interesting guy, but it reminded me of an aspect of INFJs that can annoy me at times.

I discussed this in a post titled Darn Apologists! of mine from my Gaia blog. I’m attracted to INFJs because their Ni gives them a unique (idiosyncratic even) perspective and they can be very independent-minded especially if they’re strongly Introverted. However, their Fe can also make them very conventional. Unlinke INFPs, I’ve noticed that many INFJs belong to more traditional forms of forms of religion. They have a love/hate relationship with social groups. However, their desire to feel like they belong to something larger than themselves is surprisingly strong for an Introverted type.

To say the least, my INFP nature balks at this. INFJs can have these crazy ideas but somehow it often leads back to such conventional worldviews. Maybe its because their ideas are so abstract (Ni) that they seek to ground them through a tradition (Fe). At least, INFJs tend to be extremely nice people. An INTJ is much more of a straightforward in their logic, but I’ll take the INFJs conventionalism over an immature INTJ’s snarkiness. Its interesting that INTJs are very opposite of conventional in that they’re the prototypical conspiracy theorist. Still, maybe that is that same Extraverted Judging function (Fe and Te) being focused with the prevailing social order just in a different way.

I should add that my criticisms of INFJs comes from my fondness for them. I seem very attracted to them as I keep befriending INFJs online and my closest friend is an INFJ. Its possible that I am attracted to the very thing I’m criticizing. They’re thinking is more grounded than my own, and it can feel to me to be a bit narrow and plodding. However, this groundedness can also lead to a depth of insight and great knowledge about a particular subject. Overall, INFPs and INFJs have enough similarities to make communication easy while having enough differences to make discussion interesting.

I was again at Typology Central.  I’ve been having a private discussion with an INTP Christian.  INTPs as a whole are generally very unreligious even anit-religious.  INTPs are clear thinkers though and so its interesting to talk to this guy.

He claims that he has never had an experience of God.  God is an idea to him, but an idea that he has been convinced of.  He seems to be an Evangelical Christian which is very strange because Evangelism idealizes direct experience.  His wife is a more an experiential type.  Maybe he trusts the experiences of those close to him.

The reason I bring this up is because its extremely intriguing that an INTP would be attracted to conventional religion.  However, it makes more sense now.  An INTP has three likely ways of relating to religion.  They can outright deny it as irrational.  They can accept it as a philosophy and analyze it.  Or they can accept the experience of others which might include the collective experience of a tradition.

INFPs swim in subjective experience, but INTPs don’t.  An INTP can’t rely on their own experience.  Even if they had a potentially spiritual experience, they’d be reluctant to trust it.  This would be true of NTs in general.

This relates to my dad who is an ENTJ.  His father was a minister and he grew up observing the hypocritical difference between his father at church and his father at home.  He became agnostic and stayed that way for much of his life.  As he grew older, he was attracted to conventional Christianity because it appealed to his dominant Extraverted Thinking which desires principles of social order.

As he became more involved in his 50s, he had some experiences that felt spiritual to him.  He didn’t seem to want to call them God and so defined them as being of the Holy Spirit.  I suspect (based on Beebe’s archetype model) this is his aspirational Introverted Feeling finally manifesting.  Still, my dad submits his experience to the conventional interpretation.  The experience is nice but secondary to him.  What he really likes about church is being around people and having an important leadership role to play.

All of this is somewhat of a new insight for me.  Typically, conventional religion is described as being mainly attractive to SJ types.  My mom is an ISTJ and she definitely isn’t the questioning type and is content to follow an external authority.  However, I’m now beginning to realize there are reasons why other types would also be attracted to conventional religion.

INFPs might be one of the types that is least attracted to conventional religion, but I’m not sure.  INFPs are more attracted to religon than NTs in general.  However, INFPs are extremely independent-minded and extremely self-certain… which could describe INTPs as well.

An INFP has their own direct experience and so they don’t have to rely on other’s experience.  An INFP has a solid Introverted Feeling that doesn’t need the external grounding that Introverted Intuition needs.  An INFP finds annoying the Extraverted Feeling tendencies of many religious groups.  An INFP is unwilling to follow like sheep as SJs like to do.

The only thing that would bring an INFP to conventional religion would be their Introverted Feeling.  If their inner experience corresponded with a particular tradition, an INFP could become quite the zealous believer.  Nonetheless, even then such an INFP would still tend to keep their religious experience as a personal matter.  I doubt INFPs would make good prosyletyzers.  An INFP prosyletyzer would probably just annoy people.  I’m partly basing this on the one INFP fundamentalist I know who can be very annoying when talking about his beliefs… a total lack of objectivity and logic… pure emotion and defensiveness.

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24 thoughts on “MBTI Types and Conventional Religion

  1. Do the INFJs you know switch perspective often? Or do they generally like to switch perspective? How different is my way of expression from theirs?

    I tell ya, I got problems coming from my expressive difference man. There’s a blogger who I always have to ‘be clear’ to, he’s not the only one but he’s carries the majority. Besides, when I’m understanding something, I’ll busily be saying “it is valid from this perspective” or “from which perspective do you speak?”. Ni?

    If I’m INFJ, I don’t think I interpret in a singular tradition, do I?

    • INFJs switching often? I don’t know.

      Ni is way more focused than Ne. It’s true that intuition in general gives someone greater capacity for mental flexibility, but I guess it’s relative. An INFJ would tend to switch perspectives more than one of the SJ types.

      Ni does have a fluidity to it, but I think of it as being much more subtle and gradual, more calm and steady than the spastic shifting seen with Ne. Ni is less likely to just jump around with near randomenss from perspective to perspective. Ni is pot and Ne is cocaine.

      Communication on the internet can be difficult. Besides psychological differences, people living in different places with different cultures and different use of language. It can be hard to pin down where confusion is arising. But it can’t be denied that Ni could contribute to this. It took me a long while to grasp the essence of Ni. Mostly only other Ni types will understand Ni and the way Ni expresses.

      Do you interpret in a singular tradition? Not that I know of, but you seem to have a more focused mind than my own. It’s hard for me to resist the desire to connect everything in every blog post, an impossible aspiration anyway. Your blog posts are often much shorter and focused like a snapshot (some vivid image or kernel of insight). Your writings often seem to point inward to some singular essence rather than outward in infinite directions.

      I can’t easily assess you as I’ve never met you face-to-face or seen you in the context of your normal everyday life. I can sense there are certain differences between us, but it’s hard to say exactly what they are. Is it the differences between INFP and INFJ? Maybe, maybe not.

  2. “I can’t easily assess you as I’ve never met you face-to-face or seen you in the context of your normal everyday life”

    This is my everyday life cos I practically live in my head and this is my head that I put on the page. Most of my writing is done without edit, I like to write as it comes so that I’m natural. Besides, second thoughts, parallel points, I do that all the time, that’s what makes me more weird to people cos I keep running off in multiple directions and don’t reach a singular stop especially when you ask me as me and don’t ask ‘what is correct’, to questions of ‘correct’ I usually say “I don’t know” unless it’s a fact or definition, in that case then, the interpretation is my zone. I usually reach a single stop maybe after careful deliberation, a moment of sudden insight or just for purpose of focus.

    But I do admit to the ‘kernel of truth’ statement. Still, they are more like perspectives meant to reduce hubris for instance and certainty. But, maybe, that’s all only possible in theory

    • “This is my everyday life cos I practically live in my head and this is my head that I put on the page.”

      I understand. It’s just that my Ne requires, in order to grasp the whole of who you are, my gathering data and observations in order to see the pattern of behaviors and habits, speech and gestures, ways of holding yourself and the look in your eye, the social environment and your relationships.

      I need to see you in your natural habitat. Yes, I know you are a person within a mind, but you are also a person within the world, within a specific world. It’s all about context, all about details connected in patterns. Your Ni essense is interesting, but it’s secondary to my Ne perception.

      “Most of my writing is done without edit, I like to write as it comes so that I’m natural. Besides, second thoughts, parallel points, I do that all the time, that’s what makes me more weird to people cos I keep running off in multiple directions and don’t reach a singular stop”

      This seems like a difference between Ni and Ne.

      An element of mystery about Ni is that the process is hidden or that what is directly stated may not be central to what is being communicated. Ne can jump around, but it’s all out in the open. If you watch carefully enough, you can see the connection. Or if you ask the INFP, they will usually be able to guide you step by step through their thought process, no matter how convoluted it may seem.

      Ni, however, is hidden in a way that even the INFJ can’t necessarily explain. Ni creates a resonance between ideas and images, thoughts and perceptions. But the resonance has no clear or simple linear connections.

      Ne is a web. Ni is a ripple.

  3. What is all only possible in theory is seeing some pretty crazy perspectives but well, that didn’t stop Charles Fort for instance or the Taoists. Somehow, I think to go beyond into the so-called crazy brings one closer to one’s foundation, my good man. I don’t know your ideas about that, would be good to hear

    • Does going beyond into the so-called crazy bring one closer to one’s foundation?

      I don’t know what it might mean to you personally, but I would agree with my own sense of what I think your communicating. How can you know who or what you are until you discover how far out you go? How can you know the defining edge of your personal reality until you’ve crossed it?

      However, to explore one’s sense of self is to transform it. One is never the same again. One becomes what one seeks. The idea of foundation becomes tricky.

      By the way, I would think the idea of a foundation would be more appealing to Fi than Ni. Fi has a solidity to it whereas Ni has a fluidity. Ni is a rabbit hole and the rabbit hole goes far below any foundation… or so it would seem from the perspective of Ni.

      To an Fi type, there is nothing below one’s foundation. Even the appearance of going below the foundation is just going away from the center of that foundation. Below or above is irrelevant to Fi. Unlike Ni’s becoming, Fi just is. To an INFP, in particular, Ne can go in any and all directions, but everything returns to center, all paths lead back home. The seeker is what is sought.

      Here is a very good description (by John C. Lilly) that I’ve liked since reading it years ago.

      “The center of the cyclone is that rising quite central low-pressure place in which one can learn to live eternally. Just outside of this Center is the rotating storm of one’s own ego, competing with other egos in a furious high-velocity circular dance.”

      I can interpret it according to my INFP experience with dominant Fi as the center of the cyclone and the rotating storm as the world perceived through auxiliary Ne. The world seems like chaos and danger to my own INFP sensibility. Contrary to the suggestion of others, it’s only the center that can hold. The INFP places all of his money on the bet that the center will hold.

      Those are just some thoughts. I don’t know if they make sense to you from your own INFJ perspective.

      Beyond typology, my sense of the crazy has been inspired by many. But in my personal world PKD is the demiurge of my madness. Jung is one of my favorite mapmakers and William S. Burroughs is one of my favorite guides. However, Charles Fort and the Forteans, especially John Keel, must be given special honor for teaching me about the delight to be had in the realms of madness. The psychedelic visionaries (John C. Lilly, Terrence McKenna, etc) must also be acknowledged.

  4. Just discovered that Camus said “always go too far, that’s where you’ll find the truth”

    I have a number of very interesting quotes and a link for you. Enjoy

    C.G. Jung on the Introverted Irrational Types (Si, Ni):

    “The two types just depicted are almost inaccessible to external judgment Because they are introverted and have in consequence a somewhat meagre capacity or willingness for expression, they offer but a frail handle for a telling criticism- Since their main activity is directed within, nothing is outwardly visible but reserve, secretiveness, lack of sympathy, or uncertainty, and an apparently groundless perplexity. When anything does come to the surface, it usually consists in indirect manifestations of inferior and relatively unconscious functions. Manifestations of such a nature naturally excite a certain environmental prejudice against these types. Accordingly they are mostly underestimated, or at least misunderstood. To the same degree as they fail to understand themselves because they very largely lack judgment they are also powerless to understand why they are so constantly undervalued by public opinion.”

    “The fragmentary and, as a rule, quite episodic character of their communications make too great a demand upon the understanding and good will of their circle; furthermore, their mode of expression lacks that flowing warmth to the object which alone can have convincing force.”

    “We shall form a fairer judgment of such men and grant them a greater indulgence, when we begin to realize how hard it is to translate into intelligible language what is perceived within. Yet this indulgence must not be so liberal as to exempt them altogether from the necessity of such expression. This could be only detrimental for such types. Fate itself prepares for them, perhaps even more than for other men, overwhelming external difficulties, which have a very sobering effect upon the intoxication of the inner vision. But frequently only an intense personal need can
    wring from them a human expression.

    From an extraverted and rationalistic standpoint, such types are indeed the most fruitless of men”

    “From their lives, and not the least from what is just their greatest fault, viz. their incommunicability, we may understand one of the greatest errors of our civilization, that is, the superstitious belief in statement and presentation, the immoderate
    overprizing of instruction by means of word and method. A child certainly allows himself to be impressed by the grand talk of its parents. But is it really imagined that the child is thereby educated ? Actually it is the parents’ lives that educate the child what they add thereto by word and gesture at best serves only to confuse him. The same holds good for the teacher. But we have such a belief in method that, if only the method be good, the practice of it seems to hallow the teacher. An inferior man is never a good teacher. But he can conceal his injurious inferiority, which secretly poisons the pupil, behind an excellent method or an equally brilliant intellectual capacity. Naturally the pupil of riper years desires nothing better than the knowledge of useful methods, because he is already defeated by the general attitude, which believes in the victorious method. He has already learnt that the emptiest head, correctly echoing a method, is the best pupil. His whole environment not only urges but exemplifies the doctrine that all success and happiness are external, and that only the right method is needed to attain the haven of one’s desires. Or is the life of his religious instructor likely to demonstrate that happiness which radiates from the treasure of the inner vision ? The irrational introverted types are certainly no instructors of a more complete humanity. They lack reason and the ethics of reason, but their lives teach the other possibility, in which our civilization is so deplorably wanting.”

    C.G. Jung on the Introverted Intuitive Type (Ni):

    “Although it is not altogether in the line of the introverted intuitive type to make of perception a moral problem, since a certain reinforcement of the rational functions is required for this, yet even a relatively slight differentiation of judgment would suffice to transfer intuitive perception from the purely aesthetic into the moral sphere. A variety of this type is thus produced which differs essentially from its aesthetic form, although none the less characteristic of the introverted intuitive. The moral problem comes into being when the intuitive tries to relate himself to his vision, when he is no longer satisfied with mere perception and its aesthetic shaping and estimation, but confronts the question: What does this mean for me and for the world? What emerges from this vision in the way of a duty or task, either for me or for the world? The pure intuitive who represses judgment or possesses it only under the spell of perception never meets this question fundamentally, since his only problem is the How of perception. He, therefore, finds the moral problem unintelligible, even absurd, and as far as possible forbids his thoughts to dwell upon the disconcerting vision. It is different with the morally orientated intuitive. He concerns himself with the meaning of his vision ; he troubles less about its further aesthetic possibilities than about the possible moral effects which emerge from its intrinsic significance. His judgment allows him to discern, though often only darkly, that he, as a man and as a totality, is in some way inter-related with his vision, that it is something which cannot just be perceived but which also would fain become the life of the subject. Through this realization he feels bound to transform his vision into his own life. But, since he tends to rely exclusively upon his vision, his moral effort becomes one-sided ; he makes himself and his life symbolic, adapted, it is true, to the inner and eternal meaning of events, but unadapted to the actual present-day reality. Therewith he also deprives himself of any influence upon it, because he remains unintelligible. His language is not that which is commonly spoken it becomes too subjective. His argument lacks convincing reason. He can only confess or pronounce His is the ‘ voice of one crying in the wilderness ‘.”

    “Introverted intuition apprehends the images which arise from the a priori, i.e. the inherited foundations of the unconscious mind. These archetypes, whose innermost nature is inaccessible to experience, represent the precipitate of psychic functioning of the whole ancestral line, i.e. the heaped-up, or pooled, experiences of organic existence in general, a million times repeated, and condensed into types. Hence, in these archetypes all experiences are represented which since primeval time have happened on this planet. Their archetypal distinctness is the more marked, the more frequently and intensely they have been experienced. The archetype would be – to borrow from Kant – the noumenon of the image which intuition perceives and, in perceiving, creates.”

    Sweet Sophia VIII

    The link goes with the penultimate quote. At the time, I hadn’t even read this

    • “Introverted intuition apprehends the images which arise from the a priori, i.e. the inherited foundations of the unconscious mind.”

      Jung’s view of Ni is fascinating. Some have criticized his portrayal. As I recall, the criticisms are about maybe Jung lacking an objective appraisal in that he may have been projecting his own experience on to Ni and idealizing it a bit. But I don’t know that those criticisms are fair. Jung’s view of Ni resonates with my own understanding and experience.

      “At the lowest levels, the disciplines intermix, they overlap, they match.”

      It’s a bit confusing for me. I sense that my own Ni has been developed to a great degree. There is a close alliance between Fi and Ni in my psyche. Combined together, they create a mind-warping experience of reality. I suspect it’s the Fi-Ni combo that I experienced during some of my spiritually tumultuous periods of my life.

      “At the lowest levels, access to a pool of wisdom is envisioned. At the lowest levels, the fountain of creation takes source, possibility flourishes, a fecund pool of luminiferous daemons, suspended in a black sauce from which they emanate, no indication of their number within that discreet, indefinite space.”

      Fi is my core. This Fi core is a doorway and through that doorway is the world of Ni.

      “Their single sparkles, their sexual flashes on union become the light of creation, of black and white.”

      Or, to state it more dramatically, Fi is a spear into the heart of my being and the the pain induced gives me clarity of vision.

      “In that bottomless pit, sounds, sights, tastes, hears, they all are pure. Smell and feel where no sight or sound is perceived.”

      In some ways, my Ne distracts me from Ni (and even from Fi to an extent). I intentionally seek distraction. Fi and Ni are both troubling function-attitudes. From such perspectives, how do you live in this world of social expectations and norms? How does one act normal with a spear thrust into the heart of one’s being? 🙂

      “Be disoriented, as the dissociation produces a disengagement of everything from everything in the place where everything exists, where the gathering is complete and distinction is difficult. This is where you hear everything pure; the fountain marches, crashes all around you, from nowhere is the sound; collapse or rejoice.”

      But my own self-disclosed truth, my own inner vision can’t be denied. It is what it is. Outwardly all connects. Inwardly all merges.

      “At the lowest levels, the disciplines match, they overlap, at the lowest levels, the disciplines intermix.”

  5. “The link goes with the penultimate quote. At the time, I hadn’t even read this”

    Last quote, I meant. You can delete this very comment

  6. I’m worrying you uh? Don’t mind me, I’m just saying this lest I forget and will be here waiting for you till your busyness is off.

    Based on your thoughts, what I think about the functions, what I’ve read about them and on Jung as well as Kant’s definitions of abstraction, I’ve come up with a scheme for the introverted functions as Jung says introversion defines abstraction. Simple one too

    Least abstract to most
    Si -> Ti -> Fi -> Ni

    Ni is the closest to the remote Idea.

    And I think you’ve seen why Ni likes to interpret in a singular tradition aside Fe influence; the fact of their singular vision and it being matched as closely as possible by a certain tradition. It depends however on how clearly their vision is and they are behoved to develop that clarity because without that clarity what is close to the vision as possible could be pretty far as the subject can’t see the discrepancy.

    But, as Jung says about introverted irrationals: they are battered by fate into being grounded. That could also be reason for their want for some existing tradition.

    “Fate itself prepares
    for them, perhaps even more than for other men, overwhelming external difficulties, which have a very sobering effect upon the intoxication of the inner vision”

    What a painful life they lead.

    Hope this gives you more info on their ‘groundedness’

    • I was reading a book by Ernest Hartmann. He is the guy who came up with the idea of thin boundaries and did the initial research on it. He mentions some of the research that has found correlations to other models. The MBTI correlations are as such:

      As far as I know, no significant correlation exists between boundary types and Introversion and Extraversion.

      The strongest correlation is found to N/S.
      N is more thin boundaried than S.

      A significant, although lesser, correlation to T/F and J/P.
      F is more thin boundaried than T.
      P is more thin boundaried than J.

      However, all of these correlations aren’t absolute. Thin boundaries is close to N/S covering similar territory, but thin boundaries is a broader measurement.

      I bring this up because abstraction relates to imagination and intellectual curiosity. All of those relate to the thin boundary type. But abstraction becomes more thick boundaried when in the service of more concrete logic and pragmatic analysis and also when in service of more dogmatic thinking of polarized absolutism.

      Abstract in contrast to concrete obviously correlates to N vs S.
      Abstract in contrast to pragmatic would more closely correlate to P vs J.
      NP is less concrete and pragmatic than SJ.
      But what about NJ and SP or NJ and NP?

      I’m not sure what that means in terms of whole types. Take INFJs and INFPs. Which is more abstract? Or are they just abstract in different ways.

      Fi is more abstract than Fe. Ni and Ne are more equally abstract in different ways. Ni is more abstract in being inwardly detached whereas Ne is more abstract in being so expansively unfocused. Ni would be more abstract than Fi and so based on dominant functions INFJs theoretically would be more abstract. However, in relation to the world, INFPs Ne makes them more abstract than INFJ’s Fe.

      The degree of abstractedness would seem to depend on the relationship between the functions: how they are used and how much they’ve been developed. Considering whole types gives us a different perspective than just looking at function-attitudes in isolation.

      An INFP is abstract in being the most idealistic type. Neither Fi nor Ne are even close to being among the more objectively grounded function-attitudes. The more an INFP relies on Ne the more lost in abstraction they become which can be problematic as Ne is how they attempt to relate the world.

      Then again I’d assume an INFJ who hasn’t developed his auxiliary Fe would be extremely abstract. However, INFJs who even moderately develop Fe (which is more common with female INFJs) can be quite grounded in a way not seen with INFPs.

      To consider some other types, NTs have vast capacity for abstraction. An INTJ has the potential of being the most abstract of them all (depending how one is defining abstract). An INTJ is the penultimate paranoid type because they could become entirely lost in a thought system. However, INTPs could be considered the most abstract in that their thinking can be the most detached from social understanding. The INTJ, at least, has Fi as tertiary which can make them a little less socially dysfunctional.

      All of that said, Ni would be the closest to the remote idea. This is particularly true when considering the primal idea rather than the theoretical idea. INFJs are less prone to theorizing about ideas than certain other types. But the primal idea as the archetypal essence/image is a whole other phenomena.

      I see what you are saying about the singular tradition. Because Ni most directly perceives the primal idea, it can get at a universal insight. As a general rule, any religion or other tradition begins with a universal insight that is particularized by an individual person in specific time and place. In a different time and place, a different individual can come to the same universal insight and sense it at the core of some specific tradition.

      Ni can see past on the accumulated superficialities. Fi, however, has less tolerance for those accumulated superficialities. For Ni, the truth within is already free because it can never ultimately be contained or hidden. For Fi (especially in combination with Ne), the truth must be made free and the false that hides it must be eliminated or even destroyed.

      “But, as Jung says about introverted irrationals: they are battered by fate into being grounded. That could also be reason for their want for some existing tradition.”

      Yeah. Ni by itself conflicts with objective reality like no other function-attitude. An INFJ is forced to become grounded by development of Fe and/or other function-attitudes. If an INFJ never bridges the gap between Ni and world, they will be lost in their own inner vision, their own idiosyncratic subjectivity.

      It’s funny. It does seem that many (most?) INFJs want to avoid conflict, but Ni inevitably brings them into conflict with the world. INFPs, on the other hand, often go looking for conflict even if it just means tilting at windmills. I’ve never seen an INFJ act like an INFP acts when in full confrontational mode. An INFP can be an aggressive asshole. An INFJ, however, would prefer not to take such a frontal assault on a perceived enemy. An INFJ would be more likely to retreat to Ni and from there try to shift perspective.

      That was interesting. I enjoyed reading the details of Jung’s analysis of Ni.

  7. “It’s a bit confusing for me. I sense that my own Ni has been developed to a great degree”

    I’ve had that reading of you for a long time. I wanted you to discover it yourself cos as Jung says, only the meeting of objective and subjective judgment is good, no one should predominate. I, as observer, must not force my vision upon you; I must cooperate with you to find what we look at or for in you.

    In general, the both of us aren’t good for analysis. We’re too complicated basically. Ya grandma thought you were an ‘old soul’, my friend thinks I’m a reincarnation. Then, we’ve both had psycho-spiritual upheavals. I was becoming more grounded before my encounter with ‘I AM’, I guess it was not meant to be. I’ve often wondered if my IBS is a psychosomatic disorder based on my unwillingness to adapt so a dysfunction is produced or from a core that doesn’t wish to adapt and so makes me dysfunctional so that adaptation is difficult. We both probably have connections to our Selves and have our shadows more friendly to us apart from developing our other functions. I, for one, made it a point of my life to remain perfect i.e. balanced by training my other sides.

    You’ve often spoken about a sense of underachievement (or is it failure?) in success terms and that shows an EJ influence clearly. I often have that feeling, when that feeling comes, the vision provoked is one of an ethereal being, actually a part of my soul or something, being drawn out of me. The meaning bein that they attempt to draw me out of me. It’s probably stronger for me than you cos I have a strong tendency towards social integration though it’s lessened now. However, it increases with more interaction with a particular set of people. But, I’ve always held my inner essence. Only problem was, at one time, I thought that “aren’t I lying to them?”. I tried to be more like them and it almost tore me apart, Never Again. My motto, even as a 9 yr old, was “I was with them, not of them”, I’ve rediscovered it. That really says something about me, doesn’t it?

    I wish that you to listen to 30 Seconds to Mars’ song ‘The Kill’, the lyrics are very spiritually meaningful

    You and I are very different and complex animals. Comparing ourselves to the people is unfair to them and will probably confuse us.

    • I’ve known for a while that I’ve had various other functions developed to varying degrees and in varying ways.

      Ever since discovering my type, I knew I wasn’t a typical INFP. The descriptions of INFP always fit me. And on all tests including the official MBTI I always tested as INFP. But spending so much time on an INFP discussion board I observed how differently INFP could manifest.

      In particular, interacting with INFJs and INTPs helped clarify what was going on in my own psyche. It’s very difficult to disentangle. Each individual will manifest a type in a different way and each type will manifest function-attitudes in a different way.

      The way I experience Ni isn’t the way an INFJ would experience it. Also, I’ve spent so much time in introspection and meditation that Fi and Ni aren’t clearly demarcated. Ni is the bridge between my consciously used functions and my shadow functions. Also, Ni is the bridge between my inner experience (Fi) and my outer experience (Ne). It’s easy for me to switch between Ne and Ni.

      Or that is sometimes how I think about Ni, but it’s not clear to me. Ni is rather amorphous. I don’t normally experience Ni by itself. I only know it in relation to my other function-attitudes. The connection between Ni and Fi is particularly muddled. I have to be careful in speaking about these function-attitudes for they bleed into each other.

      I think my over-developed Ni (along with Te) is one of the things that makes me different from many INFPs. Both Ni and Te cause me to be a bit unbalanced and dysfunctional in my experience of INFP. Maybe there is an INTJ alter-ego that is constantly screwing with my sense of self and sense of reality.

      I have lots of doubts about such self-analysis. I’m a confused person with a clever mind. I can create explanations that are convincing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are correct.

      EJ is an even more interesting issue. I live in an EJ society. My ENTJ dad personifies everything that American society idealizes. He is a genuinely good person, but in a very American success-oriented kind of way.

      Is the society you live in EJ or something else? The entire global society is probably EJ, but I’m certain that some societies would be different. I could see some Asian societies as being IJ. An IP society would be hard to imagine, though.

      I actually did listen to ‘The Kill’ when you mentioned it, but I guess I forgot about it. I was just now listening to an acoustic version of the song which I like:

  8. “Jung’s view of Ni is fascinating. Some have criticized his portrayal. As I recall, the criticisms are about maybe Jung lacking an objective appraisal in that he may have been projecting his own experience on to Ni and idealizing it a bit”

    I share that critical view. However, I have experienced that aspect of Ni immensely. In that aspect, everything becomes a metaphor, an image and the meaning is always abstruse. At the time, people couldn’t understand me cos I was speaking a ‘subjective language’. It was around the same time that I wrote ‘Sweet Sophia VIII’. I had to subdue it a bit cos it would worry me in school. It is a highly figurative, even mythological language. But, it can have correlates in the physical, if one just takes his time and tries to bring it down from that ‘comfort zone’ of image which only the subject can understand. At the time, my understanding became even sharper and I could see things right into their heart in less than a second so far as I take a more intent look rather than cursory glances that I’m very guilty of. In normal terms (socialise), however, Ni doesn’t work like that. But, I know for sure that Ni children will experience something vaguely similar but their images will be less clear cos their worldly experience is underdeveloped. Thank God for my indulgence in cartoons, art and stuff, they make my access to images easy. Besides, when younger, I used to make archetypes of people or parts of people, e.g. Fe v Te

    Ya know, I felt that Jung did the same with the Ti function. Now that I think of it, I have no objective reason just a feeling. When I was reading Ti, I got the sense that Jung himself was Ti. It was only subtly present, his attachment. The Ni was rather easy to see and there’s objective proof too

    “In a different time and place, a different
    individual can come to the same universal
    insight and sense it at
    the core of some specific tradition.”

    Exactly. You’ve picked my mind there, that’s the vortex that was causing the eddy that I described up there

    “For Fi (especially in
    combination with Ne),
    the truth must be made free and the false that hides it must be eliminated or even destroyed.”

    That’s funny cos Fe when individualized will do the same thing but less directedly cos Fe will always try to lessen the tension between the old and the new so will be less inclined to force the vision. But, should the vision intoxicate, it will be similar to an Fi and nothing will stop it. The Ni combines with the Fe to produce pseudo-Fi in this case cos now the internal vision has become moral. But, the Ni is flexible enough to snap out of it and see that does not him. The Ni man is full of paradoxes, he himself doesn’t know himself well cos he runs deep and free like you said, he’s less inclined to outrightly believe in a singular vision esp one that is exclusive. Your description of Fi got me self-analysing, I thought I could be Fi cos I do get feelings for ideas but no, can’t be. I soon counter the idea and desert it leaving me without a stand. I’ve never really stood anywhere my whole life, it worried me, nowhere at all, society or idea. The only one was perfection or balance or more aptly perfect balance where all the functions are carried to the max and are balanced. But, I do get compassionate cos of kids, poverty, suffering but mostly, I’m detached. I can be impersonal and personal at the same time. This trait my sister and I discovered long ago. I can analyse a situation impersonally (by perspectives) but it doesn’t mean I love not my loved one

    I agree with Ni being more perceptually abstract as you said, I think elsewhere

    If you enjoyed it, I’ll bring Ti and Fi in more extended fashion than I did with them previously

    • “I share that critical view.”

      I too share some criticisms.

      It’s just for me I can never be overly critical of Jung. I take his views as being on the cutting edge for when he was writing. His purpose in writing about types was different than the purpose of MBTI. I don’t mind that his interpretations and analysis are idiosyncratic. In fact, I love idiosyncrasy.

      “However, I have experienced that aspect of Ni immensely. In that aspect, everything becomes a metaphor, an image and the meaning is always abstruse. At the time, people couldn’t understand me cos I was speaking a ‘subjective language’.”

      Tell me about it. It was your Ni that I found fascinating. I’m captivated by Ni and I’m attracted to anyone who expresses it strongly. I have immense respect for Ni. It’s always a bit beyond my grasp, but I usually find it worthwhile to spend the effort in following it’s elusive trail.

      “The Ni combines with the Fe to produce pseudo-Fi in this case cos now the internal vision has become moral.”

      I like that idea of pseudo-functions, combination of functions that mimic other functions. I wonder if such pseudo-functions could lead to a development of the actual function. By approximating a function, one might create a bridge to a new way of experiencing.

      I’m not sure if I’ve done a similar thing with combining functions into a pseudo-function. I suppose I might sometimes use Fi and Ne together as pseudo-Ni. That pseudo-Ni also would act as a framework to for an INFP to normalize the experience of actual Ni.

      I’m not entirely sure how I came to develop Ni, but I suspect it involved the time of my life when I was using lots of psychedelics and meditating. To me, Ni is a psychedelic. Psychedelics taught me how to shift my perception. To bring that psychedelic Ni back into my normal ego-self, I’ve used introspection to assimilate it into my conscious experience… and that assimilation has involved Fi and Ne.

      An interesting line of speculation. I doubt I will ever fully come to terms with NI.

      “I thought I could be Fi cos I do get feelings for ideas but no, can’t be. I soon counter the idea and desert it leaving me without a stand.”

      Well, Fi doesn’t need any idea. It’s your Ni that is obsessed with ideas and trying to make sense of Fi through ideas. Fi certainty precedes any idea about it or any expression of it. Fi just is. It’s without conception or imagistic form. It’s just there.

      It’s like walking in the dark. You don’t need to see the ground to walk upon it. Or it’s like a tree. It doesn’t matter that you can’t see the roots that keep the tree from falling. To dig up the roots to see them would cause the tree to fall over. LOL

      I finally found a way to describe Fi, at least to myself. I think of it, first and foremost, as simply faith in faith. It’s knowing life matters, that life has to matter. It can be felt right here and now. It’s so steady of a feeling that all of reality pales beside it. Ni presents one with the image of a god, but Fi is knowing God within oneself. One can have a vision of the divine and one can be possessed by the divine. Fi is possession.

      “The only one was perfection or balance or more aptly perfect balance where all the functions are carried to the max and are balanced. But, I do get compassionate cos of kids, poverty, suffering but mostly, I’m detached. I can be impersonal and personal at the same time.”

      I can see these as potentials existing in all NF types. An INFP could idealize balance and compassion. I know I have at times. But maybe an INFJ would be more likely to actually be balanced and realistically compassionate.

      All NF types are idealistic and so can potentially idealize anything. INFPs are the most idealistic of the NFs and so the least practical in manifesting those ideals. An INFP, for example, would take the ideal of balance to such an extreme degree that it would likely lead to imbalance. INFPs can’t help but be hypocrites because they can neither limit their idealism or ever live up to it.

      However, INFJs have the Ni quality of perceptual abstractness. That could fuel an INFJ’s idealism, but I suspect it’s detachment that makes an INFJ more realistic.

      How successful do you think you were in realistically being balanced and compassionate?

      “If you enjoyed it, I’ll bring Ti and Fi in more extended fashion than I did with them previously”

      Yes, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had plenty of detailed discussions of Ti and Fi in the past with other people, but it would be interesting to explore them further with you as well. Some of our recent conversations have given me new perspective.

  9. “Is the society you live in EJ or something else?”

    I speculate that all cities are EJ. South-east Asia might be the difference though, those guys have always fascinated me, nothing perturbs their core i.e. their culture. Thing is, their culture is so rich that nothing is foreign, what you’re bringing is probably already in there. Their culture is very similar to my native culture of Ewe. Ewe are very honor minded, justice, veracity, politeness, wisdom, socialist, spirituality – all good grounding for my bushido. The same values can be said of the Orient. I think this IJ value has been stabilised as norm by the EJs. Even then, the characteristic EJ mind of success doesn’t show among them, it seems them who are that way emigrate to the city but they still maintain the IJ sense of Honor.

    In Europe, I don’t think Iberia and the mediterranian countries are EJ esp Sicily isn’t, that I know for sure. Eastern Europe too isn’t much EJ, but I’m not so sure, if anything, it’ll be of the Fe variety.

    “I’m a confused person with a clever mind”

    As for me, I’ll say I’m an unrealistic person with a clever mind. For that reason, I prefer for others to do evaluations of me if for realistic purpose.

    I also like the acoustic version but there is a subtle difference between the auras for the non-acoustic n the acoustic. The acoustic is more felt, more intensive, the other is more extensive in feeling terms. The acoustic is even having a sympathy for the other side, the other is more like ‘we die here tonight’

  10. “It’s just for me I can never be overly critical of Jung”

    What are the criticisms? For me, it’s just that he added some personal value and didn’t clearly distinguish Si from Ni. So far, all I have is that Ni goes sniffing for background processes.

    “I’m captivated by Ni and I’m attracted to anyone who expresses it strongly”

    It isn’t intentionally elusive, okay for me, it’s a picture and that picture can be a very big leap from what we’re considering, it follows no path, it just flashes and the observer now has to connect it to the foregoing. Aside that, it’s a transcription from image to words, images are closer to ideas than words so some are inexpressible. Nietzsche said that a word is a metaphor for an image which is metaphor for the idea, that applies to me, it’s because he like me thinks visually and I had said similar before I met him. All the philosophies so far have just been functions taken to whatever depths to the source they went. I think perspectivism belongs to Ni. I’m sure most Ni’s will think Nietzsche a genius besides his inflammatory words, Jung thought so too. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra for instance included “Zarathustra has become a child again”, I think that’s an eternal image, that only as a child can one be a true man. Ah, Jung thought the Eternal Child was symbol of the Self. I have always thought that my mind was ruled by a child (the true origin of my ‘forever young’), that’s what even intrigued me about Dexter’s Lab even more. To me, I always thought this lil boy was far more intelligent than I was cos I knew I had great ideas but just couldn’t fathom them as me. In my spiritual revolution, I wrote a piece about him, titled it ‘Young Old Master’

    “I like that idea of pseudo-functions”

    Is it original to me? Cos I’ve had it since I got serious with understanding the MBTI.

    Yeah, I’ve also wondered about them being bridges to other functions.

    You want Ni uh? It isn’t easy to handle man. It seems to have a mind of its own. The first time I experienced its full power was in class 3 or 4, I was contemplating God and it felt like my mind was running away from me. That thing they do in the movies with the flashes in NDEs for instance is very true but so much faster. I feared for myself ever since, I thought it meant madness cos it was like I’d get lost in the Darkness that opened its mouth wide ahead of me.

    The second time was when I met ‘I AM’, that time, I let it go completely, there was nothing to lose, I had shorn myself of life itself. I lost my life to gain it. To do a controlled Ni will be to look at an object and let the mystical creature go (no creature can express its image, its super-fast, super-sensitive and very very super-strong, it looks like my panther though but slenderer and you can only see a shadow move in blackest night), open the gate and it there it goes. You can only re-enclose it by carrying the enclosure to it never the other way. It takes you far, far, far.

    “How successful do you think you were in realistically being balanced and compassionate?”

    Realistically? These ideals can never be realistic, they suffocate in the realistic. It’s because of keeping them that I’m so unrealistic. I am of the introverted irrational type that Jung described who has made his philosophizing or imaginings his life. I don’t speak their language, don’t think like them, understand it all but can’t understand why it remains so, never have.

    • “What are the criticisms? For me, it’s just that he added some personal value and didn’t clearly distinguish Si from Ni. So far, all I have is that Ni goes sniffing for background processes.”

      I don’t recall entirely. It seems there were a number of criticisms I’ve come across. Jung never systematized his typology and so those who have sought to systemztize it have found apparent inconsistencies or confusions in Jung’s analysis. Specifically about Ni, I think one criticism was that maybe he was romanticizing elements of it and conflating it too much with the unconscious.

      “Is it original to me? Cos I’ve had it since I got serious with understanding the MBTI.”

      I don’t know. Offhand, I don’t recall anyone theorizing about pseudo-functions. But there are tons of typology theories out there.

      “You want Ni uh?”

      I’m not sure I exactly want Ni. I’m merely fascinated by it. I like to study it and follow where it leads, but anything more than that is probably beyond me.

      I have a dark imagination which is probably most directly a manifestation of Ni. I would say I use Ni in a very INFP way. According to Beebe’s model, INFP’s have Ni as a shadow function which plays the role of Critical Parent. This means INFPs will tend to use Ni to find weak spots and immobilize and demoralize others (and that is how it will tend to be experienced when an INFP is around someone using Ni).

      INFPs can be extremely critical, especially when caught up in Te (‘in the grip’). So Ni and Te combined can make the INFP a formidable opponent or just plain mean. INFPs know where to attack to inflict the most harm and suffering.

      Here are some other factors. Fe is also a shadow function for INFPs. It plays the Opposing role: stubborness, argumenative, refusing to play along or join in with others. And INFPs use Ti in the role of Devil meaning they can point out the inconsistencies of others or can become dogmatic about principles.

      That is an interesting thing about Jungian typology. Two types such as INFP and INFJ are only superficially different in a single letter, but that translates into some potentially major differences. Ni as dominant and Ni as shadow can seem worlds apart.

      “Realistically? These ideals can never be realistic, they suffocate in the realistic.”

      I know we’ve discussed it before, but I was still wondering about your relationship to Fe. Have you at this point come to terms with Fe? Have you found a way to use Fe well without feeling that it confines you or irritates your Ni sense of self?

      From my experience, men have a harder time coming to terms with Feeling even when it’s their dominant or auxiliary function. Social norms/expectations make it more difficult for a male to fully embrace Feeling or to express it publicly.

  11. “Have you at this point come to terms with Fe?”

    Long ago. My sense of self has always been androgynous. My mom and a certain psychiatrist (on tv) helped me to stay feeling. Before, my emotions were entangled with tears and they were very archaic, always coming out in a burst, tantrums and stuff. I have come to divorce them though.

    Fe is hard cos it gets too close to the object and does not allow the detachment that a Te might allow. So it sort of attenuates the power of Ni a bit. I generally prefer observing without interaction when sizing someone up before approach. And, when I do, most of what I say will be a test, see your response and judge your psychology, see if it matches my anticipated. Some people are very clever and can hide their psych energy, these I know and watch closely, give nothing of myself at all. Normally, I with my brother have that cold look of the Ni but I’m more vulnerable to feeling so I’ve adopted that strategy so that my Ni doesn’t get muddled and I don’t give wrong signals

    Apart from that, I can’t please everyone so if I change like a chameleon throughout the day, ain’t my fault. I go in and out of myself very much. I’m sure my brothers is not that obvious cos Te already is detached. I usually wake in an Ni mode though, very into myself, I don’t even want to talk.

    I’m also tired of hiding my thoughts. If someone don’t like these quirks of mine, he should leave me alone or come break me down

  12. “he was romanticizing elements of it and conflating it too much with the unconscious”

    That’s what has been biting me about Ni from Jung. All along, it seemed that Ni was functioning as unconscious and so I was doubting either concept of Self or description of Ni. The reason I couldn’t and can’t maintain doubt of Self is that I have personally met Self, philosophized it and my intuition tells me that it is true.

    Another aspect of me that is probably Ni, I only trust what comes from deep inside and with a no-matter-what mind to it. It must be my own insight, it must be my own observation, it must be my own original explanation or expression and it must ‘click’ in the mind. Plus, it must follow the image dutifully

    I’ve been at Vicky Jo Varner’s site and she mentioned being able to see trends start to begin. I do that a lot but I think my objective processes are well-developed so I can link it to evidence of why I see the trend though it’s usu very scant evidence. After examining, I see that what makes me conclude is not the sightings but the psychic energy associated, it just comes and I believe it, in fact, know it. It’s related to me being able to tell you about patterns in my environment or country without ever doing research. I’m sure they’re accurate too. One thing I’m also good at is aptitude evaluations, I’m exceptional at it, I can tell who has the better potential, current ability usu slips me by, I am unrealistic at that. Potential, I can see it 10 years away and it’s usu BIG POTENTIAL. I pick people by potential, current stardom has nothing to offer me

    Vicky Jo also quoted some guy who said INFJs as a rule have IBS. I told ya. He says it’s related to bearing emotional brunt of others, naaa. I think it’s work of the Demon, Si. I’ll tell you why when you ask “Why?”

    • I’m not clear about the relationship of Ni to the unconscious.

      Technically, all function-attitudes are rooted in and so have a connection to the unconscious. On the other hand, There seems to be something about Ni that makes it conducive to an archetypal way of thinking. Ni is one particular meeting point of consciousness and the unconscious.

      However, there is a possible confusion because of Jung’s bias. Ni is conducive to an archetypal way of thinking in the context of how Jung understood Ni and archetypes.

      I would argue an archetype is more than just an essence to be perceived by Ni. From the perspective of Ne, I often tend to think of archetypes as being relationships (nodes in a system, characters in a story). An archetype doesn’t exist as a singular essence. You can only know an archetype by its relationship to other archetypes within the entire web of archetypal interconnections.

      I relate to your comments on potential. As for trends, I suspect my prior analysis of Ni and Ne applies to this as well. Ni will probably see more singular trends such as the trend of an individual’s potential. Also, Ni is more about a sense of intuitive knowing. Ne will probably see more of a pattern of trends (or a trend of patterns) that spread outward. Of course, distinctions need to be made between dominant and auxiliary versions of these.

      I’ve been to Vicky Jo’s site before but not in a while. I don’t recall seeing that theory about INFJs and IBS. I don’t know enough about IBS to speculate why that might be. Fortunately, you seem to have your own explanation involving Si. I suddenly feel a compelling need to ask the question, “Why?” 🙂

  13. Why? Attack of the Demon

    After being so neglected, it brings the man into hell, torments him and that’s how Si can torment, by disordering normal internal function

    A person with Ni will be radically opposed to Si like Ne is against Se, both Ns miss their objects. The object (in Jung parlance) takes revenge. Ni’s seem to have a nice relation to the external object however, after all, that’s what releases their internal one, it’s the Si that’s the problem. They miss the object and go for the explanation, subjective explanation at that, ideas. Now, the Demon attacks and makes them attend to internal sensations, affects for instance that are also involved with images and bear a right to be recognised

    FYI, Beebe thinks that Ni can easily fall into the unconscious. And that it is the most ignored function in your world. I’m not sure the same can be said about traditional Africa

    • About objects, I was wondering how Beebe’s archetypal role model fits into this. I would assume you are speaking about the shadow functions.

      For an INFJ: Si plays the role of Devil which is often destructive and later regretted. And Se plays the role of Aspirational which can have a positive or desirable element, although it can be seen negatively as a conscious shortcoming. You seem to be pointing to the Devil role of Si when you speak of it taking revenge.

      For an INFP: Se plays the role of the Trickster which means it can be deceiving about what is and isn’t important and which can lead to impulsive action. And Si plays the role of the Child which can attract us as children, but as adults it can experienced either as playful or unsettling. It’s Si that makes INFPs more attached to their childhood and prefer the comfort of the familiar. Si factual-mindedness can be used supportively.

      I’m never clear about Ni, whether in my personal experience or in society. My dad has tested as an ENTJ. So, I suppose I likely learned Ni from him. He is a very successful guy and apparently has found a way to direct Ni creativity toward more practical Te purposes.

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