By Michael Pierce
In past videos and articles, I have mentioned briefly such terms as ‘introverted perceiving’ and ‘extroverted judging’. In this article (and video) I would like to expand on these concepts, because I have found them extremely useful for understanding the nature of the functions and how they tend to manifest in consciousness.
Let me first review some of the terms: I am working with the approach to E/I which focuses on the subjective abstraction of introversion and the objective affirmation of extroversion, as discussed in my previous article (and video). I am also working with my usual conception of P/J, namely, that perception (or ‘irrationality’) refers to the pure observation, reception and processing of information without forming definite conclusions or criteria; meanwhile, judgement (or ‘rationality’) is very much concerned with developing such conclusions and criteria concerning the world and organizing the world accordingly.
Thus, extroverted perception refers to affirming objective perceptions of the world: I like to use the word ‘awareness’ to remember this idea. It is not, however, just pure sensory awareness: everybody has that. Rather, it is a productive awareness that not only senses the environment but interprets it and understands it, or at least attempts to. It is a cognitive awareness rather than a mere sensory awareness — a ‘cultural awareness’ or ‘social awareness’. This entails not only immediate awareness without memory or anticipation, but a potentially exceptional memory and anticipation. Dominant Se types for instance, while they most certainly value the richness of the immediate moment, are by no means trapped there, but are very capable of drawing from these experiences to become very capable and knowledgeable about the world. This is often more readily admitted about Ne types than Se types, but it is the exact same principle. If an Ne type can be described as ‘experienced’ and having ‘seen a lot in their time’ then you can bet that Se types are exactly the same way, only with their view set on what actually happened, rather than on general connections between things that happened.
Also, remember that we all experience this side of ourselves: the only question is to what degree it is preferred, which is defined by the theoretical functional stack, and whether it is sensing or intuitive. An INTP, for instance, exercises auxiliary extroverted perception, while an INFJ exercises inferior extroverted perception: this difference, once understood, reveals a very definite difference of flavor between INFJs and INTPs that can potentially help one distinguish them. The INTP has an intuitive awareness of their external environment, prompting certain restlessness at times, a willingness and even need to travel, explore, and always have something externally new. The INFJ, however, repressing this aspect of themselves, is much more willing to become a homebody and remain perfectly content, to sink into their own thoughts and be completely satisfied.
On that note, we can begin describing the direct functional opposite of extroverted perception, introverted perception: this can be described as ‘abstracting from perceptions of the world’. Here I like to use the word ‘wisdom’, not because it is wiser than extroverted perception, but as a way to denote it’s more recording nature. Extroverted perception is ‘aware’ because of its objective, unconcerned attitude. It’s aware of things happening outside of itself; and they remain that way, separate from the observer. To be ‘aware’ of something implies a definite distinction between observer and things observed. ‘Wisdom’, however, implies a more blurred relationship between subject and object, precisely because introverted perception understands the world by relating it to its subjective ideas and seeing it through that lens. It is not aware of the world in the unbiased reporting fashion of extroverted perception: it is ‘aware’ of it in the form of wisdom collected from, abstracted from, experience and interpreted as ideal memories that represent a host of past experiences. It is aware not of the world but of its interconnected, subjective interpretation of the world: hence, the term ‘wisdom’, denoting the importance of the interpreting subject over the importance of the impressing object.
So, whilst extroverted perception perceives events in the world as separate and distinct in their meaning, with any connections drawn between events being for convenience only as easily deconstructed and reconstructed, introverted perception perceives events in the world as necessarily interconnected, being mere instances of a bigger issue represented by the subject’s worldview, and inextricable from this whole explanation.
Extroverted perception, then, operates more like someone playing with Legos to see all of the different possible combinations: each Lego piece is separate from all of the others — an atom, if you will — that can be combined and recombined infinitely. Introverted perception, however, is like a ball of clay that the Legos are pressed into to form a sculpture. The sculpture gets a very different and revealing perspective on the Legos and how they could fit together, but it is also far harder for it to get multiple perspectives on the same Lego piece; it is also much more difficult to modify, with each impression building and modifying all of the others: if you change one you change the whole sculpture to a certain degree, which is the equivalent of changing the introverted perceiver’s whole worldview. Introverted perceiving intermixes and inextricably relates information in ways that both reveal things that could not be understood otherwise, but also necessarily warps information.
There are, of course, two kinds of introverted perceiving: sensing and intuitive. The difference here is the same as with extroverted perception: the one develops wisdom concerning the actual world, and the other develops wisdom concerning the possible, imaginative world. A useful contrast might be between Freud and Jung: Freud’s ‘wisdom’ was both based on and revolved around things themselves, often the countless dreams, experiences and emotions of his patients, which he stuck to in his development of all his theories, though one can argue that he clearly interpreted in the individual experiences heavily to obtain a better understanding of the overarching ‘Form’ of the experience. Jung, however, always tended to enter speculative territory more freely, making far grander associations between things, branching off into different subjects in ways Freud never did. Freud was far more scientific in the sense that he limited the scope of his claims to the data he felt he had recorded: Jung was far more speculative in the sense that his constant desire was to associate more and more things together from a small amount of data, to see how far the ideas could stretch over everything before they tattered. Though both heavily interpreted data through synthetic, Platonic patterns, Freud’s syntheses were always focused on things themselves and retained a definite sense of scientific grounding, while Jung’s syntheses always tended towards more and more associations apart from what was actually there and retained a definite sense of philosophical and mystical exploration and discovery.
Now for the rational functions: we can say that extroverted judgement is affirming objective criteria for its judgements, or in somewhat less abstract terms, relying on the facts to form judgements. I say ‘facts’ to denote objectively verifiable propositions about the world, statements that can always trace their justification back to some objective event. For example, Aristotle’s metaphysics, which rests on man’s ability through nous or mind to synthesize objectively gathered information into inductive principles: thus Aristotle insists that the principles upon which we build any science or study be derived entirely from observable phenomenon and facts. Another good example is Ayn Rand’s objectivist ethics, which emphasizes how what man is determines what he ought to do, for only what man ‘is’ is objectively verifiable.
Those are, of course, both examples of Te. What about Fe? As Jung points out, we are not accustomed to speaking of feelings or value-judgements as ‘objective’, much less as based on ‘facts’. However, and once again, I am simply using the term ‘fact’ to denote objectively verifiable propositions, regardless of what those propositions concern. Te facts concern the raw mechanics of the world, if you will. Fe facts, on the other hand, concern the observable values and feelings in the world: i.e. what is considered valuable, normal, comforting, or desirable (or any of their opposites) by a person or culture? Fe then works to accommodate these objective feelings. It draws people’s feelings out and examines them; it treats them with all the objectivity reputed in Te, but rather than focusing on mechanics, it focuses on the feeling atmosphere. Fe is essentially a translator function: it is not lying or being insincere any more than a good translator (or any communicator) is being insincere by altering words in order to communicate ideas more truthfully. Fe often feels that in order for it to tell the truth, it must carefully tailor what it says for different groups or individuals so that it reaches them the way that it is intended.
The important thing to remember, however, is this concept of objective verification. Any theory or judgement propounded by Te or Fe will be based and traceable to some mechanical fact or cultural fact respectively. This mindset is often particularly alien to the opposing attitude, introverted judgement, which works completely backwards: from subjectively verifiable (that is, not objectively verifiable at all) ideas down to the objective facts. In other words, introverted judgement begins with certain a priori principles which it takes to be undeniable or self-evident and from which everything else can be deduced or accounted for: e.g. Descartes’ I think, therefore I am, or Rousseau’s I feel, therefore I am. Coincidentally, these two statements also sum up the natures of Ti and Fi respectively.
Introverted judgement is abstracting and forming subjective criteria for its judgements, or in somewhat less abstract terms, relying on principles to form judgements. I say ‘principles’ to denote subjectively verifiable propositions about the world, statements that can always trace their justification back to some pure idea conceptualized by the subject as a better representation of reality than any given data from reality itself. As Jung describes when contrasting Te with Ti, the advantage of Te is its ability to accurately apprehend and construct from the objective data presented, but the advantage of Ti is its immunity to the possibility of conditions being locally abnormal or data being inaccurately presented, because for Ti the abstract, subjective principle always supersedes the current local data. In fact, Ti is ultimately trying to develop an abstract principle which can account as much as possible for the objective data.
As I’ve described in previous articles and videos, a major theme here is where the subject assumes reliability to be. Ti and Fi both perceive their own personal theoretical workshops to be where reliable and stable ideas can be produced, while the outside world is ever changing, ever hiding itself, never presenting itself accurately but only ascertainable through the processes of reason. Te and Fe, of course, see things the opposite way, with the internal world being unreliable, arbitrary, changing, vague, foggy, and so forth, and reliability resting in the tangible facts of the world.
Now, I’ve talked a lot about Ti, where the principle is thought. What about that elusive function: Fi? Fi, as Jung says, is essentially the same as Ti in all respects, except that its principles are felt. This, of course, does not mean emotionally felt, but felt in the sense that I’ve associated with value-judgements, as well as the related ideas of sentiment, feeling-tones, atmosphere, and so on. This is why I often have associated Fi with passion and sincerity, because it adheres to principles which are composed of values and feeling-tones and sentiment. Fi is what we normally associate with feeling and values in general: Fe is the weird one. Fi is often easily recognizable to us in art: many musicians, artists, filmmakers, and writers have demonstrated Fi, in that they are expressing their rational feelings for something in the form of a principle isolated from specific facts. It feels despite the world around it, whereas Ti thinks despite the world around it.
The difference is like that between Bertrand Russell and D.H. Lawrence who evidently had arguments over letters, in which Russell would talk about the raw logic governing human relationships, and D.H. Lawrence would talk about the principles of loneliness and love and our deepest motivations towards each other: notice both of them are talking about the exact same thing but in different ways that are, strangely, incongruent. Russell believes that the logic of the relationship causes those involved to feel certain ways: so and so feels bad because he’s lonely, and loneliness is isolation from other people, and we don’t like loneliness because we are social creatures, and so on. Lawrence however, believes that it’s the sentimental drives and motivations that cause relationships to take on certain logical forms: so and so marries what’s-her-name because he is feeling lonely, and he’s feeling lonely because he feels the natural pull to love another person and thus escape the cold darkness of loneliness itself, and so on. Russell is focused on the mechanics involved, Lawrence is focused on the feelings, and both feel that their focus is the true bottom-line, the true a priori principle.
- CelebrityTypes: Why Freud is ISTJ CelebrityTypes 2013
- Jung: Psychological Types Princeton University Press 1976
- Lawrence: D.H. Lawrence’s Letters to Bertrand Russell Literary Licensing 2011
- Pierce: How Jung Saw E/I CelebrityTypes 2014
- Pierce: Extroversion and Introversion: The Many and the One Open Journal of Jungian Typology 2015