Emotions–Back to Fi vs. Fe distinction..

Okay–to try and figure out how one can “invest” in certain things with some sense of meaning.. I have decided to wander back a bit and re-explore the distinction that happens between the MBTI functions labeled: Fi (introverted Feeling) and Fe(extraverted Feeling).

Now if I remember from my reading of Jung, he characterized extraverted Feeling (Fe) as a judging function that focused on external (=objective) events  and dealt with them based on a value structure that it also generally picked up from external sources.  In other words, Fe, was often concerned not only with the traditions/customs/rules of its society and it used them as a source of its values/judging criterion–but in addition, it was concerned with the external relationships between people around them and sought to keep things harmonious (although I think this last part assumes the good will of the Fe individual a bit…)

Fi–according to Jung–was introverted (=subjective to Jung) and therefore focused both its attention to the internal subjective feelings/situation of the Fi individual more than to that of external individuals–but it also tended to acquire and build up a set of internally generated values that need not–and often did–deviate from the standard customs or values of the society that the Fi-individual is in.

Okay.. granting that–I came across this description of the two while wandering around the web and something about it seemed to strike a chord, even if there are things that I think are wrong with it.  The quote was:

I’ve heard Fe describes as being able to sense feelings radiating from others and see the way that they connect between people. This is what gives way to the ‘social etiquette’ idea that gets equated with Fe. Fe users want harmony in the world. When unchecked, Fe users can lose themselves in maintaining his harmony to the point of overlooking their feelings.

Fi is an inner experience of feelings. They begin internally. Fi wants harmony in themselves. Fi relates to people by taking on the feelings of others as their own. When unchecked, Fi users can lose themselves by taking on these feelings to such an extent it forgets about itself. Fi will help others by helping them find inner harmony, rather than between many people.

Now.. what I found useful about this quote is that it provided a useful starting point for really trying to review my understandings of Fi & Fe.  Specifically, it generated the following thoughts:

1. Fe users are far more attuned to emotion-based network that exists between people.  They are attuned to the web of emotional states that a person can express, but also in the ways of working with a person to generate/create an emotional state… (<–this is a bad formulation.. let me keep working with it..)

2. Something in the above definition that isn’t quite correct to me is the way in which the reader says that Fe is about “being able to sense feelings radiating from others…” –That doesn’t jive entirely because Fe doesn’t sense anything.. it’s a judging function–or at least that is supposedly the case in the MBTI system (maybe there is a flaw here in the system…but that’s for another time..)–which means that it makes decisions.. it is not aware of anything, because it relies upon the perceiving function–either Ni, Ne, Si, or Se–to feed it perceptions, data, information upon which it makes decisions.

3. Nevertheless, what I think the quote makes clear to me is that the kinds of things that Fe makes decisions about are the connective emotional relationships that exist in the external world between people.  That is what Fe does most naturally, what it considers “fun” and what it is most adept at.

4. This raises the issue clearly to me that a focus on Fe alone misses the point and that I need to also pay attention to what perceiving function is hooked up to dominant or auxiliary Fe’s.. So.. those four types would be: ENFJ (FeNi), ESFJ(FeSi), INFJ(NiFe), and ISFJ(SiFe)…   So.. Ni is a function I know pretty well (it being the dominant function in an INTJ (NiTe), and introverted intuition focuses on perceiving the underlying relationships and patterns that structure the events going on in the external world.  It perceives the “why” of events and the deep connections to things.   I generally use the term “grokking” to describe what it does.  Si, on the other hand, is particularly unfamiliar to me (it’s not a function I as an INTJ would possess) but I’ve seen it a lot in many people and how I would describe it would be as a function that almost inherently comparative in that it takes external sensory data and instead of directy sensing it, it senses the internal reactions that the data generates in the individual.  I also believe that these internal sensations are the result of an implicit comparison made between that new data and all the previous data that has been fed into (or taught, often) the Si individual.  Thus, Si perceives the sensory world subjectively (=introversion) in that the sensory data is perceived in the context of all other previous sensations from sensory data.  This is what makes people with huge Si’s the typical “guardians” in that they generally tend to work within the past context of everything and the experience of “change” to them often comes across as “deviance from internal norm” if they have been raised–as most people are–with a firm grounding in cultural norms.

Getting off track here.  Back on track–looking at the particular combinations gets me back to my ENFJ situation quite well.  From the combination and MBTI theory, ENFJ’s are people who’s primary function is not only to decide/act–but to do so based on the set of external values and to do so primarily upon the set of social relations/emotional states of the people around them.  What makes them particularly adept at this task is that this acting/deciding is fed perceptions by an Ni function that is geared towards grokking the underlying emotional patterns/relationships/levers of the people around them.  Thus, not only do ENFJ’s like to have fun working within the context of the external emotional landscape of social world around them–they are adept at seeing the ways and structures that serve as the foundation for this landscape–which makes easier for them to change or alter this landscape than any other type…

Now.. a bunch of descriptions of ENFJ’s talk about them as being the best harmonizers in humanity and always looking out for everyone even to the extent that they negate their own feelings.

I think this is a rather rosy way of looking at the situation.  I’m sure there are definitely those ENFJ’s who make this their goal, but it is also the case–and my experience backs this up–that there are those more “selfishly oriented” ENFJ’s  (or perhaps this resides in any ENFJ who feels scorned and decides you are “not good people”) who use their natural talent for grabbing hold of the emotional levers in people in front of them and moving them into whichever position they want.

In contrast–INFJ’s who are NiFe–seem (in my limited experience because I’ve only met a few) to have a far lesser desire to control the world around them–but rather spend more time just perceiving what is really there in the emotional landscape–and then will make changes with their Fe with a lot less vigor.. Perhaps this is wrong–but that’s my current experience..

Also in contrast are ESFJ’s–who also have a dominant Fe–but their Si makes them more reactionary than proactive in perceiving the world.  Instead of seeing an emotional landscape like a playground or a game or a piece of clay to be molded how they want it to be, they encounter a world of relationships that they believe should conform to certain standards–and they will work strongly towards those standards.  This means–if we are going to look at the worst cases–that they may try hard to make you conform to their value system, but they are not going to be able to personally reach in and grab all of your own personal emotional buttons, although they may be able to push the more obvious ones that are default to most people and to do this with a large amount of skill.

Okay–this has been productive.. Yes, I haven’t fleshed out every tree branch. I’m not talking about ISFJ’s (they are a lot like ESFJ’s–but they are even less likely to act out and push your buttons, but are more likely to try and create emotional/relationship/social order in a manner that radiates out from themselves rather than being such an active director… )–and I haven’t even gone back to deal with the whole part of the Fi quote–but maybe I’ll do that tomorrow… or the next day…

The goal of this process was really to try and grok ENFJ’s… and how they do what they do… and now I think I have a better Ni image in my head of what’s going on… Now I really need to do some Te analysis on in to see what the components of it really are and how they specifically work.  I will also probably come back and think about Fi, because how Fe and Fi interact seems important to this whole dynamic…

Okay.. it’s over 1500 words again.. time to stop..


About Prof. Woland

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3 Responses to Emotions–Back to Fi vs. Fe distinction..

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