I don't understand Fi | INFJ Forum

I don't understand Fi

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by rainrise, Aug 9, 2009.

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  1. rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    from what i've read,

    since it is a judging function, it is the inner sense of knowing whether something is essentially good or bad (desirable/undesirable) based on one's own distinctions of what is valued for oneself and others. it also allows for fine distinctions between feelings.it involves actions, images, and emotional gists more often than words. unlike Fe, it doesn't depend on the outer context of a situation that may change with time and is loyal to one's values no matter what.

    i'm sure i use this function to some extent, but i don't know where it draws its conclusions from.

    i am definately not questioning its rationality, i'm just confused as to how one decides which personal/universal values to adhere to without using some measure of thinking in arising at a conclusion whether to believe/disbelieve? is it an emotional reaction/gist that occurs from which you just 'know'? does it involve, like Ti, a filtering process by which you constantly distill or refine your judgments based on new experience/information?
     
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  2. frozen_water

    frozen_water Community Member

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    You and me both. I've been researching and writing function descriptions (for another site), and most of them have been received extremely well, but the Ti/Fi ones I just can't get the hang of. I wrote them out, but they were apparently very wrong. The Ti one was pretty good, but I apparently didn't understand Fi at all.

    The one thing I have been told, though, was that it definitely does have some sort of filtering process for distilling and refining judgments. I haven't the slightest idea how it gets started, but after it begins, they're constantly checking it against itself for consistency and revision. For instance, they may start off saying "stealing is bad," until they see someone starving to death. Then it will get revised into "stealing is bad, unless it's for food to preserve human life. Preserving life lies above stealing in importance." Same thing with "lying should be avoided," may be a value. When you propose a moral dilemma, however, such as "you see a woman running away, and she goes down an alley to your left. A man with a gun comes running by later, and asks you which direction she went. Would you lie then?" they'll compare "how bad is it to lie?" with "how important is saving a life?" They'll then think "well, saving a life is already more important than stealing, so I would have to admit that telling the truth is more important than both stealing and preserving life, if I say you should tell the man with the gun the correct decision, and it's really not worth that--so lying is less important than preserving life." They may not be sure where it falls with respect to stealing, but if you could propose a situation in which the two were in direct conflict, they could then tell you which they hold more important.

    so... I can tell you that it is under constant revision, and the judgments do get refined, but I have no real idea how they actually do the comparing itself. In some cases I understand it... for instance, if one "wrong" is a subset of another. They'd say that murder of two innocent people is worse than murder of one (assuming that the one that would be murdered in the second scenario is the same as one of the two people who would be murdered in the first), because the second crime is a subset of the first--and that I understand--but comparing lying to stealing is like comparing apples and oranges to me. I'm not sure how they do that.

    One of those major psychologists (I forget who... but like Jung, Keirsey, or a name along those lines) said that Ti and Fi were very, very similar functions, though, and that everything that just about all the research written about one could have been written about the other, too. I can kind of see where they're coming from, since I can't find a starting place for Ti, either. They both just seem to be able to make decisions that are consistent with what's already "known" (for Ti, known as true. For Fi, known as important)


    The other thing I've noticed is that, just like Ti makes really fine distinctions that other types don't when investigating ideas (separate the system of belief from the people who believe it, because there's so much more to a person than the belief they possess, or they might not understand it as it was originally intended, etc), Fi makes really fine distinctions in shades of feeling. I was talking to a (very intuition-heavy) INFP, once, who didn't see any difference between any quantitative values at all, and their eyes just glazed over whenever they saw anything precise, but still made clear to me the difference between embarrassment and shame ("embarrassment is like nervousness, but shame is closer to guilt"). So they also seem to have a really fine understanding of the precise distinctions between emotions, and I think that's also a byproduct of Fi.
     
  3. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    My theory about Ti and Fi is that they are unable to manifest without the presence of other functions. This also will help to differentiate between Ti and Fi.

    Basically, I don't think that humans can consider things completely objectively or completely subjectively; I think both is necessary for a though process to run. If the external world is being considered subjectively, and by subjective I mean the absolutism of feeling, then the inner world would be objective. Likewise, if the external world is seen as objective, then the internal world will be subjective.

    Objective thought allows for systematic hierarchies to be formed and judgments to be made, but those judgments must actually be made relative to the human individual, meaning they must be based upon feeling, which does not allow for systematic hierarchies. With feeling, it is either yes or no. So the distinctions that humans make must always be simultaneously absolute and relative, feeling and objective. The difference comes in what functions the individuals primarily manifest and to what extent they manifest those functions.

    This is just a theory though.
     
  4. DefectiveCreative

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    I'd say we base it on "level of harm". If the experiences we have had in life of people stealing have caused more harm to ourselves or to the people we care about than lying, then we'll consider stealing as the more damaging and therefore the "worse" of the two. However if we have experienced lying as the more damaging, then the reverse will be true.

    Like you said, this a process that undergoes constant revision. I've seen Fi described somewhere as like a net or a web, where each point on the net represents an experience from which we have adopted or learned a particular value. So in that respect it would be less of a true hierarchy like in your analogy, and more of an inter-connected and inter-related framework.

    That sounds about right, but I think that distinction only exists on a subconscious "feeling tone" level until we, for whatever reason, have to bring it out into the open.
     
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  5. slant

    slant Ruboobie

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    me either
     
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  6. tovlo

    tovlo Well-known member

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    From the book Personality Type: An Owners Manual by Lenore Thompson:

     
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  7. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    *shrugs*
     
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  8. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    EDIT: Important additions:
    I think that Fi is difficult to understand, especially as Fi users experience it... So I'm an INFP and dominant Fi, and there were things that I read about Fi that didn't make it instantly relatable, as, like I said, they don't seem to suggest the way that Fi users experience it. So I'll get to that in minute if you'll stick with me......

    So first, I like the description with the spaghetti sauce where you sort of get a sense of the emerging patterns of where you sense the flavor of the sauce going and see how they map to that weighty sense of it's good values that you identify with. Seems like Fi causes me to constantly be panning over things for that hint at the presence of my possibe ideal or lack of. There always seems to be that sort of feeling of weightiness that is just looming in your mind as you scale things quickly to find those traits about them that you can identify with that can be mapped to other people and ideas, and with a very difficult-to-explain sense for what general direction they seem to be facing, and of course that's one with a sense of good and bad directions...... It has seemed to me that it must be Ni for the fact that it seems like it just transcends any perspective to get this fast-acting sense for things, but in fact Ni is defianately about perspectives and perceving like a sponge, and Fi is definately in your stomach and judging fast in a crushingly personal way...

    So where does that identity that Fi searches come from? A good description I've come across describes it as an endless ocean of identity...This is going to sound like Ni for a second(suspicious...), but I'll give an example in a second. I think that the way the Fi becomes more skilled is to sort of dive deep deep into that identity a lot and in an open-minded way to really genuinely be exploring yourself and basically feel like you are understanding yourself in a much deeper and stretched-out way. That way, as an Fi-user I can sort of map my increased understanding of myself and my deeper feelings to other people, and have it often be accurately piercing their identity and their feelings... So the big example on my mind is how much of what everyone thinks and does is about reinforcing their ego. As a thoughtful Fi user, I have sort of given that bit of form to my self-referencing and will then map that same form to others to know that they are reinforcing their ego...

    So as a particularly cerebral INFP, I'm a little senstive about the fact that there is something about Fi that initially seems a little irresponsible until you have more experience under your belt, until that identity is understood intimately from more and more angles. I think that for Fi dominant users, in a less mature state early on you are discouraged and filled with angst to find that the nature of the weight and sureness of Fi feelings start to seem volatile, and well, irresponsible. I think that responsible Fi users will eventually do what I do, in that I sort of extend the fast and weighty gut-feelings/judgements out into a much more "relative"-feeling space where I feel like I'm literally biting my tongue/feelings and sort of lifting those weighty feelings up long enough to explore them thoroughly in a way like I described before, to understand them better for mapping to the current situation. That way I can set those feelings down into something that's stretched out a few miles by applying the Fi super-probes to multiple and bigger perspectives...

    Erhm, which that may or may not be possible for anyone to decipher, but, suffice to say, that being handy with Fi and knowing Fi intimately in oneself also means being able to sort of chain it down and apply it very deliberately and in a controlled way until what it is attacking or is attacking it can be met with a sense of mental integrity/consistency......
     
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    #8 Hinsoog, Aug 10, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  9. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    The way that I now understand Fi (or maybe the lack of it) is a bit different. It became apparent to me after I've discussed it with some friends who have different preferences.

    What makes it difficult to distinguish is that the same observable deed can be performed under the guidance of both feeling processes but with different reasons.
    For example an inclination not to steal can come from two sources: an inner belief in the idea of justice (Fi approach) or from a repulsion to harm others (Fe approach). For that matter the golden rule is a perfect Fe example and the 10 commandments are Fi.

    And Fi is not limited to justice and nice things. Bonnie and Clyde are a good example as well as a lot of villains because they had extraordinary strong inner convictions. An office clerk who gives up his dream and works from 8 to 5 every day just to provide for his family is low on Fi.

    Recently I've seen a good example of Fi in the movie "Okuribito". My initial reaction was WTF?? because the motivation of the main character felt so foreign and "wrong". But I could easily associate with his wife who used Fe. My friend who prefers Fi said he had an opposite impression.
     
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  10. OP
    rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    ahh thanks all! that really helped :)
     
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  11. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    I vote YES on this description! It's nice and relatable and POSSIBLE to understand... Thank you good sir! The Ten Commandments thing makes sense, and though my Fi is officially repulsed by that general direction, it still works. I think it's true that those handy with Fi are able to give those inner-convictions a bit more stretched-out form with some effort...
     
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    #11 Hinsoog, Aug 10, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  12. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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    :(
     
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  13. Faye

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    Why?
     
  14. OP
    rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    i guess it is because Fi compels you to stay true to what you value or want for yourself as well as others. if this is so, dreams are prioritized or if not, then highly regarded, as they uphold the essence of what one deems as most important and meaningful. sure, you can argue that providing for one's family can also be of high importance, but in this example, one's dream is taken as separate from providing for one's family. if one's dream comprised of this duty, then we'd say that the person is high on Fi. however, since this is not the case, then we'd say the person is low on Fi or that this particular situation/decision engages in low Fi use (regardless of whether the person largely uses Fi normally on the whole). does that make sense or am i running off on a wrong tangent?
     
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  15. DefectiveCreative

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    Sounds right to me, though I wouldn't necessarily describe it as low Fi. In your example the Fi could still there but he/she could be suppressing it. Low Fi users would just not place a lot of value on Fi style judgements in the first place.

    In context that would mean that low Fi users wouldn't feel torn (or at least not as torn) about their decision to work a job just to pay the bills as high Fi users who are suppressing (or trying to suppress) their Fi would.
     
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    #15 DefectiveCreative, Aug 11, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  16. VH

    VH Variable Hybrid

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    Here are the differences as I've experienced them.

    My Fe and Fi are both pretty strong, as is likely the case with any Fi or Fe dominant type. For me Fe usually trumps my Fi, but I still have it. Both of the feeling functions have a lot in common, and there is a fair degree of overlap. Both are rooted in the philosophical, abstract, creative, emotional reasoning of the mind. Art, music, and anything else with aesthetic value are the realm of the F functions. Both functions are very capable of coming to the same result, but from opposite directions. And it is the direction that gives each function its distinction.

    Fi is selfishness, even if it is benevolent. Fi helps people because it makes me feel good.

    Fe is unselfishness, even if is it diabolical. Fe hurts people because it will defend others.


    Fi is emotion. How I feel about it personally.

    Fe is philosophy. How I relate to the world emotionally.


    Fi is feeling on the micro level. Internal. How does this apply to me?

    Fe is feeling on the macro level. External. How does this apply to everyone?


    Fi is prone to take advantage. This is how it is.

    Fe is prone to dominate. This is how it must be.


    Fi is difficult to hide.

    Fe is difficult to see.




    For the most part, Fi is the standard by which the world presumes emotions work. The majority of people on the planet are Fi users. Fi is normal, and healthy, emotional function.

    Fe is atypical, and centers on the group, and putting others first, not because it makes you feel good, but because that's the direction from which you approach emotion and philosophy.
     
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  17. OP
    rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    i was answering Dragon's question along the lines of what Tamagochi wrote earlier:
    so i apologize if it rings up confusion in regards to the language. i like your clarification because i think it is what i wanted to express, but on clearer terms. thanks :)
     
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  18. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I've always felt that Ayn Rand is the epitome of Fi and so I've had quite the disdain for it.

    Van seemed to cover it pretty well. The way I view Fi versus Fe is more or less something like this...

    Fi = Whatever harms the individual will harm the group.
    Fe = Whatever harms the group will harm the individual.

    Frankly, both can be pretty sickening. Fi people get it in their head that the best way to serve others is to live in accordance to their own principles. That "be the change you want to see in the world" philosophy is wonderful unless you happen to be Hitler. The Fe people get it in their head that serving the group is the best way to to take care of themselves, which is wonderful unless the group you are in happens to be the Nazis. Interpreting values (Fi) and connecting with others (Fe) are great judging functions, but its good to have a dose of thinking function in order to scrutinize the particular beliefs and groups you encounter in life.
     
  19. VH

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    Heh, thanks.

    I too share your disdain of Ayn Rand.

    I also agree with your sentiments on the downside of F functions. I prefer people who lead with their hearts, but without strong T functions to act as reigns, F functions can become as terrible as they are beneficial.

    All too often, I have seen Fi dominant people feel as if they are the center of the universe, and everyone else must bend to their will. This sensibility can be so ingrained in them that they are unable to consider otherwise, and the mention of the possibility an act of war.

    In contrast, I have seen Fe dominant people feel as if their own needs are secondary to everyone else, and bend to the will of everyone around them. This sensibility can be so ingrained in them that they are unable to consider otherwise, and the suggestion of standing up for their own needs is completely alien to them.
     
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  20. OP
    rainrise

    rainrise Community Member

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    this comparison between Fi and Fe explains a lot. i forgot to mention that i couldn't reconcile the two as part of the F preference as i was probably misunderstanding Fi through an Fe perspective. this really helps set things straight. :)
     
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