I am developing a new theory that asserts people can ascend their base Jungian archetype. I am basing this theory on the development models present by Jung, Beebe, and others that state or imply that individuals use and therefore develop all of their cognitive functions as required.
We approach any problem with our dominant function. If it does not solve the problem, we must choose to escalate to our secondary function or drop the problem unsolved. Each time we escalate the problem we step to the next cognitive function on our archetype track. For INFJs, the track is Ni > Fe > Ti > Se > Ne > Fi > Te > Si. Each time we use any of our functions in a new way, we gain more capacity with them. However, at some point the human mind can develop the ability to 'skip' functions (as in briefly allow that function to consider before aknowledging inability) when it can identify the best suited function. For example, an INFJ with experience in relative math would likely 'skip' a few functions and go straight to Ti and Te after Ni. This would develop Ni, Ti, and Te, but would also force Fe to develop a little by creating areas in which it would bypass itself voluntarily at the direction of Ni's ability to determine the best course of action cognitively. The end result however would be a more developed Te - something outside the normal pattern for INFJs, but entirely within the paradigm of Ni seeing the pattern and jumping to the 'answer' which does not include Fe.
Life is full of situations that force INFJs to use functions other than Ni and Fe, especially in a world dominated by STJs who focus on Si and Te, giving us plenty of opportunity to develop cognitive functions outside our standard model.
If we can develop these additional functions to such a degree that we become 'fluent' with their use, we begin to ascend the standard cognitive model, because we become able to switch perspectives well enough to appear to have the cognitive model of another type in those instances. This is an adaptive trait, of course, that does not change the inherent type, but does create the illusion of it, even to the user.
It is very clear that ENFPs are the best suited to this sort of ascension as they are both Ne and Fi. Ne gives them an initial perspective of possibilities while Fi gives them an unconscious right brained adaptability. Yet, I believe ENFPs, who are noted as the greatest of the mental 'shapeshifters' (for using this very method), are only a step ahead of the rest of the intuition dominant types - INFJ, ENTP, and INTJ.
For other types, it seems that secondary intuition preference (ENTJ, ENFJ, INFP, INTP) follows the intuition dominants in the ability to ascend their type model, then intuition tertiary (ISTP, ISFP, ESTJ, ESFJ), followed lastly by the intuition inferiors (ISTJ, ISFJ, ESFP, ESTP).
In other words, it is beginning to seem like the inherent pattern recognition of the intuition functions may develop into a mental switchboard with efficiency in direct proportion to their dominance in an individual - when significantly developed, and this may explain why so many of us INFJs, ENFPs, ENTPs, and even INTJs have so much trouble deciding on our type - because we've begun to ascend our type and therefore exhibit traits of other type models.
As an example - A calculus problem for an INFJ who has no experience with this type of problem begins at Ni to search for pattern recognition, to search for a 'match'. When none is found, Fe is consulted to decide how the INFJ feels the problem should be solved. This is the difficult step for INFJs (and one that is not shared by INTJs due to having Te in this slot) because we have to decide to feel that open minded logic is the best way to solve this problem, which is in effect asking Fe to yield its voice in the matter until later functions can determine the best course. (I've often expereienced a stumbling block at this point as Fe refuses to grasp a new approach, and until it gets out of the way I will be stuck at how I feel the process should work.) We have to learn with Fe that Ti and Te best solve the problem by going through Fe a few times until Ni knows the best functions to pass this problem to, with Fe's consent of course. Once this is established...
The same calculus problem for an INFJ who has experience with them would begin with Ni which would assign the problem to Ti and Te, then work in tandem with them to solve the problem.
For an ISTP the same problem would take a completely different route. The ISTP would begin with Ti, move to Se. However, if the problem requires Te, then the ISTP has to go back to Ti, then back through Se to Ni, which would then skip to Te - each time Te has to be included in the process. Even when the problem is familiar to the ISTP, the process is still the same. This is why S types seem to think in straight lines.
This seems to be a form of metacognition to me. You're consciously deciding how to think about a problem and taking the best course of action from there. I don't know if that would be considered skipping though. Is it absolutely necessary to view the steps as, well, just that? Or are they more of a 3D model where certain pieces are more defined? By using the weaker abilities more often you can begin to "fill" them in but they would still be defined by your strongest abilities. An INFJ, for example, would take Ti/Te and apply Fe to it so that area would be colored by that auxiliary function.
Hm...for years I've just used whatever cognitive function I felt best suited the situation. If my Ti got me into a little trouble for being a bit arrogant and demanding, then I would force myself to step back and humble myself with some Fe and try to re harmonize the situation. If I began to chronically worry because of my Ne perceptions then I would use Se to bring me back to the present reality. I don't know if I was skipping or following any sequence, all the functions feel like they exist in a pool for me to pick and use at my leisure. The last few weeks have shown me that I am predisposed to Ti, Fi, and Ne, and this produces an INXP type personality which comes off as a neurotic INTP, but I'm still very confident in my ability to use the other cognitive functions whenever I need them.
I'm a little embarrased to post in this thread because I still don't understand MBTI nearly as well as most of you guys (although I'm learning in my spare time). I'm interested in your guys' opinions on INFJs in the sciences or math heavy fields. They are intrinsically defined in Te regions. Being able to relate a problem or query represented in words to a quantified form. Finding how certain aspects relate to develop equations. I'll share that in my experience if I don't immediately know an approach to solve a problem it is almost inconsequential how much time I spend solving a problem. I won't find a solution past my first one. It's almost a miracle I've made it this far in science. I'm slowly learning how to apply an external approach to solving problems but it's hard for me to stick to it. I'd have to say my interest in science is based on my desire to expand or validate what my Ni tells me.
I don't want to hijack your thread so please feel free to elaborate with your theory here Nobleheart. So far it seems like it fits pretty well. I wouldn't know an MBTI argument against it yet.