So, let’s start with the notion that human beings are born (for the most part) with the capacity to learn and grow. In order to do that we must take in information about our world and then we must utilize that information in our day to day lives, communication and interactions with others, with nature, with the physical world, with concepts, with spirituality and so forth.
We call the ways of taking in and utilizing information cognitive preferences. In the same way that most people have a preference for handedness (right or left) people have a preference for the order of their cognitive functions.
The way we take in information is called our perceiving function. The manner in which we utilize or act upon that information is called our judging function.
Think of it this way:
Perceiving = in-put.
Judging = out-put.
There are two categories for perceiving functions: Intuition and Sensing and two categories for judging functions which are called Thinking and Feeling. Now, intuition can be either introverted or extroverted. In psychology circles this is abbreviated as Ni (intuition introverted) and Ne (intuition extraverted). Sensing is also either introverted (Si) or extraverted (Se). Thinking is also introverted (Ti) and extraverted (Te) as is feeling, Fi and Fe. I will use these standard abbreviations throughout my posts.
Let me take a moment to give a brief description of these functions.
Se–is attuned to the physical world and is concerned with what is happening outside of one’s self (it is extraverted…outward focused). Se is concerned with what others are doing and with the experiences others are having, their comfort, their safety, whether or not they are enjoying the moment. It is present-focused and in the moment.
Si–is attuned with the past and the experiences one has already had. It compares present experiences or possible future experiences to past experiences and is inward-focused. Si is concerned with one’s own comfort and safety.
Ne–is attuned to possibilities outside of one’s self. It looks outward and at multiple combinations, connections and outcomes of any system or situation. It tinkers with ideas and theories, always seeking to find another way. It is experimenting and future-focused, asking “what can be?”
Ni–is attuned to finding what is the “best” or most efficient outcome. It looks inward and is concerned with “what will be.” Ni connects invisible dots and sees patterns and pathways to infinite numbers of outcomes pertaining to one’s own path forward. It is strategic and future-focused.
Te–is outward focused on external frameworks. It is objective and adheres to proven structures to support its conclusions and in order to form conclusions. It looks to the experts and to foundations that have already been laid. It seeks to find the most practical way to accomplish objective tasks. It basically asks, “how to do it?”
Ti–analyzes and dissects, seeks to understand how something works and why something is. Ti is inward-focused on one’s internal framework and understanding of structures. It questions the purpose and meaning of everything. It takes apart in order to put together, synthesizes.
Fe–is concerned with values of others. It understands the cultural and social values of any group that it is put into and forms an ability to adapt to those values.
Fi–is concerned with one’s internal values and seeks to be true to one’s self.
We all have all the functions but the order of dominance and development is different. The placement of a cognitive function determines how it plays out in each of us. There are sixteen different orders in which these functions can be arranged. The J or P on the end of each set of cognitive preferences denotes which preference a person extraverts. It doesn’t mean whether or not they are judgmental as I have heard some say. I am showing the sixteen different orders below. The ones in bold are the functions that we are most adept at using. The ones in italics are our weaker, more *”mirror universe” functions. You may notice that the functions always appear on an axis, which means they are aways paired opposite of each other. The axis are as follows:
Se & Ni; Si & Ne; Te & Fi; Fe & Ti
The four letters after each arrangement or line-up of functions are what we call our Type Code.
- Se Ti Fe Ni Si Te Fi Ne =ESTP
- Ti Se Ni Fe Te Si Ne Fi = ISTP
- Se Fi Te Ni Si Fe Ti Ne= ESFP
- Fi Se Ni Te Fe Si Ne Ti= ISFP
- Ne Fi Te Si Ni Fe Ti Se= ENFP
- Fi Ne Si Te Fe Ni Se Ti= INFP
- Ne Ti Fe Si Ni Te Fi Se= ENTP
- Ti Ne Si Fe Te Ni Se Fi= INTP
- Te Ni Se Fi Ti Ne Si Fe= ENTJ
- Ni Te Fi Se Ne Ti Fe Si= INTJ
- Fe Ni Se Ti Fi Ne Si Te= ENFJ
- Ni Fe Ti Se Ne Fi Te Si =INFJ
- Te Si Ne Fi Te Se Ni Fe= ESTJ
- Si Fe Ti Ne Se Fi Te Ni= ISFJ
- Fe Si Ne Ti Fi Se Ni Te= ESFJ
- Si Te Fi Ne Se Ti Fe Ni= ISTJ
And here’s how the order affects our functions and our lives:
Our Strength Functions:
- Our Hero Function–our “go to” way of being, the mode of operation when we are allowed to be our most authentic selves. This function is where our optimism lies, our confidence.
- Our Parent Function–the function we kick into when we’re trying to be responsible. This function is where we go when we think about consequences and safety. It’s a more pessimistic function because it’s always on guard for pitfalls and dangers.
- Our Child Function–our purest function; This function is where we play and enjoy ourselves. It’s optimistic and usually like the child in the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” It’s the function that simply sees what is there.
- Our Aspirational Function–this function is the one where we feel the least confident and we may aspire to work harder when using this function, but if forced into it continuously, we may burn out. However, when an individual is not under stress and allowed to “just be” this function can offer a change of pace and an outlet.
- Our Nemesis Function–it’s the function that casts doubt on our Hero.
- Our Critic Function–it’s the inner voice of criticism
- Our Trickster Function–it’s our delusions function. It’s the one that lies to us about ourselves.
- Our Demon Function–Just as our number four function is the one that spurs us to aspire, this one is accessed when we have lost all hope or feel lost in the world.