In the article below, an acquaintance of ours attempts to explain the basics of oppositional function pairs. Gerroir contributes with his personal understanding of the system. We at CelebrityTypes do not necessarily agree with Gerroir on every point, but we found his article an insightful read and will now share it with you.
Written by Jesse Gerroir – edited by the CT Admins for publication, and used with permission
The E/I split is a very important one. One that Jung spent most of his time talking about in Psychological Types and that pervades all of the functions.
However, one of the greatest misconceptions between extroversion and introversion is that it has anything to do with social ability. While there is often a correlation, the correlation is really a byproduct and not really the definition of the difference. Simply and concisely put, the extroverted functions and extroverts are orientated towards objects. While introverts are orientated towards the subjective impressions of objects. But what exactly does this mean?
Introverts need time to access their inner bank of stored impressions. Introversion is about recognizing similarities in impressions that have already been assimilated into consciousness. Whenever an introverted function encounters an object its concern is not really with examining the object but rather with accessing their storehouse of previously digested impressions. While this is true of all the introverted functions, it is most clearly seen in the irrational introverted functions (Si and Ni) which do not occupy themselves with judging the object, but which primarily seek to just soak up all impressions the object evokes.
A Rundown of the Introverted Functions
With Ti, we are concerned with stored thoughts, definitions, abstracted ideas, logical conclusions, and other such things that are ultimately abstracted from the impression of an object.
With Fi, we focus on stored emotional ideals, how does the object in question compare to its most ideal incarnation, to emotions felt by me in the past, and to concentrated ideals of the emotion?
With Si, it’s stored facts, physical sensations, what is reliable, stable, and agreeable to instinct. How the object compares to previously experienced objects of the same type.
And last but not least with Ni, we ask how does the impression compare to all the connections, associations, and patterns observed about the object largely revolving around the question from whence did it come and where is it going?
A Rundown of the Extroverted Functions
With the extroverted functions the person is not looking inward to access stored inner impressions. They are looking outward, and they are focused on the actual object.
With Te it wants to know how the object is organized, how discrete is it in its context, how it can be quantified, and what exactly it is, what common behavior it exhibits, and what amount of force sustains it in the outer world.
With Fe it wants to know the general feeling tone of the object (the object in this case generally being people), what context the object exists in, whether there is harmony among the object and its environment, the needs of the people, and different standard behavior and rituals among them.
With Ne it’s what the object could become, how it could be transformed, the innovative possibilities surrounding the object, what patterns the object exists in and how they can be manipulated, and how changes could be made.
With Se it’s direct physical awareness of the object. What it’s like, how it feels, how it will behave when manipulated, what it’s doing in the here and now and how it will behave in the here and now.
Considering the Difference
“There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum!” – C.G. Jung
Obviously, we all orient ourselves via both impressions derived from objects (I) and actual objects themselves (E). This is why it’s largely impossible to be entirely introverted or extroverted as Jung also famously said.
If a person was 100% introverted, the introvert would be approaching each new object entirely based upon previously gathered past impressions. But how could they even have such past impressions, if their approach was always to abstract from the object? If they always did that, they would never have experienced anything directly to begin with! They would have no impressions to use as a base. Without the help of their extroverted functions, their databank is empty.
Likewise, the extrovert would be approaching each new object entirely anew with no past memory of similar objects. They would never store the impressions of the object. There would be no databank at all.
This is why the extroverted functions are always paired up with introverted ones and vice-versa. The extroverted functions will bring in data about objects and things and the introverted functions form that data into a databank that can be used for future reference.
This is precisely what makes the introverted functions inherently subjective. Even Ti which at first seems so logical that people are tempted to deem it “objective” is actually a subjective function, when properly understood.
So in Conclusion
The extroverted functions will use the instance of the object to understand its ideal form.
The introverted functions will use the ideal form of the object to understand its actual instance.