What does it really mean to say that you like something? This would seem to have a different meaning to a thinking preference than to a feeling one.
The thinking function has been the dominant function for the evaluation of scientific truth for a few hundred years now and the feeling function has been rather maligned as a function that could have any importance in matters of truth.
But, I am not sure that this is so. Especially, if we are concerned with human truth – subjective truth, and a person that is well-liked or has some degree of influence can accord value (and truth) to things just by saying that they like them or don’t. It at least impels people to consider it, whereas if someone else said the same thing it might not mean as much, or have as much weight, coming out of their mouth. So, this gets into the idea of social status. Isn’t this a form of truth, something that can be more or less measured? We would agree that celebrities have more influence because they are famous, which means that they are more important as people in some way because a lot of other people that do not have this status of fame pay attention to them.
When you say x, y, or z is what a person likes, this tells you something about them. It may indicate what other things they would like from associative thinking. In other words, there is a certain predictability and pattern to liking things. If you like capitalism over communism that will probably tell us something about your preferences and, by extension, other things that you would like. If you didn’t like those other things then that would tend to indicate some exception to the general rule and maybe some kind of misunderstanding or distortion on the part of the person not liking this other thing. Marketers, for example, pay attention to this kind of “like” information. What do people like? What do they want? Not, what is true? Or even, what may be best for them? But, simply, what are the dominant preferences of x, y, or z demographic?
And there is something of this straight line activity in this form of measurement (Fe). It is like a form of logical reasoning. If you are a liberal and you like Rachel Maddow, then you will probably be accepting and liking these further things along that continuum. It just goes with the territory. And to the degree that you didn’t would probably indicate the degree to which you were relatively uninfluenced by mass feeling values. And this seems actually to be a purview of the judging functions in total, even the thinking function. Because as much as they are dominant orientations in an individual, or to a lesser extent, just strong because of cultural conditioning, which occurs through these functions, it seems rather predictable what the affinities and disaffinities of these functions will be.
It is the whole Thinking vs. Feeling war. Which is also the war of the sexes. And a lot of this comes down to the feminine vs. the masculine.
So, at a biological level, it is rather predictable that most woman will form a preference for something based on feeling rather than thinking. Woman will say, “I just like this, I don’t care why”. And a man might point out why some of the things that she likes are at odds with each other. But, this is like talking at cross-purposes to her truth. To like something or be attracted to something is a simple as that, right? That is the end in itself. Thinking tries to find the consistency and the “a leads to b leads to c” type of truth. But a woman could like men that are brutes but also espouse the ideology of peace. And they are both true for her. So, feeling presents this contradiction to thinking. It is illogical.
So, what I am basically getting at in the “culture of like” is that a particular person liking or disliking something or someone is a form of measurement that is referenced to them and not to the external environment. It is not asking what is really true necessarily. It is just when you find yourself liking someone or something.
And it also seems that when a feeler accords this degree of “like” or not, it is more important than if a thinker did it who might not be as in tune with what they like or don’t, because it would be relatively more primitive and undifferentiated as a function per classical theory. So, this means when a feeler says they like something it has more weight (or truth) in some way then when someone who is deficient in this function says that. Since being a thinker necessarily involves a repression of the feeling function (per definition) and to engage thinking means to be directly dismissive of feeling values in the search for value (or whatever the judging functions are searching for), that “like or dislike” are repressed in the search for objective truth.
A Feeler is basically paying attention to their preferences – what makes them feel good or bad essentially. I think feeling is as simple as that in some respects. I like or do not like. And Fe is more “expressed like” while Fi is more “withheld like.” So, what I’m getting at is that Feeling’s basic modus operandi is to like, which means to feel an affinity for, to want to move towards that thing that is liked; attraction, magnetism, blending with.
Yes, what is feeling really saying? It is more clear what thinking is saying because it seems clear that it is basically saying, “What is true apart from my desires or affinities as a person/subject?” Thinking has to disregard and repress what is preferable or not to it in order to function correctly.
And so the same thing is true of feeling. It has to repress and disregard what is objectively (so-called) true in order to discover what it prefers. And that is their truth. Feeling also seeks for what other people prefer. Whether what they like or don’t is true or not in some objective sense is relatively irrelevant. Because they are simply attempting to find out some subjective truth.
So, what is the value in this activity of feeling? Well, it seems to place all the power, value, and emphasis on subjects and the subjective experience. It essentially says if something is discovered to be objectively true but that truth doesn’t accord, resonate or exhibit friendliness towards human sentiments, then it is invalid on that principle alone. And this primarily seems to have to do with the quality of being harsh towards human sensibilities. Thinking is harsh and hard compared to feeling, which has the quality of softness and tenderness.
And isn’t it true that thinking will tend to like hard and harsh things that are directly antagonistic to soft feeling values as a natural “like instinct”? Isn’t that their natural form of “like”? Isn’t this particularly true of extraverted thinking that tends to dislike anything soft, meek, cuddly, maudlin, and such? Is this not true by definition?
And on the other hand, wouldn’t it be true that feeling could simply say, “It is true because it came to you.” There is no other measurement of truth. If something can somehow get to you and inhabit you in some way as an existence, is it not true on that basis alone from a subjective point-of-view? And even if this is perhaps incorrect to reality, doesn’t it still have some power, existence, and validity due to the fact that a subject finds it to be true for them. If enough people believe in something, doesn’t that create some kind of truth, even if it is only confined to human culture?
And thinking disregards these biases (at least consciously) of people. It says that it is stupid to believe in something if it has been proven by science, logic, and empirical evidence that it isn’t so. This is the definition of stupidity, isn’t it, to believe in things that aren’t true?
But, are not thinkers engaging in some form of stupidity when they completely ignore emotional realities and preferences when they so firmly espouse truth at all costs? Aren’t they being psychologically ignorant? Isn’t this psychological ignorance at the root of so many failed systems? Things that sound good in principle but don’t take people’s prejudices and preferences into account. Systems that are logical unto themselves but don’t take into account the human desire towards their simple and irrational desires, their desires to not act in their best interests (whatever those may be). Does thinking know what is in humanities best interests? People may have a desire to experience failure and chaos. People may have a desire to experience the opposite of what is in their best interests. In short, thinking fails in its claim to truth as far as subjects are concerned. Thinking is sympathetic to the object. And this is its form of “like”. And often the object is (by many definitions) something that is devoid of life, blood, flesh, lymph, desire and incalculability. An object is something hard and unsympathetic.
Feeling is subject-oriented and subjects as far as we know them tend to be driven by instinct and biology. Feeling is driven towards sympathy. I think Fe is the drive towards the objective in an ameliorating sense, that is, to blend with the objective instead of being steely against it. To flow towards the object and around it actively. To reach out into experience with a “like energy” similar to how in biology there is the principle of chemicals being philic or antagonistic. There are agonists and antagonists. Things can be lipophilic or lipophobic for example. Sympathetic or antagonistic. So, Fe seems to be the theme of extended friendliness and accord with its environment, extending affiliation and accord and living in harmony with nature. Te, on the other hand is the antithesis of this in the theme of Man vs. Nature. It has all the thematics of man’s dominion, manipulation, and power over the natural world, to make Nature do what he wants. It has all the implications of a phobic, distrustful and antagonistic stance towards Nature.
Fi seems to be the “like power” withheld or unexpressed towards the objective. Jung mentions in people of this type that they can be identified by their complete and total reserve and denial of the object such that they appear to be very cold. But, this coldness is for a different reason than the true coldness of thinking. It is more as the inverse or withholding of the “like power” and not being able to find steady avenues for the expression of it. Fi seems to partake of the natural tendency of feeling to “like” things or people. Well, it actually is, by definition (mine in part), a liking of the subject, but, perhaps this desire to express “like” is hard to satisfy because of the nature of people. Can they be trusted? Will they return it? Fe is more impersonal in that it just directs like energy towards objects that have no innate power to return love, so it is not depending on the reaction. Fi, by definition (mine in part), is a reaction towards some extraverted function, so it is very dependent and vulnerable in some way, probably more so than any other function. It seems like pure susceptibility (Mother Yin) to everything such that as a biological protection it has to remain undeclared, silent, and hidden. So, it has a particularly powerful and potent expression of “like” power and valuing. It is similar to when a female says to a man that she loves him and how many females are worried about whether to say this and if it will be returned. It is the essence of sensitivity in the subjective sense. But, it is her power to bestow the highest form of “like”, which is love. This is the highest form of appraisal of anything it seems. When you say you love someone or something (assuming you mean this), you are according to it this absolute ability to affect you. And with Fi, unlike Fe, it tends towards exclusivity. As a matter of fact, it tends towards finding the one thing or person that you like so much that they become the holder of all the contents of this “like power”. This seems to be introverted feeling’s drive, to love one person or thing to the exclusion of all else. This is the honor it bestows.
Fe, on the other hand tends to expand out its “like” energy to encompass as many different things and people as it possibly can. And so, obviously it is much less vulnerable than Fi. If it isn’t one thing, it will be another. No biggie. If it isn’t this man or woman, then, it will be another. If I lose my ability to pursue music, then, I’ll switch over to this other medium. So, we can kind of see how benefic, benign and light-hearted this attitude is. It wants to like as much stuff as it can. It is fun. To come into this person’s life and express love towards them and then be gone to the next person it can do this with. Obviously from a biological and physiological viewpoint this way of loving and liking cannot approximate Fi love with each person or thing it feels for, or it would exhaust itself.
Fe has not put all its eggs in one basket. Fe also has some power of magnetic attraction or some electrical or outgoing magnetism. It is a factor in charisma. Many people love and like Fe expressors. They are popular because they tend to make the people around them feel good. And that is what humans most want – to feel good. Bottom line. It is that whole dialectic of humanity and biology. Humans are attracted to what makes them feel good. Even if they are attracted to pain, it is because this pain feels good. Or it makes their pleasure more piquant, standing out in sharper relief.
Humans, as a species instinct, do not seek truth. This may be changing slowly but I am speaking of the present and past. If the truth about things interferes with human pleasure, then, out with that truth. Humans are a feeling species, even though there are thinkers in it.
Well, actually, this is not completely true. I mean, humans are thinkers compared to the rest of the species of nature. But, it was more starting from basic feeling values to evolve more towards thinking over time.
And this feeling world still holds such a grip over humans. And yet, we have been in this stage over the past few hundred years where we have so been in love with the thinking function and have elevated it so far above feeling values. This has been the dialectic of science.
So, feeling is innately a world of cooperation and sharing and peace. It is probably much like the world the authors of the book, Sex at Dawn, describe the world before the agricultural society took hold, the latter of which strikes me as almost wholly extraverted thinking in nature. I don’t how much of this is idealized but I think there is something to it. In the Fe world people shared sex with the members of the group. There wasn’t exclusivity. Then, the extraverted thinking function came into development under the agricultural shift, in the process implicating introverted feeling as its natural duality on the other end of the pole, to together become the axis of exclusivity in relationship and the birth of the institution of marriage and with it the concept of monogamy. But, if, as the book maintains, that human’s natural instinct is not towards monogamy, then, that implies that humans are more Fe in their origins. And so perhaps we could say Fe is the human function par excellence. It is just humanism in the sense when we use that word to describe all the good and beneficent instincts in human nature. The natural desire to reach out to other humans in a friendly and cooperative spirit is what we mean by the term “good”. It is that natural instinct to flow in a friendly way towards others, to work things out, to give, and to share, as natural instincts.
Introverted feeling doesn’t have this attitude at all except in a very narrow sense of who it considers its intimates, which are relationships of relative exclusivity. And the others that are not in this clan are natural enemies and to be distrusted. This attitudes arises because of introverted feeling’s relation and reaction to extraverted thinking.
Extraverted feeling is the world of feeling proper, which is affiliative as a prime motive, the desire and instinct to like and give positive appraisals.
Extraverted thinking is the world of thinking proper, which is phobic and antagonistic as a prime motive, the instinct not to blend, not to give positive appraisal, the instinct to deny and say no, the instinct towards competition rather than cooperation, and so on and so forth. Its natural instinct towards the object is to compete, to gain power and ascendancy over it.
And so, you now have my permission to like me. If you liked any of the foregoing words strung in rows, then please, return the “like” either monetarily or network-wise.