By Ross Reinhold, INTJ
Book Review: "The Parasitic Mind: How Infectious Ideas are Killing Common Sense" - The Civil War between Feeling and Thinking?
Does effective Thinking require a dulling of the Feeling function?
The orientation of Thinking judgment with respect to emotional input explains why Thinkers in business, science, finance or other fields of endeavor, who are always on guard against passions contaminating their logical discourse, will attempt to shut down the mental function that is most open to emotion: Feeling. To their Thinking mind, it is necessary to do so in order to allow that side of the brain to work effectively.
While this may be an instictive reaction, I can envision few situations where only using this half of the judging brain is appropriate. . . most occasions in life call for the effective engagement of both sides. Some who prefer Thinking learn through experience to engage more of their whole brain without compromising Thinking effectiveness. But for others, this may be a skill (aided by knowledge) that we need help acquiring. This whole brain approach is essentially at the core of the EI-EQ model.
How to effectively accomplish this integration isn't easy . . . and it seems different types employ different recipes. Thinking types tend to analyze what comes from our Feeling nature and if it is logical and traceable, it is accepted as relevant input. I must confess as I’ve gotten older, it seems that Feeling has become more demanding and is able to ooze out of that logical box container - sometimes resulting in a filibuster. I think I make better decisions now . . . but negotiating this new democracy between Thinking and Feeling can be messy. And disorder is no comfort to the thinking mind!
I’ve noticed a different pattern of integration of Thinking and Feeling among some friends and associates who prefer Feeling . . . but typically extravert Thinking. Their logic is sound, yet I liken it to an exercise in reverse engineering. Here's how I think it works. Their Feeling values make a judgment on a matter. Then the issue is tossed over to Thinking to construct a logical foundation to support that judgment. Once the Thinking work is completed, it is joined together - a harmonious whole that can be logically explained and defended . . . as well as valued by the heart.
For Feeling preference people who skillfully use Thinking, logic is a tool to be used in the service of what they value. For a Thinking preference person, logic is a process that is used to discover what ought to be valued. Same tool or process, but used for different ends.
Having grasped that Thinking is somewhat different when Feeling takes the lead versus Thinking being the preference I think the same must be true of Feeling when it is the lead versus when it is subordinate to Thinking. So I get a whiff of what Feeling is like from my own experiences but wonder how similar or dissimilar it is for those whose Feeling is their dominant preference.
In the spirit of the theme of this website - exploration of personality - I certainly would appreciate hearing from Thinkers and Feelers out there about how you are negotiating resolution of the two sides of your nature. And I’d also like to hear from Feeling preference folk about how emotion and Feeling Judgment go together . . . or not.
You can write me at Ross@PersonalityPathways.com
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