Does 'Thinking vs Feeling' mean 'reasonable vs unreasonable?'

Prelude Team's picture
Published on Fri, 03/09/2018 - 14:58 by Prelude Team

If the Sensing vs Intuition scale is our input scale, how we take in information, the ‘T-F’ is our output scale, ie how we make decisions. Now, accepted wisdom is that thinking types tend to make their decisions based on data, evidence and rational thought, they are not swayed by antipathies or emotions but prefer empirical data. And the view is that feeling types make their decisions based on values, emotions and impact on people. I understand this, but I think the ‘head vs heart’ argument is overly simplistic. So, in answer to our question: no, it doesn’t but sometimes it’s hard to fathom the thought processes of a Feeler. Jung himself struggled with this, saying: “…I freely admit that this problem of feeling has been one that has caused me much brain racking.” Of course, Jung was a ‘T.’

For me it is less about ‘logical vs illogical’ or ‘unemotional vs emotional,’ but more about ‘objective vs subjective.’ Thinkers often struggle to understand the subjective, and a Feeler will usually consider their impact, and worry: “I wonder how that will leave them feeling?” A Feeler will typically worry about someone else feeling bad. I have met many emotional ‘T’s, (many of whom make an emotional decision then retrofit logic around it) but ‘F’s can often ‘feel’ situations and so their decisions take account of the less obvious more subtle issues that transcend the logical. This is not to downplay the importance of this function of decision-making or question its validity, but it does make it more difficult to quantify, (although you may argue that only a ‘T’ would want to quantify it!) I know an HR Director, an ENFP, who used to fake his results so that he came out as an ENTP. I asked him why, and his answer surprised me, he said he worried other people might feel sorry for him.

When Jung compared Thinking vs Feeling he said: “Take a Thinking type…most of the conscious material he presents for observation consists of thoughts, conclusions…and perceptions of an intellectual nature, or at least the material is directly dependent on intellectual premises. The material presented by the Feeling type…is…feelings and emotional contents of all sorts, thoughts, reflections and perceptions dependent on emotional premises.” My view is that this does not make Feeling thought processes any less valid, as an ‘F’ can often just ‘feel’ things and read situations that a ‘T’ never could; like when we study Math at school, it’s not enough to just know the right answer, we have to show the workings out, how we got to that answer. In the same way an ‘F’ will often be incredibly insightful in reading people and situations, but others can’t see the logic behind it, so that makes it easier to dismiss.

So, to see it simply as ‘logical and rational’ vs ‘emotional and unreasonable’ is probably to misunderstand how the subjective nature of the Feeler works. Sure, it’s subjective, but it’s so often right, and so often brings a whole new dimension and perspective to the decision-making process. Jung taught us ‘Thinking vs Feeling,’ but I wonder how well he understood the nature of Feeling, what I would call ‘subjective thinking?’

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