The Perceptive Functions: Sensing vs Intuitive and how to spot them

Bill McAneny's picture
Published on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 13:52 by Bill McAneny

Head up in the clouds vs feet on the groundJung was clear that Sensing vs Intuitive are the perceptive functions, ie they make us aware of what is happening but don’t try to evaluate or interpret (these are the functions of the judging functions, Thinking and Feeling). Although a lot has been written about the true meaning of the two scales, it is helpful to see what Jung wrote on the subject.

We kind of know that Sensing types prefer the known, the facts, the actualities. Rooted in the here and now they have a grounded approach taking in information that has practical application and so they can see concepts and theoretical models as a bit airy-fairy. When we look at what Jung actually said it makes so much more sense.

These are the fact-minded men, in whom intellectual judgement, feeling, and intuition are driven into the background by the paramount importance of actual facts.

Wow how factual is that? And Intuitive types see possibilities, shapes and patterns, are so are far more future oriented and prefer information that has general principles and scope for change. They see factual material as a little dry, or as Jung put it:

...actual reality counts only in so far as it seems to harbour possibilities which then become the supreme motivating force, regardless of the way things actually are in the present.

Ah so for Intuitors it is the need to see the possible. When we see it stacked up in this way, “the importance of actual facts” vs reality counting “only in so far as it harbours possibilities” it all makes much more sense and it makes it easier to spot the two types. Just ask someone to give you directions! The Sensor will begin at the beginning, move sequentially and drop you off at the exact spot, just like your very own Satnav system. The Intuitor will jump around, go off at tangents and be more focused on why you’re going there than how to get there: it’s all about the importance of facts vs the need to see possibilities.

So how do you spot Sensors and Intuitors?

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