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The following is a description of behaviors most common to Fe.
Fe: The Social Economy
As a judgment process, Fe is driven by a mission to uncover the actionable truths of being and the right way to exist and move within this reality. It does this by studying the principles of organization that govern all life-forms, and which are also reflective of the truths of the universe at large. Fe is a causality-oriented function; one acutely attuned to interpersonal dynamics and how humans influence each other through a kind of symbiotic emotional chemistry. However, for Fe this is not synonymous with simply having social awareness or processing social feedback, which all humans have by virtue of belonging to a mammalian species. Instead, in addition to the social awareness that is common to all people, the Fe function comes to understand human dynamics as a place of transactions and implicit contracts that are constantly being negotiated and calculated. In this place, invisible objects are detected, social shapes and contours are recognized, and emotional maneuvers are implemented. This chess board is a type of social economy; a field with social programs running that are as persistent as tangible objects and which have to be dealt with at their same level of truth and reality. The Fe user is drafted as a permanent citizen in this emotional economy, both contributing to its onward movement and being moved by it. It then becomes the focus and discipline of Fe to grasp all the influences that go into the alteration of opinions, and in learning to alter them to their favor. This type of causal awareness can lead naturally to talents such as persuasion, charming, rhetoric and pathos. Many Fe users know how to give a delivery in such a way as to move hearts, rally people behind a cause, or perhaps simply to come across as humble, unassuming, confident, authoritative, generous, stern or any other manner. They achieve this by delicately monitoring and responding to the economy in real-time.
Fe: The Human Condition
Given this awareness, the Fe user is an acute student of human behavior, understanding – by the tracking of this domain – how we act, how we emote, how we move and why we make the choices we make. Fe monitors how it is that society shapes our opinions and thoughts; how it is that collective ideologies permeate into our beings and define our moral landscapes for better or worse. Thus, Fe soon comes to develop a concept of “the human condition” from a universal place defined by what commonly manifests across populations and lifetimes. In this sense, Fe comes to understand “what it means to be human” from the outside-in, using what is externally evident as reflective of our shared internal reality. An understanding soon develops that for the majority of us, our choices are never entirely our own and that we exist inescapably within a grander, universal story that is common to all mankind and birthed from a primordial origin we cannot escape. Fe will notice our collective and perpetual need for religion, for leadership, for family, for tribe and will often conclude that these externalities are essential and reflective of the truth of our nature. These institutions, and their recursive manifestations, are seen as core elements embedded in the narrative of mankind and the “human drama.” From there, the aim becomes the optimal alignment of our comportment to the truth of our needs according to this drama and our condition.
Fe: The Transmutable Soul
And as revealing as it may be to discover how susceptible human beings are to these influences, this awareness is twofold as it also demonstrates that character is something malleable; able to shift by the proper stewardship of our leaders, or by our efforts to refine ourselves. The obligation then exists for us to better ourselves as we have the power to reach a higher ideal, and therefore we are beholden to that. And when this realization is embedded in a culture, it gives rise to a “culture of honor” in which pride and shame are instrumental in informing us about where we stand in relationship to that ideal. Here the soul is not considered a fixed entity, but something transmutable and in a feedback loop with society as well as our own will. The will is then seen as responsible for coming into alignment with itself, society and the world; all of which are seen as one and the same. In the best scenarios, this can give rise to a social support system that offers constructive criticism, avenues for personal correction, and insights about attaining a higher evolution. In the worst scenarios, this can lead to oppression under an authority and a feeling of debilitating shame for not measuring up to expectations.
But although this social interdependence can have its dark moments, Fe also understands it to be necessary as we are all interconnected. It’s implicitly understood that no human can exist in isolation and it’s therefore in the best interest of everyone to integrate and participate in a prosperity that rises higher when all hands are collaborating. This often leads to a diplomatic approach to negotiations, with an aspiration for maintaining good rapport and noble stature. Fe sees that we have a responsibility to our fellow man and understands the value of hope and generosity as instruments for our collective regulation. And if the leadership is successful, the people will see to it that each of its members has the basic necessities for life, leaving no man behind. This does not mean that the expression of Fe in a population is always necessarily egalitarian, as the structures that Fe builds may vary from monarchies to democracies and anything between. But in each case the pyramid structure is handled by social transactions in which the aim is to be a participant in a collaborative goal, rather than as isolated islands divorced from the will of the people.
Fe: Mentorship & Coaching
Now, the malleability of the soul brings with it also a need to shape the next generation into the proper form; planting the seeds of a people that can achieve something better than the previous. When the Fe user has attained enough life experience, he will often take it upon himself to be the spokesperson of the truths he’s found; passing down knowledge to others. This is especially true when giving pragmatic advice for attaining success in one’s ambitions, which they may do by providing a list of dos and don’ts and offering moral guidance. Fe has a parental aspect to it and can often make a career as a life coach, pastor or preacher. And even when the Fe user is not a life coach by occupation, their role in their family or workplace will often be the same. However, tensions may evolve from this impulse as the Fe user may feel that they know best; a position which is not always shared by his peers. In the worst scenarios this can lead to unsolicited advice, nagging and patronizing. But in the best scenarios this can lead to the encouragement of others and the fortification of younger people towards their inevitable confrontations with the world.
Fe: Mind Over Body
Fe carries with it also a fire, a perseverance and a desire to overcome limitations. It believes in what we might call a force of will or an inner flame. The Fe user may believe that “anything is possible if you put your mind to it” and that you are the master of your own destiny. In a practical sense this often translates to activities such as working out through intense training or taking on a heavy responsibility. This becomes synonymous with a moral effort, where meeting the challenge of those extra 20 pushups is not merely a logistical statement, but one that is tied to their sense of dignity and the fortitude of their mind. Thus for Fe it’s not simply about getting a six pack or the perfect body, but it’s about testing one’s strength of character – measuring how much resilience you have and how disciplined you are. It becomes about training your mind first of all to not be susceptible to the whims of the world, which it implicitly knows that it is. Fe understands that unless something is done, the world will shape you, your body’s weakness will decide for you, and your mind will fail to be your own unless it has been conditioned to resist adversity. It therefore uses training to gain the upper hand over the world and stay true to its values.
Behaviors Under Stress
Aside from the aforementioned behaviors, functions also display compensatory behaviors when the individual is under stress. The following behaviors manifest in the Fe user when distressed or when accompanied by high levels of neuroticism.
Fe: Shaming & Punishment
The Fe user’s love of coaching and preaching can turn into a habit of chastising and blaming when life becomes stressful and their generosity towards people has run dry. What once began as an effort to uplift and support now becomes an outlet for their frustration. If they’ve been subject to an unjust social economy, a bitterness may develop in the directive Fe user towards authorities, institutions and humanity at large. Rather than turn to themselves and seek a corrective attitude, the world is seen as responsible for their pain and they will levy moral condemnation at every opportunity. The Fe user become self-righteous, irritable and combustive. As this becomes a lasting attribute of their character, they may become emotionally abusive with their family members and loved ones. Put-downs become common place, every minor mistake becomes a gateway for moral judgment whether with disappointed glances, head shakes or critical words. The Fe function is keen to find faults in character and few can be so cutting in just the wrong manner as an Fe user well acquainted with the shortcomings of those who they’ve had years of exposure to. The Fe user may chase away all those close to them before finally turning inward to realize that the problem is not with the world but with their merciless perceptions and unjust expectations.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, when the Fe user is excessively adaptive, their tendency to feel responsible and obligated to tasks can become self-sacrificial to the point of martyrdom. Failure to perform and meet expectations can feel like a failure at the enterprise of life. Since for Fe the sense of self is dependent to a large degree on an individual’s performance and rapport within the collective, a poor rapport can more easily lead to a self-erasure due to a shame for existing. A tarnished career or blundered mission can lead the Fe user to feel the entirety of their worth has been nullified. The effects of this can range from a removal of oneself from a project, a situation or a relationship — up to a removal from life itself. This act will be driven not simply by a desire to end their own suffering, but may be seen by them as a final act of nobility; a balancing of the social economy by setting right the wrongs represented by their existence. The stressed and adaptive Fe user may find it difficult to resist these thoughts and connect to their inherent value, outside of circumstantial accomplishments or failures.