Sensing and intuiting (S or N) are two different ways for gathering information from the world around us. Both have emotions that drive them. These two ways of being informed about our world form the great divide in the four temperaments, two temperaments being Ss and two being Ns.
Outward and Inward Emphases of the Great Divide
Again we find an outward/inward contrast of preferences and emotions like we find in the extrovert/introvert category. But this contrast influences the most in forming a great divide among the four temperaments.
The Ss find gathering information outside of themselves more to their liking, using their five physical senses. The facts of life around them that they detect with their physical senses mostly satisfy their informational gathering needs. For them, it is comfortable to live in this external world, manipulating, controlling, and experiencing its many enjoyable stimulants. Their engagement with the world outside of themselves stirs their emotions, which are inward.
Ss Want News of Friends and Family
“As long as I have someone to talk to and information on those dear to me, I feel satisfied,” one SJ typically reported. The news of friends and family can be all-important to an S. They wonder why others can live happily without constant contact. The others, the Ns, live inside themselves and emerge, so to speak, with less urgency to check the “mail.”
Ss Focus on “Realities”
The Ss “observe” because they are focused on the realities that they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Practice makes perfect, and the Ss get lots of practice from dawn to day’s end by observing their world and filing the information they gather. Seldom do they pass by an object without noticing it. The pride that arises from accurately remembered details is an emotion not as familiar to the Ns (one they wish they had).
Ns Focus on Inward Feelings
Contrary to the S, the N prefers to focus on how they feel inwardly about things and events. And since the focus is inward, they often get lost in thought. They can easily pass by an object and not notice it (such as an exit sign on the highway). Or they may even bump into it (such as a chair that has been moved).
They use intuition (this inward sensing — the eyes of the soul, some call it) reliably to guide their passage through life but not to avoid those physical objects. Emotions that satisfy and challenge them arise from the use of their intuition, imagination, and empathy. Ns trust these gut feelings and insights. When lost in thought, they are lost in their minds. They focus on any thought that comes to mind and examine it for its potential emotional and rational rewards. Therefore, they seldom miss insights and intuitive information.
Emotions Accompany Both Outwardly and Inwardly Focused Preferences
The Ss focus their information-gathering energy on the outside world. In contrast, the N prefers to check in with the effect the world is having on their inner life and then spend time enjoying it. Emotions accompany both outwardly-focused and inwardly-focused preferences.
For Tom, it was in the physical engagement with his world that his emotions were most pleasantly aroused. He was an S. And the emotional charge of all things external (such as the thrill of the slope as he pointed his skies downhill over the moguls and twisted and turned his way in a sensory paradise) made him feel most alive.
Not so for Mandy. She would accompany him to the ski ground with different expectations. After a run or two, she would retire to a quiet corner of the lodge where there was a view of the mountain and, with a good book and a hot cup of coffee, she would find the real pleasure of her day. The emotions of pleasure deep inside rewarded her intuitive spirit in spades.
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