Calvin and Hobbes
The spirit indeed. Pascal anyone?
This is what I mean when I say that people with higher Ni don’t really do belief. It seems so foreign and nonsensical to them. Accept something as absolutely true? Right… I’ll just work with what works and leave acceptance and rejection to that. As far as I care, something can be simultaneously true and false, and it has no impact on me. Does it work? Okay then.
This is with regard to Pascal’s Wager:
I’m Catholic, though admittedly not a staunch one as far as the religious institution is concerned (i.e. I don’t agree with many of the Church’s views and have always been more inclined to an individualist Christianity rather than a collectivist/institutionalized one). That aside, I’m not quite convinced by the strength of Pascal’s Wager simply because if there is a God, given his omniscience, I’m pretty sure he’ll be able to tell a rationalized belief (which is what the Wager essentially is) from an authentic one, whereupon the gambit will fail utterly. Unless of course the God in question is Greek, in which case we can just offer sacrifices and appear pious, and the god(s) will be pleased and bestow good harvests and demigod children. Of course other gods will get jealous and turn you into nasty things like spiders, trees, marble etc. a la Ovid’s Metamorphoses. So perhaps the Wager remains inefficacious after all.
To address the point about Ni-dominants not doing belief, I think we do hold certain principles (moral or value-neutral) and subscribe to certain belief systems BUT we know that these systems are just models - they are not indispensable and are perhaps in fact constantly changing and being updated, as it were. This accounts for our hmm… belief that there is no absolute truth. Well, I think I just demonstrated why as knowing beings, we can never escape commitment to beliefs, from an epistemological point of view. At any point of time, there are certain things that we - consciously or unconsciously - take as truth. If we didn’t believe, it’d be hard to survive out there in a world of dangerous flux.
As an Ni-user, I was never always like that though - accommodating or integrating new possibilities. I remember that as a kid, I always wanted to be sure of the things I believed in; and when I finally found enough reason for myself to invest in a particular model, I’d genuinely take it as the Truth, capitalized. It perhaps explains why for the greater part of my academic life I was very ideologically involved with the sciences. Although I enjoyed and flourished in the languages, I always wanted/preferred water-tight answers that could withstand any sort of skeptical interrogation. I’m thinking it might due in part to my high Judging-orientedness, or else an unhealthy use of an underdeveloped, framework-obsessed tertiary Ti. Things changed when I started college though, in particular when I started taking Philosophy classes (which have been killing me due to its high demand for Te especially during discussions). It effectively deconstructed/decentered a lot of theoretical models that I’d been personally invested in, and Science was one of them. For awhile, I wasn’t sure if I believed in anything, haha. Later I realised that I could still continue subscribing to certain frameworks - I only had to be aware that there are many theoretical paradigms through which one may experience/understand the world, and our idiosyncratic worldview is essentially a constantly updating synthesis of many.
So yes, in short I generally agree with your formulation of the Ni philosophy of belief:
I’ll just work with what works and leave acceptance and rejection to that. As far as I care, something can be simultaneously true and false, and it has no impact on me.
although it sounds a tad utilitarian (that might just be my Fe alarm), and I might disagree a little with the part about the Schrodinger phenomenon not having any impact on myself, hehe.
[obligatory smiley face here: =) ]
“This accounts for our hmm… belief that there is no absolute truth. Well, I think I just demonstrated why as knowing beings, we can never escape commitment to beliefs, from an epistemological point of view.”
I didn’t quite mean that there is or isn’t absolute truth, but that we aren’t preoccupied with validating it. Belief requires judgement, as do principles and psychological scripts, which Ni simply doesn’t do. It merely sees things for their quintessence, as their components, as their timeless, boundary-less, meaningless entities of perception. Since Ni looks at perception itself, rather than perceiving directly (as Se does), it can take something such as (to use your example of deities) and see it not as real or not real, but as things introduced by other humans who may or may not see it as real, themselves. There is no judgement, merely observation of judgement itself. To make a judgement, you’d have to use a judging function.
“I remember that as a kid, I always wanted to be sure of the things I believed in…”
This section is describing the nature of NiTi (and TiNi for that matter) and the matter of belief is being left to Ti, not Ni, as you’re describing it. Ni is simply responsible for the pull to investigate in the first place.
When I was very young, I was introduced to all sorts of things, from magic to ghosts to religions to tips and tricks in video games (hold B to make the Pokeball more likely to catch ‘em all!), but I merely just heard the things, and recorded them in memory as thing’s I’d heard of, without regard to their validity. If somehow holding B did impact my ability to successfully capture a Pokemon, then I’d do it. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t, if I didn’t know, I’d leave it to Te and make a tally mark chart of successes and failures out of 50 Pokeballs to figure it out. Parallel to Pascal’s Wager, you’ll find, if it didn’t interest me enough to delve into, and cost me nothing to potentially increase the success rate of the Pokeballs with the “hold B” method, I’d merely do it when I could, without conviction or care. (Because really, it doesn’t matter unless I decide it does.)
Within science and psychology, there are often contradicting and alternative hypotheses and explanations I find, and merely remember as not true or false, but for what they offer and why they contend one another, in doing so, I see what can arise from understanding rather than believing in either. Are they both making the same implicit assumption? Are they differing on something that a perspective shift would instantly resolve? Is their attachment and belief in their Truth preventing them from achieving their goal? While this is merely my perspective on these things, I’m always interested in what my other Ni counterpart sees. Without Te, how does Ni still have its characteristic Agnostic Nihilism?
“although it sounds a tad utilitarian (that might just be my Fe alarm), and I might disagree a little with the part about the Schrodinger phenomenon not having any impact on myself, hehe.”
Utilitarian due to Te, Fe is more Humanistic. So far, this makes sense, however even Fe is Utilitarian in a sense. All Je is housed by the structures responsible for cause and effect, induction, prediction, etc. It would reasonably follow that while you can have an “Fe operating system” or a “Te operating system,” it is essentially the same “hardware.”
You’d have to explain yourself more about Schrodinger. In case it is a misunderstanding, I’ll add that I meant that the concept isn’t too foreign to the nature of Ni’s perception. Whether or not it makes an impact is another story.
I laughed when I saw the obligatory smiley face.