Sensing versus iNtuition

This dichotomy is a little harder to decipher, partially because we will have to use information that we have not yet discussed in detail. But, let us see if we can put the pieces together.
According to Briggs-Myers, “the sensing types, by definition, depend on their five senses for perception. Whatever comes directly from the senses is part of the sensing types’ own experience and is therefore trustworthy. What comes from other people indirectly through the spoken or written word is less trustworthy. Words are merely symbols that have to be translated into reality before they mean anything, and therefore they carry less conviction than experience.”[139]
From this, we conclude that Sensing is strongly related to the physical body. It is also suspicious of verbal input. Which mode of thought uses words? Teacher mode. And, as we shall see in detail in the next book, Server strategy is the one mode that is able to express itself directly through physical action. Thus, this suggests that Teacher thought is related to iNtuition, and that Server strategy and Sensing are connected.[140] Let us see how far we can take this hypothesis.
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Briggs-Myers also states that “the proportion of intuitives varies widely from one educational level to another. It is particularly low among students in vocational and general high school courses, and at least twice as high in academic high school classes, and still higher in college, especially in very selective colleges.” This is consistent with our hypothesis of connecting iNtuition with Teacher thought, because Teacher strategy builds understanding and works with general theories—the foundation of ‘higher learning.’
On the other hand, Sensing individuals have problems going beyond the concrete to the symbol: “Sensing children just out of kindergarten, with no instinct for symbols, are not likely to divine for themselves that a letter means anything beyond what it obviously is—a shape on a page.” In other words, the Sensing person emphasizes concrete thought and is unaware of abstract Teacher Thinking.
The Sensing individual is not the only one doing the avoiding. Intuitive individuals, on their part, stay away from the here-and-now. They “dislike intensely any and every occupation that necessitates sustained concentration on sensing, and are willing to sacrifice the present to a large extent since they neither live in it nor particularly enjoy it.” Our research suggests that it is the Server person who, more than any other style, tends to live in the here-and-now.
So what does attract the attention of the iNtuitive? “The intuitives are comparatively uninterested in sensory reports of things as they are. Instead, intuitives listen for the intuitions that come up from their unconscious with enticing visions of possibilities...The common factor in all these manifestations of intuition is a sort of ski jump—a soaring take-off from the known and established, ending in a swooping arrival at an advanced point, with the intervening steps apparently left out. These steps are not really left out, of course; they are performed in and by the unconscious, often with extraordinary speed, and the result of the unconscious processes pops into the conscious mind with an effect of inspiration and certainty.”
On the other hand, “the sensing types are not in such close communication with their unconscious. They do not trust an answer that suddenly appears. They do not think it prudent to pounce. They tend to define intelligence as ‘soundness of understanding,’ a sure and solid agreement of conclusions with facts; and how is that possible until the facts have been considered? Therefore in reaching a conclusion they want to make sure of its soundness, like an engineer examining a bridge before deciding how much weight it can safely bear. They will not skim in reading, and they hate to have people skim in conversation.”
These quotes bring out several related points. First, notice the speed of thought. Like the proverbial hare and tortoise, the iNtuitive person jumps to the goal while the Sensing person plods his way step by step. This dichotomy can be understood if we examine the operation of Teacher and Server thought. Teacher theories are mental constructs. They are made out of imaginary materials. Because mental structures do not have to endure the stress of external reality, they can be constructed with flimsy material—Perceiver and Server memories that contain a minimum of inherent confidence. Thus iNtuitive thought leaps lightly to the goal, ignoring the stability of its path because it is only a ‘spirit,’ lacking the ‘weight’ of a physical body. But why is iNtuition running so fast? Because it wants the Teacher joy of the ‘aha’ at the end of the road; it wants the Teacher bliss of contemplating the order-within-complexity of a finished mental structure.
On the other hand, the Sensing person lives in the real world—a realm of hard edges and steep cliffs. Leaping before one looks can lead to horrible consequences which must be avoided at all costs. And who is the person who is in mortal danger? Not the passive individual. The couch potato can stare at the world all he wants without making a mistake. Rather, it is action which makes a person vulnerable to physical harm. The one who does can make mistakes. And which mental strategy is responsible for doing? Server thought. Again, we see a connection between Sensing and Server strategy.
Second, notice the role of the subconscious. Briggs-Myers states that iNtuition is performed by the subconscious. Our model of the mind suggests that each cognitive style is conscious in a different part of the mind. These two viewpoints can be reconciled if one understands the nature of Teacher processing. As I have stated several times, Teacher theories do not come ready-made but must be constructed. Forming and assembling the bricks of Teacher understanding requires the cooperation of several modes of thought. If a person is only conscious in one mental mode, as our theory suggests, and if Teacher understanding requires the help of many modes of thought, then each cognitive style, regardless of where he ‘lives,’ will see that Teacher Thinking is accompanied by subconscious processing.
In contrast, the Sensing individual uses a ready-made body to interact with an already-constructed world. He does not have to worry about the big picture, for it already exists. He must, though, focus on details, for the world is a cruel master and tiny mistakes can have disastrous consequences. Therefore, his thinking tends to ‘narrow down’ and lacks the broad-ranging mental interdependence of the iNtuitive thinker.
Finally, notice that Sensing and iNtuition actually describe two different ways of thinking, two different types of internal sequencing. Mentally speaking, Sensing plods from one thought to another, while iNtuition jumps directly from ‘point A to point B.’ This tells us that we are looking at a left hemisphere split, for it is analytical thought that works with sequences and processes. In contrast, the separation between Thinking and Feeling involves the right hemisphere, for it deals with facts and experiences, the realm of associative thought.
Thus we have a symmetry between T/F and S/N. Pure Feeling emerges when Mercy thought imposes itself upon Perceiver strategy. In contrast, Thinking appears when Perceiver strategy carves out a region of rational thinking free of Mercy feelings. Similarly, I suggest that iNtuition is the result of Teacher thought unrestricted by independent Server sequences. On the other hand, Sensing emerges when physical action programs Server strategy with sequences and these Server skills impose patterns upon Teacher thinking. We will examine this relationship in detail in the next book.
One last point. We have discovered a connection between Feeling and Mercy strategy, Thinking and Perceiver mode, iNtuition and Teacher strategy, Sensing and Server thought. While these may be related, I suggest that they are not precisely equivalent, because they describe different qualities. Mercy, Perceiver, Teacher and Server are modes of processing. They cooperate to generate intelligence. In contrast, Feeling, Thinking, iNtuition and Sensing are mental splits. They describe how the mind suppresses certain forms of thought in favor of other ways of processing. For instance, MBTI Feeling involves both Perceiver and Mercy modes. In Feeling, however, Perceiver strategy is controlled by Mercy emotions and becomes the servant of Mercy thought. This distinction between modes and splits is critical, and we will be returning to it several times.
Let us turn back now to our discussion of the MBTI categories.

[139] The italics are in the original.
[140] Here is a case where the letters actually coincide. Thus, S is related to ‘S.’