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
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
Let us see how far
we can take this
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
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
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
- Sensing emphasizes physical perception and movement and is related to Server
- Intuition avoids the here-and-now, jumps to conclusions, and is related to
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
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.
- T/F and S/N are mirror images.
- T/F is a right hemisphere split involving Perceiver and Mercy thought.
- S/N is a left hemisphere division involving Server and Teacher
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.
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
. 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
by Mercy emotions and becomes the servant
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.
The italics are in the
Here is a case where
the letters actually coincide. Thus, S is related to ‘S.’