Introduction To The Ego Block
The first row of Model A (functions 1 and 2) is called the Ego block. These functions describe the aspects of reality that a person perceives with the greatest depth and clarity and verbalizes with the greatest ease. The Ego block also describes the most natural and common states of mind and behavior styles used when interacting with other people, and also a certain perspective that a person injects into the things he says.
The information aspects that corresponds to the Ego block elements are things that a person can't help spontaneously commenting on and is comfortable discussing out loud (especially true of the leading function). If something is not right in these areas, a person can barely continue until he has spoken out about it and done something to fix the problem. When problems arise, the people who are most likely to point them out are those whose perception of that aspect of reality comes from the Ego block.
The Ego block functions require a constant stream of new information and stimulation (whether by direct experience, observation, study, or reflection) and quickly sort through this information, recognizing what is useful and necessary and what is not. When exposed to the types of information corresponding to the elements of the Ego block, a person takes immediate note and quickly forms his own attitude or opinion on the matter. He is more confident of his own judgments in these areas than of other people's, even if those people are widely accepted authorities. Instinctively, people are likely to overuse these functions and apply them in practically any area, even when their relevance is minimal. This makes the ego functions (and in particular the base function) more obvious to a casual observer than the other functions.
The Ego block describes a person's preferred and most comfortable and natural role or "mode of operation" when interacting with other people. When a person gets to use his Ego block functions in interaction, he becomes lively and confident and exudes an air of authority and expertise. These functions also have the most endurance; a person can use them longer than other functions without getting worn out.
The Ego block functions imply a certain perspective or set of values since they are the most preferred approaches to solving life problems, giving advice, and achieving one's goals. The individual wants to see society become more like himself and wants to instill his personal philosophy or values in his work activities, his living space, and the people around him. For a person to feel needed and fulfilled, he has to see that his unique perspective is making a difference somewhere. The areas where a person is most likely to make a difference correspond to the Ego block elements. They are called Ego exactly because they are so naturally identified with one's own perspective, ideals, and identity.
The Ego functions are mostly indifferent to praise, since it is very hard to tell a person something about these aspects of himself that he didn't already knowâ€”and can easily describe to others. Moreover, when others display misunderstanding of these elements, he feels that it is his right and duty to correct them.
The leading function, also called the base, program, or simply first function, is an individual's most dominant psychic function. It describes in general terms the person's most comfortable thinking patterns, perspective on life, state of mind, and behavioral style as well as their positive motivational forces (what they pursue most vigorously when they have a choice). The leading function is critical to interpersonal dynamics because people constantly and inadvertently make judgments, assessments, and assumptions based on it. These comments and judgments portray a particular set of core values and share a common vector or general message, and those who the person interacts closely with must be accepting of this message for interaction to be cohesive and compatible.
Generally speaking, the leading function perceives, processes, and produces information most intensively. When a person "speaks" or "acts" from their leading function, they convey a sense of robust confidence and often begin to speak categorically, persuasively, and using exaggerations.
Proper development of one's leading function is generally seen as being crucial to personal development. This requires having people around you who are accepting of your core values and most natural, confident behavior styles. Profession-wise, the base function provides the best platform for developing a unique niche that will bring real value to other people. Rather than describing the professions a person would be best at, the base function describes a general approach and behavior style that can be successfully applied to virtually any field of activity.
Use of the base function comes effortlessly and produces a sense of internal satisfaction regardless of any external rewards. Base function activities can easily be developed into highly effective and productive skills, but there is also a tendency to indulge too much in the base function just because it is easy and rewarding. When overuse becomes extreme, a feeling of emptiness and pointlessness follows, and use of the base function stops bringing satisfaction.
The influence of the base function on perception and core values is so strong that people tend to project these values onto other people: everyone else surely must want the same things that your base function strives for. This projection is often a source of conflict with other people who have opposing values, but it is also one of the mechanisms for dualization. The base function's empathy towards others stimulates duals (and, to a certain degree, activators and semi-duals) to try to take care of the other person's problems with the corresponding function. This is exactly what the dual is looking for subconsciously, since one dual's base function is the other's suggestive function. However, in many other cases a person's natural interest in aspects of other people's lives that correspond to his own base function creates mistrust and strained relations.
According to the dimensionality of functions, the base function is able to effectively process and apply personal experience and social norms, present different solutions for different situations, and recognize and extrapolate the development of this aspect of information over time. The time dimension, which is shared by the demonstrative function, allows it to "fill in the blanks" between two related aspects, thus allowing it to infer the existence of previously unknown content.
This function describes the primary mode of application of the base function. If the base function forms the core of the individual's personal quests and interests ("What's in it for me?", "What do I want to be?"), the creative function describes his main instrument for interacting with the rest of society ("How do I make contact with other people?"). For extroverts this means creating a context for people to interact within, and for introverts, creating a product worthy of being included in interaction.
People use their creative function less than their base function and attach less personal significance to it, although due to the nature of blocked functions it is usually used in tandem with the base function. In their value system, their creative function activities seem less personally significant than their base function activities. When other people try to make this function the main criterion for everything, light irritation can arise, and the person may try to "correct" the other person's emphasis by presenting a perspective from his base function and suggesting that this is more important. Also, when other people express problems having to do with this information aspect, the person quickly takes interest and tries to present solutions, but always through his own base function. For instance, an SEE will try to help other people solve their Fi related problems (relationships and understanding between people) through a Se perspective (making sure you know what you want and are trying to achieve it; understanding the territorial aspect of interaction; recognizing the obvious "dumb things" that people are doing that are ruining the relationship). When people get to use their creative function to help others' problems, they feel needed and fulfilled and begin to live more fully. Likewise, criticism in this area is more sensitive and unpleasant than in the base function.
Use of the creative function, while frequent and effortless, seems to turn on and off. One moment the person may seem highly interested in this aspect, and the next, totally indifferent. This may jar people for whom this aspect of reality is of more supreme importance and who expect more consistent attention and effort in this area. A good example of this is one's interaction with their mirror partner; each person's leading function is subject to the other's creativity function, so even though both partners do share similar worldviews, they are apt to 'correct' or add on to the other's rigid and finalized points.