FAIRNESS IS NOT FOUND IN LOVE
I had a conversation with Chris Taylor recently about the vital differences between love and fairness. He encapsulated the conversation through an idea he expressed as follows: “‘Love,’ by definition, is favoritism.”
We will unpack Chris’ quote and delve into how it relates to expressions of Introverted Feeling vs. Extraverted Feeling. We will explore this concept of love primarily from the perspective of an Extraverted Feeler, who often associates “love” with “fairness.” And we will aim to understand when and why this association is not true.
What is “Love”?
Is love a choice? Is love a feeling? A chemical cocktail? Is love a compulsion that leads us with our hearts and abandons our heads? Is love a united expression of our being? Is love solidified through suffering or pleasure?
There are endless interpretations and definitions for the concept of love. Dictionary.com defines it as, “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” This is a workable definition and is akin to a loose definition I will provide: “Love is the result of the psychological circumstances and choices that allow for affectionate intimacy to occur.”
For this discussion, we are not looking at love in the general sense of love for all humanity or love for the entire universe. In this context, love is that which exists at the center of your crosshairs. The object in your crosshairs is not what you wish to eliminate, but wish to pull infinitely closer to you. The one you’ve “set your sights on,” if you will.
Part of love is the attraction that pulls us to bond with another person. And attraction is not limited to sexual desire. Attraction is the pull toward something that our psyche feels will make us more complete. The pursuit of unity lies at the center of love.
Fe vs. Fi in Love
In this community, the concept of being “loving” has often been tied to Extraverted Feelers. As “empaths,” Fe users filter through others’ values and embrace their emotions — often relieving others’ pain — as characteristic behavior.
But we must not forget that all of the Cognitive Functions come in binaries and that the “source function” — the introverted function of the binary — is the source of the behavior.
Why do Fe Heroes and Fe Parents naturally go out of their way to make others feel better and raise them up? Is it because FJs are the patron saints of the typology sphere? Or is it because the source of their Fi is located in a painful part of their mind?
For FJs, their Introverted Feeling, source, function is in their Nemesis and Critic slots. FJs feel bad about themselves. They fear they are worthless and useless by default. By making others feel better about themselves, FJs can feel better about themselves too.
All the Extraverted Functions are powered by the Introverted Functions.
Do you think NPs go out of their way to give everyone a choice because they are naturally so kind and concerned about your future? Perhaps. But it is also because their awareness for their own future and freedom (Ni) is in the same slots that cause FJs to worry about their self-worth.
Is the degree to which someone is loving based solely on whether or not they were born with a feeling judgment function in a painful slot? Thank god someone’s character is not solely determined by something so limiting.
What about Introverted Feelers? Introverted Feelers are more likely to do something because they feel a certain way, as opposed to Extraverted Feelers doing something because someone else feels a certain way.
Because Fi users internally have a sense of self-worth, they can feel good about themselves without external validation. An Fi user is more equipped to have a loving relationship with themselves because they don’t feel so strongly that others define their value.
One might be tempted to argue that an Fi user’s compassion extended through charitable action may be more meaningful than a loving act from an Fe user. The devil is in the details, of course, but it is worth considering, given that Fi users so often find themselves labeled with the “self-entitlement” trope.
A question for Fe users: how would you act if you felt good about yourself all the time?
The Crossroads of Fairness and Love
“‘Love,’ by definition, is favoritism.” — Chris Taylor
Fe users pride themselves on being fair. This is a strong trait in Templars and an even stronger trait in Crusaders. The practice of fairness is what allows Fe users to maintain a semblance of integrity and honesty. Fairness seeks to be non-discriminatory and Fe users value equality and evenhandedness when deciding what they think someone deserves. But this is the opposite of love!
Humans don’t decide who they should love based on objective analysis over who deserves it the most. While this “objective” analysis may lead an Fe user to go talk to a lonely stranger sitting on a bench in the rain, it won’t directly compel them to affection. Why? Because most Fe users resist allowing themselves to express the foundational element of love: preference.
Introverted Feeling is ALL ABOUT PREFERENCE. Introverted Feeling holds items on a scale to determine which has more weight. Introverted Feeling weighs which item or person warrants more investment — which one they prefer; and, in this context, which one they love more.
The Importance of Choice
To forfeit one’s ability to prefer is tantamount to forfeiting one’s ability to choose. The possibility of preference is only possible if there are multiple things one could prefer. How unmeaningful would love be if preference were abolished?
Human beings want to be seen, valued, and understood for who they are. At the core of human nature is a vibrant individualism that is dying to be expressed and appreciated. The draw of affectionate love is only meaningful if there are other people that love could have been directed at.
If everything is valued equally, nothing is of any value.
The Paradox of Fairness
“Fe users want to be preferred for their fairness.” — Chris Taylor
The hope of an Fe user is that the fairer and more unbiased they are, the more other people will make them a priority and value them more highly.
Fe users are seeking love. They are seeking the unbridled affection of someone who values them, who feels that they — not anyone else, not the “group”, not the “common good”, but them — are their priority. Here it is seen that love is the antithesis of fairness.
The Opposite of Love?
It has been argued in the past that hate is the opposite of love. If Confucius’ definition of love — ”To love a thing means wanting it to live.” — reveals the nature of love, then having ill will toward someone and wishing their destruction characterizes the nature of hate.
But this type of love doesn’t ring true as much for the affectionate love whose primary directive is intimacy. What hate and love both have in common is the presence of care. When you hate, you are still invested and care about the outcome.
The age-old adage “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference,” may actually be what’s true. Why is it that both the Fi Demons, who constantly disregard how they feel and what they value, struggle the most with indifference? If Fi is the function that characterizes investment and preference, what does that tell us about love? Does it tell us that, by definition, love is unfair?
But the challenge for all Fe users, with Fi in their unconscious, is succumbing to indifference in the pursuit of being “fair”. Indifference is antithetical to love.
An Fi user’s danger, however, is not so much in falling into indifference, but into spite and hatred. But, even in a state of spitefulness and hatred, there is still the possibility for that hatred to be redeemed into love. But what redemption to love is given by indifference? Those who choose the deadliness of apathy are rarely rekindled.
What is Truly Fair?
Sometimes acting in the spirit of “fairness” reduces everyone’s status in one’s life to the same level. The danger for Fe users is giving a close friend and an acquaintance the same value. What Fe users must learn is that fairness is relative to the amount of Fi present — the amount of investment present. Fe users would benefit from understanding why priorities are vital and learning to value the history of one’s investment in others.
Isn’t it more “fair” to spend more effort on those who are invested than spend equal effort on those who are indifferent?
This is what the scripture, “Do not throw your pearls before pigs, or they will trample them under their feet,” points to. Fe users, you are not obligated to invest valuable things in people who will treat those things as worthless. What is valuable should be given to those who respect its value.
In the short term, it may seem more “fair” to be indifferent when investing in others. But it is also more dangerous. It is dangerous because they risk eroding value. And it is the Fe user’s responsibility to recognize, extract, and preserve the Fi user’s invested value.
Affectionate love is the necessary chaotic force that disrupts the attempt to create a sterilized and “even” playing field. For an Fe user, you will find that deep down, in the field of all the preferences someone could value, you too want to be valued more highly than the rest.