Pierce Presents: ISTP

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

The ISTP was referred to as ‘the Crafter’ by David Keirsey, which some change to ‘Craftsman,’ or in a few cases ‘Mechanic.’ In general, the stereotype in the Jungian community is of just that; a terse grease monkey who has mastered the practical aspects of their art. This image can be applied to a variety of professions: Pilot, businessman, soldier, martial arts competitor, or Jedi knight. In every case, however, the ISTP is seen as terse, very focused, often callous and no-nonsense, straightforward, and usually exceptional at what they do, handling physical or mental challenges or puzzles with applaudable skill, reflex and ingenuity. I can’t say I have an actual complaint for this stereotype, except that it is still limiting. The ISTP has tertiary Ni which is not taken into sufficient account by the stereotype, but which plays a very important role in their personality, and I think a proper understanding of it could help blur the line between the eight intuitive types and the eight sensation types to just being sixteen undivided types.

As always, let’s break down what constitutes the ISTP functionally.

They are a Perceiving type, meaning that they prefer extroverted perceiving and introverted judging. This means that they base their judgment criteria on subjective, inner information, while simply observing and drinking in objective information and experiences. You could say that they are more receptive towards the outside world and more aggressive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted sensation and introverted thinking. Extroverted sensation is photographic: it has the most direct relationship with objects of all the functions, giving them the clearest and most realistic perspective. Introverted thinking is deductive: it seeks to develop an internally consistent logical system by deducing all the necessary implications of a set of premises.

Third, they are very similar to the ESTP; both prefer Se and Ti. The ISTP, however, prefers Ti more than Se. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call STP types the “Warriors,” because they combine a sharp and vivid perception of the world with rigorous ordering and logical deduction within their minds, building a logical system of the real world and thus helping them to smoothly navigate it like a soldier in battle. Of course, “Warrior” is merely a nickname to help me remember the STP nature, and does not mean that STPs are all Navy SEALS or that they have any interest in war at all.

The ISTP, then, is a “warrior” for whom their inner logical principles and deductions are more interesting and important than their objective observations. They are primarily concerned with developing and ordering their subjective understandings of things into consistent systems.

The word I like to use to describe the ISTP nature is “mastering.” Like the INTP, the ISTP’s dominant Ti seeks to understand systems and the framework behind things. However, while the INTP is focused on the framework behind possibilities inspired by the object, the ISTP is focused on the framework of the object itself. This is where the stereotype comes from, because the ISTP often likes to take things apart to see how they work, from clocks to computers to ideas, history, anything that’s an object. They examine the world with a sharp Se lens, and then organize their impressions into a consistent logical system. While the INTP is more traditionally philosophical and abstracting, the ISTP is more grounded in the here-and-now, and therefore their examinations have the purpose of mastering things, of having as complete and down-to-earth understanding of how things work as possible, so that the ISTP can “strike naturally.”

We tend to associate this attitude with the style of a cinematic zen master or martial artist. As a mnemonic I believe it is useful. The ISTP often quietly and intensely studies a thing, working it over in their mind or with their hands. Many ISTPs have the remarkable ability to enter new activities or hobbies and do reasonably well with relatively little practice compared to other beginners, because their clear view of what is really going on and their nimble use of Ti help them see both the general system and individual quirks and repetitions of an activity’s performance, and then recreate them and improve upon them. The ISTP’s goal is to master their activities so thoroughly that they can perform them without any hesitancy, wavering, doubting or fear; they want to “strike naturally,” smoothly, and silently. They want to be so in tune with what they’re doing that they don’t even have to think, they always know in the moment what needs to be done.

This idea of fearlessness is very important to the ISTP. Their focus on objects puts them very much in the here-and-now, and the here-and-now doesn’t wait for you to figure out what to do next. The ISTP tries to understand the logic of their environment to the degree that they can naturally adapt to each and every new thing life throws at them, especially while in the thick of an activity. To do this, they must be fearless and unhesitating, absolutely sure of themselves and what they’re doing. Life requires taking risks, and taking risks requires absolute self-confidence. For instance, imagine that you are an awesome adventurer and you’re being chased by fifteen million blood-thirsty radioactive ants in the bowels of South America, and while running you approach a gaping chasm about, say nine feet wide, which you think you could jump across to safety. If while running towards it you hesitate even in the slightest because of the staggering depth of the chasm, or for some uncertainty of whether you can really make it, or because your cell phone rings just as you’re about to jump, or whatever – if you hesitate, your momentum and focus will instantly decrease and you will probably falter just enough to miss the ledge and tumble to your death. But if you retain focus, have complete self-confidence in how you will go about jumping to maximize your stride, and let nothing disturb you, then you will make it. This is the attitude of the ISTP in a nutshell; they try to live so as to have no fear in this sense: to have self-confidence and mastery over themselves and their activities so that they never hesitate in the face of opportunity or obstacle.

Ni plays an essential role in the ISTP’s mastering nature. One of the CelebrityTypes articles I’ve used extensively in my more recent videos helps explain this: While the Ne/Si axis of the INTP often manifests a broader, meticulous search for all the different facets of an idea, the Ni/Se axis tends to focus intensely on one facet, the facet that yields the richest possibilities right now. In other words, the Ne/Si axis is capricious and non-committal to any one perspective, but is resultantly well-traveled and multifaceted, while the Ni/Se axis is devoted and intensely committed to the richest perspective right now, becoming an expert in a narrow field and at the exclusion of other perspectives, at least until the well runs dry and the Ni/Se type is forced to move on. So, while the INTP demonstrates a well-traveled but more capricious attitude to ideas, the ISTP demonstrates a narrow, intense, and committed attitude to ideas. The INTP often comes across as more clever, traditionally academic, and broadly read, but the ISTP comes across as focused, impossible to distract, minimalist and terse, sharp, cold and hard as steel.

There is a fascinating comparison to be made between the ISTP and the INFJ because they share the same unrepressed introverted process: Ti and Ni. In the INFJ, the focus is on contemplating inner possibilities, and exploring their boundless associations, in other words, passively observing their intuition; their Ti is used more in the service of Ni, to organize it and make it more manageable. The ISTP is the reverse: The contemplation of Ni is in the service of Ti, contemplating associations and possibilities to help them make a more consistent logical system. So in comparison, the INFJ is a passive observer, while the ISTP is a sharp and active constructionist or judger.

Ni manifests in the ISTP as an intense and single-minded focus: Se photographs the object directly, while Ni delves deep into the associations the object arouses in the subject. Together, in the service of Ti, the ISTP can make a piercing and exceptional analysis of things. This intensity has several other interesting effects. First, the ISTP is notoriously terse, as I mentioned before. Ni tends to have a condensing motion, in that it tries to synthesize, collapse, and summarize information with just a few elegant strokes. Meanwhile Ti, while not demonstrating the same collapsing motion, still tries to get at the abstract framework of a thing: together, the ISTP is especially reducing, always seeking to simplify ideas and get at the barest essentials. The INTP tries to get at the bare essentials too, but is not direct or intense in their approach like the ISTP. The INTP has a broader, curious, exploratory motion to them, while the ISTP has a more devoted, obsessive, diving motion to them, and it shows in the principles they develop. They try to express as much as possible in only a few words. This also applies to the systems they create, which are meant to be as simple, condensed, and pure as possible. They like to do things in swift, definitive strokes, bereft of fluff and internal inefficiency. Vladimir Putin, whatever you may think of him, put it this way in the context of fighting: “You must hit first, and hit so hard that your opponent will not rise to his feet.” In other words, if that first stroke is not precise and potent enough, then the effort quickly becomes sloppy and much less efficient.

This leads into another notorious aspect of the ISTP, their repressed Fe. The ISTP’s preciseness, directness and stripping away of inefficiency includes stripping off any sugarcoating in their language and expression, any fluff or appearances such as social tact and graces. The ISTP can be, and often is, very blunt and direct, cutting straight to the problem, because that’s how they work. This can be admirable and a great advantage, but if undeveloped it can quickly become a disadvantage too. The ISTP’s piercing thoughts can sometimes drill through other people without them realizing the extent of the damage. In other words, their intensity can sometimes unintentionally offend and hurt others. A great example is Steve Jobs, who has become infamous for an abrasively direct presentation. As he put it, “I say when something sucks rather than sugarcoat it.” In other words, you might make him a design for the next big Apple product, and during his review he points out that he likes this idea and this idea and to develop them more, but the rest of it, frankly, just sucks, is too clunky and this and that, and won’t work because of this. As an ISTP, it’s likely this bluntness is not intended to be derogatory, but to be honest, and people can usually sense that. It doesn’t make them feel any better, though, and that’s part of the problem. Directness and bluntness can be very good, and are often seen as qualifications for honesty, but this assumes that the ISTP’s idea is, in fact, the best idea. If it is not, then the ISTP’s piercing manner is no longer an admirable stand for truth and justice but a misapplied barb requiring similar sharpness to counter. The ISTP is like a serpent covered in hard, sharp scales, and if unchecked, what it would consider normal or natural might seriously injure or lacerate those without such scales around them.

So, in summary, the ISTP is mastering, figuring out the logical systems of reality so that they can perform tasks with utmost assurance and naturalness, giving them a characteristic fearlessness and cool head even in desperate situations. They are intensely focused, and their tertiary Ni seeks to collapse ideas into simple, elegant principles, making them terse with language and presentation. Finally, their repressed Fe results in a blunt and direct nature, cutting to the chase, and sometimes unintentionally hurting other people in the process.

Thanks for reading, and for all the ISTPs out there, thanks for your cool-headedness in the face of danger and piercing examination of the world.

An Objectivist Critique of David Hume

Tom Blackstone is the author of Philosophy: What It Is and Why We Need It and a contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Blackstone’s piece represents his own insights and not necessarily those of the site. 

By Tom Blackstone

david hume copyDavid Hume is one of the most influential philosophers of the 18th century, and any professor who teaches a course in Modern Philosophy will expect students to spend some time trying to understand Hume’s ideas.

However, many students who first encounter Hume’s ideas are put off by some of his more extreme statements, such as that we have no “self” that we can be aware of, or that there are no “causes” to events that we can determine. Students often say in response to these ideas that they “just know” that Hume isn’t right, although they admit that they cannot find an error in his arguments. Nevertheless, they often feel some anxiety about his arguments, even if they reject his conclusions.

In addition, Hume’s arguments are so influential in Academia that some students may accept his conclusions simply because they cannot find any significant opposition arguments.

For this reason, I think it’s helpful to not only consider Hume’s ideas in detail, but also to provide the most sophisticated answer to them that I think has yet been offered. In order to do so, I will contrast Hume’s ideas with those of Ayn Rand’s “Objectivist” philosophy.

Historical Background to Hume’s Philosophy

When Hume first came onto the philosophical scene in the late 1700s, European society was changing because of the rise of experimental science. By taking questions that had disputed answers and subjecting them to controlled experiments, scientists were reaching consensus on many issues. Philosophers, on the other hand, were still often debating about the same issues they had been for hundreds of years.

Hume was concerned about this lack of progress in philosophy and wanted to develop a truly scientific theory of human nature. He thought that this would provide philosophy with the respect that it deserved.

Explanation of Hume’s Theory of Definition

Hume begins with a theory of consciousness, or “perception” as he calls it. According to his theory, there are only two types of human perception, or consciousness: “impressions” and “ideas.”

Impressions can be grouped into two categories: “impressions of sensation,” also known as “original impressions”; and “impressions of reflection,” also known as “secondary impressions.” Impressions of sensation consist of sights, sounds, feelings on the skin, tastes, pleasures, and pains. Impressions of reflection consist of emotions and desires.

By contrast with impressions, Hume describes ideas as “faint images of these in thinking and reasoning.”[1] If I look at a lava lamp right now, for example, Hume would say that I experience an impression. But if I remember the lava lamp tomorrow, he would say that I will experience an idea. The idea of the lava lamp in my mind tomorrow will be a faint image of the original impression of the lava lamp that is imposed upon me today.

In addition to this distinction between impressions and ideas, Hume further subdivides both of these categories into “simple” and “complex.” A simple impression or idea contains only one element, whereas a complex impression or idea combines more than one element. For example, if I look at a white square, Hume would say that my impression of the white square is complex, made up of the two simple impressions of white color and square shape. If I remember the white square tomorrow, I will likewise experience a complex idea made up of the simple ideas of white and square.

This theory of perception leads to Hume’s idea of definition. According to Hume, the definition of a word is the idea which the word is connected to. If the word has no idea connected to it, then the word is meaningless. If the word has a complex idea connected to it, then this complex idea should be traced back to its constituent simple ideas. If this cannot be done, then the word is meaningless.

Using this theory of definition, Hume attacks many of the terms that philosophers have traditionally used.

For example, philosophers prior to Hume have always distinguished between our perceptions of the world and the world itself. If a man walks into a room and finds an orange lying on a table, then leaves and returns four hours later to find the orange still there, philosophers have traditionally explained this by saying that there was an orange “in reality” or “in the external world” that was separate from the two experiences that the man had.

However, Hume claims that this use of the term “external world” is meaningless, for two reasons:

  1. An external world is something that exists apart from our experiences of it. However, we cannot have an experience of something that we do not have any experiences of, as to do so would be a blatant contradiction. Since there is therefore no simple idea attached to the phrase “external world,” the phrase has no meaning.
  2. An external world is something that continues to exist when it is not perceived. But we cannot perceive something existing when it is not perceived. Once again, there is no simple idea connected to the phrase “external world,” and it is therefore meaningless.

In the past, philosophers have argued with each other about whether we can really know if an external world exists. To Hume, this debate is meaningless because the term “external world” is just meaningless noise. Therefore, he suggests that philosophers should be scientific and stop arguing about a problem that has no answer.

In addition to talking about an “external world,” many philosophers have also talked about an individual “self” that exists apart from any particular experience of it. For example, Descartes argued that although he could doubt the existence of the external world, he could not doubt his own existence, since there would be no one around to do the doubting if he did not exist. Hume disagrees, arguing that when he reflects on his “self,” all he finds is a bundle of perceptions; a succession of sensations, feelings, and urges; that he does not find a single object called a “self” that exists apart from this bundle of perceptions.

Once again, on Hume’s view, the word “self” has no simple ideas connected with it. Like the term “external world” therefore, the notion of the “self” must therefore be meaningless.

Many philosophers in the past have criticized Descartes’ view that we can be immediately aware of our own existence. To Hume, both Descartes and his critics are mistaken because the term “self” has no meaning. Therefore, philosophers should stop arguing about the self altogether.

Hume’s Critique of Causation

Another example in which Hume uses his theory of definition to attack traditional philosophical terms is his consideration of the word “cause.” Philosophers and scientists prior to Hume have usually believed that there is a “law of cause and effect” that operates in the universe and determines how objects behave. For example, if a man fires a pistol at a watermelon from 50 feet, and the watermelon bursts open, philosophers prior to Hume would have explained this event by saying that the shot caused the watermelon to burst open by firing the pistol at it.

Hume disagrees with this way of explaining the event. Hume argues that there are three aspects to causal behavior:

  1. Spatial contiguity: The bullet and the watermelon are close together in space.
  2. Temporal contiguity: We see the gun fire, then the watermelon bursts open. These events are close together in time.
  3. Necessary connection: We imagine that if the gun were to fire again in exactly the same way, with a new watermelon, the new watermelon would burst open.

According to Hume, it is this third aspect of causal behavior, necessary connection, that we have no ground to believe in. Although we do observe some events happening close together in space and time, we do not ever observe any necessary connections between them. Instead, all that we observe is that this time one event followed another. All that we observe is that this time the watermelon exploded after the gun was fired. But that in itself does not give us grounds to believe that the same thing will happen again the next time.

On Hume’s view, there is no simple idea connected to the phrase “necessary connection.” Therefore, like the terms “self” and “external world,” the term “necessary connection” must also be found to be meaningless. And since the term “cause” implies the idea of necessary connection, it too must be meaningless.

Philosophers have wondered in the past how we can know when one thing causes another. Multiple theories have been advanced, but no consensus has been reached. To Hume, the entire debate is ridiculous, since the philosophical word “cause” is meaningless. Philosophers should therefore stop wasting their time.

Hume’s Ethical Theory

To provide one final example by which Hume attacks traditional philosophical concepts using his theory of definition, we can consider his idea of Ethics. Traditional philosophers, such as Aristotle and Plato, have argued that Ethics is a product of reason. According to them, human beings have a choice to do what is rational and good or to do what is irrational, self-destructive, and evil.

For Hume, Ethics can never be a product of reason because reason cannot be used to derive what ought to be, as opposed to what is. We cannot see, taste, touch, hear, or smell “goodnesss.” Therefore, when a man says “it is good not to rob people” he simply means that it is desirable to him that someone else not rob people. Ethics is therefore a product of feelings, customs, and habits – but not reason.

In Hume’s view, in order for Ethics to be derived from reason, there would have to be a simple idea connected to the idea of “goodness.” However, there obviously is not. We cannot trace terms like “should,” “ought to,” “desirable,” or “good to do,” back to anything that we can see, taste, touch, hear, or smell. These terms therefore, are meaningless when used for any reason other than to say that we simply desire something.

Throughout history, philosophers have argued over what constitutes the good life. No consensus has emerged. In Hume’s view, the term “goodness,” as philosophers have traditionally used it, is again meaningless. Philosophers should therefore also stop arguing about ethics.

The Objectivist Response to David Hume

At the time that Ayn Rand began writing, philosophy was split into two camps. On the one side were the analytic philosophers who agreed with David Hume that both questions about the nature of reality and about ethics were meaningless. These philosophers wanted to be “scientific” by asking questions that could be answered through logic and the study of language. On the other side were the continental philosophers who believed that philosophy should be practical and should therefore answer questions about the nature of reality and the good life. However, these latter philosophers also agreed with Hume that such questions could not be answered through reason. Therefore, they advocated “irrational” means such as poetry and storytelling to answer these questions. However, both sides agreed that traditional philosophical questions could not be answered through reason.

Rand was deeply concerned about this anti-rationalistic trend in philosophy and believed that it was responsible for a moral decay that had taken over Western Civilization. In her view, the rise of totalitarian systems of government in Russia, Germany, and Italy provided significant evidence for this decay. Rand believed that humanity was abandoning the Ancient Greek belief in rationality and virtue, and that society was in danger of collapsing as a result.

Rand wanted to restore traditional philosophy as the foundation of morality, and therefore to give it a place of reverence in the world.

Rand’s Response to Hume

Rand begins her account of consciousness by dividing it into three stages: Sensation, perception, and conception. Sensation is an automatic reaction of a sense organ from the outside world. Perception is a group of sensations retained by a living organism and integrated by its brain into an awareness of “entities,” or “things.” Conception is a “mental integration of two or more concretes … isolated by a process of abstraction and united by means of a specific definition.”[2]

For Rand, the process of forming concepts is “volitional.” It is something that we must choose to do. Nature will not impose concepts upon our minds. In addition, forming concepts correctly is not easy to do. In order to make sure that our concepts are valid, we must find the distinguishing characteristic that sets the members of the concept apart from other objects that are not included. For example, in order to correctly form the concept “animal,” we must realize that our siblings and pets are included in this concept but not our Mom’s plant that is sitting out on the front porch.

Unlike Hume, Rand does not equate concepts with “ideas” that are faded memories of impressions. Instead, she uses this term to denote a group of objects viewed as belonging together, such as “human being,” “car,” “tree,” “building,” etc.

Again unlike Hume, Rand also distinguishes sensations from perceptions. In Rand’s view, a white square is not a “complex impression” that can be broken down into simple impressions. Instead, it is an “entity”; a complete thing perceived by us as a whole. Although we can speculate philosophically that there must have been a time when this white square would have appeared simply as a blob of color and shape (i.e. as a sensation), this is a conceptual discovery that should be not be used to attack the very validity of perception itself.

Perception, for Rand, is not volitional. We cannot choose to see the elements of the white square as separate from each other. The white square simply appears to us as an indivisible unit. Therefore, perception cannot be “invalid,” because the concept of “invalidity” only applies to volitional processes. According to Rand, we cannot make mistakes about things that we cannot control. Therefore, we cannot use an invalid method (make mistakes in which method we use) when only one method is open to us.

Hume had said that the concept of an “external world” is meaningless. But for Rand, we perceive an “external world” every time that we look at it. Right now, writing this piece, I perceive a computer screen, and a keyboard. An hour ago, I perceived a television in my living room. In each of these cases, I perceived an “external world.” Through concepts, I can abstract away my own perception from the thing itself. I can realize that my perception of the television today is separate from my perception of it yesterday, and that the television set is itself separate from each of my experiences. But recognizing this requires that I operate at the conceptual level of consciousness. In perception, I simply see the television. It does not appear to me to be a “simple impression.” On the contrary, it appears to be a television; something which is obviously separate from me.

What is true of the television is true of the external world in general. For Rand, when Hume argues that the notion of an “external world” is impossible (because you cannot perceive something that you don’t perceive), he is confusing the perceptual and conceptual levels of consciousness. We must first perceive the external world. Only by thinking about what is happening can we then realize that we are perceiving it, and that this perception is separate from the thing perceived. In order for Hume to validly say that we are unreasonable for believing in an external world, he would have to prove that conceptualization itself is invalid. However, he assumes this rather than proving it.

Rand’s Criticism of Hume’s No-Self View

Rand also disputed Hume’s assertion that human beings don’t really have a “self,” but only a bundle of internal perceptions. According to Rand, we do not perceive ourselves as a “bundle of impressions.” We perceive ourselves as a unity. In fact, Rand turns Hume on his head and says that it is only through abstraction that we achieve an understanding that within the self there is a continuous stream of thoughts and feelings.

Rand’s Criticism of Hume’s Critique of Causality

Rand’s criticism of Hume’s view of causality is similar to the previous two lines of criticisms: In Rand’s view, we can see necessary connections (the very thing that Hume had denied) directly: For example, suppose I have a feeling that I want to lift a glass, and I both feel and see myself lifting it. I do not perceive this as “spatial contiguity” or “temporal contiguity,” with “necessary connections left out.” On the contrary, the entire action is experienced by me as one continuous process which I brought about. In the same way, when I see a man fire a gun into a watermelon, the entire process appears to be a continuous, causally connected action.

The “law of causality,” i.e. the rule that every effect must have a cause, is an abstract, conceptual realization. It comes from observing many different events in many different circumstances and then thinking about what has occurred. It comes from the realization that things are what they are and must behave the way that they behave. But the fact that this law is a piece of conceptual knowledge does not invalidate it on that account alone.

Rand’s Criticism of Hume’s Ethics

In regards to Ethics, Rand argues that values or “things that one should do” arise in the context of life. Unlike inanimate matter, living things can cease to exist. If a fish does not swim fast enough to avoid being eaten, the matter that composed it will remain in the stomach of the organism that ate it, but its life will go out of existence. In order to continue to exist, organisms must constantly work to preserve their lives.

Human beings, however, have a peculiar problem that other organisms do not have. While other organisms automatically pursue what is best for them, human beings do not. The reason they do not is because human beings can only survive by conceptualizing, and conceptualization is volitional.

In regards to the argument that our senses do not tell us what we ought to do, but only what we actually do, Rand responds by saying that what a thing is determines what it ought to do and that we can identify what we are through the conceptual identification of our perceptions. For example, we can identify perceptually which things make us feel pleasure and which make us feel pain. On the conceptual level, we can then determine that things usually cause us pain because they threaten us and that things usually cause us pleasure because they preserve us. On a greater level of abstraction, we can come to understand that our emotions of joy and sorrow are conceptual equivalents of the basic pain/pleasure mechanism and that we can program this mechanism to lead us to the things which are the best for our lives. For example, we can initiate an exercise program even though it causes us pain, and can even come to feel joy while using this program because of the knowledge that it is making us healthier. On an even greater level of abstraction, we can come to understand The Randian Virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride, Honesty, Integrity, Independence, Justice, and that the consistent practice of these virtues will lead to a successful and happy life.

Conclusion

These are only some of the principles of Rand’s philosophy, the ones that I thought were most relevant to rebutting the claims of David Hume. Hopefully, these arguments are enough to dispel any anxiety that a student may feel when hearing that “there is no self” or “there is no external world.” Or, if a student finds Hume’s arguments convincing, hopefully this is enough to cause that person to question Hume’s conclusions.

NOTES
[1] Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature §1.1.1
[2] Rand: The Objectivist Ethics §36

***

Image of Hume in the article commissioned for this publication from artist Georgios Magkakis.

Pierce Presents: ENTP

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

David Keirsey called them “Inventors,” and elsewhere they are called “Visionaries” and “Originators.” All three of these nicknames emphasize the creative aspect of the ENTP, and especially the nickname “originator” implies that the ENTP starts new things but has trouble seeing them through to the end. The ENTP is stereotyped as a quick-witted, ever-skeptical, and highly inventive devil’s advocate; a shrewd lawyer or entrepreneur, uncovering the silly irrationalities of humanity through clever observation. This isn’t an inaccurate caricature, but it is still a caricature and over-emphasizes some aspects while severely downplaying others.

As always, let’s break down what constitutes the ENTP functionally.

They are a Perceiving type, meaning that they prefer extroverted perceiving and introverted judging. This means that they base their judgment criteria on subjective, inner information, while simply observing and drinking in objective information and experiences. You could say that they are more receptive towards the outside world and more aggressive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted intuition and introverted thinking. Extroverted intuition is innovative: it perceives and seeks out new possibilities from objective data, finding the ones with the most promise and bringing them to fruition. Introverted thinking is deductive: it seeks to develop an internally consistent logical system by deducing all the necessary implications of a set of premises.

Third, they are very similar to the INTP; both prefer Ne and Ti. The ENTP, however, prefers Ne more than Ti. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NTP types the “Thinkers,” because they combine a passive, multifaceted examination of possibilities in the world with rigorous ordering and logical deduction within their minds, thus appearing to quietly observe the world and ponder it. Of course, “Thinker” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NTP nature, and it does not mean that NTPs are the only type that thinks, or the best at thinking, or even more likely to pursue a career or lifestyle that is centered around this kind of stereotypical thinking.

The ENTP, then, is a “thinker” for whom the objective observation of possibilities is more important than their inner logical principles and deductions. They are primarily concerned with discovering, creating, and innovating, in other words, living off of everything new and exciting.

The word I use to remember the ENTP nature is “multifaceted”. This word is not meant to describe the ENTP, but rather the way they go about things. The distinguishing characteristic of the ENTP is their great interest in viewing all the sides of an idea without any specialization into one perspective, in other words, the ENTP wants to see all the sides of an issue, rather than be an expert in just a few. This is a manifestation of their dominant Ne, which favors more and more possibilities, or a broader sweep of all the possibilities, rather than a few fully formed and complete possibilities.

In the case of the ENFP, this appetite for diversity often appears as a sort of poetic wanderlust and need to be unfettered because of Fi’s individualism. With the ENTP, however, their Ti does not value or think about what it wants, but simply what is and how things work. Ti is deductive, and it wants to exercise control over internal ideas and impressions by integrating them into a perfect system. Thus the ENTP’s Ne often appears more academic, dispassionate, or scientific; they explore possibilities by examining their logical implications, seeing where they end up and if there are any contradictions along the way.

Thus, the ENTP is curious and investigative. As Friedrich Nietzsche said of Socrates, he was “the eternal investigator of all things.” And as Socrates himself is credited with saying: “[I] have never left off seeking after and learning every … thing that I could.” Unlike the INTP who seeks multiple perspectives in order to perfect their system, the ENTP creates a system to better seek out multiple perspectives. When the INTP adds another facet into their system, it is a celebration, an induction into a grand council, but when the ENTP adds another facet to their system, their mind plays a funeral march, for that facet no longer has potential; it’s been used up. This drives the ENTP to learn everything; they want to see all the possibilities, all the ideas; they don’t care if they only get a glimpse of it, for even a glimpse would teach them something new. They would sacrifice a secure place to settle for a chance to go out and survey a hundred new things.

This investigative nature of the ENTP includes two more distinct characteristics:  their skepticism and their capacity in debate.

Firstly, skepticism, which I give a specific definition in the ENTP’s case: because the ENTP seeks to view all the faces of an object and rebels against the stagnation and limitation of settling on one particular side alone, they tend to play the devil’s advocate, questioning and challenging every established viewpoint. If you show them a coin, they will naturally wonder what the other side looks like. If you give them a proposition, they will naturally wonder what its opposite is, and if that is not perhaps more desirable. This can obviously frustrate or frighten people; the ENTP’s skepticism can give them a rebellious flair, especially when they question cherished beliefs. Socrates was put to death for his endless questions, disruptive opinions, and encouraging the youth of Athens to do the same.

Another effect of this skepticism is the ENTP’s uncertainty. As Socrates said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” The ENTP knows full well there are two sides to the coin and that dogmatists limit themselves to only one side, and because there are so many perspectives on things and so little time to explore them, there is no way to be absolutely sure of anything. The ENTP doesn’t mind this, as it means they never need settle down and can continue searching and learning for the rest of their life. However, this can result in the ENTP becoming nihilistic and brooding, as they may conclude that there is no truth or cause worthy of their commitment.

Secondly, the ENTP is famous for their capacity for debate. The ENTP, loving to examine multiple sides of an issue, often excels at this art, but unlike the ENTJ they are not usually interested in proving a specific point, but love debate for its own sake, because it provides a wonderful opportunity to examine many sides of multiple issues and thus come closer to the truth. The ENTP may engage someone in argument and debate for pure fun; however, the ENTP may often find their desire for a rousing Socratic discussion woefully unrequited, or misunderstood as aggression on the ENTP’s part.

The ENTP’s tertiary function is Fe. While this is repressed in the INTP, who often has difficulty navigating or communicating pleasing appearances, the ENTP is not so disadvantaged. Fe greatly helps their debate skills, as they can better judge the emotional intentions of their opponent and reciprocate. They can adapt to the various sentimental dialects of people they encounter and better communicate with them, naturally assuming that anyone can learn anything so long as its universal, underlying logic is presented in the best way. The ENTP’s Fe gives them an interest in communicating with the masses, and Ti believes in universally true, logical principles. Thus the ENTP can have a great capacity to bring difficult concepts down to Earth so even the common layman can understand them.

The ENTP does, however, repress their Si. In the ENFP this intensifies their wanderlust and fear of being tied down. While this same sentiment may be shared by the ENTP, and is often manifest by their desire to keeps things new, fresh, and interesting, it is not the most prevalent or noticeable difficulty they tend to have. Si is often difficult to describe: I have often used the metaphor of a painter. To elaborate on this idea, let’s take a look at Se, which of all the functions has the most direct relationship to objects, because it looks at things, people, ideas, events, and the general state of affairs with a sharp lens. The difference then, is that Si does not view the state of affairs directly, as its own object, but subjectively, by looking at how the state of affairs has affected them, impressed them, and how it relates to past impressions. What it sacrifices in direct and photographic clarity it makes up for in comprehensiveness and history. Si is not meticulous because it only focuses on the details, but because it focuses on everything including the details. This makes it harder to associate the event or thing with other things, but not because Si sees less than intuition, but because it sees more, and therefore takes longer to form conclusions, but is guaranteed more accuracy and precision.

So, with all of that in mind, the ENTP, preferring to look outwards with a blurred lens, neglects to look through the sharp lens on their past experiences and impressions of details. In other words, in their investigations they may ignore or put off important details in favor of a new possibility or fascinating association; they tend to “sweat the small stuff.” For instance, an ENTP scientist may come up with an ingenious idea of how to go about curing cancer. As they investigate this idea they run into some details that threaten to invalidate their method, but they put those off until later in their haste to explore the raw idea more. The ENTP can sometimes be too hasty or enthusiastic with implementing their ideas, wrongly assuming that the small stuff will work itself out or prove insignificant in the wake of their great idea’s pure momentum.  For the ENTP, the idea always seems more substantial than the details, but in reality the idea is a balloon and the details are sharpened thumbtacks.

So, in summary, the ENTP has a multifaceted perspective, curiously investigating all facets or viewpoints on an idea or object, playing devil’s advocate and engaging in debate for its own sake. They are ever skeptical and questioning in order to discover more possibilities, and their Fe can demonstrate a certain charm or brilliance in presenting things to the public. However, they repress Si, which tempts them to put off the “small stuff” and overestimate the substance of their new idea.

Thanks for reading, and for all the ENTPs out there, thanks for searching out fresh perspectives and asking the difficult but necessary questions.

A Meditation on Wittgenstein

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

WittgensteinOne of my favorite thinkers is Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein wrote a book called Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, whose main purpose, in a nutshell and amongst other things, was to lay out the structural rules that all language, by virtue of it being language, must follow, and then determine what language can meaningfully express. In other words, “What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.”

An excellent way to describe this is through typology. Wittgenstein would say that those things which typology is able to talk about meaningfully, in other words, those subjects and philosophies that fall under the head of typology’s definitions, can be explained with typology in very clear terms once they are properly understood. Long complicated explanations are only the result of a person’s difficulty in wielding a language. Meanwhile, assuming for the sake of argument that such things as behaviorism, favorite color, astrology, mathematics, or obsessive compulsive disorder are not in the domain of typology, this would mean typology cannot talk meaningfully about them. It might very well try; someone could say that Fi users prefer a particular shade of blue, or say that Ni users are usually smarter than other people, but neither of these statements refers meaningfully to typology. Fi has nothing to do with a person’s preference for color as it is defined in the theory, nor does Ni have anything to do with intelligence analysis.

In Wittgenstein’s case, he might have recommended a philosophical example, claiming that the argument over whether an already existing future necessitates a loss of free will is entirely meaningless, because if we were to get a proper, bird’s-eye view of what we’re talking about we would realize there are factors involved we could have never imagined. Hence, from an all-knowing perspective unattainable to humans, to say, for example, that the universe “already exists” or to speak of “free will” in the sense that we usually do is not even wrong; they are entirely meaningless statements with no reference how reality actually is, but only our limited, distorted perspective of it. It would be like two children arguing over whether the monster under their bed is a mammal or an insect. One says that it can’t be an insect because she’s never seen an insect eat a person before, but has heard of plenty of bears eating people. The other says that just because you’ve never seen an insect eat someone doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. This argument might be very logical on its own terms, but it is entirely meaningless because there is no such thing as monsters who hide under children’s beds, yet the children are perfectly able to talk about it as though it were the most reasonable assumption in the world.

This kind of confused use of language, this unregulated interchanging of definitions, and each of us making endless assumptions that others know what we are talking about by using a particular word in an unexplained way has seduced many people into all manner of misunderstandings and misuse of ideas. You’ve probably seen all kinds of embarrassing arguments on Facebook or YouTube comments where the participants get caught up arguing about something that doesn’t even mean anything anymore. Therefore, what we cannot talk about meaningfully, we should remain silent about, in order to avoid such arguments and wasting each other’s time. Wittgenstein’s goal was to teach us how we might avoid such confusions through a proper understanding of language’s structure and resulting limits.

Whether or not Wittgenstein’s book solves this problem or not is still up for debate. What is not up for debate is that he later retracted many of his ideas in the Tractatus and proposed a competing view. The Tractatus assumed along with most traditional philosophy that truth is something separate from language, whether an objective truth or subjective truth, and that language is an attempt to reach out towards this already existing truth; thus language only gains meaning when it corresponds with this truth – when we adequately describe something outside of ourselves. Wittgenstein said that this is not so. He claimed that what we say is truly what we mean, and that is the truth of it. Our words are not endowed with meaning from some store of truth within ourselves or perfect dogma existing in a realm of forms, but rather they are endowed with meaning by the way the word is used in a person’s individual culture, whether that culture is one’s private language, or the culture within one’s immediate family, or an entire society or civilization. Thus Wittgenstein said that we play language games, or adhere to sets of rules that determine what certain signs, gestures or sounds ought to mean, and which differ from group to group. Under this philosophy, we should feel perfectly free to use typology to talk about as much as we want, but should remember that the meaning of our words is relative to how they fit into a particular language game. We may very well talk about Fi preferring the color blue, but that is not the same Fi that another group is talking about. We may come up with two thousand different words for the same thing and thus cover all of its facets, or we may come up with one word for a group of things to demonstrate their relationship. So, the task of philosophy is not to determine what the secret dogma is that words are reaching, but to watch and learn how words are used in various language games and thus determine each relative meaning.

Pierce Presents: INTP

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

“Architect.” That is what David Keirsey called them. I’ve also heard “Thinker” and “Engineer.” The INTP is stereotypically a ponderous individual; an absent-minded professor who spends all day pontificating on the implications of an intriguing principle, caring little for their appearance or others’ opinions, comically and endearingly awkward in social contexts and possessing a certain quirky charm. This is just a stereotype, and I’m going to do my best to offer a more substantial definition.

Let’s break down what constitutes the INTP functionally.

They are a Perceiving type, meaning that they prefer extroverted perceiving and introverted judging. This means that they base their judgment criteria on subjective, inner information, while simply observing and drinking in objective information and experiences. You could say that they are more receptive towards the outside world and more aggressive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted intuition and introverted thinking. Extroverted intuition is innovative: it perceives and seeks out new possibilities from objective data, finding the ones with the most promise and bringing them to fruition. Introverted thinking is deductive: it seeks to develop an internally consistent logical system by deducing all the necessary implications of a set of premises.

Third, they are very similar to the ENTP; both prefer Ne and Ti. The INTP, however, prefers Ti more than Ne. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NTP types the “Thinkers”, because they combine a passive, multifaceted examination of possibilities in the world with rigorous ordering and logical deduction within their minds, thus appearing to quietly observe the world and ponder on it. Of course, “Thinker” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NTP nature, and does not mean that NTPs are the only types that think, or the best at thinking, or even more likely to pursue a career or lifestyle that is centered around this stereotypical kind of thinking.

The INTP, then, is a “thinker” for whom their inner logical principles and deductions are more interesting and important than their objective observation of possibilities. They are primarily concerned with developing and ordering their subjective understandings of things into consistent systems.

The word I like to use to describe the INTP nature is “abstracting.” Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of the INTP nature is their great interest in getting to the bottom of things, stripping away all the accidental traits and getting at the underlying, bare, mathematical framework of a system or idea. For the INTP, this is the great search for truth, the search for the underlying principles of the universe.

This process results from the combined efforts of Ti and Ne. Ne observes objects through a fuzzy lens, so that it’s easier to imagine what other things the object could be and to associate the object with other objects. In exchange for clear facts it obtains possibilities and connections. This is combined with Ti, which tries to organize its impressions of objects into a perfect architectural system. Thus, the INTP looks at a fuzzy, interpretative image of objects, discovers the logical framework behind that interpretive image, and the resulting framework is something that can be applied to many other objects. In other words, if you had an animatronic bear, and you stripped away the outside suit and all of its outwards artistic appearance and skin covering and laid bare the undecorated, cold, but essential mechanics, then you could redress the robot in whatever skin you wanted: bunny, duck, fox, crocodile, human. The underlying mechanics would be the same. The INTP is not just looking for the underlying logical structure of things, but is looking for logical principles that are applicable to a multitude of appearances or circumstances.

For instance, an INTP would likely be fascinated by a structure made entirely of the same size of triangle. With that one idea of a triangle you have nearly infinite possibilities, you could practically make anything, big or small, simple or complex, and all you need is that one simple triangle. They love the great ingenuity and cleverness involved in such architecture. Other examples might include an INTP taking a trading card game, stripping away the card art and nonessential Fe appearances to get to the underlying structure of the game, and then replicating it with simple playing cards. Another example could be represented in The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell, which describes the underlying archetypes behind various mythologies. This is why I like to use the word “abstracting,” because the INTP wants to make bare the abstract principles behind a thing, despite how cold or lifeless the thing may now look. The INTP’s Ti searches for a basic principle or idea from which a grand multitude of Ne possibilities can be derived.

This abstracting nature of the INTP provides several interesting characteristics. First, the INTP has a strong belief in universal morality. This is demonstrated by other types, but it is critical in the INTP. A great example of this is Immanuel Kant, who sought to provide the world with a set of objective, universal moral standards: his Categorical Imperative. These standards are meant to be universal, affecting everyone no matter their accidental circumstances, and built from three simple maxims.

Second, the INTP does not want to be influenced by the crowd. The INTP values individuality: they say, “I won’t bother you if you won’t bother me,” and “don’t take my word for it, figure it out yourself.” The INTP believes individuals should be their own moral and intellectual authority, firmly independent and self-sufficient. For this reason INTPs are known for their great dislike of bureaucracy, which they perceive as an inconsistent, unruly and inefficient engine made of unquestioning, unthinking soldiers. In this sense the INTP may appear very similar to the INFP, in that both have a certain individual quirkiness to them because their values or principles develop isolated from others. The INTP, however, although it is repressed, perceives values, feelings, or emotions as negative and entirely superficial things, at least when compared to logical principles, while the INFP is the opposite: they replace logical principles with deeply felt values; logic is seen as common, unsubstantial and misleading. If Fi is a protestor standing in front of a Te bulldozer, then Ti is a serene monk unmoved by all the dramatic demonstrations of power by their enemy. Despite others’ emotional outbursts and fierce pageantry, INTPs prides themselves in remaining thoroughly cool-headed and purely logical no matter the circumstances. They hold firm to their internal logic despite outside sentimental opposition.

Third, the INTP has a definite thirst for universal, underlying knowledge. Unlike the INTJ who seeks to understand their environment in order to get a foothold on it, the INTP seeks to understand the principles behind the environment in order to get a foothold on their understanding of it. The INTJ seeks knowledge as a means to an end, being whatever goal they’ve decided they need to accomplish in the outside world, while the INTP seeks knowledge for its own sake, so that they can better understand the theoretical principles running the universe. In this way the INTJ is more materialistic while the INTP is more metaphysical. The INTJ wants to grasp an idea in their hands and use it as a tool, to substantiate it or manifest it in reality, while the INTP doesn’t care as much if this happens, seeing as reality is a world of appearances, and they are interested in the underlying truths behind it. INTPs search for dispassionate knowledge, separate from emotional baggage or unessential appearances. This is why the INTP is perceived as very ponderous, because they often are. They prefer the thinking over the actual doing, and they may even struggle with sticking with a project long enough for it to fully mature in reality, due to the thirst of their Ne for more and more possibilities over complete ones.

The INTP demonstrates a tertiary Si. Like with the INFP, this can give the INTP an appreciation of routine and preparation to balance out their Ne and approach the future more thoughtfully. Because neither of these opposite functions is repressed, they can better coordinate or combine their efforts to grant the INTP a certain meticulousness; Si grants the INTP an attention to detail through their intense inspection of subjective experiences, and combined with the multifaceted searching of Ne, they tend to view all sides of a subject meticulously, in a more controlled way, potentially making their arguments or thoughts airtight from all sides.

The INTP’s inferior or repressed function is Fe. The INTP feels that truth is the underlying, raw, cold, pure logical principles and framework, which is covered by nonessential, ornamental fluff and detail. This view is a result of the INTP’s overwhelming preference for Ti. The INTP is very often agitated or even disgusted by others’ emotional irrationality, or what they perceive as such; in other words, others conforming to sentimental appearance instead of obeying a consistent logical standard, such as the ENFJ drifting to the right or left of logic in order to present things more dramatically. INTPs pride themselves in holding fast to their principles, staying rooted to the ground.

They are unaffected or even aggravated by people trying to connect with them on the level of appearances. Of course, INTPs often find themselves somewhat clumsy when dealing with objective emotions or sentiment, feeling unfulfilled, empty or agitated in social situations or whenever they must deal with customary appearances, especially if they seem to sacrifice efficiency or detract from the core of what needs to be done. The INTP can also have difficulty expressing their own emotions, and may show childish enthusiasm, disproportionate frustration, or numb coldness in all of the wrong situations. The INTP is not a robot; they have very genuine feelings and values, but their attempt to express things in a pleasing or emotionally appealing way can seem peculiarly unpracticed or immature, conveying that the INTP is genuinely happy, sad or excited, but in rather clichéd, superficial, or overblown ways.

So in summary, the INTP is “abstracting,” seeking to strip away all that is nonessential to an idea or system and get at its underlying structure, from which they can apply whatever skin they want. This promotes a sense of universal morality, honesty, and a thirst of knowledge for its own sake. Their tertiary Si provides a meticulousness and appreciation of routine, while their repressed Fe gives them a dislike of mere appearances and emotional displays, as well as a certain clumsiness or juvenility in handling such things.

Thanks for reading, and to all the INTPs out there, thanks for trying to get down to the bottom of things and show us what really underlies our universe.

Pierce Presents: INFP

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

David Keirsey called them the “Healers,” and I have also heard the nicknames “Idealist” and “Dreamer.” I have most often seen them portrayed as idealistic to a fault and able to see the good in anything. They are especially reserved and shy but passionate about defending the weak. They appear dreamy or detached from the world as they run about in their personal wonderland; in short, kindly, well-meaning daydreamers. It is also worth noting that the two types that get mixed up the most in the Jungian community are the INFP and the INFJ. From a behavioristic standpoint they can appear remarkably similar: both are often quiet, contemplative, caring, and passionate about their beliefs, communicating them in artistic ways. However, the INFJ and INFP are not the least bit interchangeable. The processes beneath their behavior are very different.

As always, let’s break down what constitutes the INFP functionally.

They are a Perceiving type, meaning that they prefer extroverted perceiving and introverted judging. This means that they base their judgment criteria on subjective, inner information, while simply observing and drinking in objective information and experiences. You could say that they are more receptive towards the outside world and more aggressive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted intuition and introverted feeling. Extroverted intuition is innovative: it perceives and seeks out new possibilities from objective data, finding the ones with the most promise and bringing them to fruition. Introverted feeling is individualistic: it has deep, personal passions and convictions that it holds to despite outside opposition, and it greatly values the right to individual freedom of expression and being true to oneself.

Third, they are very similar to the ENFP; both prefer Ne and Fi. The INFP, however, prefers Fi more than Ne. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NFP types the “Dreamers”, because their relation to the outside world is passive observation of the unreal, of possibilities and ideas; their passion and aggression lies in their individual convictions, which develop isolated from the outside world and become something of a personal dream: thus, both their inner and outer relations take on a somewhat dreamlike quality. Of course, “Dreamer” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NFP nature, and does not mean all NFPs lie sprawled in fields of flowers and never accomplish anything.

The INFP, then, is a “dreamer” for whom their individual convictions hold more weight than perceiving new possibilities. They are primarily concerned with developing, discovering and expressing their innermost feelings and values.

The word I like to use to remember the INFP nature is “dream-world.” Fi is sentiment or desire that develops isolated from the outside world and therefore often appears alien or even disagreeable to others. While this is secondarily present in the ENFP who is often quirky, it is a primary attribute of the INFP, who is characteristically idiosyncratic. INFPs, more than any other type, with the ISFP as their only competitor, struggle with “being normal,” if they don’t despise conformity altogether.

The source garden of this idiosyncrasy, the INFP’s personal dream-world, is like an enormous system of caverns out of The Arabian Nights. The caverns are filled with all manner of strange and wonderful treasures unknown to the outside world. All the while there is a strange and inviting light glowing from somewhere deep in the caverns, and the purpose of the INFP’s many expeditions into their dream-world is to discover the source of this beautiful glow. Attempting to describe the nature of this strange light and convey some sense of its beauty and warmth and all that it illuminates within the caves is the drive behind the INFP’s characteristically expansive, sincere, original, and rich artistic creations.

The INFP is often tempted to spend long amounts of time exploring their caverns in search of the primordial fire. To some extent, they lead a double life: the dreary reality full of unoriginal, conforming mobs and all their injustice, insincerity, cruelty and noise, and then the breaths of air within their own minds, within created worlds where their values and passions are exemplified. There is a drive to dig through themselves and map out every inch of their psyche’s caverns and keep careful record of all its treasures. They find their inner life delightful, but often fear to share it with others due to past criticism or incomprehension.

Now, given that the INFJ and INFP are so often mixed up, I have found that contrasting the two types is very insightful in understanding the INFP personality. Between them, there are two major differences.

First, the INFJ is problematically unaware that their intuitions are entirely subjective. An INFJ may be inspired by a droplet of water to ponder on how it represents the true nature of the cosmos, and then develop a grand vision, forgetting that their only real-world evidence for said vision is a droplet of water. INFJs have trouble realizing the subjective origin of their seemingly objective visions. This is not so for the INFP, who is fully aware that they are exploring their own cave, and not reality. For them, that is the whole point. The INFP wouldn’t have it any other way; they want to explore their own passions, not somebody else’s, or some collective passion or truth out in the dreary world of mobs and cruelty. The point here is that the INFJ is always searching for objective truths, based on real observations in the real world, and applicable to real people. The INFP, however, is inclined to present their insights as subjective truth, exempt from normal rules of logic, data, or public opinion, and to encourage others to explore their own caves rather than sacrifice their identity to the collective. The INFP is more likely to resonate with the statement “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you put all of your heart and soul into believing it.” The INFJ, however, resonates with objective, universal truths and conclusions.

The second difference between the two types is that the INFJ’s Fe gives up their own personal desires in favor of a common good or greater cause. But the INFP recoils from such a notion; their identity is a valuable possession, and they have no interest in being melted down until they are unrecognizable from others. This seems counterproductive to the INFP, who often sees evil as giving into a false public opinion despite personal convictions to the contrary, while the INFJ often sees evil as selfishly holding false convictions despite a clear, common good. The INFP seeks to strip away invading contaminants from the outside world and become more true to their inner values. INFPs do not like conforming for its own sake. If they do something, it is because they have reconciled it with their inner values, and not because they are trying to align with another’s values. As such, INFPs want to love what they love with all of their heart and soul, giving them a great depth and rich passion to their sentiments, whether or not this is apparent to others.

The auxiliary function of the INFP is Ne. This means that their relationship to the outside world is one of passive observation, unlike the INFJ, whose relationship is more aggressive. Although this gives the INFP a dreamy quality, INFPs directly observe the outside world and therefore have a clearer relationship to it than INFJs. Of course, their observation is intuitive, meaning that they perceive the possibilities and potential of objects and ideas. This often grants the INFP a clever and quick wit because of their ability to anticipate events and arguments. While Ni seeks for depth of insight, Ne seeks for breadth of insights, hungry for new insights over complete ones, and what it may lose in depth it makes up for in its multifaceted view of things and greater relevance to reality. As such, the INFP enjoys writing from multiple perspectives simultaneously because this allows them to explore more possibilities rather than just one at a time. This is reflected well in Shakespeare’s various characters, Kierkegaard’s pseudonyms, and even George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

The INFP’s tertiary function is Si, which is an introverted perceiving function. They are like a painter that records their past experiences, investing their own interpretation into what happened. Because their Ne is more dominant, the habits and routines and diligent preparation that is characteristic of Si is not as immediately present in the INFP, but neither is it repressed, and therefore the INFP has much less trouble with putting down anchor or settling into healthy routines than the ENFP. Si also grants the INFP an attention to detail, in the sense that they can view all sides of a subject meticulously, in a more controlled way, potentially making their arguments or thoughts airtight from all sides. Si also grants them a more vivid picture of their inner dream world. The INFP is famous for (even notorious for) describing very detailed worlds, rich with intentionally chosen colors, geography, peoples, family trees, or whatever is of interest to the INFP.

The weight of Fi represses the Te function, which is the drive to fulfill objective goals, even at the expense of one’s personal values. The INFP rejects this notion and champions respect for personal values even at the expense of fulfilling objective goals. The INFP wants to know what is really important to them before going about accomplishing it; but as a result, they often don’t ever get around to accomplishing it. They are excellent writers and champions of causes or ideas, but they have difficulty actually leading efficient movements to get things done. Their enjoyment is in expressing their sentiments, not in pursuing them. Whenever they do try their hand at Te they can find it a clumsy, heavy tool, and their attempts to pursue things logically and directly may seem childish and hardly effective, until, of course, they learn from experience how to balance their Fi with Te. Another potential problem is that because they repress Te, they also repress inductive reasoning, or drawing logical conclusions from objective data. The INFP is notorious for ignoring facts and evidence that contradicts whatever they hold dear in their hearts, often with the frustrated claim that reason and logic do not guarantee truth; there are subjective, sentimental truths that defy the logic of the masses, but are nonetheless true.

So, in summary, the INFP is characterized by their “dream-world,” delighting to explore their personal caverns in search of the pure light within its depths. They seek for subjective, sentimental truths and champion the importance of becoming more purely oneself. Their Ne grants them cleverness and multifaceted insight, assisted by the meticulousness of Si, which also adds greater detail to their inner world. Unfortunately, because their Te is repressed, they struggle to break away from pure expression to actually accomplish their visions, and may completely ignore reasoning or evidence that contradicts their values.

Thanks for reading, and to all the INFPs out there, thanks for sharing your beautiful inner light with us, and reminding us to discover our own.

Jimmy Wales Scored Both ESTP and ENFJ on Jungian Type Tests

Normally when we feature a celebrity’s test scores on a Jungian type test, we only list the first result that the celebrity in question received. However, the case of Jimmy Wales is an ambiguous one, as he claims to have scored both ESTP and ENFJ on such tests.

At any rate, the claims in question are provided as follows:

jimmy1

jimmy2

Pierce Presents: ENFP

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

David Keirsey called them the “champions,” and I have also heard the nicknames “inspirer” and “advocate.” The stereotype I have seen in the Jungian community hasn’t been too far off, but as is to be expected, it fails to express the deeper aspects of the ENFP. They are seen as exceptionally energetic, friendly, capricious, dreamy, whimsical, warmhearted jokers; in a word, as “happy-go-lucky.” There is rarely any attention given to their distinctive dichotomy of idealism and disillusionment that makes war within their psyche.

As always, let’s break down what constitutes the ENFP functionally.

They are a perceiving type, meaning that they prefer extroverted perceiving and introverted judging. This means that they base their judgment criteria on subjective inner information, while simply observing and drinking in objective information and experiences. You could say that they are more receptive towards the outside world and more aggressive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted intuition and introverted feeling. Extroverted intuition is innovative: it perceives and seeks out new possibilities from objective data, finding the ones with the most promise and bringing them to fruition. Introverted feeling is individualistic: it has deep, personal passions and convictions that it holds to despite outside opposition, and it greatly values the right to individual freedom of expression and being true to oneself.

Third, they are very similar to the INFP; both prefer Ne and Fi. The ENFP, however, prefers Ne more than Fi. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NFP types the “Dreamers,” because their relation to the outside world is passive observation of the unreal, of possibilities and ideas; their passion and aggression lies in their individual convictions, which develop isolated from the outside world and become something of a personal dream: thus, both their inner and outer relations take on a somewhat dreamlike quality. Of course, “Dreamer” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NFP nature and does not mean all NFPs lie sprawled in fields of flowers and never accomplish anything.

The ENFP, then, is a “dreamer” for whom their objective perceptions and search for possibilities is more important than their individual convictions. They are primarily concerned with discovering, creating, and innovating, in other words, living off of everything new and exciting.

The word I like to use to describe ENFPs is “child-like”. This is not to be confused with the word “childish,” which implies the negative and trivial aspects of a child’s personality; “child-like” implies the positive, optimistic, joyful wonder at the world, and this is one of the most recognizable characteristics of the ENFP.

The ENFP is first a wanderer. They, more than any other type, with the ENTP as a close second, are afflicted with a wander-lust and disgust of boredom. One of their nightmares is to be locked up in a plain white room with nothing new to do or see. They hate to sit still and often find patience the most difficult virtue or altogether overrated. They want, even fear not to have, the freedom to pursue possibilities, and thus defend against the sickness of boredom and all its compatriots: habit, consistency, routine, etc. When they get the chance to play or explore with the new, whether a place, opportunity, idea, game, or even relationship, they become refreshed and energized. As Orson Welles said, “I love moving from town to town. I never got on a train in my life without my spirits rising.”

As such, their minds work at a rapid pace, or at least seem to do so, because they try to cut out any thinking that does not contribute to the creative or innovative process. Like a hummingbird they must constantly feed on sugary fluids to keep in the air, buzzing from one flower to the next; the ENFP searches for those flowers offering the most energy. This gives the impression that their mind is often racing, because they seem to jump from concept to concept extraordinarily quickly with no time to rest, for instance, in the improvisational comedy of Robin Williams. However, while it can make conversation with them an adventure and grants them a quick wit and ingenuity, sometimes their mind moves too fast for them to express themselves adequately. Sometimes their own words can barely keep up with their thoughts as the transitions between ideas become less and less.

The ENFP’s auxiliary Fi is responsible for their characteristic flamboyancy and eccentricity. ENFPs are more or less quirky. This is because they have personal, subjective values developed in isolation from everyone else. It is only natural for many of these values to appear alien to the rest of us, or in other words, quirky; and in line with Fi, ENFPs are quite pleased with their differences from others, and love to be respected for them.

Another important effect of Fi is its imagination: the ENFP develops a personal, subjective dream world where their values are exemplified. By delving so deep into their values they are capable of great, beautiful creativity which often manifests itself in stories, but more famously, in their use of language. They are often very clever, creative, and imaginative in their wielding of words to express their ideas and feelings, and ENFPs have the potential to become great writers.

ENFPs are also known for loving people. More specifically, they love individuals, as their Fi helps them appreciate and even love the differences in others. On the other hand, they dislike mobs or any massive organization where individuality is melted down into a collective, such as stereotypical corporations, churches, or governments. ENFPs love people on their own, for who they are. In fact, they have a tendency to become particularly attached to certain people, feeling a very strong introverted love for them, combined with a gregarious aversion to being alone, where it is easier to become bored; thus they may like to be around their friends all the time. This is only a potential problem, however, and most ENFPs do not become pathological about it.

You may now be able to see why I use the word “child-like” to describe ENFPs. Both ENFPs and the ideal child are pleasantly capricious, explorers, love the new, think faster than they talk, are quirky and imaginative, and love people, becoming very attached to them. The ENFP, in a nutshell, has maintained a child-like relationship to the world, full of wonder, love and optimism.

However, there is another very important side to the ENFP: they are not only a child, but also an adult. There is a sense that they are both joyously young and tremendously old. While at first they may demonstrate that stereotypical happy-go-lucky spirit, upon further inspection one discovers a severe and serious side of their personality, an adult spirit. Not just any adult spirit either, but a disillusioned, old spirit, someone who is all too aware of the pain and suffering in the world, who knows full well that everything is not happy or lucky. This side is dark and brooding, frustrated and passionate. It is the side of Mark Twain that wrote “The Mysterious Stranger,” an extremely pessimistic work concerning the “damned human race.” The ENFP is motivated by a sense of darkness of life, but also by an optimistic desire to find a better future. This dichotomy of old and young, dark and light, brooding on the past and living in the moment makes war within the ENFP and drives much of their art and expression. I think the best example of this union is demonstrated in Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” which presents a seemingly happy-go-lucky utopia of non-consequential sex, drugs and pleasure, but beneath which is all manner of darkness and controversy, asking many questions about social and political principles and where our own society is going.

The ENFP’s tertiary function is Te, which is responsible for inductive reasoning and the pursuit of logical, real-world goals. It is the direct opposite of Fi, which is responsible for subjective value-judgments and the expression of individual conviction. Te is a bulldozer, and Fi is the protestor lying down in front of it. However, in the ENFP the weight of Fi does not repress Te, and so the ENFP has a logical, driven, goal-oriented side. They are able to break away from pure expression and aggressively pursue real-world goals, and this is often done in the service of Ne, logically and efficiently getting what they want. This adds to their adventurous flair, making them fast and determined, running hither and thither, and gives them a willingness to drag someone along for the ride and bulldoze through obstacles if necessary.

The ENFP’s repressed function is Si, which represents the inevitable downside of strong Ne. Si is responsible for memory, realistic association, and the development of practical habits and routine: in short, a strong need to prepare sufficiently for the future. This caution is rather lacking in the typical ENFP, because their focus is always turned on the new. As I stated before, routine and habit and lack of the new is suffocating for the ENFP: they are wanderers and explorers by nature. What this ultimately means is that the ENFP is a ship that hates to drop anchor. Once the anchor is set down, the ship is stuck going in the same circles over and over again. The ENFP prefers, for better or worse, to drift at sea, rather than be tied down by any consistency. This can make it difficult for them to settle anywhere in society, whether a job, place, marriage, or really anything that requires some form of consistency.

So in summary, the ENFP is “child-like,” living off of the new, darting from flower to flower like a hummingbird. They are quirky and imaginative, quick-thinking and creative, and gregarious to the point of over-attachment. Their tertiary Te gives them an aggressive attitude to pursuing goals, while their repressed Si makes it very difficult for them to settle in any kind of consistency or treat the unknown future with due respect.

Thanks for reading, and to all the ENFPs out there, thank you for trying to rejuvenate the child-like genius in each of us.

Pierce Presents: ENTJ

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

Fieldmarshal, Executive, and Leader – these are some of the nicknames I’ve seen used for the ENTJ, one of the more infamous personalities in the Jungian community. The most widely accepted mascot for the ENTJ is Napoleon Bonaparte, which is meant to portray the stereotype of an exceptionally driven individual who always wants to be in charge, shouts down their opponents, and leads loud and powerful blitzkriegs against their enemies; a charismatic army general or ruthless CEO. And along with these descriptions, the ENTJ is often seen as naturally robust in figure, commanding in appearance, and dangerously bossy in demeanor. This stereotype is, in my opinion, a compass pointing in the right direction, with the actual journey into this personality yet to be undertaken.

Let’s break down what constitutes the ENTJ functionally.

They are a Judging type, meaning that they prefer extroverted judging and introverted perceiving. This means that they base their judgment criteria on objective outside information, while simply observing and drinking in their subjective information and experiences. You could say that they are more aggressive towards the outside world and more receptive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted thinking and introverted intuition. Extroverted thinking is inductive. It forms conclusions based on objective data, which they then aggressively try to fulfill. Meanwhile, introverted intuition is contemplative, in that it has no real interest in reality, but perceives the possibilities of ideas within their own mind, developing more and more compelling and delicious intellectual ideas, theories and understandings.

Third, they are very similar to the INTJ; both prefer Te and Ni. The ENTJ, however, prefers Te more than Ni. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NTJ types the “Trailblazer”, because they both develop compelling ideas and understandings of the world and then seek to accomplish these visions as efficiently and effectively as possible. Of course, “Trailblazer” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NTJ nature, and does not mean NTJs are necessarily more inventive or ahead of their time than other personalities, or likely to take up a career that would allow them to be so.

The ENTJ, then, is a “trailblazer” for whom objective data and its resultant conclusions are of more importance and interest than subjective perceptions and musings. They are primarily concerned with fulfilling their logically determined obligations in order to gain control over their environment.

The word I have found most useful in describing the ENTJ is “subjugation”. That word has a definite negative connotation that I do not wish to imply. While the INTJ demonstrates a “will to power,” a desire to control their environment through understanding it, the ENTJ is even more so concerned with this “will to power”, desiring to control their environment through any appropriate means, to which end understanding is a primary tool. So, the reason I use the word “subjugation” is not because the ENTJ wishes to stand triumphant on top of everyone else’s unconscious bodies or play the role of big brother, but because the ENTJ, like the ESTJ, wants to ensure that their environment cannot get a foothold on them, that they have acquired as much control and power over their lives as could be expected so that they cannot be overtaken by them, and so that they can accomplish what they know needs to be done. But while the ESTJ’s Si does this through a sense of responsibility in order to face an uncertain future, the ENTJ’s Ni is more trusting of the future and desires to crush their opposition by striding brazenly into it.

This principle of subjugating the environment gives the ENTJ two distinct characteristics: their enjoyment of leadership and their brutality in combat.

While the ENFJ seeks for high places so that they can appeal to a larger audience’s sentiments, the ENTJ seeks high places so that they can have better control of their environment. The ENTJ’s Ni visions can bring them the strong feeling that they see what is really going on in the world and how to make things better from a mechanistic and efficient standpoint. It is positions of leadership that allow the ENTJ to bring these visions to fruition. This is not to say that the ENTJ necessarily demonstrates a lust for power or desire to always command others, but it is to say that the ENTJ greatly enjoys and often aspires to calling the shots. For instance, I was once assigned an ENTJ to assist me on a project. He was already more experienced in the field, but I was more experienced with this particular project, and so he was more than happy to let me take the lead in planning and reporting. However, after a week or so he made known ways that he felt things could be made much more efficient, to cut out the fluff, streamline our process and be much more productive, and he courteously asked my permission to take the lead in these areas to try out his ideas. The ENTJ relates well to Julius Caesar’s claim: “I would rather be first in a village than second in Rome.” This is because the ENTJ can become very restless when they do not have sufficient power to change things, in short, when their environment starts to exercise power on them, instead of the other way around. The ENTJ greatly dislikes that feeling. The ENTJ can be very sensitive to the logical inconsistencies and inefficiencies of others and can become agitated if they are unable to correct the problem.

My ENTJ’s method of correcting such problems was forceful; he wanted to get straight to the point, to determine what point B is and to get there as effectively as possible. If meetings get off track, they need to be forcefully put back on track. If our break time ran too long, he would get very anxious and want to get back to work. If someone or something was becoming an obstacle, his first instinct was to break it, to snap its supports in half with one clean sweep; fortunately, he knew this had to be done in an appropriate way. But it is this idea of breaking the opposition that is critical to the ENTJ personality. This is also present in the INTJ, but only secondarily. The ENTJ wants to snap their opposition, to completely crush them, with no room for them to possibly gain any power or foothold on the ENTJ. Thus comes the ENTJ’s infamous brutality in combat. This is most often seen in argument, where the ENTJ naturally takes a strong offensive, practically attacking their opponent with their reasoning, trying to completely break down the plausibility of their view. The ENTJ fights to win, and this translates into a certain strident brutality against opposition.

Socially, ENTJs can often come off as strident and energetic in this way, but not entirely given over to it. There is an interesting dynamic between the dynamism of Te and the contemplation of Ni, and I’ve seen ENTJs who have demonstrated more of one aspect or the other, while remaining in true preference ENTJs. One kind may appear like a more logically focused and sharp, but still energetic ENFJ; the other appears very similar to the INTJ and may often mis-test as such, but despite a calmer and quieter attitude they still demonstrate a greater and more obvious striving for leadership and power than the INTJ, who often prefers to work alone, pulling the strings from the background, leading people only as a means to their vision. The ENTJ, however, finds leading people the more enjoyable activity, and has no problem demonstrating obvious control. For the ENTJ the vision is always secondary to the manifestation of power.

The ENTJ’s tertiary function is Se, and this gives a similar contrast between the INTJ and ENTJ as it does with the INFJ and ENFJ, in that the ENTJ has a better relationship with actual facts and reality. They possess both a contemplative perception of inner possibilities and a clear perception of the current state of affairs. For this reason the ENTJ is more comfortable working in real time, adapting to changes in the here and now. While the INTJ wants to prevent interference in the manifestation of their vision, the ENTJ is not nearly as concerned with this, and may even welcome the challenge of real time changes and problems so that they can demonstrate their strategic prowess and flexibility. They are also more comfortable and familiar with living life to the fullest, and at least do not demonstrate the INTJ’s difficulty with real time enjoyments.

However, the ENTJ’s Achilles heel, like that of the ESTJ, is their repressed Fi. If we imagine Te as a bulldozer and Fi as a protestor, then the ENTJ’s bulldozer runs the protestors over without mercy. This can be a serious problem for the ENTJ for two reasons. First, like the ESTJ, the ENTJ can have difficulty appreciating or taking into account the emotional values of others in their goals. This attributes to the ENTJ’s brutality in combat, because they are repressing the function that normally values inner sentimentality. This can even, if unchecked, become sadistic, in the sense that the ENTJ can have trouble telling if they are becoming too aggressive and are actually hurting people. Second, the ENTJ can have a similar and perhaps even more prevalent and dangerous numbness to their own personal values. The ENTJ can struggle with finding out what they actually want. They know what is objectively logical, and how to get from point A to B, but they may become terribly lost if they realize they don’t know what they themselves really want. Usually, the ENTJ focuses on their goal, but are fueled by a background, repressed, and therefore remarkably naïve sense of personal values, as though they ground out a clichéd Fi value system in a night so that they could focus all their attention on the much more satisfying task of Te. For instance, if you were to ask an ENTJ what they themselves valued, their eventual answer would probably be some vague and undeveloped concept of justice, or truth, or the greater good, a placeholder sentiment made to satisfy their psyche. But when the time comes that the ENTJ must reassess their own values, when for instance they cannot determine logically what their next move should be, when it is left up to their preference alone what their next point B should be, then this placeholder is worthless, and this lack of direction can result in confusion or even personal crisis.

So, in summary, the ENTJ is subjugating, seeking to have control of their environment through the acquisition of leadership and brutality against opposition. Their tertiary Se provides them with a clear relationship with real time events and adaptability to changing conditions; however, their repressed Fi can make them dangerously numb to others’ personal values or their own.

Thanks for watching, and for all the ENTJs out there, thanks for having the courage and strength to break down the obstacles in the path of great accomplishments.

Watch this piece as a video here.

Pierce Presents: INTJ

Michael Pierce is a video maker and contributing guest writer for CelebrityTypes. As always with guest writers on the site, Pierce’s piece represents his own insights and type assessments and not necessarily those of the site. Still, we very much enjoy his work and are pleased to be able to share it with our visitors.

By Michael Pierce

David Keirsey nicknamed them the “Masterminds,” and most INTJs are not at all aversive to the title. I have also seen the less popular nickname “the Scientists.” The stereotype supported by these nicknames is that of a highly logical individual, dispassionate, scientific and smugly atheistic, brilliant, self-confident, visionary, determined, and above all, able to see all the parts of a complex system and create the perfect strategy to win the game. When people imagine the INTJ, they will often imagine anyone between Dr. Gregory House and BBC’s Sherlock Holmes. As with the INFJ, the INTJ’s stereotype is too all-encompassing to really define what makes an INTJ tick.

Many attributes have been applied to the INTJ which would better describe the ISTJ, and many attributes that would apply to the INTJ have been ignored entirely. The INTJ is not scientific or even logical in the way it is usually defined, and in temperament they are generally more like a prophet or wizard than an analytical mastermind, which is a title I think the ISTJ rightly deserves, while the INTJ, in my opinion, is better described as an intuitive mastermind.

Let’s break down what constitutes the INTJ functionally.

They are a Judging type, meaning that they prefer extroverted judging and introverted perceiving. This means that they base their judgment criteria on objective, outside information, while simply observing and drinking in their subjective information and experiences. You could say that they are more aggressive towards the outside world and more receptive towards their inner experience.

Their preferred way of doing this is through extroverted thinking and introverted intuition. Extroverted thinking is inductive. It forms conclusions based on objective data, which they then aggressively try to fulfill. Meanwhile, introverted intuition is contemplative, in that it has no real interest in reality, but perceives the possibilities of ideas within their own mind, developing more and more compelling and delicious intellectual ideas, theories and understandings.

Third, INTJs are very similar to the ENTJ; both prefer Te and Ni. The INTJ, however, prefers Ni more than Te. Nevertheless, they are in some sense the same type, or at least sister types. I personally like to call NTJ types the “Trailblazer,” because they both develop compelling ideas and understandings of the world and then seek to accomplish these visions as efficiently and effectively as possible. Of course, “Trailblazer” is merely a nickname to help me remember the NTJ nature, and does not mean NTJs are necessarily more inventive or ahead of their time than other personalities, or likely to take up a career that would allow them to be so.

The INTJ, then, is a “trailblazer” for whom their subjective perceptions and musings hold more importance and interest than objective data and its resultant conclusions. They are primarily concerned with perceiving the possibilities of internal ideas, developing deliciously compelling intellectual insights.

The word I like to use to describe the INTJ nature is “visionary,” which conveys two major aspects of the INTJ personality: futurism and will to power.

By futurism, I mean that unlike the ISTJ who is planning against unpleasant possibilities in the future, the INTJ plans how to strive into the possibilities of the future. This is a contrast between Si and Ni; the first tends to over-prepare, while the second tends to under-prepare. In the spirit of intuition, the INTJ has a way of making uncanny leaps and bounds with their ideas, sometimes appearing ahead of their time; however, what they gain in foresight they lose in thoroughness.

For example, consider Isaac Newton and Nikola Tesla. Both made extraordinary leaps and bounds in their fields to the point that both were hailed as magicians, but these were, once again, leaps and bounds, which skip a lot of middle work in-between, giving an impression of mad determination and inhuman focus on their work until organization and important details are of no importance compared to the acquisition of their goal. Isaac Newton’s revolutionary development of calculus was only a means to an end. It gets the job done, but has a certain unrefined, hurried sloppiness to it. Another example is the explosive number of experiments and inventions Nikola Tesla was responsible for, some of which he didn’t take the time to write down because they were just curiosities he discovered while on the road towards a different goal. There is a definite sense of tunnel-vision and focus in the INTJ that blazes a trail into the future, but can sometimes be maddeningly imprecise and leave a lot of debris. In short, the INTJ’s Ni provides the futurist, intuitive vision, and the Te provides the intense focus to accomplish that vision, but because that vision is so distant on the horizon, the INTJ doesn’t always look down to see what they’re stepping on.

Unlike the ENTJ who is primarily interested in inductive reasoning and determining logical inconsistencies, this is not the focus of the INTJ. The INTJ, like the INFJ, is first an internal perceiver who gets hunches or sees visions of how the world really works. Logic is only a secondary tool towards accomplishing that vision or idea, which may not be compatible with reality. The INTJ has just as much an intuitive, mystical sense to them as the INFJ. Of Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes said he was not “the first of the age of reason, [but] the last of the magicians.” Similarly John Stone said that we must admit that Nikola Tesla was a prophet, as opposed to a scientist.

The second idea is the INTJ’s will to power. As I’ve already implied, the INTJ is known for having a tenacious will. This will is directed towards the acquisition of power, and this power often takes the form of knowledge and understanding. Te not only seeks to adapt to objective data, but also reworks its own mindset and judgments in order to have control over its environment. This is a major theme for the INTJ: they desire power over their surroundings through superior understanding. This is why the INTJ is often especially happy to be called the “mastermind,” because this implies them having a mastery of their environment through the mind. I have heard the INTJ mindset described as seeing the world as a game: they can naturally take stock of their resources, each resource’s future potential, and see a branching tree map of where different actions will probably take them. Thus their goal is to have as much mental control and understanding of the progressing game as possible so they know exactly how to move in every situation.

The INTJ’s will to power is also the result of an unrepressed Te/Fi axis. Te is more dominant, but Fi is not repressed and plays a very important role in the INTJ personality. Te is the opposite of Fi, where Te is the bulldozer and Fi is the protestor lying down in front of it. Te adapts to data; Fi stands firm behind sentimental principles. Thus the INTJ’s feeling is subjective and recoils from objects, retreating deep into the subject and burning quite fiercely in there.

Fi provides the INTJ with several interesting characteristics: it grants the INTJ the typical Fi isolated, alien sentiments. The INTJ’s passions and values are wholly their own and do not want to be attributed to any kind of conformity to other people’s standards. This makes the INTJ very independent and self-confident, even notoriously so. The INTJ often enjoys the image of a visionary standing bold and alone and single-handedly transforming the world despite all human opposition and ignorance. While the INFJ seeks to inspire others to cooperate, the INTJ may not want any supporters, or if they do, that is not their main focus. The INTJ could care less what other people think of their vision; what matters to them is its accomplishment according to their designs.

The INTJ is also notoriously unsocial, displaying the limited Fi range of expressions. They have no problem with people, but they don’t feel any immediate and pressing need for them, except those they have already adopted into their heart. Like the ISTJ, the INTJ very much loves who they love, and I have experienced this very genuine love and friendship from several INTJs in my life, as well as ISTJs. What it lacks in outward expression it makes up for in its endearing sincerity.

It should be noted that these characteristics of independence, willpower, and unsocial self-confidence can make a nasty recipe for acute narcissism, something that the INTJ often can struggle with. The INTJ is not as afraid of becoming narcissistic as other personalities and may often do or say things that appear narcissistic but are really the INTJ just stating the facts – for instance, Nikola Tesla stating how he has revolutionized the United States, which he has. But facts aside, the INTJ must keep themselves aware of how close to the edge of narcissism they are approaching.

Like the INFJ, the INTJ represses Se, which results in similar difficulties and reservations. The INTJ’s perception of the real world is very unreliable; they are so focused on what could be that it takes concerted and unpleasant effort to focus on what already is. As a result the INTJ often misses or ignores even large amounts of data in the conception of their vision, always drifting away from reality before managing to review all the evidence, a mistake the ISTJ hardly makes. This is another reason why the INTJ should not be considered logical or scientific in the regular sense: because their focus is not on logic or data, but on ideas and visions of the possible future, which, while appearing logical, are very often self-contradictory or paradoxical. The INTJ may hold passionately to ideas and theories that have no real evidence to support them at all. For example, Friedrich Nietzsche’s supposedly logical concept of the Eternal Reoccurrence, which represents a beautiful and compelling idea and seems validly logical, does not rely on any concrete facts or observations and makes many unproven assumptions which discredit both its inductive and deductive validity. The idea of Eternal Reoccurrence is just that, a beautiful idea. In these instances the INTJ’s expression of Te is rendered a mere illusion that doesn’t actually grasp at anything.

Another important effect is that whenever the Ni dominant types do experience their Se it is overwhelmingly vivid because of their lack of exposure to it, and they often struggle with their relationship to sensual pleasures such as food, thrills, sex, or anything of that nature. While the INFJ demonstrates a certain morally based aversion to sensuality reminiscent of an ascetic monk, the INTJ appears less gentle or mystical about it; their asceticism often appears a direct result of their tunnel-vision drive and marriage to their work. The INFJ appears like a mystic trying to transcend their human desires, while the INTJ appears like something already inhuman trapped in a human body and therefore having no human desires in the first place. But don’t let it fool you for a second; the INTJ does have such desires and is capable of swinging from one extreme to the other. INTJs are notorious for periodic sensual binges where they begin chronically overindulging in various pleasures far past the limits recommended by others – for instance, Jean-Paul Sartre’s statement that while working on a book he began taking amphetamines, until near the end of his work he was taking twenty pills a day. At the other extreme we have Nikola Tesla, who reportedly remained celibate his entire life despite his popularity among the ladies.

So, in summary, the INTJ is visionary, tenaciously and hastily striving to accomplish their future-oriented vision, playing life like a game of chess, which requires that they obtain superiority over their environment through greater understanding. They are very independent, self-confident, and unsocial, but do hold certain values and ideas close to their heart. Their repression of Se leads to a certain amount of disconnect with reality and a susceptibility to sensual binges.

Thanks for reading, and for all the INTJs out there, thanks for trying to blaze trails for us into the unknown but beautiful future.

Watch this piece as a video here.