Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,
Andrew
perspectivism

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Some textbook hazards of being me!

I just now came across a detailed INTP description that rings dangerously close to true ;)


The drive to understand things that are not yet understood is a very powerful force in the life of an INTP. This drive can override the experiential element so strongly that the INTP will become quickly bored with anything that he has successfully analyzed to the point of understanding it. Once understood, it has nothing left to offer, once the satisfaction which comes with achieving the goal of understanding diminishes. Indeed, most primary interests of an INTP are things which he cannot fully understand, usually because they are highly complex or have some exotic, mystical element that does not yield to analysis. This is the real reason why INTPs are drawn to complexity: anything simple is too quickly understood and cannot hold the fascination for long. Similarly, proficiency in any area (which requires continual practice after understanding) is not such a driving force as it might be for NTJs, for example. While a judging NT will often seek to become master of his field, an INTP is satisfied by analyzing it alone.

[...] leads to a curious overriding desire to observe from a detached position. Since accurate analysis needs to avoid becoming hampered with details or being influenced by the actions of others, the INTP invariably seeks to withdraw, at least in spirit, from the situation being considered. The INTP enjoys speculating about how a news item (for example) might be received by other people or how a point of view might offend certain types of people and be supported by yet other types; but to have a point of view of his own rarely seems relevant!

He may analyze his own thought processes as if his mind and body were separate from his conscious self. In wanting to understand his reactions to things, he may treat himself, even his own thoughts, as subjects for experiment.

This is his mission: to be the provider of clarity, and is often suspicious that he is the only person capable of this task. Here, the INTP risks being seen as over-critical, aloof and arrogant. On the whole, however, real arrogance is rare for INTPs for their desire is not to dominate others but simply to observe, analyze and clarify. Once the point has been clarified, the INTP withdraws quickly [...]

While proficiency may not be a central goal, competence always is. The difference here may be subtle, but it is important. If an INTP decides to learn a skill, then it is very important for him that he reaches a sufficient level so that basic errors can be avoided. Errors made by others are to be expected and can be criticized. But errors made by oneself attack the very root of the person, which is ultimately about rationality, logic and truth. INTPs hate to think of themselves being in any way inadequate, at least in areas that are important to them. So, as soon as he puts himself behind some task, then he must achieve competency. But that is as far as it goes. Refined competency requires too much effort and has little attraction. It would require practice and that usually bores an INTP. Hence, it is common to see INTPs dabbling at many things, achieving competency, just enough to prove to themselves that they could become more proficient if they wished (!), but rarely actually bothering to refine their skills further. This is a point at which we begin to get a feel for the workings of iNtuition backing up Thinking. The INTP has whole sets of skills which he knows that he would be proficient at, yet other people may know little of this. He is satisfied with the knowledge that he has these skills but often sees no requirement to demonstrate this to others.

Related to this is the central aspect of independence. INTP's put great weight on being individuals and essentially different from other people, who they often view as being too alike and too interdependent. The opinions of others are rarely given much weight in themselves. All opinions must get filtered through an analysis procedure to test for viability. No title or claim of being an "expert" carries any weight with an INTP. All people, big or small, are subject to an identical scrutiny. The INTP sees himself as the independent arbiter, whether a fair claim or not. However, when someone has proved his credentials through having sensible opinions, he will be afforded great respect by the INTP. Most respected of all are those who are not only sensible but also innovative. Intelligence is above all highly prized.

Independence, derived primarily from strongly introverted Thinking, leads to perhaps the most difficult aspect (for others) of the INTP, namely stubbornness. If an INTP is pushed into doing something he will automatically resist. The reason for the resistance is simply that any action must first be filtered by the Ti, guided by the Ne. He must be given the chance to reach an independent decision, approving or rejecting the action. Hence, he must withdraw to allow the analysis process to work. If withdrawal is not allowed then stubborn resistance is the inevitable result. However, others may not always find the INTP excessively stubborn, since the decision-making process can sometimes be rapidly accelerated when intuition takes the upper hand. The best way to get an INTP to do something is to suggest the idea as an option and let him sleep on it. Ultimately, the INTP must always believe that it is his decision. Once he is satisfied that the decision was independently reached, then he is content.

A further result of the Ti function is the concept, lived out by many an INTP, that knowledge is everything. They tend to believe that information is the key to life. All mistakes can be avoided by having the right information at the right time. This has at least a certain logic about it. Where they differ from other temperaments (especially from SP types) is that a large gap may exist between knowing and doing. To know is everything, to do is a lower order necessity, if it is necessary at all. This breeds the potential for lazy aloofness. The INTP is often satisfied simply by knowing that he could do something if he wished. This also leads to the danger of overestimating one's capabilities and losing a grip on reality. Here is an aspect where INTP and ENTP (browascension!) types differ strongly. The latter, with dominant iNtuition, are much more driven by shaping the world according to their ideas, ie. thinking supports and subordinates doing. For the INTP, doing supports and subordinates thinking.

The INTP's serious nature also makes them almost immune to mockery and being made fun of, at least when face to face with their mocker. If someone attempts to make a sarcastic, mocking comment about an interest of an INTP, the latter will defend himself with a pure, almost naive seriousness, explaining his position with a severe exactness, wielding his words like swords. This almost always disarms the mocker who does not expect such a penetrating defence (!). The INTP's defence usually also contains a subtle but biting attack thrown back in the mocker's face, chiefly because the INTP cannot entirely hide the fact that he believes his opponent to be stupid. This ability to wield words with cutting precision is one of the INTP's greatest assets, but equally one of his most deadly traits. He is capable of using words creatively to penetrate deep into the understanding of a subject, but if not checked and wielded carelessly, his words can become highly destructive, especially where the Feeling function is heavily suppressed.

The constructor/inventor ENTP aggressively grapples with and shapes the world, showing little reticence. The INTP is of the same spirit, but his constructive nature is likely to take shape within more private hobbies.

With an INTP it is either all or nothing. Half-efforts he dislikes just as much as he dislikes the restrictions of teamwork and cooperation (!).

Humor... He can readily dream up jokes about almost any situation. Taking things out of context is the chief source of humor. The Ne is the engine and source of this joke-generator. Needless to say, the humour of an INTP can be pretty zany and warped and may not be understood easily by others. The problem is that the Ne concepts for jokes are put into a structure only by the Ti. Hence, the humour can become black and tactless, having felt little Feeling input (hi, s3nsational!). If you see someone smirking and laughing at some private thought, without any obvious reason, he's probably an INTP. INTPs may make good comedy writers, with Woody Allen being particularly liked.

The preference for intuitive perception means that INTPs dislike having their lives planned. They feel a distinct unease before most fixed appointments and cannot fully relax until the scheduled event is in progress. However, the dreaded event is usually far less of a problem than had been imagined and usually brings with it a sense of satisfaction. Action is therefore the saving grace of an INTP, for a sense of achievement usually outweighs the earlier apprehension. Social appointments can also be greatly enjoyed, once they are underway. But joyful anticipation is rarely experienced beforehand, unless the event is central to the INTP's fields of interest. The source of the unease is simply the feeling that a planned schedule inhibits and robs the INTP of freedom. It is also a subordination to the plans of others which the independent INTP resists. Faithfully helping others is not a problem, however, but he must feel in control of his decision to subordinate or not.

One-to-one conversation is preferred in almost every situation. In a group situation, INTPs are sensitive to whether they believe they will be listened to or not. If a more dominant (strongly extroverted and loud) person is present, the INTP will withdraw and sulk, believing the dominant person to be a brute. If an INTP speaks, he must be listened to, for he believes his spoken opinions to be important. If not, he withdraws (at least in spirit) and assumes that the people who do not listen lack intelligence. Hence, INTPs make very poor leaders, for they depend too much on the attitudes of others. This is one of the negative sides of the Ne function. INTPs tend to jump to intuitive conclusions, can be fatalistic and have little perseverance. INTPs are often glad when someone else takes over the lead, again providing the leader is of the same mind. An INTPs ideal is to provide all the ideas for a project and have a charismatic leader, who agrees with him, carry them out (!).

When two INTPs get together, watch out! All forms of social graces and host-guest protocols become irrelevant. Both want only to share concepts and interests and absorb the intellectual stimulation of the other. Interruption of this process by any social necessity is undesired and annoying. The INTP host may offer the INTP guest a drink after an hour of discussing the latest developments in computer technology, and the guest may then notice that he is thirsty.

Ultimately, INTPs tend to trust machines more than they trust people and may feel particularly at home in the realm of cybernetics.

The dominant Ti core tends to assume the role of a controller and organizer of his life, while the Ne behaves like a free spirit, almost childlike in its enthusiasm. The INTP tends to experience these two forces as an almost continuous tug-of-war, with neither ever quite gaining the upper hand. He is not disturbed by this duality and can view it with wistful humor. If he has been free-spiriting for any length of time, he soon feels duty-bound to analyze his behavior and systematize it. While if he has been in an analytical mode for a while, he will soon decide that he can do what he wants freely after all. It is a yo-yo situation. Generally, INTPs have a very strong requirement to keep their external, social world as simple and as uncluttered as they can so that they can focus as much energy as possible on their internal world of system analysis and theorizing. Hence, they tend to be amongst the least demanding and least complicated of all types when interacting with others. They prefer to let the world flow by: to observe the waves being made by others, but to make none themselves. When socializing, the Ne mode dominates, unless a discussion starts up involving the INTP in which case the Ti largely takes over. In their private world it is of course the Ti that dominates.

Most INTPs have very good memories. Indeed, the sensing function is usually very well developed in its strongly Si mode and forms a strong partnership with the Ti core. Hence, the internal world of the INTP is a world of complex, detailed structure, well organized and methodically kept in order. When an INTP focuses on specific details then he has a very sharp eye for them and will not lose sight of them.

When he visits a place, whether new or already known, his Si function gives an overriding concern for the atmosphere or mood of the place. In his subconscious, he connects the present experiences of his surroundings with memories of his past, sometimes deep past. A sense of history, of universality, is almost always invoked. When on holiday, the INTP wants to experience above all the ambiance of each location. The atmosphere or mood will be remembered long after, as though it were a solid object. The INTP tends to be drawn more to lonely, isolated places where atmosphere is less disturbed. The INTP is typically drawn to wild polar expanses, to mountain ranges and all places on the edges of civilization. Whatever his particular yearning might actually be, it has a common root. The homeland of the INTP's psyche is a small and cozy community, isolated in the middle of a vast expanse of wilderness.

Because the present is inextricably linked to a sense of the past, INTPs tend to hoard items which help solidify the connection to the past. They find it very difficult to let go of anything they have collected (or indeed created) and which may have a nostalgic meaning. They assume that any object which is of interest now is bound to remain of interest for the rest of their lives. This emphasizes a strong sense of universality in the progression of time, just as it emphasizes the seriousness with which INTPs approach their interests. Frivolity is not in their vocabulary. INTPs often love keeping lists and databases in areas of interest, especially when the lists are associated with things of the past. INTPs are collectors, but they are collectors for whom the objects themselves are only important in so far as they evoke a connection to past events, in so far as they yield a nostalgic mood. The curious problem with any collection of an INTP is that he typically fails to enjoy it in the here and now. Items are stored away so that they can evoke this time at some point in the future, but such a point often never occurs. It may never occur because INTPs are always so mentally active that they continually delve into new interests, and continue to hoard items relating to these, so that they rarely allow themselves enough time to reflect on the ever expanding library of their past. The interests of an INTP would be enough to occupy him for several lifetimes if that were possible.

{ Music: } Each of their three main functions (Ti, Ne, Si) plays a role in the enjoyment of music, and indeed music is a key interest for bringing out the feeling shadow of the INTP. Si itself brings a fascination for mood and atmosphere in music as well as for a strong sense of personal nostalgia. INTPs are therefore often keen on melancholic minor-key music in which an introspective and/or esoteric mood is conveyed. Equally, INTPs enjoy hearing music that they heard and enjoyed when younger (provided they can still appreciate it now) and yearn for the sense of nostalgia that it yields.

{ Feeling: } The extroverted nature of the INTP's feeling judgment means that his emotions, when visible at all (!), are pretty direct and easy to assess. Since the INTP normally wishes to hide his emotions; when they do come out, they do so in outbursts with an almost childlike innocence. There is a sense of all-or-nothing and, when visible, there is nothing enigmatic about the feelings of an INTP: indeed, shadow functions always seem pretty raw and basic.

When making on the spot decisions while extroverting with another person, the shadow Fe is often temporally exposed on the front line. Its immature nature may then result in an inadequate decision being made. The INTP may regret this later when the Ti core has analyzed the events. Hence, INTPs tend to resist being forced to make quick decisions, for they know that their Fe judgment is their Achilles heel. However, the resistance is sometimes weakened when Ne jumps in to back up the Fe. The accuracy of the intuitive insight then becomes crucial if the INTP is to avoid fatal errors. It is interesting to observe that the external world of the INTP involves a very free-spirited Ne-Fe partnership, while the internal world is a very clinical detail-structure-analysis Ti-Si combination. Hence, the outward behavior of an INTP can contrast strongly with his introspective world.

The root of the INTP's fear of emotions is the fear that they cannot be controlled. Hence, when an INTP does finally respond emotionally to something, his emotions are indeed left uncontrolled, raw and open. However, when witnessing the emotional response of another person, the INTP intensely resists any similar emotion of his own. An example of this is when watching a 'weepy' cinema film in which some heart-wrenching scene is being shown. The INTP despises the attempt by the filmmaker to influence his emotions and is more likely to sneer than cry. This response has nothing to do with arrogance, however. Rather it is the INTP defensively avoiding exposing what he knows to be his weak point. Where an INTP may experience his own emotional response during a film is when he has had the chance to consider consequences of a element of the film. Hence, emotional response to media input usually occurs with a certain independence of will, which could appear enigmatic to others.

He always chooses to listen to music which suits his current emotional state, be it aggression, warmth, excitement, relaxation or whatever. His emotional state is assumed to be an unchangeable, mysterious property of himself. It is easier to choose appropriate music than to attempt to influence state. People with introverted Feeling, Fi, however, will deliberately choose to listen to music which helps them change and improve their mood. INTPs could never do that. They feel an unpleasant sense of disharmony whenever a music style clashes with their emotional state. Indeed, it is remarkable how much attention they pay to their emotions when music is involved. (!!)

Sexual feelings often clash with the INTPs desire to control and understand his universe. They also clash with the desire for detachment and keeping a distance.

The inferior nature of the Fe shadow shows itself, otherwise, in the lack of ability to show active empathy with people undergoing strong emotions. (!)

In a similar way, INTPs dislike being in an atmosphere of emotional disharmony. If they need to say something unpleasant to someone close to them, they would prefer to avoid this task for fear of the disharmony that may result. This results from the INTP's fear that he does not have the emotional competence to deal with disharmony. INTPs never like doing something until they know they can do it. The best cure for this reticence is experience: to express his feelings, to live through disharmony and come out the other side with greater experience of his emotional side.

{ Worst case scenarios: } The possibility of being left truly helpless leaves the INTP cold, for once the Ti core is defeated, the inferior Fe would offer little comfort. Resigned acceptance of the unacceptable is an anathema for INTPs. His typical response to helplessness is to hate the world which has produced it. [Also, he] fears that his ideas alone may lead to his self-destruction. This fear is irrational and is a cry of help from the feeling shadow when being over-dominated by the Ti-Ne axis. This problem can be overcome when more balanced type dynamics result from increasing maturity.




{ HA! for all us NT's : } The INTJ resembles a chess player, ruminating on the possibilities and then making decisive accurate moves. If the INTP played life as chess, he would keep wishing to modify the allowed-move-properties of his various pieces to optimize his strategy, find that that isn't allowed, and ask to start the game afresh! The ENTP chess player would indeed modify the rules to his advantage and complain that the standard rules were inadequate! The ENTJ would play by the standard rules but insist on making the moves for his opponent as well!



(straight from http://www.intp.org/intprofile.html !)

These insights serve both to remind me what to avoid & to allow others (divingpsyche & various loving friends) to more easily manipulate me.

I usually choose to be more E & more J than my natural temperament tends -- and I'm now phasing into again choosing even more of both.
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