Thursday, August 17, 2017

INTJ: or why no one listens to me when I have all the answers

I believe in the Myers Briggs test. Perhaps that makes me an idiot since there is no scientific evidence that it means anything. But humans evolved intuition for a reason, and that intuition works pretty well with other humans, and the categories of the Myers Briggs feel intuitively correct. Analytical tools like measurement are going to have less usefulness than intuition where other minds are concerned because "mirror neurons" can do a better job of simulating another mind than statistical evidence.

INTJs are "architects" and "system builders" who think in comprehensive terms. I am an INTJ, and I get the same result every time I take the test. Ignore the flattery in the description below;
"In a work situation, the INTJ is the radical innovator, coming up with interesting theoretical ideas and they are superb at ensuring the team covers all the bases. Although introverted, the INTJ can bring out very strong opinions, honed over much mulling around inside the head, and may surprise others by how much is 'in there.' They love to immerse themselves in deep, reflective, intellectual thought and use this in the team to come up with genuinely unique solutions.
"The INTJ loves the intellectual challenge and will come to the fore when there are difficult problems to solve, but those which require a complex understanding of many disparate issues. They love to deep dive, a solitary pursuit, then they come to life when the team is stuck and are superb at cutting through the extraneous issues and getting to the real meat of the problem. The INTJ is a genuinely free and radical thinker with an incredible ability to pull together all the disparate strands into one cogent whole.
"INTJs will overturn established practice be forward thinking and truly radical. They love the intellectual challenge, coming alive with difficult problems to solve then step back again when it becomes mundane. The INTJ will be at their best with the facility to work for long periods on their own. If they do lead they prefer like-minded people who also love the intellectual debate and complex challenges. They are so forward thinking and the downside is that once it becomes tedious the INTJ will revert back to their introvert nature and seek to go off, satiate their thirst for interesting tasks and analyse more complex data. The INTJ is capable of holding masses of complex and often contradictory data in their heads and then bring this to bear on ‘big,’ strategic problems coming up with solutions that are leading edge."
The INTJ is the patient visionary with a clear view of how the future should look and will work with quiet and logical determination to make it happen. Although quite deep, and mistrustful until they have the measure of people, the INTJ loves an intellectual challenge and will be stimulated by the conceptual, the abstract and the complex. The INTJ loves the complex, the new, the untried and the untested. Facts and figures bore them, and they will be looking to see the 'bigger picture,' planning for the future that they create.
INTJs make decisions based on rational logic, rather than emotion and they will be quite measured in their approach to other people. They generally have strong opinions, are independent of thought and action and have no need to verbalize these, other than to declare the conclusions. This economy of information can be a handicap as it may leave members of the team feeling that they are 'on the outside.'
The INTJ’s dislike of the basic facts may, at times, work against them as they can make decisions based on their theories and concepts and at times they may overlook 'the obvious,' seeking instead the complex solution. However, they will generally trust their own judgments, especially as these have been considered, chewed-over and processed for a long time prior to being announced.
Original and complex, INTJs have active minds, directed internally and their intuitive trait, (the high ‘N’) enables them to see very clearly the interconnections between things and the longer term implications of trends, current actions and events. Innovative and analytical, INTJs have a unique talent for analyzing complex problems and issues and determining how they can be improved, whether it be a small innocuous product or the whole organisation. Their favorite subject for improvement, however, is themselves and they are on a constant quest to learn, develop and progress.
Different part of the same source
What is left out is that we can be quite negative when we are breaking things down. A lot of what I do is tearing apart issues into tiny little pieces before relating everything to a complex whole. It's a destructive process of breaking things down, and it can be really hard for people to switch their mentality to building something up afterward. I am always referencing a kind of giant mental map in my own mind. Since I am the only person who has access to this map everyone else is stuck looking at one little part of the map at a time. Example: I will talk about the kinds of relationships a society has under selection pressures that new technology has created, then switch to talking about effects of birth control, then switch to the pervasive effects of capitalism, then switch to talking about the selection pressures that act against capitalism, etc. The "hidden map" that is being referenced is that all this crap is just a series of algorithms, and it is all interconnected. It's really shitty to try to explain something in written language that is better explained as a diagram. When you speak or write words you go from one sentence to another in a linear fashion; it makes it seem like you are talking about a sequence of events in TIME, but I am not. I am talking about how everything relates to everything else. This whole blog could be written backwards chronologically, with the first posts presented last and the last posts presented first, and it would make no more or less sense than it does. Actually, it might be a little clearer because those early ideas were less complex.

There's no sequence.

It's all like this;

First blog post: "here is pattern # 4"

Second blog post: "Oh, now let's talk about pattern # 256. That's more interesting."

Third blog post: "remember patter 4? Let's see how that relates to pattern # 15."

I would give you an actual diagram for this whole thing but I haven't figured it all out myself.

When you read this blog, what you are basically experiencing is my brain in written form. Confusing? Well, yes. There is a small mountain of complexity built into every assertion.

Imagine you look up a word in the dictionary to find out what it means. The definition of the word uses 2 other words that you do not understand. Each of those definitions use 2 other words, and 2 other, and 2 others. You wind up reading the entire dictionary because the only way you can understand the concept is to understand how it relates to everything else. This might seem like a nightmare to you, but it is a dream to me.

That's my brain.

To make things worse this blog attracts a lot of INTPs, or "Logicians," and ENTPs, or "Debaters."

The INTP description;
"They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to an INTP. This makes it ironic that INTPs’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the INTP personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.
"This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than INTPs – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the INTP personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy INTPs will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution."
And the ENTP;
"Taking a certain pleasure in being the underdog, ENTPs enjoy the mental exercise found in questioning the prevailing mode of thought, making them irreplaceable in reworking existing systems or shaking things up and pushing them in clever new directions. However, they’ll be miserable managing the day-to-day mechanics of actually implementing their suggestions. ENTP personalities love to brainstorm and think big, but they will avoid getting caught doing the "grunt work" at all costs. ENTPs only make up about three percent of the population, which is just right, as it lets them create original ideas, then step back to let more numerous and fastidious personalities handle the logistics of implementation and maintenance.
"ENTPs’ capacity for debate can be a vexing one – while often appreciated when it’s called for, it can fall painfully flat when they step on others’ toes by say, openly questioning their boss in a meeting, or picking apart everything their significant other says. This is further complicated by ENTPs’ unyielding honesty, as this type doesn’t mince words and cares little about being seen as sensitive or compassionate. Like minded types get along well enough with people with the ENTP personality type, but more sensitive types, and society in general, are often conflict-averse, preferring feelings, comfort, and even white lies over unpleasant truths and hard rationality.
"This frustrates ENTPs, and they find that their quarrelsome fun burns many bridges, oftentimes inadvertently, as they plow through others’ thresholds for having their beliefs questioned and their feelings brushed aside. Treating others as they’d be treated, ENTPs have little tolerance for being coddled, and dislike when people beat around the bush, especially when asking a favor. ENTP personalities find themselves respected for their vision, confidence, knowledge, and keen sense of humor, but often struggle to utilize these qualities as the basis for deeper friendships and romantic relationships."
Me: "let's talk about the big picture and all its complexity. Here is how every aspect of the universe relates to everything else. Here, read 80 pages of shit on the subject. It will explain everything."

ENTP reader: "You made the following logical errors. Can't you just distill the details? Too long: didn't read. And how does this relate to that other thing?"

INTP reader: "you misspelled 15 words and made 17 grammatical mistakes. I can't take anyone seriously who doesn't pay attention to the details of their own work. Additionally, this SMALL POINT HERE contradicts this OTHER SMALL POINT THERE. Therefore your entire argument in invalid."

Me: "here is why everything is going completely to shit and nothing can be done about it."

Also me: "here is a comprehensive plan that will solve everything I just said couldn't be fixed."

Reader: "there's no hope! Surrender all hope, ye who enter here! We're doomed!"

Me: "but didn't you read the part where I solved the problem that I said was unsolvable?"

Reader: "it won't work. You said it was unsolvable! There is no hope!"

Me: "you are teking me too literally."

INTP reader: "you made a spelling mistake."

ENTP reader: "the problem cannot be solved."

Me: "didn't you read that part where I solved it?"

ENTP reader: "it was too long, so no. Anyway, I dozed off. But now I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that nothing can be done about it."


  1. I am very much an ENTP. I don't have much of a mental map in my mind at all. I have a bunch of facts I regularly reference when other facts come up, but a systemic thinker I am not. I do find it quite difficult to build things up, and going through the entire dictionary to find the meaning of a word in the way you describe seems like quite a nightmare to me. You are a unique and rare writer, and I appreciate your contributions here. Nevertheless, if forced to read a bunch of posts to understand a point, I will grudgingly do so.

  2. As an INTP reader I love the exploration of ideas unshackled by the tired conventions of thought. I find your willingness to break new ground and boldly walk new paths to be damn noble. This blog is a particularly delicious feast of ideas that I genuinely appreciate. Just saying'.

  3. As another INTP reader, language is both a tool and a toy to be played with as one sees fit. It would be illogical to judge the merits of an idea based on how it has been presented.