A Writer's Room of Requirement

A home for the many random insights that cross my mind from time to time.

Archive for the month “September, 2014”

Why more Sensing Types than Intuitive Types?

Every estimate I’ve seen on the number of Sensing (S) Types and Intuitive (N) types places S types in the majority.  The strength of that majority varies, but I’ve read estimates that range from a 55/45 spilt up to a 75/25 split in favor of the more grounded types.  Why?  What societal and evolutionary pressures leave my N brethren and I outnumbered?

Socially, a single visionary can come up with a great idea, but it often takes an army of workers to make it a reality.  For instance, to erect a building, it takes anywhere from a handful to hundreds of workers to lay the foundation, stand up the frame, insert electrical and plumbing, hang sheetrock for walls, paint those walls, and any other number of tasks.  Each of those teams needs a leader, someone who can make the trains run on time, who makes sure that the craftsman have the material and tools they need.  Most of all, the leader needs to make sure the craftsmen get paid on time.  The building only needs one architect.

skyscrapers

When breaking those careers down, SPs make the best craftsmen.  So right off the bat, we need a large number of hands-on S types to get the job done.  Leadership, the foremen and bean counters, attracts a number of xSTJs.  Their introverted sensing (Si) function remembers all of the minute details – they forget nothing  – and their extroverted thinking (Te) has no qualms reminding everyone else.  One or two xNTJs might sit at the top of the leadership hierarchy with their long term vision, and an INTP would make a great architect, but the job of building needs an overwhelming majority of sensing types.

This relationship seems to work across a variety organizations.  The educational theory or counseling tactic proposed by the xNFJ professor or priest gets used by any number of xSFJ teachers, sunday school leaders, and childcare workers.  It only takes one xNFP Joan of Arc or John Lennon or Gandhi to start a revolution that affects millions.  The invention created by the xNTP in his basement gets reproduced and used everywhere.  Dwight Eisenhower (ENTJ) plans the Normandy Invasion of D-Day, but he needs troops on the ground to make it happen.  One intuitive idea needs many hands.

Over the many years of human society, as we have moved more and more towards specialization, the S/N balance has evolved to fit the needs of society.  Perhaps we have more N types now as society adjusts to ever increasing complexity in the human experience.  We need more ideas.  Or perhaps we have fewer N types now as an intuitive idea can reach farther across nations than ever before.  Regardless, it would make sense that it remains a fluid thing.  A person successfully filling their niche will have more opportunities to mate and have a greater chance of keeping their offspring viable.  Over time, society will adapt to the problems it faces.

Of course a far older and more resilient factor might affect the N/S balance in humanity.  As with any species, the threat of predation and other dangers that we have faced along our evolutionary path has certainly directed our development.  Maybe N types just get eaten more than S types.

As an intuitive, I know just how oblivious I am to the actual reality around me sometimes.  When our perception relies so much on the possibility of a person, object, or environment, we can sometimes neglect to see that object for what it actually is.  This perception comes in handy for pushing the human race forward.  Less so when trying to notice the lion creeping up on you in the tall grass.

lion in grass

The extroverted sensing (Se) types constantly scan their environment for anything interesting.  The movement of the lion makes them take notice immediately.  If the lion pounces, they can easily dispatch it with their superior athleticism and well-practiced weapon skills.

The routine and memory of the Si often keeps them safe from the lion.  They never leave home without food, water, and their weapon.  They take the same route to and from the watering hole every day.  They remember the location of every blade of grass.  They soon notice the unusual void in the swaying grasses that hints at the lion and they cautiously return to their cave without disturbing the beast.

The intuitive types have more difficulty.  The extroverted intuitive (Ne) follows the trends.  They notice the migration patterns of the lion pride and try to avoid traveling during the pride’s most active times.  Still, that does nothing to save them from the outliers.  And what happens if they read the trends incorrectly?  I liken it to a quarterback reading defenses and throwing blind.  If he gets his pre-snap read right, he could complete pass after pass.  He just throws to a likely open man.  What happens when he reads the defense incorrectly?  What happens if he has a miscommunication with his receiver and the receiver takes a different route?  Well then you see the ball spiral perfectly into the hands of the safety with a receiver nowhere in sight.

The introverted intutitve (Ni) type has no chance.  The symbolic savannah in their mind’s eye has no lions, but try telling that to Leo.  On a related note, INFJs are the rarest type.

lion eating

Leo gets to know an INFJ gazelle

Other reasons likely account for the disparity between N and S types in the American population, but we can’t begin to tell that story or understand the nature of humanity in general without looking at the societal and environmental pressures on our physiology.

 

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MBTI and Sexual Enjoyment

While all personality types enjoy sex in different ways and to varying degrees, I can’t help but wonder if certain types are more drawn to that raw intimacy than others based on their cognitive types.  I have no scientific proof, but I thought I could begin the discussion with this hypothesis.

#1. ESFP

#2. ISFP

Enjoyment of sex often requires two things: an ability to live effortlessly in the moment and a deep, intimate connection. Extraverted sensing (Se) types and too a lesser extent extraverted intuitive (Ne) types are the most comfortable at living in the moment.  Those types constantly look outside themselves for their perceptions.  The Se-friendly type especially can enjoy every aspect of sight, touch, smell, sound, and taste that sex provides.  They are right here, right now, enjoying every sensual aspect of their partner.

Introverted feeling (Fi) types get the most enjoyment from the intimate spiritual connection of sex.  Fi provides individuals with strongly held values but, more importantly, well-developed empathy.  No other cognitive function offers more excitement in response to a partner’s excitement.

The xSFP types combine Se and Fi as their dominant and secondary cognitive functions.  I give the ESFP the nod here because of the dominant Se function.

3. ESTP

4. ISTP

Both xSTP types also share a strong familiarity with Se.  ESTPs use it as their dominant function and ISTPs use it as their secondary function.  However, they lack the empathy of their other SP companions.  Without that connection, they likely take a more lusty, animalistic pleasure in sex.

5. INFP

6. ENFP

These two types do share the empathy of Fi.  INFPs use it as their dominant function and ENFPs as their secondary function.  They seek a strong emotional connection in all of their relationships, especially their sexual encounters.  While their strong Ne allows them to explore their outside world with a fierce imagination, they likely enjoy sex only as much as the spiritual and emotional bond they share with their partner.

7. ENTP

8. INTP

Both types frequently explore their outside world with the imaginative exploration of Ne.  ENTPs possess dominant Ne and INTPs possess secondary Ne.  Sex provides a creative bounty of possibilities for the Ne.  While they may not have the deep emotional connection with their partner, they can enjoy constantly trying new things in the bedroom.  As long as sex continues to stimulate their mind and imagination, they can greatly enjoy its many experimentations.

9. ENFJ

10. INFJ

11. ESFJ

12. ISFJ

Extraverted feeling (Fe) types might enjoy sex in a more indirect manner.  Above all, Fe seeks harmony in their relationships.  They want people to get along.  A seamless and enjoyable sexual relationship stands at the pinnacle of harmonious interactions.  Like the Fi types, Fe types enjoy seeing their partner pleased and excited, though they probably don’t feel that deep heartfelt connection as much as the Fi types.  The extraverted xxFJs use Fe more frequently than the introverts.  The NFJs also possess a weak Se function. While they will never feel as comfortable with their sexuality as the SPs, they can, over time, grow to enjoy the raw physicality of sex to a certain degree.

13. ENTJ

14. INTJ

15. ESTJ

16. ISTJ

These four types are the most divorced from their own physical bodies and from physical connections from others. They all turn their perception inward, to their own past or future.  In relationships, they seek not harmony or empathy, but order and control.  I imagine the only pleasure they get from sex results from either dominating another or the wild thrill of submitting to another when they usually feel so much in control.  It reminds me of Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards, the way he uses sex as a political transaction.  Like the four Fe types above, the extraverts feel slightly more comfortable with their Te function than the introverts.  Similarly, the NJs have a weak Se function, but for someone so in control, it may take them years to get over the embarrassment they feel for enjoying physical pleasure.

Myers-Briggs Personalities and Morality

After reading some of Carl Jung’s original work on cognitive functions in the last year, I’ve taken issue with the labels “thinking” and “feeling.”  The dichotomy leads novice typers to believe that all feeling types lack rationality and that all thinking types have all the warmth of cold, heartless robots.  Naturally, the truth has far more complexity.  Feelers use the same rational processes as thinkers and can demonstrate a certain ruthlessness when their families or values appear threatened.  Think mama bear with her cubs.  Similarly, thinkers often have strong bonds and deeply held convictions that can result in very powerful emotions.  We all use some form of thinking and feeling in our cognitive function stack.  Rather than pure concepts, T and F denote a preference in judgement for the subjective or objective.  In making their rational decisions, F types prefer to focus on the subjective aspects: how the decision will make them feel, how it will affect the people close to them, and whether or not it remains in keeping with their values.  T types focus on how much a given decision remains in keeping with objective standards: does it hold up under unbiased logic?  Does it fit with their understanding of good order and justice?

We all use both the subjective F function and the objective T function with one directed inward and one directed outward. All this theory boils down to four relationships between T and F in the cognitive function stacks of each of the sixteen types.  Extraverted thinking (Te) dominates introverted feeling (Fi) or vice versa.  Or introverted thinking (Ti) dominates extraverted thinking (Fe) or vice versa.  Each of these four relationships offer different ways in which we approach morality.  The amoral Ti, the just Te, the communal Fe, and the innocent Fi all judge their interpersonal relationships from vastly different viewpoints.

 

captain jack sparrow

The Amoral Ti-Fe (ENTP, INTP, ESTP, ISTP)

Let me begin with the worldview with which I possess the most familiarity.  While some would see the hedonism of the more sensing introverted thinker or the curiosity with darkness and iconoclasm of the more intuitive introverted thinker as immoral or unprincipled, we really just possess a staunch amorality.  The subjective value of a judgement rarely, if ever, enters into the decision making process.  We do not seek to do evil, we simply believe that an efficient structure does not require consideration of the good/evil dichotomy.  For us, morality simply does not apply.

When placed in the introverted realm of the mind, detached from the tangible, thinking becomes pure logic.  Thus, we often develop mental frameworks, our own decision making rubrics.  When a problem arises, we consult the worldview flowchart completely devoid of the subjective emotions of ourselves or others.

When feeling does enter the decision making process, it becomes extraverted outward.  We seek harmony and a certain espirit de corps within our social groups.  The more extraverted Amorals attempt to disarm others with our charm.  We try to cache hard truths in the form of joke or satire.  Look at Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Sasha Baron Cohen, or John Cleese.  Many of the world’s best satirists come in the form of the mischievous, nerdy ENTP.

The introverted Amorals take the philosophy of Ti to the extreme.  They make the best assassins and mad scientists.  Their sharp mental focus allows them to plan and pull off the perfect kill or delve ever deeper into ethically questionable science.  They can do this without conscience because we lack introverted feeling.  They have little empathy and few unimpeachable principles.  Poor, inferior Fe can only muster a mild “Doing it for the greater good” argument.  Captain Jack Sparrow verbalizes the motto of the introverted thinker best, “The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do.”

 

stannis

The Just Te-Fi (ENTJ, INTJ, ESTJ, ISTJ)

If only the four letters of a Myers-Briggs type matter and not the cognitive functions, you could speculate that all thinking types would get along.  Yet, as an ENTP I have felt more frustration in dealing with these extraverted thinking types than with anyone else.  When you look at the judging process, we have nothing in common.  Amorals use thinking as pure logic. The Just want to apply objective law and order to the outside world.  Amorals want to please their community audience, while the Just must adhere to their own deep, personal values.

I find that strict adherence to the objective letter of the law particularly frustrating.  Amorals take a live and let live philosophy, but the extroverted thinking type requires that everything and everyone fall into line with the most rational order.  I find this difficult because the best plan for the group often doesn’t work to my advantage.  Sensing Te types seem especially determined to adhere to the letter of the law even when it violates a more abstract logical exploration.  They fear that in the absence of order, all of society will collapse.  Perhaps, my own biases make me too hard on the Te type though.  Without their steadfast determination, other types would not have the ordered room to create and dance.  The Just naturally fall into positions of leadership.  You often find them at the top of businesses, bureaucracies, and structured religious organizations.

The Just would most likely utter the phrase, “If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.”  Their tertiary or inferior introverted feeling provides a core value system, a moral compass from which they do no stray.  Many  Just assume all other types have this same inborn morality.  Thus, adherance to their system of law and order doesn’t just come from some rule of man.  It must have a higher, nobler origination, perhaps even a spiritual origination.  When the law is violated, they show no mercy, because the offender has not only disobeyed the law, but they clearly ignored their own conscience.

However, the Fi of the Just remains underdeveloped when compared to the Fi dominant Innocent.  I have often found the Just easily offended and quick to anger when someone begins to poke at their deeply cherished beliefs.  I once traded quips with an ENTJ roommate of mine.  We fired little good-natured jabs back and forth at one another.  However, I could tell I went too far when I obliquely mentioned his wife and children.  All jest ceased.  His smile disappeared, his eyes stormed over, and he icily warned me to never cross that line again.  The Just do not like their sacred cows trifled with.

I can’t help but think of Stannis Baratheon from Game of Thrones.  He remains a shining example of The Just.  When Davos Seaworth fed Stannis’ starving men at Storm’s End, Baratheon offered the smuggler a Lordship as a reward for his bravery and loyalty.  Yet he also ordered his men to cut off the tips of the fingers on Davos’ left hand as punishment for his years of smuggling.  Justice must be served in all things and the cherished values must be protected.

 

teacher pic

The Communal Fe-Ti (ENFJ, INFJ, ESFJ, ISFJ)

The types with dominant extraverted feeling seek to create harmony among all people.  Naturally, they see themselves in an advisory role, teaching others good manners, encouraging personal growth, and building warm spaces where people can come together.  Their ethics tend to revolve around the best practices for the community.  They are the mother teaching her children to share, for sharing promotes harmony.  They are the educator preparing students for the future so they can contribute to society.  They are the Sunday school teacher trying to instill good values in his or her charges so they don’t criminally violate their peaceful society.  Fe types strive for community, in extremes from the Hippie commune where everyone works towards the common good to the family dinner table where we share a Thanksgiving meal.

Of course this cooperative spirit does not mean that the Communal hold as fiercely to principle as the Just Te or the Innocent Fi.  Their inferior Ti function, rather than standing on some symbol, strives to find the best possible objective outcome for their respective charges.  They seek firm facts that will benefit their society and push it forward.  For instance, they learn the facts so they can teach them to their students and they appreciate those facts because they objectively understand that education has proven effects on a person’s life potential.  The combination of Fe and Ti does not ask that everyone agree; it merely encourages everyone to work together towards the same objective goal of peace and harmony.

Of course that inferior Ti also has a dark side with Communal types.  I doubt that anyone can hold grudges like a spurned Fe dominant.  They will give everyone a long leash, but you can only threaten their community so many times before they write you off as a permanent villain.  The Ti and introverted perceiving function work together to sear the image of the chronic offender in their mind’s eye as a threat to their goals.  At that point, they will not hesitate to eliminate the threat with ruthless intensity.  A Communal makes a staunch ally and a terrible foe.

 

joan of arc

The Innocent Fi-Te (ENFP, INFP, ESFP, ISFP)

More than any other type, the introverted feeler enters this world with a well-defined internal moral compass.  Fi forces them to constantly explore their values and whether or not their decisions fall in line with those values.  It produces in these types a strong empathy that prevents them from wantonly disregarding their fellow man.  Fi types know right and wrong at their very core.  They strive for authenticity.  The Innocent feel uncomfortable betraying even themselves.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Innocent feel compelled to keep pace with the man-made standards of decency espoused by the Communal.  Whether honoring their own hedonism or striving for some abstract social justice, they must answer to a higher power.  The Communal would find the xSFP hippocritical as they indulge both their own strong sexual desires and a passion for their particular spiritual tradition, but the Innocent does not feel this way.  They remain honest to their own person when they follow their desire and they remain honest to their broader values and others by participating in rites or volunteering to help others.  This also means that the Fi type does not judge others.  If they must remain honest to themselves, how can they criticize others for doing the same.

While far from the most organized types, the weak extraverted thinking function of the Innocent strives to bring some sense of order to their life.  If they can develop their Te on some minimal level it greatly aids their Fi as they start their particular revolution. The SFP artist strives to organize their workspace so they can continue to produce stunning works of art.  It may also help them plan their careers, booking gigs or planning displays.  The NFP uses their Te to organize the people that often flock to their social movement.  For instance, their civil rights movement dies at the grass roots level if they cannot organize letter writing campaigns and sit ins.

Inspiration remains the essence of the Innocent and Fi.  The sensing Innocent crafts songs that inspire people to dance, they develop their virtuosity, or they craft a painting that transfers strong emotion into the viewer.  The intuitive innocent crafts art that calls on the symbols that speak to greater meaning.  They lead armies of change, incited by the Innocent’s charisma and true belief.  The Fi types do not have the “peace at all cost” mentality of the Communal.  They will stir up trouble if they feel the system creates a chronic inequality.  The Innocent wants us all to grow into better people.

 

Each of these four ethical views has a necessary place in society.  The Just keep everything stable and running, while the Amoral dare to imagine new technologies and ideologies that push the society forward.  The Communal create a standard of cooperation that all must live up to, while the Innocent inspire us to go above and beyond that standard.  Without any one moral viewpoint, society becomes imbalanced .

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