A Writer's Room of Requirement

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

Archive for the tag “Ti”

Which types escape the Matrix?

neo-wakes-up

When faced with the incredibly realistic but ultimately false reality of The Matrix which cognitive functions would prove most useful in detecting the machines’ simulation?  Certainly not all functions were created equal in this regard.  Certain types have to prove more difficult to subdue.  Who bucks the simulation of this logical world?

To recognize the Matrix I would want the ability to think imaginatively, to see beyond what my senses tell me.  The machines own my senses now.  I need alternative means of perception.

It would also help if I had values and abilities that the machines themselves can’t emulate.  If they can’t feel what I feel, then that makes me far more difficult to predict.  They have more difficulty cutting my perceptions off before I can realize them.  They will always have a superior logic.  They possess flawless objective processes.  But as a mammal, I will always have more capacity for unique emotion.  I must fight them on the battlefield where I have the advantage.

With this rubric in mind, I outlined the eight cognitive functions from most potentially helpful to least:

High

Introverted Feeling (Fi) – No matter how long they study, the machines will never truly understand the depths of a man’s heart.  They will never find a way to emulate the connection the Fi type feels with their fellow man.  Of all the types, the Fi types possess the strongest sense of empathy.  Through the observation of so many cues of body language and speech, they begin to feel what someone else feels.  No matter how accurate the Matrix becomes, the simulation always puts a thin film, a slight barrier, between the full interaction of two human beings.  The Matrix places a wisp of haze in front of the feeler’s empathy.  With such a perfectly crafted world, these slight, constant inconsistencies mean all the difference.  The Fi type never feels as fully connected to humanity as they should.  Maybe that explains why so many great Fi artists  – Kurt Cobain, Heath Ledger, Jimi Hendrix – come to tragic ends.  They just finally escaped the Matrix.

Extraverted Intuition (Ne) – No cognitive function possesses a higher capacity for imagination.  The Ne types constantly scan their environment – on an almost subconscious level – for any and all connections between all things.  This form of intuition loves to follow each and every rabbit trail that springs to life in the mind’s eye.  This gives the user two advantages in fighting the Matrix.  First, the Ne types, more than any other, notice the inconsistencies in their reality.  They stands apart as the great satirists and revolutionaries like Machiavelli, Mark Twain, and Stephen Colbert.  This constant examination of their reality could potentially lead them to notice the machines pulling the puppet strings behind their reality.

The Ne type also has the imagination to create a world different from their own, a world where these puppet masters don’t exist or don’t hold any power over their human slaves.  Ne types don’t just imagine a better world, they seek to engineer one.  No matter how well the machines prepare, they can never fully plan for every permutation of an idea that can occur to these scatter brained geniuses.

Medium

Introverted Intuition (Ni) – Like their Ne brethren, Ni types possess a strong imagination.  They have an ability to plan for the future that borders on precognition.  They see all of the possible outcomes in a situation and can plan for the most likely ones.  They could entertain the idea of a world dominated by machines and a false reality.  However, because they direct their perception inward, it leaves them rather divorced from their external world.  As such, why should they care whether they live in a “real” world or one dominated by the simulation of an artificial intelligence.  As long as they remain free to read their books or organize that reality in a sensible manner, they could care less about their supposed slavery.  The Ni might see the Matrix, but will they do anything about it?

Low

Introverted Thinking (Ti) – Introverted thinking helps the user solve puzzles.  It provides a logical framework from which they can experiment with their external world.  In solving most problems – such as defeating your robot overlord – this kind of sharp, focused mind comes in handy.  Unfortunately for the Ti type in this universe, their enemy will always have a superior logic.  Like pitting the school chess champion against a grand master, the human simply has no chance.  The Ti type could potentially notice a logical inconsistency in the Matrix but the machines will probably always stay one step ahead.

Introverted Sensing (Si) – The machines have co-opted humanity’s five senses to an alarmingly accurate degree.  Thus, the Si type only notices the Matrix if they witness the machines change something.  They have such a sharp memory that they would pick up on any alterations made by the Agents or the Matrix’s over-arching program long before anyone else would.  However, the Si type probably goes their entire life without ever encountering such a change.  They still have long odds of noticing an event that has long odds of occurring in the first place.  The Si type lacks any agency in noticing the simulation.

Extraverted Thinking (Te) – Like the Ti type, the Te type uses a strong logic in an attempt to order their world.  I’ve already shown how hard a thinking mammal has it against a purely logical machine.  And like the Si type, the chances of a Te type noticing the Matrix rely purely on circumstances.  Te will only see proof of the Matrix when they try to order their external world and that world doesn’t react in a logical manner.  In other words, for an extraverted thinker to see the Matrix, they have to find a bug in an expertly crafted game.  The machines just don’t make those kinds of mistakes very often.

Completely Useless

Extraverted Feeling  (Fe) – The Fe type seeks the harmony and growth of all people in their tight-knit community.  They have no incentive to seek out the Matrix because the extraverted feeler can accomplish these aims within the confines of the simulation.  In fact, the Matrix actively uses community harmony to keep their subjects in line.  Morpheus tells us that you can feel the Matrix “when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes.”  The Fe type may even aid the machines in working against those searching for proof of the Matrix.  They believe that such “terrorists” pose a threat to the harmony of society with their dangerous ideas.

Extraverted Sensing (Se) – Above all else, the Matrix seeks to corrupt our senses.  We see what they want us to see, hear what they want us to hear, etc.  Se type leans heavily and completely on those very senses.  Above all others, they find it the most difficult to extract themselves from the Matrix’s sticky web.  They think they see more than all others, but they are clearly the most blind.

neo stops

I  won’t bore you with the details, but I assigned a point total to each function and then weighted the impact of that function depending on where if falls in the stack of a given personality type.  I came to the following ranking for the most likely type to escape the Matrix.

Rank Type Functions
1. INFP Fi, Ne, Si, Te
2. ENFP Ne, Fi, Te, Si
3. ISFP Fi, Se, Ni, Te
4. ENTP Ne, Ti, Fe, Si
5. INTJ Ni, Te, Fi, Se
6. INTP Ti, Ne, Si, Fe
7. INFJ Ni, Fe, Ti, Se
8. ENTJ Te, Ni, Se, Fi
9. ESFP Se, Fi, Te, Ni
10. ISTJ Si, Te, Fi, Ne
11. ESTJ Te, Si, Ne, Fi
12. ENFJ Fe, Ni, Se, Ti
13. ISTP Ti, Se, Ni, Fe
14. ESFJ Fe, Si, Ne, Ti
15. ISFJ Si, Fe, Ti, Ne
16. ESTP Se, Ti, Fe, Ni

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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