The MBTI personality types

Let's be much more practical now for describing the mind. Principles on the nature of the mind do not explain the diversities between the minds of different people. All people are different, physically and mentally.

However, to find some order in this diversity, there is a famous method of classification, called MBTI, which basically classifies people into 16 types, defined from 4 binary data. Of course this is not an exact division: not all people precisely fit into one type, as there are as well people in between several types (for each of the 4 parameters, a person may be in intermediate positions between the two extremes - for general remarks about the practice of classifying people and how it is usually criticized, an interesting analysis was written by another author). Still, it can be relevant to many situations, for example for its correlation with the kind of job that fits every person. (A friend of mine reported he can understand and predict many things in behaviors and relationships around him, just by classifying them into these types).

Here are the 4 parameters:

I/E : Introvert / Extravert

N/S : mode of perception :
F/T: Feeling / Thinking (mode of judgement)
This duality has many aspects, for example:
T: search for flaws in an argument
F: search for points of agreement in an argument
Some feelers can't understand that not all people are feelers. As they don't like thinking, they assume that other people's thinking is an illness which is the cause of their unhappiness. Some feelers may even assume that anyone's claim of better knowing some subject, could only be an expression of pride, desire to feel superior.
The truth is that, thinkers usually aren't interested to compare themselves to others (even though, of course, there can be exceptions).

J/P : Judging / Perceiving (J= on the rules and plans / P = flexible, disordered, anticonformist)

Some spiritual people may make confusions between these different polarities, especially presenting a worldview as if N=F=P, in opposition with S=T=J. Especially they pretend that rationality divides people by nature, while spirituality would be the way for all to become one. Or when they pretend that the intuitions and breaking of convention at the basis of scientific breakthrough, would be something else above rational logic, thus placing spiritual teachings above reason.
These assumptions are false, as shown by the diversity between people, and expressed by this typology: intuition is not opposed to logic: scientists use their intuition naturally, and never needed any assistance from whatever spiritual teaching to explain them that they should seek an intuition beyond some known rules for their research to progress.

To those who pretend to unify everything by rejecting reason, accusing reason of being a cause of division, while they focus on unifying everything: Can you make the difference between oneness and confusion ?

Some spiritual people pretend to teach the global, universal truth (N); and that this truth should be searched for by focusing on immediate perception and the present moment (S). Following the MBTI typology, this is a self-contradiction. They might reply to this: all is in all, so the whole universe can be found in the present moment. This may sound a priori plausible but for the same reason that all is in all, why could not universal truths be found in rational thoughts ? Indeed they can.

Socrates is usually classified as INTP. Indeed, Plato's philosophy and its mention of an access to the superior world of Ideas, is all about the INTP character: his Ideas are global, eternal (all the opposite of immediate perception), and rational. Note that he never pretended Philosophy to be accessible to any large number of people, but only a small minority. At least he did not pretend that all people should become the same and come to understand the same Truth. He saw it right to let everyone do what one does best: that the INTP (or at least some of them) search for the Truth, while other people manage their own other works.

(This reference to Plato does not mean any general agreement with Plato's philosophy).

Here are some quote from diverse Web sites:

A Young-Earth Creationist Christian wrote the following (here I only copy some of the most important sentences):

"I am a Christian and a technologist.
I am alone and unwelcome in the American churches.
Anybody can walk into almost any church on Sunday morning and immediately see that there are more women than men, often more than twice as many...
Anybody can walk into any scientific or technology conference or science department in a secular university and find more men than women. What is in large numbers is the preponderance of atheists and non-religious practitioners, usually in far greater proportion than the population at large in America.

The American churches are hostile to kind of people who become scientists and technologists. We can come, but only by pretending or acting like somebody other than God made us to be. It's like trying to evangelize Africans by telling them to bleach their skin.
It really has nothing to do with gender at all, except that there is a significant gender discrimination in one MBTI dimension, and that one dimension also selects technology and science on the one hand, and the Christian religion as practiced in America on the other.

Feelers tend to criticize Thinkers for being uncaring, while Thinkers tend to criticize Feelers for hypocrisy. It's not that the Thinkers don't care about people, but they value truth and justice over affirmation. Everybody really wants truth to prevail -- especially when lies result in harm to themselves -- and most people are willing to ``live and let live,'' to allow other people the enjoyment of their own lives. This is especially so when people recognize that the tables could be turned, that they could be the recipients of comparable disaffirmation.

The conflict comes when the truth is disaffirming. People often need to know that they are part of the problem, so they can act to correct their participation in it. However, it is unpleasant to receive such criticism, and Feelers empathize with that unpleasantness. Thinkers, on the other hand, consider the truth more important than the fleeting discomfort. This is the fundamental difference between Thinkers and Feelers. Thinkers value the truth over affirmation, and Feelers value affirmation over the truth.

Science and technology, on the other hand, is about truth. Affirmation is irrelevant and generally counter-productive. The scientific method thrives on disaffirming the presuppositions of the status quo, and trying out new disruptive ideas. Technology works the same way, but focuses on new products rather than the laws of nature. Many of these new ideas don't work, but enough do succeed to make our culture the most prosperous in all of history. As a result, the vast majority of scientists and technologists are Thinkers. Again the labor marketplace reflects the reality of the work being done there.

There is a secondary social consequence of this particular distinction. Science drives technology, and technology drives the creation of wealth in this country and the world in general. Wealth in turn drives the power structure. This gives the Thinkers an unfortunate but significant boost in public stature over Feelers. Thinkers can afford to disaffirm the Feelers, because it is the Thinkers in the position of power, not the Feelers. The Thinkers themselves are less concerned with affirmation, but the Feelers mostly don't understand that, so they continue to lavish affirmation on the Thinkers in a subtle form of obeisance and homage.

Except in the arts and the churches. Successful artists and preachers tend to be Feelers. Preachers especially survive best by affirming their congregation.
Movies are a widely patronized art form. Their economic success is highly dependent on the tastes and whims of the public. There are a few movies that glorify science, but a much larger proportion of them paint the scientists and the industrialists as villains.
Science requires a Thinker perspective to succeed; most of the religious institutions survive by affirmation, a Feeler value. This is a recent distinction resulting mostly from the Feeler takeover of the churches. Science has always been a Thinker activity.
there is nonetheless a very clear and increasingly hardened division between the technologists on the one side, and the nontechnical domains (religion and the arts) on the other. Both parties are aware of the divide and both pay token homage dismay over it, but both sides continue to act in ways that solidify the division.
The Two Cultures coexist in one society with very little overlap. Mostly they look on the other side with disdain... Mostly the two cultures refuse to have anything to do with each other. Perhaps ``refuse'' is too strong a word. The scientists warily accept people of religious persuasion, provided that they leave their religion at home. Similarly the churches eagerly invite the scientists to their meetings, again provided they leave their scientific thinking at home.
The divide between C.P.Snow's Two Cultures is nowhere more obvious than in the churches. American churches are unashamedly and completely contained within one of those cultures. The church is operated by and for the exclusive benefit of Feelers. Thinkers need not apply. They won't tell you, but they expect Thinkers to leave their brain at the door.

The churches I grew up in (and continue to patronize) emphasize as part of their doctrine, that there is such a thing as absolute Truth and that God abhors lies. Then they turn around and insist that their ``Christianity is a relationship, not a religion,'' and (almost proudly) that ``the church is full of hypocrites, and if you find one that isn't, don't join it, because you'll spoil it.''

Thinkers are not hypocrites. The highest Thinker value is to tell the truth, even when it is uncomfortable. It is Feelers who are hypocrites, who value ``relationship'' (meaning affirmation) over truth, and are thus willing to hide the uncomfortable truth and to live a lie for the sake of pleasantry.

What this means is that the churches are implicitly (and often explicitly) promoting Feeler values and deprecating Thinker values. This is not just the conservative Bible-oriented churches, but all of them. Even more so the more ``liberal'' churches who make no claim to adhering to Bible absolutes. Absolutes are a Thinker value, but even the self-proclaimed absolutists give it second place after ``relationships'' (the Feeler value).

As a consequence, the Feelers feel affirmed in the churches, and the Thinkers are not. The proportion of women in the churches matches the proportion of women Feelers.
``Dan'' is another technologist married to a Feeler, but he has been successfully morphed into a Feeler by the church. He still insists that he tests out as a Thinker, but his religious conversation is about relationships. He tries to engage unbeliever Thinkers, but they brush him off with devastating put-downs like ``Everything you've given me as to why you believe is based on either emotion or credulity of unsubstantiated ancient texts... None of this even begins to prove that Jesus loves me.'' The educated Thinker needs truth and reason, not love and relationships.
People have started noticing the gender disparity in church. The Thinkers out there in the real world couldn't care less. It's not their problem. But the men in the churches feel outnumbered. Where are the guys? So they start new ministries to attract men into the churches, and to keep them there once they come. Thus was born the ``Men's Movement.''

The guys in the Men's Movement (MM) don't have a clue. They are all Feelers themselves, so they do not understand that all the guys who don't come have very different values than they themselves do. All of the MM stuff is about ``showing your inner feelings,'' in other words, becoming Feelers. Some of them try to bring in ``manly'' activity such as physical exertion, going fast, making loud noises and breaking things, but its focus is still on relationships and feelings, not truth and justice. "


Now, smaller excerpts from any other sites.

About peace making:

"The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is represented in a realistic and well-known videogame, PeaceMaker.(...) Results indicate that the players' decision making personality is related to their performance in PeaceMaker. Players of thinking personality were more successful at reaching a conflict resolution in the game compared to the players with feeling personality, suggesting that those that are more assertive and impersonal, rather than affective and personal, are more successful in conflict resolution. Furthermore, this distinction is particularly important when the players' religions are those involved in the conflict."

As for the connections between MBTI and professions: here are some references: Some quotes:

STJ includes: Management, Administration, Law enforcement

ESTJ: The Bureaucrat
Like ESFJs, ESTJs value continuity and order. They have outstanding organizational skills, and are meticulous and detail-oriented. Unlike ESFJs, ESTJs are followers and joiners; they are happiest when they belong to organizations, the larger and more mind-numbing the better. ESFJs often have an abnormal obsession with being normal at all costs.


"In US, overall cultural values favor ESTJ type"


Highest Average Annual Household Income
(From highest to lowest)

1. ENTJ (84,434)
2. ESTJ (76,238)
3. ESFJ (74,882)

Highest Education Level:
1. ENTJ (4.12)
2. INTJ (3.93)
3. ESTJ (3.83)
4. ISTJ (3.78)

Highest Percentage Married
(From highest to lowest)

   1. ESFJ (53%)
   2. ISTJ (51%)
   3. ENTJ (51%)
   4. ESTJ (50%)

Scientific or technical fields: INTP,INTJ, ENTP
(+ ISTP includes Computer Programming)

Teaching, education: EFJ, IFJ, EFP, (and eventually ESTJ, ISFP)

INFP: teacher, professor.., Clergy / Religious Workers
Religion: FJ, ENFP

Problem: (as spiritual people often complain) it is commonly assumed that the educational system is about teaching thinking skills to the young generation; and, among other things, to show them what is science. But the truth is that the personality types of teachers are nearly all F, that is, feeling value, the opposite of thinking value. This can be explained by the fact that Thinkers usually don't like to deal with pupils.
Also, among teachers there is more J than T, and more E than I, while many scientists are INTP.
We shall further develop the issues about the school system and its discrepancy with science later.

The INTP type is also called "Architect" in some naming of the types, as this is another possible favorite profession for this type outside science.

INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors", who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.

INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories. They approach problems and theories with enthusiasm and skepticism, ignoring existing rules and opinions and defining their own approach to the resolution. They seek patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them. They're usually extremely bright, and able to be objectively critical in their analysis. 

They hate to work on routine things - they would much prefer to build complex theoretical solutions, and leave the implementation of the system to others. They are intensely interested in theory, and will put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy into finding a solution to a problem with has piqued their interest.

INTPs do not like to lead or control people. They're very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance. The INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.

The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings. They strive constantly to achieve logical conclusions to problems, and don't understand the importance or relevance of applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions. For this reason, INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally well-equiped to meet the emotional needs of others.

The INTP may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion, which will interfere with their creative potential.  ...

If the INTP is not able to find a place for themself which supports the use of their strongest abilities, they may become generally negative and cynical. If the INTP has not developed their Sensing side sufficiently, they may become unaware of their environment, and exhibit weakness in performing maintenance-type tasks, such as bill-paying and dressing appropriately.

For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed correctly and succinctly. They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others. The INTP may be prone to abandoning a project once they have figured it out, moving on to the next thing. It's important that the INTP place importance on expressing their developed theories in understandable ways. In the end, an amazing discovery means nothing if you are the only person who understands it.

The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security. They are strongly ingenious, and have unconventional thought patterns which allows them to analyze ideas in new ways. Consequently, a lot of scientific breakthroughs in the world have been made by the INTP.

The INTP is at his best when he can work on his theories independently. When given an environment which supports his creative genius and possible eccentricity, the INTP can accomplish truly remarkable things. These are the pioneers of new thoughts in our society.

They prize autonomy in themselves and others. They generally balk at attempts by others to convince them to change.

They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and the politics prevalent in many professions. INTPs have little regard for titles and badges, which they often consider to be unjustified. INTPs usually come to distrust authority as hindering the uptake of novel ideas and the search for knowledge.

INTPs accept ideas based on merit, rather than tradition or authority. They have little patience for social customs that seem illogical or that serve as obstacles for pursuing ideas and knowledge. INTPs prefer to work informally with others as equals.

they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of simple ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they are required to be. To the INTP, however, this is incomprehensible; they feel they are merely presenting all the relevant information or attempting to crystallise the concept most clearly

INTPs are driven to fully understand a discussion from all relevant angles. Their impatience with seemingly indefensible ideas can make them particularly devastating at debate. When INTPs feel insulted, they may respond with sudden, cutting criticism. After such an incident, INTPs are likely to be as bewildered as the recipient. They have broken the rules of debate and exposed their raw emotions. To INTPs, this is the crux of the problem: improperly handled emotions, INTPs believe, can only harm. While INTPs experience emotions as an important part of their internal lives, and sometimes share their emotions with others, INTPs nevertheless believe that emotions must not play a role in logical discussions, or be expressed in a way that would put themselves at disadvantage.

[INTP] are rare - maybe one percent of the population - and show the greatest precision in thought and speech of all the types. They tend to see distinctions and inconsistencies instantaneously, and can detect contradictions no matter when or where they were made. It is difficult for an [INTP] to listen to nonsense, even in a casual conversation, without pointing out the speaker's error. And in any serious discussion or debate [INTP]s are devastating, their skill in framing arguments giving them an enormous advantage. [INTP]s regard all discussions as a search for understanding, and believe their function is to eliminate inconsistencies, which can make communication with them an uncomfortable experience for many. Authority derived from office, credential, or celebrity does not impress them. [INTP]s are interested only in what make sense, and thus only statements that are consistent and coherent carry any weight with them.

Have very high standards for performance, which they apply to themselves

Usually, the INTP has trouble finding and maintaining a love relationship. The INTP usually has relatively simple needs and expectations from their mates, and they're surprised and confused to find that their mates have more complex demands. They don't understand their mate's needs, and may feel inadequate to meeting them (...)

See also: Grigory Perelman, The man who refused a million dollars (extreme example that rational intelligence can be very far from greed, unlike what many Spiritual teachings pretend):

Perelman’s widespread popularity is easy to explain. His having proved the Poincaré conjecture clearly has nothing to do with it. Most Russians have no idea what that is. What they like is Perelman’s stubborn refusal to take the money. The money is being pressed on him, but he still won’t take it. Even now, in this most materialistic of post-Soviet times when everyone seems to be screaming in your ear: earn money, get rich, spend it, get all you can out of life! “I don’t need anything, I have everything I need,” Perelman explained to journalists through the closed door of his apartment. Yet the neighbors say Perelman lives not just modestly, but poorly.

“He is exceedingly punctilious. Sometimes he would see violations of moral codes where, in fact, there were none.” The mathematical community considers that Perelman solved the problem, but he says that Hamilton deserves the prize. We, his contemporaries, feel sure that a million dollars is the equivalent of happiness in life and that one shouldn’t refuse such presents. But Perelman has a different opinion. Do you catch his meaning? He simply has other criteria concerning what is moral and what isn’t, what is correct and what isn’t. It seems that he doesn’t just see “violations of moral codes where there are none”, but sees more than all of us put together. Perhaps that is what helped him solve the “unsolvable” problem. What are all the temptations of the world to him compared with that knowledge?

...living with his mother in a humble flat in St Petersburg, co-existing on her £30-a-month pension, because he has been unemployed since December."

From a Facebook group on INTP
"I like INTPs. Why? Because you are unpretentious in a way. You don't seem to care about what people think about you. Is this true? -- Yes. People always think we are retarded. Try as we might can't figure out why, so it gets played out after a while" (Other possible replies...)
Keirsey defines what the four types want as follows:
SJ - Helpmate
SP - Playmate
NF - Soulmate
NT - Mindmate

But this is not an absolute:
"I find this classification cliched and a bit forced. As we grow older, we all develop (or at least are forced to develop) our weaker functions (...) As to mating, I would be the happiest to have a playmate, a soulmate, a mindmate, and a helpmate in one person "

More about religion: some links Some quotes:

"The character that the Bible teaches must be attained is that of the INFJs personality. By asking a reform of character, it is actually asking for a change from one type to another type.

Upon my departure form Christianity, my closest ministry friend, a very devout Christian, came to me in hopes of changing my mind. I tried to explain to him my stance by logic, but he wasn't getting what I was saying. I explained to him that I believed Christianity was taylored to the INFJs, just as philosophy to the INTPs and Music to the ISTP. I made him take the test and he indeed came out INFJ."

"I come from a Southern Baptist background and experienced the same "out of place" feeling that you speak of, but in my case the denomination is absolutely dominated by SJ's and mostly extroverted ones."

"I thought the Christian culture down south would be ExFJ based, if anything."

"It is very difficult to change personality, if at all possible, hence it is very difficult to follow Christianity to the letter of the word - if at all possible."
"An INTP has three likely ways of relating to religion. They can outright deny it as irrational. They can accept it as a philosophy and analyze it. Or they can accept the experience of others which might include the collective experience of a tradition.
An INTP can’t rely on their own experience. Even if they had a potentially spiritual experience, they’d be reluctant to trust it. This would be true of NTs in general."
"Another result, and this is just my opinion, is that there is no one to question the teachings, direction and whatnot of the church because the thinking types (like INTP's) have all left and become agnostics! Those who stay are not listened to. After all how can an anyone be a good christian if he or she isn't oozing with emotion?"

"The data demonstrated that higher dogmatism scores are most clearly associated with sensing rather than intuition. Higher dogmatism scores are also associated with extraversion rather than introversion, and with judging rather than perceiving. No significant difference in dogmatism scores were found between thinking and feeling. "

"Pastors with personaiïty types that were similar to the personality type of the congregation were shown to be more effective at providing support and guidance in a manner that the congregation appreciated. Congregationd members react best to religious guidance that is in keeping with their dominant personality type.
Kelsey (1982) described how children born into families that were of an opposite dominant personality type were treated as "black sheep"."

"My hunch is that those who attend church regularly are more likely to be ESFJ than are atheists"

"ENFJ - Extroverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging - "The Religion Teacher": Hard to figure out. Apparently their main skill is speaking in front of gigantic crowds charismatically, causing everyone to adore them. They will always promise great things for everyone in the future.

INFJ - Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging - "The Mystic" - prophets, monks, Jesus Christ: Wow, even more difficult to figure out than ENFJs due to their introversion. They are very private and spiritual, so the only thing you will be able to figure out about them is that they have strong opinions and strange values about obscure issues.
"

And some jokes:

"INFJ: "Messiah" Characterized by the burning desire to change the world, which desperately needs everyone to be NF."

"How unfair can life get ? Many INFJs here on this board are staunch defenders of the position that people should be accepted as they are (and we'll give you the MBTI theory of what any type is theoretically like, in case you don't know it already), and here we get accused of wanting everyone to be NFs. There is no justice in this world
- aww you INFJ's are so sensitive... cmon lighten up!! it's just a joke!
"

and here (follow the link for the whole page with a list of preferred religions per type, to be taken with humor - copy of the main part with other comments):

"Not only can the MBTI pick the perfect job and the perfect mate for you, scientifically performing vital tasks that used to be a matter of brute trial and error, it can offer critical guidance in other areas of your life as well. One such area which has not been sufficiently explored until now is the matter of choosing the right religion for you.
...
The result of the present state of affairs is that millions languish in religions that don't suit them, like square pegs in round holes. Similarly, churches are filled with dozens of people who don't fit in and just make trouble.
As a Myers Briggs type expert I am here to fill in this important void and publish a guide that will revolutionise society and contribute to human happiness by helping people avoid wasting years of their lives in religions that aren't right for them
"


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