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
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
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
Here are the 4 parameters:
I/E : Introvert / Extravert
N/S : mode of perception :
F/T: Feeling / Thinking (mode of judgement)
- iNtuitive = imagination, add meaning, think of the future,
- Sensitive = attention on details, live in the present
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
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
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:
Creationist Christian wrote the following (here I only copy
some of the most important sentences):
"I am a Christian and a
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
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
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
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 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
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:
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:
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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):
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
But this is not an absolute:
SP - Playmate
NF - Soulmate
NT - Mindmate
"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
"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
"I thought the Christian culture down south would be ExFJ based,
"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
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
Kelsey (1982) described how children born into families that
were of an opposite dominant personality type were treated as
"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
(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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