Myers Musings: INTP and Me

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If INTJ are the conspiracy theorists then INTP are just theorists, period.

So what can we say about INTPs? I have some theories . . .

The INTP motto could be: “That’s fine in practice, but what about the theory.” This is a result of their mixture of extraverted intuition and introverted thinking (the same functions as INTJ, but different directions).

Where introverted intuition (Ni) is convergent (decoding a pattern to its meaning, or source), extraverted intuition (Ne) is divergent (creating a pattern of alternate next steps). If introverted intuition can look at a black box and figure out its workings, then extraverted intuition can look at a black box and figure out uses for it (“if we changed the input. . .” or “we could take the output and . . .”). Extraverted intuition might never understand how the black box works (its innards), but will explore ways to use it. Extraverted intuition would fully understand how different inputs might generate different outputs, yet never fully understand the inner workings.

For the INTP, extraverted intuition plays support to introverted thinking (in an INTJ introverted intuition is lead, supported by extraverted thinking). Introverted thinking seeks to understand, classify, and then inform. Extraverted intuition generates possibilities that it feeds to introverted thinking, so the INTP can understand how the world works (generate theories). Unlike sensing types, that learning does not happen in a linear fashion. Extraverted intuition generates flashes of clarity, where a pixilated picture suddenly resolves into a high-resolution image.

I often have created theories only to find that my wild speculation has some basis in science. An example is my description of introversion and extraversion. I was not consciously aware of Hans Eysenck’s theory of cortically arousal, but my description sounds similar (if less scientific). I can be quite wrong as you can witness on some of my M-B typing posts and comments. The point is that such theories appear already formed; they are not built up methodically, in a step-by-step manner.

You may be wondering what I meant by saying I was not consciously aware of Eysenck’s work. I mean I had either read about it or not, right? For me, once something has been absorbed and understood, it joins the great blob of knowledge in my head. It becomes disconnected from its original source and instead forms part of a new greater whole. A piece of knowledge may (now or later) generate new insights totally unrelated to the original subject. It is possible that I did read something of Eysenck’s work, but because that reading did not relate specifically to understanding introversion and extraversion, it just became part of that knowledge blob.
[I should be clear that I do not believe I did read about Eysenck’s theory. I am usually aware that I read something (often uncertain exactly what or where), but understand that I do not store such little bits of knowledge as discrete pieces, but rather blend them into the whole.]

On conspiracy theories: extraverted intuition is certainly comfortable considering them. Introverted thinking will check that they make sense (logically fit with the current understanding of the world), and may accept them if they seem logical. INTPs may not generate conspiracy theories, but can certainly enjoy them.

Notes

The reason why the possibility generating extraverted intuition does not generate conspiracy theories is that it does not seek meaning in what is; it looks for possibilities for what could be. It takes the patterns it sees in the world as given, and wonders what could we do with them now. Introverted intuition sees patterns in the world and wants to understand how they came to be.

Extraverted intuition could well generate the conspiracy itself though. It would work like this: 1) Imagine we could create a central bank, 2) Imagine we could get governments and individuals in heavy debt . . . In other words it generated possibilities from a starting point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Eysenck

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