Me an INTP
“Perfection is an ideal we strive for yet never
achieve, for the higher we climb the further we see.”
Andrew Hendler (try searching your name at
anagramgenious. I'm amused by my
first three matches. I see parallels in
Neo's discussion with the
The following is a brief description of an INTP personality.
While descriptions of personality types may accurately identify behavioral
patterns and preferences it is important to note that post enlightenment a
person will have many more strengths and far fewer weaknesses than an
an INTP - Introverted iNtuitive Thinking
(Introverted Thinking with Extraverted Intuition)
As an INTP, your primary mode of living is
focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your
secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your
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 love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories.
They love to discuss these concepts with others. They may seem "dreamy" and
distant to others, because they spend a lot of time inside their minds musing
over theories. 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.
Here is another description of the INTP personality by an
INTP. I especially enjoyed Paul's observations on music. As I
stated on the home page this section of my site is intended to describe what
kind of person would 'stumble' upon the knowledge I now possess. That
kind of person would most likely be not me personally but an INTP driven by
their unconscious, physiologically biased psyche. If Paul's experiences
were slightly different he could have been the one creating this web site.
This is only one of many factors that prohibit me from thinking I am
An INTP Profile
A description of the INTP Personality Type
by Paul James
Primary Axis: Introverted Thinking - Extraverted Intuition
"The INTP is above all a thinker and his inner (private) world is a place
governed by a strong sense of logical structure. Every experience is to be
rigorously analysed, the task of the INTP's mind is to fit each encountered
idea or experience into a larger structure defined by logic. For here is the
central goal of the INTP: to understand and seek truth. The experience of
anything takes a back seat. The INTP is not interested in experiences
themselves but is far more fascinated by concepts. The drive to understand
things that are not yet understood is a very powerful force in the life of an
INTP. Where the Ti preference is strong, this drive can override the
experiential element so strongly that the INTP will become quickly bored with
anything that he has successfully analysed to the point of understanding it.
Once understood, it has nothing left to offer, once the satisfaction which
comes with achieving the goal of understanding diminishes. Indeed, most
primary interests of an INTP are things which he cannot fully understand,
usually because they are highly complex or have some exotic, mystical element
that does not yield to analysis. This is the real reason why INTPs are drawn
to complexity: anything simple is too quickly understood and cannot hold the
fascination for long. Similarly, proficiency in any area (which requires
continual practice after understanding) is not such a driving force as it
might be for NTJs, for example. While a judging NT will often seek to become
master of his field, an INTP is satisfied by analysing it alone. The latter is
often more of dabbler with ideas which leads me on to his second crucial
For descriptions of all 16
personalities you can click
For a free personality assessment test you could go
While it costs $5 I would recommend instead taking the test
at the Personality Page site.
"By learning more about my own Personality, and about other Personality Types,
I can come to a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.
I can improve my interpersonal relationships, realign my expectations towards
others, and gain a better self-knowledge that will help me define and achieve
The following is a joke appropriate to INTPs.
Do not feed the INTP any facts, however trivial. Given, for example, A
manuscript of the Illiad, and a Hopi pot (c. 1860) the INTP will deduce the
effects of the industrial revolution on cubist painting. Given slightly less
information, say, a shard from the same pot and chapters 3 through 7 of The
Confessions of St. Augustine, he will be able to deduce the entire history of
If you must feed facts to the INTP, please make sure they are highly detailed,
and all related, such as in a spreadsheet. Because these data are detailed and
highly correlated, there are no conclusions or deductions which can be drawn.
Spreadsheets are available in the kiosk to the left for a nominal cost of 25
cents per handful.
For films which depict INTPs as leading
Men (1957) with Henry Fonda as Juror #8 (Mr. Davis),
The Edge (1997)
with Anthony Hopkins as Charles Morse, and
A Beautiful Mind
(2001) with Russell Crowe as John Nash. A Beautiful Mind is particularly
interesting as one can see how his personality (cognitive functions) determine
the shape and form of his schizophrenic delusions.
"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean,
is the moment the wave realises it is water."
Thich Nhat Hanh
It would appear that my whole life to this point in time, at 33 years of age,
that I have been doing what I was born to do as an INTP. I have been gathering
information about us and our environment in order to understand it. If I had
been born 20,000 years ago I would be doing the same thing except that our
environment would have been very different then it is today. Assuming I had
survived to the same age I would probably have been a member of a council of
elders who would advise the tribe on issues related to migration, to follow the
animals and the rain as well as which materials make the best tools. Perhaps
because my functions would have been more evenly balanced I could have become an
arbitrator of conflict. I would have been able to understand both the subjective
and objective needs of the parties in dispute and found a creative solution that
would have given both of them what they wanted and more. I’m hoping that is what
I am doing today.
Ok, how did I allow the “truth” to be revealed to me. Well that’s pretty
complicated. Perhaps I'll list a few bullet points; (please don't confuse the
'path' to enlightenment with the consequences. While there are many
different paths, they do eventually converge.)
Dominant Introverted Thinking (100% more efficient then other
Secondary Extroverted Intuition (Primary perception is the
discernment of patterns not easily recognized. Temporal preference is looking
to the future. Also I have been searching my
whole life for the extreme boundaries of everything. As far as human thought
goes I believe I have found it. As far as the universe and the sub-atomic goes
I need to read a lot more.)
Tertiary Introverted Sensing (memories of distinct, factual data oriented toward the past.)
Inferior Extroverted Feeling (My own needs, desire and
personal interests are the least of my concerns. Innate “childlike” desire to
Exploration of many areas of interest. Mostly within science
and science fiction
20 years of interest and work in computers and communications.
(Working with simple and complex systems. Lots of abstraction.)
Interaction with various minds and forms of reason on the
Internet. (I believe I owe a debt to the objective discrete truths
articulated by many INTJs.)
Security of interaction on the Internet so I could focus on
only the ideas or concepts present in each person’s post and avoid poorly
developed subjective response (Fi) to conflict.
My life spent as a Secular Humanist after determining the
fundamental implausibility of Catholic supernaturalism.
Many years of abstinence. Platonic friendships with women and
men. A wife and children entailed more emotional complexity then I was prepared to
A compulsion to live my life logically. e.g. not eating meat,
how to logically eat and enjoy deserts, avoidance of conflict.
Several years of observing personality behavior using MBTI and Keirsey traits.
Comprehension of functional analysis by Lenore Thomson based
on theory by Carl Gustav Jung. (2 weeks)
Comprehension (and psychic integration) of cognitive matrix
from web article on Type Physiology by Katherine Benziger using Dr. Haier’s
Comprehension of discrete elements of language, sound, light
and touch in relation to neural processing. (The language portion was very
"I'm an INTP, too, but I hadn't
considered it my defining characteristic. :) "
ratspaw_unlimited (29/M/MD/DC/VA Region) 06/11/03 03:50 pm
What is your defining characteristic; your
name, your profession, the product of your labor, your relationship to other
people, the sum of your experience?
Several years ago when I first learned of the MBTI and my
personality type as part of a team building and leadership workshop I thought it
was interesting but perhaps only one of several methods for classifying
behavior. But for the next year and a half, because I had learned of some of the
characteristic behaviors of the different ‘types’ I was better able to
understand the (often seemingly irrational) attitudes and thinking of the
variety of people I worked with. It was then someone showed me a copy of
David Keirsey’s, “Please
Understand Me” that I learned (according
to accumulated test results) that each of the 16 identified types are not
equally represented in any general population (which is the impression I was
left with in the workshop). I learned there are 4 types that combined average
perhaps 5%-10% and another 4 types combined average about 60%! These statistics
combined with my own sociological observations and my newly acquired
understanding of type compelled me to begin considering the implications for any
group if it was comprised of different percentages.
Then after a few more years of observations but little
additional study of type I read “Atlas
Ayn Rand. (Prior to that I read “We
the Living” and “The
Fountainhead”). It was clear Rand was INTJ and while most of her heroes
appeared to be xNTJ (rational people of action) you could see evidence in A.S.
that she recognized a debt to philosophers who were more contemplative (xNTP). I
think her John Galt character was a combination of these two types. The open
ending of this book inspired me to associate with other INTx and I began posting
on what was then the Yahoo! INTP and INTJ open clubs. I benefited quickly by
sharing my own ideas and having them challenged most tenaciously by the INTJs.
I think INTJs and INTPs complement each other assuming they
learn to appreciate the other’s strengths and understand their own weaknesses.
Consider that the MBTI designations were derived largely by behavioral
observations of an INFP (Isabel Briggs Myers) enabled by Carl Jung’s (INTP)
identification of distinct cognitive “functions”
and the archetypes that can consequently be identified. The functions are
divided into two Judging functions (T and F) and two Perceiving functions (S and
N) and they can each operate in different ‘attitudes’ identified as Introversion
(directed inward) and Extroversion (directed outward). It turns out that these
are localized to specific ‘quadrants’ of the neo-cortex and
introversion/extroversion is determined by
the reticular activating system. (RAS).
It’s likely you’ve heard the claim that most people use only
a fraction of their cognitive potential. The MBTI type descriptions do a good
job of identifying the qualities of different individuals who utilize these
fractions in different combinations. For example the letters in INTP identifies
an individual who uses Introverted Thinking (dominant function) and Extroverted
Intuition (auxiliary function). This can be written as Ti Ne. That’s 1 judging
function and 1 perceiving function, the bare minimum for an individual to be
productive. However, there are 8 function/attitude combinations. Consider my
claim that INTJs and INTPs complement each other when you compare the entire
sequence of each side by side. (For brief descriptions of each combination see
For explanation of notation see
INTP = Ti Ne Si Fe Te Ni Se Fi
INTJ = Ni Te Fi Se Ne Ti Fe Si
So where the MBTI designations may appear
very similar, when compared by function they appear quite different. However if
you look at each in judging/perceiving pairs they are closely associated with
each other, like left foot – right foot; (Ti Ne - Ni Te) (Si Fe – Fi Se) (Te Ni
– Ne Ti) (Se Fi – Fe Si). Remember each function/attitude combination processes
different types of information. So if an INTJ and an INTP work together they are
similar enough that they likely share a similar vocabulary (there
is a unique language area in each quadrant, e.g. Broca's and Wernicke's areas)
but each has a different and consequently complementary perspective on a given
object or problem. Kind of like one person describing the front of an object and
the other describing the back (or one the inside and the other the outside),
they describe the whole.
How about how these personalities manifest in different
cultures? INTJs have been called “The
Scientists” and INTPs “The
Thinkers”. From many years of work with computers and networks I noticed a
disproportionate number of INTJs can be found as hardware and software
engineers, often engineering the infrastructure and programming in what is
referred to as “low
level” code, that code which functions closest and with the hardware itself.
Well what do people with such natural abilities and interests do in cultures
that have not yet developed such levels of technological sophistication? It
turns out there are similar disproportionate numbers of INTJs who are monks.
It’s my view that INTJs are chiefly responsible for overemphasizing
ascetic practices as it matches their innate cognitive perspective (Ni Te Fi
Se). Guess what role the INTPs have historically played in the quest for
In his early years the Buddha
was known by the name Siddhattha Gotama (Sanskrit: Siddhartha Gautama)
...Eventually, at the age of twenty-nine, he bade farewell to his family, the
throne, and the kingdom to become an ascetic in search of Truth and
enlightenment. He practiced with many renowned teachers and experimented
with various severe austerities, but none of them impressed him as the right way
to ultimate realization of the Truth. He started to practice meditation on his
own, using his own methods, determined, unguided and unsupported by others.
The Ascetic Sayings of Jesus The practice of asceticism and the
relinquishment of all material attachments were regarded by the Christ as
necessary and required prerequisites for salvation.
On The Contemplative Life by Philo of Alexandria 20 BCE - 50 CE. Describes
the pre-Christian ascetics of Egypt. This important text shows that Essenic
traditions were common in the deserts of Egypt long before the arrival of the
The ancient Masters were profound and subtle.
Their wisdom was unfathomable.
There is no way to describe it;
all we can describe is their appearance.
They were careful
as someone crossing an iced-over stream.
Alert as a warrior in enemy territory.
Courteous as a guest.
Fluid as melting ice.
Shapeable as a block of wood.
Receptive as a valley.
Clear as a glass of water.
Do you have the patience to wait
till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
till the right action arises by itself?
The Master doesn’t seek fulfillment.
Not seeking, not expecting,
She is present, and can welcome all things.
- Lao-tzu ,
Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell
"Religion is a primitive form of
philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality."
Ayn Rand (INTJ), (The Objectivist Feb 1966)
"To this there also belongs the faith in the
possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational,
that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist
without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science
without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Albert Einstein (INTP), November 9, 1930
(From my CPU page)
...Note the following functional similarities between the human cognitive
functions in their respective quadrants and the CPU functions in this Intel
Pentium processor… That is, Sensing = Data, Feeling = Fluidic calculations,
Intuition = Prediction and Fetch, and Thinking = Code and Logic. It’s also
likely that the relative location of the functions is significant. That is, the
Introverted functions are closer to the center and the Extroverted functions are
further from the center….The most important point to make is that the designers
of this processor did not create it with a “conscious” understanding of
cognition and the location of their own functions. Instead they produced it
subconsciously without an understanding of how their own minds work. When you
don’t understand yourself and how your mind works you will actually be a servant
(or slave) to your own unconscious thoughts.
- Twins -
Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind,
As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.
Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a serene mind,
As surely as one’s shadow.
The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth) translated by Ananda Maitreya
Below is a very interesting parallel to a comment I intended to use to explain
my credentials for writing a book. There are several issues these few passages
raise that coincide with my own experiences.
Matthew 13 :: King James Version (KJV)
54 And when he was come into his own
country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished,
and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary?
and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this
man all these things?
57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A
prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their
This citation corresponds with my experience;
There is a striking
comment on the Nazareth incident by Zen Master Ma-tsu (709-788), who of course
had never heard of Jesus:
Don't return to your native town:
You can't teach the truth there.
By the village stream an old woman
is calling you by your childhood name.
This little poem is both lovely and poignant
in its acceptance of a psychological given: that even the greatest Master may
still appear to his family as the child he was--small, needy, untransformed.
- Stephen Mitchel, "The
Gospel According to Jesus", p. 53
How many people do you suppose realize that Jesus was not a Christian nor
was he a follower of any religion?
For 'Christians' to follow Jesus' example they would need to abandon all they
have been told and then set out and rediscover the truth for themselves. Christianity in various forms is a religion, an institution, developed by
misguided people who believe it is their duty to interpret scripture for others.
At its worst, for example the
Roman Catholic Church, it is an institutional
form of human oppression. The bible itself is an interesting collection of
teachings from both the
wise and the exceptionally vile and corrupt. The real value of scripture is derived from the
very act of reading and contemplating it as an individual. The wisest
teachings contained within are those that employ concepts and techniques
that require the reader to exercise the right hemisphere of the brain (e.g.
parables), just as other
'spiritual' texts do (koans). Reading and writing alone overwhelmingly exercises
language areas the left
hemisphere of the neo-cortex, see
"The Alphabet Versus the Goddess : The Conflict Between Word and Image" by
Leonard Shlain. However, no single book contains all of the answers. The
truth is found everywhere and must be assembled. Consider that Jesus was a carpenter,
not a priest, or a biblical scholar and I have every reason to believe he was an INTP.
carpenter job was a "high-tech" job 2000 years ago and in many ways still is
Gospel According to Mary
...Will matter then be destroyed or not?
22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with
one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
30) Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from
something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
31) That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be
encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
32) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Royal Astronomical Society
20 March 2002
Their results show that the universe is full of dark energy, completely
consistent with the earlier supernovae results. ...It seems that Einstein did
not make a blunder after all -- dark energy appears to exist and to dominate
over more conventional types of matter," Efstathiou said. "An explanation of
the dark energy may involve String Theory, extra dimensions or even what
happened before the Big Bang. At present nobody knows. The ball is now
firmly in the theorists court."
Throughout history many of the INTPs who contributed substantially appear to
have never fit in with established norms enforced by the institutes of
scholarship. This makes sense if the institutions are fundamentally flawed and
don't consider that different people learn in different ways. School always seemed to shut my mind down rather than open it. Only
by following my own interests when I wanted did I excel. I always considered
grades and deadlines as hindrances to learning. Such things are more
useful for teachers and administrators than for students. Whenever I wrote a paper in
college I was compelled to solve some enormous problem faced by mankind.
If I could not, I thought the exercise was pointless and became disinterested.
Needless to say I did poorly in school only completing three years of college. Einstein the INTP poster child had done poorly in school and was told
by a teacher he would not amount to anything. He was a 26 year old patent clerk
when he submitted a technical article detailing his Special Theory of Relativity
that had taken him 10 years to resolve.
There have been many other INTPs who have made exceptionally powerful
contributions to our human understanding of the universe. We grow up as quiet
observers. Social settings make us uncomfortable and some ask us if we are from
another planet. I want no notoriety at all for my contribution. I wish only to
live comfortably and be able to die knowing I have made a contribution toward
the goal of helping others. In an attempt to achieve that goal please
see the Knowyourself page as it identifies the
most important message found underlying, demystifying and uniting all of the world’s major