Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving
INTPs are pensive, analytical folks. They may venture so deeply into
thought as to seem detached, and often actually are oblivious to the
world around them.
Precise about their descriptions, INTPs will often correct others (or be
sorely tempted to) if the shade of meaning is a bit off. While
annoying to the less concise, this fine discrimination ability gives
INTPs so inclined a natural advantage as, for example, grammarians and
INTPs are relatively easy-going and amenable to almost anything until
their principles are violated, about which they may become outspoken and
inflexible. They prefer to return, however, to a reserved albeit
benign ambiance, not wishing to make spectacles of themselves.
A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure.
They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves. The
open-endedness (from Perceiving) conjoined with the need for competence
(NT) is expressed in a sense that one's conclusion may well be met by an
equally plausible alternative solution, and that, after all, one may
very well have overlooked some critical bit of data. An INTP
arguing a point may very well be trying to convince himself as much as
his opposition. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs,
who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on
Mathematics is a system where many INTPs love to play, similarly
languages, computer systems--potentially any complex system. INTPs
thrive on systems. Understanding, exploring, mastering, and
manipulating systems can overtake the INTP's conscious thought. This
fascination for logical wholes and their inner workings is often
expressed in a detachment from the environment, a concentration where
time is forgotten and extraneous stimuli are held at bay. Accomplishing
a task or goal with this knowledge is secondary.
INTPs and Logic -- One of the tipoffs that a person is an INTP is her
obsession with logical correctness. Errors are not often due to poor
logic -- apparent faux pas in reasoning are usually a result of overlooking details or of incorrect context.
Games NTs seem to especially enjoy include Risk, Bridge, Stratego, Chess, Go, and word games
of all sorts. (I have an ENTP friend that loves Boggle and its
variations. We've been known to sit in public places and pick a word
off a menu or mayonnaise jar to see who can make the most words from its
letters on a napkin in two minutes.) The INTP mailing list has enjoyed a
round of Metaphore, virtual volleyball, and a few 'finish the series' brain teasers.
- INTPs in the main are not clannish. The INTP mailing list, with a
readership now in triple figures, was in its incipience fraught with all
the difficulties of the Panama canal: we had trouble deciding:
- whether or not there should be such a group,
- exactly what such a group should be called, and
- which of us would have to take the responsibility for organization and maintenance of the aforesaid group/club/whatever.
A Functional Analysis
Introverted Thinking strives to extract the essence of the Idea from
various externals that express it. In the extreme, this conceptual
essence wants no form or substance to verify its reality. Knowing the
Truth is enough for INTPs; the knowledge that this truth can (or could)
be demonstrated is sufficient to satisfy the knower. "Cogito, ergo sum"
expresses this prime directive quite succinctly.
In seasons of low energy level, or moments of single-minded concentration,
the INTP is aloof and detached in a way that might even offend more
relational or extraverted individuals.
Intuition softens and socializes Thinking, fleshing out the brittle bones
of truths formed in the dominant inner world. That which is is not
negotiable; yet actual application diffuses knowledge to the extent that
knowledge needs qualification and context to be of any consequence in
this foreign world of substance.
If Thinking can desist, the INTP is free to brainstorm, calling up the
perceptions of the unconscious (i.e., intuition) which are mirrored in
patterns in the realm of matter, time and space. These perceptions, in
the form of theories or hunches, must ultimately defer to the inner
principles, or at least they must not negate them.
Intuition unchained gives birth to play. INTPs enjoy games, formal or
impromptu, which coax analogies, patterns and theories from the unseen
into spontaneous expression in a way that defies their own comprehension.
Sensing is of a subjective, inner nature similar to that of the SJs. It
supplies awareness of the forms of senses rather than the raw,
analogic stimuli. Facts and figures seek to be cleaned up for comparison
with an ever growing range of previously experienced input. Sensing
assists intuition in sorting out and arranging information into the
building blocks for Thinking's elaborate systems.
The internalizing nature of the INTP's Sensing function leaves a relative
absence of environmental awareness (i.e., Extraverted Sensing), except
when the environment is the current focus. Consciousness of such
conditions is at best a sometime thing.
Feeling tends to be all or none. When present, the INTP's concern for
others is intense, albeit naive. In a crisis, this feeling judgement is
often silenced by the emergence of Thinking, who rushes in to avert chaos
and destruction. In the absence of a clear principle, however, INTPs have
been known to defer judgement and to allow decisions about interpersonal
matters to be left hanging lest someone be offended or somehow injured.
INTPs are at risk of being swept away by the shadow in the form of their
own strong emotional impulses.