COUNSELOR infjs are people like ...
Chaucer, Goethe, Carl Jung, Mohandas Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt
HEALER infps are people like ...
Homer, Virgin Mary, Shakespeare, Hans Christian Andersen, Princess Diana
Read about the 8 different types of introverts here:ISTJ 6% ISFJ 6% IDEALISTS
counselor INTJ 1%
ISTP 6% ISFP 6% INFP 1%
healer INTP 1%
ESTP 13% ESFP 13% ENFP 5% ENTP 5%
ESTJ 13% ESFJ 13% ENFJ 5% ENTJ 5%
Distribution of Introverts in the Population
The MBTI Personality Temperament theory and other temperament theories such as Keirsey, my favorite, divide introverts into four broad basic categories called Guardian, Artisan, Rational and Idealist. Introverts are people who are energized while alone and zapped of energy while being with others. Introversion is a legitimate personality type.
Let's look more closely at the four basic types. Guardian introverts are careful and cautious. They like to take care of people and things. They are practically oriented and protective, sensible and down-to-earth. Some examples of famous Guardian introverts are Warren Buffet and Mother Theresa.
Guardian introverts make up 12% of the population.
Artisan introverts are concrete and utilitarian in their approach to life. They love to work with their hands (i.e., "Man the Toolmaker"). They can be very entertaining and include people who play basketball, the piano and sew clothes. Some examples of Artisan introverts are Jackie Kennedy and Michael Jordan.
Artisan introverts make up 12% of the population.
Rational introverts deal with strategic analysis. They use their minds to organize space and solve problems. They are the "technology" temperament. Some examples of Rational introverts are Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. I have written several articles about Sir Isaac Newton. [click here]
Rational introverts make up just 2% of the population.
The ones we are going to talk about today are the Idealist introverts because they are so magical.
Idealist introverts are abstract in thought and speech. They are aspirational, positive and oriented toward the future. They long to unite people in peace and love. There are two different types, the Counselor (infj) and the Healer (infp).
Idealist introverts make up just 2% of the population.
INFj AND INFp ... WHAT DO THE LETTERS MEAN?
Both types are "i" which means "introverted" or energized by being alone.
Both types are "n" which means their way of processing the world around them is "iNtuitive" rather than sensory. Their natural habitat, so to speak, is the world beyond the five senses ... things that can't be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted. Since this ability is beyond the comprehension of the other types, it is usually misunderstood and ill described as with Keirsey who says, "they prefer to leave the practical details of their lives to others and spend their time making inferences, imagining, daydreaming, musing or wondering about things that are not accessible to the five senses."
Hmmm. I think for the most part, it would be fair to say they think we make these things up :-)
Both types are "f" which means their basis for decision-making is "feeling" vs. "thinking".
"j" or "p"
The difference between the two types of idealists, then, is their need for closure. Infj's are "j" for "judging" and need closure in their life process. Infp's with "p" for perceptive need an open ended life process. Keirsey elaborates, "Myers [the originator of MBTI personality typing] claimed that she confined her usage of the word 'judgment' to mean 'coming to a conclusion' but again and again she used 'judgment' to describe people who make and keep schedules in their daily lives. Myers also used the word 'perception' to describe people who prefer to probe for options and thus not be tied to a schedule."
Both types focus intensely on human potential - that of a few people around them -- and are among the most "introverted" of all types, having exceptionally rich inner lives and little or no desire to be in positions of leadership. It is interesting to note, for example, that an idealist type has never been president of the United States.
Both types of introverted idealists are rare, making up only 1% of the population in each case. [No type makes up more than 13% of the population.] The other group that is this small is the Rational introverts (Masterminds and Architects) who also make up just 1% of the population each.
It is my personal belief that the lower percentages, Rationals and Idealists are on the evolutionary edge. For one thing, it is intuitively obvious (here we go again with the"inf" stuff!) the ability to deal with the world in abstract terms is the wave of the future. We've been moving in that direction since we were cavewomen. The advantage of the technologically gifted Rationals is clear. The advantage of the Idealist is less clear. That's what we're going to look at in this article.
I can make a helpful analogy here with recent findings regarding blood types.40-45% have type O; 35-40% have type A; 4-11% have type B and a very small 0-2% have type AB. [blood types] Under analysis these figures have revealed migration patterns and interactions of ancient hu/man with his/her environment. It is now scientifically clear (as if it weren't always intuitively clear) that O existed first, then A, then B and now AB is emerging, reflecting some kind of physical (blood type) evolution or Darwinism. Temperament theory statistics may reveal a nonphysical Darwinian evolution of the "more fit" in these statistics: Guardians and Artisans make up 38% of the population each while Rationals and Idealists make up 12% each.
We creatures on the Darwinian edge-- Rationals and Idealists -- have both an advantage and a disadvantage. In a certain sense we are adapted to the ways of the future, which is evolving, but on the other hand, the future is not yet here. And therein lies the rub. I have written some articles about this such as Nietzsche: Schizophrenic? Introvert? Or Super Survivor?
Suffice it to say, though we may be better adapted to the realities of the future, we are maladapted to the world defined by "s" types, the present world. I mean to say "maladapted" descriptively, not critically.
For example, in any group of 100 people, say at a tailgate party before the football game, we night meet not a single person who was "like" us. Then again, would we go to something like that? Probably not. If it was a Friday night lecture at Borders on Dream Interpretation, the whole group might be infp's and infj's "like us". The Party Animals would be elsewhere, that's for sure.
Fortunately, we introverts don't look outside ourselves for validation.
Now let's look at the word "idealist" for a minute. This word has several different meanings and connotations, many, it seems, concocted by They Who are Not Idealists and "They" are most certainly in the majority.
This is what dictionary.com says:
One whose conduct is influenced by ideals that often conflict with practical considerations.
One who is unrealistic and impractical; a visionary.
An artist or writer whose work is imbued with idealism.
An adherent of any system of philosophical idealism.
One who idealizes; one who forms picturesque fancies; one given to romantic expectations.
someone guided more by ideals than by practical considerations
Hmmm … "unrealistic", "impractical", "picturesque fancies", "romantic expectations" … this doesn't sound very flattering. Further down the list, a synonym suggested for idealist is "dreamer".
Four of these definitions are, in fact, a real put down. Am I imagining a slight sneer on the lips of the lexicographer? Probably written by a Rational (someone who would be interested in compiling a dictionary), we are defined negatively by what we are not - we are not practical and we are not realistic.
To put this in perspective, why don't we write a dictionary and define realists as people who are "nonidealistic", "lacking in imagination", "bereft of meaning and romance in life", "stuck in the here and now" ?? …
Well, no, we're not practical. So you won't catch us writing any dictionaries. What we are is magical.
Let's look further now, among ourselves - or perhaps some of you are reading this because your child or loved one has been "diagnosed" as an infj or infp. Let's try to understand the real magic of the idealist introvert personality type. Take another look at the list at the top of the page. Think of the contributions of Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Goethe and Gandhi. Can you think of five people across time who had a more profound understanding of human nature?
Idealism is related to the Platonic ideals of ancient Greece-- as described by the philosopher Plato -- which are somewhat like archetypes in a way. One mathematician in a chat group recently said, "Plato thought what we see in the physical world is a dim reflection of the true ideal thing. For example circular objects are crude approximations to the ideal perfect circle. Platonic analysis aims to understand the physical world in terms of the ideals that capture the real essence that is dimly reflected in physical existence. Today the ideal world that captures the true circle is mathematics." Clearly this man is not an idealist personality type. As any intuitive will tell you, there is nothing "dim" about manifest reality reflecting Platonic ideals. Our ideals, our beliefs and their beyond-sensory forms are vivid and infused with life. (See Loved Real.]
Idealists warm to their ideals because they respond to them as potentials waiting to be filled. In our minds, we can draw a straight line from the thing we see in our Mind's Eye to the reality it can become in the future. We specialize in doing this with people. Time and space are not issues.
Kenneth Silber, in an article entitled Searching for Bobby Fischer's Platonic Form, published online at TechCentralStation had this to say about Platonic ideals. "No doubt, many college freshmen have rolled their eyes at the uselessness of Philosophy 101 when asked whether there exist perfect circles or other ideal entities. But a great deal rides on the longstanding philosophical debate about abstract objects. If, say, the number 12 has an existence independent of its particular manifestations in egg cartons and the like, then a view that the world consists solely of physical objects is inadequate."
"Indeed", says the idealist, who barely relates to the physical plane, rolling his or her eyes.
Silber, the realist, continues, "This has potential religious implications; in a recent TCS essay, Edward Feser identified Platonism, or belief in a realm of abstract entities, as a key assumption underlying Western religion." [emphasis mine]
An interest in the higher realms is, indeed, a characteristic of the idealists and a critical key to understanding their approach to "reality". The InfjInfp YahooGroup buzzes with talk about negative matter, extra dimensions, exotic energy sources, possible uses for becs, quantum computers, loopholes in relativity, space elevators, great unsolved math problems, consciousness, REIKI, Tarot cards and so much more!
Recently a new member Stela wrote, "I have never tried Reiki, but it is interesting to read about it. I am interested in healing and debate with myself about what type of healing I would like to do. Currently I am thinking about training as a nutritionist and using nutrition and herbs for healing. I also think that using prayer to diagnose and heal is interesting. Actually many kinds of alternative healing intrigue me. Has anyone ever thought of becoming a naturopath or naturopathic doctor?"
Another member Linda wrote, typically, and I don't "correct" email quotes because I think email is all about relaxed and casual, "I am into poetry (both reading and writing), music, reading, laughing whenever I can (Strangers w Candy, Mad TV, SCTV etc), and learning new things. I prefer the mystical poets like Rumi, Gibran, Hafiz along w some contemporary poets, McKuen, Bob Dylan. My musical tastes diverse and eclectic -no specific genre. My list of favorites is about 2 paragraphs long! I like to discuss current issues and mystical, philosophical issues too. I'm a Discovery Planet Specials junkie and realize that what we experience here is merely a blip in time." She signs her email, "In Light".
Certainly the group leans to discussing the "unseen". But here the age-old misunderstanding surfaces - there are those who think we prefer an "ideal" world because it is "unseen" and that we shrink with distaste from the "messy, familiar world" of blood, sweat, tears, mucus and semen. They think we would prefer to worship our beloved at a distance and without the "inconvenience" of a physical body as in Platonic love. Ha!
One of the most fascinating infps in my opinion is Hans Christian Andersen. His fairy tales, far from watered down Disney are the real thing, for those who have eyes to see and this may be only those with the subtle qualities on the inf's. "Fairy tales are not real, or even realistic," says Amanda Craig in The Uses of Enchantment at her BLOG, "[but they are not] as many people still believe, an escape from reality. They are another way of getting you to think about real difficulties.
Indeed. Craig reveals by her statement that she's no "inf" but June is.
June, a Slovakian currently living in Germany, learned to read just so she could feast for her self -- to her heart's content -- on Andersen's Rose Elf, which her mother felt was too dark to read to her. Somehow June knew this "fairy tale" would map her territory accurately. Idealist introvert personality types are uniquely concerned with problems of good and evil.
Another client, Rosemarie, says, "I was utterly fascinated by The Red Shoes from the moment I first saw the movie (based reliably on Andersen's fairy tale of the same name). "I was four years old when the movie came out. I can't imagine how I found it a few years later but I begged to watch it many times. I was actually embarrassed to reveal to my parents how much I wanted to see the movie again. It must have been my first experience of obsession. Today at 60 the story is still unfolding for me as it explains me to myself again and again through the years. It is a timeless story of the truth of my existence. I'm an infp and we are very intense people, easily obsessed. We have our dark passions and so forth. This is also one of our greatest strengths."
John, a 24 year old graduate student, chats up the Platonic ideals this way in his BLOG Discursive Parallax (I'm not sure you're ready for this -- I don't believe John is a Communications major): "Plato screwed the pooch when he came up with his essentialist philosophy. Platonic formalism holds that we experience a reality consisting of particular, imperfect reflections of universal, abstract ideals. Plato gave us an epistemological nightmare where we let distinctions between essentialist abstractions and experienced diversity blur, allowing dangerous conflations of Platonic ideals and inescapably imperfect particulars: the Platonic illusion.
"Personally, I'm convinced that the most debilitating of all Platonic illusions," John contnues, "can be described with three words - Perfect Girl Syndrome."
In simple English, Plato describes a world of "essentials", by which is really meant "essences" as in "I get the essence of what John is trying to say." These essentials are like patterns or blueprints of things that show up "later" in reality, though in the world of the idealist, time and space are often quite irrelevant. The infps I know have a horrible problem with time. Anyway, what I think John is trying to say is that his real pool of possible dates may differ significantly from Helen of Troy. Nonetheless, they are dates. Despite his protestations against idealism, by the way, John lists The Princess Bride as one of his favorite movies, so I guess we know who he is.
The kind of essentials we feel Plato was referring to are self evident to the idealist but let me try to put it into words for those of us who are groping for a concept of ourselves as idealists and how really different we are.
To the temperament type idealist, Plato's ideals are not "perfect" so much as they are blueprints and prototypes. I leave the philosophical idealists to their own devices from here on out. This issue of perfection is where the realists' choo choo really leaves the tracks. Idealists aren't interested in perfection. They are interested in potential, their own and someone else's.
Idealists value personal growth, authenticity and integrity. They yearn to develop themselves fully as individuals and facilitate growth in others. In this regard they refer to a not visible "pattern" of what they think a human being can and should be. They believe human beings can evolve into something "better than", "more than" but there is no end to this possiblity of evolution. In this sense, people will never be "perfect" because their potential, if realized, will promote further evolution. I believe that Carl Jung discusses this phenomenon in relation to God Him/Herself in his book Answer to Job.
click bookcover to order directly
Let's take a more concrete example. Let's take the example of a house. I want a house. I go looking. I don't find anything I like. Well, not in my price range. I'm realistic about this. So I think, maybe I'll build one myself. I go down to Home Depot or get on the internet and look for some house plans. Hmmm. Nothing there. Go looking for an architect. Find one with templates. That won't do. Wait. Listen to my intuition. Follow its clues. Mostly dead ends. Relax. Wait. Believe I can find what I want. It's out there somewhere. Someone tells me about an architect who specializes in small, unique, affordable housing. She's an independently wealthy visionary who adores doing these kinds of houses because they are her forté, something she believes in, and she gets international awards for them. This woman comes up with a plan that suits me to a "T", including the price. She gets so excited about it, she gives me a bridge loan to cover some of the costs until I can get the financing I want. This is a true story by the way. It happened to one of my idealist introvert clients and it could not happen to a realist, who would have stopped or compromised when s/he couldn't find an existing home that met the specs. Of course I am speaking symbolically as well. I am speaking about all the things that can't be seen, heard, touched, tasted and felt in a tactile sense.
As an idealist healer, this is a process I try to teach those who come to my classes.
Idealists seek higher and higher ground, more abstract sources for the things they want to manifest in their lives and if necessary, are not above changing the blueprint or seeking a "higher authority", even, as Jung implies, creating a better blueprint for a god. Thus Jahweh yields to a merciful Christ.
Perfection and escape are not the goal. Imagination and evolution are the goal.
Why are idealists so influential? Because everyone who drives by my new house may think a little more enthusiastically and imaginatively about what is possible in their own lives in the way of housing and eventually -- with a leap of intuition -- across the specturm of their life.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it so succinctly, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are only small matters compared to what lies within us." As idealists, we are about digging this out of ourselves and others. "Oh man, there is no planet, sun or star could hold you, if you but knew what you are," says Emerson, that great inhabitant of the world beyond the five senses.
It was reading Emerson's Essay on Friendship, by the way, that first opened up my intuition. It begins with these unforgettable words, "We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether. How many persons we meet in houses, whom we scarcely speak to, whom yet we honor, and who honor us! How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom, though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with! Read the language of these wandering eye-beams. The heart knoweth." Emerson taught me to read the language of the wandering eye-beams.
To move our discussion to a more subtle and profound plane, I would like to tell you a very short story from Thomas Cleary's introduction to his translation of Sun Tzu's Art of War. According to this old story …
"… a lord of ancient China once asked his physician, a member of a family of healers, which of them was the most skilled in the art.
"The physician, whose reputation was such that his name became synonymous with medical science in China, replied, 'My eldest brother sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, so his name does not get out of the house.
"'My elder brother cures sickness when it is still extremely minute, so his name does not get out of the neighbor hood.
"'As for me, I puncture veins, prescribe potions, and massage skin, so from time to time my name gets out and is heard among the lords.'"
In this story, you, the idealist, are the eldest brother, the one who sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, the one who sees war before it starts and stops it, the one who sees a way to get the "ideal"
house built within budget, the one who evokes a higher god ... the one who changes the blueprint.
Nelson Mandela describes it this way. "A leader … is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing all along they are being directed from behind." Or from jail. Or in a chance encounter at the grocery store that changes the way they think forever after. This is why your name also does not get out of the house.
This is the magic of the idealist. Is it any surprise there has never been an idealist president? Such work is better left to the Guardians and Artisans. Our names never get out of the house.
The influence of the idealists is more profound than ever a Guardian or Artisan could possibly imagine or hope for, for to change the blueprint is to change the future.
A list of healers who work at the blueprint level:
THE SUNHEALER - DNA healing
REBECCA BRENTS - Enchanted Spirit
PATRICIA DARROW - Diana's Den
SANDY AQUILA - The Om Center in Omaha
Added note: 11/18/2004
QUOTED and EXCERPTED from Tap3Times (no longer on the web) The less frequent types find their infrequency an obstacle to their development. In the general population, there may be three extraverts to every introvert and three sensing types to every intuitive...
Unless the introverts with intuition are stoutly skeptical of the mass assumption that a difference is an inferiority, their faith in their type will diminish. They will not trust and exercise their preferences, which, accordingly, will not be developed enough to be beneficial. These people are cheated out of the successful undertakings that would give them faith in their type.
Nancy's comment: This is a critical statement -- their preferences .... will not be developed enough to be beneficial. How does one develop intuition? I have an online course with this objective. Please email me for information. I can help you with this! I've been teaching people for 25 years how to develop their intuition.
The Tap3Times article continues:
Their usual way of adapting is this:
trying to change their type (resulting in a phenomenon Pederson (1993, p. 231) calls the 'turn-type)' -- also see www.benziger.org for her ongoing work with"falsifying type" and the tremendous toll it will take on your health
trying to "pass" as another socially valued type
simply leaving organizations or finding lifestyles that require minimal organizational involvement; or
accepting ill-suited roles in organizations and thereby risking a greater potential for failure than an individual might encounter in a role suited to his/her capacities and orientation.
Please contact me if you'd like to be added to this lis or would like to recommend someone.
What others have said about this article:
6.6.2004 Very inspiring! It's good to hear such an ego boost (my newly determined INFJness revels in it). I especially enjoyed the quotes. Will have to check out that Emerson essay! High school lit really ruined a great thinker for me. One more thing- do you really think that we're the next phase in evolution, like some kind of X-men made real? I'm not so sure. What kind of a society would need a profusion of introverted idealists? My sense is that we're rare for a reason, one unlikely to change given the fundamentals of civilization. Can't wait to explore the rest of your site. Feel free to contact me via the above email, too. -- Russ
[Nancy's note: The more important question is, "What kind of society would introverted idealists create?" ... if you can connect the dots here!]
9.26.2004 Nelson Mendela-what a man. Leading the flock as the shephard from the back letting the fearless leap while being the watchful eye of safety. Making the sacrifices and staying the course for freedom. Not made to be leaders? I know those fears. I am like Moses and wonder especially these days if anything I do as a leader makes any sense. But then I look at the eyes of my daughter with Down Syndrome and I know I need to stop whining and start leading from the back of the flock. Because she is the true leader and all I need to do is trust that somehow leading from the back means something. For truly we are the most powerful leaders. We have no other choice but to show the way. At least I feel I have no other choice. Yes that is who we are. The watchful eye shaping lives without even realizing because the WORLD of 5 senses tells us we are not made to be leaders. But who else can really raise the level of integrity in the room just by a raised eyebrow or a head nod or a shoulder shrug or a steady stare? Can you imagine a president who as an idealist would lead the group of Guardians and Artisans who would follow like disciples and really heal and build and what our world could be!!! (There goes that intensity again) Spirit help us all we so need an IDEALIST who has not forgotten the MAGIC -- Kati