Programmed to ignore

24 04 2015

I guess many of my readers also follow Tom Murphy’s marvellous blog ‘Do the Math’ which until his last post where he shortened it to DtM I had not realised has the same initials as mine…!  Now I’ve known for some time that my Myers-Briggs personality trait is INTJ, but until reading Tom’s latest post, I had no idea of the repercussions of having this trait was, let alone the impact of having everyone else who is not INTJ.  Nor the impact of the fact that likely not one single person running the world is either.

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

That’s me pretty much down to a T.  This Wikipedia page classifies us INTJ people as Mastermind Architects….  I like that.  A640px-CognitiveFunctions lot actually!  Being a Mastermind goes well with being in control of my Matrix!

But the true master discovery here is that the vast majority of people who visit our sites are INTJ.

About a year ago, Tom tells us, a friend shared with me a graphic from an informal survey on the Peak Prosperity website. This is Chris Martenson’s site, which hosts a “Crash Course” consisting of 4.6 hours of quality video content describing why we should worry that tomorrow may not be bigger than today, and why the growth phase may be just that. As a related aside, I once did a podcast interview for Chris Martenson.

The Peak Prosperity site visitors probably have a lot of overlap with Do the Math readers: the fundamental concern is the same. These are people who are—by and large—not content with extrapolation of the here-and-now into tomorrow. We think there will be fundamental changes in how the full Earth operates compared to our frontier days of resource exploitation in an empty Earth. In many cases, there are compelling calculations to motivate concern. Rather than trying to predict a dire future, my goal in “Did the Math” was to build a plausible case for things going off the rails in the desperate hope that recognition of this possibility would spur action now to steer clear of this potential pitfall (thereby making me wrong, in a happy way). It’s trying to expose a blind spot—a sleeping dragon.

But that blind spot may be stamped into human nature. So what about this survey?

Tom’s latest entry has loads of information about his survey results, too long and complicated to duplicate here, so I urge you to read his site for all the amazing fine print and statistical analysis only an INTJ physicist (which I now know my son is also!) would persevere with….  Tom’s conclusions, however, are scary.  We will almost certainly fail, as a civilisation, to act on the coming predicaments, because most of us are not INTJ and are therefore programmed to ignore all the prognostications within the contents of sites like ours.  “As a cerebral type,” Tom writes, “it gives me some satisfaction to have insight into how and why we may fail. If the world falls apart before I die, at least I’ll have some inkling as to what’s going on, and won’t be as psychologically shattered by the affair. But I’ll be one of a pitifully small number, I’m afraid.”

So there you have it….  we are on our own.  Maybe all the world’s INTJ’s should head for Tasmania, turf out anyone who is not (or the closely allied INTP/INFJ like my dear better half!) and mount its future defence against the poor souls who simply don’t make the grade!  One more link to Tom’s brilliant work…

I would love my own readers to do their own personality test and report back in the comments to see if we fare similarly, because it’s a fascinating experiment if nothing else.




11 responses

24 04 2015

Hi Mike,
It was interesting to find out more about myself (INTJ) from a source that is more objective about me than myself. Now to find out more about my wife of thirty years than I have been able to discover myself (not objective enough). That is if I can persuade her to take the test.

24 04 2015
Bob Sing

Scary I am INTJ as well

24 04 2015

66. Your desk, workbench, etc. is usually neat and orderly
was difficult to answer – I would LIKE my desk to be neat and tidy, though it isn’t, but I know my computers are neat and tidy inside, all patches applied, all data encrypted and backed up. Trying it both ways didn’t change the result.

24 04 2015

Good one, Mike. Do you remember when I asked the people at ROEOZ to take the test and a good few of the regulars were INTJ? I’d only just found out about Meyers-Briggs stuff and was rapt to find I was an INTJ and that many at ROEOZ were also. Made me feel right at home 😉


24 04 2015

Ah yes……. I do remember now Bev..

24 04 2015
Nathan A

INTJ here too, but I wouldn’t want to be part of a society dominated by this type. Lack of empathy means terrible leadership, and have you ever been in a meeting where everyone is “decisive”?
It goes some way to explain how Peak Oil bloggers attract an eclectic range of readers, but these readers have trouble coalescing into an actual movement.

24 04 2015

When was the last time you noticed empathy from anyone in government…..?

24 04 2015
Nathan A

I was really thinking about leadership and collaboration on a smaller community level, rather than the nation state level.

30 04 2015

It’s not futile, what you’re doing Mike, even if you only reach INTJ’s and INFJ’s. We then go out and influence the other (inferior 🙂 ) types.

30 04 2015

INTJ as well !!

5 05 2015

I’m an ENTP and know other ENTPs who also “get it”. But ENTPs seem to be thin on the ground, as do INTJs maybe.

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