Monday, September 22, 2014

Mike Jackson: ISFP

Introverted (energized by one’s thoughts and impressions)

Sensing (concrete and realistic)

Feeling (bases decisions on values)

Perceiving (adaptable and spontaneous)

Dominant Function: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

The dominant function is one’s “default setting,” the function one feels most comfortable using. Fi is concerned with focusing on personal/individual values, experiencing intense emotions which are not directly expressed and may be concealed, expressing feelings indirectly, understanding and defining personal feelings/values and likes and dislikes, determining what is worthy of being valued and stood up for, balancing peace and conflict, striving for consistency of values.

The basic conflict of Mike and Psmith is based on Mike’s Fi: he has decided that Sedleigh and all its works are evil, and therefore he will have nothing to do with it. Mike’s personal values are a major driving force in his choices, and he is willing to go to great extremes out of conscientiousness. He breaks out of school to help Jellicoe and takes the blame for Mr. Waller’s banking error because he believes it is the right thing to do (in some cases, regardless of rules). Although he is “naturally sympathetic” as a result of his value system, he struggles with expressing his feelings directly and consequently can come across as shy, awkward, or brusque. His likes and dislikes are strong; he is conscious of how he feels about a given situation or person and does not base his emotions on those of others (as opposed to the Fe that Psmith uses, which is conscious of group values/emotions). When his values are violated, he is quick to stand up for himself (e.g. when the crowds listening to Mr. Waller’s speech turn hostile and potentially violent, he lashes out against the perpetrator) but prefers in general to avoid conflict. He is generally willing to join Psmith’s schemes but will not hesitate to call him out if he goes too far.

Auxiliary Function: Extroverted Sensing (Se)

The auxiliary function assists and balances the dominant function and is used when one helps or mentors someone. Se is concerned with taking in sensory information, “here and now” mentality, taking immediate action, interacting with one’s immediate environment, living in the moment, thrill-seeking.

Se accounts for Mike’s proficiency at sports, which require both environmental awareness and immediate action. Conversely to Psmith’s more theoretical outlook, Mike is more of a man of action. Rather than speculating about what to do, he would rather take immediate action to solve a problem (e.g. instead of the slower process of talking the crowd at Mr. Waller’s speech into calming down, he takes the more direct route of fighting). Whenever he is in a position to help someone, it is usually in a practical way (e.g. breaking out of school and cycling to Lower Borlock to pay Jellicoe’s debt). Like Psmith, he has a need for stimulation, but he requires it in the form of excitement/action more than intellectual puzzles. Being cooped up in the bank is a hardship when he’d rather be back in Shropshire enjoying the outdoors and playing cricket, and he has difficulty adjusting to school life without sports. Like Psmith, he struggles with mundane routine. Se also affects his vocation later in life; he chooses to be a farmer in the country, where he would have constant access to the sensory experiences of working in the outdoors.

Tertiary Function: Introverted iNtuition (Ni)

The tertiary function is the area where one seeks guidance and accepts help, where one is either childish or childlike and vulnerable. It can also be a source of relief, a means of unwinding, or how one expresses creativity. Ni is concerned with connecting seemingly unrelated ideas, system-building, strategizing toward one definite outcome, reading between the lines, using insight, expressing through symbols/analogies, long-term planning, expecting outcomes not based on external data, having a vision for the future and a plan to get there.

Mike’s Ni isn’t often visible. It mostly comes out when he’s with Psmith, giving him the ability to read between the lines of his friend’s garrulousness and to understand where he’s coming from when most don’t. He even has a few Ni “aha” moments in Mike and Psmith after his confrontation with Adair, in which his eyes are opened to the ridiculousness of his animosity toward Sedleigh and refusal to play cricket for them. And he is even capable of using a degree of forward thinking in cricket, though it’s always based on his experience (Se). But most of the time, Ni is more of a struggle for him. He tends to look at things on the surface, doesn’t always consider the consequences of his actions, and prefers action to strategy.

Inferior Function: Extroverted Thinking (Te)

The area one is at one’s weakest in and least comfortable using, something one might aspire to but not be able to use well. It can emerge in times of great stress as a negative version of itself. Te is concerned with making sure procedures are efficient, less concerned with precision than clarity, finding practical/pragmatic solutions, aiming for achievement and success, using external data to prove a point, planning and organizing to achieve a definite goal, using orderly logic in clear steps.

Although Mike’s inferior Te seems somewhat expressed through his leadership in cricket, this function is the area in which he struggles most. Lack of planning, thinking through things, structure, and pragmatism are what usually cause most of his problems (e.g. if he had not lost his head after getting caught outside the school at night after helping Jellicoe, most of the subsequent boot/shoe issues could have been avoided). He doesn’t respond well to rules and regulations, at school or at work in the bank. Under stress, inferior Te can emerge as judgments of incompetence, aggressive criticism, and precipitous action, all of which Mike displays at one time or another. When he first arrives at Sedleigh, he is quick to find fault with everything and everyone he encounters, even the innocent porter (“He thought for instance, that he had never seen a more repulsive porter, or one more obviously incompetent than the man who had attached himself with a firm grasp to the handle of the bag as he strode off in the direction of the luggage-van. He disliked his voice, his appearance, and the colour of his hair. Also the boots he wore. He hated the station, and the man who took his ticket.”). He develops a cynical, negative outlook toward the school, and later, the bank after the prolonged strain of working there. After Mr. Downing accuses him of painting the dog, he explodes in a flurry of angry criticism (albeit when alone with Psmith, and becomes rather bitingly sarcastic to Mr. Bickersdyke after the latter ruins his century and gets him bowled out of his cricket game. He resorts to precipitous action when a opportunity to escape work at the bank for cricket presents itself, and he jumps at the chance.

Note Mike and Psmith share none of the same functions and that none of their functions are in the same order—Mike’s Feeling and Sensing are his strongest points, while Psmith uses his iNtuition and Thinking more. Each has an area of insight that the other lacks, giving their relationship balance.

Rupert Psmith: ENTP

Extroverted (energized by social interaction and the outer world)

iNtuitive (innovative and theorizing)

Thinking (bases decisions on logic)

Perceiving (adaptable and spontaneous)

Dominant Function: Extroverted iNtuition (Ne)

The dominant function is one’s “default setting,” the function one feels most comfortable using. Ne is concerned with exploring possibilities, developing multiple ideas and trying as many as possible, innovating, being creative, initiating concepts for projects, looking for new options, picking up on hidden meanings and interpreting them, brainstorming and strategizing from here-and-now.

Psmith’s Ne is evident from the very first in his decision to defy convention by changing the spelling of his name. His “never confuse the unusual with the impossible” tenet is characteristic of Ne, which never does things the expected way. An excellent outside-the-box thinker, he develops creative ways to deal with problems (e.g. the shoe incident, in which he has to do some rapid-fire strategizing to keep ahead of Mr. Downing). While in a dilemma, he creates new options, such as “confessing” to painting the dog in order to get Mike out of trouble. Generating ideas is more natural to him than actually carrying them out (something he leaves to Mike). He also has a taste for new experiences and “getting into atmospheres that were not his own.” Familiarity bores him, and he enjoys socializing with people who live in a different world from his. Where Mike tends to only see the obvious (someone is challenging their occupancy of the study), Psmith has a gift for reading between the lines of a situation and understanding how best to deal with it (how to manipulate events to get an authority figure to give them the study).

Auxiliary Function: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

The auxiliary function assists and balances the dominant function and is used when one helps or mentors someone. Ti is concerned with developing personal understanding of information, less concerned with whether something works and more concerned with how something works, analyzing, aiming for precision, examining for inconsistency, categorizing, figuring out how and why something functions, checking for adherence to a model/principle.

This is the function that Psmith uses when putting together a strategy. Notice he is less vocal about this than about the flow of his ideas—this is an Introverted function. It is Ti that keeps his ideas structured and consistent. Though with his ideas and speech he tends to ramble without structure, his strategies (the shoe incident again) are well thought through, providing for potential problems (dealing with invaders in the dormitory, the strategy to drive Mr. Bickersdyke crazy, etc.). We are told that “Anything in the nature of a rash and hasty move was wholly foreign to Psmith’s tactics. He had the patience which is the chief quality of the successful general. He was content to secure his base before making any offensive movement.” Ti gives him the ability to foresee possible ways that a system could break down and to provide for them (sticking an innocent shoe in the chimney as a decoy, for instance), as well as to see inconsistencies in arguments, such as his criticisms of Mr. Bickersdyke’s political policies.

Tertiary Function: Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

The tertiary function is the area where one seeks guidance and accepts help, where one is either childish or childlike and vulnerable. It can also be a source of relief, a means of unwinding, or how one expresses creativity. Fe is concerned with focusing on group values/emotions, being influenced by the emotional atmosphere, basing decisions on societal norms/others’ feelings, seeking connection and harmony with others, “people pleasing,” anticipating others’ needs/wants and seeking what is best for them, using tact.

Psmith uses his Fe to read other people and understand what makes them tick. However, since it’s a tertiary function and therefore an area of weakness, he usually uses it to manipulate people rather than out of genuine empathy. Fe tact may tone down his Ti when dealing with people, but his professed desire to maintain good relations with everyone may or may not actually be sincere. To some extent, he does have a need to connect with someone. He is good at “making friends” on a superficial level but is more vulnerable with close relationships. Note that he only has one close friend for most of the series, and when he does sincerely use Fe self-sacrifice to help Mike out, he’s not comfortable discussing it and prefers to keep it secret. Also, in Leave It to Psmith, at a time when he’s under more stress than usual, he seems more worried than usual about what others think of him—whether the Jacksons’ maid disapproves of his respelling his name, whether or not Eve will return his love, etc.

Inferior Function: Introverted Sensing (Si)

The inferior function is the area one is at one’s weakest in and least comfortable using, something one might aspire to but not be able to use well. It can emerge in times of great stress as a negative version of itself. Si is concerned with recalling past experiences, maintaining traditions, storing detailed information, linking and comparing what one knows to situations in the present, following established customs and procedures, valuing stability and the tried-and-true.

Adhering to any kind of structure, details, routine, or rules is an area of difficulty for Psmith, to whom it is more natural to innovate. He has trouble fitting into the system of school and the bank, which are highly regulated, controlled environments ideal for those who use dominant Si. However, some areas in which he manifests his Si is his “immaculate” dress, a detail-conscious interest, as well as his particularity about living conditions, how to properly make tea, etc. When inferior Si comes out under stress, it appears as withdrawal and depression, obsession with details, and intense focus on the body. While I cannot recall anywhere in the books where we see Psmith actually withdraw, the obsession with details when under stress is certainly there. The challenge of solving a newspaper puzzle appeals to him, but he easily becomes frustrated with the detail-oriented working of figuring it out. The boredom of working in the bank drives him to complain incessantly about his coworker’s lack of fashion sense. Although Psmith never really reaches the extent of worry about his health that some ENTPs in the grip of inferior Si do, his comments about his “exquisitely balanced” nerves and the famous “I get thinner and thinner” line hint at it.


Bless you if you're actually here reading this. I haven't posted here in forever and had more or less given up on the blog. I had typed many characters incorrectly because of a faulty understanding of how MBTI works. Quite embarrassing, really.

Lately, I've been more involved with my Tumblr blog, and have been writing up character analyses for that. These are, I hope, more accurate than my previous efforts. So I'll be reposting them here over the next several days. Most of the old posts are gone--hopelessly inaccurate. I may or may not actually get around to typing those characters again. But these things take a lot of time.

So bear with me! And let it be hoped that the quality of these posts improves.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Latest Batch of Google Searches

“isfj hard to find”: Um . . . no. We’re supposedly the most common type in the American population. We practically grow on trees (which is why we’re not considered one of the “cool” types). If you’re having a hard time finding an ISFJ, it’s either because we don’t like to call attention to ourselves or we’re mistyping ourselves as INFJs or INFPs to avoid ridicule.

“is isfj phlegmatic”: I don’t think there is a direct correlation between type and temperament, but of the ISFJs I know, they all have some Phlegmatic in them, though perhaps not dominantly. (I’m a Mel-Phleg, for instance.)

“great expectations estella intj”: Probably not. More like ISTJ. The Great Expectations post needs to be overhauled.

“isfj in criminal justice”: Once again, people, this blog is not here to give career advice. If you as an ISFJ want to go into criminal justice, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. It’s a worthy field.

“entj isfj love”: Uh . . . can’t help you there. I don’t think I know any ENTJs, and if I did, whatever we would feel for each other probably wouldn’t be love.

“infj my brother is an isfj blogspot”: You and your brother probably have enough in common to get along fairly well, since you share your auxiliary and tertiary functions. My brother happens to be INTJ, and we share no functions at all, which can make understanding each other more of a challenge.

“jane an isfj”: There are many Janes out there, and odds are at least one of them is an ISFJ. But I can’t help you if you aren’t more specific than that.

“jane eyre the hunter games”: ???

“isfj characters from percy Jackson”: Having only read the first book in that series and that not recently, I can’t help you on this one. There probably is though.

“tobymac estp”: I don’t type celebrities, sorry.

“self-centered isfj”: Why do people keep searching this one, and how did this idea get started? We’re no more self-centered than any other type. At their best, ISFJs can be quite self-sacrificial.

“how isfj develop ti”: My Ti isn’t as developed as I would like, but the Logic class I took in college was very enlightening. It helped that I liked and shared a basic worldview with the professor. Since my Si and Fe didn’t feel threatened in the class, the Ti was free to learn. Puzzles that require logic also are a way that some ISFJs use as a means to relax (remember, the tertiary function is the “relief” function) and exercise a function they might not use as much.

“mbti bbc sherlock intj molly infp”: Sherlock is not an INTJ. He has no drive to structure, organize, and plan, and he is not motivated by vision for the future. He’s more likely either of the dominant Introverted Thinking types, ISTP or INTP—it’s hard to tell. You could make an argument for either. As for Molly, I see her as more of an ISFJ, but I haven’t seen the latest season and don’t know where they’ve taken her character.

“isfj greek”: There are ISFJs in Greece. There are ISFJs who speak Greek. This blog has nothing to do with either one of those facts.

“isfj antisocial”: As an Introvert (and a former homeschooler), I’ve had this label tacked on me for years. It falls under the “You keep using the word. I do not think it means what you think it means” category. Let’s look at the Oxford English Dictionary. First definition: “contrary to the laws and customs of society, in a way that causes annoyance and disapproval in others.” By extension, “sociopathic,” which means related to “a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior.” Second definition: “not sociable or wanting the company of others.” With their auxiliary Extroverted Feeling, ISFJs are very conscious of social norms and try not to intentionally offend people. I doubt they’re likely to exhibit sociopathic behavior. And while as Introverts, ISFJs are not extremely outgoing and need time alone to recharge, they are not like that one hundred percent of the time. We like people in general (as long as they behave themselves and are considerate of others) and spending time with family and friends. So, in any sense of the word, antisocial is not a fitting description of an ISFJ. And Introverts would appreciate it if society stopped slapping that label on them without considering what it really means.