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.

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