Shaken, Not Stirred

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Greetings from the Cafe!

Sorry for the gap in my posts. The weekend, being filled with sunshine and free of kid-related responsibility, lured me away from my laptop. I usually spend several hours in the library on Saturdays, but left early and came home to dig in the dirt. Transplanted some hostas, shopped for plants, etc. Purchased my first aloe vera plant, which I'm really excited about.

But I'm feeling the need to get back to some intellectual pursuits. I believe it's time to address Dr. Drenth's portrait of the INFJ inner world:

The inner world of INFJs in many ways resembles the outer world of ENFPs. It is playful, colorful, mischievous, and daring. Because their Ni is dominant rather than auxiliary, INFJs tend to be more subversive in their ideation than ENFJs. Once they begin to develop their tertiary function (Ti), INFJs may become even more open-minded and subversive in their thinking. 
INFJs often think by way of images. The visual nature of their minds is germane to their creativity, ingenuity, and ability to generate and wield metaphors. While other types are thinking in words or concepts, INFJs understand through “seeing.” Their Ni functions as a proverbial bridge between the conscious and subconscious mind. And since the subconscious is filled with primitive images, INFJs swim in a sea of vivid dreams and imagery.

Does this describe you???

These two paragraphs really resonate with me. Even better, they validate my experiences. For as long as I can remember, I've been able to shut out everyone and everything around me...and slip into a world that is far superior and desirable to the one I physically reside in. As a child and young adult, daydreams were a constant source of comfort and creativity - and a constant irritation to my parents, teachers and friends. No one likes to be shut out, disregarded, or ignored. But I couldn't help it. Thinking led to images, images led to ideas, and my mind would play them out like a movie in my head.

Needless to say, I ended up frequently scolded for being myself. That'll do wonders for the old self-esteem, eh?!?

Yeah. It's kinda like that.
Early in life, I began to write about the endless ideas and images flowing through my brain like a river. This is probably what Dr. Drenth meant when he said INFJs are more subversive in our ideation. If I'd been an extrovert, I probably would have talked about or acted out those ideas, or put them into practice in the form of a project or group effort. Instead, I quietly transferred them to paper in words and, sometimes, drawings. Or I'd "play myself out" at the piano, finding songs that matched my mood and captured the essence of my imaginary world. Or I'd just walk around the farm singing.

I found words, drawings, the piano and my voice to be "tools" - useful and necessary outlets for the enormous (and sometimes overwhelming) amount of data I seemed to be dealing with. Did any of you find this to be true?

Dr. Drenth uses the word "subversive" to describe our efforts. Subversive is kind of a devious word, implying that we work behind the scenes to overthrow or undermine a system. And he says as INFJs develop their Ti (introverted Thinking, as opposed to our natural extroverted Feeling), we improve at this because we become more open-minded and better able to think subversively.

What does this mean? I think it means that we're able to think at a very deep level. Because of this, we can make subtle changes at those deep levels, influencing people and groups in ways that would seem counter-cultural or counter-intuitive if we carried them out overtly. In a way, we're like...secret agents.

They Know
I'll admit that sometimes I feel like a secret agent. Sound crazy, lol?!? But I do. My whole life I've felt like I have an odd, tenuous connection to reality - that there's something more out there that I'm aware of, but can't always define. I connect to it, draw from it, and use it to change my environment.  And not on purpose, but naturally, without thinking about it.

This translates easily to my faith, of course, and may even have moved me in that direction. As a Christian, this world isn't my home. I'm here to fulfill a purpose, but not overtly. I walk along, quietly watching and observing, picking up patterns and making connections, praying for specific things as I catch glimpses of them, and putting the flow of thoughts and images into words. As I do this, I end up impacting the people in my small sphere of influence.

The subversive issue may also explain why INFJs love a good conspiracy theory. We don't see things one way. We have the unique ability to approach a topic, idea or theory from many angles. As far as we're concerned, everything's like Shrek - it has layers. We feel this, even if we don't know why. But it drives us to get to the source and, ultimately, the truth of things.

Do any of you recall the movie The Pelican Brief with Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts? I loved that movie! Julia plays a law student who quietly researches and comes up with a brilliant theory solving two high-profile murders. She puts it on paper - and when the government discovers it, she finds herself fleeing for her life. She teams up with Denzel, who plays a well-known journalist she confides in. They make a great INFJ duo (although he may lean more toward T than F). She's the writer, he's the secret agent protecting her and leading her to the source. Together, they make a subversive effort to hunt down and expose the truth.

So, there you have it. Two good job opportunities for INFJs - writers and secret agents.  

I'm totally Julia, but with secret agent tendencies. I want my privacy protected and my martini shaken, not stirred :-)

Which would you be?