Marc's INTJ Blog

Some Frameworks I Haven't Updated Lately, and Why

Monday September 20, 2021

Why I haven’t updated this one: I don’t really wake up early anymore if I can help it. In the past I’ve done a lot of early-wake-up experiments. The most entertaining one involved a soviet cosmonaut supplement and karate kata and lots of laughter. But overall I do really well if I can sleep on cycle and my logs show that hitting 9 hours is like gold to me. It’s hard to go to sleep early. So I don’t get up early so much.

When I do get up early, usually unintentionally, I do really like that it’s easy to spend literal hours journaling my way through a bunch of fun, interesting, and productive activity. This usually ends up being really rewarding, and it helps me get back to sleep, too.

But the proper sleep is more worth it, in my experience.

I do have a variant of this framework called “Waking-Up-Early-for-Work-Framework” and this one developed into a really helpful system with various aspects that support an early workday.

LinkedIn is probably dead last on my list of interesting ways to network, or whatever I’m supposed to be doing there.

I am pretty sure I’ll go to my grave never having used, or needed, LinkedIn very much.

There is a helpful reminder in the framework though: Always review and update your privacy settings BEFORE making profile adjustments. I think this is a good rule of thumb when coming back to just about any social network after a while.

I forgot about this one. It contains an interesting idea of how INTJs will often transform a competitive mindset into a form of dependency-debt. I may revisit this one later.

This is like my own version of G.I. Joe. World-building stuff. Some characters on the team:

  • Major Danni Forz (ISTJ, USA), specialist in Covert Action, Logistics and Accelerated Response Planning. Former Special Operative in US Army
  • Scylon (IRAN), a ninja stealth operative. ISFP. A charismatic when in disguise. Enjoys meditation. Formerly addicted to The Hard Stuff.
  • ERICA (USA), a robot with AI knowledge-bank capabilities. First developed in 1983, and under constant development since.
  • Boilerplate (USA), a brute of a man. Just a huge muscle & heavy weapons guy. Epic white beard. ESTP.
  • Enrique Iglesias Machado (AKA Match, USA). Private investigator inspired by Fletch. ESFP
  • Brusselsprout (CA): Failed INTJ, useful all around, good impartial advice, fails at hard tasks, but too nice to eject from the team.
    • This character was submitted to me by an INTJ friend from Canada who’s an occasional blog reader. Hi Alex!

I haven’t updated this one lately because it’s become really long, story-driven, and deep. It needs more attention than it did at the start. So it’s harder to casually dive in than it used to be.

I have some ideas though, for developing it further.

I work with HTML so much that even just the name of this one is depressing now. Plus it has a bunch of weirdly excited lines inside like “Make a start page!”

(Which, I admit I’m planning another one right now. I like building and updating those.)

COVID, man. It’s been way too long.

But I have developed this “LEGO Guy” philosophy where I try to alter my perspective a bit when I visit amusement parks. It works well for me and it’s much more fun that way.

God, I don’t miss this at ALL.

I estimate that a single public speaking engagement costs me at least 1200 extra calories in stress eating. That’s kind of where I left it.

Maybe later this changes and I just stop giving a f*** about whatever I’m telling people in public, and how I’m saying things, but for now I care way too much.

I’ve probably given hundreds of speeches and public addresses at this point.

Depressingly, most of them were to members of the cult into which I was born.

F*** me, man.

This one lights a flame within my soul. I have to get back to this, it was such a big part of my kidhood. No good reason to be away. Though I did write a script to play a bunch of these on my local QMMP install, recently.

Filed in: /93/ | /43/

White Guy Speaks INTJ in Local Market, Locals Stunned

Monday September 20, 2021

I’m adding Xiaomanyc (Arieh Smith) to my INTJ Youtuber buttons-light-up list:

Link: White Guy Speaks Multiple African Languages in Market, Locals Stunned

From his About Me blurb:

Video producer with 3M+ fans on YouTube and ~1M in China
Featured in and collaborated with major Asian media news outlets (SCMP, World Journal, 三立新聞, China Media Group, Hubei Television, and many more)
Experienced software engineer and financial analyst

Read that last line…you all feel me here right? This is an INTJ bio move, it’s just how we think, we create these writeups that are designed to impress, but also to provide broad cover for the INTJ as a contingency.

You know, lest you think he’s just a Youtuber, or whatever.

(If anything we need to be careful about being way too extra)

If you haven’t already checked them out, his videos are fun to watch and if you wanted to see another INTJ extroverting themselves, there you go.

Some other things I’ve noticed:

  • There’s a lot of pure showmanship at work in the videos. I think you could also say he’s adept at playing the magician archetype. Look at this thing, not at that one. He builds on the element of surprise and the human tendency to be stunned when surprised. (Showmanship is also part of the INTJ’s intellectual toolkit.)
  • He sets up and kind of arranges conversations like an INTJ would, angling for maximum energy-leverage in conversations.
  • You can tell that the convos work better with some types of people and not so well with others. Though there aren’t a lot of those specimens to examine, they’re in there. Personality dynamics always transcend culture.
  • He’s doing a great job and I think it’s a good sign for any of you who are also looking to communicate with the outside world with a channel of your own, or whatever else it may be.

Filed in: /60/ | /35/

Coaching Update, and Some Tips on Finding A Good Coach

Monday September 20, 2021

Thanks to all those who have reached out about coaching recently.

In recent months/years I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to schedule all the coaching I could handle. I learned a lot from many of you, including many who started out as blog readers.

As a result, for the time being, I’m not able to take on new clients. I do wish it could be otherwise.

Some Tippos

Since this seems like an appropriate time to offer some quick tips for those of you who are out looking for a coach, here they are:

  1. Time spent with a coach always beats time spent reading about them. Be sure to get appointments scheduled ASAP so you can understand what the coach is like, from your own perspective. This is one of those areas where subjectivity and subjective experience is a very important factor.
  2. Please try to meet with more than one coach if you can. I think 3-5 is a good number to “try out” within the first months or years if you’re in it for long-term development, but I suppose if you get a really good one that you like, it’s OK to stick with them.
  3. Personality differences apply. A lot of coaches are way too gentle for some of the INTJs I’ve met. INTJs are often really intense, and in many cases come off like they don’t really need a coach.
  4. At the same time, some other coaches will seem too harsh, or too orderly, or too demanding. This usually has a lot to do with their own personality dynamics. (For example, in terms of personality, a Px-Perceiver coach at mid-life can seem like they are leaning really hard into Jx-type practices.)
  5. A well-trained coach should have no problem walking you through some examples of the ethical guidelines they follow. They should be able to tell you how and when and why they underwent ethics training for their given coaching specialty.
  6. Finally, please take the opportunity to consider becoming a coach yourself. Think about all the things you have learned by becoming that thing—it’s a great way to learn and grow.

Have a great day everybody! —Marc

Filed in: /22/ | /48/

I never thought I needed change, but it makes me proud to say

Wednesday September 15, 2021

“…that I’m somebody else now.”

I have to say I massively identify with those lyrics…

_Daði Freyr – Somebody Else Now

In my past life, I knew that I needed change, like:

  • I wanted to pursue personal growth
  • I wanted to learn to find my way in the world
  • I wanted to learn to relate, to communicate, to help…

…so all these things would require change, of course.


I never thought about OTHER things that would change. I never thought that maybe I ought to leave the organization, and start this new life—which it very much is—

and recognize that I had been a member of a cult. Born right into it.

(Oh and made the jokes about drinking the kool-aid while drinking kool-aid at cult functions. I did that too.)

Embarrassing yes, but slowly becoming a point of pride, which I think is natural and positive under the circumstances.

The Secret Bank Accounts of Ex-cult People

I mean, it’s hard to say this, but us ex-cult types do have this weird, perverse secret:

We can bring the best parts of the cult forward.

Yep, cults have their best parts, their most-effective parts, and those parts are just as grounded in human psych as any good self-help book.

You notice this, as an ex-cult member; you notice that other, non-cult people think that everything you had was bad, or wrong, or whatever.

Some of them invite you over to commiserate. They want to talk about how unfortunately, contextually dumb you were, and how smart they are, and welcome to TEAM SMART, it’s great, you can think for yourself, make decisions for yourself!

This kind of conversation is really cringe, and it definitely happens.

Aaaand…nope—the cult stuff was not even close to all-bad, or all-wrong. And yes, the ex-cult member emerges with some good things they can bring forward.

(I know this may be uncomfortable to read, but I believe it’s also the kind of acknowledgement that saves people from cults. And from going back to cults. If cults have to be cast as 100% bad, a caricature of themselves, guess what—those people aren’t going to want to leave, because their intuition will tell them they won’t feel accepted in this new cult-of-unwashed-humanity anyway.)

Plus past wounds, and the insights they reveal about us, can help us prepare for future battles.

One may have to trace the wound, trace the trajectory of the weapon, identify the one who wielded it, analyze them. Who knew that wound-analysis could be such a fascinating activity?

And additionally, it’s a healing activity, in proportion to the quality of analysis.

Do you get them? The messages?

(The above is not a quote from The Bourne Identity)

Still, these days, I’m messaged and guilt-tripped by—some friends, some family, some strangers—who don’t see themselves in the needing-change boat. Far from it.

They send me messages quoting passages of scripture, or quoting someone who thinks of themselves as a prophet.

They warn me that I’m now a representative of the forces of evil.

But then, just as awkwardly, they tell me how GREAT I am. And that they love me. lmao. Yeah, sorry, I don’t need any of that.

(Universal cult truth seems to have this strange tendency to stick to either end of any given dichotomy; never the middle, never both ends, etc.)

Like any reformed debater, I sometimes find myself striking back—well, a moment of silence for those stung by Marc’s clever repartee! Aha. But mostly I have to set those boundaries generally and vaguely and let’s not do this again please, and that’s that.

What a weird new life. Just in the last five years, it’s been a really new development for me.

My journey to become a coach brought me so many of the tools I would use to recognize that something better was out there.

And yeah, definitely better.

“There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind, I promise you—you’ll be fine…”

What else will change in the future? This question is so much more significant to me now.

Filed in: /43/ | /62/

A List of Some Extroverted Activities

Tuesday September 14, 2021

When you’re looking for a way to feel better, sometimes it’s a good idea to get back to the basics.

Here is a list of some extroverted (E) activities.

In other words, here is a list of some easy ways to run yourself ragged, if you are an introvert (I) and aren’t setting boundaries!

  • Making speculative plans
  • Running a business
  • Meeting goals
  • Building a schedule and working to a schedule
  • Giving attention to relationships
  • Consuming others’ works or ideas (books, movies, etc.)
  • Doing research
  • Looking for a job
  • Interviewing for a job
  • Showing up at work
  • Showing up, anywhere
  • Leaving the house

When I meet with some of my most troubled INTJ clients or friends, it seems like they are doing MOST of those things, every day,

and not enough of the opposite, Introverted things.

Please take good care of yourselves, everybody.

Filed in: /94/ | /126/ | /103/

Some Lesser-known Rules for Life

Monday August 23, 2021

  • Personally I’m making this list because it’s fun to examine life. I hope you’ll read it in the same spirit.
  • If you’re learning from other people, that’s a pretty good start to an educated life. It may seem a bit shallow in comparison to starting from first principles, but it’s usually a broad way to learn. Keep in mind that what you are doing is breadth-first learning.
  • If someone gives you exciting advice, try to ride that first big wave of emotion knowing that it will eventually flatten out, and maybe come and go over time. It probably feels exciting because it’s brand new. Later on, if you persevere, you may have the opportunity to exchange excitement for lasting satisfaction. But if not, don’t worry, because just about anything in life can be made exciting.
  • A lot of people can’t learn as easily from other people, and they can still be smart. Eventually they’ll have to learn why other peoples’ smarts are helpful though, or they’ll feel less smart.
  • If you want to feel extra smart, ask every dumb question that baffles you. Act as if it doesn’t really matter that you didn’t know this already, and go find out the answer.
  • People who learn things get smarter by organizing those things. You look at an average bookcase and see books, information, and resources. An above-average bookcase employs some unique method of organization, and is really its own proprietary technology.
  • A lot of people don’t realize it but they are afraid of closing 100+ tabs because they have actually sifted through loads of crud and created a masterful collection of research and insight in those 100+ tabs, and their browser software simply has no way of knowing that. It is not wise to blame humans for this issue.
  • You can do a lot worse for yourself than sneaking out of a boring lecture. A good lecturer will understand.
  • If you can’t be logical and constructive, get emotional and destructive as soon as possible. Develop your own personal way of getting it all out, to make room for your constructive side again.
  • Please make time to take a walk by yourself. This way there will be more of us out walking by ourselves, and it’ll seem like more of a normal activity.
  • If you have to bring all of the groceries from the car into the house in one trip, make a mental note to sit down and set some boundaries with your time today.
  • If you get stuck in any project, or just stuck in life: Identify the set of things you either do like/want, or don’t like/want, and rank them.
  • Always leave yourself enough energy and time to take a few pictures along the way.
  • Don’t take a nap so you feel rested. Take a nap so you can see life from your most skillful and energetic perspective again.
  • If someone teaches you that life has to be about something, and that the something is only one thing in particular, be very careful. It is almost certain that you are being taught to close your mind, even if it’s not out of harmful intent.
  • If you want to grow old, learn an ever-expanding set of ways to take really good care of yourself. Over time, get familiar with a reliable set of personal standbys for self-care.
  • If you want to learn to take care of yourself, learn about the kind of person you are.
  • If you want to learn about the kind of person you are, make a list of the interests you keep coming back to in life. Make it very specific, and over time, add even more specific interests to come back to.
  • Some of your interests will probably be calculated to make you seem powerful, smart, or popular. But a huge chunk of your interests should through that same lens seem weird, silly, and vulnerable.
  • If you want to learn where personal growth may await you, keep a list of others’ interests that you don’t like.
  • If you keep a list of things you don’t like, sort it by least-to-most disliked. Then when it’s time to grow and adapt, the task will seem less daunting.
  • If you want to defeat fear, call it something else. The more names and descriptions you have for fear, the more likely you can beat it.
  • If you want to defeat procrastination, call it something else. The more names and descriptions you have for it, the better.
  • If you want to do something very hard, start calling it something else. The more names and descriptions you have for it, the better.
  • To enjoy a hobby more, track and organize your progress in it, and always know where your tracker is. Keep a set of questions there too.
  • You can learn a lot, and solve more problems, by making your own map of a place.
  • You can learn a lot, and solve more problems, by making your own map of an idea, or a person.
  • If your map needs to change, change it as soon as possible, even if the change isn’t beautiful or perfect. A living, changing map of something important is practically its own energy source. Conversely, an unchanging map of a dynamic and important place or topic is painful and draining.
  • Being able to predict things is a unique skill. Not many people appreciate it. A lot of people fear it. If you find yourself predicting things a lot, be careful of how much you do this when socializing.
  • For a lot of people, raw prediction isn’t that helpful and is even perceived as harmful or snobby. Especially if it isn’t accompanied by a specific plan or a set of next steps.
  • A big part of relationship success depends on how much you can be in the other person’s way without them minding. Beyond that, it’s important to learn to get out of the other person’s way.
  • To be in someone’s way more often, without them minding as much, keep track of times when you felt like you got in their way, and make a note of a different approach you could try next time, or ask them.
  • To get out of a person’s way, stop sharing so many of your gifted perspectives (use them with yourself or with others who want access to them), keep your physical distance light and extended, and generally go find something else to do.
  • A lot of people think that sharing their gifts and skills with the other person ought to make things better for the relationship, when in fact it often makes the other person feel incompetent and undermines co-creativity. Thus the need to get out of the other’s way.
  • If you want good, healthy people to like you more, get out of their way and find ways to make them feel good about the way they like to solve problems.
  • If it hurts you to have to get out of someone’s way, either find someone else to be around, or change your focus to your personal, inner world. This should include an abiding interest in your own hobbies and goals.
  • You can do a lot by taking an expansive viewpoint. For example, you can take over a country, or join a traveling circus, or set new and proper boundaries for yourself, or discover a new, exciting book you didn’t know about. But keep in mind that some of these things are more likely to lead to an unfortunate and early death than the others.
  • One way to save a lot of money is to make a spreadsheet. Another way to save a lof of money is to learn all about yourself. Someone with financial wisdom ought to be aware of both of these perspectives, and more.
  • The worst advice you will ever get will probably start with the word “just”. The amount of raw, inexperienced naivete which cowers behind the word “just” will someday be fully recognized…but likely only after it leads humanity to the brink of extinction.
  • Be sure to take breaks when writing long lists. They do tend to get depressing after a while.

(OK, so I guess that’s it. For now. —Marc)

Filed in: /48/ | /108/ | /126/ | /103/ | /94/ | /22/ | /93/ | /62/ | /43/

High Executive, Low Contingency: An Important INTJ Thought Transition

Friday August 6, 2021

One of the most important life upgrades for INTJs is learning to differentiate execution and constructive action from reflection and introspection.

All of those things are important; that second group of things is more commonly INTJ.

INTJs are primarily perceptive—that is, we take in information via our subjective intuition. It is our dominant cognitive function. If overused, we can feel too dreamy or grandiose about future things, or we can end up thinking in terms of “what will definitely happen” as opposed to “what I want to have happen,” or “what I will try to do about it.”

In my own productivity system, my daily journaling template contains the following phrase right above my list of Square items:

“High Executive, Low Contingency”

Let me explain why this is, starting with an examination of that phrase.

What is meant by High Executive?

Here are some examples:

  • Directly acknowledging that you need to move forward with a problem, task, or project—keep items on a list or a calendar.
    • Introverts are well known for ignoring or avoiding newly-developing issues. This kind of acknowledgement activity helps you avoid that risk.
    • This includes any kind of task, from your hobbies to your paying job, to working on relationship issues—which areas need more of your executive function?
  • Actively exploring and recording what’s needed next. Include all of this information along with the task on your list.
    • Time estimate (If an item will take longer than 5-10 minutes I break it into parts)
    • Next steps clearly indicated
    • Any other ideas that come to mind
  • Writing down what you don’t like about a task, if it bugs you.
  • Making a plan! More below.
  • Working on a new problem ASAP, even if in draft mode.

What is meant by Low Contingency?

Contingency thinking usually involves concerns about the future of a project or undertaking.

These concerns often sound like…

  • Well, I could do that, but then what would happen is…
  • Oh, I can immediately see the problem in this plan.
  • These things always start well, but then…
  • I could move forward, but I am pretty sure that X or Y will happen…which is annoying because…

Boom! Progress blocked.

This is relevant to INTJs due to our primary cognitive function, Ni, or Introverted Intuition, also known as “Visioning”. It is a helpful contingency-planning function, so INTJs tend to be good at speculating about future outcomes. So good, in fact, that the word “speculation” becomes kind of an insult—hey, we KNOW! Right?

And, while these kinds of concerns always block progress, they can sometimes be reasonable.

Personally, “Low Contingency” is probably impossible for me. I’m simply way too aware of these outcomes as a baseline; it’s a huge part of who I am. That’s why I say “Low” instead of “A Little Less”. I try to overemphasize the risk of this kind of thinking in my notes to myself.

Still, some contingency thinking is useful. And for that reason, I encourage executive activity that is also integrative and plan-based.

Don’t Skip Planning

This is a very common problem for beginners to this process. It’s also a common problem for over-executive people. I’ve been there myself.

High-quality executive function INCLUDES planning.

Being more executive is not the same as improvising.

It is not the same as undertaking the next idea that comes to you.

Sometimes these kind of things feel much better than doing nothing, but they are not the same as working from a plan.

Being more executive is also not the same as hurrying around and making low-quality decisions. Sometimes this kind of activity feels rewarding, but it’s not the same.

INTJs tend to fall in this trap when they get frustrated with a lack of progress, slip into opposite-type ESFP “NOW” mode and start scrambling for traction and executing without thinking things through.

How to Plan Actively for Execution

Active planning is a great way around this:

  • Keep an ongoing, developing plan for the specific area or task
  • Always know where it is kept
  • Label it as a plan
  • Indicate problems with the plan as they come up
  • Revise the plan way more than you admire, cherish, or love the plan
  • Schedule ongoing plan review with others if possible, to hold yourself accountable

You’ll know that your planning is supporting executive activity when:

  • Problems come up—they always do, but now you respond actively more often, instead of stopping work
  • Among your first responses to a problem is, “OK, what could I/we do about this?”
  • The plan is treated more like a constantly-changing support structure than something to be admired
  • You find yourself changing your approach to planning over time
  • You find yourself evaluating how you’d do things differently, next time

Favor Showing & Reviewing a Plan before Showing Results

A lot of INTJs tell me that they feel pressure to show results when they work with other people. Please be careful here!

A lot of times it’s better to show a plan and show progress.

If you work to show results too early, it can compromise the quality of your work and process. Results naturally follow as the plan unfolds. Skipping the plan-review and progress-review can too easily undermine your later work, or make your work less efficient later. (I consider this reasonable attention to contingency)

Skipping forward to showing results can also make other people uncomfortable, or become a demonstration of poor planning skills on your part.

It can also make others feel bad, or feel like they have been dragged along while being excluded from the process-oriented aspects of the work. Keep the process-minded people around you in mind as much as possible.

The following personality types are known to be very process-minded: INTP, INFP, ISFP, and ISFJ. The relevant interaction style shared by these four types is known as Behind the Scenes.

The act of sharing a plan helps YOU in some ways, but it also helps THEM orient themselves to where you’re at, and they will feel more included.

If someone is continually pressuring you to show results WITHOUT showing a plan, or reviewing a plan, it may be wise to reevaluate your work with this person. Maybe they don’t take it as seriously as you do, and maybe that’s a problem or a sign of an inequity in your working relationship.

How to get Enough Contingency Planning, but not Too Much?

It can help to learn to be careful, or more nuanced, with contingency planning. It’s a natural gift for INTJs, which also means it can easily be overused.

It’s a good idea to work to a standard with contingency planning—meet some minimum bar that you’ve already specified.

For example, it may be a good idea to specify the types of contingencies that you’ll allow to interrupt your work. Maybe something like: “A problematic issue which I think will certainly develop within 30 days and may cause the project to fail completely.”

If some future outcome / possibility is bugging you, always write it down and make a simple plan. Use your imagination and be creative in developing workarounds that fit the context. Try to avoid derailing the current project—instead, support it and its timely completion as much as you can.

Executive Addiction?

Beginners sometimes find that they get really black & white results from new processes. It will take some time to get used to a higher level of execution.

For this reason, I wanted to briefly mention a problem that beginners encounter when emphasizing executive processes:

An executive lifestyle can also be addicting. It feels good to be on the rails! The energy feels like it could help you accomplish just about anything. But in fact, it’s often best used in well-planned bursts, rather than as a permanent, always-on mode.

To avoid the risky downsides of this kind of activity, consider using a system that helps you avoid productivity exhaustion.

Filed in: /34/ | /94/ | /108/

I Could Never Pick a Favorite Film: And Here It Is

Saturday July 31, 2021

For years I have toiled under the illusion that I have no favorite film. People would ask me what was my favorite film, and I’d hem and haw, and it was frustrating to never have a good answer.

Recently, I was sorting my favorite foods and thought, “I should do this with film.”

The Good News

I found out I have a favorite film! That’s a really neat feeling.

The Bad News

I wasted a LOT of time thinking I did not have a single favorite film.

Turns out, all I had to do was this:

  • List my favorites
  • Compare them with their neighbors in the list
  • Move them up or down

So, what I thought I was looking for was “a single favorite”.

But what I should have been looking for was “a list of favorites, ordered and sorted over time.”

My Favorite Film

My favorite film is All the President’s Men from 1976.

My Top Favorite Films

My top three favorite films, ordered:

  • All the President’s Men – 1976
  • High and Low (Tengoku to Jigoku) – 1963
  • North by Northwest – 1959

You can say I really like procedural films with a strong sense of momentum, a dark tone, some way-too-innocent protagonists who wise up quickly, frequent changes in setting, and a winding plot.

Some Less-popular Films that Made My List of Favorites

Here are some favorites that aren’t super-mega popular with film geeks:

  • The Quiet Earth – 1985
  • Rat Race – 2001
  • The Changeling – 1980
  • The Hudsucker Proxy – 1994
  • Russian Roulette – 1975 (Canadian film)
  • Bandits – 2001
  • Moving Target – 1988 TV Movie
  • Sleuth – 1972
  • What About Bob – 1991
  • Meteor – 1979
  • Bad Day at Black Rock – 1955
  • The Eagle Has Landed – 1976

Lessons Learned

I ended up with a list of over 100 favorite films, which I didn’t expect. I might publish it after I think about it for a while. Some lessons picked up along the way:

  • Ranking things is a really easy way for me to find a single “top favorite” item.
  • It feels really nice to learn just how many things I like. It’s fun to scan the list.
  • When you like a hobby a lot (watching movies), it will probably be hard to just pick one, unless you do some listing and comparison.

And finally:

  • Pick one, but also,
    • pick a lot.
      • Do both.

Filed in: /126/ | /93/

We All Must Deploy Our Heroic Perspectives (to Survive)

Monday July 26, 2021

I wrote the title of this blog post in the last post I wrote and wanted to offer a striking example.

One really good example of this principle of “the importance of deploying our heroic perspectives” orbits the question of survival itself.

I am referring to the deeply impressive experiences of Genrich Altshuller as written in a Salon article.

From the article:

It was in the naval patent office that Altshuller first discovered the tenets that would lead him to TRIZ, discerning a common pattern of solutions to technical problems across a diversity of fields. The first thing he did with his theory, however, was find a new way to put his foot in his mouth. Concerned over the dismal state of the Soviet Union after World War II, Altshuller and an associate, Rafael Shapiro, wrote an earnest letter to Stalin.

“They wrote a letter that stated that the country was in ruins after World War II, and that there were not many resources to recover it,” says Fey. “He suggested to use TRIZ. Of course he had to prove this, so Altshuller put together a graph of innovation, and found there were two valleys in the graph. One was in 1937, with Stalin’s first pogrom, and the other was in wartime.” In 1949, Altshuller was arrested, interrogated and tortured. Finally, he “confessed,” as had so many other “dissidents” before him, and was sentenced to 25 years in the infamous Vorkuta labor camp, at the northern tip of the Ural Mountains, above the Arctic Circle.

“He was in jail because, No. 1, he was Jewish,” says Bar-El in his thick Israeli accent, “and because it’s against the law to make the Russian people creative.”

OK, so he was in trouble and sent into slavery. Enter the hero…

Stalin’s most brutal despotism, though, couldn’t dim Altshuller’s creativity. Until his death in 1998, Altshuller burned as brightly as any of Edison’s filaments, and often in just as rarefied an environment as a vacuum; much of his work was done while he was imprisoned in the gulag.

“Altshuller was in the labor camp along with many other representatives of the intelligentsia,” says Fey. “He realized that in order to survive, not physically but mostly spiritually and mentally, he had to ask these people to teach him. Every night after they went back to the barracks, they would teach him: physics, math, art history, literature, whatever was available. This allowed these people to survive longer than they would have without Altshuller.”

Altshuller was saved by a strong perception of the things that would yield to him the energy needed to continue his life.

In this case I’d offer that it’s safe to say Altshuller was an NT, likely NeO* TeO* TiD/O* ENTP.

Such an individual needs gobs of new information—but—an information feed in order to survive? I would offer that the increased supply of information of a given quality would increase their chances of fighting for survival, in that it ignites a powerful psychological reward loop within the individual.

From that information they build mental models, they build metaphorical comparisons, and they continually organize the emergent thoughts into new systems.

In such a case I would also guess that—even though the article doesn’t mention it—Altshuller’s stay in the camp was dramatically more comfortable than it would otherwise be for an NT personality, especially one caught in SF perspectives like Fi* or Se*.

Zlotin, who worked with Altshuller in Russia for nearly two decades, relates his surprise at discovering Altshuller’s vast knowledge of Verdi operas: “I said, how do you know these? You had time to go to opera? He said, ‘Never, but my neighbor in the barracks was the world’s best specialist on Verdi’s music, and he would sing me all his operas at night.’

“For Altshuller, this camp was first a place of education,” Zlotin says in his heavily accented English. “He studied 14, 16 hours per day, and in this way he had huge knowledge in pretty unexpectable areas.”

Part of my work involves teaching lots of people—including through this blog—that they have a hero inside. The hero is some combination of things.

Unlocking the hero means unlocking energy that was not hitherto available, and which may otherwise be cut off.

Cutting off? Yes, the severance and death-related processes.

Unlocking? Yes, the emergence and life-related processes.

Heroic processes work above the arctic circle in a slave camp, they work in the vacuum of space, and gosh darn it, they work in your kitchen or bedroom or wherever you find yourself overpowered, lamenting the recent loss of a loved one, or the collapse of your career plans, or whatever else it might be.

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