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Film Metaphor and INTJ Stress: What I Watch, and When

Thursday April 5, 2018

I sometimes find it helpful to watch TV shows or films while I’m doing desk work. And I love to watch them while I’m resting or recuperating. Film seems to have a powerful emotional effect that can help me rally my mood and attack or confront problems. Here are the patterns and archetype-connections I’ve noticed so far.

Note: This is automatic stuff—I don’t suggest these to myself in a conscious manner. Instead, I find myself “automatically” interested in watching these films at certain times.

During Low Stress

  • Documentary Films [Learning about people, processes, systems, and technology; a prompt to engage and reflect using my preferred thinking style]
  • How-to (learning new things) [Learning to make an impact; technological development]
  • Science-related [Applying the theorist gift to new projects; study of the unknown; making the unknown known]

During Medium Stress

This point seems to mark the start of a deeper or more impactful form of “mood support via metaphor”.

  • Detective TV Shows & Movies (Columbo; NCIS; Rockford Files; MacGyver; A Touch of Evil) [Systematically detecting and solving problems]
  • War Documentaries / Historical Military (An Ungentlemanly Act; Reilly: Ace of Spies; Historia Civilis) [High-leverage battle with adversarial tasks]
  • Improvisational Play (‘60s Kurt Russell Disney Films; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) [Keeping calm and believing in a good outcome despite crazy circumstances; the “just be yourself and have fun” voice which tangles with the “do what you have to do” voice]

During High Stress

  • Caper Films (Ocean’s 11,12,13; Taking of Pelham 123) [Long-odds work that has an element of daring with a big accomplishment and payoff]
  • Impossible-Odds Detective (Deja Vu; Back to the Future; North by Northwest; Rear Window; The Fugitive) [Leveraging all of one’s skills and detecting gifts]
  • Escape Films (The Great Escape; Flight of the Phoenix) [Finding a way out of difficult circumstances]
  • James Bond [Clever detection and high-leverage insertion / attack]
  • Martial Arts or General Action (Chuck Norris) [Some detection with high-leverage one-man attack]

During Recuperation & Vacation

  • Science Fiction (Contact; Jurassic Park; Godzilla films; Close Encounters; Doppelganger; Colossus the Forbin Project) [Exploring the unknown & fanciful / prospective]
  • Comedy Films (MST3K) [Living with a sense of fun and exploration of the strange / weird parts of life]

During Deep Recuperation (Sickness, etc.)

  • Similar to high stress mode, above
  • I also seem to enjoy Let’s Play videos on Youtube, from Stone Soup to FarCry. [Watching self from a meta-perspective, big-picture view on a process]
  • Flight videos, like watching pilots on Youtube [Wish to soar and reach emotional/spiritual/physical heights once again]

Points of Leverage:

  • If I’m at work, this should be a film I’ve seen already, so I can pay attention or not, and there’s no pressure. I can watch the same film many times this way; it just feels good to have it on in the background.
  • I rarely follow the actual plot or story and may have difficulty relating it to someone; the metaphorical mood-connection seems to be the point. So “what do I feel like watching” is the best question to ask rather than forcing something.
  • Writing and talking about the metaphorical connection to my current work seems helpful. I can deepen this exploration (detect around the detective film!) if I feel I don’t have useful tools yet.

There is also a bridge to audio-only where I enjoy listening to spy / detective music (Examples: His Name is Napoleon Solo and Peter Gunn), or old time detective radio shows like Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, or 007 audiobooks.

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