ESTJ: The Founder, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

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ESTJ – the Director, the Achiever, the Optimizer

When we type a villain, we usually expect their inferior function to be their fatal weakness. For Te-doms, the stereotype is that they have no moral oversight to their actions. By contrast, the intimidating Founder has a very clear moral vision–she believes she is absolutely entitled to wield control over other, lesser species.

Another of DS9’s ESTJ villains, the meddling Brunt, acts the same way. He enforces the laws of Ferengi society with an aggressive sense of justice. Just like a weak inferior-Te user might use faulty logic to defend their subjective beliefs, inferior-Fi can provide the comfort of self-righteousness to an over-controlling ExTJ.

(This character was never given a name on the show. Instead, she was referred to in dialogue and in the credits as simply, “Female Changeling.” That’s super clunky and annoying to type over and over, so for simplicity’s sake, I’m just calling her “The Founder.”)

Dominant Function: (Te) Extraverted Thinking, “The Workshop”

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The Founder’s major directive is to bring every civilization she meets under the control of the Dominion. She sees it as her calling to bring order to a galaxy racked with chaos. Solids, she believes, don’t know enough to govern themselves, and so the Founders must lead.

The Founders exert control over their realm through their minions, the loyal Vorta and Jem’Hadar. Both races are genetically engineered to be obedient without question, and to view the Founders as gods. For further control, the Jem’Hadar are engineered to be addicted to a drug called Ketracel-white, which only their “gods” provide.

The Founder is supremely confident and implacable even in the face of setbacks. She always believes the Dominion will succeed, and repeatedly tells her enemies how doomed to failure their efforts are. She’s completely intolerant of failure and incompetence, and grows more demanding with her subordinates as the war drags on.

Auxiliary Function: (Si) Introverted Sensing, “The Study”

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Millennia ago, Changelings were hunted down by solids who feared and distrusted them. The survivors formed the Dominion, and began conquering the solids in an effort to ensure that they were never persecuted again. The Founder sees all non-shapeshifters through the lens of this story, and won’t accept them as anything other than dangerous, small-minded brutes.

She finds existence as a humanoid limiting compared to the way she lives when she’s at home in the Great Link. Though she describes the Link to Odo in abstract terms, I don’t think this puts it outside the realm of sensory experience. Si, because it’s personal to the user, can feel abstract and hard to describe, like any other Introverted function.

Odo’s Si-experience is usually of being in one form, while The Founder has been many different shapes and beings over the centuries. She can replicate anything or anyone down to the last tactile detail, and shares the experience of all the other Changelings she’s with in the Link, who have also taken many forms. Thus her life experience is multi-faceted and expansive, and she very naturally feels that she is wiser and has more understanding of the universe than solids trapped in one form. That she refuses to consider their perspective until Odo links with her betrays the hidden rigidity of her thinking.

Tertiary Function: (Ne) Extraverted Intuition, “The Hiking Trails”

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The Founder takes pride in being a shapeshifter, and gets bored and frustrated having to stay in the shape of a humanoid for too long. She pushes Odo to think outside the box (or bucket) of his bipedal existence, to experience the essence of different objects and lifeforms. She uses language that sounds mysterious and abstract to him as she describes life in the Great Link, hinting that she may be not so much an individual, but a “drop” of the Great Link that “becomes the ocean” when she returns.

On the other hand, the Founder’s ideas of humanoids have solidified, if you will, and she will not be moved in her perception. She tries love-making in the humanoid style, and is not impressed. When she’s infected with a wasting disease by Starfleet’s secretive Section 31, this only confirms her cynical view of humans. As her war efforts begin to fail, she begins to loop, ordering the swift execution and re-cloning of her Vorta scientists to provide a fresh perspective on their work to cure her.

Inferior Function: (Fi) Introverted Function, “The Deep Well”

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The Founder pursues her mission to dominate the galaxy with an air of moral superiority. She believes that Changelings are a higher life-form than all non-changelings, giving the Founders the right and duty to conquer. She needs allies like the Breen and the Cardassians to build her forces, but she still views them with disdain, and will manipulate them to serve her purposes.

Her greater mission, beyond conquering the Alpha Quadrant, is to bring Odo home. She’s tender and patient with him, repeatedly inviting him to return to the Link. She and the other Founders feel forced to punish Odo for breaking their one rule—that no Changeling ever harms another Changeling—but once his time is served, she once again entreats him to join their ranks. Though he has chosen life with the solids, she assures him that he will always be a Changeling in the eyes of his people.

The Founder grows testy as the infection breaks her down, and the Alpha Quadrant refuses to surrender to her will. She denies her condition at first, not wishing to show weakness, but then she stops caring how anyone sees her. She bullies, criticizes, threatens, and abuses her subordinates. She orders mass executions of Cardassians to punish the insurgent movement, and then orders the whole planet wiped out when it looks like the Dominion has lost.

When at last Odo links with her, sharing the cure for her infection as well as his more tolerant perspective on the solids, the Founder surrenders. She signs a peace treaty to end the war, and voluntarily submits herself to imprisonment for her war crimes. Even so, she keeps her head held high.

——

[more DS9 MBTI] [more ESTJs]

 

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