INFJ: Weyoun, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”

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INFJ – the Counselor, the Seer, the Defender

Wait, haven’t we seen this guy before? No, it’s not because Weyoun is a clone, it’s because Jeffrey Combs played another DS9 villain, Brunt. They even appeared in the same episode once, though sadly, not in the same scene.

Two Weyouns once appeared in the same episode, too, because the character we know as Weyoun is actually a series of clones (Weyouns 4-8 during the run of DS9, to be specific). However, because he’s genetically engineered to do his job perfectly, he always has the same personality, even when he turns out “defective.” In MBTI, your type is generally a function of nature rather than nurture—you are wired the way you’re wired no matter what, though personal experience will influence how your functions manifest. In Weyoun’s case, his “nature” is embedded in his DNA by those who “nurture” him, the Founders he reveres as gods.

Dominant Function: (Ni) Introverted Intuition, “The Labyrinth”

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Weyoun believes in the mythos of the Dominion—that the Founders are gods who bring order to the galaxy. He believes that the Dominion will endure for thousands of years after the Federation is gone, and works to advance their holdings and influence with every move he makes. He believes that his goals are divinely inspired by the Founders, perfect and not to be questioned.

Even the defective Weyoun 6 still holds the Founders in awe and reverence, even though he awakens from the cloning process with the inexplicable idea that the Dominion’s war efforts are wrong. Continue reading

INFJ: Deanna Troi, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”

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INFJ – the Counselor, the Seer, the Defender

Hey, look! Troi’s a Counselor, but she’s also a Counselor. That works out nicely.

The two biggest challenges in typing Troi are these—1) She’s the most neglected crew member in terms of character development, and 2) Superpowers don’t count as cognitive functions. Troi being able to psychically read people doesn’t automatically mean she’s using Ni or Fe—it’s how she chooses to use her abilities based on her functional preferences that makes her an INFJ. We meet plenty of other telepaths and Betazoids on the show, and they all have their own personality types, particularly Troi’s mother, who’s an example of how different one person can be from their own family members.

Dominant Function: (Ni) Introverted Intuition, “The Labyrinth”

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Troi’s empathic abilities read what’s going on emotionally beneath the surface of everyone she talks to. That’s not Ni itself, although it’s close to being a nice metaphor. When Troi temporarily loses her powers in “The Loss” (an episode I’ll be referencing a lot for this profile), she tells Riker that everyone seems colorless and hollow. Everyone is just a flat surface that she can’t understand.

So Troi’s Ni takes her empathic perception and creates an interpretive impression of another person. Without that impression, people have no depth to her. They don’t even seem real.

When Troi does use her powers, they don’t necessarily give her exact information. She’s infamous for giving vague advice about feeling that someone can’t be trusted, or that they’re hiding something, insights that barely require an empath to discern. Compare this to her Se-dom mother Lwaxana, who aside from being a full telepath, is direct and blunt about stating exactly what she hears other people thinking. Continue reading

INFJ: R’as al Ghul, “Batman: The Animated Series”

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INFJ – the Counselor, the Seer, the Defender

(pronounced RAYSH in the Animated Series, RAHZ in the Nolan movies)

Batman’s most powerful enemy doesn’t need a cute nickname like those ordinary lunatics (although his name does mean “Demon’s Head” in Arabic). He’s an international criminal mastermind who’s been at this for centuries before Bruce Wayne ever asked his parents to take him to the movies.

Dominant Function: (Ni) Introverted Intuition, “The Labyrinth”

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R’as has been playing the long game for about six hundred years. He founded the Society of Shadows, used the Lazarus Pits to keep himself alive and healthy, and grew independently wealthy in order to achieve his goal of healing the planet from humanity’s corruption. Strangely, though Ni is usually associated with forward-thinking, R’as vision of a pristine green earth means that he distrusts technology and its influence—even as he uses it to execute his plans.

As he transports Batman to his rainforest hideaway, R’as explains how the forests benefit all mankind, but the rich find value only in its destruction. He’s profoundly disappointed with the thoughtless way humankind has used the earth without considering the consequences. His own vision for the earth has grand and far-reaching consequences, namely wiping out a huge swath of the human population. Though the immediate results are horrifying, he believes that in the end he will create a healthier planet.

Continue reading

INFJ: Derrial Book, “Firefly”

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The Counselor, The Defender, The Seer

Of all the odd folks on Serenity, Shepherd Book is perhaps the most mysterious. We trust him, but he has a dark past that’s repeatedly hinted at and yet never revealed. I debated even typing him at all, since it’s possible that he’s a completely different person on Serenity than he was before.

This isn’t to say that he changed types. According to the fundamentals of MBTI theory, that can’t happen. The trick with Shepherd Book is, are we seeing the man as he truly is, or the man as he’s trying to be after the man he was went astray?

(Note: I understand that a lot of Book’s backstory was cleared up in a series of comic books—which also revealed that his real name isn’t even Derrial Book—but I didn’t want to base this profile on a version of the character not everyone is familiar with, and that wasn’t portrayed by Ron Glass.)

Dominant Function: (Ni) Introverted Intuition, “Anticipate the Experience”

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Kaylee finds Shepherd Book wandering the shipyards of Persephone, looking for a ride. It’s not the destination he’s concerned with, though. He’s looking for a ship. Maybe one that’s calling to him somehow, a place where he’s supposed to be and serve some purpose.

Kaylee sees this in Book and connects with him. He’s hooked immediately and comes aboard.

Once he’s had his first adventure with the crew of Serenity, however, Book panics. Nothing’s worked out the way he expected, he did things he didn’t want to do, and he can’t find the meaning in it. He despairs that he’s gotten on the wrong ship. “Maybe you’re exactly where you ought to be,” Inara, a fellow Ni-user says to console him.

Book sees potential for good in everyone, even apparent lost causes like Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He keeps his faith in the face of Mal’s cynicism, reminding him and the others of a higher power, “a power that heals,” when they’re staring down the ugly work of the Reavers. To his dying breath, Book pleads for Mal to believe in something. Continue reading

INFJ: Vitruvius, “The LEGO Movie”

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The Counselor, The Defender, The Seer

It’s a wonder Morgan Freeman didn’t get into voice acting a long time ago. He’s done commercials and documentaries, but what a loss it would have been if we didn’t have him performing Vitruvius, one of the most INFJ of the INFJs. His warm baritone gives this rubber-band-wearing hippy a gravitas that somehow makes him even funnier than if he’d been played like the straight-up weirdo he is.

Dominant Function, (Ni) Introverted Intuition: “Anticipate the Experience”

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Vitruvius gets blinded early in the movie, but this just allows him to focus more on his inner, intuitive world.

When he realizes he can’t stop Lord Business from taking the Kraggle, Vitruvius announces a prophecy—that someone called the Special will arise one day to defeat the superweapon. He even makes it rhyme for extra significance. Of course, he’s completely making the whole thing up, but the prophecy serves Vitruvius’ greater, long-term purpose of inspiring the Master Builders to fight back and find the Special, and it becomes self-fulfilling after all.

The symbolism of The Special and The Piece of Resistance is the important thing, not whether they’re actually real or not. The belief is what matters most, which is what he tells Emmet after he “dies.” Of course, death doesn’t stop Vitruvius, as he just comes back as a ghost, like any good mystical mentor.

Vitruvius’ room in the Old West defies reality. It’s like an M.C. Escher painting, all the walls and ceilings joining at weird angles and allowing him to walk around upside-down and sideways if he wants to, despite being blind. Vitruvius lives comfortably in this symbolic, theoretical space, because he “sees” through the cracks of ordinary reality. Continue reading

The Oscars MBTI: Alice Howland, INFJ, “Still Alice”

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Best Lead Actress of 2014, Julianne Moore

INFJ, the Counselor, the Defender, the Seer

From Julianne Moore’s acceptance speech:

“So many people with this disease feel isolated and marginalized, and one of the wonderful things about movies is that it makes us feel seen and not alone. And people with Alzheimer’s deserve to be seen so that we can find a cure.”

People tend to lose their personality when Alzheimer’s strikes. They become almost unrecognizable from the persons they used to be. As someone who watched his grandmother deteriorate from the disease in her final years (she lived to be 93!), I would add to Julianne Moore’s speech that people with Alzheimer’s deserve to be seen so that they can still be recognized as human beings.

It may be a long time—if ever—till we can cure Alzheimer’s, but in the meantime it’s important to remember and respect the persons underneath the symptoms.

Alice Howland transforms dramatically from the first moment we meet her to the final scene of the film Still Alice, but holding up under all those changes is the core person she’s always been.

Dominant Function: Introverted Intuition (Ni), “Anticipate the Experience”

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Alice is a linguistics professor who’s fascinated with the way we communicate, a common field for Intuitives who enjoy parsing symbolism and meaning. She’s led an ambitious and goal-oriented life—professor at a prestigious university, author of a respected textbook on the subject, and mother of three great kids. She’s intelligent and insightful, and even picks up on bits of knowledge from the medical field thanks to her son and husband, both doctors.

Her diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s threatens her life trajectory, and even as the symptoms progress, she remains resolute that there are still things she’s going to do with her life.

When her daughter Lydia asks her what living with her disease is like, Alice paints an imaginative picture of all the words she used to know hanging in front of her, each of them dropping away and being lost forever. Alice also wears a butterfly charm on a necklace, a reminder of something she learned as a little girl—that butterflies only live a short time. Butterflies make her think of the brevity of life, and she even names a special folder on her computer “Butterfly.” Continue reading

INFJ: The Oracle, “The Matrix” [mini-post]

 

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INFJ, the Counselor, the Defender, the Seer

She only gets one scene, but it’s a doozy. I couldn’t pass up profiling the Oracle despite her brief appearance, so here’s a mini-post with an analysis of the wise old lady’s top two functions.

Dominant Function: Ni/Introverted Intuition, “Anticipate the Experience”

INFJ-Oracle-pics01The Oracle’s whole shtick is predicting what’s going to happen. She understands both the system of the Matrix and the nature of human beings, and can put the pieces together to determine likely outcomes. One gets the impression by the end of the movie that she isn’t so much seeing into the future, but making very insightful leaps of intuition about people’s probable actions.

For instance: It isn’t too hard to see that the combination of the danger around Neo, plus the savior complex of Morpheus (or sidekick-to-the-savior complex), equals an inevitable situation where Morpheus might sacrifice himself to save Neo. It’s this prophecy that she gives Neo, not an answer about whether or not he’s the One, because she understands that telling someone the plain truth might be less effective than telling them something that will steer them in the right direction.

The Oracle also has something intriguing to say about Neo not being the One: “It seems like you’re waiting for something…your next life, maybe.” Neo doesn’t fully embrace his powers until after he’s shot, killed, and resurrected. So in a way, the Oracle’s insight is absolutely correct.

Auxiliary Function: Fe/Extraverted Feeling, “Relate to the Experience”

INFJ-Oracle-pics02The Oracle appears as a friendly grandma to put Neo at ease. She’s baking cookies when he walks in, and when he breaks her vase, she just smiles and tells him not to worry about it. She’s warm and gentle with him, and expresses great sadness when she gives him her warning about Morpheus.

She also uses a neat bit of reverse psychology to guide Neo. She allows Neo to assume that she’s about to tell him that he’s not the One—she never actually tells him he’s not. This takes the pressure off him, and allows Neo to discover his potential on his own terms. She also knows that giving him a plain yes or no about whether or not he’s the One will never satisfy him, but an ominous prophecy about his fate versus Morpheus’ is just the thing to spur him into action.