Portrait of the Rational (iNtuitive Thinker)
“To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets, and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.”
These are NTs. They are rather infrequent, only about 12 percent of the population. In school, only four in a class of 32 would be an NT. Of these four only one would be introverted, an INTP, or INTJ. They must feel they live with aliens, as the SP’s and SJ’s are continuously surrounding them. The teachers and parents of NT’s are likely not to understand the motivations of the child.
Power fascinates the NT. Not power over people, but power over nature. To be able to understand, control, predict, and explain realities. Scratch an NT, find a scientist.
Only the NT can judge his capability, and he does so with ruthless self-criticism. The NT is the most self-critical of all the types. Wanting to be competent is not a strong enough expression of the force behind the NT’s quest. He must be competent. He badgers himself about his errors, taxes himself with the resolve to improve, and ruthlessly monitors his own progress. The NT must be competent in whatever domain of enterprise or inquiry he chooses; he will settle for nothing less.
All NTs require themselves to be persistently and consistently rational in all their actions. NTs insist that they have a reason for everything they do, that whatever they do and say makes sense.
To accept an authority figure based solely on the fact that he is an authority figure, to the NT is ludicrous. The fact that a person proclaims something, whatever his or her title, reputation, or credentials, leaves the NT indifferent. This tends to make others see the NT as arrogant, and unusually individualistic. An unfortunate signal the NT unconsciously sends out is that those around him are intellectually inadequate.
He tends to be straightforward in his dealings with people, although others report often finding the NT cold, remote, and enigmatic. Yet if an NT is asked outright his position on any issue, he is more than likely to state his ideas on the subject without equivocation. In his communications the NT is likely to speak with little or no redundancy. His communications tend to be terse, compact, and logical. The NT is oblivious to emotional overtones, and non-verbal communications.
Because the NT is so serious about the knowledge he must have to be competent (and to be seen by others as competent), he does, in fact, frequently gain proficiency in his field. The dominance of these traits exerts itself early in life, usually taking the form of a childish curiosity as to how things work, especially machines. The NT begins his search for explanations as soon as he has the language for questioning. He is puzzled by the world around him and is not satisfied by the answers from his elders. Learning for the NT is a 24-hour preoccupation, and this characteristic exerts itself early, particularly in the case of the extreme NT.
Perhaps more than any other style, NT’s live in their work. He is ever searching for the why’s of the universe. He ever attempts, in his Promethean way, to breathe a fire of understanding into whatever area he considers his domain. They can be found in high frequency in engineering and architecture, in the teaching of mathematics, sciences and philosophy. Wherever they are and whatever they do, the NTs strive (and usually succeed) to perform competently.
NTs as a group tend to enjoy playing with words, finding pleasure in exploring verbal intricacies. Convoluted phrases and paradoxical statements fascinate them. Contemplating Einstein’s comment, “The laws of mathematics, as far as they refer to reality, are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality,” would give delight to the NT.
The NT speculates about the possible motivation and thoughts of those he is with, trying to fit his experiences into some system he carries around in his head. In fact, he may be so occupied with trying to figure out what is happening, as it is happening, that he misses living the event. At times, the NT seems to stand beside, instead of in the stream of life, seeming to watch bemusedly as the river flows by — a little distanced, a little detached, a little uninvolved.
At times, an NT can be quite oblivious to the emotional responses of others and may not always be sensitive to the complexities of interpersonal relations. People report that they sometimes feel that they do not exist when they are in the presence of an NT, and they may react to this by hostile, attacking comments directed to the personality of the NT. NTs generally react to these comments with bewilderment and seldom strike back. If he chooses, however, the NT is capable of biting sarcasm that can be devastating to the person at whom it is directed.