I’m a big fan of the MBTI, as self-understanding has always felt hard-fought for a weirdo like me.
After a lot of mistyping and thorough research, I finally realized that I was INFJ (a both harrowing and wonderful revelation). Arguably the rarest male type:
So abstract that most children on the playground used to just stare at my mouth when I was trying to make sense; horrendous and wonderful empathy so absorbent of other people’s emotions that I have trouble finding my own; still quite capable of abstract logic, but my own logic; and still in daft need to do something with this big head/heart-lifeworld my personality creates, thus the endless, endless creations.
Digging deeper into the theories, I liked when I saw the personalities broken even further down into introverted and extraverted versions of the different preferences (i.e., Introverted Feeling vs. Extraverted Feeling), and once I used the MBTI to help heal myself up from horrible times, I came to realize its potential for aiding my creativity.
So INFJs have:
I don’t see a lot of literature on how creativity manifests through function order, though. The general explanation of these more precise functions isn’t hard to find (here’s a nice general one and this one hits on them for INFJ), but I’ve never seen them in specific context of how I view creativity:
INFJ Functions and My Creativity
(least, you know, as I understand it)
I’m a reader, and I mean in the sense of life, and not even in the conscious sense. I don’t have to read between the lines, I just fall right through them with every step I take. Everything I absorb is weighted with meaning. It’s dense and symbolic, and creates a strong mind’s-eye. There isn’t a point in my day where there aren’t images floating around in my head that are symbolic composites of just stuff I’ve absorbed. I used to feel tortured by it at times, but this floating galaxy of stuff in my head is who I am. Taken ideally for art, I’m basically a reserve of potential creativity.
Wipe me across the floor of human emotion and I’ll just suck up everything. Sure, feeling the feelings of the person you’re talking to is great for relating, compassion, and understanding, but it can also be viewed as an info bank in a way, how the world of emotion works. Coupled with my intuition, I’ve naturally been picking up on emotional patterns my whole life, similarities–I’ll know when I’m seeing an emotion in someone that I’ve seen in another before. Over time this has given me the ability to have a strong idea of how people will react to something even if it doesn’t “exist yet” (the point where your umbrella is stolen in Cherry in the Sky, the death of a character in Ali So Far). It lets me create evocative prose and experiences that can pull on universal emotional heartstrings (least I hope I’m doing that), and as exhausting as it is sometimes, it’s imperative that I continue to collect the emotions of the world to ever improve my abilities.
This is where my internal logic lies, where I categorize the symbols and emotions, and organize the world to my understanding. I’m not so much a system builder like a thinking type, more of a world builder. My intuition just brings the symbols into my head haphazardly, but this function allows me to take active command of where abstract is placed and organized. It is where my sense of artistry lies. “This will go here and this will go here to reflect the meaning and produce the emotion my first two functions informed me of”. This is my eternal student function, and it is what will leave me an artist for life. Lately, I’m realizing my mathematical ability lies here as well, but I haven’t come into full understanding of it yet. Continuing to write code should bring that to light. There’s some link there that eludes me.
We’re getting down to point where I feel baffled and unclear on functions due to them being less developed, but I do have a child’s aesthetic sensibilities. To me, it’s just a feeling at the front of my head. I put down some colors in one of my games (colors symbolically selected of course), but then I have to play around with the appearance until this feeling in my head moves from “ew” to “ahhh”. This is also where my drive to move these head worlds into reality lies, often in an out of control manner–I overdo, exhaust, and sometimes hurt myself by just making too much and doing too much. I’ve got to grow to temper this blade like all my others. It will make me an even better creator in the end.
I’m sure all INFJ don’t experience this the exact same way, but I’m sure it’s closer to my experience than that of the other types. Hopefully this aids some other creative–my two cents in the MBTI pool. Maybe I’ll get into my enneagram someday (4w5), but it’s pretty basic at the end: at my greatest I make art, and at my worse, I seriously just want off this planet. But I’ve got too much to accomplish to do anything but make neat stuff until I can’t anymore, and I’m rather looking forward to seeing this intense INFJ art-guy thing out to the end, whatever may come.