It Takes Power to Talk About Power

This is the aphorism I mentioned paraphrased. I could have written it; it requires some knowledge to speak about knowledge in a meaningful way. Or even; one has to have at least a modicum of wisdom to speak wisely about wisdom, its acquisition and application.

For me personally these Toltec aphorisms are by nature profound and succinct. It would be relatively easy to expand each one of them up into thousands of words.

Take the alternative meaning of power, the one of positional or political power. Until one has had a modicum of this one does not know what it feels like to wield power. One is also unaware of the temptations posed by such power. One might even get caught snogging an aide in front of a security camera.

Power of this nature cannot really be speculated upon; it has to be experienced. There are many people who might seek power but then when they have it be unable to use it or wield it. They may not like the flip side of “responsibility” which comes with great power as Spiderman alleges. The notion of power is one thing, its yoke quite another. There is another aphorism of my own writing.

“Power can do weird shit to people, man.”

When I started teaching it was before the days of PowerPoint. One used an overhead projector or old-fashioned chalk. I thought I was a smart young gun. That was until I tried to do a live chalk-based derivation of some rate laws in front of a hundred ultra-smart undergraduates. I nearly shit my pants when I had brain freeze and white out in front of the blackboard. Boy did I prepare well after that!!

Yellow chalk and black Levi’s are an interesting combination, be careful where you put your hands…

There is a strange quirk to my character that makes it difficult for me to teach other people. I genuinely have to understand it before I am comfortable teaching it. And for an INFJ that means understanding it on many levels and comprehensively. Others are able to confidently teach material without having to probe it, so far. Those that learn by rote to pass exams can teach by rote too. Because I don’t have a binary right / wrong orientation sometimes those brought up in a “I must pass exams” education system have initially found my methods lacking in confidence of delivery. They want to “know” the answer and I want to know even more questions. I want to fathom.

I had a break from undergraduate teaching for a long while. Then when I came to teach some of the material that I had done previously I started to find holes in the textbook derivations, too many shortcuts, wide generalisations. I found myself going back to square one and checking a whole bunch of stuff that I would have previously taken for granted.

There were some mistakes!!

I have had minor exposure to power back in the days of the start-up. Strange how I was more attractive to the ladies when I had board meetings and shares. At the moment in terms of material or temporal power I am powerless.

I can however say that powerlessness has its own special kind of power under certain circumstances. It takes powerlessness to speak on the power of powerlessness.

Having taught some material over a number of years, one can say that one’s understanding of that material changes with time. It is funny how a new facet and new insight can be had from the very same words. Even when we think we know, there is nearly always another level, should we be open enough to inquire.

One’s knowledge at any given time is just a snapshot of knowledge at that point in time, it is wise to acknowledge that this is all that it is, a fleeting understanding in our journey of evolution upon which there is no destination only travel.

If you think anything is absolute you are wrong.

Even the gospel of science evolves in time. There are many examples of scientists being adamant and later being proven inaccurate by the evolution of the knowledge base.

I am comfortable talking about knowledge, wisdom and power, because I have a modicum of experience of these things.

It is up to you to assess if I am bullshitting or not…

The Priest, His Nun, Me and the Convent

Sometimes you have to travel to another place in order to meet people with whom you are in close proximity to on a regular basis.

In 2005 I did my MBTI step one qualifying course at a convent called Emmaus in Bristol. One of the course leaders was a very extraverted Catholic Mother Superior. This woman had tremendous energy and a wonderful, if slightly wicked, sense of humour. The course had a small statistics element and from time to time I was asked to help explain to the other participants.

We got to stay overnight in the convent but were allowed to go out for a beer so long as we were back by 10pm curfew. I am an early riser and on occasion I would meet a normally dressed young woman or two on their hands and knees scrubbing the floor. They were out of sight during the day. These women were in the process of being “saved”. One of them in particular looked pretty beaten up for her age. I guessed they were saved from the streets. They were perhaps seeing if they had a vocation or not.

The participants on the course were an eclectic bunch, counsellors, therapists, strategists, careers advisers, Project Raleigh staff, team development consultants, a priest, his nun and a physical chemist from London.

The priest and “his” nun had a very close relationship, they worked together. Their interaction was not unlike that of a married couple but without any sex. She was devoted to him and was in the habit of smoothing over any problems he had with the bishop, of which there were a few.

As a part of the course, we all had to have a little name tag with our MBTI type on it. Mine was INFJ as was the Irish Catholic Priest. The nun was ENTP. Both of them were about fifteen years older than me. When the nun saw that I was the same type as the priest I gained for myself a shadow. For the rest of the course, she asked me near endless questions about how an INFJ thinks and is. Her logic was that by talking to me she would better understand her mysterious and enigmatic priest.

One of the exercises on the course was for people of like type to have a conversation. So that evening the priest INFJ, the scientist INFJ me and a high-level business strategist woman INTJ had a conversation in the pub. The conversation took off and went stratospheric encompassing God, the universe etc. It was tremendous fun. We had not noticed that everyone else was just listening to the weirdo space cadets.

Anyway, as it turned out I had been near both the priest and the nun every workday for nearly four years. I had stood waiting here at the Jebb Avenue bus stop. They were at work as the prison priest and his pastoral support at Brixton prison, London SW2.

I had to travel all the way to Emmaus to meet them…

1.4% – INFJ – The Odd Weirdos

Depending upon the population sampled the occurrence of the INFJ type is somewhere between 1 and 2% of the adult population. Given that INFJs are likely to self-select towards psychometric questionnaires, I’ll postulate that these figures are higher than the actual prevalence in the general population. So, for the purposes of discussion let’s say that the prevalence is 1%.

Back when I did team development courses for science Ph.D. students, I noticed some trends. The prevalence of T type as opposed to F type was massively skewed upwards from national data. {Less so for bio and medics}. Likewise, the prevalence of N was way up when compared to S. {add some S-type bio-medical-engineers and this restored the balance a little}. The more cerebral and less practical the science the heavier the NT population bias was.

As an NF it explained why I felt out of place amongst a bunch of NT barracudas.

If the prevalence of INFJ is 1% then statistically {unless you are in the psych or God business} you will have met less of these than any other type. This means that only 1 in every hundred people you meet is an INFJ-Weirdo. Therefore, your experience of interacting with these will be less well developed. Every self-aware INFJ on the planet knows that sooner or later there will be some major misunderstanding. It is impossible to head this off because should you try to do this by explaining the differences, they will not pay attention nor take it seriously. All you can do is try your best to communicate effectively and wait for the crash. Sooner or later, you will say a lead balloon, which you know to be accurate and true, but the other party does not and will deny what you said. Then the INFJ stubbornness kicks in and you try to explain in many more inventive ways what you are trying to convey, the other person feels {imagines} attacked and a shitstorm ensues.

I have tried numerous techniques like trying to get someone I might work with to read the INFJ profile previous {or one like it}. If they do read it, they skim read it and do not absorb like an INFJ would. So, this method of trying to get the other person to start to understand does not work.

The only NTs who get an INFJ are the INTJs. This is because of the shared dominant introverted intuition.

I can flip my F and my T reasonably easy, hell for years I pretended to be an ENTJ. INTJs can, if they relax, flip their T and F.

Inner Nuances Foster Journeys and It’s Not Thoroughly Justified are quite a way apart in terms of approach.

In principle, according to the blue books, humanity is evolving towards being polarised on the buddhic or intuitional plane. This means that more and more incarnated beings will be intuitionally polarised.

Because of some of my more F type behaviours people have questioned my sexuality…especially those fond of overly faux-macho NT behaviours.

I’ll make a prediction.

Over the oncoming decades the proportion of people getting a positive INFJ test result will go up and as a result they will have to self-isolate in order to say as sane as possible. Before long we will be legion. There may even be an INFJ pandemic.

INFJ by Keirsey

Profile by David Keirsey

INFJs focus on possibilities, think in terms of values and come easily to decisions. The small number of this type (1 percent) is regrettable, since INFJs have unusually strong drive to contribute to the welfare of others and genuinely enjoy helping their fellow men. This type has great depth of personality; they are themselves complicated, and can understand and deal with complex issues and people.

It is an INFJ who is likely to have visions of human events past, present, or future. If a person demonstrates an ability to understand psychic phenomena better than most others, this person is apt to be an INFJ. Characteristically, INFJs have strong empathic abilities and can be aware of another’s emotions or intents even before that person is conscious of these. This can take the form of feeling the distress of illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other types. INFJs can intuit good and evil in others, although they seldom can tell how they came to know. Subsequent events tend to bear them out, however.

INFJs are usually good students, achievers who exhibit an unostentacious creativity. They take their work seriously and enjoy academic activity. They can exhibit qualities of over-perfectionism and put more into a task than perhaps is justified by the nature of the task. They generally will not be visible leaders, but will quietly exert influence behind the scenes.

INFJs are hard to get to know. They have an unusually rich inner life, but they are reserved and tend not to share their reactions except with those they trust. Because of their vulnerability through a strong facility to introject, INFJs can be hurt rather easily by others, which, perhaps, is at least one reason they tend to be private people. People who have known an INFJ for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that INFJs are inconsistent; they are very consistent and value integrity. But they have convoluted, complex personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.

INFJs like to please others and tend to contribute their own best efforts in all situations. They prefer and enjoy agreeing with others, and find conflict disagreeable and destructive. What is known as ESP is likely found in an INFJ more than in any other types, although other types are capable of such phenomena. INFJs have vivid imaginations exercised both as memory and intuition, and this can amount to genius, resulting at times in an INFJ’s being seen as mystical. This unfettered imagination often will enable this person to compose complex and often aesthetic works of art such as music, mathematical systems, poems, plays, and novels. In a sense, the INFJ is the most poetic of all the types. Just as the ENTJ cannot not lead, so must an INFJ intuit; this capability extends to people, things, and often events, taking the form of visions, episodes of foreknowledge, premonitions, auditory and visual images of things to come. INFJs can have uncanny communications with certain individuals at a distance.

Career

INFJs often select liberal arts as a college major and opt for occupations which involve interacting with people, but on a one-to-one basis. For example, the general practitioner in medicine might be an INFJ, or the psychiatrist or psychologist. As with all NF’s, the ministry holds attraction, although the INFJ must develop an extraverted role here which requires a great deal of energy. INFJs may be attracted to writing as a profession, and often they use language which contains an unusual degree of imagery. They are masters of the metaphor, and both their verbal and written communications tend to be elegant and complex. Their great talent for language usually is directed toward people, describing people and writing to communicate with people in a personalized way. INFJs who write comment often that they write with a particular person in mind; writing to a faceless, abstract audience leaves them uninspired.

INFJs make outstanding individual therapists who have the ability to get in touch with the archetypes of their patients in a way some other types do not. The INFJs are also the most vulnerable of all the types to the eruption of their own archetypal material. As therapists, INFJs may choose counseling, clinical psychology, or psychiatry, or may choose to teach in these fields. Writing about these professions often intrigues an INFJ. Whatever their choice, they generally are successful in these fields because their great personal warmth, their enthusiasm, their insight, their depth of concentrations, their originality, and their organizational skills can all be brought into play.

At work as well as socially, INFJs are highly sensitive in their handling of others and tend to work well in an organizational structure. They have a capacity for working at jobs which require solitude and concentration, but also do well when in contact with people, providing the human interaction is not superficial. INFJs enjoy problem-solving and can understand and use human systems creatively and humanistically. As employees or employers, INFJs are concerned with people’s feelings and are able to provide in themselves a barometer of the feelings of individuals and groups within the organizations. INFJs listen well and are willing and able to consult and cooperate with others. Once a decision is made, they work to implement it.

INFJs are generally good at public relations and themselves have good interpersonal relations. They value staff harmony and want an organization to run smoothly and pleasantly, themselves making every effort to contribute to that end. They are crushed by too much criticism and can have their feelings hurt rather easily. They respond to praise and use approval as a means of motivating others, just as they, the INFJs, are motivated by approval. If they are subject to a hostile, unfriendly working condition or to constant criticism, they tend to lose confidence, become unhappy and immobilized, and finally become physically ill.

Home

As mates, INFJs are usually devoted to their spouses, but may not always be open to physical approaches. They tend to be physically demonstrative at times, but wish to choose when, which is when they are in the mood. This maybe quite confusing to an extraverted mate. Often an INFJ’s expressions of affection will be subtle, taking a humorous, unexpected turn. INFJs need and want harmony in their homes and find constant conflict, overt or covert, extremely destructive to their psyches. Their friendship circle is likely to be small, deep, and longstanding. As parents, INFJs usually are fiercely devoted. A female INFJ, particularly, is linked to her children in a way different from the other types: with almost a psychic symbiosis. This deep bond can create an over-dependency that can be unhealthy for both mother and child. At the same time, INFJs tend to be good friends with their children, while firm in discipline. They usually are concerned about the comfort of a home and most especially the comfort, physical health, and emotional well-being of both mates and children.

Midlife

At midlife an INFJ can best continue developing the thinking function in the form of logic and the pursuit of theory. The pleasure of taking a theoretical model and applying it to a situation may be a source of interest which an INFJ may have been neglecting. While continuing to pursue the person-to-person in feeling-type relationships, at midlife INFJs may want to get more involved in working with NT’s, who offer a dimension not dominant in NF’s and vice versa. Carefully providing for rest and taking care of physical health is vital to the INFJ at all times, and mandatory from midlife on.

Mates

The oracular INFJ may opt for the inventive ENTP, but also may go for a different kind of contrary, namely the ESTP. The ESTP and ENTP, to the casual observer, look pretty much alike. Charming, suave, urbane, humorous, witty, fantastically easy to approach, venturesome, even reckless. But one is out to invent, the other to promote; this is no small difference. It takes an inventor to make a mousetrap, it takes a promoter to make an enterprise. To succeed, the promoter has to be, in the best sense of the word, a con artist. He must be able to get people’s confidence. Now why would a meaning-giver INFJ be intrigued by an entrepreneur ESTP? Because he wants to help the entrepreneur find his soul and his significance in the scheme of things. Similarly, why is the INFJ attracted to ENTP? Because he wishes to rescue this iconoclast from his seeming folly (and let’s face it, most inventions are abortive, or still-born).

Transmutation, Transformation and Transfiguration

There is a human tendency to read things verbatim or dead letter or face value only. The extent to which one has this tendency depends on personal preference and psychological orientation.  To some extent educational training plays a role too. As an INFJ with dominant introverted intuition, I tend to miss the dead letter interpretation on occasion, this is because I am nearly always looking for deeper meaning and a metaphor can provide for me what might take several paragraphs of descriptive text to explain.

It amuses me slightly to image someone working with 20 pounds of antimony in a furnace in his shed. One of the main criticisms people have of the bible stems from an insistence on a dead letter interpretation. People read “the gospel” in a dead letter way. I have speculated that given when it was written the vast majority were illiterate, it is in fact full of metaphors and other narrative devices. People like to argue the toss and nit-pick about their own personal face value interpretation of text.

The Tibetan describes the first three initiations as Transmutation, Transformation and Transfiguration. This is a very alchemical way of explaining. Alchemy to my eyes is not trying to turn base metal into gold, rather it is about transmuting one’s shortcomings into a more helpful set of behaviours. Mares says that the warrior’s path is a path of the three Ts as above. If you look at the degree of change implicit in the language, it starts small and gets bigger.

The alchemical transmutation changes one’s beingness, the transfiguration transfigures which sounds like a whole order of magnitude more radical. Within the scheme of the Tibetan, the third initiation is considered the first “proper” initiation and is indicative of final liberation. After the third it is only a few more lifetimes before the causal vehicle is “blown out”.

Given that human minds are trained in school to compare and contrast, to use ratioing or so-called rational mind we are trained to pick holes in things, to find fault. Searching for holism is discouraged and my even be seen as wishy-washy. We are trained to justify our answers, this tendency for justification has allowed humanity to participate in some truly heinous acts.  

{Everyone is doing it, I was only following orders, there is a precedent.}

I can read alchemical texts from a basis of a degree level understanding of modern {relatively now} chemistry and the periodic table. I don’t imagine myself ever trying some of the frankly dangerous sounding experiments. If one reads Hermetica, attributed to Hermes Trimegistus there is a whole lot of sense in parts. It can be enjoyable to read things and not want to argue the toss and be “right”. Just let it flow over and enjoy someone else’s train of thought.

One of the first things to transmute is to change closed, dogmatic, I am right mind to a more open enquiring and non-concluding mind. There does not have to be a conclusion. This goes against everything we are taught in school. There must be a summing up and a conclusion.

Why?

Explain to me why there must be a conclusion, explain to me why there must be a right answer. Justify your answer.

INFJ – No Filter – Offending

For whatever reason I am with this alleged quirk of the INFJ personality today. It started off with me looking at various INFJ memes as I do on occasion, just to remind myself that there are others “out there”.

Variously INFJs say nothing and internalize or offer a truth. That truth can be very detailed, deeply considered and highly accurate from wide perspective, it rarely has any filter. It is a whole truth and nothing but the truth. There is no holding back, it can be both barrels, so to speak.

I have noted over the years that I have offended many people by doing this, offering a truth. Many have sought petty revenge for my offering. People unwilling to accept said truth have sought to punish me for its provision. The quandary is to keep silence or accept a likely angry revenge. From time to time I piss people off, especially those who are prone to self-importance, with inflated and erroneous self-perspective.

One of things I dislike is people being fake, smarmy and toady, brown nosing, if you know what I mean. Yup, I understand that this kind of “politics” helps advancement for those so inclined, but I cannot bring myself to do it. It is akin to my dislike of small talk. Most people seem content enough to play this societal game, which we might call ritual sniffing, like dogs.

People are afraid of being real. They are not real to others and do not like it when people are real to them.

I have heard it described as an iron fist in a velvet glove. That is when an INFJ gives you the benefit of his / her opinion. It comes out of the blue, is totally unexpected and then, BAM!

It is never done to score points or to injure or to offend. It is done to provide clarity and aid evolution. It is done for growth but so often it is not accepted as the gift which it is meant to be.

Weird.

Pearls before swine and all that.

If an INFJ motivated by an upswelling of unconditional love goes to the trouble of offering their truth and it offends…

Then they are increasingly likely to stay silent.

Full of apparent “contradictions”, is what others say but there is logical consistency and no contradiction. It is simply cause and effect.

Oh well inner nuance foster journeys…

Hmnn

Seemingly Impossible Situations

It is oft stated that the INFJ Myers Briggs personality type is the rarest of them all. Others say that they have a dolphin like radar, and that they rely on their often-accurate intuitions. The Tibetan talks about cultivating, intuition and soular intuition at that.  In general, intuitive types as per MBTI are less common than sensing types. Humanity is evolving and I will make a prediction; the percentage of people testing positive for an intuition preference will increase.

For about eight years I taught high school chemistry and physics privately. For about 30 % of the students, I helped them adapt their intuitive orientation to deeply sensing exam papers. Only one answer allowed and that must match exactly the expected parrot response. A number of times I was shown homework marked as wrong when in fact the answer given was simply better and more comprehensive than the REQUIRED one. My exam grades at school had also suffered from my non parrot status. I said to these high school students, wait a couple of years and your approach will be better!! By year three or four at university you will come into your own. I taught them to mind map instead of list and flash card. I taught them how to build circular revision maps based on themes. They were a bit freaked out when I read what was going on for them and then realised that they were a bit like me, they relaxed, and we had fun. If they needed a good old tangent, off we went, and I guided them back to subject.

I have long held an interest in seemingly impossible situations, the “you can’t have your cake and eat it type”, the catch-22, the conundrum and of course good old Zen koans. “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Some of these are just plain stupid, others are profound.

I have mentioned that I had some seemingly telepathic conversations with members of the second ray ashrams. How does one view this?

Yes, telepathy is possible and an INFJ might just the sort of weirdo who could do this?

Or one could imagine that I simply did too many mushrooms and weed when I was a student and a consequence, I am deeply delusional.

Or is it simply my glamour, my wish to be important bringing out the inner Walter Mitty in me.

Each of those beliefs has a consequence. Unless you sat down and chewed the fat with me over a period of many weeks or months there is no reliable way of knowing. The Tibetan however suggests that we rely on our intuition. What does your intuition tell you?

The implication of my telepathic conversations with my telepathic friends is that I am an initiate of some degree. So, if you are pooh-poohing my imaginary friends what in effect are you doing?

Are you demonstrating your omniscience or are you demonstrating your dogmatic insistence on being right, oh you marvellous font of all wisdom?  All hail the mighty!

What would be the consequences of believing that I am indeed a high degree initiate, especially given how you are currently behaving?

Now If I am a nutter / Mitty, what are the consequence of that belief. There are not many if it is true, more if not.

What are the consequences of an ex-academic being a nutter / Mitty in his old age?

Way back I did know quite a few proper scientists at pucker universities. I doubt many of them would believe in telepathy unless they had good data. They live in the world of proof. If I  was to say in the absence of theory, there is no such thing as proof. Is that a seemingly impossible situation? Proof is only a human mental construct and is impermanent.

Trouble is you cannot test telepathy with boring geometric cards it does not work like that. There cannot ever be a six-sigma test, sorry! {J, I, D, B, – R, D, J, -M, A, – T, J}

 I like seemingly impossible situations; they can be fun thought experiments.

Wider Perspectives

It is said that Bodhidharma spent nine years staring at a wall doing Zen. As such he is often depicted as having no eyelids. I have spent the best part of today and some of yesterday staring at walls and filling them with thriller, no sorry not that, filler. The kitchen is due for installation on Monday and there is a bit of a race to get it ready. Tomorrow the sandpaper orgy begins. Because some of the walls will be behind units, there is a temptation not to do them to such a high standard. We shall see how we go. Although we won’t be able to see them, I will know if I have skimped.

I like to think that I am capable of seeing wider perspectives and in many cases, this has been found to be true. Many people think they have a wide perspective, when they don’t. The INFJ is a big picture thinker and they include people in the big picture not just systems. I have heard it said that INFJs can be visionary, like Martin Luther King. “I have a dream…” That dream is closer to fruition now, but still a way off.

It is slightly odd, that I find myself here, isolated. Given the potential that briefly shone 20 years ago, it seems an unlikely outcome. There was no way of predicting it. People have not been all that nice to me over the years, which if I am just an old git, possibly alcoholic, taking his retirement, is not so significant. I have been at the end of pointy fingers on many an occasion.

From time to time I post up the words of my second ray brother, aka The Tibetan. As I write this, I am in triangulation with he and another of our ashram. I am an affiliate. There is no reliable way that you can tell if I am pulling your leg.

As a thought experiment apropos of wider perspectives, if I say that I have taken more than the sixth, what would that mean to you? Would that alter the significance of me finding myself here in “exile”?

If you have been slagging me off, would that snippet of information change anything?

Could you even begin to appreciate what might be transpiring?

See I like to think outside the box…and as a bit of a closet philosopher I like thought experiments.

Is there only The One Life in which we are all interconnected or are we all separate very important ambitious self-advancing stable geniuses?

Not Neurotypical

I am not neurotypical, I know this for a fact, because I have measured my own brainwaves with a frontal lobe EEG (Electroencephalograph). Perhaps it might be better to say I am no longer neurotypical, though I don’t know if I was in the first place.

Like many INFJs I am quite fond of quizzes especially psychometric ones.  These are my results for the Aspie quiz:

A few weeks after my cancer operation I went to see a psychologist specialising in autistic spectrum clients. She was one of the few to do adult screening that I could find. I answered her lengthy questionnaire before my visit. I used the word impeccable quite a number of times in my answers.

She was a good friendly interviewer and we had a great chat. The outcome was that she was pretty certain that I did not have Aspergers’ and wasn’t really exhibiting spectrum like behaviours.  She thought that I might have an Unrelenting Standards Life Trap.

I did the quiz and bought several books on Schema Therapy. I am pretty convinced that I do not have this problem. It is a fair way off the mark. I like to do things properly when I have the time. I have high standards regarding integrity, authenticity and dislike people scheming and plotting. I do take my achievements for granted, they are not all that important to me. What is next, is usually my question. I like novelty.

As an INFJ, I make values based decisions  which can be very surprising to others. What is more these decisions are often irrevocable. For example once you have landed on my “wanker pile” there you will remain until strong evidence to the contrary is seen.

My temperament is NF. Read this above, sounds pretty good to me!!

What Temperament are you?

How do you make decisions?

Do you have the unrelenting standards life trap?