Friday, March 30, 2012

The Mastermind

Who is the Mastermind?

Me. Or rather, that is my temperament.

(But I'll get up to the real thing in time, don't you worry.)


It is not some passing arrogance that leads me to decide this: I recently decided to take an MBTI personality test and got the result that I've gotten since I was nine, that of INTJ. This happens to correspond to the Mastermind type.

What is the MBTI? The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality type classification that draws influence from Jung. People are categorized based on four criteria - introversion/extraversion, sensing/intuition, feeling/thinking, and judging/perceiving. This makes for a total of sixteen types (2^4).

(Simple English Wikipedia explains it clearly.)

Salient characteristics of INTJs include:
  • Analytic
  • Comfortable working alone
  • Pragmatic and creative
  • Intolerant of inauthenticity
  • Independent of thought
  • Aware of both knowledge and limitations (Confucius would approve)*
  • Confident in own ability
  • Demanding
  • Distant and reserved
  • Not fond of showing emotion
  • Better in working situations
All of which apply to me. Even "demanding" and "distant" and socially awkward.

Yes: I will accept this classification as legitimate.


When you know your type, and start looking for it in your influences, patterns emerge.

A lot of people I follow, such as Theodora Goss, Hecate Demeter, and S. Mash are also INTJs. Three may not seem a lot, but they make up about 6.25% of the people I follow (through tumblr/blogs), even though INTJs make up only about 2-4% of the population (it is even rarer for females to be INTJ). Further, I didn't know when I started following them that they were INTJs.

Historical/fictional figures who may be INTJs include Thomas Jefferson, Augustus Caesar, Peter the Great, Jane Austen, Franz Kafka, Nikola Tesla, Dr. Johnathan Crane (from Batman Begins), Fitzwilliam Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, Willy Wonka, and Nietzsche.

Do we gravitate toward our own type? Not to implicate the people I've mentioned, but I'm seeing a great invisible whirlpool drawing all us Masterminds together to plot a new world order.

Just kidding. (Mostly.)

But it does hearten me to find others like me. I've been feeling un-Mastermind-like of late, with the usual teenager problems. And it soothes my overbearing vainglory to think that I might have something in common with such writers as Austen or Kafka. Or, indeed, with Willy Wonka.


*子曰:知之为知之,不知为不知,是知也。Translated: if you know what you know and know what you don't know, then you truly know.


  1. There's a great Asimov quote:
    "How often people speak of art and science as though they were two entirely different things, with no interconnection. An artist is emotional, they think, and uses only his intuition; he sees all at once and has no need of reason. A scientist is cold, they think, and uses only his reason; he argues carefully step by step, and needs no imagination. That is all wrong. The true artist is quite rational as well as imaginative and knows what he is doing; if he does not, his art suffers. The true scientist is quite imaginative as well as rational, and sometimes leaps to solutions where reason can follow only slowly; if he does not, his science suffers."

    Not particularly relevant to the post; just had a vague idea you might appreciate it.

    1. I do appreciate it, in fact - and now I have a reply for the people who think it's weird that I like math and fantasy writing both. Thank you. :)

  2. Percentage breakdown of your results:

    Introverted (I) 75% Extraverted (E) 25%
    Intuitive (N) 55% Sensing (S) 45%
    Thinking (T) 60% Feeling (F) 40%
    Judging (J) 73% Perceiving (P) 27%
    INTJ – Scientists and Strategists

    I'd have thought i'd be a bit more extraverted but deep down i know it isn't the i'm a fellow INTJ, and i love maths (always been my favourite subject in school and now tutoring in it as part time job), and i love fantasy books. i would love to write fantasy too, but i don't think i'm cut out for that. You are though, so keep writing.
    intresting test :)

    1. You too?! My goodness, it is a conspiracy!

      Math + fantasy = awesomeness. I suspect you're shortchanging yourself - there's a rather long quote by Patricia C. Wrede, who wrote my favorite series as a kid, that I think you should see:

      "You don’t have to believe you will be a success in order to write. You don’t even have to believe that you could be. You just have to believe that you, or someone like you, can sit down with a notebook or at a computer and make up stuff that somebody else might want to read...The so-called “writer’s imagination” starts by imagining oneself as a writer."

      In my own words: if you want to write, go for it! :)