Eternity is in love with the productions of time

“And how should one receive an exaggerated image, if not by exaggerating it a little more, by personalising the exaggeration?… In prolonging exaggeration, we may have the good fortune to avoid the habits of reduction.” – Gaston Bachelard.

I can’t entirely remember how my fascination with the work of James Joyce came about. As I remember it, I was around 14 or 15 and was going through my poetry phase. Which is to say, I’d had a short poem published in a book and was considering myself to be something of a tortured artist. I read someone or other in an interview say that they considered Joyce to be the greatest poet of all time, thus I looked up his work. I found a couple of his poems in the school library in ‘The Oxford Anthology of Great English Poetry,’ which I found somewhat bewildering at the time as he wasn’t English, and I recall finding them interesting but I can’t say I was particularly enamoured by them. Nonetheless, there was also a hardback copy of Joyce’s collection of short stories ‘Dubliners’ which captured my imagination a little bit more and which I subsequently decided to steal. Whilst Dubliners is probably the most approachable of Joyce’s works, I decided to look up the Spark Notes to further my reading, which in turn subsequently lead me to find the brilliant but now sadly defunct website Robot Wisdom: IQ Infinity: The Unknown James Joyce. Like all ordinary 14 or 15 year old boys, I began reading essays and scholarly articles on Joyce, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake, the puzzles contained in his works and so on.

I became fascinated by the idea of someone writing a novel where effectively nothing really of note actually happens other than people wandering around, someone masturbating on a beach, someone looks at a mysterious bloke in a brown mac (that obsessed me for some reason), Stephen Dedalus’ theory on Hamlet, and Bloom’s wife Molly has an affair. All the while, whilst nothing of note is really happening, telling the story of everything and painting the most complete picture of a person ever recorded in literature, along with a perfect topographical portrait of Dublin. As Joyce didn’t actually live in Dublin at the time he was writing it, he had to get his brother to record details as the types of trees on certain streets, how long it would take to climb over the railing of certain houses, how many breaths it took to cross a particular road, you know, that kind of thing. I was also fascinated by how each chapter which corresponds with a section of The Odyssey by Homer would be represented by a certain colour and body part. Not that this kind of thing is made readily accessible by Joyce. It’s all a bit of a puzzle you’ve got to figure out yourself, nonetheless, this kind of puzzle solving is somewhat appealing to a young INTJ. This is before getting into Joyce’s other work, Finnegans Wake, where Joyce decided to invent his own language out of English, Greek, Latin and drunken piss talk. If you loved the puzzles of Joyce’s Ulysses, well, welcome to fucking nirvana. Suffice to say, as an adolescent I did find and still do find sections of Ulysses extremely challenging, Finnegans Wake is simply far outside of the scope of any 14 to 15 year old who is capable of any kind of remotely functional interaction with the outside world. Still…

This post doesn’t really have any real intellectual objective. It’s more of a curiosity in line with my recent motif on this blog and it’s just a bit of fun. So the question is, what was James Joyce’s MBTI?

If you google this, numerous posts will claim he was an INFJ. Spoiler: He was an INFP.

How did I get to this? As I stated in the previous entry, I generally don’t think it’s actually worthwhile spending much time trying to ascertain the types of fictional characters. For a variety of reasons, and often in order to serve the narrative the type you ascertain for any character could and will often fluctuate quite dramatically in order to serve the purposes of the narrative. However, as Stephen Dedalus is Joyce’s literary alter-ego, it’s still worth taking a look at him. Stephen’s portrayal differs between Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. In Portrait I’d actually be slightly inclined to typing Stephen Dedalus as an INTP and in Ulysses as an INFP for reasons I will momentarily get to. As what differs between an INTP and an INFP is that for an INTP their dominant function is introverted thinking, the auxiliary function is extraverted intuition and the tertiary function is introverted sensing. What differs therefore for the INFP is that rather than introverted thinking, their dominant function is introverted feeling. Thus:

Introverted Feeling is an introverted Judging function. Like the other introverted functions, Fi is characteristically intensive rather than extensive. More specifically, it is focused on navigating and managing the FP’s personal feelings, tastes, and values. Rather than distributing its feelings and energies across a breadth of individuals (as Fe does), Fi concentrates its gaze on the self or the “subject.”

So from this, we can readily presume we are in the correct ball-park. In Joyce’s perambulations through Ulysses, through Dedalus he unmistakably links himself to Hamlet:

Hamlet is a character constantly stuck in a moral dilemma of how he feels at the present moment. Sentiment is everything for Hamlet, best displayed at how grieved he was at the death of his hero father, showing no hesitation to burst out at court at his disgust of his mother marrying his uncle. Hamlet’s depth of feeling is also shown in his early love to Ophelia, regardless of his actions to her later on. Throughout the play, Hamlet becomes increasingly self-involved as his fake madness chips away at his melancholic soul. Hamlet’s extensive moralising stems not from it effects on others, but rather his individual reaction and judgment to the sequence of events that befall him. The “To-Be or Not to Be” speech, one of the most famous in the entire literary canon, is a perfect example of internal feeling, as he weighs the benefits and shortfalls of mortality and whether life is at all worth living. While not a trait of all Fi doms, self-destructive moralising is a notorious side effect of unheathly internal feeling.

Joyce’s Dedalus in Ulysses on the other hand is from a family who have dropped considerably in economic status. Stephen feels alienated from his biological father. Stephen’s mother died a year before, but he is obsessed with the notion her ghost that would destroy his identity as an artist even though he had declared in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man “I will not serve that in which I no longer believe whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland or my church.’’ Stephen says to himself “Agenbite of inwit” recalling his mother’s deathbed, because he rejected his mother’s wish that he pray for her soul. Thus he imagines his mother on her deathbed with abhorrance: “her glazing eyes staring out of death, to shake and bend my soul. On me alone. The ghostcandle to light her agony. Ghostly light on the tortured face. Her hoarse loud breath rattling in horror, while all prayed on their knees. Her eyes on me to strike me down”

If we take this a step further, Hamlet was an INFP, Shakespeare was an INFP. This was Joyce nailing his colours firmly to the mast. There was a phrase in Ulysses that always really jumped out at me, but for many years I didn’t grasp its significance. ‘Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes.’ Stephen is attempting to find in the phenomenal world what has vanished from his moral universe: a centre for the soul.

According to Schopenhauer, to embrace the phenomenal is to abandon the possibility of a moral insight, of a feeling for others. As Joseph Campbell explains it:

The notion of separateness is simply a function of the way our senses experience us here in time and space. We’re separate in this room because of space. We’re separate from the group that were here last night because of time. These are the separating factors, what Nietzsche calls the Principium Individuationis, the individuating factors. And Schopenhauer says this is secondary. The notion of you and the other is a secondary one, and every now and then, this other realisation comes up. . . . Compassion releases you from the ego orientation.

‘Ineluctable modality of the visible’ is Joyce’s version of Shakespeare’s ‘To be or not to be’ in Hamlet.

For me, the following exchange again with Joseph Campbell firmly establishes Joyce as an INFP:

BILL MOYERS: What about James Joyce’s epiphanies?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Now, that’s another thing. This has to do with the esthetic experience. Joyce’s formula for the esthetic experience is that it does not move you to want to possess the object, that he calls pornography; nor does it move you to criticise and reject the object, that he calls didactics, social criticism in art and all that kind of thing. It is the holding the object, and he says you put a frame around it and see it as one thing, and then seeing it as one thing, you become aware of the relationship of part to part, the part to the whole and the whole to each of the parts. This is the essential esthetic factor rhythm, the rhythm, the rhythmic relationships. And when a fortunate rhythm has been struck by the artist, there is a radiance. That’s the epiphany.

Every decision and action of Joyce’s is lead by how it aligns with his values and identity as an artist. Joyce doesn’t lead by introverted intuition – of which I can find no evidence of, nor can I find anything to suggest that this absent introverted intuition is necessarily underpinned by anything that constitutes extraverted feeling.

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INTJ Cinema

Prior to doing my post on James Joyce which I alluded to in the last entry, I thought prior to getting into that it would be interesting to have a quick look into MBTI and INTJ’s and how they are portrayed in cinema and other media.

I don’t think it’s actually worthwhile spending much time trying to ascertain the types of fictional characters. For a variety of reasons, and often in order to serve the narrative the  type you ascertain for any character could and will often fluctuate quite dramatically in order to serve the purposes of the narrative. This is a portentous way of saying fictional characters usually don’t reflect how the overwhelming majority of people behave in real life. However, it can be fun as an exercise and as discussed here it can be instructive as one means of gaining a broader understanding of authorial intent, directors, producers and a meta-understanding of the work, and so on. When thinking about how I was going to go about doing this post, I considered a few different options but having mentioned INTJ writers and directors previously, I thought it would be interesting to look at another one: Christopher Nolan.

I got thinking about how in many Nolan movies, they’ll be laden with INTJ characters and even minor supporting characters will often be only slight variations of this theme. At the very least, you’ll find them to be predominantly xxTJ. As an example, I was considering how Nolan’s vision of Bruce Wayne/Batman is rather unsurprisingly an INTJ. Suffice to say, Nolan’s Batman is big on symbolism. He wears the Bat-suit, here reimagined as military gear – a super-flexible lightweight armoured fabric, to be a symbol and an idea. The crucial abstraction is that this Batman isn’t so much fighting actual criminals as fighting the idea of crime and fear.

So we have a character that is an abstract symbol fighting abstract ideas. For any talk of gritty realism, the only thing that is really grounding Nolan’s narrative in anything resembling reality is an underlying theme that social problems are best solved by the intervention of powerful and virtuous rich men. Suffice to say, I’m not much of a fan of Nolan’s neo-liberal politics in these movies, but we’re about to get on to addressing why this is important.

It seems futile to put off getting to Heath Ledger’s Joker. My reading of the Joker is that he’s also an INTJ with Ni gone awry. For what it’s worth, there is a really good reading here which has him as an ENTP and makes a strong rational argument as to why. Still, as I said at the beginning of this, MBTI typing fictional characters is a futile but fun exercise useful mostly as a means of ascertaining meaning to authorial intent, it’s interesting what the Joker tells us about Nolan. Nolan’s Joker is interesting in that he offers an actual ideological difference to Batman. Batman represents a world ruled by militarised power wedded to an incorruptible symbol, The Joker represents on one level what is ostensibly Nolan’s view of the left: that they stand in opposition to his primary world view, intent on tearing it down, but they don’t actually have anything tangible and constructive to put in its place. Hence, ‘Some men just like to watch the world burn.’ Interestingly however, this isn’t necessarily the critique that it appears on the surface. Certainly when you consider this in juxtaposition with The Joker’s experiment: the schmaltzy sequence with the two boats, this actually posits the suggestion that the Joker is at the very least redeemable. Further to this, Gotham, as imagined by Nolan, actually makes a strong case for anarchism. When the world is wholly corrupt and the only apparent alternative is violent authoritarianism, burning it down is an entirely rational response. The sensible points of disagreement with the Joker are thus over his tactics, not his goals. Still, Nolan’s conservative instincts prove too strong, conservative and thus the second part of Nolan’s trilogy ends with a defence of the importance of mass surveillance when implemented by suitably benevolent overlords. It was never going to pay off the possibilities of this Joker. However…

At the tangential level, this trilogy is an unruly mess. The Joker actually pretty much represents the structure of the trilogy in macrocosm. By the final movie Nolan simply loses control of it all and it becomes a sprawling tangle of competing ambitions that doesn’t know what it wants to do even as, if at any given moment, what it’s doing, it’s doing well. This is unusual for Nolan, as generally his movies will employ a puzzle-box structure, operate across multiple frames of reality, or in the case of Dunkirk utilise a non-linear narrative structure across three separate timelines. (That last link about Nolan’s work is a fun read. It is basically INTJ life in a nutshell. ‘A common theme… is the conversion of people themselves into puzzles … for its audience to solve.’ Not that this is in anyway what this blog does or attempts to resolve.)

As mentioned at the start of this, MBTI is not something that can deftly and cleanly profile fictional characters. As fictional characters they will generally have to at some point defy the archetypes they represent or more accurately they will fluctuate into other archetypes in order to serve the purposes of the narrative. (An interesting example of this in other media would be Doctor Who. The actual archetype of the character due to its conceptual nature on paper is INTP, yet the character in practise has been practically everything but. However, I would speculate that this is because Doctor Who has never had an INTP show-runner. I would be curious to know how many INTP’s actually watch Doctor Who without considering the whole thing to be silly. Personally, I primarily enjoy it as it is a format that conceptually lends itself to telling absolutely any story, and thus being a story about telling stories. I also like it as conceptually lending itself to being a show about ideas. I’ve never had any interest in it from the atypical sci-fi level as I cannot for the life of me understand how you can illicit any kind of enjoyment from listening to someone reel off nonsensical technobabble and scientific sounding phrases which make absolutely no sense at all.)

Nonetheless, this is definitely the case with Bane, who at once takes up a role that much of it seems on the surface to have been intended for Heath Ledger’s Joker, instead we’re left with a character who shifts from a freedom-fighter with an elaborate plan to a qlippothic brute to an anarchic revolutionary to the archetype of the most tedious totalitarian scheming villain depending on which narrative purposes require serving at the time. This is the most profound example of why typing fictional characters doesn’t work. Sometimes they are just, like this, composites of various archetypes designed because circumstances dictate them necessary such as in this instance of Heath Ledger’s Joker no longer being an option, and/or it’s a more expedient way of handling logistics or moving the narrative along with out to much fuss or otherwise completely fucking up the pacing.

No less telling is the characterisation of Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman. This is interesting because I think how men write their female characters is probably just on some level reflective of how they see women in general, and provides some indication as to what they consider to be their ideal partner. I’m a big fan of Anne Hathaway and her performance here, nonetheless, the actual character itself at once demonstrates the same basic revolutionary instincts as Bane, proclaiming early in the film that “There’s a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. You and your friends better batten down the hatches, because when it hits, you’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us.” Thus, her arc offers a secondary engagement with the politics of a violent overthrowing of the rich. Taken this way, her story ends up being firmly against class war, her early politics from early in the movie abandoned in favour of running away with a billionaire at the movies end. Like Nolan’s own instincts across the three movies, conservatism wins the day. While the composite archetype of Catwoman is pretty much anything but, if we were to look at Catwoman as something of a Mary Sue, you’d be left with thinking that Nolan’s ideal partner is somewhere between independent and idealistic and ruthlessly pragmatic, like, oh, I dunno, say, an ENTP.  Who knew that’s what INTJ’s were into.

The Cracked Lookingglass: An Exploration of Introverted Intuition

As mentioned yesterday, there are two versions of this post. Conversely, this was actually the first version. I enjoyed doing the other and thought an interesting way of going about that one would be to do it with the kind of structure you would typically expect from a Ne (extroverted intuition) writer: writing off its main topic, going on multiple tangents and seemingly unrelated side trails, and meandering towards an ending that seeks to wrap everything up in a neat little package. Sometimes however, things aren’t wrapped up in a neat little package. Suffice to say, for example, I really want to do a post on the work of James Joyce and MBTI but as of the moment, I haven’t entirely figured out the best way of doing that.

The following originally stemmed from this insight from Carl Jung about introverted intuitives:

‘The introverted intuitive type, like the extraverted intuitive, has an uncanny capacity for smelling out the future, the not yet-manifest possibilities of a situation. But the intuition is directed within, hence they are primarily found among seers and prophets, poets, artists; among primitive peoples they are the shamans who convey the messages of the gods to the tribe. On a more mundane level, persons of this type tend to be mystical day-dreamers. They do not communicate well, are frequently misunderstood, lack good judgment about both themselves and others, and never accomplish anything. They move from image to image, writes Jung, “chasing after every possibility in the teeming womb of the unconscious,” without establishing any personal connection.

This type is especially liable to neglect ordinary physical needs. They often have little awareness of their own bodily existence or its effect on others. It often appears (especially to the extravert) that reality does not exist for them—they are simply lost in fruitless fantasies. Jung counters this by describing the value of this type to the collective community: The perception of the images of the unconscious, produced in such inexhaustible abundance by the creative energy of life, is of course fruitless from the standpoint of immediate utility. But since these images represent possible views of the world which may give life a new potential, this function, which to the outside world is the strangest of all, is as indispensable to the total psychic economy as is the corresponding human type to the psychic life of a people. Had this type not existed, there would have been no prophets in Israel.

Introverted intuitives are characteristically vague about details in the “real” world. They easily get lost in strange cities; they misplace possessions, forget appointments, seldom turn up on time, arrive at airports at the very last minute. Their working environment is usually chaotic; they can’t find the right papers, the tools they need, clean clothes. There is seldom anything orderly or tidy about them. They tend to muddle through life, dependent on the tolerance and good will of sensation-oriented friends.’

The amusing thing is, I found this on Reddit and there’s a ridiculously long thread on this where from what I can see everyone has managed to miss the glaringly obvious, which can give context to this. Of course this will be Jung’s overarching view of this type. Jung was for most of his life a psychoanalyst by profession. Thus, it isn’t actually a huge leap to conclude with a relative degree of certainty that the overwhelming majority of intuitive types he will have come into contact with during his life will have most likely been through a Doctor/patient relationship, where, the patient will have been what the MBTI refers to – and for the purposes of this post, I will refer to – as turbulent. I mean, people don’t tend to spend a fortune visiting a psychiatrist when they consider the proverbial cogs to working perfectly. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything, but when there isn’t balance with the other functions, this is pretty much exactly how it goes.

I can frequently become completely disconnected from my body, I’ve missed flights, I constantly day-dream, an ability to make order out of chaos doesn’t mean I’m organised. My friends are for the most part other n types. Genuinely, I much prefer other intuitive types for the unconscious sense of comfort, instant recognition and mutual understanding. There is something of an instant click. This may be sometimes the case for other intuitive types too. I recall an INFP friend (dominant: introverted feeling, auxiliary: extroverted intuition) who had been off work for some time actually insist that she be not separated from me at work on the basis I was the only onewho got her. I basically spent most of my twenties pondering the dynamics of social interaction, yet still, any friendship or relationship I might have is determined by any one of three factors: I stumble across another n type and there’s an instant click and sense of mutual recognition. A determined ENFP folllows me around long enough that I effectively give in and accept we’re in a relationship. This is effectively what happened with my ex, this was a person who despite the incessant red flags would ring me constantly and literally invent drama as a means for having a conversation. This included claims prior to us even meeting such as ‘I’ve been arrested.’ It doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out this was absolutely fucking flagrant bullshit, and you wouldn’t be ringing someone off a mobile if you were under police custody, followed around half-an-hour later by, ‘The Garda have released me.’ I mean, anyone in their sound mind would have distanced themselves from someone like this, but that rather discounts that an intuitive such as my ex could basically have me smitten by giving me a constant stream of problems to solve (even though we both knew most of these were actually fucking fictitious) along with a predilection for having lots of sex. I’m a person who generally speaking solves the proverbial rubix cube pretty quickly, so there’s something both depressing and intriguing that my own ‘rubix cube’ was, ‘make up problems for this person to thrive on solving’ and ‘he really likes sex.’ There’s something of a generalisation about ENFP’s  that they’re air-heads. Personally, I’ve found on multiple occasions that this is generalising, while on one level true, really does them a grave injustice. I’ve often found myself in relationships with this type where I would actually consider myself vastly more intelligent than they are. What this discounts is that this type has a powerful extroverted intuition and you’re left with the sense that while on paper you might be more intelligent, this is a type that at their best seems to innately and instinctively know all of the important things in life. At their most turbulent, although they possess extroverted intuition as their primary function, their are similarities with Jung’s description.

Stephen says bitterly, “It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.”

Sometimes through the cracked lookingglass you see reflections of yourself. Through the cracks there is a mutual recognition. Here was a person who would muddle through life, who was absolutely terrible with money and possessed little to no sense of organisation, with only what appeared to be miraculous good fortune protecting her life from becoming absolute chaos at every turn. Possibly the most acute depiction I’ve seen of this is in the Netflix show ‘Dirk Gently’ about a “holistic detective” who makes use of “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. The characters are imbued with such a sense of randomness, that for a show that at its core is a mock up of a detective show, you’re less concerned with the nature of the ‘crime’ as you are just bewildered that the characters actually somehow manage to not die. Undoubtedly every flag indicated this would be a deeply unhealthy relationship. Every single aspect of this woman’s life was dictated by what most people would observe to be complete randomness of chance. I first saw her on a dating website. Having been on this particular website for a number of years and having observed the kinds of people who gravitate to this particular dating website, or at least through my own bias the people I mostly notice, this woman is not the kind of person I would have expected to find on it, let alone send a message to. The only reason I actually did was because I thought her eyes had quite a startling resemblance to another woman I had previously dated. This is generally speaking not remotely how I choose potential mates. Of all the dating websites in the world, like all things in her life, there is no reason I can possibly discern as to why she would have been on this particular one, other than absolute chance. I often pondered how she had actually found that website. In the entire time I knew her, I can scarcely recall a time she even looked at the internet. Her haunts onto eBay and other websites I do recall were like almost everything else in her life. Chaotic, haphazard and usually ending up in some kind of unusual drama. Buying a template to make a dress instead of the dress she actually thought she was buying. Or buying things that she could barely afford which would turn out not to work, or where the novelty value would quickly wear off. I recall her spending months trying to claim a refund for a broken violin that turned to have been imported from China. Hers was an all consuming passion. She was a nurse. She would ring me when she woke up. She would go to work. She would ring me on her break. She would go back to work. She would ring me on her lunch. She would go back to work. She would go home and ring me again. She would go and sit with her family. Or visit her aunt or cousins or her friends. Her whole waking life was consumed by constant interaction with people. She wasn’t the type of person who would actually stop and think. I could never imagine how she had ever found it. She wasn’t someone who looked for the answers to her life’s questions in Google: How do I get out of debt? How do I use eBay properly? How do I stop getting pulled into disciplinary meetings at work? Or, how do I find a boyfriend? Where do I find a boyfriend? First you’d actually have to stop to actually ask yourself something akin to these kinds of questions. She never did. She was a person who was oddly compelling. From a rational perspective the most remarkable aspect was that she somehow managed to maintain anything vaguely resembling a functioning life at all.

This attitude has immense dangers — all too easily the intuitive may squander his life. He spends himself animating men and things, spreading around him an abundance of life — a life, however, which others live, not he. Were he able to rest with the actual thing, he would gather the fruit of his labours; yet all too soon must he be running after some fresh possibility, quitting his newly planted field, while others reap the harvest. In the end he goes empty away. But when the intuitive lets things reach such a pitch, he also has the unconscious against him. The unconscious of the intuitive has a certain similarity with that of the sensation-type. Thinking and feeling, being relatively repressed, produce infantile and archaic thoughts and feelings in the unconscious, which may be compared with those of the countertype. They likewise come to the surface in the form of intensive projections, and are just as absurd as those of the sensation-type, only to my mind they lack the other’s mystical character; they are chiefly concerned with quasi-actual things, in the nature of sexual, financial, and other hazards, as, for instance, suspicions of approaching illness. This difference appears to be due to a repression of the sensations of actual things. These latter usually command attention in the shape of a sudden entanglement with a most unsuitable woman, or, in the case of a woman, with a thoroughly unsuitable man; and this is simply the result of their unwitting contact with the sphere of archaic sensations. But its consequence is an unconsciously compelling tie to an object of incontestable futility. Such an event is already a compulsive symptom, which is also thoroughly characteristic of this type. In common with the sensation-type, he claims a similar freedom and exemption from all restraint, since he suffers no submission of his decisions to rational judgment, relying entirely upon the perception of chance, possibilities. He rids himself of the restrictions of reason, only to fall a victim to unconscious neurotic compulsions in the form of oversubtle, negative reasoning, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation of the object. His conscious attitude, both to the sensation and the sensed object, is one of sovereign superiority and disregard. Not that he means to be inconsiderate or superior — he simply does not see the object that everyone else sees; his oblivion is similar to that of the sensation-type — only, with the latter, the soul of the object is missed. For this oblivion the object sooner or later takes revenge in the form of hypochondriacal, compulsive ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation.

The last time I saw her was not long after she’d returned to Ireland she was admitted to the CUH in Cork. She asked me to come see her. I did because it seemed the right thing to do. I took a flight over to Dublin and got the night bus up-to Cork from the airport. I arrived in the early hours and stayed the night with her. In the morning her cousin – the only member of her family to actually visit her – turned up and berated me. I left and went to check into the hotel. She phoned me and said to come to the hotel and stay with her again that night. I did. We walked from the ward to the chapel. I said to her that

“Now, there’s a wonderful work of Schopenhauer’s; he says, “When you reach a certain age,” and he wrote this when he was in his 60s or so, “and look back over your life, it seems to have had an order. It seems to have had been composed by someone. And those events that when they occurred seemed merely accidental and occasional and just something that happened, turn out to be the main elements in a consistent plot.” So he says, “Who composed this plot?” And he said, “And just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself, of which your consciousness is unaware, so your whole life has been composed by the will within you.” Then he says, “Just as those people whom you met by chance became effective agents in the structuring of your life, so you have been an agent in the structuring of other lives, and the whole thing gears together like one big symphony,” he says, “everything influencing and structuring everything else.” And he said, “It’s as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer, in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, and so everything links to everything else, moved out of the will in nature.”

That’s a beautiful idea. It’s an idea that occurs in India, in the image of what’s called the “Nee of Indra” or the net of gems. Where it’s a net of gems where every gem reflects all the other ones. And they also have the idea of a spontaneous and simultaneous arising. Everything arises in relation to everything else, and so you can’t blame anybody for anything; it’s all working around. It’s a marvelous idea. It’s as though there were an intention behind it, and yet it all is by chance. None of us has lived the life that he intended.”

An Exploration of Extroverted Intuition

There are two versions of this post. This one mainly focuses on aspects of the nature of extrovert intuition which is a function of ENFP, INFP, ENTP and INTP according to the Myers-Briggs Types Index. The other post is more functional and says many of the same things, but is looked at in conjunction with an exploration of introverted intuition. This post is more fun and will explore extroverted intuition via a detour into Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film Solaris, and the first season of Hannibal (2013) which I’ve recently started rewatching.

Time is a perception, a way of organizing and understanding through units that divide and compile the universe into sometimes arbitrary formations. Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky explored temporality in a manner not unlike Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark who, just moments after seeing his father’s ghost and realizing the earthly and spatial planes are not aligned, observed, “time is out of joint”. Given the perceptive nature of time and its relation to space in cinema, more than merely time is out of joint in film; the spatiotemporal form remains displaced, illusory, assembled through the filmmaking process of image-making and editing.

Hannibal is a fascinating TV show and other than borrowing the names of characters and some tropes, it bares far less practical resemblance to much of the subject it borrows from than you might expect. I am happy with this. I can’t actually think of anything worse than trying to redo ‘classics.’ Bryan Fuller decides to inhabit the space Hannibal exists in, and tell a completely different story with different characterisations, even if most the names within this space stay the same. Curiously this isn’t something he does with American Gods which would also be interesting to look at, but I’m happy to assume for the purposes of this that American Gods by Neil Gaiman (INFP) is told through the lens of Shadow Moon (INFP) so for Fuller, he has an easier relationship with the original text and therefore doesn’t have to take as many liberties with the source material to relate it to himself and subsequently tell the story he wants to tell. I’d go as far as postulating that, although I have never read a single Thomas Harris interview, (but a few books amounting to a few hundred thousand words which to varying degrees outline your interests, preferences, desires, hopes, dreams and what makes you tick is the next best thing) other than being aware that he is a novelist who has wrote a grand total of four novels in the past 37 years, and the last two appear to have came out of nothing more than pure pragmatism because they were going to make new Hannibal Lecter movies post Silence of the Lambs whether he’d wrote the source material or not, and due to the fact that his novels are vaguely surreal, deal in symbolism and intellectual games, it makes him by my reckoning, almost certainly an INTJ.

Fuller as an INFP (dominant function: introverted feeling, auxiliary function: extroverted intuition) opts to tell this story through Will Graham who appears at once doubly opposed to Hannibal (Just for those keeping score, Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal is an INFJ whereas Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal in keeping with Harris’ source material is a cunning INTJ).  So from the outset, we have on one level, Hannibal as the creator in that he commits art murders, whereas Will, is the detective interpreting those murders and is therefore the critic. On the other hand, it is Will who is presented as the imaginative figure, whereas Hannibal is reduced to a responsive role, reinterpreting other people’s murders. Will Graham is a classic INFP. It doesn’t really come as much of surprise as characters in fiction will often be reflections of their creators. (As an aside,  for quite a while, I’ve wanted to do a blog with meta-readings on movies that people think are bad, as often the meta-readings will provide a really fascinating contextualisation to the movie. The Godfather Part 3 and its correlation with Francis Ford Coppola’s career being probably the ultimate example. Also going back to the previous proposition about the correlation between creators and their characters. Although Mario Puzo created The Godfather, Michael Corleone especially in The Godfather Part 3 is very much a reflection of Coppola. Literally to the point Michael Corleone’s daughter and sister are Francis Ford Coppola’s actual daughter Sofia Coppola and his sister Talia Shire.  I know little of Puzo. There is a parallel with Thomas Harris in that his involvement in the screenplay for The Godfather Part 3 came about out of pragmatism as the movie was being made, with or without him. Frankly however, there is a number of ways you could read into that.)

Fuller makes an interesting choice to position Will as on the autism spectrum. This is an interesting move with regards to his stated skill of empathy. In practice the show plays more than a little fast and loose with what exactly it is that Will does. As an INFP what Will obviously has is what most would call: extroverted intuition, so it’s interesting how Fuller chooses to frame this within the narrative. To serve the narrative however, it doesn’t actually serve much purpose to call it this, and we also have the conceit that: neuroatypical people are good at understanding other neuroatypical people, just as neurotypical people are good at understanding other neurotypical people, so we will go with empathy.

There is however an interesting oscillation between framing it as empathy and imagination. On the surface these are two very different things: empathy is perceptual, imagination creative. The division is readily healed by looking to William Blake on the subject of imagination. For William Blake, imagination is a faculty to be added to perception. It is the fact of man’s imagination that creates abstraction and order over the dead-eyed, vegetative world of nature. Imagination is thus more real than mere perception. It a higher order of the cosmos.

Or, to highlight James Joyce’s Ulysses and Stephen Dedalus’ theory of Hamlet, which I have also linked at the beginning of this blog:

Stephen mysticises the process of fatherhood and, as was commonly done by Renaissance writers, apparently makes the maternal link the only certainty:

Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man. It is a mystical estate, an apostolic succession […] .Amor matris, subjective and objective genitive, may be the only true thing in life. (p.266)

The artist, however, has the power to ‘weave and unweave his image’. Artistic creativity/paternity is here presented as a kind of potential auto genesis:

When Rutlandbaconsouthamptonshakespeare or another poet of the same name in the comedy of errors wrote Hamlet he was not the father of his own son merely but, being no more a son, he was and felt himself the father of all his race… (p.267)

This is not the traditional kind of bardolatry but there is a belief in a somewhat transubstantiating power behind artistic creation. Here is a fantasy of redemption and freedom from both biological and metaphorical parental authority. Stephen makes Shakespeare ‘Himself his own father’ (p.267); by aligning himself with Shakespeare he reveals to us his own desire, and by implication Joyce’s, to be free of the fetters of origin. Stephen in Portrait declares: ‘When the soul of a man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.’ Ellmann highlights how focused Ulysses is on confronting issues of origin and paternity:

A theme of Ulysses, Joyce intimates, is reconciliation with the father…Insofar as the movement of the book is to bring Stephen, the young Joyce, into rapport with Bloom, the mature Joyce, the author becomes, it may be said, his own father.[27]

The crux of Stephen’s theory is that all art is autobiographical.

Within the context of Hannibal, this adds an unsettling light to what Will does. If the empathy that he brings to crime scenes is an act of imagination then the resulting sense of design must belong to Will, not the killers themselves. Will creates a higher structure out of the victims before him, and this structure proves more real and more powerful than the killing on its own. Going back to the nature of the show that Fuller has created, and Will and Hannibal’s relationship, on a basic level this can be read as a crude and obvious comment about the relationship between art and audiences, but it has many other implications that are both more interesting and more disturbing.

There is another interesting thing happening at the same time from not just an aesthetic standpoint. Hannibal has extremely distinctive establishing shots. These are as important as the richly saturated colour palette in creating its distinctive atmosphere. The time lapse establishing shots, with clouds whizzing overhead, frame what happens as taking place outside of time, in a fractured dreamscape. Fractured time is a recurring motif in the show, where it serves to indicate the blurring of internal and external landscapes.

Further to this, when you combine the particularly outlandish murders of the first season in conjunction with the gothic dreamscapes, it only serves to solidify the total unreality of the show. Simply put, this clearly isn’t happening in the real world. This will be something interesting to explore as the show progresses, Will’s empathy is stretched to breaking point and Will’s internal world begins to collapse.

Many of Tarkovsky’s characters and settings inhabit time, but they do so in dreamlike or even imagined landscapes that have no precise orientation within logical space, what for Deleuze might be represented by a “chronic non-chronological order”. Tarkovsky often wrote about the philosophies of Heraclitus or Arthur Schopenhauer in relation to time, though he did not adhere to a consistent time-philosophy for himself. What remains consistent in every Tarkovsky film is not a philosophy about time, but rather the profound treatment of time as a factor in both his formal and narrative approach, and his visual treatment of time in slow movements and pensive, unhurried shots. Tarkovsky also wrote extensively about time in texts like Sculpting in Time and Time Within Time, where he links, albeit without a steady application of his ideas, the notion of time and space “out of joint” but having a shared pattern or togetherness, associating such ideas through what has been described as “meaning-laden images whose meanings are elusive”. Whether he successfully or clearly communicates the potential metaphoric or symbolic meanings of his images remains the responsibility of the viewer to determine.

What did Schopenhauer say about dreams? I recently watched a show on Netflix called ‘The Power of Myth’ which is a series of discussions with the acclaimed mythologist Joseph Campbell. To quote Campbell:

“When you reach a certain age,” and he (Schopenhauer) wrote this when he was in his 60s or so, “and look back over your life, it seems to have had an order. It seems to have had been composed by someone. And those events that when they occurred seemed merely accidental and occasional and just something that happened, turn out to be the main elements in a consistent plot.” So he says, “Who composed this plot?” And he said, “And just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself, of which your consciousness is unaware, so your whole life has been composed by the will within you.” Then he says, “Just as those people whom you met by chance became effective agents in the structuring of your life, so you have been an agent in the structuring of other lives, and the whole thing gears together like one big symphony,” he says, “everything influencing and structuring everything else.” And he said, “It’s as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer, in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, and so everything links to everything else, moved out of the will in nature.”

That’s a beautiful idea. It’s an idea that occurs in India, in the image of what’s called the “Nee of Indra” or the net of gems. Where it’s a net of gems where every gem reflects all the other ones. And they also have the idea of a spontaneous and simultaneous arising. Everything arises in relation to everything else, and so you can’t blame anybody for anything; it’s all working around. It’s a marvelous idea. It’s as though there were an intention behind it, and yet it all is by chance. None of us has lived the life that he intended.”

To take another detour, I can frequently become completely disconnected from my body, I’ve missed flights, I constantly day-dream, an ability to make order out of chaos doesn’t mean I’m organised. My friends are for the most part other n types. Genuinely, I much prefer other intuitive types for the unconscious sense of comfort, instant recognition and mutual understanding. There is something of an instant click. This may be sometimes the case for other intuitive types too. I recall an INFP friend who had been off work for some time actually insist that she be not separated from me at work on the basis I was the only one who got her. I basically spent most of my twenties pondering the dynamics of social interaction, yet still, any friendship or relationship I might have is determined by any one of three factors: I stumble across another n type and there’s an instant click and sense of mutual recognition. A determined ENFP folllows me around long enough that I effectively give in and accept we’re in a relationship. This is effectively what happened with my ex, this was a person who despite the incessant red flags would ring me constantly and literally invent drama as a means for having a conversation. This included claims prior to us even meeting such as ‘I’ve been arrested.’ It doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out this was absolutely fucking flagrant bullshit, and you wouldn’t be ringing someone off a mobile if you were under police custody, followed around half-an-hour later by, ‘The Garda have released me.’ I mean, anyone in their sound mind would have distanced themselves from someone like this, but that rather discounts that an intuitive such as my ex could basically have me smitten by giving me a constant stream of problems to solve (even though we both knew most of these were actually fucking fictitious) along with a predilection for having lots of sex. I’m a person who generally speaking solves the proverbial rubix cube pretty quickly, so there’s something both depressing and intriguing that my own ‘rubix cube’ was, ‘make up problems for this person to thrive on solving’ and ‘he really likes sex.’ There’s something of a generalisation about ENFP’s  that they’re air-heads. Personally, I’ve found on multiple occasions that this is generalising, while on one level true, really does them a grave injustice. I’ve often found myself in relationships with this type where I would actually consider myself vastly more intelligent than they are. What this discounts is that this type has a powerful extroverted intuition and you’re left with the sense that while on paper you might be more intelligent, this is a type that at their best seems to innately and instinctively know all of the important things in life. At their most turbulent, although they possess extroverted intuition as their primary function, their are similarities with Jung’s description.

Stephen says bitterly, “It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.”

Sometimes through the cracked lookingglass you see reflections of yourself. Through the cracks there is a mutual recognition. Here was a person who would muddle through life, who was absolutely terrible with money and possessed little to no sense of organisation, with only what appeared to be miraculous good fortune protecting her life from becoming absolute chaos at every turn. Possibly the most acute depiction I’ve seen of this is in the Netflix show based on Douglas Adams’ ‘Dirk Gently‘ (in keeping with earlier in the blog, click the link just for fun) about a “holistic detective” (ENTP in the book although in the show, Samuel Barnett’s actual portrayal is actually far closer to being a re-enactment of Matt Smith’s varicoloured version of Doctor Who (ENFP) than being reverential to the source material) who makes use of “the fundamental interconnectedness of all things” to solve the whole crime, and find the whole person. The characters are imbued with such a sense of randomness, that for a show that at its core is a mock up of a detective show, you’re less concerned with the nature of the ‘crime’ as you are just bewildered that the characters actually somehow manage to not die (I mean I should clarify here that there is a fundamental difference between ENTP’s and ENFP’s of whom we are in the midst of addressing. They are similar enough as to be in the same neighbourhood, but different enough as to be two contrasting architectural styles. Douglas Adams was an ENTP as were his characters: Dirk Gently and Zaphod from HHGTTG, and there’s something to be said for the fact that a big theme through Douglas Adams’ work is that his idea of hell is petty bureaucracy. So yes, there is a big difference between an ENTP and an ENFP). Undoubtedly every flag indicated this would be a deeply unhealthy relationship. Every single aspect of this woman’s life was dictated by what most people would observe to be complete randomness of chance. I first saw her on a dating website. Having been on this particular website for a number of years and having observed the kinds of people who gravitate to this particular dating website, or at least through my own bias the people I mostly notice, this woman is not the kind of person I would have expected to find on it, let alone send a message to. The only reason I actually did was because I thought her eyes had quite a startling resemblance to another woman I had previously dated. This is generally speaking not remotely how I choose potential mates. Of all the dating websites in the world, like all things in her life, there is no reason I can possibly discern as to why she would have been on this particular one, other than absolute chance. I often pondered how she had actually found that website. In the entire time I knew her, I can scarcely recall a time she even looked at the internet. Her haunts onto eBay and other websites I do recall were like almost everything else in her life. Chaotic, haphazard and usually ending up in some kind of unusual drama. Buying a template to make a dress instead of the dress she actually thought she was buying. Or buying things that she could barely afford which would turn out not to work, or where the novelty value would quickly wear off. I recall her spending months trying to claim a refund for a broken violin that turned to have been imported from China. Hers was an all consuming passion. She was a nurse. She would ring me when she woke up. She would go to work. She would ring me on her break. She would go back to work. She would ring me on her lunch. She would go back to work. She would go home and ring me again. She would go and sit with her family. Or visit her aunt or cousins or her friends. Her whole waking life was consumed by constant interaction with people. She wasn’t the type of person who would actually stop and think. I could never imagine how she had ever found it. She wasn’t someone who looked for the answers to her life’s questions in Google: How do I get out of debt? How do I use eBay properly? How do I stop getting pulled into disciplinary meetings at work? Or, how do I find a boyfriend? Where do I find a boyfriend? First you’d actually have to stop to actually ask yourself something akin to these kinds of questions. She never did. She was a person who was oddly compelling. From a rational perspective the most remarkable aspect was that she somehow managed to maintain anything vaguely resembling a functioning life at all. Jung said:

This attitude has immense dangers — all too easily the intuitive may squander his life. He spends himself animating men and things, spreading around him an abundance of life — a life, however, which others live, not he. Were he able to rest with the actual thing, he would gather the fruit of his labours; yet all too soon must he be running after some fresh possibility, quitting his newly planted field, while others reap the harvest. In the end he goes empty away. But when the intuitive lets things reach such a pitch, he also has the unconscious against him. The unconscious of the intuitive has a certain similarity with that of the sensation-type. Thinking and feeling, being relatively repressed, produce infantile and archaic thoughts and feelings in the unconscious, which may be compared with those of the countertype. They likewise come to the surface in the form of intensive projections, and are just as absurd as those of the sensation-type, only to my mind they lack the other’s mystical character; they are chiefly concerned with quasi-actual things, in the nature of sexual, financial, and other hazards, as, for instance, suspicions of approaching illness. This difference appears to be due to a repression of the sensations of actual things. These latter usually command attention in the shape of a sudden entanglement with a most unsuitable woman, or, in the case of a woman, with a thoroughly unsuitable man; and this is simply the result of their unwitting contact with the sphere of archaic sensations. But its consequence is an unconsciously compelling tie to an object of incontestable futility. Such an event is already a compulsive symptom, which is also thoroughly characteristic of this type. In common with the sensation-type, he claims a similar freedom and exemption from all restraint, since he suffers no submission of his decisions to rational judgment, relying entirely upon the perception of chance, possibilities. He rids himself of the restrictions of reason, only to fall a victim to unconscious neurotic compulsions in the form of oversubtle, negative reasoning, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation of the object. His conscious attitude, both to the sensation and the sensed object, is one of sovereign superiority and disregard. Not that he means to be inconsiderate or superior — he simply does not see the object that everyone else sees; his oblivion is similar to that of the sensation-type — only, with the latter, the soul of the object is missed. For this oblivion the object sooner or later takes revenge in the form of hypochondriacal, compulsive ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation.

The last time I saw her was not long after she’d returned to Ireland she was admitted to the CUH in Cork. She asked me to come see her. I did because it seemed the right thing to do. I took a flight over to Dublin and got the night bus up-to Cork from the airport. I arrived in the early hours and stayed the night with her. In the morning her cousin – the only member of her family to actually visit her – turned up and berated me. I left and went to check into the hotel. She phoned me and said to come to the hotel and stay with her again that night. I did. We walked from the ward to the chapel. I said to her that I didn’t think churches or chapels were necessary. If God is everywhere, why then do people confine God to lone, insular spaces and then act as if God doesn’t exist once they have left those spaces? She said this was a wise outlook but there is still a comfort to be found amongst other people, in these small spaces, secluded from the rest of the world. I stayed until morning and never saw her again.

Solaris exists on several spatial, temporal, and fantastic levels at once and, as Bould notes, while watching the film, it becomes “less important (or possible) to distinguish reality from imagination than to manage the various levels of memory or fantasy.” Tarkovsky uses images to transcend space and time, to render the elusive connection between the human mind and an alien planet whose consciousness invades the film’s characters. 

Deleuze believes that only lesser films contain time-images set only in the present; superior films employ time-images that exist on multiple planes at once, representing a convergence of past, present, and future in a single shot. From Kelvin’s memories to the manifestations of the alien planet, much of Solaris dwells in the boundless, unconscious, and otherworldly spaces that Deleuze yearns to see, often representing them in both formal and metaphorical terms that enable equally boundless contemplation.

Introverted Intuition: How INTJ’s Predict the Future

This is an unusual post to write, because there is for the most part, absolutely no factual evidence that I know of which can support this.

My Myers-Briggs type is INTJ. The Myers-Briggs index is something I have an interest in. INTJ means – in terms of my preferences with regards to functions for interpreting the world around me – my favourite functions are introverted INTUITION, and extraverted thinking. I’m fascinated by this in part because I realise there is an inherent truth to it. One I profoundly identify with. The INTJ is classed a ‘rational’ type, but oddly, certainly in terms of myself, I find that little thinking happens at the CONSCIOUS level. By which I mean, in contrast to say, an INTP (and I’m presuming here because I’ve never been in the head of one) whose dominant and auxilliary functions are: introverted thinking followed by extraverted intuition, there isn’t really some kind of ‘internal playhouse‘ in the sense you might imagine. One where you can go to to just retreat into your thoughts to ponder the subtle nuances and make sense of say, Quantum Physics, at your leisure. I am brushing with broad brushstrokes here and this post is really through the lens of myself, my dominant and auxilliary functions, in order to function I have to be essentially engaged with the world around me. I have to be almost constantly doing things. This serves this purpose of a) absorbing new experiences and information which ‘feeds’ intuition – which we will come to view intuition as essentially a kind of great data-bank which grows organically with all new experiences and information it ascertains and absorbs and b) gives the existing intuition, as my primary, preferred and favourite function the ‘fun’ of playing around, observing, assessing, deconstructing and making sense of all of this new information. There is of course a price to be paid for this function. As this is a process and function that is absorbing information constantly, this can be extremely draining – this is when I find myself becoming withdrawn, or worse still, as the auxiliary extraverted thinking function becomes over-burdened, the weak tertiary function of introverted feeling will come into play. When I experience this loop I generally find myself experiencing something of a ‘melancholy’ for want of a better word. I think that in actuality to get to this point, it’s because I’ve been overwhelmed by external stimuli and because the tertiary introverted feeling function is so weakly developed. I personally find ‘feelings’ confusing and because I’m not good with them at the best of times, in the sense they’re not something I naturally use constructively, anyway. When the stronger function of extraverted thinks absents itself due to being already overwhelmed, this sense of ‘melancholy’ quite easily takes hold. This will carry on until the stronger auxiliary function of extraverted thinking returns from its proverbial malaise. I actually think it would probably be interesting to explore this separately in a less glib and trite manner.

I digress. Introverted thinking – and as I’m brushing with broad strokes, I’m also referring here to the societal stereotype and perception of the scientist enveloped deep in thought – is not a developed function for me, yet conversely, I am therefore prone to place a value on some level on this kind of thinking. Therefore if for example, I’m to actually say to myself, “Oh, I don’t really think as much as I should.” The internal dialogue following this would then be frankly bizarre (I’m actually acutely conscious of my own value judgement here). As my primary and preferred function for interpreting and making sense of the world around me is introverted intuition, I would find myself in some weird loop where I’m observing myself thinking about thinking and then trying to make sense of why I am effectively fucking rubbish at introverted thinking. Case in point: “Ok, I’m thinking. What should I think about? Why is it when I try to think about things, I only think about thinking?” This is not to say I’m actually incapable of thinking about things at some length. The point is merely that the primary function of introverted intuition is an observing and prospecting function. It is one where you OBSERVE the world around you, not always consciously, and THEN, once you have observed something and usually when it peaks your interest at a CONSCIOUS level, supported by the EXTRAVERTED thinking function, that will usually be when I’ll find myself pondering the subtle nuances of say, Quantum Physics and organising those thoughts into something coherent. Notice, I didn’t say ‘try to make sense of.’ The intuition observes, assesses, understands. Extraverted thinking organises it into something relevant and useful. I wondered about this for many years, why whilst I consistently tested as a rational, thinking type I spent little time actually thinking at any kind of length, and my internal monologues when I essentially tried to think about things deeply and at length in what I would consider to be an introverted manner would be like the one described above. It seemed quite counter-intuitive, how can you be a thinker if you don’t actually consciously think in what would be therefore deemed the conventional sense? For an INTJ, the thinking is a secondary function done extrovertly. Introverted thinking is not a function the INTJ actually possesses. Understanding introverted intuition at the subconscious level combined with extraverted thinking is the key to unlocking how this process actually works.

This is where it gets interesting. Introverted intuition is not a conscious function. It’s not even something you are even usually aware of. Usually, the only times you’ll become aware of it, is when you try to use your favourite function – and it can be something of an auto-pilot/crutch – to try and do something moderately complex you have no previous experience and background knowledge of, I mean, not speaking from experience or anything, but have you ever tried to learn to drive by essentially ignoring your driving instructor and going by your instincts of how to drive, or turned up at say, an important grievance meeting where you accurately and perfectly outline someone’s strategy and malign intentions, right down to the nth degree along with the number of job losses that will entail, and they turn around and say, ‘Well have you actually got any evidence in writing to support all of this?’ They don’t tell you, you’re wrong, only, ‘Have you got evidence?’

‘The lion’s share of INJs’ “thinking” or cognitive processing occurs outside of their conscious awareness. Their best thinking is typically done without thinking, at least not consciously. For INJs, “sleeping on” a problem is as sure a route to a solution as any.

Because it does much of its work subconsciously, Ni can seem to have a certain magical quality about it. In fact, it is not unusual for INJs to be viewed as having some degree of psychic or prophetic abilities.Despite its magical appearance, Ni can be understood on a rational basis. What seems to be occurring is that many INJs have a highly sensitive inferior function, Extraverted Sensation (Se), which gathers copious amounts of sensory information from the outside world, including subtleties that other personality types tend to miss. Their Ni then subconsciously processes this data in order to make sense of it, like assembling pieces of a puzzle. Once finished, Ni generates an impression that seems to come out of “nowhere.” But the fact is that the intuition did not come out of nowhere, but from a synthesis of sensory data gathered from the immediate environment combined with information from the INJ’s own psyche.’

As described above, intuition is not random. However it can certainly appear that way. It’s not a mysterious power, although it can certainly appear that way too. It is essentially grounded in your experiences. It’s a subconscious function that bubbles away beneath the surface. It’s every experience you’ve ever had. It’s everything you’ve ever read or seen. At it’s best, along with strong EXTRAVERTED thinking it can make you appear to have profound insight. To bastardise a Malcolm Gladwell quote, ‘It’s the power of being rational, without being remotely (consciously) rational.’ My reason for writing this however does actually seem to me to be random and actually at odds with everything I’ve just said. So let’s run with this:

This morning, at about midday, I was in a shop. I decided I wanted to buy some clothes. I somehow – and for a supposed ‘rational,’ there is no easy way of squaring this, I came to the conclusion I had £235 – which is quite an arbitrary number as it happens – to spend. At midday today, I knew I didn’t actually have £235 to spend on clothes at all. I know this, because I obsessively keep spreadsheets for my finances and pretty much everything else, actually. However, the auto-pilot took hold, and I ended up spending just shy of £200 on clothes and footwear I knew rationally, I couldn’t afford. Now this where it gets odd. I went for coffee at three pm. I had a coffee, some food and sat reading a book centred on the Guy Debord notion of psycho-geography. Around four pm I became absolutely convinced that if I went to the casino I would win. I’m not a big gambler. I haven’t even been in a casino for around ten years. But I was convinced I would win. I have no idea where this thought came from. I mean, I have a friend who won big on roulette a few weeks ago. I also have a friend from within the same group who has just been to Vegas, had a few ‘spins’ as he put it and is around £3000 worse off than he was when he initially left the country. So if we take something of a psycho-geographic approach and start trying to ascertain my reasons for going to the casino by analysing the whole world around me, well, we’re still no better off. Although there may be grounds for saying, I had the idea to go to a casino because I know two people who have been to casinos lately, rationally, knowing a person lost far more than the other won, certainly would not convince me it was even a good idea to go, let alone convince me that I was going to win. Suffice to say, I went to the casino and I won £235.

So how did I seemingly know I was going to win £235, hours before it happened? Well, I didn’t. There is numerous ways I could’ve got to the seemingly arbitrary figure of £235. The likelihood, from an ‘intuitive’ level is probably far more banal. It would probably be some sub-conscious calculation that looked roughly more like: there’s a sale on, so: something that seems relatively good value against percentage of weekly wage I’m willing to spend on overpriced clothing that looks good, against debt and/or overtime I would be willing to endure to actually pay for this. But how come I ended up winning £235? The exact amount I had in my head. I’m actually a firm believer, that if you want something, your mind will immediately start constructing ways for you to get it. Again, let’s take the psycho-geographic approach. But £235? Prior to going for coffee, I was going to go to the cinema which is across the way from a casino. My mind has probably registered this as a reasonably safe way of making money. The sheer conviction that I was going to win is a little bit more difficult to square away, however, there have been studies done on the intuition of gamblers in test conditions. One such example is as follows:

“Gamblers – given four deck of cards – A,B (red) and C,D (blue). The red cards give high payoffs, but also have high costs. The blue cards give slow payoffs, but are better in the long run. By the 50th card, gamblers have a hunch that the blue cards are a better bet. By the 80th card, they can tell you why. The brain has formed a theory. But the amazing finding is that when researchers put sensors on the palm to measure sweat (skin conductance response or SCR) – the sweat glands under the palm produce more sweat when we are hot, but also when under stress (that’s why we have “clammy hands” when stressed.) They found that the subjects were generating stress responses to the red deck as early as the tenth card, forty cards before they could were able to say that they had a hunch … Right around this time, their behaviour also started favouring the blue cards and taking fewer and fewer of the reds…”

“But roulette is so random and is purely down to luck. You only have a 1 in 37 chance of winning.” Well not quite. The odds and pay-out for predicting the correct number are 35-1. A two number combination pays out at 17-1. This is certainly not a fool-proof system and is certainly flawed by the massive amount of variables. However, nothing is ever truly random. If you have say, twenty chips at £1 each and are a relatively intuitive person, you can actually narrow this down quite significantly by probability and a capacity to detect patterns and make some degree of sense of them, no matter how seemingly random they are. Or, for example: if you bet eight £1 chips on a two-number combination in the middle of the board, i.e numbers 13 – 24, there is a 32.4% chance you will be £9 richer on your first spin. Or, £18 richer if it lands on 14, 17, 20 or 23 in the centre of the middle quadrant. If the ball lands on a number in the top or bottom quadrant, there is still a 32.4% chance you will be at least £1 up on your next. While this is not necessarily the most desirable outcome on the risk/reward spectrum, it’s certainly a more preferable outcome to not winning anything. With Roulette, the house has an inbuilt advantage. They pay out at 35-1 for landing the correct number, when in reality, the actual chance of landing the correct number is 37-1. However, by utilising this kind of method, and although you further diminish your winning profit margin to a maximum pay out of 34-1, should you land the 14, 17, 20 or 23, statistically speaking this is something of a small price to pay as you’ve increased your probability of winning from 1 in 37 to the certainly more favourable 1 in 3. There is of course still a massive degree of fortuity in this, but it is not remotely inconceivable that if you can stay in the game long enough, just enough probability and a little bit of good fortune can sometimes work in your favour, and by utilising this (I am loathe to call this a) strategy, to increase your winnings in a kind of vitiated Fibonacci sequence you can potentially pocket quite a bit of cash. Such is the way when you essentially turn a 37-1 bet paying out £35 from a £1 stake into a 3-1 each way bet with a pay-out of £34/£17. But £235? That I walked away with this exact amount was possibly more akin to something of an unconscious bias or some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. I was initially going to stop playing and would have walked away with MORE when the dealer changed over. However, I won on my last game. I then proceeded to lose on my next two spins. As I probably had the number 235 in my head, I probably just determined, again, subconsciously, that this was an acceptable amount of money to walk away with.

‘An Extraverted Thinking-based, objective approach generally entails measurements and quantitative standards. Never vague or ambiguous, it employs clear definitions, policies, plans, and procedures. It carefully spells out how to get from here to there, using as many maps, directions, and labels as appropriate. The modern world, characterized by a sprawling system of laws and bureaucracy, might be viewed as the offspring of an unchecked Te.

Inspired by their Extraverted Thinking, INTJs and ENTJs are champions of the development and utilization of clear and measurable goals. After receiving the big-picture vision from their Ni, they use their Te to convert it into a set of measurable objectives and to delineate the steps and strategies for its actualization.’

That is essentially the nature of introverted intuition combined with extraverted thinking. Sub-conciously making sense of a series of seemingly random variables, to form snap-judgements of the type that I’ve just taken around 1800 words to rationalise how I may or may not have came to the conclusions I did.

This is what differentiates the tru INTJ from those who wish they were INTJ. These are usually stuffy, tedious ISTJ types often found in academia, who have an abundance of introverted sensing:

‘In SJ types, Si often translates into an adherence to existing facts, traditions, worldviews, or methods. These types are typically not well-equipped for, nor are they highly interested in, creating their own ideas or theories, which would require a stronger Ne. They are more concerned with ensuring their beliefs and behaviors are consistent with an existing standard than they are in formulating their own set of standards. In many ways, they are dependent on what has already been already been tried and established, systems of thought that grant them a sense of consistency and security.’

This is really just something of an aside. Introverted sensing acts like the proverbial spider-sense, they have a profound ability to detect certain shifts or when something appears to be ‘not quite right,’ however, the rigorous adherence to a particular mode of thinking or a certain culture whatever that may be – (this is  why these types, even when ‘liberal’ in outlook will still appear to be quite conservative in relative contrast to their peers) in many cases, as their thinking will be rather black and white, they will be unable to fully grasp what the problem is.

‘SJs often experience a strong sense of conviction, a gut feeling about whether some is true or false, right or wrong. This, without having really done much as far as conscious reasoning to arrive at such conclusions. So while Si types may seem stubborn or closed-minded, they may feel that they have little as far as free choice in what they believe. This is why Jung considered Si an irrational function. Not because its conclusions are necessarily irrational, but because of the unconscious way it receives information and draws conclusions.

An excellent example of the irrational element of Introverted Sensing can be found in the book, The Woman Who Can’t Forget. There, the author explains her uncanny ability to accurately recall the details of each and every day of her life, including related historical dates and events. While her powers of memory are undoubtedly unprecedented, what is most telling with regard to her Si is that fact that she cannot control it. She reports feeling great frustration because her mind is constantly replaying memories in a random fashion, despite her best efforts to eliminate them and focus on the present. Even if extraordinary, her experience speaks to the passive, involuntary way in which Si in records and recollects information. This helps to explain why Si dominant types seem to effortlessly recall all sorts of random details and facts. Their recall is simply too quick to be attributed to conscious effort.  Such displays of effortless and accurate memory why many non-Si types may see ISJs as unusually intelligent.

Finally, while Ni and Si are both irrational functions, Si is less synthetic and creative than Ni.Si more or less preserves and relays information in its original form. Ni acts more synthetically, weaving together disparate information to construct novel theories, visions, and insights.’

The above underlined is the crucial delineation between introverted sensing and introverted intuition.  A dramatic example here, but I will always be reminded of a classic ISTJ type who would not believe that his girlfriend had cheated on him. This was despite the absurdly overwhelming amount of empirical evidence to suggest that yes, she had. Amusingly, in order for him to firmly establish that she had actually cheated – I mean, the person in question was actually sent a barely censored picture where the lady in question quite obviously mid-coitus was wearing a distinctive necklace and ring his mother had gave her a few weeks ago – insisted on being sent a sex video so he could independently verify the date the video was made.

None of this would have been necessary for an INTJ. The would have known she was going to cheat before she did.

Thoughts on Space

I have been pondering the above, and I think it is inherently true about public spaces and private spaces. I think from childhood I have always had a desire to create spaces within spaces. Because the home always felt like what is described in the above as ‘a public space,’ I would create small compact spaces where I could get away and be closed off and think. As a child this would be in the form of ‘dens’ and hiding spaces. I would make little caves. It’s not quite the same now, but I do regularly feel a similar desire to be closed off from the world and these ‘public spaces’ so I can just think and gather my thoughts together constructively and creatively.

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about my current home. I love living where I’m living but because it’s basically a big wide open space, I have felt that it has fundamentally lacked one of these ‘spaces’ within the space which I can just go into. With it being essentially one big room, on one hand I find it wonderful but on the other there’s this urge – which I think has always been there for as long as I can remember, where essentially I want a small compact space I can just retreat into. I think it’s very much a psychological thing, to retreat from the world and be ‘shut off.’ I think as a child, when you could just create ‘dens’ and what not was the most pure manifestation of this. But I do think it has always been there.

So perhaps the questions we should be asking are:

What is the nature of space?

What is its relation to the objects around?

What does your space represent symbolically?

How does your space represent you?

How is your space utilised and is the utilisation of it a manifestation of your psyche, your conscious and unconscious?

Why the desire for private spaces?

What is the meaning of symbolically wishing to retreat and shut off from the world within a closed off space?

Why when in one of these spaces do I ‘feel’ more at ease, and my thoughts flow more freely and easily?

What is the nature of sanctuary?

Fuck, Marry, Kill: Brought to you by white upper-middle class male privilege

This is a post that goes into why you shouldn’t be concerned by anyone’s approval or disapproval and how you shouldn’t be overly concerned by what people ‘say’ anyway.

Me and my friend were playing the game ‘Fuck, Marry, Kill’ tonight and she was putting various people to me and if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t played this before, or if you’re just a bit slow, she was asking me if I would fuck, marry or kill them. We actually play this fairly often as it’s pretty fun. If you want to read into this a little bit, it usuallkind of works like this for most people: if a person has a good personality, is funny, decent and generally tolerable, you’ll usually marry them. If you’re a bit attracted to them or like them but only in short bursts, it’ll usually be fuck, and if they’re a bit of a chode you kill them. There’s no point reading into this TOO deeply as it just a bit of fun and can have various permutations depending on the variety of oddballs you throw at someone. At the same time, it can sometimes be a little bit insightful.

When it comes to admitting your actually attracted to someone, there is usually a level of ‘politics,’ involved. You might be attracted to someone but be unwilling it to admit it openly because there is a level of social-expectation and JUDGEMENT. Because of all of the conformist bullshit if you admit to being attracted to someone who isn’t conventionally good-looking but you like because they’re a little quirky or fun for example, people will JUDGE YOU. So in terms of the game, it’s cool because people do let their barriers down a little bit and you will find that people are attracted to various ‘characters’ for a ton of reasons. So essentially, you shouldn’t be disillusioned AT ALL, if on the surface someone doesn’t openly admit to liking you. For example: if you go out, and you’re a cool person, you’ll actually find that the OVERWHELMING majority of girls will actually be willing to at least kiss you (well it works for me anyway). Although they may act coy about it. This is not remotely to say that you can just go around putting the lips on people. Some of these women may have husbands and/or boyfriends and to tash on with them as the kids say, you have to at least have some consideration, you know, for things like discretion, logistics, and ultimately putting her in a place where she is not going to feel bad about the experience. Just kidding. Kind of. I do not encourage this sort of thing.

Anyway, with regards to the experience this is something that most people actually overlook. Essentially, there are two parts of the brain: Like you’ll see these weekend millionaires spend like £60-£100 on a table and bottle service at Fluritas on a Friday and Saturday night and spend £30 on a taxi to get home, but for example would begrudge in their ordinary life paying say £30 to buy a new table from Ikea that they would actually own or spending £2 on a can of coke in their local newsagents or putting £20 petrol in their car to drive around for the week. Why? Essentially the two parts of the brain are the emotional/experience part of the brain. The other is the more rational/day-to-day part of the brain. The experience part of the brain will make you do craaaazzzy things in the name of fun, like spending £150 on a bottle of vodka or giving blowjobs to like 24 dudes to win what you think is a holiday but what turns out to be a £2 bottle of Cava. The other part of your brain, the more rational, sensible part would be like, ‘You fucking stupid bruh?’ If someone is experiencing good emotions around you, and their emotions are going up, they will be willing to do some fucking insane things.

Anyway, the point of this is, that you shouldn’t give a fuck if someone on the surface approves or disapproves of you. No-one actually knows the true you anyway, so by not knowing you, no-one can actually fully approve or disapprove of you. Likewise, you can never fully approve or disapprove of them either, because you don’t know them. Their surface opinions don’t mean shit. Things people say are more often a projection of their own feelings towards themselves anyway, secondly, there is the aforementioned issue of politics and social judgement, thirdly, they’d probably suck 24 dicks for a £2 bottle of Cava too, and anyone who can get that irrational isn’t worth your time.

Sometime Around Midnight

In the spirit of continuity, let us explore the worrying dream I had last night and the significance of it.

I dreamed I was outside of my house and saw a woman I dated or more pertinently, I was sleeping with around ten years ago, she is the woman from the end of the Coolio story. The story didn’t end there. Actually, in many respects, it was only beginning. In the dream she is with her sister. I look at her, we ignore each other. Some people start to appear. She looks at me. We make eye contact and then I turn away from her and turn my back. Then these people try to get into my house, ostensibly for some kind of party and I am furious about this. However, when I get into my house no-one is there.

Now I will explain the significance of this. If I thought that I had feelings for Coolio woman, then I was in for a big shock with her best friend. This was a pretty transformative point of my life. I developed a lot of aspects of myself. However, despite my outward appearance of easy going confidence, which I modelled on my hero Matthew McConaughey. Inside I was painfully insecure and unconfident. I should have realised that my insecurities with regards to dating this woman were meaningless and she would’ve ‘liked’ me anyway, but this kind of knowledge and self-awareness usually comes at a price. I was about to pay that price. I developed genuine feelings for this woman and deep down I wanted her to be my girlfriend, but our ‘relationship’ was pretty much: meet up usually on a Friday (occasionally Saturday, Sunday or once through the week too) and have sex. I had absolutely no idea how to move the relationship forward. If you date enough women, you’ll usually find that you can ‘get away’ with this for pretty much exactly six months. After six months if the relationship hasn’t MOVED FORWARD, they will drop your ass. Suffice to say, I’ve had quite a few ‘relationships’ that have lasted exactly six months. In fact, this is no joke, you can almost set your watch by this as a guideline. Lesson: move things FORWARD. Anyway, the night that she told me she didn’t want to see me anymore absolutely crushed me.

A few weeks later I literally saw her at the bar of one of my favourite clubs. When I saw that she was out with another dude and the rest of her chode friends, I was beyond devastated. Like, I had felt my heart being smashed into a number of tiny pieces. I tried to circumvent this by going hitting up a bunch of women, but I felt like I’d had the air sucked out of my lungs. Your self is always coming through and despite the feigned confidence in the approach, women can probably sense when inside someone probably wants to cry and I was knocked back by everyone I spoke to that night which just exacerbated my already depleted mood. I remember walking home that evening, a perfect picture of fucking misery. This would go onto become something of a perfect storm, because deep inside I was an unhappy person feigning confidence and positivity, and this was the killer blow for this persona. I spiralled into a depression. These days I would probably view this as the universe being cruel to be kind. A way of telling you that you are not on your true path and that it wasn’t accept you living up to your billing. Aaaaanyway, another couple of weeks later, another of her chode friendship group started hitting on me in a bar. I made the mistake of asking about her, and her friend told me all about her new boyfriend and how happy she is with him and how they’ve been seeing each other for about FOUR MONTHS. These days, I probably wouldn’t even bat an eyelid at this. I mean, just one example in the ensuing ten years to put this in to perspective: there was a ‘fuck buddy’ I had with whom I’d pretty much spent an entire afternoon having sex, I casually ask her what she’s doing that evening and she tells me she’s going on a date. I mean this is moments after she’s had my dick in her mouth and I just have visions of some poor young chode all excited as he’s getting dressed, making a big effort, visualising their first kiss, their wedding and what they’re going to call their kids. So this stuff is more common than you think. So do not kiss on the first date. Or the second… just kidding, sort of. Anyway, I kind of digress. So I had feelings for her. Nonetheless, I found out not so long back that she actually ended up MARRYING the guy I saw her with in the bar that night. So good for her. Also, if you’re keeping score on this blog, you’ll now see where this is going. Dreams are deeply symbolic. She is a MARRIED WOMAN who I was totally in love with. This represents my current relationship. Wanting to turn my back and walk away represents my current feelings. The people trying to get into my house represent why. I don’t want to, or I’m frightened to let anyone ‘in.’ Of course, in the reverse, the back turn also means I can TURN IT AROUND, or you know, I could actually just go up to her, speak to her and you know take her back to my proverbial house which is right there. Welcome to the fucking jungle.

American Genius

I just picked up a story I started writing nearly ten years ago. There were a few aspects I liked, so I’ve decided to give the concept a rewrite:

The unnamed narrator is ostensibly a Henry Chinaski type character on steroids.

The story itself is set in a dystopian 2009. The world is a miserable vast abyss of cities which are all *exactly* the same. Huge shining shimmering skyscapes of drollness. ‘The last great literary novel has been written; and has been replaced by the self-help book (and travel guides).’

Our hero wants to destroy those who have kidnapped his girlfriend. He hopes to achieve this by seeking out his hero Charles Bukowski. Who he considers to be the last great American genius. Our narrator’s dilemma is: is Bukowski still alive? While conventional wisdom states Bukowski has been dead since 1994, a mysterious woman says that she has seen him being thrown out of several bars and hanging around a local bookshop. On top of this, our hero is having to contend with problems at work, and a strange warning apparently emanating from out out of space indicates ‘the world is going to end in two days.’

This is all set in glorious panavision in an over-the-top world of deserts, beaches, jungles and cities with huge skyscrapers that blast through the stratosphere and block out the sun, aswell as dirty terrifying streets with gangs of chodes who will kill you as soon as look at you.

Can our hero save his girlfriend?

The lesson may very well be, can the girlfriend save our hero from himself?

Or has the magic of life been drained through the bleak miserable purple sky?

As our hero later muses, ‘Maybe just one sociopath wanting to rennovate the world into a nasty deserted pulpit of skulls, bones and slave women like an overcompensating Chinese sweatshop owner isn’t the biggest threat to humanity. Maybes humanity is the biggest threat to itself.’ Quite. Our hero is very succinct. Of course, with this kind of attitude. It’s only a matter of time before our hero wonders why he’s bothering to risk his life for a lost cause, anyway.

Our hero notes, that this may be down to a religious upbringing. He wonders whether hope is truly the human condition. Perhaps, despite his cynicism that it’s only hoping for something better that truly gives us the feeling of being human, and putting yourself on the line and offering something back, may be the most supreme of all human acts. The suffering in the face of adversity is perhaps the only thing that keeps us grounded. ‘Maybes it’s because at our core, we are hopeless and afraid, and the thought of telling someone you love the truth and being hurt in the process physically or emotionally makes us want to hide for all of eternity. All we have is the hope that somehow, just somehow we will work up the strength tomorrow to be a little bit braver, a little bit stronger than we are today.’

He then muses that for all people are stupid, he always had a strong belief in himself. ‘With so many people always trying to tear you down, why should you tear down yourself?’ Of course this makes little difference to our stoic and angry hero. He is terrified by the thought of going into battle against the person who has kidnapped his girlfriend, he believes this person may be immortal and is intent on destroying the planet so he can transcend into a being of consciousness. He is also terrified by the prospect of having to truly put himself on the ‘line’. The ultimate test of his character. He tries to gain the requisite confidence from looking at himself in the mirror and at his beloved ripped abs. For once, this doesn’t work.

It’s only when he finally cries himself to sleep. That Bukowski comes to him in dream. There is a stream of conciousness diatribe on human consciousness and ego. Our heroes ultimate realisation is that for all he is an ego-maniac and has always been somewhat arrogant and deluded, he understands that the ego is merely a story you tell yourself. For all he ultimately tells himself that he is better than everyone in the world, which he believes to be ‘confidence,’ as Bukowski makes him aware that he is still deluded. He tells our hero that he is ‘worse’ than many of the people whom he disdains. He then leaves our hero with a message ‘True confidence is there at the very core. Your self-esteem. Your soul. It’s not in your head. Your ancestors survived and replicated for millions of years just so you can be here now. You can survive. You can even overcome. You have to lose the ego first. Unleash your soul.’ Our hero wakes up before he can hear the last of Bukowski’s words. He is even more confounded by thoughts of how he can ‘unleash the soul’ of which Bukowski speaks.

He has to come to the realisation that ”it isn’t until he can stop thinking and just act” and that he is wasting ‘his life’ away.

The mysterious woman appears to him one last time, he demands an answer on whether Bukowski is still alive. ‘You know the truth’ she tells him. ‘Bukowski died in 1994 but he lives on in your cynicism. You will die tomorrow, because the old man must die, but he will discover to his inexpressible joy that he has never existed. You are fighting against nature itself. It is time to undergo the process of reorder. It is not possible for two beings to come into contact and not be changed by it.’

Our hero after some contemplation approaches the final battle. An ominous scene is set. In the most underwhelming climax of all time, our hero effortlessly takes down the chode’s army of warriors, before our heroes girlfriend kills the kidnapper by strangling him. ‘I was told I was going to die.’ As the planet begins to explode, they watch from the rooftop the end of days. They hold hands. ‘Don’t go, stay a little longer’ she tells him.

Some Thoughts for Today

I was reading the Tao te Ching yesterday and one of the most profoundly interesting insights I picked up was this:

Have desire, but don’t have desire? Well this is an interesting concept, because to move forward in life you have to be 100% clear on what you want. 100%. At the same time, you must recognise that the manifestation of this is in the grand scheme of things completely fucking irrelevant. Like, it doesn’t actually matter. You can get to this paradigm through gratitude and being grateful for all of the cool shit you already have – and believe me, we all have plenty to be grateful for, and that’s without even mentioning the fact that we live in one of the materially wealthy times in human history – you have to get to that point of inner contentment, recognise what you want and then LET IT GO. You have to get away from that attachment to outcome and like aforementioned, you can kind of get to that mindset through gratitude and inner contentment. What you have is already enough.

‘Never count your money while you’re sitting at the table… the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.’

It may seem pretty contradictory at first to want to ‘win’ without having any desire to ‘win’ but you’ll get the hang of it.

Ultimately, the source of all our daily problems is our delusions such as attachment. We get so attached to the fulfilment of our own wishes, we have perform kinds of non-virtuous actions – actions that harm others. As a result we continually experience various kinds of suffering and miserable conditions in life after life without end. When our wishes are not fulfilled we usually experience unpleasant feelings as unhappiness or depression; this is our own problem because we are so attached to the fulfilment of our wishes. When we lose a close friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a lover whatever, we experience pain and unhappiness, but this is only as a result of our attachment to this person. When we lose our possessions, position or reputation we experience unhappiness and depression because we are so attached to these things. If we had no attachment there would be no basis to experience these problems. You have to learn how to enjoy these things purely for what they are in the moment and be grateful for that. You have to appreciate things as they truly are in the moment rather than holding onto a fantasy or desire for people, places, things as you want them to be. Put your wish out there, be grateful, forget about it, move on with your life to whatever is next. It’ll all work out in the end. If it doesn’t and you walk out and get hit by a bus tomorrow morning, then you’ve saved yourself hours of pointless worry and you’ve lost out on nothing in the first place, because you’re dead or at least seriously injured and that will be enough to put into perspective how fucking trivial your wants and desires are in the great scheme of things anyway.

As a special bonus, here’s some outtakes from a great little ebook I’m reading by a gamer nerd about ‘playing to win.’ In any endeavour in life, you have to learn to ‘win’ not just ‘not get beat.’ I remember an old guy I used to work with said to me, and it really stuck with me. We were talking about people who go on protest marches and will often was lyrical about ‘solidarity’ with people who are oppressed. It certainly wasn’t that he was dismissive of the suffering of oppressed people, but he said, ‘People who talk about ‘solidarity’ worry me, you have to learn to win.’ It’s all well and good ‘protesting’ – and what he meant is for a lot of these people, all they want to do IS protest. That’s where it stops. Ultimately, in order to instil change you have to go through the “proper channels” and ‘win.’

‘If you’re gonna play the game boy, you gotta learn to play it right.’

If you look at this just in terms of the people who have brought about the greatest amount of social change and in some cases the greatest amount of social upheaval in the past few decades, they have gone through the status quo, became part of the status quo, then when they’ve got there, they’ve redefined what the status quo actually is in their image, this has been true of everyone from Atlee and Bevan to the neo-liberals of recent years like Thatcher, Blair and now the right-wing capitalist dogmatism of Trump. You don’t beat these people by protesting, you beat them by playing the political game and getting elected so you can instil change. Winning elections has a clearly defined set of rules, it is a GAME. Trump knew this, and a lot of the toxic bile he spewed and continues to spew – I mean, this is a person who isn’t an ideologue, I don’t even know if Trump has a genuine ideology at all – was and is aimed at people who were fucked over by and forgotten about by previous Clinton and Democrat administrations. Trump’s narrative continues to appeal to the voters HE HAS TO HAVE TO WIN. As someone who dislikes Trump, what genuinely concerns me, is that if all the Democrats have to offer are attacks on Trump, which actually feed into the narrative he has perpetuated, then the Democrats are not going to win back over those people in the key states they have to have to win. They are not objectively tackling the reasons people voted for this cocktard or offering anything to these people. Continuous denunciations of Trump and his ridiculous behaviour are not the same thing as winning crucial arguments. You will find that at least 99% of media coverage on Trump essentially amounts to, ‘Wow, Trump is such a fucking dick.’ You will be hard pressed to find anything that would persuade anyone in the key rust-belt states that beyond platitudes on social justice which they have definitely shown they don’t actually give a shit about, they should elect a Democrat instead. I mean, beyond the echo chamber of the internet and echo-chamber of the anti-Trump media, I suspect if an American election was held tomorrow, you’d most likely find Trump wouldn’t be leaving The White House. No-one knows better than a Marxist that when someone is standing at a ballot box, the only question that matters is: WHO AM I GOING TO BE BETTER OFF WITH? So with this in mind: For a voter – and let’s just assume that this person has the best will in the world – and this personal is watching an argument between a reprehensible amoral fuckwit who tells you you’re going to get a new job and a tax break and someone linked with the administration who put you out of a job in the first place, doesn’t offer you a new job or tax break, but does however have better morals than reprehensible amoral fuckwit, and will protest reprehensible amoral reprehensible fuckwit and his kinds behaviour to the nth degree. Who wins?

This is effectively the chode mindset distilled:

Punch through the proverbial wall and aim for success. Just don’t get hung up on the outcome, it doesn’t matter. BE HAPPY, CONTENT, HAVE GRATITUDE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE. Write a list of things you are grateful for and think about all of the things you are grateful for daily.