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"My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."
—  Patricia Graynamore. Joe vs The Volcano

  • If you’re a touchy-feely introspective soul, like myself, then you might enjoy this randomly ramshackle list of movies that I think have a particular interest to the NF personality types. Not to say that other personality types are excluded of course. I’m sure these choices appeal to a fairly broad audience, but intuitive feelers in particular might relate to where I’m coming from.

    So without further ado here’s my top ten NF movies of all time, (so far…)

    PS: spoiler alert for all movies listed.

    10. Sense and Sensibility.
    So to kick start the list we have the 1996 adaptation of the classic period drama from the 19th century novelist Jane Austen. For me this is by far the best version out there. Ang Lee is a renowned director with a string of accomplished movies in his canon and this is a great example of how to deliver. As I’m sure you’re probably familiar with the story I’ll skip the exposition and focus mainly on the films artistic merits.

    Jane Austen being such a consummate scholar of character study herself that it’s fun to try and type the individuals in her novels, often illustrated to a good degree of familiarity I think. It’s a joy to see them come to life played by such competent actors.

    I can easily imagine myself transported to this romantic period drama era, (excluding the poor sanitation and potential for rampant dysentery of course). Having to endure the maddening social protocol whilst desperately harbouring chastened feelings of repressed sexuality. It’s that bitter sweet combination of tension and release that sets up a great and enduring narrative.

    And that final scene between Ellinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars played so endearingly by Emma Thomson and Hugh Grant; exquisite.


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"The superior student listens to the Way and follows it closely. The average student listens to the Way and follows some and some not. The lesser student listens to the Way and laughs out loud. If there were no laughter it would not be the Way."
—  Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching - Chapter 41

  • In our present time it can seem natural and prudent for people to view their experience of the world from a self oriented perspective. It makes sense to have a focus on ones own needs in terms of self preservation and personal growth.

    But for better or worse empathic types have a proclivity to feel their way through experiences in a profoundly intimate way. It comes as an instinctual part of life to want to understand how other people are experiencing their world. It is sometimes to the detriment of the empaths own constitution that they endeavour to learn through this method. There is however much to be gained by being high in openness and agreeableness.

    The Zen Buddhist philosophy of ‘Shoshin’ describes a state of mind where one is in harmonious accord with the present state of being without judgement or desire for control. One has a beginners mind, unconditioned, like a baby’s vulnerability to possibility and engagement with the new.

    Being open to the potentiality that one’s own judgement may be imperfect and that the view of others can be valuable is a good premise on which to build a platform for appreciation. Allowing space to enter the thought process and giving time to acknowledging the impermanence of things.

    When we can be open to the possibility of fallibility we become listeners and are ready to learn. To allow a situation to resolve itself through the use of introspection rather than action is as much a study of others as it is a study of the self.

    The majority of us have empathic inclinations by nature and can benefit greatly from cultivating this much underrated ability. How we move through the world depends greatly on the part we play within society. We can sometimes become dispirited by the solipsistic nature of the, self comes first attitude of modern living. We become seduced by marketing slogans such as, “because I’m worth it”. But do we not all have worth inherently?

    The more we take the time to appreciate the worth of others the more likely we are to be open to understanding the perspectives of others. Putting our own wants and desires on pause for a short while, we allow ourselves the space to embody the spirit of Shoshin and give ourselves the opportunity to see with wisdom from the many.


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“And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It's shocking to find how many people don't believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult. Muad’Dib knew that every experience carries its lesson.”
— Dune, Frank Herbert.

  • The INFJ personality type has a desire to truly understand. It’s not enough to just learn by rote, we need to know how all the pieces of a given problem fit together and what those connections mean within the context of the whole using intuition.

    Failing frequently, without apparent improvement may not be a particularly efficient way to learn. Repeated failures could signal a lack of aptitude and potential to both the student and the teacher imparting the knowledge. The fault however may not necessarily be found in the failure itself. This could be a result of not being able to comprehend a given concept, rather than a failure to understand it.

    To not understand generally means that one has not yet grasped the value of what the final result should be, but to not comprehend is to have not grasped at the conclusion to begin with. This results in a need for further investigation into how or why the results have or should be achieved from a perspective of quality.

    To progress effectively the INFJ learner uses a preferential mode of enquiry in order to be able to build up a broad perspective. This contemporary process takes several metaphorical bites of the ‘apple’, so to speak, from various locations to gain a proper sense of what ‘appleness’ can potentially be, before fully committing to what an apple actually is. A rudimentary association is investigated from the inside out. Seeds, core, starchy flesh, skin, leafy stalk, branch, tree, wood, desk, teacher, apple… This all happens in the background, but can often be sensed in an abstract way. The information is perceived through feelings rather than thoughts.

    Data is processed and contrasted with previous patterns of experience. After adequate scrutiny has taken place the constituent parts are threaded together into a larger network, like data nodes in a constellation, primed for further integration.

    Predominantly sensing types often have an inclination towards a step by step sequential mode of filtering information. Intuitive’s on the other hand tend to bounce around from one node to another in a non-linear fashion testing options and possibilities before arriving at fixed conclusions. This can prove problematic in the short term as this approach is less energy efficient and can be much slower.→



“In Budapest, surgeons operated on printer's apprentice Gyoergyi Szabo, 17, who, brooding over the loss of a sweetheart, had set her name in type and swollowed the type.”
Time Magazine 1936. From the book  Just My Type,
by Simon Garfield.


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