Embracing the Intellect of the Heart

   In our society, there is an enigmatic taboo that leads many to distrust what they’re instincts tell them to do, where to look, how to be, etc. Sometimes for good reason, but sometimes in excess. From a very young age, all we want is to be accepted, or perhaps to at least be considered “acceptable” in some way if you were not someone who cared what others thought. Either way, we have all struggled to meet a standard at some point in our lives. This is how we’re guided to follow the grain from square one, until we come to a point in our maturity where we completely forget we are following something external at all and are tricked into thinking everything we want and strive for is related to our authentic selves, or true purpose. It is because of this that we sometimes stray away from what we are intuitively pulled towards by the heart, and replace it with our mental constructs and external ideas.

Over time, I’ve been lead to the idea that the heart has an intellect that either no one knows or no one acknowledges. To many, this statement might be very confusing because we’ve made the very definition of the word ‘heart’ to serve as an antonym for the word ‘intellect’. Perhaps this is a symptom of living in separation of the two: “Use your head” or “Follow your heart” we say. We seem to use one or the other depending on the situation. But what if we merged these two concepts together, and used them at the same time? What happens then?

   Personally, I have found that I’ve used my heart to figure out where my mind is supposed to go, upon which my mind takes over and synthesizes what its given. Then, it would be my heart’s duty to feel out the conclusions I’ve drawn, and so on. It goes back and forth in an ebb and flow continuously. In rare instances, I find the two coalesce, like two bodies in space that circle around one another until gravity finally leads them to join in an epic blaze of light and color. They become the same thing essentially, that is what I meant by there being “an intellect to the heart”, which opposes the separation the two concepts.

Two white dwarf stars orbiting each other every 5 minutes.

Photograph courtesy NASA/Tod Strohmayer (GSFC)/Dana Berry (Chandra X-Ray Observatory)

 

The result of this has always been interesting. I’ve come up with my best ideas and produced my best work in these states. But for whatever reason, I see many people not trusting the way they feel, and rely on what they see, or vice versa. I can’t help but notice that we as a society live in a sort of disconnect that keeps us from reaching our full potential, truthfully in many ways apart from what I’ve even discussed so far.

But allow me to diverge for a moment, because I have something I wish to convey.

   I truly believe that certain instances call for you to act on your instinct rather than what is customary. The right thing to do just might be the opposite of what your mind advises. For example, life-changing inventions and problem solving skills generally require an “out of the box” method of approach, as we like to call it. Well, what is this vague “out of the box” thing people speak of? I am no expert but logic would lead me to believe that it involves avoiding the perception that is no longer providing any solutions to the problem, and what most likely lead to the problem in the first place (a rewording of the well known quote by Albert Einstein “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”).

   Sometimes we seem to think that something needs a lot of thought and intellectualization, which is likely a product of our education. However, you may inadvertently think yourself into a box that will not lead you anywhere beyond what you can see. A problem may call for a solution that requires a completely different angle of approach. I have found a method that works for me to avoid this trap. It is one simple statement: ‘I know that I don’t know’. It is known as the Socratic Paradox, where one knows that they know nothing. It is possible to have conclusions come out of this approach that are not entirely accurate, but at least it comes from an honest place that lacks any bias that may steer me away from the truth. It’s a good start is all I’m saying. And truth is so subjective that I really can’t ever say anything with complete certainty as we all have our own truth, with threads of validity woven through it all. But when I am listening to someone preach something or share their opinion, I now always ask myself this:  “Where did they begin with the creation of that belief?”

In starting with “I know that I don’t know”, I’m choosing to be careful about contaminating my own understanding with someone or something else’s (which is probably already riddled with mistruths because I’ve never known anyone to approach life in such a clean-slate way).

I can hear everyone’s thoughts right not at this point. They say “But Kerry, what does this even have to do with what you were saying in the beginning with the heart nonsense?”

Calm down, I’m bringing it home.

   Perhaps for some of history’s game changers, the “out of the box” notion is disguised as this moment where the idea of the head and the heart connects, creating the capacity to reach conclusions that could not be made otherwise. Its a sort of reaching out of the five senses, with knowledge previously gained guiding the way, and the willingness connect to something greater than yourself or what you already know.

   If we are to be guided by a true purpose, or wish to live a life of authenticity, we must challenge preconceived notions, understand where it is that they come from, and in doing so, open up to the intellect of the heart.

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Featured image credited to Jacob Jugashvili 

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MBTI Blog Challenge: How to Write the INTJ

  I’d like to start with thanking Hanna Heath for creating this awesome challenge, and including me in it! The idea is to write an article explaining your own MBTI type, and sharing it so that there is more character development material for writers  (which is brilliant). When the article is written, tag another writer to participate. Not only is this very useful for writers, but you also have the opportunity to add something unique to your personality type, which aren’t always discussed in great detail elsewhere.

While this post is about the INTJ, you can also read about the INFJ on Hannah’s blog here: MBTI Challenge: How to Write INFJ 

INTJ is one of the rarest Myers Briggs types, with the female INTJ consisting of just 0.8% of the population, and I am one of them (thats right character-seeking writers, you just hit the jackpot)!

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I don’t know if my perspective will be completely accurate for all INTJ personalities, as there seems to be a spectrum, but there are some insights that I have to offer.
 If I had to sum up this personality in one sentence, I’d say this: 
While the INTJ has a sort of “cut-throat” mentality, it comes from a high place.
    As you will see when you research this type, the most common misconception is that they’re removed, callous, and cold hearted. What’s hard for an INTJ is that people make these observations and accusations without asking or thinking about how or why this is.
    The perfect example of this, and one of the famous character examples for INTJ, is Professor Snape from Harry Potter. Admit it, we were all wary of him, and quite confused with his character, wondering exactly what side he was on and where he was coming from. Our minds turned against him when he was portrayed as something that always interfered with Harry’s position. But then our hearts lightened when we saw him transform into a source of protection (Im specifically thinking about the scene where Lupin turns into a werewolf, and Snape advises the children to get behind him, such a small act that speaks volumes).
      Professor Snape was not always the warmest character, and yet it seems he had the highest capacity of love out of everyone else in the story. This is the pinnacle of the INTJ.
   The INTJ is a strategist. They naturally see all variables and outcomes in any given situation. They always see the entire picture, no matter what. Its not something they have control over, its an integral part of their being.  Because of this, they know what has to be done, whether its easy or hard, to reach the desired outcome. That is where the “cut-throat” mentality comes from. They understand what it truly takes to produce what their world, and perhaps what the whole world (If they are also a humanitarian) truly needs. Nikola Tesla is another INTJ example, which speaks for itself.
The INTJ is the ultimate paradox in that they strive for the ideal using realism.
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Other character traits worth noting:
1. Loyalty: Depending on the person, trust for an INTJ is a thin veil that is frequently harmed, sometimes unknowingly, by the people in their life. Their judgement of character is precise and unerring, and if you are lucky enough to be in their life, that speaks volumes about the kind of person you are. It is rare for the INTJ to be severely mistreated in the first place, as their perspective allows them to see where a relationship is likely to go from the start. However, life is neither black or white, and hurt is bound to happen at some point, and the INTJ does not take it lightly. It simply isn’t tolerated. They know themselves, and they know where they want to go in life, and anything that creates resistance to their life’s journey will no longer be included.
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2. Depth:  Small talk is sandpaper to their psyche. It is joked that the INTJ starts out every day with a certain threshold for standard social interactions, and then must retreat within themselves or their environment after they’ve used up that allotted energy.
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They crave meaning in everything they do in life. So when its time to converse, they would much rather discuss larger ideas, or go in depth with how someone feels about their life, their hobbies, what keeps them up at night, etc. If they are surrounded by drama, they will retreat to the extent that you will not even know they are there anymore. If the drama is coming from a person, you can bet they will be dropped out of their life so quickly, it will leave the other person’s head spinning.

3. Growth: They always want to be a better version of themselves, although what constitutes as better will obviously vary person to person. However, because they are a bit of a brainiac, knowledge will definitely have something to do with it. There is an insatiable desire to know, but not just facts and current events. There is a desire to know and practice reasoning, whether it be moral, philosophical, logical, or sometimes even spiritually based.

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4. Independence: You will never see an INTJ altering their beliefs or behaviors to gain approval or to be liked by others. They will not only get by on their own, but thrive in solitary circumstances.

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Now to tag someone…

I challenge Jonathon D. Macgregor at Macgregor’s Pen for the next article.
I also challenge anyone reading this who are interested in participating, just make sure to link my blog in your post so that I can follow you. Also, don’t be a stranger! Leave a comment saying what personality type you’ll be doing. Be sure to title your post  “MBTI Blog Challenge: How to Write an <Insert Personality Type>”. This will make it easy for writers to find your post, and navigate through the personalities.
If you have any other questions about the INTJ, don’t hesitate to ask.
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