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Thread: Examples of INTPs in real life and in fiction

  1. #1
    Banned Array MacGuffin's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Examples of INTPs in real life and in fiction

    I know we've had similar threads to this in the past, but perhaps not so all-encompassing. Plus, they seem to have died off.

    Not looking for lists or debates about famous people, but just some examples of what INTPish behavior looks like out in the world and in the imaginations of writers and other artists. There's no way to tell for certain if someone is an INTP unless they come out and say it, so I'm sure every example won't be the most accurate.







    I'll start with one I ran across today:

    Jim Barnes, inventor of STATIS PRO BASEBALL.

    Why?

    STATIS PRO BASEBALL was invented over four decades ago by a restless soul named Jim Barnes. Early in his career, Barnes worked in television in Waterloo, Iowa, until one day he stared into the camera and found himself thinking, Is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life? So he went back to school, graduated at age 32, got a job with a media company, and then worked on an Economic and Corridor study for the Iowa Highway Commission with the thought of becoming a research specialist, until the project grew so mind-numbing that he couldn't stand it anymore. This became the Melvillian pattern of his career: Obsess over something, get bored, find something new to obsess about.

    Casting about for a purpose after the highway study, Barnes mined his own pre-adolescent years, to when he'd invented a baseball dice game in a matter of hours. At 13, he'd also devised an auto racing game, and he decided to publish a version of it, virtually unchanged. It took all day to play, but it developed a cult following, and so Barnes began to come up with more ideas. He'd played most of the tabletop baseball games that existed at that time, and he found them lacking: They were too slow, or thoroughly inaccurate, or took hours to play, or didn't take pitching into account at all. Even in Strat-o-Matic, the most popular tabletop simulation ever devised, the balance between hitting and pitching was essentially a 50-50 proposition, which meant that Sandy Koufax might have as much impact on a game as a third-tier starter for the Chicago Cubs.

    And so Barnes came up with STATIS PRO BASEBALL in a matter of weeks.
    Source: Statis Pro Baseball: An Instruction Manual (Grantland.com)

    The whole "jack of all trades, master of none" phrase that is often applied to INTPs comes out here. Flitting around with something, then growing bored with it, then finding a new obsession... that could practically be my autobiography. Creating my own games, from RPGs, to board games, to my own baseball dice game was something I did a lot as a kid myself. I still have some of them stored away somewhere (I remember I really fucked over my brothers, they were the only ones capable of hitting into a triple play ) Maybe someday I'll invent something of note.


    Feel free to add your own. Perhaps even people you knew and have observed in real life.

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    Interesting.

    I also fit into the restless soul category, until I finally ended up in computers. Einstein - our prototypical example of the 'perfect' INTP - pretty much knew what he was about. He did music (typical) as a young person, was very interested in how things mechanically worked, then got into physics and never strayed.

    Keirsey describes type as the 'hardware' and personality (he has better terms) as the 'software', which makes it difficult to type people. I've gotten pretty good (I think) at typing a person, but during my lifetime I've only come across two INTP's for sure (OK three including my son)

    One - female/American: Persistently interested in cycling, likes to take adventurous bike trips (INTP's seem to often like taking risky adventures in the external world). Got a degree in the classics and lived in a tent in the local woods for four years (in the snow!) while going to school. Also got a degree in Library science, didn't discover computers until late and loves them. Working for a bike company presently, considering what to do next (work history has been varied and spotted).

    Two - male/Hungarian: Fell in love with engineering early in life, became a EE and emigrated to the US without speaking a word of English. Got his EE degree, met a nice American girl and got married, no kids (DINK NERDS). Likes to fly small airplanes, collects slide rules, old test equipment and other junk, keeps really odd hours at work and engages in generally weird behavior. We like to go on long walks and talk about everything under the sun.

    Three - male/American: my kid. Was a serious PITA until I introduced him to computers, now I have to turn on Parental Controls to make sure he gets time away from the machine. Likes puzzle solving adventure games (Lego Indiana Jones style), doesn't like first person shooters at all. Hates school, has a fair number of friends but is definitely not in the core group. Has to have down time at home on the computer or he gets wonky. Doesn't like to wear clothes around the house, shirt and underwear is it. Is already planning on growing up and writing software like his Dad, which I suspect will probably stick with him. Hates team sports and doesn't get outside much, loves three stooges and has an off sense of humor (just like me). Still hasn't learned how to ride a bike.

    Three - male/American: me. Spent most of my life confused about who I was as there were zero intuitives close to me, until I met my wife. Wandered from performing musician, to physicist, finally got a job as a software engineer and it took 15 years to realize that it was really where I belonged. Along the way did a deep study of writing, art, music and physics (as mentioned), electronics, economics and investing (and many sub-subjects.) As I've blathered on elsewhere now I confine myself to computers, photography and playing the piano.

  3. #3
    Member Array Minus Om's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
    There's no way to tell for certain if someone is an INTP unless they come out and say it
    I think that amputating its second clause would bring that sentence closer the truth.

    I'd have liked to make an honest attempt at answering the question, but I can't think of any clear cut examples from fiction (I don't read enough), and while most of the great advances in computer science have presumably been made by INTPs and INTJs, I've never taken enough interest in the biographies of figures such as Turing, C.A.R. Hoare, Donald Knuth, Brian Kernighan, James Coplien, Martin Fowler, Kent Beck or Josh Bloch (for example) to be able to commentate upon the INTPness or not of their behaviour.

    I do have an INTP father, brother and son, but I can't do justice to them here and now.

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    Knuth is surely a ISTJ.

    ISTJ's and ISTP's are far more common in CS than INTP's (well they're far more common in life, at that)

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    What about Turing?

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    Senior Member Array nonperson's Avatar
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    One of us. And one of them too.

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    Captain Erskine, as described by James Boswell in his journal of 1762:

    "Captain Erskine is a most peculiar fellow. His indifference is amazing. He is vastly happy to have the company of people that he likes, yet he is not a bit troubled at their absence, nor will he take the smallest pains to be with them. I was really piqued that I had now been from him a week, that I had wished to see him, but that he had never once thought of me -- which he told me. I must take him just in his own way."

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    Turing - too hard to say. Not a lot of personal information available AFIK. Introverted intuitive probably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by composer View Post
    Turing - too hard to say. Not a lot of personal information available AFIK. Introverted intuitive probably.
    The man's work speaks for itself. How could he be anything but an INTP?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nonperson View Post
    The man's work speaks for itself. How could he be anything but an INTP?
    Maybe, a lot of ST's have been abstract mathematicians I think.

    Turing was a tortured man. He was gay and forced to take drugs in an attempt to 'cure' him of homosexuality.

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