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Intuitive-Feeling Types (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) – The "Apollonian Temperament"


It’s fascinating learning about one’s personality type. I’ve found being a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) “NF” (Intuitive-Feeling type) and reading about it very enlightening. But, I’m also very wary of the ‘horoscope’ phenomenon occurring whereby almost everything we read we can psychologically identify with.

The four key MBTI generic types are represented by the mythical Greek gods: Apollo, Dionysus, Prometheus, and his brother Epimetheus.[1]> It’s generally accepted that Apollo (NF) represents spirit; Dionysus (SP, Sensing-Perceiving) represents joy or release; Prometheus (NT, Intuitive-Thinking) represents science; and Epimetheus (SJ, Sensing-Judging) represents duty (or diligence). Apollo (spirit) opposes Prometheus (science) and Dionysus (joy) opposes Epimetheus (duty).

NF’s make up approximately 12 percent of the population. If you’re the type of person who’s neverendingly searching the self, chances are you identify strongly with the Apollonian (NF) temperament. This person has the goal of becoming

More aptly put, this is an excerpt from Please Understand Me on the Apollonian temperament:

“How can one achieve a goal when that goal is to have a goal? The NF’s “truest” self is the self in search of itself, or in other words, his purpose in life is to have a purpose in life. Always becoming himself the NF can never truly be himself.”[2] (Italics in original.)

It’s quite a paradoxical life for the NF in the search for becoming self, which never ends. It can either be frustrating or relieving; relief can come only in the acceptance of this ‘never-complete/a work in progress’ nature. Spiritually, psychologically and physically the NF wanders through life and time seeking enhancement and is never truly happy without “the search.”

Activity without meaning in any role in life[3] for NF is pointless and frustrating. They need to derive meaning from the self and others. 

To have integrity means unity for the NF and this is to be genuine, authentic and of good faith.

Everything has significance for the NF and they’re extremely sensitive to the “subtleties in gestures and metaphoric behaviour” that’s not always ‘visible’ to others.[4]

Some of the most creative people come from the NF strain, including creative writers and artists, whilst NF’s also make up a big percentage of those entering the ministry, teaching, and psychology and counselling careers. “Transmitting ideas and attitudes tends to attract NFs.”[5]

NF’s are also natural leaders as they enjoy actualising potential in others and themselves. Their hunger for meaning is centred not on things but people, and not on abstractions but relationships, and finally, not on action but interaction.[6]

NF’s invest heavily in their relationships and to a cause with significance, but to remain deeply attached need again to derive meaning in the long run. Even more specifically, the NF works hard and toward perfection in their work. 

Paradoxically, once the work is done, however, no matter how perfect the outcome is, “it never seems to live up to the magnificence of its conception.” It is also interesting that NF’s seem “unable or unwilling to limit a commitment they make to a production, once they become involved. At that point, they can be unreasonably demanding on both themselves and those around them.”[7]

One thing we can say in the general discussion of personality types and preferences is there are so many different ways of viewing life, and in this, we can see why there is so much conflict in communication. We cannot possibly hope to see things consistently accurately from others’ viewpoints, but we can try.

In this type of study we can appreciate our mutual differences as well as our similarities. And just because people think and feel differently to each other doesn’t make them wrong. Personality types explain many things in the realm of human behaviour and interaction.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.


[1] David Kiersey & Marilyn Bates, Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types (Del Mar, California: Prometheus Nemesis Book Company / Gnosology Books Ltd, 1984), p. 29.

[2] Kiersey & Bates, Ibid, p. 58.

[3] Roles include (but are not limited to) worker, friend, lover, father/mother, husband/wife, leader, member, son/daughter etc.

[4] Kiersey & Bates, Ibid, p. 60.

[5] Kiersey & Bates, Ibid, p. 62.

[6] Kiersey & Bates, Ibid, p. 66.

[7] Kiersey & Bates, Ibid, p. 65.


Source by Steve Wickham


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