By Dr. A.J. Drenth
In my recent post, “The Laws of J-Types,” we explored the nature of Fe and Te laws. Because we naturally tend to associate laws with J-types, it can be easy to overlook the fact that P-types use Judging to an equal extent. The difference is that their Judging process is directly inwardly, so that, in many ways, P-types (e.g., ENFPs, INFPs, INTPs) can be seen as imposing laws or directives on themselves.
IPs are particularly “self-directed.” They would much rather live according to their own rules than to have rules imposed on them from without. Because of their desire to protect and preserve their self-regulated, inner rule of law, they are naturally averse to external rules and directives (this seems especially true of INPs). Being told what to do or how to do something, particularly when unsolicited, can even engender contempt in IPs (e.g., “How dare you tell me what to do or presume to know what is best for me.”).
As I’ve said many times before, if J-types are viewed as outer control freaks, P-types are inner control freaks. Considering these propensities, working within the confines of any system of rules or structures can be a stressful affair for P-types, since they are constantly forced to choose between their own inner directives and those being imposed on them from without. To avoid such moral dilemmas, many opt to work independently or start their own business, which promises increased control and greater opportunity to remain true to their own inner convictions.
Because of their aversion to outer rules, P-types are often viewed as more rebellious and unconventional (at least outwardly) than J-types are. They inject chaos and skepticism into J attempts at outer order. To be fair, from the P perspective, external J laws can inject chaos into or otherwise frustrate the P’s attempt to self-regulate. For this reason, Ps and Js are susceptible to misunderstandings and conflicts.
Unlike J-laws, which are directed toward and revealed in the external world, the laws of P-types, which are introverted in nature, are often concealed from the outside observer. So unless you are the P-type holding the law, you may never even know it exists. You may be able to make an informed guess about the law, based on behavioral or other cues, but, without a concerted attempt to investigate it, it may forever remain concealed or nebulous.
Unsurprisingly, P-types tend to be avid defenders of individual liberties. J-types, on the other hand, are more apt to emphasize collective duty and responsibility. P-types work to ensure that outer J laws do not encroach on their personal freedom to set and follow their own agenda. J types, by contrast, especially EJs, tend to put collective concerns before personal ones and work to ensure that individual freedoms do not harm or hinder the collective order. On the ideological spectrum, we might predict that IPs would gravitate more toward individualism, anarchism, or libertarianism, while EJs would lean more toward collectivism and hierarchical forms governance. IJs and EPs would likely fall somewhere in between. I think it is important to recognize the typological fingerprints on such ideological positions, since all types desire an outer world that allows them to function authentically according to their type.
Introverted Feeling (Fi) Laws
Both Fi and Ti laws are structured around the individual. The difference is that Fi uses a “like-dislike” criterion for making judgments, whereas Ti uses a “logical-illogical” criterion. The reason that Fi types are more drawn to moral and artistic spheres is their “like-dislike” approach seems more appropriate in those arenas; there is a better fit between the tool (Fi) and the job (e.g., art). Fi then, is largely a matter of personal taste. FPs, especially IFPs, are ruled by the law of their own tastes and convictions.
Because FPs see their tastes and convictions as deeply personal and unique, they can be particularly sensitive to what they perceive as others trying to pigeonhole or classify them. They often experience such attempts as a threat to their personal freedom and inner control. The notion that the FP’s attitudes or behavior could be predicted, such as through a system like typology, can seem threatening to their Fi arbiter, which sees itself as free to like or dislike whatever it wants.
Introverted Thinking (Ti) Laws
Since logic seems a less appropriate tool for endeavors like art, TPs, especially ITPs, gravitate toward interests that they feel are more conducive to a logical approach. But as P-types, they are reluctant to work within the strictures of Te systems. Like FPs, TPs want to leave the door open to freedom and individuality, to follow their Ti logic (or Ne/Se) wherever it leads.
While TPs may appear somewhat unpredictable or random in their thoughts or behavior when considered from without (especially from a Te perspective), Ti does not seem unpredictable from within, but functions according to its own inherent set of rules. One such rule is that Ti strives to reduce everything to its lowest common denominator. Whereas Te tends to proffer new facts at every turn, Ti keeps returning to clarify and understand what it sees as the purest and most appealing form of knowledge: concepts (this is especially true of INTPs and ENTPs). This explains NTPs penchant for philosophy and philosophizing. It is largely through developing their own guiding philosophy (i.e., shaping their own inner law or worldview) that NTPs find direction and purpose in their lives.