Me!? Arrogant..

Although most people do not take glee in being perceived as being “arrogant,”  however, many male Rationals will admit they are not particularly bothered as being perceived as arrogant – well, because they are arrogant. No sense in denying the facts. Female Rationals sometimes get a moniker (deserved or undeserved – depending on your political religion) such as the Iron Lady, because of this perceived arrogance. With that arrogance, I suspect political religion was why Hollywood did such a hatchet job on Margaret Thatcher in the now playing biographical movie.

Rationals are wont to think of themselves as the prime movers who must pit their utilitarian ways and means against custom and tradition, in an endless struggle to bring efficiency and goal-directness to enterprise, an attitude regarded by many as arrogant” [Please Understand Me II, page 169]

There are two ways to view the arrogant Rationals. Others can detect the arrogance of Rationals because Rationals don’t mean to be arrogant, but they can’t help it, and they can rub the other temperaments the wrong way because of their lack of tact and guile. Hence, Inventors, Fieldmarshals, Masterminds, and Architects are most *visibly* arrogant in that order. (Typically, of course)

Inventors tend to exhibit their “cleverness” and often don’t hide their impatience with others not as quick on the uptake, hence they appear to be the most arrogant to others. Howard Hughes was an iconic Inventor, and for those not familiar with him, the movie The Aviator is a great movie to see, as an illustration of a brilliant Inventor.  Steve Jobs knew he was an “asshole” (so that is not news in his book) and his arrogance cost him his life.  The arrogance of the Fieldmarshals is usually more implied and subtle, for they must take charge at work, being sure of themselves in enterprise. Examples, General Douglas MacArthur was famous for his well deserved confidence, but couldn’t hide his arrogance; and Neutron Jack (GE CEO Jack Welch) knew he was right, being too blunt, so earning his well deserved sobriquet. The Masterminds are usually behind the scene; they actually have the strongest will and demand incredible things from themselves. They know that others can not achieve the level of expertise they have obtained, and do not expect as much, hence a hint of arrogance. Moreover, they typically don’t exhibit their arrogance, except in their own area of expertise. Masterminds, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, are examples that people love to hate.  Their motto is “I could be wrong, but I doubt it.”  Architects are rarely encountered, if they talk at all, their arrogance is typically hard to detect.

All Rationals naturally see clearly mankind’s foibles, for they are the natural skeptics. And, they are their own worst critics of themselves. They do not expect or demand other people to be the same as them, so they don’t often really “deserve” being called arrogant, but they are arrogant, nevertheless.

For true arrogance – unseen by most non-Rationals, the order is the opposite: Architects are the most arrogant. You wouldn’t know it, unless you asked them, or you mistakenly wander into their domain of expertise. In the order of true arrogance, next are the Masterminds, then Fieldmarshals, and lastly Inventors. The often unspoken “hierarchy” of hard of science and technology gives us a hint of this phenomenon. Many Engineers are intimidated by Scientists including Physicists, who are intimidated by Mathematicians. (Mathematicians are intimidated by Mathematics and Physics.)

In reality, many Architects have the “humble” goal of understanding the world, and realize that most are faking understanding. We know that we understand better than anybody else, although we don’t say it – hence the humbleness. But, as my father has said, “If this is arrogance, then at least it is not vanity, and without question it has driven the design engineers to take the lead in molding the structure of civilization.”

When asked what if he had been wrong in his theory of relativity, Einstein (an Architect Rational) replied, “too bad for reality.” He knew he was right, logic dictated it.

Paul Dirac, an Architect Rational, was famous in rarely saying anything to anybody. However, one day he surprised everybody:

Paul Dirac said: “I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest – and as scientists honesty is our precise duty – we cannot help but admit that any religion is a pack of false statements, deprived of any real foundation. The very idea of God is a product of human imagination. […] I do not recognize any religious myth, at least because they contradict one another. […]”

Heisenberg‘s view was tolerant. Pauli had kept silent, after some initial remarks. But when finally he was asked for his opinion, jokingly he said: “Well, I’d say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is ‘God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet'”. Everybody burst into laughter, including Dirac.

0 thoughts on “Me!? Arrogant..”

    1. As a Rational Architect (INTP) myself, I thought the most non visible arrogant Rational was INTJ. (Or maybe the ENTJ). I mean, the J preference dictates a behavior resistant to change… Right? … Oh well, I’ve solved my arrogance problem half a year ago. I was (In my opinion) moderately arrogant at the time, but after learning about temperament, I became a lot more humble and zipped my mouth and now spend more time researching than talking. I’m starting to become interested in psychology.

  1. Great article. The words match exactly with what I often say, “I could be wrong, but I doubt it”. An example of mastermind would make this article more interesting for me, but without it – it is still intriguing.

  2. I was born knowing nothing. Every day of my life I have learned something I didn’t know the day before. By the end of my life I will know substantially more than I do now. But, relative to what there is to know in an infinite and changing universe I will still barely know anything. In fact, I will know so little that I might as well just round down and accept that I will know almost nothing.

    I mean, yeah, I could be wrong about that, but I doubt it. 😉

  3. As an “architect” I’ve thought a lot about arrogance, especially since I realize that I am. And yet, I despise most types of arrogance…..In my opinion there are different kinds of arrogance, and that’s what matters most to me. In my own case, when I’ve put a great deal of thought into something I assume my conclusion is right–and I also assume very few others are going to do the amount of thinking it took to reach the same conclusion–(that is indeed arrogance, right?) But then again like I said there are other types too– “naive arrogance” means missing opportunities for improvement, and “judgemental” or vain arrogance also says something entirely different about character–and plain old irritates the hell out of me 🙂 .

  4. Rationals may be labeled arrogant more frequently than others, but your thick skin gives you a powerful advantage in that situation. I, a Composer Artisan, was fatefully hampered by self-doubt as a teenager when my parents called me “arrogant” for refusing to “go along to get along.” (It didn’t help that the government-run, compulsion-based school system reinforced this mentality.) Without the natural skepticism of a Rational, I lacked the wit to deconstruct their accusation. I couldn’t see that it came from a pair of dull-witted conformists. At nearly 40, I’m still recovering from the blow to my self-confidence.

    Consider yourselves lucky, you Rationals, that it’s relatively easy for you to take accusations of arrogance in stride.

    1. No it isn’t. Arrogance carries the implication of bullying to me and while I haven’t been bullied much due to having a good family and a school with reasonably efficient Guardians, those times I have been it was humiliating. I remember it to well to want to humiliate others and when I think I might have done so I dislike myself. Arrogance is one of the last vices I really want to see in myself.
      As for self-confidence, I haven’t yet gained the self-confidence to operate effectively in the “real” world and I am about the same age. I am mainly self confident about my knowledge in social sciences.

      1. Oh and Brian, rationals can be herded just as easily as anyone. Often they maintain an illusion of independence to conceal from themselves that they are just joining another herd. Look at all the tendencies among scientists and philosophers and literary scholars and the like to follow fashion and jump on anyone who dissents. And there is more dignity in following your parents like you did then in following nameless people.
        Guardians follow out of principle and know they are following. They are at least a pack rather then a herd.

  5. Our challenge is to look past any perceived arrogance and see the lesson, the message. Sometimes we do, sometimes we fail, but don’t give up.

    Got to admit I am rather fond of arrogant bast#rds.

  6. I always thought the implication of “Iron Lady” was of sternness and decisiveness not arrogance as such. Maggie never struck me as all that arrogant, and I have met some arrogant rationals in my time, perhaps including myself though I am fortunately not appointed my own judge.

  7. Great article (was recommended by my architect sister).

    It seems that the order in which you’ve arranged the Rationals (relative to their level of perceived arrogance vs their “actual” arrogance) may be directly proportionate to their propensity to be wrong. So, for example, the expressive rationals, who should have a greater propensity to be wrong (and then change their mind / correct their words), are perceived to be more arrogant when in fact they are less so.

    Maybe, and this is merely a thought, there is causation to this relation. Maybe the more a Rational has been shown to be wrong, the less confident he is about his intellectual ability (-“actual” arrogance), and (consequently) the more he wants to show others (and himself) that he is knowledgable/correct (-“perceived” arrogance).

    Were this hypothesis to be correct, it may be possible to for an Inventor to become more “likable” (i.e. perceived as less arrogant) by getting into the habit of responding neutrally as opposed to absolutely (e.g. “it’s possible” as opposed to “that’s dumb”). In that way he would minimize the amount of times he is shown to be wrong, and consequently be more confident in his intellectual ability.

  8. “We know that we understand better than anybody else, although we don’t say it…”

    I’m not sure if I can agree with this. I identify myself as an Architect, and there are times when I will see somebody’s understanding of something as greater than mine.

    1. Of course, there are people who understand some things better than ourselves. That wasn’t the point. We just know that often some people don’t know what they are talking about, including so called “experts.”

      I particularly like Bose’s comment:
      “Never accept an idea as long as you yourself are not satisfied with its consistency and the logical structure on which the concepts are based. Study the masters. These are the people who have made significant contributions to the subject. Lesser authorities cleverly bypass the difficult points.”
      Satyendranth Bose

  9. A bit off this topic, but asked anyway:
    Has anyone else in this forum ever seriously looked at themselves (and those known best) as an amalgam of exactly 2 types. Myself as example: I’m about 65% Fieldmarshall and about 30% Promoter. The other 5% is wonderfully random! The transition naturally occurs as my thoughts move from the abstract to the concrete when I relax a bit. I believe I see this duality in all those closest, and the transition is always similar and along one dimension: abstract to concrete or cooperative to pragmatic.

    1. I think the concept refers to the dominant characteristic. I know I am an INTP because the description almost exactly describes me but I suspect myself to have a strong F undertone if only because a lot of my favorite characters are idealists.
      I remember when writing stories, drawing up a character whom I intended as ENTP but showed traits that made me wonder if she was an ESTP. But the descriptions in the book do sound rather similar between ENTP and ESTP.

      1. Jason: that’s a good example of what I’m thinking…but I’ve never seen any commentary on the “2nd personality”. Using Keirsey theory to translate your “F undertone”…might it be that you have some significant “cooperative” in you that replaces your “pragmatic”. That would bring you to iNFp = “Healer” for your 2nd type.

  10. I think the book talked a little about that, mentioning secondary, tertiary, and “shadow” sides. Honestly I was a bit confused about that as it almost seemed to say that the shadow was the exact opposite.

    I do know that though INTP sounded most like me, INFP was one of the one’s I seemed to sympathize most with from the description. I never really acted like an INFP, if only because the matter never came up, being always in comfortable surroundings that made me want to indulge scholarly tastes more. But a number of my favorite characters were NF’s and one or two people I have met in real life. In Babylon 5, for instance, Delenn seems to be an INFP with a few quirky traits added by her role as a stateswoman and Lennier, her valet seems to be an INFJ.

    I have seen mixed traits in fiction. Simon Tam of Firefly always seems like an INTJ around other people but seems to act like an INFP around his sister. But maybe I am missing something.

    1. Myers talks about secondary, tertiary, and shadow. My father couldn’t make heads or tails of that kind of talk. He strongly suggests that the Myers letters should be abandoned, and he never uses or used the other jargon – of Myers and Jung (other than trying to relate it or explain what they really meant to say.)

      1. I agree with leaving the letters behind, except they’re just so ingrained. I find comprehension (and therefore predictability) is best with the Keirsey “concentric rings” metaphor:
        1. abstract or concrete
        2. pragmatic or cooperative
        3. directive or informative
        4. expressive or reserved

        I think in these terms, and translate into M/B as required to communicate.

        1. The newer version (with my father always tinkering — sometimes for the better)1. Abstract versus Concrete   2.  Adaptive versus Complying3.  Proactive versus Reactive   4.  Expressive versus AttentiveAgain, the criteria are based on observable action.

      2. My Rational temperament leads me to ask if you have ever thought of adding a new ring to the actual Keirsey Temperament Theory, in addition to the other four rings.

        1. I have “thought” about it, but I haven’t come up with anything useful. My father doesn’t see the use.  Too complicated.

  11. Exactly! Your example is exactly what I’m referring to. We all know that we’re all a human mixture of stuff…I just don’t think I’ve ever seen what I call “secondary personality” described in the way I’m specifically describing it. I don’t remember talk of secondary or tertiary in the book, though I do remember “shadow” personality mentioned somewhere.

    1. So putting Delenn (awesome character…and kinda hot) in my terms: her position required her to be more pragmatic than was her nature, moving her from iNFp to iNTp. Now to get from there to iNTj like you describe, she must also become more “directive” than “informative”. This is also a reasonable need for a leader.

  12. Come to think of it Delenn took decisions she knew would cost the lives of millions on the assumption that more would be saved during the show. Moral opinions of that on the side, that is an INTJ thing to do. So perhaps Delenn was an INFP with a secondary of INTJ that was heightened by her position. Making her another example of a mixture.

    1. So putting Delenn (awesome character…and kinda hot) in my terms: her position required her to be more pragmatic than was her nature, moving her from iNFp to iNTp. Now to get from there to iNTj like you describe, she must also become more “directive” than “informative”. This is also a reasonable need for a leader.

      1. Uh-huh. She was very much an idealist with her mystic personality and her charisma. At the same time she had an “edginess” which most famous sci-fi idealists don’t seem to have if only because the usually end up in a medical role where edginess doesn’t have to be emphasized as much.

        And yeah she was kinda hot and could go through a space battle without wrinkling her glorious robes!

  13. I always thought that “scholar” described me better then “architect”. I couldn’t design a building for the life of me but I can study and I can build an imaginary social system.
    Most of my favorite speculative fiction seems to have a well done pseudoanthropolgy. That is what first drew me to Lord of the Rings. It is also what made me like Dune, Star Trek(especially DS9), B5, and most of all Traveller RPG, And of course it is one of the reasons I like to study history.

  14. Unfortunately the full set isn’t available on Kindle. I did get the full set of Chanur’s. They aren’t available on Kindle either but they attracted me and so I got them in paperback. They have an about average pseudoanthropology-not a work of genius like Tolkien, Dune, or Traveller(the last of which was a group effort) but a reasonable try.

    I also liked Belisarius Series which started as a work of geek-militarism(as I am a geek too, I get to use the word) and became an epic production.

    1. The Foundation works that *really* matter are all available on Kindle: Foundation, Foundation & Empire, and Second Foundation. Never read any of the others…the common consensus is that they aren’t nearly as good.

  15. Really? Well at the least I think I will put them on my wish list. If nothing else it is nice to expand my collection. Even if I don’t get around to reading them(I have a LOT of books) it will be nice to have them just to have them.

    Interestingly my F side may have increased as I grew. Simon Tam pretty much “made” Firefly for me-I was touched by his devotion to his mentally disabled sister, and I may not have been so much when I was younger.

  16. “1. abstract or concrete
    2. pragmatic or cooperative
    3. directive or informative
    4. expressive or reserved”

    Do you have the right order? I always thought E/I was expressive/reserved, N/S was abstract/concrete, T/F was Pragmatic/Cooperative, and J/P was expersive/reserved.

  17. While were at it we don’t have a measurement for propensity to change tendencies. Surely there must be a Flexible/Solid(for want of a better term) measurement.

    And we don’t have anything on the actual proportions in the normal four categories.

  18. Love the post. The discussion betrays misunderstanding of the significance of the letters. They are not just some label; they are a formula. They also have significance apart from the Jungian archetypes and the idea of shadow functions. The letters don’t mean what they mean until they are put in a certain order, at which point they can be decoded as a preference for certain mental functions, in a certain order. The T in INTP, for instance, does not by any means signify the same thing as the T in ESTJ. Nor can an INTP morph into an INTJ or INFP, or be part one or the other.

    Jason, you write (and capitalize) exactly like an ENFP. Maybe INFP. Every male NFP I’ve ever known wants to put on a rationalist persona, possibly because the film media in our contemporary society portray male NFP’s as homosexual. Screw them.

    1. AR: I’m not sure your order-of-the-letters or Jungian archetypes have much to do with the framework built by David Keirsey. His son has posted as much right here recently.

      The MB letters are there and known, but Keirseys would prefer to abandon them altogether. I’ve stated that my study of Keirsey’s work makes me agree.

      David Keirsey: am I correctly restating your position here?

      1. My father finds a *correlation* between the Myers letters (as a whole) and Keirsey’s Temperaments and Role Variants, and Myers descriptions helped him see sixteen types of human action (as opposed to Kretschmer’s four types of madness).  The theoretical basis is different. Yes, we don’t really cotton to the letters anymore, and certainly not as single letters, isolated, they can be confusing as AR illustrated.  My father never found much use for Jung, except his ideas helped Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers sort things out, with some of Myers great observational skills of actual behavior.  My father has no use for Cognitive Functions.  Wikipedia details it reasonably well (assuming it hasn’t changed recently).

    2. Well I don’t know about “every male NFP”. I got my opinion simply by looking in the description and finding the one which seemed most like me. I also come off as a “rational” in the test. I certainly wasn’t adopting a persona and never had a high enough opinion of the film media’s judgements to consciously adapt my personality to it. Nor can I remember any of my favorite NF characters who were not obviously heterosexual.

      However you are the second person who said that about my writing style.
      I know I am not an ENFP because I am extremely introverted- I even have to have one chair between me and the person next to me when I sit down in Church. As for F, it is possible though it would be a surprise.

  19. Several of the general descriptions of rationals applied to me. I love knowledge and when I was a child I read the encyclopedia for fun. I often have a hard time refraining from correcting people. I enjoy debate and can hold my own at it, though I am not as good as some. I also play with words such as “pseudoanthropology”.

    It would be interesting and not all that unpleasant to conclude that I am indeed an INFP, as AR said. And by coincidence my name means “healer” in Greek. However though I have a strong desire to fulfill my ideals, I don’t do it automatically the way I soak up knowledge. And I simply am not all that good with people, in fact I am fairly sure I am an aspie.

  20. I despise being accused of being arrogant, because that implies that I look down on other people, which I don’t do at all, I correct people if they are factually wrong and I question people, but that is simply me trying to be helpful,I think it would be terrible of me to not do those things because the person I corrected or questioned might end up being stuck with something that will hurt more than it helps. The thing that made me doubt being INTJ the most is the arrogance an INTJ is ”supposed”(note the word supposed) to have. (But later I studied up a little and figured that of all types that is the one closest to the reality of my life).
    If I was an arrogant person I wouldn’t be able to analyze ideas properly since they would have been abandoned by principle.

    1. Didn’t the article say that we “appear” arrogant? Even if we were arrogant, it is a great trait that keeps us propelled to be greater and greater. I don’t take it as looking down at others. We can’t help that we’re just… um… better! LOL

  21. “My father has no use for Cognitive Functions. ”
    I’m wondering what is beyond understanding my true type. and in terms of type development . Did Dr. Keirsey books offer anything related to such subject?

    1. The book Personology is his last book on Temperament — it is comprehensive in his treatment, if maybe too abstract for many people. I am working on a book on leadership based on the Temperaments, where we directly address the issue of development of leadership (and that can apply to normal “success”).

  22. There are different ways to interpret ‘arrogance’. When I was a child at school I was sometimes called ‘stuck up’. This was confusing and worrying to me as I has never been raised to look down on others. I now understand that I displayed a certain distance to others, and a quiet self confidence along with a tendency to be a non-conformist. This can be interpreted as arrogance. However true arrogance is a blind belief you are better than others. I occasionally find myself slipping into this mode when I feel I am surrounded by shallow, immature people with no real independent thinking ability, and it seems I am often surrounded by this type. Hence the reason why intps may really be the most ‘arrogant’ type after all.

  23. As a female Rational Inventor, I believe being arrogant to the point of narcissism is a good thing – the drive to be the best only makes us better. Besides, so rarely in real life do you get any awards or true kudos for what you do, so you have to constantly pat yourself on the back. Recognition – it is what we live for.

  24. I had to chuckle with the closing point on religion being made up and false. Logically speaking, if Steve Jobs was arrogant to the point of it costing him his life, then any Rational can be wrong about their personal line of reasoning, however “logical” it might be. It’s sort of a conundrum! Rationals are most of the time brilliant but then there are the times when their mistakes are so huge it’s tragic. I see Rationals as being too smart for their own “eternal” good.

  25. Well, I think I’m an Inventor. I’m out there but at the same time my body language is very restrained (so they say) with spaced out eyes. I become animated when I’m in the middle of explaining an idea or making a joke.

    You don’t put much credibility to Sonionics or any functional theory but it says that our ultimate weakness is relational ethics (Fi). I can see that. At the same time there is a huge sympathetic undercurrent going on to be honest. I seem to even care about other people more than many in the norm. Actually the xxFJ personalities are most likely going to pick that up quite easily while others tend to label me as complete ahole. I have done a lot for others in the “white and nerdy” style like fixing, advincing and theaching for free. In a way I see an ISFJ as my counterpart.

  26. While there are many accusations made based on stereotypes that does not hold any water or only apply to a very small group, it is quite possible for an INTP (or anyone, for that matter) to be arrogant. However every type can be arrogant for different reasons. For INTPs it is triggered by the desire to be liked (Fe) for being in factually correct.

    As an INTP myself, before I learned about how everything is subjective and that not everything is black and white, I used to think killing is always wrong and refuse to accept a different opinion, as well as never apologised when I made mistakes. I learn to always question every thing that I say and not treat it as 100% true all the time, so I am prepared to admit being wrong immediately when I am proven to be.

    Also I learned that there is no need to prove that I am right to an arrogant person, for it will end up with a pointless argument, so if it is minor I would just apologise and let it go, even though I know in my mind that I am right. Sometimes it causes people to respect me more and some of them come back to apologise on their own accord when they have reflected and are no longer blinded by an inflated sense of ego.

    I am now paired up with another INTP and his sole fault is, again, arrogance as he thinks he is always right and almost never apologise, even if it is proven that he is in the wrong, at which point he would just dismiss it or stop listening.

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