How Different Personalities View Time

Good evening. Today my novelist will talk about personality types and how they view time differently. I for one am a dog and therefore time confuses me. But since I am an ENTJ I do tend to be very focused on my goals such as making sure that Maltese doesn’t get to sit in my novelist lap and that mailperson bringing a box of tea to the doorstep better not mess with me. Anyway, here is my novelist.

One interesting way to look at personality type in characters is to examine how they perceive time. This is described in Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me Two within each of the descriptions of Artisans, Guardians, Idealists and Rationals.

Artisans live in the now. They impulsive people who are completely disconnected from thinking about the past or the future. This makes them great actors, athletes, musicians, dancers, fraternity members, used car salespeople and con artists. Consider Ben Quick in The Long Hot Summer. Enchanted by Varner’s daughter, Clara (Noel in the television version) a strait-laced school teacher guardian, Ben is constantly trying to get her to go out, live life and tear up the countryside. He is not thinking about what tearing up the countryside would do to his business relationship with her father. He just wants to go out and have fun.

Another excellent though more sinister example of an Artisan would be Clinton’s psychopathic older brother Berry-Berry from All Fall Down. He is charismatic and charming but has no problem traveling aimlessly about the country while using beating up and stealing from women if he gets what he needs right then and there. Not to mention the way he drives his doting mother and alcoholic father insane.

Guardians on the other hand look to the past. They are traditionalists and love holidays, clubs, cults and anything else revolving around rituals. And they do not like any type of change whatsoever because they are pessimistic and concerned things will go wrong as they often do. Their mantra is the future is dark. This explains a lot of Hollywood films involving science fiction. If you’ve got around forty percent of the population dreading the what lies ahead, you’ve got a lot of guardians wanting to watch movies about a bleak and terrible future. How Star Trek got made I’ll never know.  Guardians are also defeatist when looking to the past.  Doom is inevitable.  It’s no one’s fault.  It’s just the way things are. These martyrs therefore embrace the pain and suffering because there’s no choice. Misery is predetermined.

The character #1 from the movie 9 is a great example of someone who is determined to keep everything status quo even if it means leaving one of the rag doll creations out for the Great Machine to suck out its soul. Where #9’s idea is to figure out how to destroy the machine #1’s idea is to hide from it. Doom is inevitable. Things remaining the way they are is how to best stay safe in his mind, even if two of the rag dolls are at risk in the great unknown.

Idealists, however, look to the future with incredible optimism. They embrace the future with open arms. The sun will come out tomorrow. Their outlook on the world is to be noble. They live to support others and are willing to sacrifice themselves making them abstract and philosophical individuals. They can see the good in anyone which is extraordinary and different from the other personality types. And they are indeed likely to become writers, missionaries, teachers and cult leaders. The time is tomorrow for them and they focus on what could be rather than what is. They have vision and tend to be on the front end of new ideas and movements. Many of them are responsible for women’s rights for example because they could see a better future. They also tend to be intelligent and transcendent in their view of things.

A great example of an idealist is Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Despite all the odds of her getting into Harvard Law School she is accepted with her 4.0 GPA and her bright colorful and creative outlook on life. Along the way she inspires and transcends the lives of several people who would have remained sullen and stuck in their lives had she not come along and presented a better and brighter perspective.

The Rationals are probably the most difficult group to understand as far as their perspective on time. Time is not linear for them as it is for other personality types. It is instead confined and defined as an event. Rationals operate outside of time. Only occurrences occupy time. Time for them is virtual. Time is conditional. Time is created by events rather than being a method in which they occur. Therefore, they make great scientists, science fiction writers and droids from a galaxy far, far away.

Take for instance Clarise Starling from The Silence of the Lambs. Yes, Hannibal’s an extremely dangerous criminal. But her goal is to catch Buffalo Bill and Hannibal has the tools with which to do so. Clarise knows what Hannibal is capable of, but unlike other characters in the story she is not as fearful of him as she is of not achieving her goal. It does not take her long to get close to the glass he is behind on their first meeting. If she must break the physical barrier between them and take something from his hand, she will. The outcome is what matters, not the journey. The event of capturing old Billy is what she is completely and utterly focused one. That and of course becoming an FBI agent which is what capturing that moth obsessed lunatic will get her.

I post every Thursday. That’s my schedule. While you’re waiting for my next post check out my novel Chicane currently available on Amazon.

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