I’m a villain, and I’m proud of it (INTJ’s aren’t evil)

I’m writing this post in response to a new infographic dividing up the Myers-Briggs personality types into Harry Potter characters. First of all, I don’t think Malfoy actually fits the INTJ personality type, actually.

But I do think “strategists” are usually misunderstood and often villainized.

Recently I’ve noticed feelings of guilt when I share my plans, because I’m always thinking about the ROI: I like to do things that will produce better results. In business, this is commonly known as the 80/20 rule.

  • Say no more often
  • Stop doing things that don’t produce results
  • Focus all your time and attention on doing the things that will get you where you want to be.

For non-strategists, this can seem cold and calculating. Overly rational. All brain and no heart.

Unfortunately, strategists often do see what’s coming, and make plans to stop it – but nobody listens to them because it sounds inhumane. For example, the world is overpopulated and humanity is destroying itself. The logical thing to do would be to limit reproduction rates, as China tried to do. But actually doing that and getting people to agree to that is impossible, because everyone wants the right to choose. So, even though everyone knows human population growth is unsustainable and in less than a century we cause our own extinction, nobody is doing anything about it. Except, perhaps, the INTJ’s who are building shelters or raising funds to colonize Mars.

Supervillains are also usually billionaire tech-gurus. It’s easy to resent them or think their mad schemes are crazy.

In movies and books, supervillians are almost always driven by high moral ideals. Sometimes they’re motivated by revenge, but those characters are weak – and ACTUALLY, revenge plots are more commonly driven by protagonists like Hamlet. That’s because heroes are bold and courageous and active; even when they fail. Even when they make bad choices. The villains are calm, cold, calculating, logical – “evil” even when they are actually trying to save the universe. 

In other plots, like Star Wars or the Pirates of the Caribbean series. “Evil” is the rationalizing influence of civilization, trying to bring everyone together under one rule for peace and the rule of law. The “heroes” are the rebel terrorists who refuse to be governed.

Case in point: I just started watching “Salvation.” The bad guys want to take imperfect action now that will definitely kill a billion people but probably save the rest of us. The good guys want to save everyone, and put all their eggs in one basket and hope for the best. It’s all or nothing. In other words, impractical, idealistic, magical thinking that will probably end the human race (of course, in the TV show, just like in all fantasies, the good guys will succeed and be proven right).

INTJs can predict the future and make plans to stop it, but most of the time their voices are drowned out by more vocal and self-righteous personalities – and INTJ’s won’t waste time arguing or trying to convince others who are arguing from passion and emotion. So we’ll go and work on our own projects (we don’t work well in groups or with others, because we want to do things the “right” way.)

INTJ’s are also probably less inclined to worry about what people think or the “right” thing to do – we’ll do whatever works to meet the objective at hand. But INTJ’s will rarely do evil for the sake of evil. Tom Riddle might be INTJ, he definitely made long-term plans to ensure his survival. Except he was operating mostly from fear and emotion. I would argue that Dumbledore, actually, is a better INTJ (the description below, ENFJ, doesn’t really fit him at all – Dumbledore was calculating and often treats Harry and his friends as chess pieces in a game, doing whatever it took to make sure he won.)

Which leads me to suspect almost all the characters in this chart are totally wrong, which is too bad because it’s really cool.

 

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors build profitable publishing platforms. Find me
  • Amy Laurens

    Yeah, there’s no way this chart is correct, which as you say, is a pity. I grew up with the MBTI, literally, and there is not a thing in the world anyone can say that will ever convince me that revision-chart-making, highly scheduled, unspontaneous Hermione is a P. She’s CLASSIC J.

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