INTPs are equal parts thinker and seeker. While their status as nuanced and critical thinkers rarely goes unrecognized, their seeking side is often overlooked. This is largely due to the fact they do most of their seeking inwardly, that is, by way of thinking. Recognizing life’s brevity, INTPs strive to craft a life that is important, meaningful, and authentically reflects who they are. In so doing, they feel compelled to clarify their understanding of three key things: their core self, their purpose, and their philosophy / worldview. Only by clarifying these foundational matters can INTPs be sure they have done everything possible to optimize their lives.
Unfortunately, the INTP quest is rarely simple or straightforward, and it often extends far longer than they anticipate. Plagued by doubt and uncertainty, some INTPs may worry that they may never find what they are looking for and that all their explorations will have been for naught. However, those who persist in their quest have good reason for hope. While their destination may not look quite as shiny or glorious as they originally imagined, it is nonetheless worth the wait, capable of furnishing them with an enduring sense of meaning and satisfaction.
This book explores the deep existential concerns that INTPs strive to understand and resolve through their quest. It aims to further their understanding of their core self, purpose, and philosophy, as well as to illumine their path to integration and the successful enactment of their purpose.
Part I explores each of INTPs’ four personality functions (i.e., Ti, Ne, Si, and Fe), as well as their implications for the INTP quest. If INTPs can learn more about their personality and the various tools in their cognitive toolbox, they can better understand who they are and the sorts of things they might do with those tools.
Part II considers what INTPs are seeking in a purpose. Chapter 5 explores two key elements of purpose, importance and energy, while Chapter 6 examines the critical role of ideas and concepts in INTPs’ quest for purpose. Chapter 7 looks at INTPs’ struggle to balance the introverted (I) and extraverted (E) factors in their purpose equation, such as their attempt to reconcile their need to authentically follow their own (often esoteric) interests (I) with their desire for recognition and a respectable income (E).
Part III takes a closer look at INTPs’ philosophical propensities, including the types of concepts, philosophers, and philosophies they may be drawn to. It includes discussions of religion, theism vs. atheism vs. pantheism, mind and matter, free will and determinism, history, existentialism, and more. The purpose of these discussions is to explore how INTPs think, and the types of ideas and thinkers to which they gravitate. By clarifying who they are as thinkers, INTPs will find it easier to envision their optimal place in the world.
Part IV explores issues that will be of particular interest to INTPs who are further along in their quest. Chapter 14 examines INTPs’ concerns regarding shortages of novelty and meaning as they approach the end of their seeker’s quest. Chapter 15 discusses the sense of deflation that can accompany the loss of ideals over time, including the challenges associated with the discovery of one’s purpose. Chapter 16 seeks a remedy for the problems introduced in Chapter 15. Namely, it explores how INTPs can effectively navigate what I call the “post-idealist” phase of life through the adoption of a certain type of mindset. Not only can this mindset assuage INTPs’ foremost existential concerns, but it can also help them effectively enact their purpose and experience integration.