Member Questionnaire 1 (AGreene)
What is beauty? What is love?
Beauty is to art what truth is to philosophy. It is food for the soul because it feeds our need for order and for good in the world. Love is similar to beauty and truth. I believe we were created to receive and give love. I don't think we can be truly sane or whole without love because I think we are wired to interact with God and with each other by means of love, which in its essence is giving.
What are your most important values?
Truth and light are what I want most in life. Loving relationships would be tied, or a close second. I think loving relationships are born out of truth and light.
Do you have any sort of spiritual/religious beliefs, and why do you hold (or don't) those beliefs in the first place?
Yes. I hold on to my beliefs because I believe they're true, and without that plumbline for building my life I wouldn't want to build anything. Life has to have meaning.
Opinion on war and militaries? What is power to you?
Power is strength. Or it is an authority that has been taken or given, depending on what form of government you are talking about. It is not necessarily good or bad. It's neutral. It's simply having the greater strength. War takes place because a country that estimates they can overcome another authority invades or attacks. There are powers that are greedy for more power, or ultimate power. It's necessary to check those powers and fight back. One of the responsibilities of a government is to protect its citizens militarily from an invasion.
What have you had long conversations about? What are your interests? Why?
I mostly talk about my own life and interests. I talk about philosophy, too. I'm interested in health, children, families, people and society. I study health issues intensely because I have a chronic illness.
Interested in health/medicine as a conversation topic? Are you focused on your body?
Yes. Very. I am focused on symptoms and I'm overweight because of my health issues. It bothers me a lot. I am studying to become a certified practitioner for functional diagnostic nutrition now and learning to do better research. I'd like to do research on health related issues, and on children and family issues and write about both.
What do you think of daily chores?
I hate them, but I'm very happy when they're done. I procrastinate doing them, and usually do the minimum. But I don't like messy or dirty surroundings so when I do clean I do a good job. It just feels like an interruption to what I really want to be doing, or what I feel I should be doing.
Books or films you liked? Recently read/watched or otherwise. Examples welcome.
I like forensic mysteries when I watch TV. When I read I mostly read informational non-fiction or philosophy. I'm reading Thomas Sowell's "Wealth, Poverty, and Politics" now. I read "The Craft of Research" last week. I read the Bible, but I usually enjoy reading the Bible most when I'm looking for information in it. I read lots and lots of health books about nutrition. And I read "how to" books when i want to relax - on crocheting or knitting. I rarely read novels anymore. But when I do, I get so wrapped up in them that I can't pull myself away. The last novel I read was Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead."
What has made you cry? What has made you smile? Why?
I cry easily watching movies, or listening to someone else's sorrow. I don't cry, usually, in my own sorrow. I might feel a torrent of sadness, but I will talk about my own emotions in an analytical way. Sorrow is almost exclusively extraverted for me. This has been super confusing for me.

I smile a lot. I'm a good audience for other people's humor, but not often funny myself. I smile when my kids and husband are funny, which is often. I smile at little kids and babies and mothers with babies. I smile at innocence and purity and simplicity.
Where do you feel: at one with the environment/a sense of belonging?
In a quiet, serene, open space where I can see a horizon. I like long hours being by myself in the quiet. I love to sit inside reading and studying, but be able to look out and see a beautiful landscape.
What have people seen as your weaknesses? What do you dislike about yourself?
Procrastinating. People tell me I worry too much, or that I think too much, or both. I have a hard time turning my thoughts off, and if I'm not focusing my thoughts on a project they just circle endlessly on stupid stuff. I didn't figure this out until I was older, unfortunately.

I've never really known what I was good for in this world. I'm a theorist, primarily. I'm really good at having conversations about what everyone else should be doing. Sometimes I'm good at doing things - if i can work alone and be totally focused. I'm a good painter, but if someone tries to help me I get totally stuck. I can't think. It's terrible.

Emotions. I suck at emotions. They make me very nervous because I'm sort of a neanderthal when it comes to emotions. They're way too strong and surprising and explosive. I avoid situations and people where I feel emotional - especially frustration. It's just better if I stay away from things that spark that emotion.
What have people seen as your strengths? What do you like about yourself?
I'm smart. I problem solve for other people easily and with empathy. I can see their whole lives like a puzzle laid out on a table in front of me. I listen to their problems and their histories and I can usually zero in on wisdom that they need or give them insight about a situation that they couldn't see. Most of my friends come to me to talk through their lives, and I love doing it with them. We both get very excited during these conversations, and I cry with them and I have very strong empathy for other people's emotions, but not as much for people directly related to me. My daughter is 24. She sent me a text a few days ago saying that my name means "truth teller," and she said, "yep. that's accurate."

I like that I'm calm most of the time. I like that my husband can talk to me about important things and we can share in the processing of big issues in life. We talk a lot. He's a good listener, fortunately, but he says he likes to hear what I have to say. Talking and processing information is about my only strength.

I have really good problem solving skills. I can fix computers or other mechanical things easily. I can take almost anything apart and figure out how to put it back together, including a social problem.
In what areas of your life would you like help?
Figuring out what I should do with myself. I have these abilities to help people, but I really do not like the idea of becoming a counselor or a teacher or a doctor. I can help people, and I love doing it, but the thought of being tied to a regular routine or schedule or having to show up at an office every day forever gives me hives. I want to study, research and write. I was laughing because a group of other INTPs were talking on a forum joking about grants. I just thought, "You got me! Guilty!" That sounds so LAME! I question every single urge I have to do or say anything at all. I second guess myself so much that I don't get anything done. I'm terrified to commit to spoken or written words. So I just go in circles and i feel like a failure. I sort of am a failure, in the sense of not accomplishing a measurable thing in life. What I really wanted to do was raise some really intelligent, independent kids, and I have. Now what? I am a good "available presence" for other people, and there is value in that, but no money.
Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.
Yes! I can't seem to get myself out of ruts. I get a great idea. I have had so many great ideas in my life I couldn't count them all. I know they were because I often see other people doing them and succeeding. But when I start moving in any real direction in life I immediately start thinking through every single angle of the thing and I begin to imagine all the things other people will say about it and before I know I'm sitting down just thinking, and it's no fun at all. But I have decided that if I'm going to do anything at all it's going to have to be researching and writing. I just have to get the nerve up to push through that wall of opinions.
What qualities do you most like and dislike in other people? What types do you get along with?
I love it when other people are thoughtful and nice and easy to be around. I love it when I can have an intelligent conversation about meaningful things.

I really do not like controlling behavior at all. I used to try to get along with controlling people. Now I just avoid them.

I don't like it when people have opinions that are not founded on any real thought or evidence, but rather, they have formed an impression that they fully believe is true based on their own emotional needs. Trying to talk to someone like that is painful and feels worse than useless. It's almost as if they're so impervious to learning that giving them information drives them further into ignorance because they choose once more to shut out new information so the conversation actually feels like it's doing them damage when I want to share the information I've learned and help them expand somehow.
How do you feel about romance/sex? What qualities do you want in a partner?
I wouldn't want to live a life without romance or sex. I love my husband, but I'm not passionate. I have to decide that we're going to do something romantic rather than get swept away on any emotions. I don't really like dates. I'd rather go the beach and walk and talk. For a long time I thought it was him, but I've learned that this is me. We have fun together, and really love each other, but I'm just not a passionate person emotionally. If I get swept up by anything it makes me uncomfortable and I would probably get that under control quickly somehow.
If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what measures would you take, and why?
I did raise three of them. My goal in parenting was to raise "thinking" people. I wanted discipline to produce self-discipline. I wanted them to be able to navigate life and society on their own thought processes and knowledge, and not be carried away by peer pressure as a teen, or as an adult. I home schooled them most of the time. When I wasn't home schooling them, I made sure I drove them everywhere they wanted to go. I wouldn't let them take the bus to school because they talked to me in the car so I guarded that time. I made sure we talked A LOT - about everything.

When they were little I read out loud to them a lot, and when we were done with reading we would talk about the characters and why they did what they did. I loved fantasy and fiction then, but since they've grown up I've steered back towards non-fiction. Fantasy and fiction were great tools to teach truth to children.

It was all about thinking to me - so much so that I sort of woke up when they were close to leaving and had to train them to do their own laundry and all those chores. I guess I figured that if they could think, they could figure anything out and I didn't have to micromanage them. I didn't require them to do very much around the house, but as adults they're all stepping up and learning because they're thinking it through now, and I'd rather have them respond to life that way, then do things because they were told they had to. I just didn't see my role as inflicting my will on them. I saw my role as a trainer, and a trainer wants the trainee to develop, not just perform.

I told myself that I couldn't sit down for the first five years of their lives, but after that, if I had done well, I would be able to sit back and watch them develop. It worked. I gave them lots of time and room to grow and develop their own thoughts and processes. I never bought into the time pressure for education. I felt that developmental milestones would control what they were interested in developing, and it did. They were all reading college level books in junior high. I never had to push them, and my oldest daughter had some learning difficulties. I sort of wish I had gotten her some extra help, but I saw her as her own person and I liked who she was. She's a fine artist now, and is doing great, but it's been hard for her.

Personality studies came up again because I've been very involved in helping them identify their own strengths and weaknesses and navigate through their early adult years so that they can work towards things they will be successful doing. Their relationships with other people are a big topic and personality studies has helped us talk about what they need to look for in friends and loved ones. It's really fun. Most days I feel are extremely full if I just stay available to them, and that's what I like doing in life the most.
A friend makes a claim that clashes with your current beliefs. What is your inward and outward reaction?
I immediately bring my own beliefs up for re-evaluation. Somehow I respect other people's thoughts so much that I assume they know something I don't and that I have to find out what that is. I start turning the thing around in my own mind and heart to look for cracks in my own logic. I do this to an unhealthy degree. I think it's a weakness that I wish I didn't have. But I know it serves a purpose.

When the process is over, I've either learned I was wrong, or I am stronger in my own analysis, but I almost always feel discouraged and less confident, for some reason.

I find I have withdrawn more and more from these kinds of conversations because they're unpleasant to me. It's not that I think everyone should agree. I just think I'm not the right person to debate issues. I can't do it because my emotions are too hard to control.
Describe your relationship to society. How do you see people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.
I observe. I like some distance. I like to see the big picture so i can grasp relationships and links and patterns. I like to observe what I call the mechanics of "how it works."

I think the foundational building blocks of society - the family - has fallen on hard times, and we are now seeing a generation or two of kids growing up without wisdom being passed down. They don't eat home cooked meals because no one cooks at home anymore - rarely. I used to work in a preschool and I saw a piece of the pie, but it was a significant piece. There are too many children being raised in institutions. Their daily experience is combative on so many levels. I think kids need to be home where they can explore their own worlds at their own pace and eat healthy food and grow up naturally. ...I could write a book...and I'd like to.
How do you choose your friends and how do you behave around them?
I don't need a lot of friends, but I like having a few, really good relationships in my life. I end up being close with people who need the information I have. I hate the way that sounds, but that is really the truth. I am drawn to people who like to geek out with me, or at least hear me geek out. The people I tend to feel the closest to are people who have been stretched to their limits, like I have been, and who have responded by thinking things through. My saying is, "Don't be afraid. Be methodical." And I tend to have really great conversations with, and feel very close to people who respond to life in that same way. I don't relate to people who just roll up their sleeves and do what they're supposed to do. I am uncomfortable around those people, and they don't usually like me very much. I've seen a few sighs and rolled eyes over the years.
How do you behave around strangers?
Very quiet if they're loud and overbearing. Very talkative if they're nice and calm and responsive.