I sense hostility…

Welcome back to MBTI theatre. Last time, we saw Jemima torn between two rival spellings (extrovert vs. extravert). This week, she addresses the next two letters in the MBTI alphabet, S/N.

The biggest divide between personality types, I believe, is that of perception. Sensing types (S) trust the input of the five senses, while intuitives (N) prefer to listen to the unconscious, with its flashes of insight into the world. An S is a realist who lives for the present, while an N dreams of possible futures.

S types distrust all indirect experience, even the spoken or written word, so it’s surprising to find them on-line at all. The Internet depends almost entirely on writing. I suspect a great deal of hostility towards on-line discussions, either from trolls or from milder anti-meta types, comes from the S’s basic distrust of imaginative discourse.

The controversial muse, bringer of inspiration directly from the unconscious, is an N phenomenon. The extreme S is likely to deny the very possibility of inspiration because it is alien to their personality type. Careful descriptions of the world and the characters as they are, is, perhaps, the province of the S - it’s hard for me to say because I’m an N, in a fandom particularly attractive to N’s and correspondingly unattractive to S’s.

I’ve always considered an interest in science fiction the surest marker of the N type - it hasn’t failed me as a predictor yet. Sci-fi is the literature of a certain personality type. Fanfic, when it explores the possibilities left open by a sci-fi or fantasy show with AU’s or fresh adventures, is N; when it repeats rote romantic stories that have little to do with space, wizardry or vampire-slaying, it is S.

I’m rather attached to the theory that S’s cause bad pairing fic to happen, because otherwise I’d have no explanation for it at all. That leaves me no excuse for my own badfic, though - there isn’t enough S in me to fill a thimble.

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