Freethinking vs. Conformity

Birthday of the day: Happy Birthday to Seema!

This week on MBTI Theater: the T/F Preference. T/F stands for Thinking/Feeling, the Judgment preference. The previous preferences, E/I and S/N, are pretty black-and-white, at least once they’re explained. T/F, on the other hand, covers more territory than just thinking or feeling. Thinking and feeling bear no direct relation to judgment, as far as I can tell, so using the descriptions of T and F types I’ve come up with an empirical categorization of the T/F preference.

impersonal personal
honesty tact
freethinking conformity
logic accretion

First of all, the T/F distinction is used to distinguish people who are interested in things (the impersonal) from those who prefer human relationships (the personal). In speech, we find a distinction between direct honesty and a more social tact. You might have thought those were E/I things, but they’re here in T/F.

In the matter of opinion, the T is the classic freethinker, generating both criticism of the status quo and solutions to social problems. The F, on the other hand, tends give more consideration to the opinions of others than to her own, leading to social conformity. When it comes to expressing opinions, the T goes about it logically, following the argument from premises to conclusion. The F tends to argue by accretion, circling around the topic and heaping more information onto it at random.

So the T/F distinction is as much about sociability as logic. The biggest effect on fandom, I would say, is the personality divide between people who are concerned about the story as a thing to be judged by impersonal literary values, and those more concerned about the audience than the internal logic of a story. The baton of badfic has been passed from the S’s to the F’s. Tune in next time to see whether the J’s or the P’s can recover it from the F’s.

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