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Subtract the art and mysticism (as you'd expect from a rational), lose most (but not quite all) of the altruism, and that's also me. I used also to have a sense of purpose, but that's been burned out of me.

The hatred of conflict, desire to be diplomatic and desire for authenticity have certainly caused problems for me. Example: my 'authentic' self-image has me in a skirt [long story, feel free to email for the gory details] but my diplomatic and conflict-avoiding side has problems with this. Cue a decade or more of sitting on a rather spiky fence.

Hmm. Two close fits, two very distant fits; the close fits are the ones predicted by the Myers-Briggs typology. On a statistically-insignificant sample of one, that's not bad.

I've long classified myself as an Idealist (INFP, to be precise), as validated by certain tests. Over the years, however, I've moved farther from the stereotype described above. For example, I've grown wary of mysticism, and even of my own intuition. (Perhaps that's partly because I've been immersed in Rational-dominated subcultures.) Also, I've always been a frequent user of linguistic hedges, though I use unusually dramatic language at times too (often tongue-in-cheek).

There's an interesting article about the difference between how INFPs see themselves and how others see them at

I have to observe that over the years, everyone drifts away from the stereotype of a single temperament; as we get older, we begin to express more aspects of different temperaments, such that it becomes increasingly rare for the statistical profile to apply. In fact, I hypothesise we express a single temperament up to about pubity, then begin to express secondary temperaments, and into adulthood this process seems to continue.

I also have to say that the mysticism which is associated with the Idealist temperament can be very difficult to uphold in the face of a society which increasingly empowers the Rational point of view. One of the (many) purposes of the metaphysics campaign on this blog was to attempt to make a stand against this - I have become increasingly tired of the behaviour of blowhard scientists who believe that their metaphysics are self-evidently True and must necessarily be accepted. Such arrogance! Let the science speak for itself, the metaphysics remains everyone's individual choice.

Thanks for the comments!

How about the "ideal" of a completely balanced temperament? Do you that's possible -- and do you think it would be the "ideal state-of-mind" at all -- possibly attained by meditation?

Interesting question '?'...

I do not believe a completely balanced temperament is necessarily an ideal - the ideal, to my eyes, is rather that we each recognise the differences between ourselves and others, and thus empower individuality.

The real lesson of temperament theory to me is that we all approach life differently, that this is normal, and that society is enriched by our differences as well as our similarities.

As for meditation, the state of mind achieved through meditation is rather an absence of self (at least in my experience), so the ideal of meditation could be seen as the elimination of all temperaments, rather than the expression of all of them in balance. In a state of perfect meditation, mind itself becomes a perfect mirror, and the self effectively disappears.

At least, that's how I see it. :)

I can see much of myself in the "Idealist" pattern described in this article. In fact, after reading it, more of my life made sense. I keenly identify with the conflict of the need to be honest and at the same time desperately wanting to please others. (My childhood report cards most often read "conscientious" and "eager to please.") Ultimately I have learned that relationships and harmony and achieving goals can only be REAL when honesty is present, and the desire to please others, by itself, never actually achieves the kind of peace and harmony desired. Even with realizing this, however, it is not often easy for me to do (be honest and confront)!

I also tend to overlap my "Idealist" pattern with a "Rational" one, and thus have suffered from the type of emotional/mental imbalance described above, because in my life this "Rational" pattern was rewarded, whereas the "Idealist" pattern was not, and often discouraged. And, as described, I have a hard time finding motivation for anything that I don't find particularly meaningful or fulfilling.

Thank you for this article; it was very enlightening and helpful for me. You 'fleshed out' for me what it means to express this pattern, how it shows up in every day life, and (ever important for an idealist) why it shows up the way it does(the motivations and thought patterns). Thanks again.

Christine: thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I completely empathise with you when you say that "in my life this 'Rational' pattern was rewarded, whereas the 'Idealist' pattern was not." Thanks for your kind words, and best wishes for the future!

Dear Christine, thank you for using my image of my painting "Splash of Colors" to the article. Next time it will be nice if you ask first, and place my name/link back to my site next to the image.

You may contact me at

Yael Zahavy-Mittelman

A balanced state of mind can be achieved by practicing meditation. Meditation helps in control of temperament and so it should be a part of the people who are not able to control their temper.

In my own life I felt the problem and found out the result. I have become a much better person now with my controlled temper (not 100% yet though). Previously it was like hell. So I would say that there are so many benefits of meditation , and temperament change is one of them.

I would also like to recommend: for learning all the needed information about benefits of meditation.

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