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  1. #1
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    Default Curious about your opinions

    I am curious about your thoughts on common themes of conversation with two NT friends of mine, INTP and INTJ.

    The INTP often says that trying to help change the world is useless, so you should only help family or close friends. Don't feed starving people, but instead let them die, and then there will be no more starving people. Etc. Also, he says there will always be as much "evil" as "good" in the world. Though it's realistic that one could be involved in humanitarian projects that don't accomplish much, I find the INTP's view defeatist and I don't agree. What are your opinions? If you take a more middle of the road approach, what type of humanitarian efforts would you consider useful and what would be a waste of time? How would you encourage someone to be smart about choosing a project to "better the world"?

    On an different note, the INTJ has little patience for anybody, and says that tolerating people is detrimental to one's self. Though foreign to me, the idea does interest me, as we've all seen overly "nice" people who let others walk all over them. What would you consider a healthy level of tolerance for others, and when do you think it becomes unhealthy (whether too much or too little)? I look forward to reading your thoughts.
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  2. #2
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    There has been huge progress made in the humanitarian struggles over hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of years of history. And there is no reason why it cannot continue so long as people recognize it and take effective action. Much of the crises can be tracked to despotic and corrupt governance, imposed from the outside, or inborn. Other times it is environmental disaster. You might be able to think of others.

    How you yourself respond depends on temperament, what sort of influence you are capable of wielding, and what effective strategies are available. Do you have an affinity for abused women and children? The loneliness of the elderly? And what skills do you have to help them? Maybe you have money, maybe you are a young healthy man and can do some volunteer physical work, or maybe you are a good organizer or writer. Then, what already existing organizations and efforts are available for you to hop aboard? Are those organizations effective? That depends on the organization, just do some background research, and join with others.

    The defeatism of your INTP friend is a reoccurring theme that activists, humanitarian or otherwise, deal with over and over again. Even when it is as simple as getting a city council to fill in a pot-holes that are causing accidents, there always seems to be someone claiming it will never happen and attempts to discourage everyone from even trying. However, don't be quick to dismiss him as a cowardly cynic, remember that people can feel overwhelmed by injustice and humanitarian emergencies in that it feels so hopeless and too big to overcome. This transcends type although certain ones may be more prone to defeatism than others. The INTP in question may feel this way, be immature, or a genuine defeatist, it is hard to tell.

    The INTJ mentioned sounds like a massive turd if he cannot even at least tolerate others, but his turdness is not due to being INTJ. It is true that you should not be a doormat pushover. It reminds me of how tit-for-tat ended up being the winning strategy in game theory: where you are initially altruistic, but then mirror the other's action thereafter and those tit-for-taters that survive the initial exchange end up taking over the entire population. So at first you extend a helping hand, and if they don't reciprocate, you sever ties. Obviously it isn't practical to do that in every situation, but you get the underlying idea--give people a chance but don't allow them to dump on you.

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewelchild View Post
    The INTP often says that trying to help change the world is useless, so you should only help family or close friends. Don't feed starving people, but instead let them die, and then there will be no more starving people. Etc. Also, he says there will always be as much "evil" as "good" in the world. Though it's realistic that one could be involved in humanitarian projects that don't accomplish much, I find the INTP's view defeatist and I don't agree.
    Yes, your friends comments are structured and following through a particular logic. Foundational assumptions, however, include (1) a lack of investment in human worth/suffering as an intangible value and (2) outcome determines value of the process. IOW, does a low probability of a long-term improvement to the system justify not investing in an improvement process? Are there benefits accrued on a personal level that might make a humanitarian effort valuable to the individual people involved (both the givers AND the receivers), and is it a positive thing on a wide social scale to instill concern for other human beings via humanitarian efforts, since this influences other individuals in the culture towards an overall positive mindset to other people?

    He is looking at the situation very simplistically, without really considering the more ambiguous and global positives that might accrue via ATTEMPTING a humanitarian effort, even if said effort doesn't bring about substantial concrete long-term change (such as eradicating hunger from a particular location).

    On an different note, the INTJ has little patience for anybody, and says that tolerating people is detrimental to one's self. Though foreign to me, the idea does interest me, as we've all seen overly "nice" people who let others walk all over them. What would you consider a healthy level of tolerance for others, and when do you think it becomes unhealthy (whether too much or too little)? I look forward to reading your thoughts.
    The topic is one that I could write pages and pages about, but I will sum it up as this:

    You should practice self-care to the extent you practice other-care. It makes no sense to be a nice person to others, yet not extend that same courtesy to oneself. Health is a matter of keeping everything in balance.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alwar View Post
    There has been huge progress made in the humanitarian struggles over hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of years of history. And there is no reason why it cannot continue so long as people recognize it and take effective action. Much of the crises can be tracked to despotic and corrupt governance, imposed from the outside, or inborn. Other times it is environmental disaster. You might be able to think of others.

    How you yourself respond depends on temperament, what sort of influence you are capable of wielding, and what effective strategies are available. Do you have an affinity for abused women and children? The loneliness of the elderly? And what skills do you have to help them? Maybe you have money, maybe you are a young healthy man and can do some volunteer physical work, or maybe you are a good organizer or writer. Then, what already existing organizations and efforts are available for you to hop aboard? Are those organizations effective? That depends on the organization, just do some background research, and join with others.

    The defeatism of your INTP friend is a reoccurring theme that activists, humanitarian or otherwise, deal with over and over again. Even when it is as simple as getting a city council to fill in a pot-holes that are causing accidents, there always seems to be someone claiming it will never happen and attempts to discourage everyone from even trying. However, don't be quick to dismiss him as a cowardly cynic, remember that people can feel overwhelmed by injustice and humanitarian emergencies in that it feels so hopeless and too big to overcome. This transcends type although certain ones may be more prone to defeatism than others. The INTP in question may feel this way, be immature, or a genuine defeatist, it is hard to tell.

    The INTJ mentioned sounds like a massive turd if he cannot even at least tolerate others, but his turdness is not due to being INTJ. It is true that you should not be a doormat pushover. It reminds me of how tit-for-tat ended up being the winning strategy in game theory: where you are initially altruistic, but then mirror the other's action thereafter and those tit-for-taters that survive the initial exchange end up taking over the entire population. So at first you extend a helping hand, and if they don't reciprocate, you sever ties. Obviously it isn't practical to do that in every situation, but you get the underlying idea--give people a chance but don't allow them to dump on you.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member forzen's Avatar
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    In someway i agree with the OP's INTP friend, as helping is sometime utterly futile. There's so many people out there that needs help, that for every person whos willing to help theres 100 more that needs helping. And sometimes helping someone instead of letting them figure out why they ended up there in the first place would be doing more harm then good. The famous quote "give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime" is one that always pops up in my mind whenever i hear people talk about helping. Without a strong foundation or a way to teach them how to help themselves, they will always depend on other people.

    Of course in the other hand if your not willing to help in humanitarian missions, at least support it. Even if theres too many people to help and its a neverending struggle, i think those who help is great for even attempting it. In the other hand, most of these people do it only for self gratification, no different than a person who does a hobby for fun. Exerting their energy in something they enjoy.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shimmy's Avatar
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    People can only be helped if they help themselves. African teenage soldiers who'd rather buy an AK47 and fight for the pride of their tribe then buy food and help build up the nation don't deserve my pity or my money. Let them die.

    Immigrants who come to the west hoping for a better life should not necessarily be allowed to live in western countries, but should get our sympathy if they demonstrate a willingness to add value to the world.

    People who actually do something to make the world a better place should be heavily supported with funding, advice and other sources imaginable. In this category, think Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi & Martin Luther King etc.

  7. #7
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    Well, I certainly agree that humanitarians shouldn't be enabling African teenagers to go out and buy AK-47s, but there is definitely some value in what they do. Bad situations aren't always so simple that they can be solved with tough love.

    The INTP friend sounds like he believes that world hunger will be solved by natural selection. The people who can find food will survive, and that's that. But it's not nearly that simple. Things like wide-spread hunger and AIDS cause instability and violence. They affect the economy and bring about a lot of change. Sending relief workers to third world countries to help alleviate those hunger and AIDS can help restore stability and prevent war and disease from spreading out of control.

    And it's all well and good to say we should give people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King funding after they've been idolized in history books, but the fact is that they were grassroots protesters and humanitarians who were often despised by their contemporary authority figures--the people who had funding to give. The way I see it, these individual humanitarians are trying to make a difference in the world--just like certain Nobel Peace Prize winners--but on a smaller scale.

    As an INTJ, I tend to be something of a cynic, but I can't count the times I've been proven wrong when an idealist has made a leap of faith that I've scoffed at. Therefore, I'm willing to support their endeavors.

  8. #8
    now! in shell form INA's Avatar
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    In defense of your INTP friend, maybe in his view this is a more efficient, less hypocritical attempt at "making the world a better place."



    Maybe your INTP friend believes most people who claim to be sooo concerned about the suffering of people millions of miles away make their token contributions and pay lip service while ignoring how they can make the world a much better place by helping those close to them. It is hypocritical because they get on the empathy high horse for people who are so removed while being negligent dicks to people whose lives they could directly improve. They do so because it is easier for them when the objects of their compassion are removed so that the financial and emotional involvement demanded of them will be far lower. Meanwhile their efforts are tilting at windmills (as the problems are systemic) but they don't care, because they've satisfied their consciences that they are good people.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Nighthawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewelchild View Post
    The INTP often says that trying to help change the world is useless, so you should only help family or close friends. Don't feed starving people, but instead let them die, and then there will be no more starving people. Etc. Also, he says there will always be as much "evil" as "good" in the world. Though it's realistic that one could be involved in humanitarian projects that don't accomplish much, I find the INTP's view defeatist and I don't agree. What are your opinions? If you take a more middle of the road approach, what type of humanitarian efforts would you consider useful and what would be a waste of time? How would you encourage someone to be smart about choosing a project to "better the world"?
    When I was younger, I used to think I could have a big impact on the world. That has been tempered by age, and I now concentrate on family and close friends ... as I have been more successful making an impact there. Having said that, I do admire idealistic humanitarians ... as they possess something I might have lost over time. I believe that collective humanitarian projects are worthwhile, even though I am not inclined to volunteer my time for them. I do give to charities from time to time, and was involved with Amnesty International some years back. Lately however, I've been closer to home with my approach.

  10. #10
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    i believe in doing right as 'right' resonates with my conscience, not always my brain

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