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Why NTJs Are Often Antagonists in Media


New member
Jun 16, 2014
At least in fiction, NTJs are often depicted as villains, something that many in the type community have caught onto. Even as a writer and INTJ myself, I have to admit that NTJs often feel ill-suited to the typical hero role. Even when they’re not outright villains, they often seem to function better as side characters or anti-heroes, whose personal goals and ambitions operate in parallel to the main character’s or society’s, and even then have the potential to serve as temporary antagonists should the MC threaten their plans.

I believe this pattern actually has a basis in typology, and will be drawing both from Michael Pierce’s work, as well as this video about why pipe organs sound scary by music YouTuber Sideways. The video is pretty interesting in its own right, so I suggest watching it yourself for that alone, but the relevant information is roughly this:

The pipe organ is both an incredibly powerful and complicated instrument. They are often massive, built into the very buildings they are a part of, and are not only capable of producing sounds so low that humans can only feel them, but are also loud enough to be heard throughout an entire community. They are also complicated, able to be manipulated by all four limbs of the human body, as well as providing the tools to play virtually any instrument via them.

Additionally, the organ in western society has heavy connotations to religion and Christianity. Historically, only a church had the funding to produce an instrument that could be well over four stories tall. To the untrained eye, it was easy to see this thing as a mouthpiece for God Himself, a tool to spread His word to the community. So when the 1930s film adaption of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde opens with organ music, Sideways explains perfectly the kind of impression the audience at the time was supposed to have:
All of the religious connotations have been corrupted. This powerful, complex instrument has been manipulated to serve the satanic forces of evil. But how? What kind of person would do such a thing? Who would have the understanding of such a complicated instrument, with the capability and resources of housing and maintaining such a powerful piece of equipment, and yet be so warped as to alter it to fit their own personal needs?
So, here’s the typological significance of all this. In his book Motes and Beams, Michael Pierce lays out a system for categorizing the four function axes according to whether they are universal or contextual.

The universalizing axes (Si-Ne and Fe-Ti) have a tendency to construct and maintain systems that account for as large a set of contexts as possible. They never take a given context for granted, instead zooming out and in the process systematizing ethics, facts, and observations within a larger, global system. They spread out from a given center like an expanding civilization gradually taming the savage wilderness.

The contextualizing axes (Ni-Se and Te-Fi), in contrast, take contexts for granted, zooming into a given context and in the process gaining access to a wealth of rich detail that would be lost otherwise. Because of this, they can be like wildmen teleported to modern civilization. They hunt other people’s pets, cut down the city’s trees for shelter, and generally struggle with the seemingly arbitrary and irrelevant rulesets that society expects everyone to conform to.

So in this system, the NTJs (and SFPs) are the most “wild” or “uncivilized”, as they have both contextualizing axes. They are not bound as tightly as the other types to the rules and constraints of “society”, of Si-Ne precedence and Fe-Ti propriety, and so they are able to consider and pursue goals that are unexplored or even forbidden in the current social paradigm. They have a tendency to appropriate anything and everything in the pursuit of these goals, which is exactly where the universal types take issue with them. “Hey, you can’t just take that!” they say. “That’s public property!” to which the contextual type says, “I don’t see anyone’s name on it.”

Which brings us back to Sideway’s video. The organ represents a public good, a tool for conveying the majesty and power of the divine to the community. So when The Black Cat (a film from the same era) depicts Satanists using pipe organ music in one of their rituals, the affront is that anyone would use that awesome power for their own personal, private ends.

In the media that depicts NTJs as villains, they are often portrayed as geniuses, or at least wealthy and sophisticated, both of which can be interpreted as signs of privilege or brilliance, yet the characters use these gifts for their own selfish ambition. Sideways goes on to list numerous examples of such characters, from the Phantom of the Opera, to Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean, which fall into this archetype.

As a personal example, I can definitely see in myself the impulse to appropriate things in such a manner. What do I care what the intended purpose for this or that was, I see that I can use it for this and therefore I will. I arguably did it in this post, by seeing in a video about pipe organs a vehicle for demonstrating type dynamics.


trying to be a very good ENTP
Dec 1, 2011
Actually I’ve been wondering the same thing about INFPs. At least the underdeveloped ones that dare imagine their Te could understand things on the level of a better developed INTJ.


Feb 5, 2015
Actually I’ve been wondering the same thing about INFPs. At least the underdeveloped ones that dare imagine their Te could understand things on the level of a better developed INTJ.

Actually I’ve been wondering the same thing about INFPs.

At least the underdeveloped ones

that dare imagine their Te could understand things

on the level of a better developed INTJ.

Rayos and Hypatia at one with the universe.

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