“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!”
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a dynamic and complex man. If you don’t know him, you’re likely to know his controversial (and often taken out of context) words: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.”
But what else do we know about Nietzsche outside of his calls for man to overcome life and religion through optimistic independence? Well, we might know his personality type.
Hard emphasis on “might” here.
Nietzsche, just like his philosophy, is deeply nuanced. He’s both subtle and bold, definitive yet doubtful. And while it can be difficult to define the personality type of any person, Nietzsche is especially so.
Our best guess is that Nietzsche was an Architect (INTJ).
Let’s dive into why.
At the beginning of his life, Nietzsche could’ve been considered an Extravert. He often attended parties and gatherings, and he would loudly proclaim his thoughts to whoever could hear – behaviors that Architects, in particular, would frown at.
But we also need to consider Nietzsche’s strongly held philosophy at this time – that meaning could be linked to community. Nietzsche, being a man who so strongly held on to his beliefs, might’ve feigned Extraversion, as to align himself with said beliefs.
But it’s very possible that these weren’t Nietzsche’s true social inclinations.
Later on, we see Nietzsche’s true Introversion. He changes his philosophy from “the collective gives meaning” to “the individual gives meaning,” and it was also during this time that Nietzsche began his years-long solo trek.
Of all of Nietzsche’s personality traits, this is perhaps the most debated. Nietzsche was an incredibly dynamic person, flowing to match himself to his beliefs.
Nietzsche fits neatly beneath the Intuitive personality umbrella. His call to abandon religion and its morality, by its very nature, rebelled against the status quo.
He did not observe laws and society as they were and often rejected social norms. To look further, one must only look as far as Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch (“Superman” or “Beyond Man”) – the belief that we have yet to reach our ideal selves, and it’s through our hard work that a new level of humanity will be reached.
Nietzsche was a Thinking personality type.
It’s often argued that Nietzsche was a Feeling type because of his desire to know about the human condition, to connect more with others. But people forget that while Thinking personalities are logical, with their processes and focus on efficiency, that doesn’t mean that they don’t also desire some level (or degree) of human interaction or wish for society to come together.
Other arguments for Nietzsche as a Thinking type are supported by:
- his pointed criticisms toward religion, with little desire for reconciliation or conversation, and
- the fact that he did not champion being kind to others (although he didn’t want people to be cruel, either).
Instead, Nietzsche called for people to free themselves. To embrace the freedom to live as one liked – regardless of whether or not it hurt others (but, also on that note, Nietzsche did stress that it was much easier and more efficient to go through life without being cruel).
This personality trait is hard to determine because of the difference between what Nietzsche wrote and how he actually lived his life. At first glance, Nietzsche appeared to embrace chaos. In his philosophy, he endorsed a life lived with boldness rather than predictability.
However, whilst creating his actual work in the quiet of his office, Nietzsche was hypermethodical about how he organized his thoughts. Even extremely complex concepts like living a meaningful life and the human spirit were neatly categorized into four stages: the spirit, the camel, the lion, and the child. (If you’re a bit confused, that’s completely all right. You can read up on this particular philosophy in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.)
We attribute this neatness, this precision of thought, to Nietzsche’s Judging trait.
Though his main philosophies throughout life changed, there was always a singular goal he had in mind: learn what can be done to be the best version of himself possible.
Nietzsche, with all his dynamism, helped create the modern era.
His beliefs that embracing difficulty is essential for living a meaningful life and that self-discovery is the most important thing we could do with our time on earth laid the foundation for much of Western civilization.
But that’s to be expected from an Architect.
Do you think we missed some important parts of Nietzsche’s personality? If so, let us know in the comments below!
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