How is the order of MBTI type, ordered by from the most likely to celibate, to the least likely to celibate? Could you explain each type briefly?

No apparent logic, I’m afraid

  1. INTJ: Poor emotional expression; has no equals; has more important things.
  2. ENTP: Can’t stand people — people can’t stand her.
  3. INTP: Misunderstood; smells bad.
  4. ENFP: Don’t like commitments; will have what she wants when she wants it.
  5. ISFJ: Likes solitude. If she wants company, company will come.
  6. ISFP: Already married to herself.
  7. INFP: Problems with bonding.
  8. ENFJ: Already married to Humanity as a whole.
  9. INFJ: Bad experiences, but doesn’t like being alone.
  10. ISTP: Needs company but doesn’t like chasing. One is sufficient and secure.
  11. ISTJ: Won’t make it alone.
  12. ENTJ: Won’t exist alone.
  13. ESTJ: Won’t have any power alone.
  14. ESTP: Will feel silly being alone.
  15. ESFP: Will die being on her own.
  16. ESFJ: Will simply never be alone.


I’m not going to even attempt to rank all 16 types, but here are some famous celibates:

Isaac Newton – Lifetime celibate – INTJ

Immanuel Kant – Lifetime celibate – INTP

Florence Nightingale – Lifetime celibate – INTJ

Nikola Tesla – Lifetime celibate – INTJ

Mother Teresa – Lifetime celibate – INFJ

Ted Kaczynski (UNAbomber) – Lifetime, involuntary celibate – INTJ

Buddha – Celibate past age 35 or so – INFJ

Jesus – Lifetime celibate – INFJ

INTJs and INFJs dominate this list, so I would surmise than Ni Doms are most likely to be celibate.

I’ll note in passing than SP types tend to, as far as one can generalise, have high sex drives, so are probably the least likely to be celibate, and if so, involuntarily so. It also seems to make intuitive sense (intuitive sense, get it, lol) that Se doms would be least likely to not be celibate, so we will probably have ESTP and ESFP at the bottom of our list.

Do You Have to Be a Jerk to Be Great?

Navigating the tension between work and relationships.

Soren Kierkegaard asked God to give him the power to will one thing. Amid all the distractions of life he asked for the power to live a focused life, wholeheartedly, toward a single point.

And we’ve all known geniuses and others who have practiced a secular version of this. They have found their talent and specialty. They focus monomaniacally upon it. They put in the 10,000 hours (and more) that true excellence requires.

I just read “You Must Change Your Life,” Rachel Corbett’s joint biography of the sculptor Auguste Rodin and his protégé, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and they were certainly versions of this type.

The elder Rodin had one lesson for the young Rilke. “Travailler, toujours travailler.” Work, always work.

This is the heroic vision of the artist. He renounces earthly and domestic pleasures and throws himself into his craft. Only through total dedication can you really see deeply and produce art.

In his studio, Rodin could be feverishly obsessed, oblivious to all around him. “He abided by his own code, and no one else’s standards could measure him,” Corbett writes. “He contained within himself his own universe, which Rilke decided was more valuable than living in a world of others’ making.”

Rilke had the same solitary focus. With the bohemian revelry of turn-of-the-century Paris all around him, Rilke was alone writing in his room. He didn’t drink or dance. He celebrated love, but as a general outlook and not as something you gave to any one person or place.

Both men produced masterworks that millions have treasured. But readers finish Corbett’s book feeling that both men had misspent their lives.

They were both horrid to their wives and children. Rodin grew pathetically creepy, needy and lonely. Rilke didn’t go back home as his father was dying, nor allow his wife and child to be with him as he died. Both men lived most of their lives without intimate care.

Their lives raise the question: Do you have to be so obsessively focused to be great? The traditional masculine answer is yes. But probably the right answer is no.

In the first place, being monomaniacal may not even be good for your work. Another book on my summer reading list was “Range,” by David Epstein. It’s a powerful argument that generalists perform better than specialists.

The people who achieve excellence tend to have one foot outside their main world. “Compared to other scientists, Nobel laureates are at least 22 times more likely to partake as an amateur actor, dancer, magician or other type of performer,” Epstein writes.

He shows the same pattern in domain after domain: People who specialize in one thing succeed early, but then they slide back to mediocrity as their minds rigidify.

Children who explore many instruments when they are young end up as more skilled musicians than the ones who are locked into just one. People who transition between multiple careers when they are young end up ahead over time because they can take knowledge in one domain and apply it to another.

A tech entrepreneur who is 50 is twice as likely to start a superstar company than one who is 30, because he or she has a broader range of experience. A survey of the fastest-growing tech start-ups found that the average age of the founder was 45.

For most people, creativity is precisely the ability to pursue multiple interests at once, and then bring them together in new ways. “Without contraries is no progression,” William Blake wrote.

Furthermore, living a great life is more important than producing great work. A life devoted to one thing is a stunted life, while a pluralistic life is an abundant one. This is a truth feminism has brought into the culture. Women have rarely been able to live as monads. They were generally compelled to switch, hour by hour, between different domains and roles: home, work, market, the neighborhood.

A better definition of success is living within the tension of multiple commitments and trying to make them mutually enhancing. The shape of this success is a pentagram — the five-pointed star. You have your five big passions in life — say,

  1. family,
  2. vocation,
  3. friends,
  4. community,
  5. faith —

and live flexibly within the gravitational pull of each.

You join communities that are different from one another. You gain wisdom by entering into different kinds of consciousness. You find freedom at the borderlands between your communities.

Over the past month, while reading these books, I attended four conferences. Two were very progressive, with almost no conservatives. The other two were very conservative, with almost no progressives. Each of the worlds was so hermetically sealed I found that I couldn’t even describe one world to members of the other. It would have been like trying to describe bicycles to a fish.

I was reading about how rich the pluralistic life is, and how stifling a homogeneous life is. And I was realizing that while we’re learning to preach gospel of openness and diversity, we’re mostly not living it. In the realm of public life, many live as monads, within the small circles of one specialty, one code, no greatness.

Why Celibacy Matters

How the critique of Catholicism changes and yet remains the same.

The rhetoric of anti-Catholicism, whether its sources are Protestant or secular, has always insisted that the church of Rome is the enemy of what you might call healthy sexuality. This rhetorical trope has persisted despite radical redefinitions of what healthy sexuality means; one sexual culture overthrows another, but Catholicism remains eternally condemned.

Thus in a 19th-century context, where healthy sexuality meant a large patriarchal family with the wife as the angel in the home, anti-Catholic polemicists were obsessed with Catholicism’s nuns — these women who mysteriously refused husbands and childbearing, and who were therefore presumed to be prisoners in gothic convents, victims of predatory priests.

Then a little later, when the apostles of sexual health were Victorian “muscular Christians” worried about moral deviance, the problem with Catholicism was that it was too hospitable to homosexuality — too effete, too decadent, too Oscar Wildean even before Wilde’s deathbed conversion.

Then later still, when sexual health meant the white-American, two-kid nuclear family, the problem with Catholicism was that it was too obsessed with heterosexual procreation, too inclined to overpopulate the world with kids.

And now, in our own age of sexual individualism, Catholicism is mostly just accused of a repressive cruelty, of denying people — and especially its celibacy-burdened priests — the sexual fulfillment that every human being needs.

The mix of change and consistency in anti-Catholic arguments came to mind while I was reading “In the Closet of the Vatican,” a purported exposé of homosexuality among high churchmen released to coincide with the church’s summit on clergy sexual abuse. The book, written by a gay, nonbelieving French journalist, Frédéric Martel, makes a simple argument in a florid, repetitious style: The prevalence of gay liaisons in the Vatican means that clerical celibacy is a failure and a fraud, as unnatural and damaging as an earlier moral consensus believed homosexuality to be.

The style of Martel’s account is fascinating because it so resembles the old Protestant critique of Catholic decadence. Instead of a tough-guy Calvinist proclaiming that Catholicism’s gilt and incense makes men gay, it’s a gay atheist claiming that the gays use Catholicism’s gilt and incense to decorate the world’s most lavish closet. Instead of celibacy making men deviant, celibacy is the deviance, and open homosexuality the cure. Celibacy used to offend family-values conservatism; now it offends equally against the opposite spirit.

The book is quite bad; too many of its attempted outings rely on the supposed infallibility of Martel’s gaydar. And yet anyone who knows anything about the Vatican knows that some of the book’s gossip is simply true — just as the other critiques of Catholicism have some correspondence to reality.

How Male Theologians Ruined Parenting

A pastor and a rabbi talk about kids, poop, and tearing down the patriarchy in institutional religion

The Bible is a man’s book. It was mostly written by men, for men, and about men. The people who then interpreted the text have also been predominately male.

No wonder there’s not much theology preoccupied with weird-colored poop and the best way to weather tantrums. Throughout history, childcare has largely been considered women’s work—and, by extension, not theologically serious.

.. What in theology is traditionally associated with women? There’s this whole realm of human experience to which our texts are oblivious—they’re not considered important because they’re not on the radar screen of the people who are traditionally writing theology.

.. And there are times when a critique is necessary, like with mikvah. There are some traditionally misogynistic undertones in the way it’s been framed and deployed throughout history. Yet, to throw out the baby with the bathwater didn’t feel right either, because it is actually probably the closest thing to magic that I’ve ever experienced. I think we can do feminist work to grapple with and reclaim, on our own terms, some of the more problematic aspects of Judaism for women.

.. one day the question popped into my head, “I wonder how many theologians throughout history have been mothers?” The answer is, of course, almost none.

.. I’ve never been big on what you call atonement theology: An angry God demands a bloody sacrifice of his beloved child. But the fact that if I said that to a kid it would give them nightmares and make them hate and fear God—that gives good reason to think of another understanding about what Jesus is all about.

.. There’s certainly a place in the tradition for folks who have vowed to be celibate to speak about intimacy and love and childbearing. If there are men who are doing the good work of parenting while doing other things, then I think, certainly, they could be bridge-builders, too. But you’d really want folks who know what they are talking about.

 .. I look at them and think, “Wow, you exist, and I’m not really sure how”—technically, yes, but not really. When I go down deep enough into my love for them, I feel like that can take me everywhere. That’s as much a portal to the holy as it was in those moments when I was in my 20s and blissing out in prayer by myself and having deep powerful meditations at three in the morning and crazy mystical experiences and all of that. I think God is at least, if not more, present in all of my interactions with them.
.. There’s sometimes been a sense that evangelical Christians were more concerned about your marriage and your kids and your family, and the more liberal, mainline Protestants were more concerned with civil rights and social justice, and those were sort of separate entities.