Guest Post by E. J., INTJ
Dominant Si: Arthur prefers approaches that he considers tried-and-true. He has difficulty accepting that inception is possible because it is outside the realm of his experience–which, fortunately for Cobb, is vast. His traditional approach is one of the reasons that Eames (who calls him “that old stick-in-the-mud”) loves teasing him at every opportunity. Arthur instinctively distrusts most out-of-the-box ideas, despite his highly unusual profession, but his eye for detail helps make him among the best extraction experts in the world of corporate espionage. It is also his attention to detail that leads to some of the friction between Arthur and Eames: Arthur is frustrated by Eames’s tendency to suggest unusual strategies without fleshing out the details.
Auxiliary Te: Arthur has a very analytical mind, constantly fact-checking the other team members to ensure that their plans are sound. He may be resistant to jumping into entirely new experiences, but he will do so if an unusual idea is backed up by solid empirical evidence. This quality enables him to work with Eames. As long as someone can explain a good way to put Eames’s ideas into practical use, Arthur is willing to go along. Arthur attempts to anchor Cobb and the other team members to reality, both in the dream world and outside it. As Cobb struggles emotionally, Arthur tries to keep him focused on the facts of his situation so that he does not hurt himself or anyone else.
Tertiary Fi: Although Arthur takes a relatively traditional approach to life, he does not seek others’ moral approval for his decisions. His profession is technically illegal, but Arthur shows no sign that he feels guilty about it. Yet Arthur is not amoral: he shows a strong sense of protectiveness toward other people. He rarely expresses outward emotion, but he clearly cares about helping Ariadne, taking the time to answer her questions in detail. Unfortunately, he is less successful with Cobb, despite the fact that he has known Cobb for a much longer time. Arthur never realizes the extent to which Cobb is struggling emotionally over Mal’s death. Had he known, he would have been far more reluctant to allow Cobb’s inception plans to go forward.
Inferior Ne: New ideas are Arthur’s weak point–in part, because he generally sees no need for them. Under normal circumstances, Arthur deals with new situations by rearranging elements of his past experiences. Occasionally, however, Arthur finds that his past experiences are insufficient to deal with his current problems. The clearest example of his Ne use is his plan to “drop” the rest of the team in a non-gravitational environment. Arthur’s plan succeeds perfectly, despite the fact that Arthur has never heard of a similar situation and has to come up with a new solution entirely on his own.