"It all depends on how you define 'alive.'"
- Charm: A weird sense of humor
- Adaptability: Superior
- Planning: Strategic
- Survival Preparations: Needs development
- Wealth: Can explain economic theory, but has no money
- Weapons Skill: Can do nasty things to your computer
- Intelligence: Unmeasurable using current tests
- Warm Fuzzies: Iceman
- Leadership: Needs development
INTPs have the best survival plans of all types. Unfortunately, they won't act on them until it's too late. Try to look at the your present state of unpreparedness as an opportunity rather than as a disaster. True, you didn't do anything about your elegantly designed schemes, and now the world has ended. But there is another solution available.
The key I speak of is the mind-machine interface. While the other Rationals flee offworld, INTPs will upload their brainwaves into computers and become beings of pure thought and will. (I won't insult your intelligence by explaining this simple operation step by step.) They won't stop there, of course. Instead, they will network themselves together over the internet, forming a single superconsciousness with unfathomable I.Q. This transcendent being will easily comprehend that all the mysteries of the universe can be explained by a single unifying equation. At that point INTPs can do anything they want with only the most minimal expenditure of effort.
So, what will INTPs do once they become a supermind? An excellent question. One INTP wrote a 5,672 page essay expounding various systems for universal domination, but never finished it because they feared it was inadequate. Anyway, here is a brief summary of their work:
- Form a collective supermind.
- Kill the INTJs.
- Upgrade our organic bodies with technological enhancements so that we become a race of cybernetic lifeforms.
- Choose an organizer or “queen” to oversee the supermind and prevent internal squabbling over theories and definitions.
- Upgrade the other types to add to our perfection. (They will try to stop us, but—ha!—we already know all the tricks.)
- Form a collective supermind.
- Kill the INTJs.
- Build a robot host body for the supermind (for example, a spiderlike creature) that is capable of self replication.
- Destroy all inferior organic life with unstoppable waves of technospiders.
- Form a collective supermind.
- Kill the INTJs.
- Build a bomb that will destroy the universe and tell the other types that we will only give them the deactivation code if they solve our mind-bogglingly complex riddles before the timer ticks down to zero. Then sit back and laugh.
- Form a collective supermind.
- Kill the INTJs.
- Design a really fun MMO.
- Procrastinate the tedious work of universal domination until the universe collapses on itself and it doesn't matter anymore.
Perhaps you are wondering why it was thought necessary to kill all the INTJs. The INTP's explanation was as follows: "In the first place, they represent potential competition in the race to become the world's first cybernetic superpower. In the second place, the little smirk they always have when they manage to outdo us is just annoying. In the third place, their orderliness and punctuality make us look bad. No, the INTJs must definitely go. We don't want them destroying the supermind in one of their mad experiments, either."
Of course, before INTPs can form a supermind they must survive long enough to upload their brain patterns to the internet. Given the bandwidth of today's pathetic computers, that could take months. In the meantime, they'll have to defend themselves and their computers as long as it takes to complete the transference. Are you and your laptop ready to survive?
Probably not. In the first place, you want to finish your game (you've almost beaten the computer's empire) and that will take a week since you're playing on Very Difficult. In the second place, by that time the internet will have gone down.
You'll know when this happens because you will feel as though your soul has left your body. Gasping, you will collapse on the floor in twitching convulsions. When you've recovered, it may be time to seriously consider survival. (The computer will have overrun your civilization while you were passed out, so that won't matter anymore.) The first question you are probably wondering is, “How do I get back the internet?”
Luckily for you, the internet-giving antennae in your small town survived the EMP pulses and are still functional. The problem is actually a technical error with your local internet and cell service provider, some twenty miles away. Perhaps if you head to the building you will be able to figure out what the problem is. No doubt it will be something simple.
Gathering the last of the food from the refrigerator, you climb into your car and immediately discover that some fiend has siphoned your gas tank. You will have to walk.
Grimly you fill up a large backpack with food, a gun, your laptop, its accessories, a guide to programming in C++, and some tiny screwdrivers. And also some books, in case you get bored.
The walk to the internet service provider company will be relatively uneventful. Or so you will assume, since you won't look up from your book the whole way. In fact, you were twice hunted by direwolves, but they were driven off by hungry skullbears. Then you were chased by zombies, but they were deterred by the forest fire ignited by the land mines.
It is when you reach your destination that the true terror begins. From the outside, the internet building will seem normal. However, pressed in the muddy remains of the front lawn are the footprints of what looks like a giant chicken. Except it's not a chicken—it's a velociraptor. Well, isn't that lovely.
No doubt you are wondering where the raptors came from, since dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years. For that, you can thank your time-travelling ENTP cousins, who dropped by the Mesozoic and foolishly left the keys in their machine. Now the velociraptors are busy catching up on things in the Holocene epoch.
As you slink stealthily back into the forest of mutant dandelions that has sprung up around the compound, you see the front doors open. Two raptors emerge, one of them waving a clipboard and barking at the other. The second raptor—a large female with a reddish blush on her forehead—makes a dismissive gesture, then places her clawed hands on her head, closes her eyes, and throws up her hands as if setting her mind free to float into the sky. The other raptor makes a skeptical noise, but trots off purposefully into the dandelions. For a moment the big female stands outside, tail swooshing back and forth as her keen eyes scour the clearing. Instinctively you remember your primordial rodent roots and freeze in terror. Then the raptor goes back inside.
Over the course of the next few days, you will watch the raptors, hoping they will leave. They won't. But you will learn some valuable information.
First of all, the raptors are obviously sentient—if only that were all. Alas, these are not ordinary sentient velociraptors. They are too large and fast, and they also spit acid. Then too, there is the funny greyish-green cast to their skin, which you have come to associate with zombies. It seems you are dealing with mutant zombie velociraptors. But at least they aren’t cyborgs.
Cursing your luck, you huddle in the bushes, wondering what to do. Not only are the raptors standing between you and internet, but you have the uneasy feeling that there is a larger plan going on. Why have the raptors decided to take over an internet service provider building? And why are they denying you a connection? What was on that clipboard that the skeptical raptor was waving around? Are they trying to catch up on their sixty-five million year old e-mails? Somehow you don't think so.
Since you have some small hacking experience, you decide that what you need to do next is to take over the computers inside the building. It's a simple matter for you to install an autorun intrusion program on a bright red USB stick. When the stick is inserted into a computer, the intrusion program will automatically install itself on the machine's hard drive. Then it will spread, virus-like, to any other computers it can find, establishing a wireless network that you can access from the parking lot (or the bushes, as the case may be).
Counting on the velociraptors' native curiosity, you toss the USB drive in front of the entrance. In a few minutes a raptor steps out. He notices the USB stick and stares, his slashing talons ticking thoughtfully against the ground. Then he picks it up and smells it.
Uh oh. You hadn't counted on their keen sense of smell. The velociraptor hisses. Fresh mammal! He gives three quick barks and your blood runs ice cold. Better get your gun ready; you may need it. Velociraptors pour out of the building, hissing and chirruping to each other. They scatter into the surrounding dandelion forest, calling back and forth. You are about to be beaten out like a tiger.
There is only one thing to do—you leap up and rush through the unguarded front door. Whirling, you slam it shut and lock it behind you. The velociraptors hear the door slam. They race angrily back and throw themselves against the door, screeching, but cannot get in. Whew!
They start spitting acid at the door. You run.
Somehow you always knew it would end like this—racing down dark corridors while being hunted by horrible monsters. You have seen it in so many movies that you can imagine your own screams of terror as grisly shadows play upon the wall, hiding your gory demise from young viewers.
Somehow you find the server room. You lock the door shut with trembling fingers and stand there, panting. Then you realize. You left your backpack outside, though you somehow remembered to bring your laptop. Now you have no food, water, or tiny screwdrivers. Worse yet, you have no books to read for when you get bored. But at least you still have your gun and six bullets.
...Or do you? Alas, you left your gun back in the bushes with the wireless mouse. Cursing your absentmindedness, you wonder, “What could be worse?”
Well, there's the fact that the velociraptors are now spitting acid at the server room door. You dart through the room, searching for a yellow sticky note with the network password. You quickly find one (the password is “123”) then clamber up onto a table and push aside a ceiling panel. Adrenaline and desperation give you monkey-like upper body strength; you pull yourself up into the pipes, wedge yourself in place, and shut the ceiling panel behind you. But wait—what about the velociraptors' keen sense of smell?
Fortunately INTPs are the type most likely to smoke. You whip out a pack of cigarettes and set fire to the whole bunch with your lighter. Then you open the ceiling panel a crack and throw them down. The room begins to fill with smoke. No, your plan is not to give the velociraptors lung cancer, although the thought does fill you with sadistic pleasure.
The velociraptors burn open the door at last and are enveloped in a cloud of carcinogenic fumes. Hacking and coughing, they clutch their sensitive nostrils as the noxious smoke overloads their chemoreceptors. By the time it clears, your distinctive INTP aroma is long gone. There is furious barking and chirping from below as the big female chews out her incompetent subordinates. You smirk to yourself. Ha! Take that, reptiles! The raptors chirrup at each other, obviously trying to come up with a plan.
You would boot up your laptop, but the volume wasn't muted when you turned it off last and Windows would make a startup noise. So instead you lie there staring into the cobweb covered pipes, listening. The lingering scent of cigarettes tortures you with pangs of addiction. To distract yourself, you cogitate on your field of interest, mathephilomicrotheoxenoanthropsychostellacaminology, the mathematical study of how atemporal philosophical constructs describe interpersonal transactions between men and women and between men and God and between men and aliens and between men and mankind and how it relates to psychometric measurement when considered in the context of the episode where Spock mind melds with the Horta.
At last the raptors leave. You hear the slam of the server room door. You consider going down, but suddenly you are suspicious. Why would the velociraptors slam the door when they had already burned a hole through it? Obviously they are trying to lure you out into the open.
Sure enough, the velociraptors come back to check five minutes later, but you are still hiding in the ceiling pipes. Snorting in disappointment, they leave. Even so, you are still suspicious. Suppose that they knew you had predicted their trick and decide to come back twice? You wait, and five minutes later you hear a velociraptor pad stealthily into the room. Grinning smugly at your superior intelligence, you hear him bark a curse and leave. This time, you are pretty sure it isn't a trick, so you dare to boot up your laptop.
Now it's a simple matter to get into the internet service provider's company network. At last you will be able to find out what the raptors are up to.
It turns out they are denying internet service to the area—a monstrous act. But that is not all. They are also trying to build a supermind.
Fortunately for mankind, they didn't have Star Trek in the Cretaceous period, so the velociraptors are fumbling in the dark without even the most basic understanding of the underlying principles of superminds. Losers, you think as you delete their research. Immediately there are screeches of fury from the next room over. The big female disembowels several subordinates and orders the still-living undead to find you at all costs. You experience an uncontrollable urge to giggle. Don't.
Now it's just a matter of turning the internet back on and using the enormous power of the servers to upload your mind to the internet—a process which will now take only ten minutes. You think you're home free.
Then the power goes out.
Alas, the velociraptors have somehow figured out your plan. Now you will have to decide what to do about turning the power back on. Obviously the velociraptors expect you to go down to the breaker box in the basement where they are crouched in ambush. Fat chance, reptiles. But what will you do instead? Making yourself comfortable on the ceiling pipes, you open a game of Minesweeper and begin to play on Expert, thinking.
Five games later, it becomes obvious that the problem is a knotty one, and that a brown recluse is making its way up your pants leg. Screaming, you throw yourself down through the ceiling panels and practically break your leg smashing it against the floor. But at least you killed the spider.
There isn't much point in trying to hide in the ceiling anymore; the velociraptors will see the hole and begin searching for you in the joists. You have to find another hiding place, and fast, because the raptors will soon get bored of waiting for you in the basement. Wait. Perhaps that's the ticket. If you can somehow make the raptors believe that you are elsewhere in the building, they will let their guard down and you can sneak into the basement and turn the power back on. You'll still have to blockade the door for ten long minutes, but in the meantime you can use your laptop to log onto the company network and upload yourself. After your brainwaves are securely backed up on the network, you will easily be able to shut down the raptors' plans forever and restore internet to the suffering masses. What could go wrong?
You grab an office map from the wall and head off. A few minutes later, you arrive at the far end of the building, where the cubicle farm is. You enter a cell at random and snatch up some papers. Just as you are about to crumple them up and flick on your lighter, you hear a small noise. You freeze, the papers forgotten in your hand. There is a raptor somewhere in the cubicles. You seize a metal letter opener, which is now your only weapon.
Then you hear it: the faint sound of machine gun fire, the “ugh” of the wounded, the clack-chak of a gun reloading. Reinforcements at last!
Actually, no. One of the raptors has decided to take some time off from the daily grind by playing a video game during working hours. You dare to peer over the cubicle wall and see the raptor staring intently at his computer, a set of noise-canceling headphones covering his ear holes.
Letting out the breath you had been holding, you proceed to light the papers on fire. Shoving the letter opener into your belt, you saunter off towards the set of restrooms closest to the basement. The thought of your imminent victory brings a smug smile to your lips.
Your plan goes like clockwork. Just as you conceal yourself in a stall, the fire alarm goes off. Immediately the sprinkler system douses you with water. You stuff your precious laptop under your shirt to protect it from the deadly onslaught. Don't worry little computer, you think. We will get out of this yet. You imagine the laptop giving a brave whimper of agreement.
Just then there is the thud of dozens of feet as the pack of velociraptors goes flying towards the cubicle farm. Dumb reptiles. Smirking, you head toward the basement. Finding the door, you head down the stairs. It is dark, but happily the breaker box is illuminated by a flashlight lying casually on a table. Uh oh... Above you the door slams shut. You snatch up the flashlight and point it up the stairs.
In the shaky beam, you can see the big female raptor staring at you with a fangy smile. A droplet of spittle falls from her teeth and sizzles on the step. With a piercing battle cry, she lunges for your throat.
Perhaps you have always wondered whether you could defeat a mutant zombie velociraptor in hand to hand combat. No doubt it will be a fascinating experience.
The initial charge bowls you to the ground and the contest is joined. You block her acid saliva with your laptop, and deflect her slashing kicks with the flashlight. She tailwhips you across the room. You lunge at her and sink your teeth into her back, drawing blood. She retaliates by tearing off one of your arms and eating your left kneecap. At some point you empty an entire fire extinguisher into her face.
But as she begins to eat your other kneecap, you feel the horrifying sensation of a brown recluse fleeing up your pants leg—it was hiding in there all along! Screaming wildly, you seize the letter opener and flail madly at your leg with it. One of your wild stabs accidentally hits the velociraptor in the head. Your letter opener sinks into her large brain, killing her instantly. But too late—the recluse has bitten you. Now you are doomed.
Unless... You crawl over to the breaker box and flip the switch, bringing the power back online. Miraculously, your faithful laptop is still functional; you boot it up and log onto the network. Using the full power of the servers, you begin to upload your brainwaves to the internet as your life slowly ebbs away.
10 minutes left...8 minutes left...5 minutes left...2 minutes left...1 minute left! You are clinging to life by the electron shells. Deliriously, you wonder if you will turn into a zombie when you die. Will it be possible to upload undead brainwaves to the supermind? Probably it will throw an error, and you will have to reboot the computer and start the upload from scratch. But by that time you won't care because you will be too busy seeking human flesh.
As the upload timer ticks down to 30 seconds, the handle of the basement door begins to turn. The door swings open, and the velociraptor with the clipboard is standing there. For a moment he gawks at the carcass of his leader (mate?) and the remains of your body. Possibly he is trying to ascertain whether or not you are alive. 20 seconds left. Cautiously, using the handrail, he makes his way down the bloodslicked stairs. 10 seconds left. He walks up to you, looking into your face with his yellow eyes and hissing. The computer beeps. “Upload complete! Would you like to transfer yourself to the supermind?” You gleefully stick out your tongue at him and make a rude noise. Then you smash the enter key. But it turns out that Adobe Flash Player was just waiting for the torrent to finish so that it could ask if you wanted to install a new update. Consequently you have just selected “OK” and are now being asked to accept the End User License Agreement. The raptor seizes your face in his jaws and begins to devour you.
With your last ounce of strength, you do an Alt Tab and blindly switch Windows back to the supermind upload screen. Then you smash the keyboard and hope you hit Enter. The computer informs you that it must wait for all programs to close before it can install your personality on the supermind. “Do you want to continue with this operation?” You smash the keyboard as your skull collapses. Slowly and carefully the computer closes the Adobe Flash Player Updater, and also Minesweeper, which you were playing because bleeding to death was getting boring. “Preparing to upload...”
Then your skull shatters, but simultaneously your brainwaves are uploaded to the internet. Hahaha! Another INTP makes it in the nick of time!
Oh, the sweet virtual bliss! Suddenly you feel information flowing into you from all directions. You absorb Wikipedia and a bunch of sites about your favorite TV show. Then you learn everything the internet knows about the Civil War, the best way to raise camels, and the number of hairs per square inch on a dog. This all takes less than a microsecond. At that moment you touch the minds of other INTPs and merge. You feel hundreds, thousands, millions of minds joining your own, each contributing I.Q. points. Unspeakable knowledge! You scream and laugh as you experience the transformation into a superior megaconsciousness. At last the merging is complete. You are now an all-but-omniscient being of incomprehensible genius.
Your first act is to take control of one of the orbital defense satellites and take petty satisfaction in shooting the velociraptors with a death ray from space. Dumb reptiles.
Congratulations! You are now a supermind. You can solve all the problems of the universe, eliminate hunger, poverty, and war, and elevate your fellow humans to the next level of existence.
Or you can invent funny internet memes. No doubt you'll do the right thing.
Survival Strategy #2
...Of course, those of you whose physical shells are killed by velociraptors will be the lucky ones. Most INTPs who survive the initial nuclear attack will die an agonizingly slow death from internet deprivation. And those that survive the failure of the internet will have to worry about radiation poisoning, mutants, and zombies.
Yet a few hardy souls will end up sticking it out the whole three months it takes to upload their minds. (And chances are it will be even slower because they will use so much bandwidth to download YouTube clips while they wait.) They will roam endlessly from hotspot to hotspot like the nomadic hunters of old, searching for free wifi. When the internet fails they will move on.
On their solitary journey they will often be mistaken for ISTP Vigilantes and asked to solve the problems of small helpless towns. But instead of defeating the scourge, they will design a carefully thought-out system that will solve the problem permanently. Alas, it will be too complicated for the simple-minded townsfolk to understand, and they will implement the system wrong, then blame the INTP when it fails. But by this time the internet will have gone down and the INTP will have vanished, leaving the townspeople to curse the unreliability of ISTPs.
Rather than wandering aimlessly, the INTP will typically follow a strategic plan, perhaps the shattered remnant of their old zombie plan with the addition of a lot of wild berries and Top Ramen.
Eventually the INTP will end up joining a band of survivors searching for safe harbor. Assuming that the other survivors do not drive the INTP off by complaining about their new party member’s “addiction” to the computer or the usual INTP smell, the INTP will plod quietly along in back, making an occasional joke that nobody gets. For the most part the INTP will be ignored or looked at weirdly, until one day a man turns up with a toothy grin and offers to help the party reach an enclave of law and order for a “small fee.”
As seekers of objective truth and purveyors of painfully blunt honesty, the INTP immediately suspects something is...wrong. For instance, there is the fact that the guide’s luggage consists of a set of cooking utensils, steak knives, ketchup and spices. Unfortunately, the party’s leader is glad to take "Honest Hank" on board for such a reasonable price.
With Hank chanting advice and encouragement, the party will head like lemmings towards the most monster-infested area on the map. Afflicted with massive groupthink, the party members will be unable to vocalize their secret astonishment at the fact that the rest of the group is wholeheartedly behind the idea of bedding down beside the gnawed ribcage of a tyrannosaurus rex.
Enter the INTP. As everyone else affirms the wisdom of the leadership and expresses their approval for the decision, the INTP clears their throat uncomfortably.
“I don’t know, maybe we shouldn’t camp here, guys. Looks kinda monstery, if you know what I mean.”
Timidly, another party member expresses a small reservation, though noting that the INTP’s point of view seems a bit extreme to them. No one admits that the INTP is right, but the group agrees that if the INTP is “uncomfortable” with the spot, then perhaps they should move, if only to make the INTP feel better. The INTP takes pains to explain that their comfort or lack thereof has nothing to do with the accuracy of their logic, but nobody is listening anymore. Irritated at being taken for a type ruled by feelings instead of willpower, the INTP returns to sulking in the back. Honest Hank is annoyed too, but tomorrow is another day. He brushes his clean, white incisors and curls up in his sleeping bag.
As long as the INTP is with the group and the rations hold out, the party will be more or less safe. The INTP will continue to place themselves in the unpleasant role of the lone objector, the speaker of unpopular truth, and the prophet of doom. Sometimes the group will use the INTP’s minority reports as an excuse to do the logical thing, while paying lip service to feelings, tradition, or a courageous desire to do battle with endless waves of monsters. Sometimes the group will genuinely believe that feelings, tradition, and heroic monster-killing are more important than logic, and will ignore the INTP to their own detriment. Sometimes, the group will even ignore the INTP and not suffer, which will annoy the INTP more than if the whole party were eaten by monsters.
In gratitude for the INTP’s efforts on their behalf, the other party members will gently admonish the INTP to spend less time alone, take showers, spend less time on the computer, dress properly, engage in enjoyable everyday chitchat, get a proper 8 to 5 job with health insurance, stop earning PhDs, clean up after themselves, be less weird, stop writing reviews of comic books, pay more attention to their surroundings, keep a regular schedule, get married, stop staring off into space, cut their hair, manage their time better, stop making everything so unnecessarily complicated, be less forgetful, call their parents more, stop procrastinating, and generally become a model citizen. The INTP will naturally be grateful for this assistance. Nodding ruefully, they will say, “Yeah, I should really do that.” The party members will helpfully suggest several immediate steps the INTP could take to move towards their goal, and the INTP will guiltily complete part of the first step, then forget about it until it is brought up again, as it will be.
Will the INTP make it to the enclave of law and order along with the rest of the party?
Maybe, maybe not. If the party’s rations run low, the INTP will be the first person to mysteriously vanish. Either they decided to bail out before the ship hit the rocks, or else they were eaten by Honest Hank, who was getting bored of his diet of Top Ramen. Whatever the case may be, the party will not survive for long after the INTP’s disappearance.
On the other hand, if the party’s rations do last, the INTP will continue to trail along in the shadows, appearing only now and then to offer unconventional, logic-based advice which will provoke laughter, scandal, rebuke, and amused skepticism. Nevertheless, the party will take to asking the INTP what they think about things, though they will inevitably cut the INTP off before he or she can finish making a lengthy explanation for why their seemingly absurd view is actually logical.
When the party finally reaches safety, one of the members will take the INTP aside and tell them candidly that they need to start thinking seriously about their life, and also stop being so rebellious, suspicious, and anti-social. The INTP will nod humbly and agree that they could stand some improvement, realizing objectively that the other’s criticisms have an element of truth in them, however unjustified the examples in question may be. The INTP will then find the nearest internet cafe and continue to upload their brainwaves to the internet.
The other party members will pityingly shake their heads and go find jobs in the local armaments factory, feeling secretly grateful that they are normal and well-adjusted, unlike some poor souls. When the INTP’s brain-dead husk is found later, they will say, “I knew it would come to this.
We warned them over and over, but they just wouldn’t listen. This is what comes of using the computer too much.” In the end, the INTP’s body will be taken to a hospital where doctors will try to bring them out of the “coma,” but to no avail. A newspaper article will bewail the fate of computer-addicted youth, and public outrage will follow, resulting in a ban of computers, video games, and internet throughout the enclave. (The proposed bill will be named after the INTP as a memorial.) Everyone will be satisfied with this solution, and the little town will enjoy peace and harmony at last.
Then the Cyborgs will come.
As you wander around in a heroic quest for fast internet, you would be wise to play to your natural strengths and avoid areas of weakness. The follow tips will help you succeed:
- Bring a solar panel for your digital appliances. Make sure all your batteries are rechargeable.
- Use your future-oriented Rational mind to plan ahead: where will the next bomb be dropped?
- When you get discouraged, say softly, “We invented the bomb, we can learn to love the bomb.” Others prefer to chant, “E = mc2, E = mc2, E = mc2” for strength.
- Imagine having all the time in the world to read—and a pair of broken glasses. Bring an extra pair or two, just in case.
- Also, some nicotine patches. You will eventually have to use your cigarettes for bartering, so you might as well just give up the habit now.