If a Humpback Whale is the “old soul” of personality types, the Owl is just old. Now this might seem insulting, but to the knowledge-obsessed INTP, advanced age, or at least the appearance of it, is believed to be a sign of wisdom. Every tuft of disheveled hair, every imaginary gray follicle, and every mismatched wardrobe accessory: all evidence of a life spent devoted to the pursuit of knowledge.
I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in, now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
– Sir Isaac Newton
Owls have the unique ability to analyze complex theories with relative ease. This allows them to compress said theories into simpler, comprehensible threads, with which they weave a theoretical tapestry that can illustrate their groundbreaking ideas to the viewing public in a way that is both accessible and beautiful. In order to achieve this, Owls choose to detach themselves from the material world, thus eliminating any distractions that would be detrimental to their search for abstract truth. To say that an Owl seeks knowledge would not be totally accurate, and the mere mention of the word “knowledge” causes many people to mistype themselves as Owls, or NTs in general. A more appropriate statement would be to say that Owls prize knowledge above all other things. This includes certain earthly desires that are automatic priorities for other types, such as family or wealth (and the security it provides). This is often incorrectly interpreted as a simple “Owls don’t care about their loved ones”, though nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that their idea of caring is expressed more in the perpetual curiosity they feel towards their spouse or child than in any kind of obligatory love they might owe due to their role as a partner or parent.
My pacifism is an instinctive feeling, a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting.
– Albert Einstein
An Owl is not afraid of dying. In fact, their detachment with their corporeal self helps them become quite accepting of death. War, however, goes against everything they believe in. While some believe that war stimulates technological advancement through the creation of weapons, history has shown us that war often stymies intellectual progress—there’s a reason the feudal period that took place before the Renaissance is often referred to as “The Dark Ages”. Owls view war as nothing more than the destruction of property, the misappropriation of resources, and a complete waste of time. The fact that it often serves as a means for expanding territorial lines that they deem as dubious to begin with—an Owl’s disregard for intellectual boundaries often extends to political lines as well—is even more sickening to them. This same attitude can be seen in social settings, where the Owl will frequently acquiesce in order to avoid group dissension, even if the peace comes at the expense of the Owl’s own enjoyment. While this acquiescence can make them appear weak and, for male Owls, strangely effeminate, the fact is, they just don’t put much stock into the validity of societal norms, including those relating to gender roles. For this reason, Owls are the most androgynous of all the types.
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give.
– Thomas Jefferson
It is not surprising that Owls regularly set aside time to be alone. These reclusive respites give them an opportunity to recharge, away from society’s constant nagging. Unlike their fellow NTs, who often respond with feelings of utter contemptuousness towards anyone who dares to pressure them to conform, Owls, with their aforementioned pacifist tendencies, try to preempt arguments by avoiding those types of people altogether. If left to their own devices, Owls will seek the sanctuary of solitude to focus on their primary motivation: coming up with cool ideas. Minimalists at heart, the freedom of an undisturbed and unfettered mind takes priority over material goods, most of which, Owls believe, lose value the farther they venture from utility; an Owl might want a functioning car and clean clothes that fit, but don’t be surprised if you see them driving up in a beat-up 1995 Toyota Corolla wearing socks that don’t match.
Were I to invoke logic, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
– Mr. Spock (“Star Trek”)
Their ability to detach themselves, and therefore keep a safe emotional distance from any situation, is exactly what makes Owls fantastic advisors. They are big-picture people who pride themselves on their willingness to ignore small details and momentary concerns. While this may cause conflict with more grounded types, who might take offense to the thought that present-day moments and certain people are expendable, Owls believe that it is this discipline that powers their originality of thought. And unlike the rapid-fire volley of ideas that constitutes the brainstorming session of a Chimpanzee—a close NT sibling—the Owl specializes in imagining a broad, singular vision of the future. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence”, a document that influenced over a hundred similar documents throughout the world. Whereas a Spider—another NT sibling—designs plans revolving around various contingencies, hoping to predict all foreseeable circumstances, the Owl seems to enjoy taking theories into previously unexplored territory, completely disregarding “tried and true” methods—even those that they would agree are pragmatically effective. It is no small wonder that their advice is so sought after; an Owl’s awkward disconnect with the past and present best enables them to dream of a more graceful future.