The Templar Mirror: Is It Genuine?
Templars are mirrors. The four Templar types — ESTP, ISTP, ENFJ, INFJ — more than any other types, reflect the behavior and values of those around them. The combination of Extraverted Feeling (Fe) and Extraverted Sensing (Se) in the Ego equips Templars with an uncanny and usually unconscious trait of reflection.
When you are interacting with a Templar, they naturally adjust to you. From adapting to measures in tone, body language, and other Se characteristics, to taking on the values and reflecting the emotions that are passing through you with their Fe, they are walking mirrors.
But the Templar mirror, while a fascinating feature, opens the door to a few concerns. The first concern is authenticity. In Season 17, Chase discussed the Virtues and Vices of the Quadra’s. The Templar’s vice was hypocrisy. With their Fe + Se, they are hyper-aware of the consistency and strength in other people’s character. They can certainly be wrong about someone’s character initially, but, more than the other types, the Templars are hypocrisy-detectors.
However, as it turns out, the reason that the Templars are so precise in their hypocrisy detection is that they themselves struggle with Hypocrisy the most. This pattern — that our awareness reveals our weakness — can be applied to all types and all four Quadras. But, the “Templar mirror,” plus the vice of Hypocrisy, reveals a key question that cuts to the core issue of Templar development and integration: Are Templars genuine?
Where Does Genuineness Come From?
If we are going to do justice to the Templars and thoroughly answer if the mirror is genuine, we have some defining to do. If we are going to ask if they are genuine, we first have to ask: What is “genuine?”
Intuitively, most of us probably have a sense of what genuineness is. One of dictionary.com defines “genuine” as: “free from pretense, affectation, or hypocrisy; sincere.” And another, “Not counterfeit; authentic; real.”
Real, sincere, authentic … what do all these words point to? Identity. “Real, sincere, and authentic” to yourself. Genuineness is measured in relation to one’s expression of their own identity. The answer to our question is identity. Identity is the source of genuineness.
For the Templars, however, the topic of “genuineness” opens a new can of worms. Of all the Quadra’s, a Templar’s identity is supremely complicated. Why is their identity complicated? Because of how profoundly they are immediately affected by those around them.
Templars mirror because their Se acts as a quick, almost instant reflection. And Fe only makes this process more potent. Templars begin to perceive their own identity based on how the people around them perceive themselves. Meaning, if they are around someone with high self-esteem, that same self-esteem will start to spread into the Templar’s perception of themselves. And vice versa. The line between a Templar’s own identity and the identities of those around them quickly becomes blurred.
The Templar puzzle of identity is complicated because every time they are around a new person for long enough, their identity appears to change. Here our next question emerges: Do Templars have individual identities at all?
Who are you, really?
It may seem like a silly question: Do Templars have an identity? The obvious answer is, “Of course they do, everyone has an identity.” But the question becomes less silly when we really start to understand the conundrum we’re in. If the Templar mirror is a true phenomenon, can we really say that Templars have an identity of their own?
Is identity not simply having a self that is separate and distinct from other people? But a Templar draws most of their behavior from the people around them. They define themselves primarily in relation to other people. What if their identity is solely comprised of the sum of people they spend time with?
Well, let us start simply by defining the word. From dictionary.com, “identity” is:
- “The state of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions.”
- “The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time.”
If “providing sameness and continuity in personality over time” is what defines “identity,” then no, Templars do not have an identity of their own. Templars are merely the collective reflection of those around them and have nothing to offer the world besides what they borrow from other people.
Let’s hope this is not true.
To solve this dilemma let’s consider a Templar’s identity from a different perspective. What if the mirror itself is what provides “sameness in continuity in their personality over time”? It falls under the same umbrella as those who claim they are “consistently inconsistent.” Perhaps a Templar’s malleable identity is their identity. Perhaps a Templar’s separate and distinguishable aspects of identity are that they are unseparated and indistinguishable from others’ identities.
Is your brain melting yet? Mine is. Let’s zoom out a bit.
The nature of the problem we are facing is, in some respects, a chicken or an egg problem. Is someone’s identity established after they are shaped by human nurture, or before? The answer, the best that we can tell, is both. But does this help us answer the question regarding the Templars?
One problem is we are used to trying to pinpoint identity to a single source. But identity is a nebulous and mysterious concept. There is always more beneath the surface than we’ll likely discover about our own or others’ identities.
Despite the mystery of identity, there are aspects of the Templars that we haven’t looked at yet: namely, their introverted cognitive functions.
Extraverted & Introverted Functions
All types have two extraverted functions in their Ego. Though Templars are very sensitive to the identity of people around them — Fe + Se being the most socially aware combination — it is vital to understand that all of us — every type — exist in relation to other people. No one’s identity is formed or sustained by internal processes alone. Extraverted functions absorb the incoming energy from others and that energy, over time, will shape our identity in fundamental ways.
But, we are more than our extraverted functions, just as we are more than the circumstances that surround us. The Templar mirror, composed of Se & Fe, represents only half of the cognition in their Ego. We have looked outward, now we must look inward, to their Ni & Ti.
Ni is about choice and it is tied through Axis to Se because Templars see what’s around them and then make choices based on the options available. Likewise, Ti is tied through Axis to Fe, because Templars can process what other people around them feel and value. They mine the value systems of others to see what is verifiable, what is not, and find the ground that’s solid enough to stand on through their Ti processing.
Why are their introverted functions important? They are important because it slightly modifies the claim that “Templars are mirrors.” Yes, they are — but they are NOT JUST mirrors that mindlessly reflect what is around them. They can do that, but they can also choose and think.
For example, what if a Templar can’t escape the people they’re around — such as being a dependent child in a family? Should they still be held accountable? Most likely. But, if we are going to discern the character of a Templar accurately, that judgment is most accurate only after a Templar has experienced independence.
We’ve already established that a Templar’s integrity vs. hypocrisy is going to be embodied by the strength of character of the people around them. But there is an important modification. What we have not yet established is that a Templar does have an internal source of integrity, and it lies in what they choose with their freedom of choice.
The Power of Ni’s Choice
For ENFJs, INFJs, ESTPs, and ISTPs, mirroring is an instinct. They cannot help it, nor should they be asked to help it. It is part of who they are and the faster each Templar accepts that they are a walking mirror, the faster their capacity to develop integrity grows. But, unless their power to choose (Ni) and ability to process (Ti) is actively used, their Se and Fe will unconsciously mirror without filtering, and they will become helpless to the pull of those around them.
A Templars’ true integrity lies in their choices. What and who they choose is up to them. They may be a mirror, yes, but they are a mirror with two hands and feet that can choose where it wants to go. A mirror that is nailed to the wall is a victim of its environment and powerless. But a human mirror, with the capacity to move — to choose — does not have to be a victim forever.
Ni is the primary mover here, but Ti — the ability to process the other half of the mirror (Fe) — is an essential tool to leverage their freedom of choice. A Templar must use their Ti. This is harder for the NFJs, who are more willing to turn off their Ti because their Fe can be overpowered by what someone else values. But still, both the STPs and NFJs, if they want to develop their integrity, must use their Ti in order to understand if they should continue to be around someone or not.
Fe can get carried away with what someone could become one day. Templars can imagine a person, fully healed and realized, and how quality of a person they could be! But Ti often interrupts this dream with the bitter, but necessary, pill of reality. It says: that dream ain’t real.
For the Templar who has difficulty cutting ties, processing through someone else’s actions, values, and hypocrisy will provide some strength to walk their mirror to other people.
And if there is no escape?
One of the hardest places for a human being to be is in an environment where they cannot escape. This is perhaps the most difficult for Templars, where they become like the mirror nailed to the wall, a victim of their environment. This is not to say that Templars caught in bad situations have zero responsibility for what they do. But it is to say that if you naturally mirror your environment, and your environment is toxic, and you can’t go anywhere, that quickly becomes a very heavy burden to bear. The longer the burden is forced, the more the Templar loses hope.
So, what can you do when your mirror is nailed to the wall? Perhaps you are a child caught in family disruption. Perhaps you have been imprisoned and you cannot escape. Perhaps you are pulled into a relationship that is eating away at you, but you know you don’t have the resolve to leave. What can you do?
At the risk of crossing the line into giving unsolicited advice, I will share three thoughts. Because this problem of having your choice taken away — whether it was the result of your personal choices or not — is a crushing problem that every Templar (and, frankly, every human being) has faced or will face.
1) Fight as hard as you can to keep your hope alive and seek healthy attention.
A Templar’s fuel for life is shared between their hope and the attention they receive from others. But, because attention relies on other people, the primary fight for a trapped Templar is to keep their hope alive. Hope is their primary means of survival, especially in a trapped place.
If there are ways to get healthy attention from others in your immediate or nearby environment, consider that attention is the thing that fuels the fuel. Getting other people’s Si will replenish your Ni, and be that much more important in keeping your hope alive. Also, consider allowing yourself to think about wanting what it is you actually desire, even for a moment at a time. Hope is the fuel your soul runs on.
2) Leverage your freedom of choice as much as possible.
Fighting for the small choices in the day can empower your soul to survive. This is a more constant for the higher Ni users, but hope is hope, and choice is choice, and the STPs still relish the freedom to choose. So, even if it comes down to choosing what to eat for a meal, what to read for learning, and when and when not to do certain things, these can make all the difference in a difficult, trapped place.
A choice is a choice, no matter how big or small. And when you choose something, that choice is yours and it belongs to you.
3) When it’s time to move on, move on.
Fe guilt is a powerful force that keeps people in situations they shouldn’t be in. One of the hardest lessons that a Templar struggles to learn is to value themselves enough to walk away from other people — especially people they love.
But, when the day comes when you can finally escape the trapped place, what will you do if you feel yourself being pulled back into the folds of your “prison”? If you feel pulled to stay in that toxic environment, it is likely because you feel guilt toward the people still trapped there.
Maybe you have family there, maybe you have friends there, maybe you have someone that you don’t want to live life without there. But it is vital to remember that rarely will any force on earth be able to redeem a toxic prison into a paradise. Your guilt will keep you prisoner if you let it. So, consider what it would take to give yourself permission to exercise your freedom of choice, and pursue a life that fuels your hope.
Sometimes Templars direct their hope at hopeless things. These “hopeless things” are often a person or a place that refuses to be redeemed. If this is the case, don’t use your hope on hopeless things. Mercy is important, but not everyone wants to be saved.
Sometimes a Templar must respect the choices that people have made — even if those choices, made by a loved one, will lead to their own destruction. There is a time to stick around and help people who need it, but there is also a time to leave them behind. Be careful using your hope to jump back into the same ditch you just emerged from, hoping that it will not be a ditch when you land back in it. A ditch, a prison, a trapped place… it’s all the same. Give hope to those who have a future, not to those who will destroy yours.
The Potency of Action
“You will know them by their fruits.” — Jesus Christ
All Se users value action. And how could they not? None of them naturally discern motive from their Ego, after all. And, out of all the types, the two STP Templars are the most concerned with action; the NFJs are not far behind. It is no coincidence, then, that the above scripture comes from a Templar.
It is no wonder, also, that action becomes the testing ground for a Templar’s integrity. Because, at the end of the day, however deep into the mirror the Templar reflects those around them, they still maintain the capacity for choice. And integrity demands that they hold themselves responsible for the path they choose, and the people they choose to mirror.
A Templar’s integrity, then, can be measured in relation to the quality of the people they reflect. The discernment of the quality of their character must be made in light of the number of choices they have had in tandem with the amount of independence they have gained. But, a Templar’s integrity, like the rest of us, can be discerned in their actions.
We did not completely solve the question of identity in this article. I wish we could, but “identity” has and will continue to be enigmatic — and it remains elusive and contextual. But, I hope we have made some progress in unearthing some of the nuances linked to personality and individuality. Perhaps one of the main principles of existential philosophy can guide us here: that identity is co-created through choice and action.
If the existentialists are right, then every moment and every choice is an opportunity to etch the definition of our identity. And despite circumstances, however difficult they may be, a Templar can only find integrity when they embrace what it means to choose. Like Carl Jung said, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” What will you mirror, Templars? Choose wisely — which is to say: choose deliberately.