Bob Dylan fashioned himself from the dust of a little town called Hibbing, Minnesota. Dylan started as a folk musician writing songs of protest in the background of 1960s-era America and ended by being considered the voice of his generation. He went through so many different phases, styles, and incarnations that no one could keep up with him. To this day he still isn’t understood. Dylan is a hybrid. Dylan is a Gemini.
And he wrote songs that only an INFJ could write. Why?
Let’s begin by looking at some of Dylan’s song titles:
– Subterranean Homesick Blues
– Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
– It Takes A lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry
– It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
– Leopard-Skin Pillbox-Hat (very Gemini)
– Love Minus Zero/No Limit
– Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands
– Positively 4th Street
– Queen Jane Approximately
– Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
– Temporary Like Achilles
OK, as far as I’m concerned, case closed. Bob Dylan = INFJ, just from the titles alone.
As a matter of fact, if the only thing I knew about Dylan was that he wrote a song that goes by the title of Sad-Eyed Lady of The Lowlands, that would pretty much clinch it for me.
If that is not the case for you, well, you better stay tuned, because I’m going to save you a lot of time and agony in your search for who is what type.
Let’s look at another song title, Subterranean Homesick Blues.
OK, that song title is either the work of an ENTP or INFJ. Yes, ENTPs can write a three word phrase like that. It has that jaunty, ramshackle, and yet, in the final analysis, slick and seamless quality to it. In a word, it is elegant. It somehow all hangs together, when it really shouldn’t.
Same goes for the song title, Stuck Inside of Mobile with The Memphis Blues Again.
Either Dr. Seuss wrote that song or an INFJ did. Dr. Seuss is obviously an ENTP, and since he didn’t write this song, I’m left to conclude that it was an INFJ.
We can also notice that an ENTP didn’t write a great majority of these songs because of some of the keywords that stand out: blues, cry, bleeding, love, sad, lowlands, rainy, heavy, and the observation that it takes a lot of things all piled up together to make you laugh, but just one thing (a train) to make you cry.
Nope, ENTPs ain’t gonna be having none of that. If an ENTP wrote that song it would be called It Takes A Lot to Cry, It Takes Green Eggs and Ham To Make Other People Cry.
ENTPs tend to stay away from downer things such as love, lowlands, and bleeding.
However, Dr. Seuss, our resident ENTP, could have definitely written a song such as Leopard-Skin Pillbox-Hat. It has that irreverent “balancing elephants on telephone poles” quality.
Also, I want you to notice a characteristic way that INFJs use language. Notice the song, Queen Jane Approximately. We have a two words that are a proper noun and then as a little afterthought the word, “approximately”. The same thing is done with the song, Positively 4th Street, except in this case, the afterthought is used as a forethought. It’s not just 4th street, its positively 4th street. This type of thing is a totally INFJ thing. Dylan was a genius at being able to take a relatively pedestrian phrase and make it into this evocative coupling by adding one word. That’s a genius thing to be able to do.
Take Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. Similar thing. It’s an introverted thinking thing (numbers, quantity) combined with an extraverted feeling thing.
Take the song, Love Minus Zero/No Limit.
Love Minus Zero? Those three words confirm INFJ. The math of emotion.
To give a few instances of other INFJs who do this type of thing brilliantly in titles I’ll name off Philip K. Dick, the science fiction writer, in his book entitled, A Scanner Darkly. Here we see the humanizing of a machine by using a qualitative term to imbue it with an emotional tone of some sort.
Alternately, INFJs dehumanize a person by using a quantitative description such as numbers, math, or the word “approximately” to refer to them. INFJs do that all the time, like I just cited in the instance of Bob Dylan. Think with your heart, feel with your head.
Take Alice B. Sheldon, a female science fiction writer, who wrote a book entitled, Warm Worlds and Otherwise. Same thing. We have the plural noun “worlds” and these worlds are described with the adjective “warm” and then as a sort of flippant afterthought, the phrase, “and otherwise”. That is the introverted thinking tertiary being used brilliantly in characteristic INFJ fashion. It’s has the effect of saying, “There is this feeling tone that is like this, but a little bit adjusted to this position to give it a slight formal quality.” INFJs have a sort of mathematical precision within the confines of a natural language.
That is so INFJ. Taking an introverted thinking aspect of language, like a noun, and then using an extraverted feeling aspect of language, like an adjective, and with an archer’s accuracy, pin it to the bulls eye with a quick stroke of their pen. INFJs have uncanny accuracy of aim with words. It has the effect of an elegant formula that sums up this whole body of emotional truth and experience.
The definitive vs. the descriptive. Introverted thinking vs. extraverted feeling. INFJs have a gift with using this axis in a back-and-forth, alternating manner to articulate the perceptions they are receiving via their introverted intuitive dominant function. Extraverted feeling leads, but introverted thinking follows as a natural opposite reaction. And INFJs need to not let it be the other way around. Or they will come to a standstill.
Okay, back to Dylan. We will notice a fair amount of train references in Dylan’s songs. Actually, he named a whole album of his after this, Blood on The Tracks. Then there are things in his songs like a thousand telephones that won’t ring, highways that are revisited, trains that make you cry (perfect meeting point for Gemini and INFJ – transportation and tears), being a rolling stone with no direction home, in short, a lot of Gemini-type references to transportation, highways and byways, jingle-jangle mornings, communication portals such as telephones, mailboxes, and post offices, train lines, railroad men, restlessness, boredom, and needing to get somewhere besides where they’re at now. All those subjects are typical Gemini subjects.
There must be some kind of way out of here. What is it? What do I have to do to not have to go through all these things twice? Those are some of the Gemini themes running through Dylan’s songs. Gemini can’t bear to stand still. Nor to experience the same thing twice.
Dylan has a song called Maggie’s Farm that is all about the Gemini hell of boredom combined with the INFJ ability to use very simple and effective metaphors to illustrate how everyone in the world around them is so blind (and so boring).
You know, INFJs are really, really good at dressing people down without being detected. This is the gift of metaphor and inference. Reading between the lines. For a Gemini INFJ, it would be reading between the telephone lines. INFJ + Gemini = master of the double entendre. Gemini is all about using two things to play off each other. Gemini + INFJ = syllogisms on acid.
Dylan was always banging people over the head in his song lyrics; ribbing, needling, jesting, quipping, dipping, diving, conniving, and out-thriving. If an interviewer asked him about it he would just say something cryptic and quixotic to snuff out the inquiry. Press people would hound Dylan asking, “What do your songs mean?” He would say, “They mean what they are,” or something to that effect.
I don’t think Dylan really knew what he was doing. He was surprised that people were attributing all these meanings to it. And that is the thing about INFJs (especially a Gemini one), they are just singing their song. They just express and out comes bits of these cosmic truths disguised as lies. And sometimes it is the opposite, lies that are disguised as truth. Really, they don’t even know.
Yet, they do. Paradox.
It is often true that an artist will have little idea what they have expressed or what the significance of their work is. They might just write off lines that don’t make any sense. And other people will see all these things in it. But, it wasn’t intentional and it may or may not be true. It could all be true and not simultaneously.
Being a Gemini is a bit like being an ENTP’s auxiliary function of introverted thinking. The way an ENTP uses introverted thinking is totally different than the way an INTP would use it. ENTPs use it playfully and irreverently, in Dr. Seuss fashion. They engage in a lot of word and logic play that shows the hilarity of situations, people, things, and even language itself.
I think that is the heart of the matter; language itself. ENTPs engage in the irreverent use of language like they are just treating words and logic like totally dumb and hopelessly futile things (the birth of ironic detachment) but in a way they use this mode of irreverence towards language to teach you an attitude of respect towards using language and words in a way that reflects their true nature. Stephen Colbert comes to mind. So does Socrates, the ENTP of all ENTPs, when he questioned people to find out what they know to find out that when you strip through all the layers of language, people don’t really know anything. They just know words. In other words, words have their definitions and in those definitions are more words that have their own definitions. ENTPs know this and have this as their kind of primal dilemma (if it may be considered a dilemma to them because I don’t think they really care).
INFJs have this devil-may-care attitude to language via their tertiary function of introverted thinking. It may be fair to say that INFJs treat words even more irreverently than even ENTPs in some ways. Well, it depends. Some INFJs get very caught up in correct word choice when they are writing, but that is because they are going directly for introverted thinking (definitive meaning of terms) rather than extraverted feeling (overall tone of the whole expression, like a picture in words).
But, Dylan being a lot like the jester aspect of ENTP was an INFJ that treated words like birds, like absurds. And don’t be such a nerd for getting so hung up on it. That is Gemini INFJ.
They are just words. Take them at face value. They are things unto themselves that only refer to themselves. They are a sort of playground. ENTPs are like pigs rolling festively in the mud of this playground.
But, add in the INFJ temperament and you get someone who is capable of expressing deep truths, often without knowing it or intending to, and paradoxically and conversely, sometimes with a deadly serious intent to do so bordering on divine mission (that’s INFJ for you).
But, both ENTP and INFJ will suddenly drop the whole import of a matter in a burst of cosmic humor and irreverence. Actually, an ENTP will just start out that way and an INFJ will often leave off there, like, “Yeah, what was all that about?”
INFJs start out trying to say something that reflects the condition of a suffering and oppressed humanity and then end up in a state of philosophical detachment. INFJs tend to resolve to this position as they mature. But, only after going through a time.
Bob Dylan is a good example of an INFJ who expressed themselves rather profusely and without a lot of self-editing. He didn’t need to know what he was saying. What he really needed to do was keep moving forward like a train rolls on down the tracks. Yes, there is all this heartache on the way. But, Bob’s motto was “Don’t look back.” That is the Gemini way. Keep moving. Like a rolling stone that gathers no moss. The answer, if it comes at all, will come without getting hung up at one signpost or another.