The Aesthete (ISFP + ESI)

Overview (Introverted Feeling + Sensing)

The Aesthete is an individual of deep personal sentiment, especially in regards to personal interactions between them and other humans, continuously evaluating how their own and others’ interpersonal qualities, standards, and values relate to them and form the foundation of their behavior. They have the ability to actively shape their reality with their energy from the lens of their personal ethics – creating a certain “aesthetic” that manifests or repeats their ethics and/or sensorial perceptions and preferences.

aesthetic (noun)

• the philosophical theory or set of principles governing the idea of beauty at a given time and place:
(the clean lines, bare surfaces, and sense of space that bespeak the machine-age aesthetic; the Cubist aesthetic.)
• a particular individual’s set of ideas about style and taste, along with its expression:
(the designer’s aesthetic of accessible, wearable fashion; a great aesthetic on her blog.)
one’s set of principles or worldview as expressed through outward appearance, behavior, or actions: (the democratic aesthetic of the abolitionists.)

Most Aesthetes can be found in professions that appeal either to their sense of ethics, for example a humanitarian study; or external appearances and senses, such as music, fashion design, makeup artistry, modeling, beauty, aestheticians, hair styling; or both, such as marketing or being an influencer, though of course some of them will be found in other professions.

Many Aesthetes develop a personal style as they grow up, or at least are aware of fashion trends, choosing to dress themselves at an early age. The best dressed, groomed, styled and physically attractive people in the world are overwhelmingly Aesthetes, though that doesn’t mean that all Aesthetes are naturally good-looking or stylish.

Aesthetes can be quite immaculate; or on the flip side, focus on loftier or more practical goals in favor of their personal ethics and values.

Aesthetics, or esthetics, is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of aesthetics). It examines subjective and sensori-emotional values, or sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste.

Aesthetics covers both natural and artificial sources of aesthetic experience and judgment. It considers what happens in our minds when we engage with aesthetic objects or environments such as in viewing visual art, listening to music, reading poetry, experiencing a play, exploring nature, and so on.

The word aesthetic is derived from the Greek αἰσθητικός (aisthetikos, meaning “aesthetic, sensitive, sentient, pertaining to sense perception”), which in turn was derived from αἰσθάνομαι (aisthanomai, meaning “I perceive, feel, sense” and related to αἴσθησις (aisthēsis, “sensation”).

Aesthetic ethics refers to the idea that human conduct and behaviour ought to be governed by that which is beautiful and attractive. John Dewey has pointed out that the unity of aesthetics and ethics is in fact reflected in our understanding of behaviour being “fair”—the word having a double meaning of attractive and morally acceptable.

Purpose Role: The Aesthete will be in their natural element when they “shape” the (human) world, their own lifestyle and/or bodies, according to their own “sensori-emotional” ideals or a(e)s(th)et(ics), thereby creating a sophisticated aesthetic (in their lifestyle) or actively improving interpersonal relations.

Main Function (Fi)

The Aesthete’s main lens derives from an ethical viewpoint, evaluating the (human) world and personal interactions between people according to personal standards and feelings, attempting to either establish what they feel is personally favorable for themselves and/or others. Those evaluations can make some unhealthy Aesthetes (jaded) idealists, because humans do not always act according to higher ideals of human behavior.

Due to that predicament, unhealthy Aesthetes tend to be rather unforgiving and hold grudges or be surprisingly harsh in their personal judgments of people’s behavior and character, even of people they don’t personally know. More neurotic Aesthetes can have a(n internal) “knee-jerk reaction” when someone has impeached on something they consider of personal significance, such as personal preferences, standards and moral values that might not be obvious to others nor shared by others. Then they may retaliate with a provocative response, defending whatever values have been crossed, or at least make an internal note to shut out that person from their inner circle (and if very unhealthy, possibly hurt them in the future).

On the bright side, healthy Aesthetes are most able to stand up and fight for their strong personal beliefs and values (if they choose to do so), which can be beneficial for human interactions and humanity as a whole.

Aesthetes tend to clearly divide friend from foe based on interpersonal intimacy and compatibility, and can be quite reticent towards whom they judge to be “strangers”, less willing to show much external warmth unless sufficient emotional closeness or intimacy has been established. For that reason, casual encounters in social settings can be somewhat unsettling or unnerving to them initially, until they have grown closer and “warmed up” to certain people.

The Aesthete bears a particular kind of sensitivity which onlookers rarely get to see initially, hidden behind facial expressions that are hard to read. However, some Aesthetes can be quite adept at “seeing” the internal feelings and subjective attitudes of others, despite little or subtle external indicators.

Strong Internal Sensing (Si)

Many things move an Aesthete’s inner core emotionally; it can be a piece of music, an image, a certain environment, or simply a word, an action. In the hall of their internal feelings and sensibilities, there is a lot of resonance.

This emotionality is further increased by their physicality; they can feel emotional pain or physical ailments quite acutely in their bodies, or alternatively they can “sense” surroundings and receive a strong internal experience from them, which they tend to retain as a photographic impression for long times. Because their surroundings can have a strong internal impression on them, they often tend to have the desire and proficiency to “shape”, influence, or simply decorate it. Also, many Aesthetes are led by their “gut feeling” in response to interpersonal interactions, which can influence how they will treat someone.

However, Aesthetes do not care for their internal physical sensations but their feelings are intimately interwoven with them either way, which can make them quite physically and emotionally sensible/sensitive, similar to The Bonvivant. Though differently from them, The Aesthete typically conceals hidden sensitivities with a front of strength or even callousness, like The System Builder.

External Behavior

External Sensing (Se)

The Aesthete typically manages to be influential on a visceral level, and if necessary they can be pushy in interactions with others. Many Aesthetes can find ways to obtain a higher or estimated rank in social groups of their choosing, if they attempt to do so. (Nowadays, that often happens on social media.)

In contrast to more straight-forward personalities like the Performer, the Aesthete is able to exert psychological influence in a very subtle way. They are capable at “making things happen” and protecting their personal space and pushing forward their interests, at times including the ability to exert psychological pressure on others in order to get what they want. Though this ability depends on how much the Aesthete is willing to engage with the external world.

Additionally, some Aesthetes can be quite aware of how to move, position, and apply their bodies (and clothing) in a seductive but understated way, which creates an air of sensuality around them, thereby often drawing people to them.

Unvalued External Feeling (Fe)

The depth of an Aesthetes internal emotionality is commonly not obvious; in that way, the Aesthete can paradoxically appear to be quite unemotional and unaffected by outside influence, similarly to The Strategist.

On the rare occasion they communicate their feelings in an intimate setting, an Aesthete would prefer having a straight “poker” face. They prefer to express the depth of their emotion through indirect means, with a heartfelt, but at the same time almost neutral face and voice.

Even so, when an Aesthete feels like they are surrounded by people of their inner circle or who they consider to be personally valuable, they can “play it up” and be quite humorous or lighthearted. They are typically aware how to emote in external situations and how to “fit in” behaviorally. However, as a whole they find this type of behavior rather tiring and also annoying if extended emoting and “fitting in” attempts are done by others on a consistent basis.

Weak Unvalued Internal Thinking (Ti)

The Aesthete often feels the need to appear more logical and rational as a counterbalance to their internal emotionality. Some people may scold them for being too emotional; as a response, or in order to handle matters related to their interests, the Aesthete will try to learn theoretical knowledge and apply it as necessary.

However, they do not like to delve too deeply into the mechanics of theories and systems and rarely (if ever) create any systems and theoretical models of their own, which differentiates them from The Psychospiritualist or System Builder; it becomes rather apparent it is not their strongest suit and they do not truly care for it.

Valued Thinking (Te)

The Aesthete much prefer factual knowledge which is of a more practical nature and has stronger ties to observable reality or is related to spiritual insights. They usually like to rely on other individuals who possess a wealth of knowledge, provable credentials, and seem competent at the areas of their interest, rather than learning the inner workings and structures of theories themselves. (Though in certain cases, if they are particularly passionate about a subject, they will attempt to attain credentials in that area and value that accomplishment highly.)

In that manner, the Aesthete admires people who are organized and knowledgeable on a wide range of topics, who are enterprising, more practical and efficient than them, and who have a vision for the future, such as The Entrepreneur.

Aim at Intuition (Ni)

The Aesthete is commonly intrigued by means to observe a future or how to manage their time more efficiently; employing those means often becomes a hobby or pastime activity for an Aesthete. Especially the spiritual and foresight-related activities can make them appear similar to The Psychospiritualist, though differently from them, the Aesthete gains most of their wisdoms later in life through trial and error phases of experimentations and sensorial experiences or via extended personal study.

Weak Unvalued External Intuition (Ne)

It can be incredibly challenging to convince unhealthy Aesthetes of alternative possibilities or meanings or ways of life when they do not fit into the feelings an Aesthete already has about the situation or topic.

Generally, Aesthetes can struggle with assessing their true strengths and weaknesses (conceptually), and if unhealthy tend to be plagued by imagining negative potential futures in the external world, but most of which will never come true, similar to The System Builder. They may also struggle with generating new conceptual ideas and frameworks on their own.

Overall, the Aesthete is primarily concerned with human ethics and sensorial impressions that can be formed into a future goal or vision, mostly disregarding and not generating potential ideas that have no effect on tangible reality.


Aesthete Celebrities: Click here

Note: Of course there are aesthetes who possess a different personality type, so please do not assume that all aesthetes in the world fit this personality type! I call the Introverted Feeling + Sensing personality type “The Aesthete” not only because they are usually aesthetic (visually and/or ethically), but also because this personality structure personifies the archetype the best.


Type Compatibility

Most compatible:

Least compatible: The Experimentalist

*Note: These types can occasionally be less compatible due to mismatching Enneagram.


Functions

The Ego of the Aesthete:

  1. Introverted Feeling (Fi)
  2. Extroverted Sensing (Se)

The Super-Id (valued but weak)

The weakest Functions:

The strongest Functions:

Correlations:

ISFP (MBTI), ESI (Socionics)


Subtypes

There are specific subtype variations of the Aesthete.

Those variations can be grouped into Fi (Introverted Feeling) subtype and Se (Extroverted Sensing) subtype.

Fi subtype (Classic Introvert)

Fi (Introverted Feeling) subtype Aesthetes share most of those traits:

  • Stereotypically introverted
  • more invested in spiritual, mystical, or abstractly creative endeavors or interests
  • more in need of practical help and guidance and less concerned with physicality or appearance
  • more sensitive and touchy

Can be mistaken for INFP / EII.

Se subtype (Extroverted Introvert / “Ambivert”)

Se (Extroverted Sensing) subtype Aesthetes share most of those traits:

  • ”Ambiverted“ (can be mistaken for an extrovert)
  • more visibly pushy or even ”bossy“
  • more impulsive
  • more into sports and forming their body into an impressive physique
  • more logical/less emotional

Can be mistaken for ESFP, ESTP, ISTP / SEE, SLE, LSI.

Note: Don’t mistake Jungian “ambiversion” with sociable Enneagram instinctual stackings, like So/Sx, So/Sp, Sx/So. If you are an introvert with one of those stackings, you’ll come across as “ambiverted”, even if you don’t have that subtype!

No subtype

An Aesthete who falls into both categories more or less is mostly likely the No subtype kind.


Enneagram Types

  • more individualistic and/or abstract (Type 4)
  • more harmony-seeking, light-hearted (Type 9)
  • more vigilant and/or energetic (Type 6)

If you are neither Enneagram type 4, 9, nor 6, you are most likely not The Aesthete. But make sure you are correctly typed. You can book a Get•Typed session here.


Last update: July 2021

4 comments

  1. I’m confused as to whether I’m an Aesthete or a Bonvivant. I actually relate to both, but I am an infp and an enneagram 4, so I wonder if I could be both?

    Like

    • Hey! Sounds like I need to write a post about INFP’s equivalent. And no, you cannot be both! But the Aesthete and Bonvivant have the same strengths and weaknesses, so it can be easy to confuse the two. (Especially if you are a Type 9.) They correlate with ISFP and ISFJ in MBTI respectively. If you would like to get typed by me, you can message me here and/or book a typing session here!

      Like

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