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I am a Bond villain (though without the success). I mean the classic villains, from the early, Sean Connery days: the days when the villain was typically an outcast from normative society, unable to fit a holistic, beautiful, hetero-macho ideal. The villain who was brilliant and uber-rational yet psychologically unsound. Who was able to concoct intricate, elaborate schemes, yet whose schemes inevitably failed. Thus the reason I think I’ve enjoyed the 007 series so much is not just the standard male fantasy fulfilment through the handsome, successful, and suave cretin who nevertheless gets everything he wants, but also identification with the competent yet failed mastermind. This sense of familiarity is not just one of shared basic personality (i.e., INTJ, “the mastermind”), but more importantly the experience of profound failure and isolation despite strenuous attempts to orchestrate things otherwise. (As Matchbox 20 says, “And sometimes you can still lose even if you really try”).

I’ve come to appreciate the old mythic stories of Fate (or the Fates)—the idea that the circumstances and outcomes of individuals (and even gods!) are determined by a mysterious, ineluctable and not necessarily benevolent force. The similar Christian conception of Providence has a much more positive nuance to it, of purpose and ultimate benevolence. This all too easily whitewashes the seemingly unfair differentials handed out in human existential situatedness. Relative privilege, desire, and happiness are not correlated in reality. Both the Hebrews and the Greeks were more comfortable with a not-always benevolent deity than Christian or Deist Providence would seem to allow.

Of course, the idea of fate makes scheming into futile hubris, and this would seem to be an apt summary of the classic Bond villain, self-aggrandizing as they are. This is something hard to accept for an INTJ. The two polar extremes of Kierkegaard’s and Camus’s responses to this dilemma—dialectical surrender and cosmic spite, respectively, seem equally attractive and impossible, despite being mutually exclusive. This makes it a relief that the villain gets killed in the end—the scheme may fail, but at least the villain need not continue striving futility for a successful one.