Sensation types are concerned primarily with the current and
immediate. In no other type is there so well developed an
ability to perceive the present moment in all its depth.
Sensation types do not integrate past experiences into their
present activities. They meet events in terms of existential
reality, with little concern for how they got to be that
way. Life is happening; where it comes from and where it is
going are matters of minor importance. That it exists, and
can be perceived, is paramount.
perceived through the senses at any one moment is all of
reality. It is the sensation type's version of truth. He
respects the concreteness of the object, reads its message,
and reacts accordingly. In order for a thing to exist one
must be able to feel, taste, touch, hear or see it.
Sensation types eventually learn that the nonvisible and
non-manifested also are real. But they never wholly believe
is the time orientation of the sensation types that accounts
for their efficiency in dealing with crisis and emergencies
of any kind. They can respond to the slightest cue, grasp
the nature of a situation at a glance, and because they are
comfortable in dealing with the present, they can act
unhesitingly on what they see. They are not hampered by
trying to decide between alternative courses of action; the
event itself tells them the correct behavior. They are more
skillful in handling tools, materials and persons than are
individuals in other categories. Their responses - so swift
and so frequently effective - indicate that they possess
total competence, which can immobilize opposition and lead
others to agree when they are essentially doubtful. This is
a common trap, especially for thinking and feeling types.
Thinking types assume that no one could possibly be so
effective without having thought the thing through and
decided the response was consistent with principle. Feeling
types presume that the sensation type is aware of others'
feelings and will not act hurtfully. Neither assumption is
true. The sensation type has not thought about things, nor
does he concern himself particularly with how others feel.
He simply must act, because
action is the only
appropriate response to the strength of the stimulus he is
receiving. If the sensation type is a decent person, he will
turn this skill to good ends -- consider George Washington
and the American Revolution. If he is a tyrant, like Stalin,
he can dominate an entire nation to the great disadvantage
of millions of its citizens. Sensation types are greatly
concerned with power and, in the short run at least, they
are the most skillful in power plays.
delay in meeting his needs annoys a sensation type. Waiting
is equivalent to denial. The sensation type who is told to
be patient and endure a delay of a month or two will attempt
to maneuver others into fulfilling his wishes, and, if this
cannot be done, he is quite likely to dissolve the
relationships. The capacity to wait, to delay gratification,
comes from the experience of knowing that time flows.
Sensation types do not experience time as flowing. They have
learned that it moves - they can read the clock. But their
inner experience is not of a flowing of time. It is rather
the experience of a present that is rich, full, deep, and
always there. They are dragged from one moment to the next
by their activities, not by the perception that time marches
The lack of past and future also
accounts for the sensation type's constant desire to
experience new sensations. Since he can neither remember nor
anticipate, the only way he can determine whether a
sensation is pleasing is actually to have it. He prefers a
positive sensation, even a negative one, to no sensation,
which is intolerable.
It is this that drives him into constant activity. It is
rare to find a sensation type who is even a little bit lazy.
Since the sensation type is known through his actions rather
than through his words, the cinema is particularly
appropriate for presenting his portrait. The movie Alfieabundantly illustrates the objectivity and
moment-to-moment orientation of the sensation type. This
whole film is a record of Alfie's inability to detach
himself from the stimuli of the moment. When he finds a
woman, nothing prevents him from trying to seduce quickly
and efficiently. It would never occur to him that it was
wrong to do so, for he is acting not on principle but on the
conviction that good sensations are right and proper in
themselves. As a result of Alfie's attempt to "brighten up"
the wife of a sick friend, she become pregnant by him. An
abortion is arranged in his apartment. Alfie cannot bear to
stay there. He goes for a walk. In spite of the drama taking
place in his own rooms, once he is out of the door, Alfie
literally forgets the abortion; he is easily diverted by
anything that crosses his view in the street. Only when he
returns to the apartment, and sees the dead fetus, does it
strike him that something serious has happened. Until then,
neither the fact of the abortion, nor Lilly's suffering, nor
the existence of the baby had any reality. The film's end
finds Alfie the same as ever, in hot pursuit of sensations.