Morgan Freeman (Analysis)

In recent years, Morgan Freeman has been publicly acclaimed for his characteristic narrating voice. Notwithstanding his experience in acting, one could be surprised by the way this very posture has been appropriated during a variety of public presentations, without a hint of affectation. These cues may allow the inquisitive spectator to progress on the path to understand the individual’s mannerism and personality, with the help of filmed interviews.

In typological terms, Morgan Freeman leading process could be easily identified as reactive/introverted perception or “worldview”, abbreviated Pi. Indeed, from the start of the exchange, his very sitting position emphasizes a calm, literally laid-back temper. Slight bursts of energy are noticeable, but the momentum is mostly contained and slowed down, which would indicate the complementary but subservient process of proactive/extraverted perception or “exploration”, abbreviated Pe. Additionally, his body lacks the prominent rigidity which would be suggestive of a judging type, and stay somewhat “viscous”, with a discrete swaying.

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Figure 1 : Morgan Freeman’s right shoulder goes back and forth in a “viscous swaying”, accompanying a side look

In the end, perception most significant organ may be the eye, and the overall movement often accompanies a lengthy, fixated look down and to the side, “zoning out”, when the individual is incited to refer to his memory.

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Figure 2 : A more detailed capture of Pi side look

Beyond its peculiar crispiness, Morgan Freeman intonation may also expose his secondary pair of judging functions. His phrasing is given rhythm by an alternance of warm swellings and neutralized breaths, which suggests proactive/extraverted ethical judgement (Fe) and reactive/introverted logical judgement (Ti). His aim is sometimes underlined by a delicate but firm gesture from the hand or the head, even though its restraint and inertia should imply that Fe is a secondary process.

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Figure 3 : Morgan’s Freeman coordinates his finger and speech to make a point

Eventually, this assessment is confirmed by the smile, which extends to the sides through the zygomatici muscles in a purposeful and nuanced fashion.

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Figure 4 : Morgan Freeman’s knowing smile

From there, differentiating between the NiFe/Valein type, lead by abstract perception, and the SiFe/Malein, lead by concrete perception, can prove more difficult, and will necessitate even more detailed observations. Both types are prone to follow their internal course of thoughts, and on some occasions to narrate or ramble about their life experiences. Circumstances and physical features may also alleviate the distinction between external signals.

The first clue should appear through the general expression of the eyes. Due to a difference in ocular muscles use and focus, the eyes of a Ni-lead should keep a “sharper” appearance under the relaxed upper eyelid, which would give them an air that one could refer to as “hypnotic” or “unimpressed”, compared to the “dull” eyes of a Si-lead. This however, can be a tenuous impression to the observer, so supplementary signals may help cement it.

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Figure 5 : Far focus and continuous fixation is giving to the Ni eyes an “expectative”, “unimpressed” look

When two processes are difficult to differentiate by themselves on an individual, the decisive argument can come from discerning the expected complementary process, in this case proactive concrete perception (Se) or proactive abstract perception (Ne). Although Morgan Freeman manifests a playful recourse to acting in his narrations, which may evoke the parodying tendency of Ne, the movement of the eyes more likely suggests an oscillation between Ni and Se.

In ordinary occasions, the typical steadiness of Ni and Se could transpire through a lengthier fixation on the interlocutor or to the side. However, due to the format of the television interviews at hand, the natural pondering is kept to a minimum and the guest is incited to quickly chain questions. One may thus find more reliable or accessible signals in the occasions where Morgan Freeman eyes are widening or toggling. Contrary to the toggling of a Ne user, which is soft and unfocused, “naive” so to say, the eye moves are swift, often highlighting one upward look before coming back downward and “zoning out”.

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Figure 6 : Quick oscillation between a zone-out and an upward look

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Figure 7 : A widening of the eyes followed by a swift look upward

If they are tracking a particular object, they appear even more fixated, giving an almost “manic” impression, while the upper and down eyelids, usually relaxed, are both peeled to the brim.

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Figure 8 : Oscillation between a widen, very fixating stare and a relaxed zone-out, followed by a squint

Therefore, Morgan Freeman may be identified as a NiFe/Valein. His casual allure and his propensity toward storytelling further indicates a development one can refer to as the “grandfather” shade, which may appear closer to the SiFe/Malein type than other dispositions. This of course, is deeply enriched in this case by a varied life experience and a specific training as an entertainer. With the help of Ni-Se linear, seemingly confident flow, the actor can willfully manifest what can be referred to as “Beta Charm”.

Since he may rely on the factuality of experience to a greater extent than other Ni-lead, it can be difficult to pinpoint potential verbal cues of the abstract, not to say cryptic frame of reference of the NiFe “grandfather”. Perhaps the following quotes can put us on the trail.

In an interview about playing South-African leader Nelson Mandela, Morgan Freeman summarized his approach to acting as an abstract representation of the character internal life, interestingly coupled with its level of energy.

Morgan Freeman : “The basic thing that you need when playing a living human being, I think, is what goes on inside, how much energy is needed to be that person. And with Madiba, it’s a very low energy ebb, he is very quiet, inside.”

During an address to Oxford University students in 2015, he also condensed it as the following :

Morgan Freeman “I am not what they call a method actor. I just read the script and then stumble through it. A teacher once said […] I fall in the category of intuitive actors, I just intuit and do it… I just made that up.”

If you are searching for another similarly developed NiFe/Valein “grandfather”, you can take a look at Leonard Nimoy or Garrison Keillor.

Sources :
#TBT: Morgan Freeman On ‘Shawshank Redemption’ | TODAY
Morgan Freeman – Full Address to Oxford Union
Morgan Freeman on Nelson Mandela – “I am the master of my fate”

Bonus : Morgan Freeman reveals the secret of his amazing voice

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