I hate the Myers-Briggs test. I especially hate when people try to describe themselves by their M-B profile. “I’m an ENTJ” or “I’m an INFP, and that means this that and blah blah blah.”
You are not an archetype. You are not an alignment (alignments are a tool, not a straitjacket. It said so right the D&D 2nd Edition Handbook). You are an amorphous blob of loves, hates, repulsions, delusions, and experiences. You are not a box. You are an oil spill reflecting swirled rainbows, and you cannot be contained.
I have a friend–a very wise friend. We’ve been friends for a long time, bound together by our love of geekiness, D&D, and sports. He once turned and said to me “The friendships that stay together are the ones based around hobbies.”
It’s true, and it’s because what you love makes you what you are. Your identity isn’t only your job or your wallet. It’s not your race or religion. It’s not your family. Yes, these things are part of it if they matter to you, but It’s what you’re passionate about that gives you identity.
(As I’m writing this, I realize that hate is the flip side, and defines you just as much. Let’s stay positive.)
I spend a lot of time (probably too much) navel gazing, contemplating who I am and my place in the Universe, society, etc. “Who I am?” That’s not something to define. When I develop a character for a story, I start with an archetype but then I add in history, interests, past traumas, and everything else until he becomes unique, someone who’s skin I can slip into when I write.
People aren’t fiction, and they aren’t categories or archetypes, no matter how hard we want them to be. What really irks me about the Myers-Briggs test, is that’s it’s basically a diagnosis to see where a person fits in a work environment.. People are not a diagnosis. If that was so, I’d be a man with bipolar syndrome and anxiety disorder, but I know that I am much more. I know that the wonderful people I’ve met with the same diagnosis are much more, but completely unique from me..
To paraphrase Whitman: ‘We are large/ we contain multitudes.’ As much as the “you are not a special snowflake” line passes through the zeitgeist, the truth is that you are unique, like a snowflake (though if we’re all unique, that doesn’t make us special. Funny, isn’t it?). We all are snowflakes. And when we all come together, then we’re a blizzard, a beautiful blizzard.
I believe very strongly at the need for a person to be true to themselves (“This above all; to thine own self be true.”). Individuality makes society stronger. If there were only 16 types of people, as indicated by M-B, we’d be weak, blotchy, like the starter box of Crayola with only a few crayons . But our individuality keeps society moving forward. Because we’re all unique, we’re the big box of crayons. Hell, we’re a million different boxes of crayons, all melting into each other to create new colors.
I think that it’s human nature to try and put people in a box. It makes them “easier to understand.” But you’re not understanding them, you’re making assumptions about them. You’ve created a personality, past, present, and future for them without knowing them. Why don’t you try to get to know them instead?
Of course, that means interacting with people you might not like. Try it anyway. You might learn something.
That’s right, the long-awaited reboot of my award-winning serial, The Watchmage of Old New York, is here! Click on the graphic above or here for the Amazon buy site, or buy on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, or Kobo. Don’t miss out on this, old fans and new will love what I’ve done with the story.