Saturday, 11 March 2017

Thought 481: Effects of Personality Type

Like many others, I have indulged in filling in personality quizzes (such as on the website and although the results have come up somewhat different at different times, the one that most forcefully presents itself is INFJ, i.e. Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judge and that is the one, all things considered, I most identify with, not least because it is the rarest of all types and my girlfriend admits to my being a 'rare bird' and therefore not very relatable on social media or even in real life. 

It is no small point of pride for me that this was/is the alleged personality type of Plato, Spinoza and J.K. Rowing but also of Hitler, whose biography by Alan Bullock I read as a teenager and actually identified with despite that historical figure's shitty worldview, effect on others and legacy. 

Indeed long time followers of my intellectual development will recall the highly narcissistic and toxic worldview of my early twenties, born of insecurity, fear and low self-esteem and a most poisonous superiority complex, which took German philosophers Nietzsche and Heidegger far too seriously. 

Some of the posts I wrote in this state are still extant on this blog, albeit slightly moderated but many have been removed due to their arrogant and ugly nature. 

Anyway the interesting thing about the personality type system is that it does make one realise how at odds you might be with other people in terms not only of introversion or extroversion, but also in terms of priorities such as whether being right matters more than not upsetting others' feelings, whether truth matters more than cooperation, whether power is more valued by you than justice and so on as well as characteristics such as how imaginative you are, how improvising or planning you are, how sensitive you are etc.

Are all personality types equally legitimate or are some objectively more moral than others? 

Raising this question of the morality of personality types I am of course being typical of my own personality type, as morality may not be a big concern for other, less idealistic, personality types for whom, say, competitive, status-conscious values will be more important. 

Politicians need be extroverted to make a name for themselves in their particular trade and their worldview and personality preferences as reflected in business values, the need for competition, 'leadership' will unfortunately come to bear on others who do not share them. 

Thus, in shaping the world in their image, politicians will come to determine the fate of people, such as thoughtful introverts, who do not identify with business and competition. 

Indeed in my blog post Knowledge and Sensibility I put forward the hypothesis that much of the world's activity and human expressions, likes and dislikes, stems from the associations and divisions that occur between different 'sensibilities', which I defined as including personality preferences as well as comfort zones, sensitivities, intellect, imagination, creativity and so forth. 

Perhaps there are personality types that are just incompatible and will not mix well together and indeed personality type is likely to colour one's political preferences as well, regardless of the role of mass mind control methodologies.

For as I stated in my post Anarchist Split, even individuals who pride themselves on their political awareness and do not fall for the system of political representation also divide along right-wing, left-wing lines, particularly in their view of money and capitalism and how resources should be allocated. 

It is likely that those who value business and enterprise will fall on the anarcho-capitalist side of things whereas those who want to indulge in self-explorative (some might say self-indulgent) creativity like myself will fall on the anarcho-socialist side.

Perhaps introverts are more left-wing than extroverts? Is that why the United States has so much suspicion towards left-wing programmes and 'socialism' (or its particular view of it) for being the nation that is said to be the most extroverted on the planet?

Personality type also has an impact on mental health and it is almost a cliché now that sensitive introverts are at risk of developing conditions such as anxiety and depression as well as being preyed on by bullying dominators, including as early as school.

This is no doubt largely due to society in its mainstream aspects (over)valuing extroverted traits, particularly in jobs, requiring as they often do the need to self-promote, be a 'team player', network, smile, have fun, party and so forth.   

The book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain deals with some of these issues although I personally hated reading it, it being born of such an American perspective and underplaying the utter inanity of so many extroverts and American corporate culture - which have been highlighted more honestly and courageously by introvert researcher Barbara Ehrenreich. 

Some introverts might even come to see many status conscious, competitive extroverts as 'psychopaths' when in fact these latter are merely responding to their own sensibility in its emotional contents. 

Anyway as an artistic INFJ it is no surprise that I'm on welfare, completely unable as I am to conform to job culture or indeed most socially determined institutions. My blog, whether in its works or writings, is entirely biographical and reflective of my personal life preferences and as I once wrote on ScruffyOwlet's Tree, you are entitled to hate me