Monday, April 13, 2009

Free and Unfettered? Nah, Just Acting According to Type

In my mini-systematic theology I identified myself as "a skeptic, a relativist, and a pragmatist."
On the Myers-Briggs inventory of personality types, I am an INTJ (although pretty close on the T F scale, but totally I). In a book describing the sixteen types (Keirsey, Please Understand Me), I read that INTJ's are skeptical, relativistic, and pragmatic. Hmmm. In a previous blog I noted that I voted as my demographic location plus zip code would indicate. Hmmmm. Seems like I am behaving according to type.

So you think you are the "Master of your fate, Captain of your soul (William Ernest Henley)?" Nah! I bet that, just like me, your typical ways of thinking, feeling, relating to nature and other people, and preferences in life, love, and work are all in accordance with your type.

Given the details of your demographic location, your Myers-Briggs scores, and your zip code, knowledgeable analysts could discern enough about your predispositions, temperament, and the likely way you vote to give you the impression that someone has been following your around and peeping into your mental and emotional. processes. I refer here to primary ways of perceiving the world and relating to it and other people characteristic of your dominant type, not the specific content of your mind and life peculiar to you.

Masters of our fate, Captains of our souls, free to choose as we choose to choose? Nah, we just all think, decide and feel according to type.

The professor in me insists that I point out that there are numerous locations between each of the four polarities of the Myers-Briggs inventory, creating many variations. Hence, the total number of types is quite large, but our outer and inner lives are expressive of our dominant and secondary formations. Any notion of human freedom that does not recognize these restrictions on our capacity for choice is inadequate. Freedom means self-determination not absence of determination.


David West Keirsey, Please Understand Me.

Or just do some googling.