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July 31, 2007

Testing the Personality


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Perhaps you have been fortunate enough to have avoided taking the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator at sometime in your life. It is a personality test based on the work of Carl Jung.

A younger colleague of his [Freud], Carl Jung, was to make the exploration of this "inner space" his life's work. He went equipped with a background in Freudian theory, of course, and with an apparently inexhaustible knowledge of mythology, religion, and philosophy. Jung was especially knowledgeable in the symbolism of complex mystical traditions such as Gnosticism, Alchemy, Kabala, and similar traditions in Hinduism and Buddhism. If anyone could make sense of the unconscious and its habit of revealing itself only in symbolic form, it would be Carl Jung.

Taking the Myers-Briggs, however, is hardly a mystical experience. The test is standard equipment of psych 101 professors, team builders, H-R departments and management consultants. It provides you with a four letter description of yourself, which tells all, and let's you know why you have difficulty in relationships with others who have scored differently. In the moment, it can deescalate an interpersonal conflict, and relegate it to a style problem. In the long run, you will never remember what all those initials stand for, and you always knew you were an introvert anyway.

Just in case you forgot your four letters or feel compelled to put yourself in a box this morning, here's the test, right at our fingertips thanks to the internets.

But enough background, there is now a revised version of the Myers- Briggs which claims to be " more relevant in our evolving civilization", and is certainly more entertaining than the original . A sample:

ENTJ: The Evil Overlord

The ENTJ is best characterized by his charisma, his ability to grasp complex situations and to think flexibly and creatively, his keen and active intelligence, and his overwhelming desire to crush the world beneath his boot. ENTJs are naturally outgoing and love the company of other people, particulalry minions, henchmen, slaves, and the others they rule with ruthless efficiency.

ENTJs usually die at the hand of secret government agents in a fiery cataclysm that destroys their entire underground fortress. Often, Evil Overlords will have a secret clone whose implanted memories contain all the knowledge and ambition of the original, stored in cryonic suspension in a safe location. The clone will appear in a sequel.

RECREATION: ENTJs enjoy spending their leisure time in groups, seeking out the company of others with whom they can exchange strategies and ideas, and test their mind control rays. They also enjoy competitive games which challenge them intellectually, such as chess, go, and "tell me where the missiles are or I'll open the pirhana cage and the girl dies."

COMPATIBILITY: Ideal companions include ENTPs, whose inventive natures often most useful; and ESTJs, who make excellent henchmen once the neural realignment is complete. ENTJs often employ the services of ISTJs but don't usually make good romantic partners with them. Under no circumstances should an ESTJ ever date an ENFJ; no good can come of it.

Famous ESTJs include Ming the Merciless, John Bigboote, and Charles Montgomery Burns.ENTJ: The Evil Overlord

Enough about Cheney. In the mood for a more complex personality analysis that should make us all take heed?

Photo note: A very loose association, having to do with variations -- I never saw a flower with flowers for petals.

Posted by Dakota at July 31, 2007 06:06 AM