Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Personality theory and feeling good about yourself

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the intellectual validity of MBTI theory, and I said I'd post again about its emotional validity. People often say to me that they were gob-smacked when they first came across MBTI because for the first time they realised there might not be something wrong with them, but that what they are is a legitimate variant of 'human being'.

How sad, that conformism is so overwhelming in our society, that for many people it isn't until they are past childhood, and able to marshall intellectual forces to their own defence, that it even occurs to them that they might be OK: it might be OK to be a person like you. I think this explains why young-adults who discover MBTI are often quite hostile to the majority personality types (extrovert and/or sensible types like ESTJ who sometimes seem to rule the world out there).

Wider society needs abstract thinkers, people for whom what is possible has greater emotional impact than what is right there in front of them. But we are like two people standing in the same room seeing two different things. One sees the furniture, another sees a ghost. They think we are crazy, we think they are blind. But we both need each other. I think that's very important: we aren't better, we just aren't worse.

A mature space captain will value his science officer, a mature chief of police will value his maverick cop. And vice-versa: Holmes needs Watson. The intuitive has to learn to cope in the real world, learn how to wear clothes that don't frighten the horses, learn to fill in a tax return, learn to cope with noisy environments (or whatever). But that doesn't mean hating themselves, or hating the people who find it easy.

I also think that society is like an ecology, and organisms change to fill a niche in that ecology. I think we are what we are partly because of society, and because people need 'people like us', not in spite of it. If everyone was impractical and dreamy, perhaps I'd be the practical one. Then I'd feel hard done by about that. Tsk some peopele are never satsfied.
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