Part 1 of MBTI – Intro

In my mind, university has always been represented by a shot at Philosophy, Psychology and the Mona Lisa. So during my first quarter, I enrolled for all three, and threw in Music Appreciation. I didn’t know it at the time, but apparently, it was a mad combination for Freshie. Oh well.

In Psycho 101, I learnt about Oedipus, the inverse of Oedipus [I can never remember it’s name!], oral fixations, bestiality, and Freud. I learnt about the Greek humours [I’m mel-choleric…and don’t worry Arch, I’m not getting into that again]. I also crammed the Book of Jude. What fun!!

A few months ago, Mo introduced me to something even more fun than humours – the MBTI. It took me a while to figure it out, but now I can’t get enough of it! It’s just so fun. Here’s how it works. Every human being has two major thought processes – how they receive information, and what they do with it once they have it. And everyone has their own system of doing this.

Let’s say, for example, a friend or relative is in a car crash. Some people can tell instinctively that the loved one is hurt, without really knowing how or why, while other people will have to be told about it. If the accident happened near you, some people will jump into the wreckage to pull people out, others will call for help, others will rip clothing to perform first aid, others will practice moves they saw on ER or Fear factor, others will totally freeze up. All this depends on your personality.

Now, there are two major ways of receiving information. You can receive it externally, through your senses. You can see, smell, sense, taste or touch things. You can also receive information internally, through female intuition, telepathy, or gut instincts. Human beings use both methods to get info, but everyone has a preferred method. It’s not something you choose, it’s just like being right or left handed. In this case, the ‘right-handed’ people are the Sensors; most people know what they know through observation.

Once you have the information you need, you have to use it. Deciding what to do with your knowledge has two parameters. You can choose to do the sensible, logical thing, the smart thing. Or you can choose to do what is right. The logical way is easier to find, coz it’s simple, mathematical, calculatable [if that’s a word]. The ‘right thing’ to do is a little more tricky, because one person’s right is always another person’s left.

And then, there is how people approach life. Some people like to make plans, to draw up lists, to make timetables and budgets and game plans. Other people like to just go with the flow, roll with dice, drift with the wind, and all that romantic-sounding stuff. They like to be spontaneous.

And finally, and most obviously, the introvert vs the extrovert. Introverts are self-contained. They prefer solo activities – reading, writing, listening to music, silent pursuits. Extraverts are the life of the party. They like to go out there – anywhere, meet people, talk all the time, be outdoors. They are people-oriented. Tell them to sit still or spend a week alone and you might as well waterboard them.

The MBTI has categorized humanity into 16 character types. There are 8 different extraverts and 8 different introverts, and each individual is different. Each type is described using four letters. They can be

  1. I or E
  2. S or N
  3. T or F
  4. P or J

I’s, introverts, are usually more quiet and laid back than E’s, extraverts.

S’s can be identified by how they talk. Ask them to describe something, and they will likely tell you its shape, colour, size, smell, taste – observable features. Ask an N to describe something, and they will probably say what memories it evokes, how beautiful [or not it is]. An ‘S’ sunset is red, orange and brief. An ‘N’ sunset is running to escape the fearful dark that threatens to envelop its tail.

T’s often seem cold and detached, because they value facts more than feelings. It’s not that they are unemotional. It’s just that they don’t let mush cloud their judgement. They will break the rules if it’s logical to do it. F’s on the other hand are all about doing what is right, and are extremely conscientious. Goody goodies.

P’s are thought to be lazy, but it’s just that they live for the moment, and prefer to have fun. J’s are busy being disciplined and getting everything done.

Now the fun begins…

For more information on 3CB, click here.

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