The dawning of the Age of the INTJ

Last night, during my many nomadic travels over and through and under the blogosphere, I came upon this post on Default User’s blog.

Discussing one of many personality tests I’ve heard of over the years, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the DU discussion touched upon many curious aspects of the resulting personality types (16 in all) denoted by a combination of 4 letters (from a pool of 8) representing different aspects of the Jungian-defined personality. DU linked this site which has a thorough explanation of the lettering system.

I generally stay away from personality tests. Many of them are just plain bullshit. I took the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) years ago, a long, tedious personality test that is so long your personality has a chance to evolve radically from the moment you answer the first question to the moment you finally check the final one. Nevertheless, when I received the “results” I found it was pretty damned accurate. The MMPI, if I remember correctly, is scaled against people with known mental pathologies and basically it tells you just how fucked up and borderline institutionalized you are.

From that point forward it seems I was subject to an endless series of garbage tests via email and street hand-outs which were contrived and badly (ie, unscientifically) written. Tests are ubiquitous on the internet as well. The dating site OkCupid offers many personality tests written and designed by members.

DU also references a link where you can take a 72-question version of the MBTI.


See…that’s one reason I’ve shunned these for so long.
They remind me of the Scientological quackery BS I see around Hollywood. In my mind, those clowns have permanently stained the art of personality tests.

Dianetics-snorting freaks.

So it was Friday night, on the cusp of a 3-day weekend, and I was wallowing in aimlessness sitting here on a cool evening while my son battled mortal Xbox Bioshockian enemies.

What was I supposed to do? I took the damn test. 72 questions takes a while, especially if you concentrate and attempt to honest each truthfully. Which I feel I did.

When all was said and done, I found my unique little DNA-strandian score: INTJ.

OK, what does that mean.

Funny you should ask, because there is absolutely no shortage of answer keys floating around cyberspace waiting to tackle that very question.

Among many, I found these 3 profiles of the “Introvert Intuitive Thinking Judging” type.
The Personality Page

Hey, forget that shit, even Wikipedia gets in the act.

Next step, self-assessment.

You know yourself best. You can tell if the test fits. Or if not.

By all apparent appearances, the test is relatively time-tested and spawned from legit psychological motives and sources. The MBTI, according to the Wiki entry,

…is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated from the typological theories originated by Carl Gustav Jung…

OK, good start.

I read and studied each interpretation of the INTJ and I was impressed at the precision with which the MBTI described me in just 72 questions.

Frequently, when interpreting results of any behavioral or psychological test results that purport to sum you up, (and astrological surveys, as frequently happens) you must detach yourself. You must view the results coldly and impersonally. Put yourself in the shoes of a good friend analyzing this from a 3rd person point of view. Would they agree with the results?

I believe what happens (especially with astrological charts) is that we tend to paint the bullseye around the arrow when it comes to self-interpretation from without. Depending on how badly we want to believe the test or the results, we may subconsciously stretch the parameters and test-driven criteria in order for it to fit our personality.

In other words, we are delusional and dishonest with ourselves.
But in the case of the MBTI, the results are stated in a sufficiently concrete manner and there is little room for misinterpreting their veracity. You either are. Or you aren’t. And I was. Very much so.

I’ll list the summary points of the INTJ but refrain from going into terrible detail for the sake of succinctness. Because frankly, I believe most people don’t want to spend enormous amounts of time understanding what makes other people tick, especially bloggers.

Here are some snippets I grabbed from the INTJ interpretative links above:

*”Paradoxes, antinomies, and other contradictory phenomena aptly express these intuitors’ amusement at those whom they feel may be taking a particular view of reality too seriously”
* “Some question the existence of Feeling in this type, yet its unseen balance to Thinking is a cardinal dimension in the full measure of the INTJ’s soul.”
* “[INTJs] are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning.”
* “Although they are highly capable leaders, [INTJs] are not at all eager to take command, preferring to stay in the background until others demonstrate their inability to lead.”
* “They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill.”
* “INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people’s thoughts or feelings.”
* “…they are most comfortable working alone and tend to be less sociable than other types.”

This is a small and simplified sampling. The online resources available to interpret your MBTI score are extensive and afford great detail if you so desire. My own results were a resounding match. Amazing that such depth of personality can be garnered from less than 100 questions.

In Default User’s post, he makes an interesting observation regarding the INTJ:

INTJ is a recurring type on Internet forums that feature argumentation. While the make up perhaps 1 percent of the real-world population they might be 20 percent or more of the online population. They feature heavily on Roissy and related sites.

I can see where this personality configuration might make one well-suited for the anonymous, yet thoroughly immersed and involved, nature of the blogosphere.

It explains my motives very well.

I can be in, I can be amidst, and I can indulge in occasional thoughtful interactions, but I am under no simultaneous obligation to entertain or face people other than those moments I desire. I am not forced to wake up and eat breakfast with the blogosphere; I can tune out the blogosphere while I sit and think or zone out or stare at the sky; the blogosphere does not ask that I buy it flowers or greeting cards or gifts. The INTJ finds timely relief in 21st century cyber life. This is our era. The faceless disconnectedness of our cybermoment in history allows us to flourish at last.

As an INTJ, real life can present problems for me, however.

I work in a large corporate monster, a paradigm and behavioral sea that is the antithesis to the INTJ’s individualism, skepticism and independence (and fixation with excellence). Not only do I work for a corporate behemoth…I work in the middle of a corporate floor. Surrounded by corporate schmoozers in their casual business attire and structurally enabled and rewarded mediocrity.

INTJ’s curse is living amongst a society whose intrinsic nature is compiled of mediocrity. Mediocrity’s infiltration at every level, even those “upper” levels you would think subsist on excellence. Uh uh, ain’t so. The modern workplace is awash in rewarded and accepted idiocy and subpar intelligence.

The INTJ must grow a sense of acceptance and peace of mind in order to survive happily. I think I’ve done OK there.

And there is always the blogosphere for those rare times I need “face time.”