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Saturday, March 19, 2016
What do Gandalf, Linus, and The Once Lost Wanderer have in common? (NOVA this week, March 19, 2016)
Gandalf, Linus and The Once Lost Wanderer are all INTP.
While perusing some book blogs recently, I happened upon three different bloggers who listed their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). MBTI is a systematic attempt to categorize human beings into various personality types. There are other systems of personality typing, but MBTI is one of the most widely accepted. It was developed by researchers Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers, and is based on the typological theory of Carl Jung. In MBTI, there are sixteen different personality types, designated by a four letter combination.
I am INTP. That equates to (I)ntrovert, I(N)tuitive, (T)hinking, (P)erceiving.
As opposed to ESFJ: (E)xtrovert, (S)ensing, (F)eeling, (J)udging.
Everyone is either I or E; N or S; T or F; P or J
If you are one of those people like me, who dislikes being categorized too narrowly, disliking labels, it might relieve you to know that for each of the letter pairs, you can be anywhere on a continuum between the two extremes. For example, on the I or E continuum, I am distinctly I, but on the T or F continuum, I am very near the center. My point is, even though there are only 16 distinct personality types, when you think about the continuum, there are nearly endless possibilities.
This is just scratching the surface of a very intriguing field of study.
As I said, I’m an INTP. Some famous INTPs: Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Rene Descartes, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Abraham Lincoln, Socrates, and Carl Jung himself. REALITY CHECK – if you google your own MBTI type, the list of famous people always comes up with pretty flattering examples. They tend to exclude people like Hitler, Caligula, Lee Harvey Oswald etc. I’m certain each type has its share of villains as well. I just throw this in here, because I despise elitism. There are support groups for every MBTI type, and sometimes they become very self-congratulating, exalting the heroes of the type, and implying INTPs (or ESFJs, or ISFJs, etc) are better people than other types. MBTI makes no such assertion. There are sinners and saints on the roles of any MBTI type you pick.
Way off track though. Not my point. Just a pet-peeve.
My favorite fictional INTP is Linus VanPelt (Peanuts). I compared myself to Linus, even before I knew what INTP meant, so that was validating. My second favorite is Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings). Other INTPs from literature: Bernard Marx (Brave New World), Howard Roark (The Fountainhead), John Galt (Atlas Shrugged), Klaus and Violet Baudelaire (A Series of Unfortunate Events), Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter), Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock Holmes series).
But still really not my point. As I said in the beginning, I noticed three fellow book bloggers who listed their MBTI type. I’ve already forgotten exactly what they were, but all three were I – Introvert.
That would seem to make sense that introverts would be bookish types. Not exclusively of course. There are certainly extrovert book lovers. But I’m curious now fellow book bloggers; what is your MBTI type?
More details about my own MBTI profile: