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Saturday, 22 November 2014

Consciousness > Introversion and Extroversion


A few years back that someone told me "we're both INTPs" on whatsapp. Now it's always fun to hear someone's idea about yourself, isn't it? And there I was on an internet spiral, the next half hour was then spent reading all about INTPs, the myers-briggs test and the 16 or so personality types myers-briggs identifies. While reading the INTP profile, I remember "how fuck did they figure all this out about me" going in the back of head constantly. Go through the comments on one such forums and you'll get a many "It's so weird to see someone else completely figuring you out!" 

Here's an INTP profile summary:

As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. (goose bumps begin)

INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories.

The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings.

For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed correctly and succinctly.

They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others.

The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security.

They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories. They love to discuss these concepts with others (the others don't!).

And finally,
Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society (unfortunately it starts with those around first, mauling their cosy little existence of self-deceptions, illusions, automatic respect etc) move towards a higher understanding. 

Feel like a beauty pageant winner already—finally somewhere someone probably half way around the world "gets me". Thank you, thank you carl jung..(tears rolling).  Also good to know I'm not completely insane, phew!

After this I found susan's TED talk on introversion and her book quiet(which I didn't bother reading). I realised the introversion extroversion debate is quiet hot on the internet with mostly introverts being portrayed as some sort of victims with articles like "things not to say to introverts" and non-stop barrage about how the introvert brain just seeks stimuli in a very different way than an extrovert's does.

True, introverts can have a hell of a time reading how religion (along with many other things) was just an mechanism to control people (crimes and otherwise) in the ancient times since in the absence of CCTVs cameras and 24-hour emergency services a supernatural cop keeping watch all the time got the job done (perhaps not so well, that's for an different post!), or how India could have easily been a first-world rich and prosperous country if it weren't for the scumbag today glorified has "architect of modern India" or get a sweet boner looking at an infograph which puts events in an timeline right from the current moment till the big bang.

While their counterparts—the extroverts are busy discussing MTV roadies, splitsvilla, bigboss and talking about a live sports match on their facebook wall, you read it right—not in the chat but on the fucking wall commenting back and forth while uploading in another tab the 200 pics they took while at the cheapest pub they could afford last weekend!

So yes the brain stimuli part is all correct but the thin line when such generalizations begin to fail is dropping an very important aspect which is—(drumroll please)—consciousness. Which means humans can take charge and change and learn stuff. This annoyed Ayn Rand too: 

In psychology, one may observe the attempt to study human behaviour without reference to the fact that man is conscious.

The damage begins when an introvert reads his own personality like this, he might just set it his subconsciousness that this is "who he is", and whole process is set in the reverse so next time when he is at a party he doesn't even make an attempt to talk and rationalizes it with the "I'm an introvert, this is who I am, it's ok" recorder constantly playing in the background. The horoscope columns in newspapers or anywhere else work in this similar manner, you read it first and then your mind tries to connect what you read with your actual circumstance and you get the "this kinda connects with my situation" feeling. Your brain tries to fit what you read into your life and the introverts might just make the same mistake about fitting into the personality type box they read.

As mentioned above Man is conscious. In fact it's all the more rewarding if the introvert goes out of his way and decides to be Dale fucking Carnegie. Agreed the culture is more leaning towards "how you say it (and how you look!) triumphs what you say" philosophy which is just because majority of the population is the sensing type who are just feeling their way through life. So it's just obvious how powerful one can get if he has got both the how and what figured out.

Extroverts on the other hand are not going to be much impacted by what is written about them as they're hardly likely to ever read it in the first place being as busy as they are reading their facebook wall and buzzfeed. If you are one and you got to this line then pat yourself on the back and go pick up a copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

So it can be very helpful (and fun) to know and understand yourself in this dichotomy but ultimately consciousness triumphs and you can always learn a lot from the other side.

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