Who do you think you are?
A tale of Jung, two entrepreneurial housewives and contemporary identity
What’s my purpose in this dump? Jesus take the wheel! Or Susan Miller. Or Myers-Briggs. Ancestral sin has made a splashing comeback and as we introspect for a quick-fix, or any fix, to our inabilities in relationships, careering and existing in the obscure-futured tire fire that is late-stage western capitalism, the questions and answers of our innate identity seems to be at the very core of a conceivable solution to these our most intimate quandaries. And so we’re off on an odyssey towards our true identity and thereby purpose, in order to avoid the unthinkable horror of finding ourselves having wasted our finite time trying to fit a cube into a sphere while GAME OVER repeatedly blinks on the screen. Time is limited and choices near infinite in the flaccid soon-to-be post-capitalist reality that is the setting to your ever-fading youth.
In 1942 a housewife by the name Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katherine Briggs, heavily inspired by psychiatrist and very handsome influencer Carl Jung (1875-1961), decided to take it upon themselves to elaborate their idol’s work Psychological Types from 1921, a book in which Jung applied the idea of typology to psychology, thus birthing the immensely popular idea of INTROVERSION and EXTROVERSION. Much like today, the early part of the former century were times obsessed with a sort of social mise en place, a KonMari-esque fetsich for putting things in boxes and creating order. Sewer systems, personal hygiene and antibiotics made a splash but so did eugenics, insulin comas and scientific racism. The original Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), also known on social media as the “16 personalities test”, is something in between a Buzzfeed Quiz and a diagnostic screening consisting of a series of statements on which you need to self-assess. You will end up becoming one of 16 personality types. All possible preferences in the four dichotomies (extraversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving) yield different combinations representing which of the two poles in each of the four opposites dominates in a person. You’re assigned a 4 letter acronym of the corresponding combination of preferences, which might be illustrated by a moomin character or Springfield resident, depending on where you take the test.
If you didn’t actually take the MBTI test then you’ve probably heard of it at some point, if not in a basic psychology class then perhaps in a setting similar to that of where you first heard of Susan Miller – the famed rock star astrologer obsessed with media and fame, foretelling acting gigs, book contracts and glitzy TV appearances left and right while looking like the lovechild of Nancy Reagan and Suzy Menkes (sans the There’s something about Mary jizz bangs). But what you might not know is that — although the test is disregarded as unscientific and severely lacking in evidence — it has, and is still being used in recruiting, teambuilding and even psychiatry. Isabella and Katherine claimed to want to help people find better suited jobs. Jung’s original intentions remain somewhat fuzzy. Some interpret his typology as a philosophical tool to understand people and patterns through observing arrangements of seemingly random variation in human behavior. But it is also true that Jung believed that various characteristics were imprinted on the human mind as a result of evolution. What is clear is that in the hands of entrepreneurial duo Myers-Briggs, it was appropriated into a draconian categorization of supposedly innate traits that came to be the go-to tool for recruiters, companies and even psychiatrists for decades to come, with millions of tests still being conducted each year. After savvy Isabella got the ETS* to publish MBTI in the sixties it skyrocketed to fame and never came back down. Everyone just kind of forgot to ask if it had any scientific backing. As a matter of fact, not even the original types were sprung out of evidence based facts, controlled experiments or data.
*educational testing service; world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization.
It’s 2021 and your identity is no longer an ever-changing assemblage of choices, experiences and emotional reactions (wake up, boomer!) but rather the collective sum of something larger, deeper-set – perhaps epigenetically doomed – and as we endeavor to find answers and explanatory models to our pernicious imperfections, the concept of discovering someone or something beyond the self – perhaps cosmos? – to tell us who we are and what we are intended to do has become undoubtedly appealing. Our contemporaneous predisposition for categorizing ourselves and others leaves no room for the sappy nurture theories of postmodernism. The MBTI has been referred to as “astrology for businessmen” though today you are probably, and hopefully, more likely to encounter it in dating app bios and dinner conversation. It’s appealing. It’s comforting. It’s a crutch. It’s not your fault you’re two hours late, it’s your personality type. But how effective is self-assessment really? How would our result differ if our friends got to assess us, or even our enemies? Do we evaluate how we think others see us or what we have been told by others that we are like? Or what we wish we were like, our ideal selves? It becomes a matter of our resilience to, not just other people’s opinion about us, but even our own, relying solely on our ability to perceive ourselves objectively, whatever that even means.
We need to rely on all of these senses reciprocatively to function. Few people would try to find a phone number by intuition and we all know that a spreadsheet in trying to decide whether to break up with a partner or not is useless, amirite ladies. What is intuition but not — through perception, experience and cognitive data — the ability to quickly make a highly personalized risk assessment, mastering your own personal algorithm. The act of guessing could point-blank be described as a qualified filling of the blanks, where we lack exactness in experience. That’s probably why children are shit at guessing and aren’t allowed candy from strangers.
MBTI might not be as glamorous as astrology but it’s very much inclusive and it has more of a sciencey flair to it (despite not being so). You won’t need to study planet alignments, ascendants and birth charts to confidently throw it around at a dinner conversation and it can even work as an internal conversation starter; much like tarot, wine or love — three other wonderful things that have little scientific backing. You don’t need a test to tell you who you are (unless you want Adderall, that is) so maybe we could just have fun with it? Being NSFW doesn’t necessarily make something useless. Isabella and Katherine had only good intentions, let’s just enjoy their life’s work because you are but one mere particle and the whole body of the universe, a free slave and the childless mother, you are a narcissistic empath and a virgin whore, you are potential and love, even if you choose to hate it. I’m lovin’ it. Think Different. Just do it. Because you’re worth it. P.S. Fuck Jung too.
I’m already in five chat groups about the weekend plans. Birthdays, game nights, dinners, group training, art shows, volunteering, and then there’s floorgasm on Sunday. Thinking about hosting a brunch at my place to celebrate my ex’s dead cat’s 20th death day. Bless him. I also have dick on my mind. Sometimes I crash other people’s weddings. What was the question? I was typing as I read.
I switch on “do not disturb”-mode at 5PM friday. I have to catch up on the new episodes of Curb, RHOA and Help! wrecked my house. I’ll chill with my laptop and deep-dive into Youtube, and by Sunday I’ll know how to communicate with an octopus, which might come in handy at work Monday (so I don’t have to share anything personal). If I do go out, you’ll probably find me on the balcony of the party, smoking cigarettes and making relatable memes about how introverts work.
Sigh. It looks ridiculous and will most likely only lose value over time. I put it on Vestiaire the same afternoon and invest the profit in a Chanel.
I’m ecstatic! This is truly an original piece and suits me perfectly! It’s smart and fun, just like me. The fact that I got it as a gift makes me love it even more. I’ll wear it to my funeral.
I lean back, say ‘well, well, well’ out loud and google the shit out of everything and everyone that ever set foot in that company and present your friend with a full case within two hours, complete with a closing argument that crushes her heart and sends her straight back into depression. I had no choice.
I send my friend the money asap and respond with an improvised tirade of cute emojis – including the burning heart – whilst coming up with ideas on how to market the leggings through a micro influencer friend. Who am I to judge, as long as my friend is happy <3
The schedule is so jam packed that I had to turn down the great grandmother’s speech. Everything is planned in detail and it’s going to be the most memorable production ever — which I will of course put on my LinkedIn, as I negotiated the title of creative director in exchange for doing this pro bono.
I wait until the last minute to make decisions, but I did start a group chat where everyone can post their suggestions. I’m gonna marinate everything and then just wing it. I don’t believe in planning too much, it ruins the beauty and leaves no room for magic. Whatever is meant to be will be.
You are the kind of person that initiates a conversation with a stranger at a cocktail party with “so what do you do?”. You don’t always realize that you are more interested in what people produce and what use they are to you than who they are. Practical and consistent, you like to have order everywhere by planning and organizing everything, and meticulously at that. But most of all, you like to make them think the way you think. You look at life soberly and, above all, trust facts. You never miss a party, nor a deadline, a rare species indeed. Some find you a bit inhuman because of this but you are a stable and safe person to rely on in friendship and love. But yes, you are somewhat of a Colin Robinson. A tip! Try to be more open to the more hidden values in life and the beauty of agreeing to disagree; life is not about streamlining or convincing others of your rightness.
11% men, 6% women
Imma cut right to the chase; a lot of famous narcissists are ENTJ. How do we know that? Don’t ask. Does this make you a narcissist? Maybe, maybe not. You do tend to have some trouble putting yourself in other people’s shoes, but we can’t all cry ourselves to sleep because of other people’s misery. Tireless, driven and persevering. Innovative, committed and articulate. Life for you is a struggle and extreme. This is how you know yourself and others. You assess your abilities, both strengths and weaknesses, quite adequately. You’re quite physical and adore sport and probably sex too. You probably love HIIT but should try pilates instead, you need more of a mind-body connection. You feel new tendencies very well and you should try to use this for good. Also; don’t strive for too much power. Yes, you are amazing, but ENTJ in high-power positions tend to cause a bit of distress for others.
3% men, 1% women
You probably have cancer somewhere in your astrological chart because you are very, very sensitive. Caring, supportive, warm, generous… Until you feel hurt, which you do waaay often, and turn passive aggressive, guilt trippy, gossipy and dramatic. This is most efficiently remedied by not being a pushover. It’s not really about boundaries towards others, as no-one really demands this love-bombing, but about setting boundaries towards yourself. Don’t let all that care go outward, save some for yourself. Also, don’t be so obsessed with rules and laws, think for yourself and be a bit more free-spirited. You are seriously loyal though, so it’s best to surround yourselves with friends who don’t take these outbursts too seriously — might I suggest a taurus sun? Tips! Treat yourself to a paper subscription of World of Interiors. Get some really expensive houseplants (not too much water!) and maybe even a needy designer pet, like a ragdoll or siamese breed cat.
18% women, 8% men
You’re a born fighter, very active and self-organized. You can objectively evaluate even the most stressful situation and give a quick and exact response. The light of the party, you are quick-witted, social and fun but also kind of an insensitive asshole that wants everything their way. Scruples is not your cup of tea when you know what you want. You’re a fast learner but a bit sloppy sometimes but everyone loves you anyways, you have that delightful whirlwind energy that makes up for any flaw. You should meditate more, but don’t make it a competition and start posting about #breathwork. You need to learn to truly listen to other people, not just wait for your turn to talk. You might end up writing a book about your superpower, if you learn to not abandon the project when it becomes boring. You have the best objectively best sense of humor out of all types but don’t develop a phobia of being serious, not everything should be handled with comedy.
6% men, 3% women
ou are emotional, lively, warm and talkative with rich facial expressions and gesticulations and great with handling other people’s emotions. You can spot insincerity instantly though and shy away from rigid rule abiders and inauthenticity. Unfortunately you also tend to worry a lot, as you take in pretty much everyone you meet in a day’s emotions, and sometimes this will make you succumb to complex conspiracy theories at 5 in the morning. Make sure to get enough magnesium in your diet to calm your nerves when this happens. You’re the kind of person that uses a phone for making actual phone calls and have a great need for friends that love talking intimately for hours on end, which might become a problem when all your friends start having babies, so it is important not lock yourself in a heteronormative social setting where socializing is centered around baby piles. On the other hand, you probably love babies. You’re a chameleon soul and anything is better than being alone.
3% women, 2% men
A quirky person and an idea generator, you are always seeking to create something new. You adapt easily to non-familiar environments and dislike traditions and routine. You probably changed your profession and hobbies a couple of times. You’re a groundbreaking pioneer at heart and succeed at most things you set your mind to, which actually makes it harder for you to choose a profession. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you have a calling because everything’s calling you. You’re logical and kinda creative too. You’re pragmatic but not ruthless. Highly intelligent, resourceful and almost always right.You’re tbh good at everything! And it’s really, reeeally boring. Instead of moving on to the next thing you can try to work through the boredom and find your true self in this tediousness. You should get a “boring” job, like scientist or lawyer or whatever, and put your creative side to use in hobbies and relationships instead – this will make you happier in the long run. If you don’t value happiness and safety you could become a philosopher. Get some grounding crystals to keep by the bed, like hematite.
4% men, 2% women
You tend to manipulate people to get what you want. In communication with people, you primarily follow your personal interests. However, you try to impress everybody and create the image of a simple person. You want quick results, disliking bureaucracy, and prefer to do things your own way. This is not very flattering, but you are also gorgeous, have an amazing sense of style, comedic timing and make people feel relaxed and appreciated! It’s not that you’re a bad person, you’re just a natural born performer and adore the limelight. Sure, you will totally miss your best friend’s birthday cause you had to attend something more alluring, but you will also make it up to him/her in a flamboyant and deeply generous way that makes them forget it ever happened. You’re a star.
10% women, 7% men
You are energetic and inquisitive, with very clear creative skills. You combine the features of both introverts and extroverts, which is why not only do you get along with people easily but you also empathize well. You have a very rich imagination and a very high IQ. You are one of the few people that genuinely love being a freelancer. You’re a very harmonious person, and have a huge circle of friends from all walks of life.. Adaptable, sociable and charming, chances are you are actually a bit confused about your identity. “Why doesn’t anyone hate me?” (truly, no-one does honey). You feel like an all round garden variety mix sometimes. Try to let your deepest, darkest desires lead the way more often. The shadows await.
10% women, 6% men
You are a fragile, sensitive and rare flower with a knack for the poetic side of life, be it words or living in general. People who get to know you are seriously lucky but chances are not many do, maybe you should sharpen your elbows just a little bit and not just wait to be picked. Get out more! You should obviously be a poet but if you like money, you should venture into copywriting instead.
5% women, 4% men
You can find joy in simple things, handling routine and monotony easily. You like to feel needed, which is why you always help other people but never interfere with their comfort zone. You can’t stand conflicts, and you can always entertain people and make them laugh. You’re a very down-to-earth, practical, caring, tender, reliable, and faithful partner. You take this world as it is, never trying to lead and manipulate. You have a great knack for the arts but you need to seek out authentic life experiences and come eye to eye with some darkness if you want your art to become truly interesting, cause right now it’s just pretty.
10% women, 8% men
Youscoff at memes about Kanye West’s attempts at making fashion and might identify as being woke (though you would of course never use that term). You wish people would realize that feelings are not facts but fail to admit that you are as a matter of fact pretty easily offended yourself. You have great potential as a thinker but you should spend less time lecturing people in comments sections and get out there and live life. Get off the internet and you will find that people are actually less high-strung and fussy and AFK than online. You are a highly intelligent person whose voice is needed in wine bars and dinner parties! Your sensitivity paired with your logic makes you a great conversationalist, even though at times it might resemble a TED talk more than a conversation. But who cares! People love TED talks! Get out there and mansplain!
5% men, 2% women
Always there to motivate others, including someone you just met at a party, and give a pep talk when needed – and you do have some truly inventive solutions to every thinkable problem that you might come across. You are perfect at sensing people and can easily identify moods and hidden talents, which is why people seek advice from you. However, you are very vulnerable and can’t stand aggression and lack of love. Your driving force is intuition, aimed not outside but inside. This type of person never stops learning, considering self-development to be a main priority. This is the rarest of the types and Hitler is an INFJ. Avoid engaging in troll behavior for when you’re down you love arguing behind an alibi of political activism and altruism. You would feel better if you shed your troll mask and spent your time more wisely. You would do great as a tantra teacher or something else in the field of “soft cult”, where strong, intuitive leaders without any actual power are in demand.
2% women, 1% men
You have a rich inner world from which you get incredible ideas. You strive for excellence and want to improve everything and everybody. Despite this you often fail at relationships without understanding why. It might be that you’re too critical at times…? Maybe also of yourself. Practice verbal expression of affection on a pet. You probably like being alone, but you should really make sure you have a couple of close friends to fall back on if shit hits the fan. You often feel like you would make a great influencer but to be honest, you’re not a bad enough person, you have too many scruples. You are highly ethical and for that we salute you, but make sure this doesn’t get stuck on a theoretical level. Share your stuff, money, emotions and thoughts with others.
3% men, 1% women
You’re loyal AF and a great friend, though not exactly “fun”. You might not even realize yourself but you might be a little bit racist, you might wanna look into that. Overall, you’re really a sweetheart — but you should ask yourself what you want a little more often. You can’t stand falseness and insincerity and would do anything for people “inside your circle,”, and never ask for anything in return. You are observant and very careful with words. You’re the one that cleans dishes at someone else’s party and you’re guilty pleasure is fabric softener, even though you know it’s not environmentally friendly.
19% women, 8% men
Technical mindset and likes to make things by hand. You are pretty slow sometimes but always fair and punctual. You’re a softie but not a cryer. You should have kids and/or a golden retriever asap, you’re a secure and reliable person that, despite being a bit boring at times, makes a great companion. You’re somewhat of a pushover, do not attempt going into business alone; you would be devoured. You hate astrology and ask for credible sources and falsification when your partner says they feel like you’ve drifted apart. You might or might not be a great genius but you probably don’t care, Social status is not a thing for you.
9% men, 2% women
You like strictness and order, and very often you are pedantic. Flexibility and creativity is not your jam, you’ve even considered joining the army. You hate unnecessary telephone calls and zoom meetings. You don’t live in your dreams, only in the “here and now.” You should work in statistics while spending your free time campaigning for UBI as your job will most assuredly be the first to be replaced by robots, right after uber drivers. Make an active effort to open up more! Try making some abstract art or go to improv class. You need something to really shake and wake you in order to open up to the beauty of chance and spontaneity. Maybe even try ayahuasca…?
15% men, 7% women