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  1. #1
    Senior Member BlackDog's Avatar
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    Default Downsides to understanding MBTI well

    I was inspired by a post @Mole made that I disagreed with; I gathered that Mole disapproves of MBTI because it is potentially 'reductionist' in breaking down how we act.

    I don't agree with the logic, but I was thinking about how a reasonably solid understanding of MBTI can be depressing. I have quite decent people skills in-person, and have always been good at reading people, etc; add to that the understanding of MBTI that I now have, and it enables me to type people that I know well with, I think, a high degree of accuracy.

    I could be all wrong, and forcing their perspectives to fit a predetermined framework (whatever type I think they belong in); however, regardless, the effect is the same. I see, or think I see, a lot of what is in their minds, general attitudes, and so on; I am able to predict a lot. As I said before because I don't want people to miss the point, I could be wrong about the type, and simply be pretty good at predicting people regardless; the effect remains the same. It's depressing... not sure why.

    This may be a passing mood of mine, but I just wondered if anyone else had a similar opinion. It doesn't matter whether you are really able to interpret actions in the light of type, or if you just think you can; either way, give your reply (although you would anyway because if you are mistaken, by definition you don't know it)

  2. #2
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    INFJs in particular tend to think the system simplifies a vastly complex set of personality characteristics into a framework that is too simple. Maybe it is like relying on your chainsaw whenever you have to trim the flower bed. Crude at best. Since I have little ability at gardening, I might use a crude method because it is fast and easy even if the results are not perfect. Anyway, I think it's best to think of the MBTI type as a kind of data point amongst a very large set of data points. Then it's not depressing. It's just information.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member BlackDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    INFJs in particular tend to think the system simplifies a vastly complex set of personality characteristics into a framework that is too simple. Maybe it is like relying on your chainsaw whenever you have to trim the flower bed. Crude at best. Since I have little ability at gardening, I might use a crude method because it is fast and easy even if the results are not perfect. Anyway, I think it's best to think of the MBTI type as a kind of data point amongst a very large set of data points. Then it's not depressing. It's just information.
    Mmm... I suppose different types might have different opinions on this. That makes sense... Yes, if it isn't everything it is much easier to handle.

  4. #4
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    I took it way too seriously years back, because my natural inclination is to label everything and force everything to fit in to nice neat little boxes (I neeeed order). However, I don't do this anymore. It's impossible to compartmentalize 7 billion people into 16 compartments.

    Now adays I see MBTI as a fun little toy.
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  5. #5
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    Now adays I see MBTI as a fun little toy.
    See, I knew you weren't all bad.

  6. #6
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    See, I knew you weren't all bad.
    Our core values are actually very very similar.
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  7. #7
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    Default Élan Vital and Depression

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion 4.5 View Post
    a reasonably solid understanding of MBTI can be depressing.
    Women are routinely objectified, and the largest reason for presenting at the doctor's is depression.

    So when we are all routinely objectified by mbti the psychological result is depression.

    When persons are objectified, they lose their élan vital and become depressed.

  8. #8
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion 4.5 View Post
    I don't agree with the logic, but I was thinking about how a reasonably solid understanding of MBTI can be depressing. I have quite decent people skills in-person, and have always been good at reading people, etc; add to that the understanding of MBTI that I now have, and it enables me to type people that I know well with, I think, a high degree of accuracy.

    I could be all wrong, and forcing their perspectives to fit a predetermined framework (whatever type I think they belong in); however, regardless, the effect is the same. I see, or think I see, a lot of what is in their minds, general attitudes, and so on; I am able to predict a lot. As I said before because I don't want people to miss the point, I could be wrong about the type, and simply be pretty good at predicting people regardless; the effect remains the same. It's depressing... not sure why.

    This may be a passing mood of mine, but I just wondered if anyone else had a similar opinion. It doesn't matter whether you are really able to interpret actions in the light of type, or if you just think you can; either way, give your reply (although you would anyway because if you are mistaken, by definition you don't know it)
    I think that- at best- mbti can help bridge misunderstandings by making another’s priorities more understandable. But at worst, it accentuates those differences and add a little bit of social identity to the mix (creating an ‘us vs. them’ by identifying so strongly with the ‘us’, coming to believe something superior about the ‘us’ in order to placate the ego and in so doing necessarily color the ‘them’ in with characteristics that are more negative than appropriately matches reality)- the result is dehumanizing the ‘other’.

    Or even where there isn’t any social identity interfering with authentic dialogue/exploration- it still accentuates the differences. There can still be something dehumanizing about priming oneself to instantly spot differences (by studying differences exclusively, without putting equal time/energy on those qualities which are universally human).
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I think that- at best- mbti can help bridge misunderstandings by making another’s priorities more understandable.
    This gets at how knowing our respective types and associated cognitive functions has been a tool for better understanding between my INFP partner and myself. Though for us, it's not really about priorities so much as how we each process information, and how our different information processing affects things like communication and how we each move in the world. It's been an awesome tool for us in this regard. It gives us language to discuss and learn about certain differences between us in really good and useful ways.

    But at worst, it accentuates those differences and add a little bit of social identity to the mix (creating an ‘us vs. them’ by identifying so strongly with the ‘us’, coming to believe something superior about the ‘us’ in order to placate the ego and in so doing necessarily color the ‘them’ in with characteristics that are more negative than appropriately matches reality)- the result is dehumanizing the ‘other’.
    Very accurate IMO. And sadly, there seems to be a lot lot LOT of this on this site related to MBTI typing. I mean, this description actually seems accurate to a lot of the discussions here that go bad, at least the ones I've seen. In fact, I was just considering making a thread about something and decided not to because I didn't want to deal with this precise dynamic, and didn't know how to avoid it.

    Or even where there isn’t any social identity interfering with authentic dialogue/exploration- it still accentuates the differences. There can still be something dehumanizing about priming oneself to instantly spot differences (by studying differences exclusively, without putting equal time/energy on those qualities which are universally human).
    Would it take too much away from what you're saying to add another angle - not just what's universally human, but also the specificity and complexity of each person? I'm thinking of this because I had an interesting discussion with my partner tonight on this point. We weren't talking about MBTI, actually, but I think it is relevant here. She was saying that differences are always there between people, but the differences become a problem when they come in the form of labels that, as she put it, "turn a person into an object." I agree with her, and pretty deeply at that.

    It's like: I want to understand my partner because I love her and want to relate with her in the best way possible. She and I have a really deep bond, but we also have different life experiences, different approaches to information processing, and lots of other differences. For us, as I mentioned, MBTI typing is a tool that helps us to understand each other, not an end unto itself or some sort of overarching worldview about all reality. Meaning - our primary interest in using it with each other is to understand each other as part of a larger effort to understand each other (eta and also ourselves) as people in all of what that means. So we know that MBTI is just one (useful but limited) tool among many for us to understand each other. And when we use this tool, the focus isn't on MBTI type at the center, but rather on the specificity of each of us and how the lens of Ni-Fe-Ti-Se and Fi-Ne-Si-Te can help us understand parts of the specificity in each other that we don't immediately understand due to differences between us.

    This may be clearer in my head than I'm expressing it on the page.

  10. #10
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Women are objectified precisely so they will loose their élan vital and become depressed so they can be easily subordinated.

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