Hullo there! I'm new here, and trying to work out what I am: I've taken tests, & scored results in all the N's. I'm probably either ENTP or ENFP, or ENTJ or ENFJ, or INFJ (Chesterton was an introvert?!) or INTJ, or... Harrumph!
Perhaps if I give you examples of my behaviour over the last week, some amateur psychologist will be able to come up with a diagnosis - of personality, not of whatever interesting disorders they believe I'm suffering from. "Ach, ja, he is obviously a hypomanic narcissist with ADHD and an uncontrollable imagination who is anti-social enough to want to live in a world where witchcraft cults (the sign of the Satanists!), cannibalism, decapitation, haunted prisons, unusual poisons, and mad ranting mystics are facts of life. Now, please lie down down upon this couch, inject yourself with cocaine, and tell me about your relationships mit ihren Mutter." (She's downstairs in the cellar.) Of course, perhaps I am crazy, which would explain a lot!
I’m currently a student, doing my second degree. Did a B.A. in English & History, ended up in the public service (sitting in splendid isolation in front of a computer looking at facts & figures is not my forte), chucked that in (my responses to a 6 month “job satisfaction” & my exit form “reasons for leaving” will probably bar me from working in a government department again, particularly the bit where I wrote about computers draining public servants’ personalities & turning them into dull grey zombies without imagination or individuality, & called for a revolt against the machines), moved towns (with scarcely any money), & decided I’d do a B.Sc. Realised that I didn’t have a maths brain (although algebra can be fun), so that second degree would be third degree torture instead. Provisionally doing a Bachelor of Letters = 2 units of Drama, 1 of Latin, 1 of Philosophy. And I have no idea whether I should be doing a Bachelor of Performing Arts (finish 2015) or become a teacher (what else can one do with a BA?). In an ideal world, I'd earn my living by my pen, writing highly ingenious fair play puzzle plot detective stories and script-writing.
Now, how do I behave in class? I’m probably the most energetic person in my Latin class. Translation: I’m incapable of shutting up. I think out loud, and think by connecting ideas, so I’ll suddenly shout, “Aha! Janua (door) – it’s the god Janus!”, timet means fear (& then I find myself talking about Dunbar’s Lament for the Makaris, basically a very long & gloomy poem about how everybody he knows is going to get it in the neck & kick the bucket, with a resounding chorus of Timor mortis conturbat me after every verse), & when the teacher says that Graecum est; non potest legi was written by monks, I say that I thought it came from Shakespeare & then talk about “double Dutch” (back in the 17th century when England was at war with Holland). The others in the class are, I think, introverts (&, if they ask questions, they’re interested in the grammatical rules). I like getting things right; however, because (to my astonishment) I understand Latin easily, & the rest of the class are oysters, I feel like a show off. (Probably what really pissed them off was when the teacher talked about “we is” not being possible, & I took that as an invitation to speculate about Soviet / Maoist collectivisation & groupthink taken to the nth degree, with no concept of the individual. Do I have any sense of self preservation? No!)
The philosophy course is “Life, Death & Morality”—to wit, the ethics of killing. When, if ever, is killing justified? Again, I’m probably the most active person in the class. Not arguing from any particular standpoint, so much as seeing alternatives to what people've said, & excitedly contradicting them with a manic grin. I believe in “Best Consequences” rather than “Sanctity of Life”; murder can often be justifiable—depends on the situation (domestic tyrants, blackmailers, etc), & legal justice is often very different from moral justice. I shocked people when I quoted an INTJ friend’s argument, that from an economic standpoint, children are worth less than adults, because more money has been spent on them; whereas an adult has a life, personality, relationships, career, whereas kids are blank slates—all you need to do is breed & pop another one out of the oven.
Had my first experience of debating on Monday night. I was told that I come across as casual & confident, able to speak under water without drawing breath (I had an audience)—& an amateur philosopher with a tendency to ramble & go off on tangents. Topic: That non-violent criminals should never ever be locked in prison. I opened for the affirmative, & argued that criminals are actually an untapped resource—need to use their skills for good of society. Kids who steal cars in the outback are trained to become mechanics. Conmen are excellent psychologists, good at improvising, can persuade people to do risky things, and are good with money. An intelligence agency could think “This guy would make a brilliant spook!” Besides, until Peel reorganised the police force in the 1820s, the police force consisted largely of ex-criminals, while the Sûreté was run by the brilliant criminal mastermind Vidocq.
Walked down Swanston Street in Melbourne last night, explaining to a friend (gesturing with my umbrella & narrowly missing skewering a passer-by—surely I’m not the only person who tends to brandish an umbrella like a sword?) that what was wrong with Australia was that romance and imagination are impossible here. London is the city of Dickens & Sherlock Holmes, of Stevenson & Chesterton; Paris of Dumas, Hugo & Poe; Germany of Wagner, Hoffmann & the Brothers Grimm. What does Australia have? Patrick White? Fergus Hume? Bah! Here, one can’t imagine a locked room murder committed by a being lighter than air, or somebody vanishing into smoke in the middle of a crowded street, or a terrible curse falling upon the family who own a haunted house. Australia is materialistic & prosaic. Written history only goes back 200 years, whereas in Europe wherever you go, something happened. Occasionally in Australia there are glimpses of the Gothic, of the picturesque, but the effect is ruined by the neon signs advertising the wares of the 21st century. Romance and adventure in the Grand Manner are impossible in an age of computers.
What on earth will people make of that, I wonder? And now what about a game of twenty questions?