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 think I'm an ENxx. (Results could be distorted by the fact that I've been depressed most of the last decade, leading the life of an isolated loner who's spent more time in the company of books than people - which I don't think is naturally me.)
I'm a natural storyteller, highly imaginative, a bookworm. Strongly drawn to theatre - I had the main parts in primary school plays, & wrote & directed plays from Years 5 to 10. (Dropped Drama because I got a C - more fool me.) I was the school eccentric: friendly, helpful, good natured, energetic & excitable, (melo)dramatic, impulsive, impatient, random, shy, absent-minded, opinionated, irritable / quarrelsome, short-tempered, serious, courteous, pompous. Tendency to stride along delivering impromptu lectures. Highly articulate, even as a child. At times, nervous, at others a very forceful presence (I've been described as "high status" in drama classes, although I try not to glare like a Carthaginian idol). Described as stern yet refined; true to myself (want to be liked, but not really concerned with fitting in); 14 going on 40.
As a kid, very gifted, always wanted to be centre of attention, & got kicked out of classrooms for being hyperactive. Described as kind & affectionate, but also got into fights a lot.
Get bored & depressed without stimulation, whether social or intellectual; need time to myself, but hate isolation. Bursting with brilliant ideas; very colourful & energetic way of talking - lots of wit & metaphors. Favourite reading: detective stories (!), ghost stories, classic novels (particularly tales of mystery, imagination & adventure), & (good!) SF&F.
I like problems to solve that engage my imagination, but get bored with facts and figures. Excellent at Humanities subjects (my mind's an encyclopaedia of Western culture, but I'm NOT a highbrow - I have more of an 18th/19th century brain). Loathe naturalism (why would I want to read something that's realistic - surely that's admitting that the writer doesn't have an imagination?); find most of the literary canon introspective wangst. Frustrated by literary theory - politicisation & radical subjectivity; no such thing as the real world ("I refute it thus!"), reason or truth, or the author (so you have to ignore the writer's personality, beliefs, experiences & historical context - & their own commentaries on their work). Love history, but find economic/military history dull - for me, history is about the people & events (history as story). Not interested in politics or economics, not technologically minded (but I like murderous booby-traps & ingenious uses of chemistry & medicine).
Perhaps if I give you examples of my behaviour over the last week (or if you want to, skip to the end), 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 megalomaniacal narcissist with ADHD and an uncontrollable imagination who is anti-social enough to want to live in a world of witchcraft cults (the sign of the Satanists!), cannibalism, decapitation, haunted prisons, unusual poisons, and mad ranting mystics. 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. Spent the years since school drifting - either studying or doing contract jobs in the public service - not achieving my potential, which is very frustrating - & what will my biographers make of it? Did a B.A. in English & History. Ended up in the public service (my being hired was a waste of time & money; I was paid to surf the internet, twiddle my thumbs & contemplate the nature of existence, & only work - if I was lucky enough to have work - for half an hour a day; & sitting in splendid isolation in front of a computer looking at facts & figures is a waste of my abilities). 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 since I argued that computers drained public servants’ personalities & turned them into dull grey zombies without imagination or individuality, & called for a revolt against the machines). Moved towns, & decided I’d do a B.Sc. Realised that, even though I was interested in science, it wasn't playing to my strengths, 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. Depending on money & grades, I'll decide at the end of the year whether to do a Bachelor of Performance Arts (with a view to becoming a director / scriptwriter) or 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 tend to dominate classrooms. 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!”; realise that 'timet' means fear & find myself talking about Dunbar’s Lament for the Makaris, 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 said that Graecum est; non potest legi was written by monks, I replied that I thought it came from Shakespeare & muse 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. I want people on my level! (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. 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. I see alternatives to what people've said, & excitedly contradict them with a manic grin. Looking at utilitarianism - 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, & that their skills should be used for the good of society. Conmen are excellent psychologists, good at improvising, can persuade people to do risky things, and are good with money. In fact, ideal for the intelligence services. 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.
(I was in the same area the next night with a different - more upbeat - friend, & had a much more positive reaction. However, I have mixed feelings about the city. I'm in a residential hall - convenient for campus, but it takes 90 minutes to get anywhere. Nor would I recommend sharing a kitchen or bathroom with 17 year olds, unless your life's ambition is to die at an early age of salmonella and dysentery.)
What on earth will people make of that, I wonder? And now what about a game of twenty questions?