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[MBTI General] Where Are We Headed/A Sad State of Affairs

Koto

Blue
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
291
MBTI Type
IN
Enneagram
5/4
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
As an observer of the MBTI community for over half a decade now, it doesn't seem as though progress/development is a priority for most. The same issues that plagued every discussion years and years ago are still present now, and are arguably more prevalent than ever. For every person that is deeply invested in MBTI there are fifty more who inadvertently delegitimise it through the perpetuation of stereotypes; for every person that spends years of their life refining their understanding and reinforcing it with objective data there are a hundred more who close themselves off to viewpoints that disagree with their personal experience and anecdotal evidence; for every person that critically questions the ideas that are held as sacred in order to discover the truth there are a thousand more who would rather settle and believe a comforting lie. I know that as a person I can tend to approach things too seriously for some and so I decide not to engage at all in order to avoid the heated debates that are likely to occur as a consequence, but it's quite frustrating and disheartening realising that things are unlikely to change no matter how much time passes.

A number of people that I related to from afar and consider to be the most important voices in the community, even if not the most influential, are no longer active and I can only assume that they all came to a similar conclusion: it wasn't worth their time any more. I feel the same way to be honest. No one is forcing me to be here but MBTI is something that I'm passionate about, and not having at least a couple people to share that passion with is painful. I've seen other users describe the community as 'cultish' and I agree, but I want to elaborate further. Not unlike most societies, the main goal seems to be the maintenance of the status quo rather than the accommodation and discussion of new ideas. Nearly everyone starts out by discovering MBTI through 16personalities, then is told that the cognitive functions are actually what MBTI is about, and the adventure stops there; 'Forget about learning about Jung's initial ideas, or Myers' work, or anything of that nature, simply allow yourself to be consumed by labels that actively work against their purpose. Every action that you take, every natural phenomena, life itself can all be attributed to specific functions, but don't worry about whether there is any reason for this to be the case.' On places like Reddit, any mention of the dichotomies will immediately get you downvoted, Discord servers are centred around people roleplaying exaggerated caricatures of themselves in order to fit a description, and no matter where you go, there will always be someone that asserts that based upon three vague questions they can tell you who you are with 100% certainty. Eventually, all the intellectual curiosity you once had is replaced with false enlightenment fuelled by the Forer effect, and only then can you call yourself a 'typology expert'.

I'm far from the first person to take issue with all these things, nor will I be the last, but these issues are never addressed. Instead, a few people will agree with what I say, nothing will change overall, and life will go on. I think that MBTI wasn't defined rigorously enough/understood by the community when it 'exploded' in popularity, and this caused a situation in which multiple mutually exclusive interpretations were classified under the same name. In reality, Beebe is not MBTI, Grant is not MBTI, Jung is not MBTI, but these distinctions are overlooked and people instead assume that everyone is talking about the same thing and that their interpretation of it is the right one. Contrary to popular belief, there is an objective answer to the question 'What is MBTI?' and not all interpretations are equally valid; years of observable data that agrees with a theory will lend it more credibility than one that is substantiated upon mass agreement and anecdotal evidence. This however flies in the face of those that treat it similarly to astrology and believe that it holds similar levels of credibility. Sometimes it feels like the true nature of MBTI and its history are some of the most well-kept secrets in the community rather than being the basis of the majority of discussion. I sadly don't think this will change either, despite the best efforts of some.

I'm appealing to a minority here, but to those that are also obsessive about the truth, who are tired of the misconceptions and tribalism, and who have plenty of idiosyncratic theories and ideas but no one to share them with, please do hit me up. I'm sure that we have plenty that we could learn from each other, and barring a few individuals I've been deprived of meaningful discussions for far too long.
 

Coriolis

Between the Shadows
Staff member
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
26,628
MBTI Type
INTJ
Enneagram
5w6
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
What kind of development, progress, or discussion are you interested in seeing?

As with many things in life, with MBTI and other personality systems, you get out what you put in. There is ample information, both online and off, for the serious student wanting to use MBTI to explore themselves and others. The existence of dilettantes, demagogues, and naysayers just means that the new student needs to be selective, but that is true online overall. Hopefully everyone knows by now not simply to accept everything you find on the internet

I'm far from the first person to take issue with all these things, nor will I be the last, but these issues are never addressed. Instead, a few people will agree with what I say, nothing will change overall, and life will go on. I think that MBTI wasn't defined rigorously enough/understood by the community when it 'exploded' in popularity, and this caused a situation in which multiple mutually exclusive interpretations were classified under the same name. In reality, Beebe is not MBTI, Grant is not MBTI, Jung is not MBTI, but these distinctions are overlooked and people instead assume that everyone is talking about the same thing and that their interpretation of it is the right one. Contrary to popular belief, there is an objective answer to the question 'What is MBTI?' and not all interpretations are equally valid; years of observable data that agrees with a theory will lend it more credibility than one that is substantiated upon mass agreement and anecdotal evidence. This however flies in the face of those that treat it similarly to astrology and believe that it holds similar levels of credibility. Sometimes it feels like the true nature of MBTI and its history are some of the most well-kept secrets in the community rather than being the basis of the majority of discussion. I sadly don't think this will change either, despite the best efforts of some.
I attribute this confusion and lack of development mainly to the early monetization of MBTI. CPP has a stranglehold on the "official" testing instrument, and perhaps other professional discussion of the material. These ideas should have been reported early on and debated and refined in the professional literature, like any other scientific observations or hypotheses. One reason why it was not may have been prevailing biases which led Myers and Briggs to be dismissed as a couple of housewives, and their largely empircal work not considered fit for the professional literature. To this day, though, Gifts Differing contains some of the most thorough and concise explanations of the origins and underpinnings of the system. Yes, some will criticise my using the term "science" in connection with a personality system, but that is the best way to see if the shoe does indeed fit. Take the data, analyze it, publish it, reproduce it. For all its flaws, from what I have read MBTI has more consistency than its harshest critics usually claim, consistency that could be improved if it were reported and discussed more openly in the literature.
 

Koto

Blue
Joined
May 22, 2021
Messages
291
MBTI Type
IN
Enneagram
5/4
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
What kind of development, progress, or discussion are you interested in seeing?

As with many things in life, with MBTI and other personality systems, you get out what you put in. There is ample information, both online and off, for the serious student wanting to use MBTI to explore themselves and others. The existence of dilettantes, demagogues, and naysayers just means that the new student needs to be selective, but that is true online overall. Hopefully everyone knows by now not simply to accept everything you find on the internet


I attribute this confusion and lack of development mainly to the early monetization of MBTI. CPP has a stranglehold on the "official" testing instrument, and perhaps other professional discussion of the material. These ideas should have been reported early on and debated and refined in the professional literature, like any other scientific observations or hypotheses. One reason why it was not may have been prevailing biases which led Myers and Briggs to be dismissed as a couple of housewives, and their largely empircal work not considered fit for the professional literature. To this day, though, Gifts Differing contains some of the most thorough and concise explanations of the origins and underpinnings of the system. Yes, some will criticise my using the term "science" in connection with a personality system, but that is the best way to see if the shoe does indeed fit. Take the data, analyze it, publish it, reproduce it. For all its flaws, from what I have read MBTI has more consistency than its harshest critics usually claim, consistency that could be improved if it were reported and discussed more openly in the literature.

Hopefully something novel. I don't think that we've discovered all there is to discover about personality and it would be great if there were more connections between MBTI and hard science for example, or even just a new light that it could be viewed in that holds more potential than the current popular conception does, that could be wishful thinking on my part though.

I agree, and clearly there have been many that have pushed part the misinformation in order to get to the heart of things, myself included I would hope. I suppose my 'rant' is from a more idealistic perspective rather than a practical one; I wish that I was more effective in finding like-minded people and that the internet wasn't y'know, the internet, but complaining about it isn't going to do much to fix things. I still want to sulk about it a little though ;p

I can't claim to have known all of this information beforehand which is why that paragraph was mostly speculation and conjecture as to why things the way they are now; it's validating knowing that I wasn't too far off the mark. I've heard that Gifts Differing is definitely worth reading, I haven't managed to get my hands on it yet though, I've read Chapter X of Psychological Types and I have the MBTI Manual Third Edition but that's it. In my eyes, MBTI is already one of the more valid personality systems out there, has a lot of things going in its favour, and as you said, if the data is reported on more openly, it could have the potential to go even further. This is why I'm grateful for those like Reckful, who consistently strived to clear up all misunderstandings with as much clarity as possible, and somewhat saddened by how rare it is to see others with the capacity or desire to do the same.
 

EJCC

The Devil of TypoC
Joined
Aug 29, 2008
Messages
19,130
MBTI Type
ESTJ
Enneagram
1w9
Instinctual Variant
sp/so
I will say, the majority of my time spent discussing the MBTI with others has been spent debating the "experts" behind their backs about obvious holes in the logic behind it, and coming up with theories that made more sense. Over the years I've seen the term "folk typology" thrown around derisively, but ultimately what else are we supposed to do? The MBTI is corporatized, you need to pay significant money to have any sort of influence, and the corporate purpose (which BTW was actually the intended purpose of the MBTI from the beginning) is actually incredibly badly suited to the test itself.

This is to say that I fully agree that there needs to be change - but from where I stand, either I could spend an enormous amount of time and money researching and writing something that will amend a test that is frequently (several times a year) debunked by experts, or I could just get even more into the Enneagram, which is a better system that knows exactly what it's good at.
 
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