As if having a “vanity” website wasn’t bad enough, this page is the ultimate in self interest, a biography — of kinds. But rather than following the normal form and list my place of birth, education, job, marital status and the name of my pets, I’m going to tell you a huge amount about me albeit in a slightly obscure format that won’t mean very much to most people.
I am an INTP.
There. Do you feel enlightened?
When I first came across it I was lucky enough to have someone explain what it means. I was completely stunned. I’d always mentally pigeon-holed personality profiling with horoscopes and other well meaning but fundamentally flawed methods of categorising people. However the description accompanying the above result was spot on in almost every respect.
If you know what INTP means, you won’t be surprised to read that I immediately set out to learn more about it, reading books, surfing the web and so forth. While making me far from an expert, it has helped me understand more about myself and other people.
What does it actually mean? In fact, the first question should be, “What is it?” The answer: a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which is a test based on Carl Jung‘s notions of psychological types. It’s a big subject so I’m not going to go into much detail, but I am going to list a few choice quotes that I have found on the Internet. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to find their own profile…
The first thing to note is that it’s not very common. Only about 1% of the population is an INTP, but there are still a few you will know. Einstein and Isaac Newton for example (not that I understand much of their work, much less could be considered a peer!). We are “clear and quick thinkers, … are able to focus with great intensity on … interests” and “do not like the rules, … are quick to find the flaws in the rule makers’ thinking, regardless of their status, position in the hierarchy, or renown.”
Of course it’s not all good news. We also tend to do the whole passive-aggressive thing more than most and appear aloof, disinterested, cynical and even arrogant.
Still, we need to remember that it’s only a profile, so some of that is more true of me than others. If you already know me you are probably more aware of this than I am myself, and if you don’t know me you probably don’t care…