Psychology

I haven’t had a “thinking out loud” post in a while. The ones I had before are gone now – I generally delete them after a time.

This just isn’t that type of blog.

Nonetheless, I find psychology a strange thing. I find my own psychology a strange thing.

In that regard, I can’t honestly tell you who or what I am – how I’m classified…how I’m not. I can’t tell you that I fall into this particular psychological subset or that one. I don’t know where I am on any neurological bell curve.

I’m also prone to the belief that I know that I don’t know. I don’t take information as concrete when there are reasons – real or imagined – to give doubt to that particular assessment.

I know that every time I take the MBTI, I register as INTJ. If asked, I would tell someone that, when I take the test, it says I’m an INTJ. I don’t know, however, that I’m an INTJ because there are elements about those tests that are hard to quantify. My values have shifted as I’ve taken the MBTI – I’ve gotten dangerously close to NOT being INTJ – something that has occurred when I’ve taken the test several times over a relatively short period.

I blame this on the concept of introspection, analysis, and subjective doubt.

“I’m someone who <insert quantifying element here>”

Answer that question the first time, and maybe I definitely agree, but if I take the test again, and again, and again…it becomes an endeavor of progressive second-guessing. It’s like someone asking you where you put your keys the previous evening.

“I put them on the counter.” <the immediacy of certainty>

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah…I…” <the insertion of doubt> “I…yeah…yeah, I’m sure I did”

This begins to taper answers from “I definitely agree” to “I agree”
It changes the concepts of “I always do” to “I usually do”

Every time I take the MBTI, it says I’m INTJ. Statistically speaking, it seems to imply that I’m INTJ. Am I an INTJ, or do I simply answer the same way reflexively?

I know someone who swore they were an INTJ – they got it every time they took the test. I disagreed with them. I didn’t think they fit the profile. I told them to take it…just one more time…and to do it as fast as possible. To not stop and think about anything. Read and click.

They got a different result – one letter changed – it was a completely different profile.

I don’t know what they really are, psychologically speaking – I just knew that we weren’t the same.

I’ve had people tell me that I have traits of “high functioning autism” or even “just a touch of autism”.

A psychiatrist once told me that “I think you might be somewhere on the spectrum, if only barely.”

They later told me, “I don’t know if it’s autism…it’s almost like you almost border on sociopathy.”

I’ve been told that I might suffer from depression.

OCD.

I’ve taken several tests that imply “High Machiavellianism”

I might have narcissistic personality disorder.

Never histrionic, though. Never had that one show up.

Someone asked me once if I’d ever been formally assessed. They mentioned that some things are hard to properly diagnose the older you get. Apparently, we learn to adapt to what makes us odd – we hide our symptoms and create new coping mechanisms which throws off a lot of tests and assessments.

I told them that I’d never been formally tested for anything and I had no idea if I was any type of anything.

They took a moment to ensure that “a diagnosis doesn’t have to define you,” because their theory was that I didn’t want to be diagnosed with anything in the realm of the psychological/neurological because once you get that diagnosis – that’s where you are now.

You have a label.

It defines you.

They didn’t understand me – which is hardly surprising.

I tried to explain to them that I didn’t care about a label. I’d never been assessed or diagnosed because I didn’t care about the end result. I didn’t care what the final word would be.

They took this as a defeatist point of view, as though what I was saying was, “It won’t matter because there’s nothing that can be done.” Like I was afraid of being diagnosed with stage four brain cancer – the diagnosis would, at best, give me information that I couldn’t change and an end result that would seal my future and all the prospects that it might have held. They heard, “What good will it do? It can’t be fixed.”

They didn’t understand me – which is hardly surprising. I’m used to people not understanding me.

I don’t see it as a defeatist mindset. I don’t view it as “if they tell me I’m a <label> then all they’ve done is given me a diagnosis of ‘broken – can’t be fixed’.”

I don’t care what the label is.

I don’t care if it can be fixed.

I don’t care.

It’s a persistent trait of mine. It’s not a healthy one. It’s something that’s endemic to plenty of psychological structures. Apathy. Lack of empathy. Lack of social connections. Avoidance of others. Seclusion. Etc…etc…etc…

I shrug about too much too often. I find it hard to care about most things. I’m almost annoyingly indifferent in the eyes of most. I’m pessimistic and cynical.

I’m detached and unemotional…until I’m attached and very emotional.

I’m also a dreamer.

I think that anything is possible. I think that the world is shit, but I think we can fix it. I think that we’re inevitably doomed – and I see that as the most wonderful catalyst for progress and growth that I can imagine. I think that nothing matters, but I see it as logical to fight for it anyway.

I’m a nihilist – and I believe in nothing.

Nothing at all.

People sometimes struggle with my philosophical view of the world.

“How can you believe in nothing?”

It’s simple – it’s the only belief that has no loopholes. All other forms of belief are philosophically hypocritical. You probably don’t believe me, but it’s true.

If you believe in a religion, you’re saying that your religious beliefs are true even though when they’re weighed against any other, they both have the same points in the proof and evidence column. You are saying that lack of evidence precludes the reality of your belief while simultaneously disproving another.

You cannot disprove Odin – yet you know he can’t exist. I cannot disprove god, but I know he cannot exist. By your own logic, I have just disproven your own religion. If you disagree, then you have proven the existence of Odin. Try to wrap your mind around that.

This is philosophical hypocrisy.

I believe in nothing.

You cannot disprove it. You might say, “But neither can you prove it.”

And yet, there is no hypocrisy in my belief.

Can you prove god? No. I do not believe in god.

Can you prove Odin? No. I do not believe in Odin.

If you cannot prove a concept or offer strong evidence that has no equal contrapositive, then I do not believe it. This doesn’t waver. It doesn’t change. There are no loopholes. There is no philosophical hypocrisy if everything is held to the same set of rules.

Unfortunately, this turns problematic for more mundane things.

What makes you happy?

What do you do for fun?

Define happy. Define fun.

Most will define these statements subjectively – which is inherently flawed. People identify happiness most frequently with their own interpretation of it. “Like when you <insert personal experience>”

But if this is not an experience that resonates with me, then it does not quantify happiness.

Perhaps this is why negative descriptors are so ubiquitous.

We can rarely put our finger on the pulse of joy and happiness – on elation and love. They are these vague, indeterminate things that we try to put into words and yet we either lack the language or the ability to adequately assess the concept to logically articulate.

Comparatively, we can easily find common ground in sadness. In depression. In fear. In hopelessness. We need no individual constructs to paint those pictures. No one needs to give you an example of what sadness feels like. You’ve felt it. You don’t need to say, “It’s like when you <insert personal experience>.” The terminology is understood and we connect our own individual experiences to the word – not the other way around.

It reminds me something I’ve always found strange – the number of adjectives for negative words often exceeds those for positive ones. We seem oddly capable of defining what’s wrong, and yet seldom know how to define what is right.

Side note: Fiction is a type of writing. Non-fiction is a type of writing. Do you not find it odd that “things that aren’t true” have a genre type, and the only way we can assess that converse of that form of writing is to say, “uh…NOT that” – I’ve always found that strange – our inability to give an honest identity to certain concepts and our willingness to submit to litotes.

Perhaps this is why I find it hard to answer questions about feelings.

How do you feel?

What makes you happy?

I never know how to answer these things, yet I know how not to. I know what I’m not feeling, and can offer an assessment by reduction. I defer to litotes. I end up deferring to what could be termed a “diagnosis of exclusion”.

Perhaps these are elements of being an INTJ. Or a sociopath. Or a barely on the autism spectrum. Or maybe these are the end results of the myriad of years from youth til now and the compounding variables that have accumulated within my own neural pathways.

Nature vs nurture and all that jazz.

But really…I don’t care. The diagnosis is irrelevant. It’s gravity. It’s something that’s happening and I’m not particularly concerned with the particulars. Not because I don’t believe it can be changed. I believe in change.

I believe that anything is possible.

I just…don’t care.

 

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22 thoughts on “Psychology

  1. our brains speak entirely different languages, maybe that is why yours fascinates me. i often feel like i am two steps behind when i read your words, but it still sounds like a song i want to listen to. if any of that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. i’m talking about all of it (though this is the first time i remember reading something you’ve written other than poetry). you remind me of my sister. she has a ph.d in biology and if i ask her a question, i usually lose focus about half way through the answer because my brain is all, “look! sparkly!” i like the rhythm of your thoughts & the way your brain works (even when not poetry) but i am not always able to keep up.
        fuck labels, you’re awesome.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I regard myself as a nihilist too. I tend to regard religious people as delusional. There are a lot of Christians blogging on WP. For a time I began to wonder if WP was some Christian organisation. Anyway… I think we all may have some sort of spiritual path but the problem with religion is all the doctrine and dogma that comes with it which in the end is designed to stop people’s own searching for meaning. After all why search for meaning when you can have all these preset beliefs and doctrines to follow to stop you needing to think or work it all out for yourself? I have very little time for organised religion especially for what it’s done to the LGBTQ community over the years.

    I’m an INFJ, but sometimes it’s ISFJ. Personality tests I’ve taken have had slightly worrying results, and I sometimes wonder I might be slightly autistic too, though I might also have dyspraxia, though it’s never been tested. When you do these posts I feel disturbingly similar to you…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can agree. I sometimes dislike that religion in the world is sometimes used like magic in a poorly written book. It’s just shoehorned in as an antidote to a dilemma. Why look for answers when you can say, “Because…MAGIC!” or “Because…JESUS!”
      And I also think it’s weird how often religions preach love and tolerance…but then make sure to let you know that there are exceptions. It’s all very weird to me.
      Personality tests are fun – I think – but I try not to read too deeply into their conclusions. Like I said, how much of it is an accurate depiction of one’s self and how much of that has been skewed by what we think about ourselves when we’re answering? As I don’t think that we can ever be wholly objective, our self-assessments are always skewed by elements of self-aggrandizement and/or self-deprecation. We are always prone to highlight certain elements and tone down others. I think that it makes it very hard – if not impossible – to ever really know one’s self, which, by extension, also means that we can never truly know anyone else. Which, I think, is both fascinating and somewhat disconcerting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally agree. I don’t think I’ll ever totally understand myself. How we see other people is skewed by our own perceptions. We tend to see our own interpretation of them, or even ourselves reflected back to us in some degree.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hasn’t Meyers-Briggs assessment criteria been found to be scientifically faulty and the way the test results have been peddled showed that it didn’t work well as a profiler because the study behind it was flimsy? I think I read about that a couple of years…no, five years ago. Back when I thought I was INTJ too. Anyway, these personality tests have been rejected by many scientists now but are still routinely used during interviews by the likes of corporate industry. Of course, the personality test was not among one of the many points of your quite interesting post. I agree with you on so many points. I can’t exactly quantify the feeling though. But I do know exactly what I didn’t like.
    I kid of course. This proved to be a nice read. 🙂 Sorry for typos that might have crept in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t doubt if it was largely disputed. Most forms of categorization are inherently flawed, I think. I understand the logic, however, of grouping elements, but also see the flaw of trying to bundle things – for instance, we can have 16 million colors (digitally speaking…maybe more…) but the gradations become so slight that, by human standards, there are drastically less. To us, color value 255, 255, 255 and 255, 255, 254 are pretty much the same – and yet they’re not.
      Thanks for reading, and, for what it’s worth, I don’t think I noticed any typos. 🙂

      Like

      1. Most forms are categorizations are flawed when you apply them in conditions where the assumptions are bound to fail. As humans, we don’t need a 16 million color classification to perceive the three dimensional, bathed-in-visible-spectrum world we inhabit. Just like we don’t care about rest of the radiation spectrum in our everyday lives. But I digress. I think categorization of human personalities require complexities that surpass a mere question/answer paper test. To assess behavior, you need an equally challenging set up to scrutinize it. One that’s not static but evolves on the basis of not just our responses but actions. However, I am not well versed in human psychotherapy so it’s all just a naive thought. Anyway, thank you for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohh this was sorta on my mind. I like the idea of faith now, I didn’t really know what it meant but now I know what having faith feels like. I still wouldn’t say I’m religious though, my friend who is so so sweet is Christian and she doesn’t believe that animals have souls, like my dog or cat. They don’t go to Heaven. I’ve also been writing about Heaven and Hell in my writing, I noticed today. Just like you said though it’s all part of our psychology preferences. What we turn to. I like to leave food out for fairies 🧚‍♀️ I think poetry is religion, like I believe in the power of words. I’m I totally rambled. I don’t know anything. That’s all I know is I don’t know anything lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Regarding your entry about “Psychology” and labels. My comment is here – Every human being is a totally unique individual, from birth, till death. And for that silly reason there really is no ‘test’ to accurately assess a human being. while a person can observe a person’s behavior and try to make a judgement on that, this probably fails. Bottom line is that, as human beings, all a person needs to do is to take a moment at a time, be present, and do that is necessary to stay alive, healthy, peaceful and safe in that moment. Labels are usually, always false, fake or inaccurate at the least. artfromperry Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I think some forms of assessment can give indications of our nature, but I think there’s always some gray area that can never be accurately parsed.
      Also, thank you for taking the time to read and reply! 😁

      Like

  6. In one of your comments you said “And I also think it’s weird how often religions preach love and tolerance…but then make sure to let you know that there are exceptions.” I was raised to believe in christianity, and all of its “magic”. It gave me meaning. It gave me happiness. It gave me community. A sense of purity. And even though I knew that the basis of evidence of gods in other religions, lined up with the basis of christianity’s, I was still convinced they’re wrong, we’re right, because of the sense of purity that came from arrogant devotion. I was a philosophical hypocrite, but my convictions made so much sense to me and I didn’t feel like one. The expectations that the church, I felt part of, constantly expressed, made sense to me as for why they’re there. And then, I was wrongly accused for doing something that was, in the church’s eyes, unacceptable. I was basically disowned by my community and family. They still acknowledged me to some degree, but in a degrading way. I started to feel guilt for something I didn’t do, and the meaning, happiness, community, and purity that came from church, all slowly disappeared the farther I was pushed away. At first, I was depressed. Then I played the rebel, my community saw me as, by cutting all ties and moving to the Pullman WSU campus (“The party school”). But throughout a long journey that consisted of a mix between guilt, fear, numbnation, and realization, I stripped down the layers of my values and morals one by one, and created new ones based off of objective reasoning, until I too became a nihilist.

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