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.
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 the 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 till 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.