Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Forever Jung

In one of my earlier blog posts (Jan 2009) I talked about my sudden fascination with Myers Briggs Personality Tests (MBTI) and how this would probably be a characteristically short lived fad for me. Well in this case, my interest in Jungian Type Theory has not been short lived and over the past year I have grown to be a fully fledged MBTI bore, expanding my collection of books which now include Jung for Beginners, The Essential Jung, The Undiscovered Self by Carl Gustav Jung, Gifts Differing by Isabel Briggs Myers, Please Understand Me II by David Kiersey (who developed the Kiersey Temperament Sorter), Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types and the latest addition to my library, Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual by Lenore Thomson, a former editor of the Jungian journal Quadrant and in my opinion the best book on personality type that I have read. Some of my fellow Humanists will be sceptical about Jungian psychology. Richard Dawkins has been scathing about Jung’s questionable pseudoscientific ideas, claiming in the God Delusion that Jung believed that books would spontaneously fly off his bookshelf. I gave an impromptu talk about the New Atheists on Monday in York when a planned presentation of YouTube comedy clips was scuppered by a dodgy internet connection. I put up a slide showing Dawkins’ 7 point scale of belief, with 7 being someone who is certain that there is no God and 1 being someone who knows that there is. Dawkins gave Carl Jung as an example of this type 1 certainty about God, quoting an interview given shortly before Jung’s death in with he said “I don’t need to believe in God, I know”. I am sceptical that Jung was claiming to believe in the God of traditional theism but that is a moot point. I think Jung was a more insightful thinker than Dawkins gives credit for. He may have had questionable beliefs in astrology and synchronicity but his ideas about personality type seem to ring true to me. Or maybe I am still a sucker for psychobabble.

At the time of my last blog post on MBTI I consistently tested as INTJ – the Mastermind, to use Kiersey’s terminology. I have since become convinced that I correspond much more readily with the INTP personality type – the Architect.