As part of my Blogging 101 course, I came across a very interesting article posted by Zaid Ismail involving the attempts that society will go to in order to categorize each and every one of us. I commented on his post, and he was gracious enough to let me know he appreciated my thoughts. his blog is: https://cynicaljaded.wordpress.com/2016/01/05/dont-judge-me-2/
The author wrote about the Myers Briggs personality tests. I have had to take this test myself on several occasions and I can clearly relate to Zaid’s point of view on how they are administered and then used in a failed attempt to understand each person.
I experienced the same results as Zaid. I was not able to fit neatly into the pre-defined cubbyholes that the test laid out. According to the test, this made me somehow “abnormal” (insert Young Frankenstein reference here). Not falling into one of the pre-defined categories serves multiple purposes. From the point of view of the tester, it indicates that the subject must somehow be flawed and the subject will subsequently be viewed as such.
From the point of view of the test taker, Zaid or myself, it reinforces our belief in our own individuality, and therefore it is the test that it “fucked up”. There is nothing wrong with either of us except that the test cannot categorize us. I view that as a failure of the test itself and not of myself.
I commented to Zaid and I stated that I believe these tests are nothing more than a means of categorizing people in order to exercise control over them afterwards. Managers and organizations and politicians study these tests and their results. They take polls that are designed to indicate, without the subject’s knowledge, into which category the subject belongs. This knowledge is then applied to decisions regarding promotions and benefits in the business world, to decision-making and focused appeal in the political world, and to anyone who believes that they can use this knowledge to further their own ends.
I am a cynic, I freely admit that. Power is the ultimate drug for people. They will use whatever means necessary in order to achieve it. The idea that they can gain power without having to appear to be gaining power by use of manipulating these tests is just a symptom of how little they truly value everyone else. It is also telling that people like Zaid and myself who “break the mold” are the ones that actually represent some perceived threat to those in power. I can live with that.
The crime comes when those of us who do not conform neatly to a pre-designated position are instantly labeled as “maladjusted” or “troublemaker”. This is the system refusing to adapt to the human condition, and refusing to admit that the system itself is in need of attention. Historically, it has been the “maladjusted” or the “troublemaker” that is blamed for the problems that everyone else suffers from. This is the time-honored tradition of scapegoating. These personality tests simply provide a way to identify those to blame when things go wrong, or not according to the flawed plan that our leaders want everyone to believe in. I am proud of who I am, and I will not conform. I am reminded of two memorable quotes. The first is from one my of personal heroes, John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
The second quote is from the classic tv series The Prisoner:
I will not make any deals with you. I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.
I am so glad too have found Zaid’s blog as I was searching for new blogs as part of my assignment the other day. I highly recommend everyone to give it a look.