Tuesday, July 03, 2012


I took a Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator test recently and scored positive for ESFJ. I had no idea of what it meant outside of the zodiac sign-like wikipedia descriptions of all the wonderful positive blooming things that stroked my ego. Once I took to online message boards though, I quickly found out that ESFJs are mostly female. In fact, there were discussions about how all ESFJ males could probably be gay; that the ESFJ tag could help identify if your children are gay so you could counsel them. I received this with mixed feelings. I was happy that I finally knew why I had such feminist tendencies. It was almost like an expression of the inner feminineness or something. But I was pretty sure that my orientation was strongly heterosexual even at my drunk best. I am not special enough to be a woman in a man's body. I plunged into an unexpected doubt trip of whether I did not give it a fair chance when I told myself the first time that I liked girls. But truly, I did not make that choice; it really is not a choice at all. But some sort of unsettledness lingered. The Meyer-Briggs test is used in a lot of offices even for clinical purposes. Why did I have to be in the kitty party? 


Two weeks later, I got the family to take the test. Dad scored INTJ and the sibling scored ESFP. Mom scored ESFJ. And all was well with the world again. The Meyer-Briggs tests are based on preference and I preferred to call mom my role model of all the people in the world. To score the same stroked that ego again. Some things may not be a choice and your preferences may stay the same all your life but I make the choice to embrace what I am for what it is.


To hold on to the choice of embracing who you are is under threat however, thanks to a web 2.0 like social attitude. My brother-in-law is an analyst for web-based social media and told me once that your future personality is not what you pick for yourself but what social media would assign to you. You would have a star rating, like netflix. You would have reviews and testimonials, like amazon. You will be measured by your citation rating and list of followers. Sounds familiar? These already exist! This can and will get taken to the next level though, where what you should study, what your occupation should be, who your friends should be, where should you live will be strongly impressed by the society through its in silico social presence. Welcome to neo-feudalism, where your life is run for you like an assembly line. 

The biggest problem with this new attitude is that it is supremely dehumanizing. We all need the space to make our choices, the time to repent and regret the wrong ones and the tolerance that allows us to make new better choices. Not from everyone but definitely from the ones that call us their friends. It is hard enough to deal with the confusion of who you are and what you are doing. To throw in a quantitative system would just take the brakes off the roller coaster. Making people a ratable commodity is already an extant social evil that is snowballing into a stone-cold juggernaut. The next time you laugh and dismiss the starlet singer who has been labeled to have feminine features, ask yourself if your brains are meant to be made of a meme site.

The solution? Stay old-fashioned. It does not mean that you should not use social media. But follow the same route your dad did to stay in touch with the school mates that you call your uncles. First embrace who you are. You may not know everything; you may know nothing but you will accept and deal with the consequence of being yourself. Second, embrace what others are. Very few of them will exist in your fairy world so their cracks will show better. But unless their freckles draw swords and wage war on you, let them be what they are without interfering with your scorn. Finally, share your life with them and allow the magic to happen. Social media emphasizes the share aspect first and therefore we end up distorting the first two steps. 

You are not a mac or a pc. You are not an android or an iphone. Those are things. You are a person. Things. Persons. They are different. Things get treated like things. You should be treated like you. Without the job. Without the education. Without the clothes. Without the color of your skin. Without the disabilities. Without the gender. Without the history. We are clear. 

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