Everything has become a business motivated by profit.
Well, not literally everything. But the businessification of things has become so pervasive in the world now. Like, how do you do a thing without building a business around it? It’s strange. Forming a business around the thing you want to do forces you to think about how this thing can sustain itself over time. How is it gonna finance its own operations? How is it gonna be operated, by who, and what does each person do? Are there enough people that it serves? How important is it to each of them? And so on.
There’s good things about this cultural change and bad things. One of the good things is the reliability of these services. One of the bad things is that they tend to forget about the spirit of the service that sparked its existence, and lean on finance, finance, finance, money, money, money, money, profit, growth, numbers, markets, customer acquisition (customer stops being a person, and starts being an object on an assembly line to be made as cost-less as possible, customer as a human starts to become equated to a burden on the business, a dead weight to carry to become minimized), and other systematized things thought about in a way that is very uncompassionate, and industrialized. The human experience of providing a service to a person who needs it becomes a machine to be made as efficient as possible, not an experience to be appreciated.
I’m being hyperbolic here, not all business are like that of course, but it seems to be a tendency of the system of businessification.
I bring this up because I want to talk about Carl Jung, and his work on what he called Psychological Types. Great book, a fantastic and brilliant read. It’s very interesting to see how he thought of things. Although I believe he didn’t value his work on the psychological types all that much, it wasn’t very important, and I think he didn’t finish this work, he prioritized other things. But it’s still extremely fascinating to learn about.
What happened to it? What happened to Jung’s study on the types of psyches?
Well, it didn’t really die. Many people kept studying it after his life. It’s something that interested a lot of people from a lot of places. Including a team of mother and daughter named Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, respectively. You may already recognize their name. They created the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator. This mother-daughter team worked together on Jung’s work to further develop it into something the average person can use and benefit from. They created the Myers & Briggs Foundation to study this material. They developed a questionnaire you can take on your own to learn about yourself.
Jung’s original work focused on the type of psyche you have. It focused on two things specifically: your dominant cognitive function, and your auxiliary cognitive function.
So Jung theorized based on observations that people usually use one of many cognitive functions to interact with the world. Each of the functions behaves differently and has identifiable patterns. There’s four total functions, and they have an attitude of introverted or extroverted. The four functions are: Intuition, Sensation, Thinking, and Feeling. So you may predominantly be using Introverted Thinking to interact with the world, as I do. Another’s dominant function may be Extroverted Sensation, as my friend’s is. The Thinking and Feeling functions are categorized as judging functions, which means they’re used to make decisions, while Intuition and Sensation are perceiving function, which means they’re used to perceive the outer or inner world, depending on attitude. And each person has a secondary auxiliary function that works with the dominant function as a complementary role. So if I lead my cognition with Introverted Thinking, which is a judging function, the auxiliary function would be a perceiving function with the opposite attitude. My auxiliary is Extroverted Intuition.
Your head may be steaming right now after reading this psychology lesson haha. You’re whale-come :D. Because of this exact reason, the Myers and Briggs team wanted to make this work, which they saw as very useful for the world, more accessible to the average person who’s not a psychologist by any means. They also wanted to further study the field. To do these two things, they developed Jung’s thinking and work into a more complete system of cognitive functions, and an easy way for people to know what their type is.
So they ended up changing the name from Psychological Types to Personality Types. Which is much friendlier for the average person who doesn’t identify as some kind of scientist or something. They created a way for you to have a name for your type. So they created the system of four letters to know what your type. For example, my type is INTP, and my friend’s type is ESTP. Another friend of mine is INFJ. Another is INTJ, another is ENFP. Yes I gave them all the personality test haha. I have a little MBTI addiction problem. They should make MBTI Anonymous, so we can all recover haha.
So your type would be a combination of four letters, easy to remember. And there’s a clever way how the four letters map to the cognitive functions. Which I won’t go into, because I’m not sure how many readers left already due to the lecture above haha.
At some point I learned that the official questionnaire offered by the Myers & Briggs Foundation is not actually free. And from various other sources of revenue, the foundations is for-profit. They took Jung’s work and turned it into a business. They sold the product. They modified it to be marketable to businesses and organizations. They did their research to show how useful it is for businesses looking to optimize their team formations based on personality types.
I don’t know what their intentions were. I get the impression they wanted to bring Jung’s work on psychological types to the masses, to bring it to mainstream culture. Which they seem to have accomplished by this point.
Did they lose anything of value in doing things this way? Well, it seems like it, yes. They lost integrity. Many people don’t believe in MBTI anymore. They go on to other systems, like Enneagram, Socionics, or found their own, like Objective Personality. Scientifically-minded people point to their research being dishonest and with an agenda to promote the product. I myself see that the MBTI system as a logically-consistent system or framework to understand or interpret myself, my mind, my thoughts, and those of others. It’s an infinite well that you can always go deeper into. I’ve found that past a certain point of learning about it, it becomes more like a trap. It traps you in its orbit and discourages you from exploring other means of understanding yourself.
It’s been for me and many others extremely useful in understanding how people can be different, and how you can have a nature that is understood by some people in the world, and is quite understandable for many others if not everyone in the world, as well as yourself. It’s also useful in understanding that there’s different forces acting within you that all are autonomous in their behaviors, and teaches you that your goal, your role, is to find a integrative balance between all parts of you, while still understanding and accepting that you may have a leaning to one side or another, and that that’s ok, that that’s what makes you unique in the world, and there’s nothing wrong with having imperfections and being different from some people.
With this in mind, I find it extremely valuable to go back to the source material of Psychological Types by Carl Jung. You get to see where MBTI, Socionics, and Objective Personality originally came from, and the underlying thinking that birthed them all. It’s beautiful.
I also value keeping some healthy distance from any one framework of interpretation. Be weary of one that claims to be complete and perfect. Because after all, it’s people who built it. And they’re just as mortal as you are.