Personally perceiving, Judiciously joining

Caveat: I am not a professional. Didja get that? I am not a professional, I do not pretend to a level of education that makes a professional, and I do not wish to sound as if I am assuming the authority of a professional, recognizable by the meeting of the standards of the profession. And that fact makes this a discussion and a refinement of ideas and an exploration -- not a teaching forum. Translation: comments and reactions welcome.

Now down to it.

Almost no one reacts with friendly acceptance when they hear the terms "perceiver" or "judger" or "feeler" or "thinker." "Sensate" is too odd a word to be accepted or rejected outright, but it's viewed with suspicion, and "intuitive" sounds a lot like the opposite of sensible. None of this stuff ever makes anyone say at first blush, "Oh, finally! Validation! Happiness is mine! I've just discovered that what I am is good." (click on this image of John Lopker's "personality ponds" and you'll find a site where you can click on your type and see how functions rise to the surface for you.)

So ... if you're experiencing a bit of resistance, you should know that everyone does -- until they understand what it means to be of their own "type." And that's the point at which every single person I've ever talked to about this has said, "Well, duh. That's how everyone should be - or they would if they had any sense at all." Our own types are experienced by us as Reality. When we see accurate descriptions of them, we see our own reflections as in a mirror, and we say that we see a "human being."

But it's also pretty common knowledge that "it takes all kinds to make a world" and "variety is the spice of life." We know not everyone is the same - and deep down, as much as some of the other types drive us nuts sometimes, we also wouldn't want everyone to be the same. We need each other. And it's "love that makes the world go 'round." When we love the other types and see them for the value they have in the spectrum of humanity, we get a bit less squirmy about our own types too.

I'm also going to keep repeating here - over and over and over - that we all use all the human functions when we need to. For a fly ball, you almost always need a two handed catch, no matter which hand is your preferred and dominant hand. What "personality typology" proposes to do is to give a conscious awareness of which hand is preferred and dominant. And the best use of this knowledge is the ability to call your other hand into service when you want it, and call in the hands of other people when you want them. "Type" theory isn't determinative - it's descriptive.

It's also helpful to be able to call on the strengths of others when it's going to take more than one person to perform a complicated task - like a rescue - physical, mental, emotional, or otherwise. Type knowledge is extremely practical, can be ultimately very loving, and enables us to use all the parts as a whole.

So ... first off, here's a new term or two. Maybe it has undertones for you - but maybe this one's cleaner than the Jungian pop terms we've already heard too often.


If you have a "P" at the end of your type, it's a "P" that stands for "perceiver." Put a bit more into my own experience of the type (some of my favorite people), I'd also call this person the Personalizer. Life is experienced for Perceivers as something they are personally touching - personally experiencing - personally feeling - arranging for themselves or organizing in personally comprehensible ways.

Perceiver is not another word for selfish, but it's almost another word for "self." Perceivers know what they have touched - I mean to say, touching (in thought, word, or deed) is it how they come to know it. They're existentialists. Experiencers.

Recently, a Perceiver I love rather particularly said that she's very careful about who she lets see her inmost self because "it's exactly like touching their skin and letting them touch mine. And if they're not people I want touching me, I don't let them." It's the personal contact that makes the difference for the Perceiver; a Perceiver perceives personally.

"J" types, on the other hand, are left-brainers. They view the world, and all of their experience as categorizable. Judgers join things together with other things so that the world will have "predictable reference points." (Thomson, p.67) Perceivers figure everything is its own thing. Judgers can (will, and can't generally refrain from the need to) join things together so that they make a kind of organized and predictable world. Perceivers are "global," where Judgers are "specific" in ways that can sound like a need to make things all tidied up when they're messy, or to make connections that to a Perceiver simply do not exist.

A wonderful illustration of the difference is found in the dedication page of Lenore Thomson's book. It says,

"For my ESTJ father ---
who doubts that type means much of anything ...

my INFP mother ---
who fervently hoped I'd write a book on the Enneagram ...

and my ENFP husband ---
who can't believe I'd invest so much time in one project."

(Makes me smile every time I read that!)

David Kiersey's book, Please Understand Me II, is the one that holds the categories of Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. It's a pretty popular book - in fact, the Keirsey categories were the ones used recently for discussing the presidential candidates.

In that way of viewing this landscape, there are names and not just initials for denoting the 16 Types. Here, for your interest, are the names he gives them. I have arranged them here by categories of their "first functions" -- like being right or left handed, your first function is your most natural self. Try yours on for size. Do you think it fits?

(Extraverted Sensation)
ESTP --- Promoter
ESFP --- Performer

(Introverted Sensation)
ISTJ --- Inspector
ISFJ --- Protector

(Extraverted Intuition)
ENTP --- Inventor
ENFP --- Champion

(Introverted Intuition)
INTJ --- Mastermind
INFJ --- Counselor

(Extroverted Thinking)
ESTJ --- Supervisor
ENTJ --- Fieldmarshall

(Introverted Thinking)
ISTP --- Crafter
INTP --- Architect

(Extroverted Feeling)
ESFJ --- Provider
ENFJ --- Teacher

(Introverted Feeling)
ISFP --- Composer
INFP --- Healer


Polly said...

I did not understand the pond picture of myself, and am still trying to wrap my brain around some of these terms....

But I must say that it's funny to look at my family and see that I am the Crafter, my date is the Inspector, and our kids are the Supervisor, The Mastermind, and The Performer. You don't know how true that is!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't figure the pond out either.