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My response to "Who agrees?"
18 February 2007

by Econdude

I have been studying and thinking about personality types since I left grad school in 1999. I wouldn't be attempting to type celebrities and the people I interact with in my everyday life if I didn't enjoy doing so. And frankly, it's become a hopeless obsession. Maybe the cliche, "it makes a better servant than master," applies to using socionics or other psychology theory. With all due respect, if you ask me if I agree whether using socionics and type has no value, I disagree.

My posts on the Q&A board have consistently implied or flat out stated in many ways that people are more than their types. Your country of origin, gender, level of education, social class, life experiences, birth order, religion, and many other influences help to shape your personality. However, all of us fall into one of the sixteen categories that are rough sketches explaining why we behave in certain ways. Given that we have so many influences that shape our personalities, it is refreshing and even a life saver to have a convenient, if imperfect, way to categorize people.

Some people will misuse type out of immaturity or sinister intentions. I have found that typing people helps me to maximize the benefits of good relationships and mitigate the downside of bad relationships. So that is at least one item of value that I have personally gained from studying socionics.

Why study economics - isn't it just all common sense? Why study history - isn't it all just old news? Why study philosophy - does it have any practical value? Why study anything? I think a very strong case can be made that socionics has a great deal of practical value while satisfying the theoretical types as well. I detect that part of the dissatisfaction you feel with socionics is the tendency some people have to use it to paint everyone with the same brush. I agree, that is a mistake. But if I know one person is an ENFp and another person is an ISTj, I will deal with those people differently, not because I am manipulative but for the benefit of everyone involved.

In my view, type is so influential in a person's life that it almost dominates their internal affects and outward actions. Maybe as the science progresses we will be able to reach a consensus regarding the influence of type. Even if type is not very important after all, I will continue to benefit from it and enjoy learning more about people and why they behave in different ways.
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