Why I Partly Disagree with Jordan Peterson About MBTI

  • by Amando Abreu
  • on 11 November 2018

Do you believe everyone is able to hold nearly the same complex thoughts in their head?

  • Everyone can fall in love
  • Everyone can enjoy doing something(from video games to golf)
  • Everyone can enjoy music(any genre)

How would you explain why those things happen? Why do you enjoy things? Do you think you enjoy them for the same resons others do?

You could start the argument by finding things in common with your intellectual opponent, and taking it from there, but you’d eventually get stuck trying to fit your point-of-view into theirs.

Everyone is able to hold incredibly complex thoughts in their mind, but the problem happens when you have to bring them out into the world using a form of communication.

Communication is arguably the most complex thing humans have to do in order to share knowledge and collaborate, and all disagreements between people stem from this.

Why I kind of disagree with JP

It’s not really a disagreement, I’m 80% to 99% sure he simply didn’t want to explain it too deeply.

Any time you try to understand a theory, you can either focus on the theory in itself, or in the person.

But what if we do both? A theory without the person is much harder to understand.

If someone comes up with a theory that claims:

50% of cars on the road are Teslas

He’s wrong as shit, it’s a shit theory.

But if he now tells you that he lives in Norway, and likes Teslas, you will understand that he sees an above average number of Teslas every day, and since he likes them, he focuses on them more than other cars.

Now you understand the theory and the person. This allows you to understand and communicate with them. And nudge them into realizing it’s a dead end.

Deconstructing theories:

Theories are incredibly personal forms of communication, and arguably no theory is true(assuming each person has their own theories, that’s 7.6 Billion * average_number_of_theories_per_person), so instead of choosing either multiverse or universe, take a step back and think, you might come up with your own new theory and create a new field of study!

It may sound like an incredibly naïve approach, which it is. I don’t need to understand MBTI if I never intend to collaborate with people who speak the MBTI language, however, if I want to point out fallacies in the theory, I’ll need to understand the theory and people involved in it extremely well, and hope they have the time, patience, and maturity to hear me out.

It’s the only way to communicate.

But I don’t have to tell them they’re wrong.

You’re right, except in one case, which is:

If the Tesla guy now starts acting upon his theory and hurts someone because of negligent behaviour. Someone will have to step in.

In the case of MBTI, the negligent behaviour would be the fact that it’s sold to companies as a way to assess employees, even though it predicts absolutely nothing in terms of workplace performance. If a company wants a personality test that works well, the best option is the Big 5 personality test.

About the author

Amando Abreu is a generalist with an affinity for technology and people. If you would like to give me some anonymous feedback, do it right here: contact;

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