Björk Guðmundsdóttir (Analysis)

One specific aspect of Cognitive Type (CT) vultology, drawn from its roots in the Jungian description of types, is its attention toward the orientation of consciousness. For each of the four discriminated processes (Ethic, Logic, Abstraction, Concretion), there is the distinct possibility of being proactive, directed at the environment, or being reactive, directed toward the individual. In the case of the general process of Ethic, which filters the information according to a refined criteria of values pertaining to good and bad, it means that the individual will be either inclined to accommodate to the external context, or to favor its own inner compass. While the former may lead to an acute sense of sociability, with the risk of losing one’s integrity, the latter, with its focus on a self-defined principle, may produce a conversely off-beat, if not properly eccentric presentation. It can become especially apparent when the process is leading the whole psyche, without being uniformly tempered by the accompanying criteria of proactive Logic. Thanks to the medium of video interviews, we might find such a unique individual in Björk Guðmundsdóttir, also known simply as Björk.

Since it would be improper and potentially misguiding to base an assessment only on a superficial behavior, one should preferably calibrate its observations according to typical signals. Although it is less notable in later material, one can immediately discerns Björk’s characteristically airy voice, which is a first clue of the prevalence of reactive/introverted ethical judgement, abbreviated Fi. Moreover, by watching the appropriately named “Television Talk” from 1988, even the casual spectator could become distracted by the sheer amount of accidental face expressions occurring along the speech.

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Figure 1 : Björk’s uncoordinated expressions

This should be enough incentive to proceed to a more technical narrowing of the type. Contrary to the reactive/introverted logical judgement (Ti) process, which corresponds to an internal state of detachment, the continuous emotional tension within the prevalent Fi user’s consciousness is translating through an involuntary contraction of the muscles between the upper lips and the sides of the nose, evocative of a pained expression.

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Figure 2 : Björk is displaying tension from the upper lip to the sides of the nose as well as an asymmetrical expression

When the person smiles, sometimes very privately like is the case with Björk, this contraction is pulling the movement upward, oftentimes resulting in a more or less pronounced “snarl” and bulging cheeks. Whereas a prevalent user of proactive/extraverted logical judgement (Te) would instinctively stifle the emotion on the lower part of its face, the prevalent Fi user cannot help but have it radiating freely.

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Figure 3 : Björk’s “snarl” and private smile

Due to the innate polarity of its judgement, the Fi process can itself present two different countenances, depending on the nature of the emotion which is predominantly emitted. If the perspective is negative, the individual will display an expression evocative of contempt, injury and haughtiness. Conversely, if it is positive, it will appears more innocent, delicate and sprite-like. With respect to anglo-saxon mythology, one can refer to these dispositions respectively as “unseelie” and “seelie”. Due to the performative element of Björk occupation, one cannot fully attest of the representativeness of the sample toward the individual’s whole psyche, but the persona on display is admittedly relevant to the seelie side of Fi.

Notwithstanding its manifest significance in the presentation, it is eventually by observing the direction of energy that one can determine the process as leading the primary oscillation of the type. Whereas an individual conducted by proactive/extraverted perception (Pe) would entertain by itself a more consistant animation, one can see in a reactive/introverted judging type (Ji) that, without external stimulation, the momentum is quickly receding toward a motionless position. Even when excitation is palpable, the body is keeping a rigid quality from the waist to the top of the head, which translates to an alternation of exerted push and pull.

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Figure 4 : Björk’s body is exerting a push forward before falling back

Communicative gestures, notably from the hands, are kept very close to the body, so as not to disrupt the alignement of the inner compass.

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Figure 5 : Björk’s brief gestures

As can be common with the secondary oscillation, the signals of perception are less clearly discernable. First and foremost, one should be careful not to confuse the overall “innocent” look of the seelie Fi-lead with what we usually refer as the “naive eyes” of proactive/extraverted abstract perception (Ne), nor to conclude that the imaginative content of the speech is demonstrating a matching cognitive process. In fact, the only tangible clues are pointing toward proactive/extraverted concrete perception (Se) as a secondary function. Compared to the erratic eye-toggling of a prevalent Ne user, Björk’s gaze is steadily alternating between drifting to the side and fixating on the interlocutor or object.

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Figure 6 : Björk alternates between drifting and fixating

Upward looks are swift, and even though scowls are almost unreported, the most acute stares evoke an intense, tactile access to information, without a hint of slanting outer edges.

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Figure 7 : Björk’s quick glance upward

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Figure 8 : Björk’s concentrated stare

By summing up the observations, one can thus refer to Björk Guðmundsdóttir as FiSe or Edavin. Her focus on expressing the “soul” of the individual through vivid imagery could even be considered emblematic of an “Indie Artist” development, which can be similarly attributed to Eithne Patricia Ní Bhraonáin, also known as Enya, or the late Michael Jackson.

Browsing through the material may evoke to the inquisitive reader some overlapping threads with the intricate diagnosis of autism. After all, the individual herself has been appropriating the adjective for her own description, for example in an 2011 interview given to the Rolling Stone magazine about her cross-platform project Biophilia :

Björk Guðmundsdóttir : “I think I’m probably semi-autistic or something – I’m just obsessed with riddles. It felt like the music industry was off the grid, and I wanted to solve the riddle.”

While significant to mention, this connection should ultimately be handled through medical discipline. One can only hope that the pursuit of thorough consideration by mean of adequate tools might on the long-term help better discern candor or artistry from other mental conditions.

Source :
The Sugarcubes – Björk, Television Talk (1988) – [DVD Rip HD]
Björk – Interview on Polar Music Prize
Björk – Human Behaviour + Interview – Live @ Late Night With Conan O’Brien, USA, Oct, (10-11-1993)
Björk — Harald Schmidt Show Interview
Bjork Unveils Multimedia ‘Biophilia’ Project in Rolling Stone

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