Reply To: NiTe – Teal Swan & The Ego

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  • Type: SiFe
  • Development: l-ll
  • Attitude: Adaptive

Argh, I just wrote a reply to this and it got eaten up by the scroll-wheel on the mouse I’m using! I think I remember what I wanted to say though.

I’ve been wondering about and interested in this topic for quite a while, and I still have some curiostities about it. I guess the first thing is that I’m assuming “ego” refers to the same sort of self-image-construction as does “temperment,” no? Yet unlike with temperament, which tracks where someone falls into each of three dichotomies, ego seems more like a “pick one of four” kind of scenario:

From a CT perspective, it appears the ego gets most associated with either the N/T/S/F function and that is where the self-identity rests. And it does seem motivated partly by a need to see oneself in a certain way.

I’m just curious about why this is, and whether it necessarily has to be the case? I would say my ego definitely rests toward the P side of the scale, but as best I can tell, it seems to sort of bobble about in the space between S & N.

The other thing I’ve been wondering about relates to the topic of ego and self-image–it seems to me like these are complex and multi-layered. I have sort of an absurd anecdote to help explain what I mean here. When I was about 11, my mom once told me that I was an introvert, and we had a discussion about what an introvert was. I gladly accepted the label, so from that age, my self-image included an association with the word “introvert.” However, in other ways my self-image during that period of my life was pretty ENT. I had a lot of nerdy hobbies involving imaginative engagement with the objective world. I was socially inept–more than I even recognized at the time–but I wasn’t really withdrawn. At times I even got into trouble because of my loud mouth. When I was about 14, our teachers had us take some MBTI-knockoff test, and I actually “cheated” on it. As I was filling in the bubbles, it dawned on me what the “E” and “I” on the test stood for. I saw that I was responding in a way that was about to peg me as an Extrovert, whereas I considered myself an “Introvert”. So I went back and reevaluated some of my responses to get a score I was happier with. (The irony, of course, is that it turns out I actually was an introvert).

My point is that self-image can be multi-layered an contradictory. At the most superficial level, I identified with being an “introvert.” Yet at a slightly deeper level, I had internalized lots of the traits that are associated with extroversion.

I remember a kid I went to high school with who was probably a double-extrovert, likely an NeTi I-I-. He was outgoing, talked fast & lots, and was generally very active. There was an almost spring-loaded quality about him, like the slightest prompting would cause him to bounce into a flurry of speech & motion. Nonetheless, he identified as an “introvert.” Now, I can’t speak to the countours of his ego, but let’s imagine we could get a holistic glimpse of the ins & outs of who he saw himself to be…Somehow I doubt that would correspond all that neatly with Introversion, however defined.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that because he was a double extrovert, he can’t possibly have had an introverted ego. I’m sure it’s possible for a double-extrovert to genuinely see themselves as introverted. It’s just that I would anticipate that it would somehow or other manifest itself in their personas. Otherwise having an introverted ego would mean little more than facile identification with a label. “Introversion” is sexy right now in popular culture, and a lot of people identify as introverts. But does this mean that all of a sudden, lots more people have internalized the traits of introversion in any meaningful way? I dunno, somehow I doubt it…

I feel like there definitely are examples of twin shades who have identical vultologies but markedly different personas and kinds of talent/skill/knowledge. I’m guessing this difference is a result of self-image and ego-association, but expressed in a holistic, longitudinal and deeply-rooted way. Edward Witten and Mr. Rogers are both male SiTe seelie I—‘s, sans flat affect–they’d probably score close to 100% on the matching algorithm. Now, I don’t know too much about either of their biographies, but Mr. Rogers definitely seems to have an F persona, whereas Edward Witten seems a lot more T-ish. George W. Bush is the same shade of SiTe, but comes off as more S. Now, it’s possible I’m just stereotyping. But at the very least, I know that someone doesn’t become a theoretical physicist, like Edward Witten, on the basis of cognitive talent alone–it requires a single-minded and long-lasting devotion to the topic, an overriding sense of “this is who I am and what I do.” In that way, it seems to me like it’s quite connected to the ego. It’s hard to imagine, say, George W. Bush becoming an Edward Witten-like figure because he woke up one morning, took an MBTI test and began identifying strongly with the idea of “T-ness.”

Finally, I’m definitely not trying to suggest that people cannot credibly identify their own egos or self-images. I actually believe very strongly in the legitimacy, and even sanctity, of self-knowledge. I believe there are always going to be things that people know about themselves that others don’t have access to. I’m not saying that people know themselves better than others know them–it seems like an apple-orange comparison; the two things seem like different sorts of knowledge. However, I don’t believe that self-knowledge lends itself to neat encapsulation within external structures (e.g. typologies). When I consider my own self-image, for example, I could talk on & on about my different traits for hours, but I also recognize myself as someone with many conflicting & paradoxical qualities, making it difficult to sort myself neatly into just one category. So I guess the long & short of it is that I feel like people should be respected as the ultimate arbiters of their own egos/self images, but that it also shouldn’t be immune to questioning–“do they really see themself in that light, or is it possible they’re merely drawn to the label?”

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Hrafn.
  • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by Hrafn.

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