Predicting Your Life
From zodiac tests, to the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, your Chinese animal, or even your blood-type, it seems like every little detail about you has something to say. Essentially, these tests take one aspect about you and extrapolate things that you’re supposed to like, dislike, have as a strength, and much more. While some indicators like the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator are based on personal answers to questions and have some degree of personal customizability, others like the zodiac sign are based on your birthday and seem to be great abstractions. Yet, it seems like many people are immersed in this culture of personality types, and so it is perhaps time to address some concerns.
First is the problem of generalization. When you’re basing a whole person’s personality off of what year they’re born or what kind of sandwich they’d choose (as Buzzfeed tries to convince you is relevant), then obviously there must be some generalizations that occur. However, because the descriptions are often written vaguely, they are meant to be able to generalize to a wide variety of people. Essentially, there’s a little bit of something for everyone to grasp on to and see themselves in, no matter what the text says. I know this personally because, though I don’t really believe in the power of these tests, I have taken some in the past. While I can see some of the things in the descriptions that pertain to me, like often being lonely, crippled by a sense of anxiousness, or lacking in friends, there is the occasional line that I don’t identify with at all. For example, a Pisces like myself is supposed to like swimming. But, swimming sucks. Seriously. I hate swimming. However, such a result like that is to be expected when the person writing down that fortune is potentially on the other side of the earth and is trying to create something that is specific to you and a lot of other people, but has never met you. So, of course generalizations will occur, and that perpetuates ideas like that the ethnicity or gender of someone has a bearing on their entire personality or being.
Another problem that occurs as a result of the vast and sweeping conclusions is that people actually believe these tests. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you find that you get some kind of sense of purpose or gratification from being involved in these indicators, then all the more power to you. However, recognize that these tests shouldn’t be taken as the final verdict on how you as a person should be, or will be. The only one who should decide on how you act should be you.
So, after all of this, my point is that personality tests, much like my opinion on them, are rather vague, and perhaps not to be trusted.
Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol. 47 Issue 12 on April 11, 2018