Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Personality Test:

Your Type is
Strength of the preferences %

Other INFJ's:

Nathan, prophet of Israel
Robert Burns, Scottish poet

U.S. Presidents:
Martin Van Buren
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Fanny Crosby, (blind) hymnist
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Fred McMurray (My Three Sons)
Shirley Temple Black, child actor, ambassador
Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader, martyr
James Reston, newspaper reporter
Shirley McClain (Sweet Charity, ...)
Piers Anthony, author ("Xanth" series)
Michael Landon (Little House on the Prairie)
Tom Selleck
John Katz, critic, author
Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul and Mary)
U. S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Billy Crystal
Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury)
Nelson Mandela
Mel Gibson
Carrie Fisher
Nicole Kidman
Jamie Foxx
Sela Ward
Mark Harmon
Gary Dourdan
Marg Helgaberger
Evangeline Lilly
Tori May

(I wonder when Nathan, prophet of Israel, Aristophanes, Chaucer, and Goethe took the personality test. I am also curious as to how Mel Gibson and Mother Theresa of Calcutta ended up with the same personality.)

INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents. Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn.

INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large. They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates." While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character to outsiders, and hence the most often misunderstood -- particularly by those who have little experience with this rare type.

Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil. The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type (possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function).

This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type. For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings.

Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences. However, the significant minority of INFJs who do pursue studies and careers in the latter areas tend to be as successful as their T counterparts, as it is *iNtuition* -- the dominant function for the INFJ type -- which governs the ability to understand abstract theory and implement it creatively.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


- The relatively new album from the Roots, Game Theory, is a great one. If you love the Roots it's definitely a solid purchase.

- I usually start an update by saying that I haven't done this for a while. I've decided not to do that this time.

- I cut my hair on Sunday.

- Gasp, Niet op Zondag!

- "I mean that a defeat in Iraq will embolden the enemy, and will provide the enemy more opportunity, to train, plan to attack us, that's what I mean. One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." - George H.W. Bush

- I wish I had unvarnished access to the truth. That would come in handy during a debate.

- - How much respect should you give a political pundit who appears on a tawdry reality show? Tucker Carlson is the man who once called Canada "America's retarded cousin", and who was schooled by Jon Stewart on the now-cancelled Crossfire show on CNN. Now he showed the world that he is sorely lacking in the rhythm/balance/agility department on "Dancing with the Stars." I would post a link but it really isn't worth anyone's time.

- People need to stop comparing everything happening today to the events of World War II. Until a powerful militaristic totalitarian state appears which is bent on expansion and brutally murders all in its path, the overwhelming majority of these comparisons fall flat. And, quite frankly, they belittle the sacrifices of millions of veterans and the deaths of countless innocents.

- I saw Stephen Harper and Jack Layton up close on Friday.

- I also saw Mohammed Karzai's motorcade.

- One of my students compared my new look, with the haircut, to Jason Statham. I'm not kidding. I must admit, I lack the brawn or pure thuggery of Jason Statham but I have heart . . . and a receding hairline.

Here are a few other famous faces I've been compared to:

Dustin Diamond

Sideshow Bob

and Nicholas Cage. Note the receding hairline.

- I got to witness a boat going up the locks on the Rideau Canal on Friday as well. Lieutenant-Colonel John By you're the man.

- Lieutenant is pronounced as "Leftenant." We're in Canada, after all.

- Bill Frist recently claimed that he couldn't reveal what the United States considers torture because then the enemy could train for it . . . wha?

- "There's so much trouble in the world." - R.N. Marley.

- I want to thank everyone for their concern for my sister Linda. Please keep her in your prayers and pray for her restoration, recovery, and healing. We all miss the laughing, smiling, genuinely joyful presence of our dear sister and friend. Here is a newspaper article relating to the cult. Peter Rigo is a false teacher whose blatant sociopathic manipulation of his followers stands against all that the church stands for. Don't let your anger turn to hatred, but let the bitter taste of injustice churn your stomach and bring you to your knees as you approach the Father for justice.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Some Ramblings About Apologies

Not too long ago, Stephen Harper issued an apology on behalf of the Canadian government for the Chinese head tax. The Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 put a head tax of $50 on all Chinese immigrants attempting to come to our beloved country. This head tax increased to $100 in 1900 and $500 in 1903. Basically, the Chinese were paying the equivalent of the average worker's annual salary just for one of them to come into this country. In 1923, the Immigration Act was replaced with the Chinese Exclusion Act, which, as its title suggests, excluded Chinese Immigration altogether.
Some Canadians felt that this apology was setting a bad precedent. They felt that apologizing to the Chinese would force an apology for every single group that was ever wronged by the Canadian government. At least one Canadian asked if this meant that he would get an apology from the Romans for the treatment of their ancestors. How long until the descendents of that shaggy-haired berzerker of the Black Forest get their compensation for a gladius to the solar plexus?
This topic interests me deeply. How long does it take before an entity is no longer responsible for its historical actions? Do the victims of an injustice need to be alive in order for compensation to be doled out? Can we judge a previous civilization or generation according to our present-day values?
When some historians learned that deserters who had been shot during the First World War were being pardoned, they protested. The officers who carried out the punishments were merely following military law, they claimed. By pardoning the deserters we are condemning the officers who carried out their sentences. We have no business retrospectively moralizing history, do we? While it's true that we must place events in their historical context, we also should not fall into a trap where history is viewed from a foundation which is, basically, an amoral soup. Did the Aztecs carry out human sacrifice? Sure, but that was their religion. Did the CIA assassinate Lumumba? Almost certainly, but it was the Cold War.
This does not mean that we shouldn't be understanding of historical moral differences -- far from it. We would be horrible historians if we didn't contextualize. We should, however, recognize that there are moral absolutes that transcend time. Murder is always wrong, whether you're a 7th century Norseman or a 21st century guerrilla. Injustice and immorality are not new; they've been here as long as sin. Of course, reading history would get very tedious if the historian kept interjecting every so often to express moral indignation. In the same way, history would get rather romanticized if the historian kept interjecting every so often to excuse certain behaviour. Often it is enough to portray a historical event or character in its context and allow the reader to draw their own conclusions. Humans have an innate sense of justice and morality.
It is true that we need to be sensitive to the context of an event. We can condemn American support for brutal rebels and dictators in Africa and Latin America, but we would be remiss if we didn't place this in the wider context of the Cold War. The Cold War doesn't justify a coup d'etat, but it would be wildly unresponsible not to mention it.
Is it possible to read history without some kind of moral foundation? Perhaps, but if someone can read about the Holocaust and find the cold hard rationality in it, excuse the perpetrators of this heinous act, and deny the cancerous existence of evil then they ought to be examined. Any good historian, however amateur, would have a difficult time denying the human capacity for truly evil acts.
I read one editorial which complained that if Canada apologized for the Chinese head tax, then some poor schmuck down the road will have to apologize for something the present government is doing. People, the writer argued, are just reacting to the forces of their time and we shouldn't condemn them. Besides the distasteful implication that this was not a racist policy, this also implies that only contemporaries can offer moral judgements, or worse, that there can be no moral judgements. What kind of justice is there if its standards change after every age? I can only hope that unjust actions of today are scrutinized and apologized for in the future and I hope that past actions continue to be judged and apologized for.
This leads to the question of how an entity can be held responsible for something which occurred 50, 100, 200 years ago when the individuals making up that entity are entirely different. If someone truly believed that an entity bore no responsibility for its past actions then they would be fundamentally opposed to returning stolen art, for example.
A common retort to demands by black Americans for reparations for slavery is "My ancestors may have had slaves, but I never had a slave, why should I pay?" Historical injustices perpetrated hundreds of years ago can often still be felt today. While I may never have had a slave, my ancestors certainly benefitted directly or indirectly from the slave trade. Thus, if I can take pride in the Dutch resistance to the Spanish, I should also be ashamed of the Dutch role in the international slave trade. Surely if I can glory in Vimy Ridge, I can also feel shame for the Chinese head tax. I am not personally responsible, but I am connected to these things.
Of course, when money enters the equation, the whole thing becomes that much more complex. After all, how do you measure suffering in monetary terms? Personally, I would hesitate before suing an organization on behalf of my ancestors. Although I would still feel the sting today, I would not feel comfortable profiting from their suffering. Sure, it is compensation and not a bribe and, yes, every apology is empty without true remorse, but I would still feel uncomfortable. As always, there are a lot of questions which remain unclear and unanswered in my mind.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Four

I walk through glowing green fields
the grass is damp and the earth yields,
soft and uncertain like a newborn deer
tottering, bounding, now leaping with glee
bold and lively, prancing without fear
Ah, what a pleasure this is to see!
I walk under the baking sun
my breaths are deep, and my sweat runs
the earth is firm like a ripe plum
sweet and juicy and tart on my tongue
thunder rolls and grumbles like a drum
See how the August skies have sung!
I walk through forests dark and deep
the wind whips my face and makes me weep
the breeze swirls all the rusty leaves
which snap and crumble beneath my feet
like all the things you once believed
Aye, see how the wind scatters those empty sheets!
I trudge the icy rocks and snow
the sun is faint like the dying glow
of a fire fading as it grows old
and the embers fade to blackened coal
as my bones crack in this icy cold
Lord, its clammy claws spear my soul!

and then I awake in those glowing fields
and feel that soft earth as it yields
. . . I use this memory as my shield.

Who deh?