So–this is not going to be a long post.
Hopefully, that will come tomorrow.
The goal with this post is to blog about a realization that I had last week and which deserved more than just a FB post.
Namely–I finally figured out my “spirit animal.”
See, it all started about a month ago when someone put one of those meme’s up on FB about personality types crossed with “animals” to answer the heretofore never asked question of “What’s Your Animal Personality Type?”
Now, I’m a big fan of mbti personality typing–not as some essential truth about reality–but as a useful set of frames, archetypes, or basic level cognitive models with which people can try to get a handle on how other people might see the world differently. That said, it doesn’t strike me as particularly relevant to think that a personality type relates to a particular kind of animal–which have radically different brains/nervous systems/behaviors, etc.
Then I thought, “WTF. You’re taking this WAY too literally–they’re just being symbolic, dude.”
And they were. But it was also pretty insightful–at least for the case of INTJ’s–whose “personality animal” was the Octopus.
This was the description they presented with the nice picture of the Octopus:
“independent types, wildly intelligent and creative — but rather un-interested in what anyone else is doing. They are often considered the most independent of all the personality types, and they work best when given freedom. They are acutely aware of their own intelligence, as well as what they don’t know, and their passion often lies in conceptualizing ideas and processing complex theories.”
Now–it’s true that most INTJ’s I know are like this–but I’m not sure an Octopus is. Octopi–from what we know–are pretty damn smart–smartest of the invertebrates according to many sources. One might also take some of the physical traits of Octopi and project them symbolically onto INTJ’s–such as the fact that INTJ’s are often capable of multi-tasking with some skill because they understand system dynamics easily–as well as being able to camouflage themselves–at least in a certain kind of fashion (to appear unimportant)–pretty well.
Also–as my best half will attest to–I have 8 fucking arms–at least that’s how it appears in terms of how much I can get done when I set my mind to it.
So, overall, an Octopus seems like a pretty good match.
But it wasn’t perfect. There are things about Octopi that totally don’t fit me.
1. I don’t actually feel at home in water. I like splashing in a pool or on the beach–but swimming is not natural to me.
2. In terms of temperament–I’m not as solitary as most Octopi appear to be. I may not have a large group of friends–but I do socialize with a chosen few–and that’s important to me.
These points–and a few others–made me realize that if I wanted to think of some sort of symbolic animal for my personality–which sounds like the equivalent of a spirit or power animal to me–it wasn’t going to be just an Octopus. If anything, I reckoned, it should have something to do with felines–considering the long affinity and kinship I’ve felt with them.
That’s when it hit me–I knew exactly what my spirit animal was.
A fucking Displacer Beast.
What is a Displacer Beast, you ask? Well, it’s this critter….
Now, some of the cool things about displacer beast are as follows:
1. They are smart, carnivorous predators.
2. They have cool ass tentacles.
3. They magically bend light so that where they appear to be is actually 2-6′ away from where they actually are.. (hence, the displacement… )
4. Some see them as evil–others as merely cunning, but neutral predators.
Looking at these traits, it was clear to me that this creature was far more a fit for my version of INTJ. Points 3 & 4 are especially fitting in that where people think an INTJ is–mentally, emotionally, personality wise–is often not actually where they are, because INTJ’s usually have decided that it’s not safe for the world to know what they actually think. This feeds especially into point 4–which often posits INTJ’s as maniacal evil masterminds. This notion finds some support in how utterly funny almost every INTJ I’ve ever known has found Peter’s Evil Overlord List. This connection, however, is merely because INTJ’s like things to work–and find poorly conceived villains to be just stupid. If you’re going to take over the world–you’d just do it right.
Now, some might complain that it’s not right to put an imaginary creature–one made up for role playing games at that–as one’s spirit animal.
I say hogwash. To me, it’s all just symbolic anyway. It’s a way of encapsulating a lot of data quickly into a particular kind of mental frame that allows you to grok the world faster than you otherwise would–and to help you create meaning more readily as you do so.
Besides–if someone thinks there are some sort of objectively proven rules for what constitutes a “spirit animal”–they need to provide me with the replicated clinical trials showing that these rules have been validated in some sort of serious way.
Otherwise, it’s all just subjective imagination–which is not unimportant–but which is also not something that can be assumed to have any kind of objective truth status to the extent that you can make others conform to a particular set of guidelines.
So that’s that. It has taken me 40 years to figure out my spirit animal–just as it has taken me this long to figure out what I really want to do for my future career path.
Do you think there’s a relationship between the two?
I don’t. That shit’s just coincidence.