Fantastic Friday: To Thine Own Self Be True

This summer, I taught an online class about the archetypal journey and personality archetypes and how they can be used to help make narrative writing stronger.

In doing so, I found dozens of online “quizzes” to help users get to know themselves better. While there are many, some are decidedly more reliable than others, and I want to share two of those today.

I was reading an article about how people from the Middle Ages would dislike certain elements of our modern society, mainly our reliance on technology to help us remember things and how we share miniscule details of our lives to keep the sense of being always connected.

The article made me reflect on my own behaviors. At the tail end of “Generation X,” I was born without technology, compounded by the fact that my parents were slightly technology-resistant. Yes, I had a record player. Yes, I used a rotary phone. And I do think there are differences between how I act and think now versus how I acted and thought when I was younger. Some of that is age, of course, and different responsibilities. But much of that is the sense of “over-connectedness” I have now. It’s hard to slow down and be bored nowadays.

And boredom is a good thing because it can lead to inquiry and insight, rather than careless distraction.

Whereas in the past, I would stare at a wall and find faces and patterns in the tiny imperfections caused by the paint roller, now when I’m bored I surf Facebook or Twitter. Although social media opens me up to new ideas and opinions, it limits my reliance on my own imagination.

In that sense, I am always on the lookout for ways of using (the inevitable presence of) technology to help me (and my daughter, when she’s older) keep that sense of self reflection and imagination I once had. To that end, some of these quizzes actually do help us slow down and reflect.

The first quiz is based on the Meyers-Briggs personality indicators. Although it’s not an official test, it is accurate to the test I took in college, and it’s one of the more flexible tests I’ve taken in terms of it allowing variation in responses. When you finish the quiz, it provides some discussion about your personality type.

Screenshot_2017-06-27-05-29-05-1The second is a quiz created to be a valid way for users to determine which Harry Potter house they would belong to if they were a wizard in the Harry Potter universe.

(To be fair, I will share my result for this one: I’m actually a Slytherin. I attribute it to my extreme work ethic and my analytical nature).

Both should be taken as “fun,” but the knowledge that comes from each test may help us slow down and reflect.

By reading up on the tendencies associated with our personalities, we are forced to self-reflect and consider ways that our preconceptions and preferences might influence our understanding and our interactions with others. When every member of a family takes the quizzes, they can discuss results and contemplate how their differences might influence interactions, and perhaps this would allow misunderstandings to be explained—and even allow people to adjust their behavior when interacting with others.

Do you have ways of using technology to slow down and reflect? If so, I’d love to hear them—feel free to leave a comment!

Otherwise, happy reflection, and happy Friday!

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