This week I turned 38. A who-cares? figure to be sure. It's not like one of the biggies - 21, 30, 40, etc - where the prospect of staring down another decade or finally being able to buy a beer at the pub infuses the day with an inherent sub-text. But 38? Whatever. All I am doing is staring at 40.
The average life expectancy of a male living in the US is right at 76 years-old; being 38 means I am at the statistical mid-point of my life. Half gone, and if I am lucky, another 38 to go. If I were unfortunate enough to have been born a citizen of Mozambique, I would only have about 3 years left to live - life there being a brutal struggle unimaginable to my Western experience - so I consider myself statistically and geographically fortunate to say the least.
I have been told, and I think that the evaluation is mostly fair, that I still act a bit like a twentysomething - my fondness for crass, potty humor and a relaxed disposition that my father calls "above the fray" or "out there" as my sisters may say - speaks to both my assets and to my flaws.
According to the Jungian-based Myers-Briggs Typology test, I am a Healer Idealist. INFP. Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. Those who know me would consider it especially ironic that Aldous Huxley and George Orwell are listed as having the same personality type.
The Keirsey evaluation of this personality type states that "Idealists, as a temperament, are passionately concerned with personal growth and development. Idealists strive to discover who they are and how they can become their best possible self -- always this quest for self-knowledge and self-improvement drives their imagination. And they want to help others make the journey. Idealists are naturally drawn to working with people, and whether in education or counseling, in social services or personnel work, in journalism or the ministry, they are gifted at helping others find their way in life, often inspiring them to grow as individuals and to fulfill their potentials."
Sounds good. I'll take it. Better than some of the others. Though they never tell you things like - you're lazy or difficult to talk to or overly conceited or any of the other common character flaws... fortune-cookie compliments are never without merit and much more enjoyable to hear.
Sadly, INFPs only make up about 1% of the population according to the Keirsey scale. It seems that the agents of natural selection have been plotting against the proud Idealist. Weeding us out. Favoring personality traits better fit for the post-apocalyptic shit-hole our rulers have been creating.
The governing forces of Nature seem to understand that modern times are not the times for idealism. Realism is what will save the species. Idealism is a luxury for later.
"Tough times demand tough talk..."
These same forces could always conspire to produce far fewer personality types geared towards power and domination - these people are mostly dicks anyway. We would do much better without them. Of this, I am certain.
--Perhaps after our society implodes we will learn to rid ourselves of these central planners and the vampire machinery they create. Or maybe I can just keep hoping that Darwin will do it for us.
Oh well, happy birthday, 38. Wake me when I'm 40 and it's July of 2012 and the dollar is worth dogshit and the History channel keeps running non-stop documentaries about the Mayan calendar and the coming apocalypse. Now that's a birthday to remember!
In honor of my father who contributed significantly to my existence, I close with the following quotes:
Individualism regards man -- every man -- as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights -- and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members. ~Ayn Rand
The philosophy of collectivism upholds the existence of a mystic (and unperceivable) social organism, while denying the reality of perceived individuals—a view which implies that man’s senses are not a valid instrument for perceiving reality. Collectivism maintains that an elite endowed with special mystic insight should rule men—which implies the existence of an elite source of knowledge, a fund of revelations inaccessible to logic and transcending the mind. Collectivism denies that men should deal with one another by voluntary means, settling their disputes by a process of rational persuasion; it declares that men should live under the reign of physical force (as wielded by the dictator of the omnipotent state)—a position which jettisons reason as the guide and arbiter of human relationships. ~Leonard Peikoff