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Can I Defend This?

Wednesday November 15, 2017

Still thinking about yesterday’s blog post, here’s a question I ask myself a lot, in different ways:

“Can I defend this?”

For example, let’s say I’m studying some new topic. I quickly become aware of the strengths and weaknesses, benefits and common criticisms of that topic.

The inner critic now has a voice. Now I tend to feel accountable—for whatever reason—to this inner critic.

I recall many times when I’ve imagined myself on the witness stand. Grilled by myself, essentially, for some decision I made or didn’t make. Or some belief system, or an interest into which I pour my spare time. “What good does this interest in X do for you?”

“Well,” I start. “I’m glad you asked, strangely familiar inner prosecutor guy.”

Now if I don’t pass the examination by the prosecution, maybe I keep running into the same issue that I can’t argue successfully—sometimes at that point I become disgusted (not always that I am disgusted—feelings may elude detection) and start to dissociate from the interest. At that point I’m ready to grump out of there. The risk is that I do so with little justification other than “I lost an argument about it in the People’s Court of my brain”.

Part of the natural answer to this for someone with INTJ-like psychology, perhaps, is learning to listen to the “I just wanna / I just don’t wanna” point of view so often associated with Jung’s introverted feeling function.

I mean, if I “just wanna” study some topic that feels vulnerable to intense debate, it’s usually OK simply because I just wanna—that’s enough justification. Making judgment based on a feeling may be pretty foreign to INTJs on its face, but we really do it all the time in little ways.

On top of that, maybe there’s some intuition at play. Something tells me this interest is good for me. Great, but the inner critic would tend to be uncomfortable with that because it’s terribly subjective.

So can I defend it? Maybe. Do I need to defend it? Usually I think the answer is no. But such questioning plays to my strengths; I do it anyway and reap some brain chemical reward for acting like a rational / theorist. Hmm.

Filed in: Interests /111/

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