Wading Into Ufology: Some Observations from the Personality Zone
Thursday April 25, 2019
(This post was updated in October, 2022)
One zone or topic of study that I really enjoy, as an intuitively-driven person, is the fringe territory of human concern. Examples within this area include UFOs and Ufology.
Personally it’s unthinkable to imagine growing up as an imaginative, conceptually-fascinated kid without developing a talent for finding every library’s UFO book section, and feeling that natural, inner-intuitive connection to the question “what kind of mysterious stuff is out there?” Metaphorically this has always risen up through my consciousness as an attractive, naturally-chaotic spectre.
And I think chaotic is an important word to consider. To explore Ufology is to open yourself up to chaos, in that you immediately begin to upset traditional mental paradigms. Especially if there’s pressure to name stuff or decide what stuff is or what it means.
“Sometimes,” my coach told me, “you have to stir up a little chaos, see what happens.” And we’re good at that. Us intuitives stand out in our level of comfort with ideas. We make good planners. And in a lot of cases, we like the idea of stirring up the current thought process or accepted body of theory with something new, sensational, and mostly unknown. Does it make others feel uncomfortable? Yes, especially if they love the already-known, like that guy who has eaten a Big Mac every day for decades. But, sorry, life is like that; humanity is like that. Get used to it. It’s part of growth to look into the unknown and maybe even learn to stare it down.
Getting into four-letter Jungian type, for example, us INTJs even take that further and happily predict that chaos is simply part of our future, and furthermore we tend to say, “it’s OK, we can plan for it and harness it,” and this can really freak other people out.
Because how can you really know that? How can you even know you can do something about this unknown chaos?
Moving one letter away in personality type, and yet still managing to shift over to a different psychological world in many ways, our friends the ISTJs are a great example of a type that does not particularly enjoy chaos and future-intuition or prospective intuition. Individuals differ, but as a group, definitely.
You know who’s a great fictional ISTJ? Agent Scully. She’s a fantastic counterpart to Agent Mulder’s shattered-ideals intuitive type, the ENFP pursuit-of-truth persona.
In The X-Files, Agent Scully is Mulder’s interface to the government. She’s assigned to him, and she reports about him.
This makes sense, because the government and especially the military, judiciary, and law-enforcement aspects of government are famously compatible with ISTJ psychology.
You can even say that most of these groups generally have an ISTJ psychology, no matter which individuals of whatever personality types work within them. (This is called Aggregate Type, or Integral Type, by various authors.)
So, circling back to the non-fiction world: You know who I think might be a great real-life military ISTJ, who’s also one degree away from Ufology?
In the BBC World Service podcast, Witness History episode titled UFO Sightings: The Rendlesham Forest Incident (story starts about 35 seconds in), you can hear the account of one Lt. Colonel Charles Halt, USAF.
Colonel Halt went to investigate a possible UFO. He brought along a geiger counter and a tape recorder. He took measurements and made recordings. Nice work!
As I’m listening to this, I’m excited. He took these measurements—great! That’s helpful. “It must be under some type of intelligent control…” very interesting idea…
And what’s the Colonel’s take on the whole thing? I mean, as a first-person observer?
Guys, let me just say that his take on this is so ISTJ.
A direct quote:
“There’s no doubt it was something beyond anything we know or understand. […] I have concerns, but I don’t think we can do anything about it. I think this is beyond us.”
“So: Quit worrying about it.”
Sorry Colonel, WHAT did you just say? Did you just talk about increased radiation levels, a craft of unknown origin, a floating red eyeball-like object?
And then did you tell us to quit worrying about it?”
A theory, but maybe not a crackpot one: The Fear of Chaos Model
First: Let me just be clear that I’m not worried one bit, Colonel. Why worry in the face of such potentially valuable information?!
Second: This is where I’ll announce my UFO cover-up theory.
I don’t think there’s a grand conspiracy to cover up UFOs. I think it’s far, far more likely that world militaries and governments cover up UFO-related information out of this exact psychology, this “there’s nothing we can do, it’s beyond us” idea.
“Sure, it’s something radical, but it seems so beyond us, and really guys—what can be done?” Shrug.
The coverup happens because there’s no value proposition to the subjects involved. There’s no intuitive “prospecting” at work on their end, just a whole lot of introversion (in the “new and strange stuff drains your energy levels” sense of Jungian introversion) and fear of chaos.
See? That’s also a coverup. Especially where INTJs, and NT types in general are concerned. Because we can do something with that information. But at the same time, we can’t guarantee that it won’t upset the SJ / Stabilizer organization and cause any kind of chaos.
Well: For these and other reasons, we INTJs and NTs in general don’t typically run the military or match well its organizational psychology. So as a result there’s this natural, psychological information dam regarding the prospective / intuitive field of UFO research, and I think that’s the coverup, if there is one.
It’s simple to explain, it’s based in organizational and individual psychology, and I believe far more effective a thought-model than the “behind-the-scenes conspiracy” stuff.
To clarify regarding ISTJs
“Marc, so you’re saying that ISTJs are behind a world UFO coverup?” Sweet Jesus No. I’m saying that a specific psychology can cause a coverup of certain information, no matter the type of the individuals who are covering things up, or just preventing exploration-motivation from spreading within an organization.
I have lots of ISTJ friends, and I’d hate for them to be painted with a “wow you guys lack imagination” brush or worse. The fact is, they’re all different. Really what I’m aiming at here is group and organization psychology. I’ve witnessed it first hand; I’ve been a part of it. Keep your head down, stay on track, don’t deviate, and deliver what everyone expects you to deliver—stability. Some things we just leave untouched.
INTJs and INTJ groups of course build their own “information dams” too (though not generally with topics like science fact/fiction).
Phew. That was pretty fun to write. I have other theories on this stuff but I’ll bet you guys would hate to hear them. Really out-there stuff…
By the way, the US Navy just announced new rules for reporting UFOs. Let’s see how things unfold from here.
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