Imagine a suite of a Sag, a Taurus, a Cancer, an Aquarius, a Libra, another Libra and a Capricorn. Three air signs, two earth, a single fire Sag and the lonely water Cancer: quite the mix. By now, the astrologically literate reader has determined the natural alliances among the seven, the biggest areas of clash and the eventual demise of this cohabitation unit. The more cynical among you have already categorized me as “one of those people who believe in horoscopes,” and are ready to ignore all of what I am saying (which is not some groundbreaking truth, mind you — let’s not raise expectations here).
To assure you, I am not a complete weirdo living her life according to daily horoscopes. I have, however, spent hours into the early morning researching the moon signs and rising signs of people I know: The moon sign describes your deep-down self, while the rising sign is whatever you present yourself as to the world. (To make an analogy, if your sun sign is your phenotype, your moon sign is your genotype, and the rising sign is whatever color you dye your hair).
But what does it all mean? Well, first of all it means that being a rising Gemini Taurus with Aquarius as my moon sign, I am very internally conflicted. But also, this intricate system of determining respective star signs for different levels of personality is a great comeback for all those who refute the astrological system by claiming you can’t categorize people into twelve categories. With 12^3 categories (1728 — I calculated) we are sure to accommodate any complex personality of everyone in your life.
Except when not. Like when my roommate with rising sign Leo represents as anything but the assertive, showy Leo. Well, you will say, it makes sense that your superstitious system has failed you — because there is no truth to it, no analysis, no science.
Well, the realm of personality tests is known for not letting anyone down: For the scientifically inclined, Myers-Briggs personality types come to the rescue. This system, very popularized in the last few years, rates your personality under four parameters and gives 16 possibilities for who you are. Based on my knowledge from the TV show Quantico, even FBI uses it to categorize new trainees, so it sounds very legitimate and useful. The Myers-Briggs is taken so seriously that all the prominent fandoms have assigned types to their characters, and heated debates are still going on in forums on whether Arya Stark is really an ISTP.
Except, based on my knowledge from watching Vox videos (recommend!), actual studies have proven that people who take the Myers-Briggs test five months apart will most likely not get the same diagnosis. I suppose this just shows how much of a “Champion” I am, since I have consistently got ENFP (known as the Champion) for the past two years. Or perhaps I am rather one-dimensional, since I don’t apparently grow and change like the rest of the population.
Personality types are rooted back in the medieval times, when physicians came up with four basic types (called temperaments) of people: the sanguine, the choleric, the melancholic, and the phlegmatic. And unlike the Myers-Briggs test, whichever category you belonged to didn’t only tell you what personality you had but also what kinds of diseases you were prone too. It was genomics before genes existed, and I can imagine this system led to many wrong diagnoses, but honestly who knew much about medicine in the Dark Ages anyway?
If personality categories have been around for centuries, then perhaps it is a human instinct to lump people together into groups that subscribe to specific types. An often-repeated, and frankly simplistic, reasoning is that we like to think we know people, and fooling ourselves into thinking if we know that someone is an INFJ Sagittarius with their moon sign as Taurus and also has a sanguine temperament, we will finally crack that person’s code.
Except that doesn’t hold when we look at the reality of taking personality tests: We take personality tests for ourselves, not for other people. The need is to know yourself, not your friend. The obsession of asking the Internet to tell you about yourself is possibly rooted in a deep-seated narcissism. You like it when people (or programs coded by people) talk about you.
Except it doesn’t help that we end up assigning ourselves to generalized groups, the same as at least 1/16th of all the world’s people. Being just another ENFP strips away any sense of uniqueness a person fools themselves into having.
Perhaps it is a specific sense of self-doubt that sets people on the search for who they really are. Or a lack of funds for a well-paid therapist to do the job. Could it be that personality-type obsessors make up their own category, a bundle of people who soothe their common anxieties by asking Buzzfeed editors which Disney animal they are based on their Zodiac signs?