The Sorting Hat

houses Am I the only one who ever wondered, if you know that dark wizards only come out of Slytherin, why have a Slytherin house?  Is it because the love of power has its uses in society, or is it better to have them gathered in one place where you can keep an eye on them?

Over the long weekend I read ahead in Please Understand Me II and in explaining the temperaments to my husband, realized that Keirsey’s types come down to 2 things: whether a person is internally or externally focused, and whether they are objective or subjective.  He also breaks it down into a matrix of abstract vs. concrete word use, and cooperative vs, utilitarian tool use.  At which point I threw my hands up because to me, words are tools.  Something that had always bothered me about the MBTI was the redudancy or overlap of thinking and judging, of feeling and perceiving, and so forth.  He ultimately groups the temperaments by the two middle letters, if your second letter is N, and the second and fourth letters if your second letter is S.  But by my breakdown, if you are an iNtuitive, that fourth letter becomes kind of superfluous since it deals in your external experience, likewise Sensory types are less invested in the third letter which concerns internal experience.

And then I’m thinking it’s just a washed up self help theory from the 80’s which my personality theory teacher happens to think is still useful.  But then I realized that it does have a relationship to the elements of personality in the DSM5 alternative model of personality disorder:

Identity ~ Internal Subjective (Idealist)          Self Direction ~ Internal Objective (Rational)

Empathy ~ External Subjective (Artisan)       Intimacy ~ External Objective (Guardian)

I’m not really solid on how I’ve aligned the externals.  The parenthesis contain Kiersey’s temperament types.  The thing is, Kiersey is trying to present strengths, or an exclusive focus, while the proposed model is presenting dimensions that should all be present in a functional personality, though I’m suggesting people with varying temperaments would rank them accordingly. Something that worries me about the MBTI is that it supports ego-syntonia of personality disorders.  He’s saying there’s nothing wrong with you, everything about you can be described as a strength if people would just understand.  If we map this to the sorting hat and plug in personality disorders:

Gryffindor ~ Narcissistic [the Mary Sue]         Ravenclaw ~ Obsessive-Compulsive [detached]

Hufflepuff ~ Borderline [over attached]           Slytherin ~ Antisocial [politician]

It’s a little confusing since Hermione would seem to be a Ravenclaw.  Rowling had to populate Harry’s vicinity with a variety of personalities.  But as Dumbledore says (more or less) it’s not your gifts but your choices that make you who you are.

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