Ancor Imparo I’m Still Learning

Beltane                                                                             Rushing Waters Moon

senior drivingTwo things. Turning left yesterday after visiting the Colorado Potters Guild spring show, I looked up and noticed I had executed a left turn in front of an oncoming SUV. We missed each other, though it could have been otherwise. Later, turning a corner onto 8th Avenue heading out of Denver, I banged the right rear of the Rav4 against a curb. It’s important to be honest about such a critical skill as driving and right now, I’m lacking something. Maybe it’s attention, maybe it’s an inability to drive and chew gum at the same time. I don’t know. But I need to do something about it.

Goya ‘I am Still Learning’

Second thing. When I was a little boy, my dad had two nicknames for me: tech and crit. Neither were positive. The first, tech, was short for technical. He said I was very precise, very techincal in an argument. I would pick at things that others wouldn’t notice or didn’t care about. True. Still do it. It is, for better and worse, the way my mind works.

The second, crit, summarized my tendency, linked to tech, to be more critical than most. True. If I see something, I say something. An irritating habit, I know, for those around me, but, again, it’s the way my mind sees the world. Over time I’ve become aware of the way these tendencies affect others, but being able to modulate them is very difficult for me.

Why? Well, later in life I found the Meyers-Briggs personality inventory and discovered my INTP personality type. It fits. Here is a recognized weakness of this personality type:

  • Insensitive – Oftentimes INTP personalities get so caught up in their logic that they forget any kind of emotional consideration – they dismiss subjectivity as irrational and tradition as an attempt to bar much-needed progress. Purely emotional situations are often utterly puzzling to INTPs, and their lack of timely sympathy can easily offend.

intp-personality-typeOh? Well. Tech and crit-me-manifested very, very early. Dad focused on an interactive aspect of my personality that is designed to irritate others. It’s not the only aspect, hardly, but having it emphasized was difficult for me. Actually, it still is.

(INTP at learning mind)

But here’s another way to look at it, this time as a strength:

  • Honest and Straightforward – To know one thing and say another would be terribly disingenuous – INTPs don’t often go around intentionally hurting feelings, but they believe that the truth is the most important factor, and they expect that to be appreciated and reciprocated.

This is a strength that has an obvious downside, or weakness. I want to modulate the hurtful aspect of this character trait through the middah of chesed, or loving kindness. This does not mean I will change the way my mind works. Don’t think I can after a good deal of experience. It does mean that I can introduce a pause between my observation, which will still exist, and its articulation. In that way I can assess whether the truth in a particular situation is helpful or hurtful.

My focus phrase for this will be: see the good, too. Always.