If you have ever taken a Myers-Briggs personality test, you know that it produces a set of four letters for your personality type, based on the following dichotomies:
E for Extrovert or I for Introvert
N for Intuitive or S for Sensing
T for Thinking or F for Feeling
J for Judging or P for Perceiving
My type is INTJ, Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging, which is one of the four rarer types out of a possible 16 types. Wikipedia estimates that 2.1% of the U.S. population shares the INTJ type. (For comparison, the more common types are 13%, 12%, and 8% of the population.)
I was pleased to discover that two of my fellow INTJs are C.S. Lewis and Gandalf. Laugh if you will at my geekiness. What led me to this discovery was a message board about C.S. Lewis. One of the posts on that message board asked for the Myers-Briggs personality type of each person on the board. Surprisingly, almost 30% of them were INTJs. Thought-provoking. Do we tend to like certain authors because they share our personality type, and thus we slide more easily into their respective mental universes?
I stayed up late last night to finish a 2005 biography of Lewis entitled The Narnian. Alan Jacobs, the biographer, picked an excellent quotation from Lewis to end the book.
The boooks or music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things -- the beauty, the memory of our own past -- are good images of what we desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, and break the heart of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have not yet visited.
Though I share Lewis's passion for books and music, the thought is equally true for any other object of our heart's desire here on earth, even our children. An object or human will always break our hearts if we mistake our dearest object/human for "the thing itself."