Friday, May 7, 2010

The Beatle Within You (and Without You)

Over the years, my continued interest in psychology, temperaments, personality types, and generally whatever makes people "tick" has brought me into contact with the standard tests and quizzes: The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the DISC profile assessment, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the Four Temperament theory, etc.

All of these paradigms operate more-or-less with a "quadrant" model; four temperaments, four profiles, four pairs of dichotomies.

I suppose it was only a matter of time, then, before someone hit upon the brilliant idea of sorting the personality types and temperaments, not merely into four categories, but into Fab Four categories. In their book Beatleology, the Jaquette brothers mix psychology and astrology to present a rather interesting theory: we all have a Beatle within us. We all have an Inner John, an Inner Paul, an Inner George, or an Inner Ringo at work in our personalities, dictating (or at least influencing) how we view the world, how we interact with people, how we experience love, how we work, how we play.

Because we human beings are not one-dimensional, Beatleology proposes further that, in addition to having a primary Inner Beatle Sign, most of us also have a Minor Beatle - a Beatle "Rising" - that further shapes and sharpens the way our primary Inner Beatle manifests itself.

Reading this book was great fun for me, and it was surprisingly accurate in pin-pointing both my Inner Beatle (George) and my Beatle Rising (Paul). Even more fun, I think, is how this material has further defined how I view and interact with others: friends, family, co-workers, etc. It really has helped me, in more than one situation, to know that I'm a George interacting with a Paul in this certain scenario, or interacting with a Ringo in this specific conversation. But it has also helped me keep a realistic perspective of myself, and become more fully who I am and who I was meant to be. Knowing that I have a George-like tendency to over-think and over-reflect keeps me from lapsing into long periods of dark brooding; knowing that I have a strong Paul Rising helps me tap into and access the optimism and positive energy that comes with that Minor Sign.

Absorbing the material in the book has also increased my enjoyment of The Beatles themselves. As I watch clips of interviews, or scenes from their movies, or read their biographies, I find myself repeatedly thinking, "That's very typical Inner John behavior," or, "Of course Paul would say something like that, he's the original Paul Sign!"

John, the introspective, highly creative, slightly impulsive, intelligent, productive, troubled one; Paul, the optimistic, practical, domineering, energetic, overbearing, romantic one; George, the brooding, reserved, pensive, creative, dependable one; and Ringo, the down-to-earth, get-along-with-everybody, unassuming, loyal, peacemaking, what's-for-lunch, fun-loving one.

I recently read an account of the lads' trip to India, and I had to laugh at how accurately their individual reactions to the spiritual quest reflected their Beatle Signs. John looked within himself, and had to wrestle with the inner demons surrounding his crumbling marriage and newly blossoming relationship with Yoko - he left India somewhat disillusioned; Paul used the time in a very practical way, comfortably marrying measured meditation with his creativity, writing lots of new songs, planning the next album; George, like John, became introspective, and quickly attached himself to the spirituality and search for inner meaning - unlike John, he processed things in a more optimistic way (and was furious at Paul for tainting spiritual reflection with commercial planning); and Ringo? Ringo left after two weeks because the food was bad and the weather was unbearable, and frankly, he was hoping India would have made a better "holiday" than it did. Ever the peacemaker, he left without making a splash, unlike John and George later did.

The authors of Beatleology have a web site here, which contains a shortened form of the I Am the Walrus Quiz. This shortened version of the personality test is probably enough to pin-point your primary Beatle Sign, but I would recommend buying the book and taking the full-blown exam (approx. 50 questions) to discover both your primary Beatle Sign and your Minor Beatle Sign.

Much more on the subject to come, eventually. Stay tuned.

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