This article is more than two years old, but somehow, I just stumbled on the Unified Theory of Muppet Types.
This makes me equal parts happy and fascinated. I am the girl who thought, at age 4 or so, that being a Muppet Show guest star was a permanent career path to which I could aspire. (I hadn’t quite gotten the “guest” part of “guest star.”) I also really like personality types, as you have probably figured out if you’ve read Word Nerds for any length of time.
Diane Lithwick contends in her piece
Muppet Theory, a little-known, poorly understood philosophy… holds that every living human can be classified according to one simple metric: Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.
No need for 16 MBTI types, we can break it down to just two. Chaos Muppets, she says, are “out-of-control, emotional, volatile,” while Order Muppets “tend to be neurotic, highly regimented, averse to surprises and may sport monstrously large eyebrows. They sometimes resent the responsibility of the world weighing on their felt shoulders, but they secretly revel in the knowledge that they keep the show running.”
(Oh, and always let the Chaos Muppet drive, she notes.)
Lithwick says easy ways to determine which side of the Muppet spectrum one is on is by looking at things like your CD rack (alphabetized or not) and your partner. If your partner is clearly an Order Muppet, then you’re the Chaos Muppet (because Order Muppets tend to pick Chaos Muppets as partners…. look at Bert and Ernie, Kermit and Piggy or Dr. Bunson Honeydew and Beeker if you need proof… Beeker wants to be an Order Muppet for sure).
But, she cautions that self-typing for your Muppetness is hard.
There’s just one other thing you should know before you start describing yourself and others exclusively according to the Muppet System. There’s an enormous amount of false consciousness at work here (Thanks Karl Marx!!!) and many of us are prone to profound misdiagnoses.
Lithwick notes that she’s a Faux Chaos Muppet. She might breeze through life, but really, she has a rigid center of Order.
I suspect, though false consciousness could be at work here, that INTJs like Stacie and me are really Faux Order Muppets, which means, deep down, we’re Chaos Muppets.
Here’s my reasoning:
INTJs take in massive amounts of information all the time, from random facts and details to the broad scope of how projects should turn out and all the steps necessary to get from points A to point Q a the same time. We may present a (mostly) cool and collected exterior, but on the inside, we are deeply introspective about our feelings, though the world doesn’t see that.
Our J-ness keeps the chaos in check, presenting then, the Faux Order Muppet exterior. We live by the rules and know that things have a correct way of getting done because it helps up manage the Chaos that all that churning and seething data produces. We may act like a Kermit, quite pleased to be running the show, but don’t mistake that sometimes, we’d rather be Crazy Harry and just blow the whole works to smithereens or be the Mahna Mahna guy and chill out for once.
While people may pick a Muppet of the other type as their life partner, it’s clear that Faux Order Muppets also pick Chaos Muppets as their best friends because those people help them to embrace their inner chaos from time to time. (Kermit and Fozzie, Gonzo and Rizzo, and Rowlf and Sam the American Eagle come to mind as good examples of this.) When I think of two of my best girlfriends, they are Chaos Muppets (well, technically, they are Faux Chaos Muppets, but that combination works out too). Likewise, a Chaos or Faux Chaos Muppet needs and Order or Faux Order Muppet to help them think procedurally and make good decisions from time to time.
The reality is, it takes both kinds of Muppets in any relationship or workplace or comedy sketch to make it truly work.