Friday, March 1, 2024

Contradiction and conflict resolution in the quadras

My research has uncovered ways of modeling parts of the socion formally — the trick is to unify them all into a single model. By the socion I mean the types, IMEs, functions, and relationships, and all of their dichotomous traits and how they relate to each other. Their structure is well known in terms of what types have what relationships and which objects have which traits, but I mean modeling the semantics too.

As an example: I've related Alpha Ti to resolving contradictions (one of the few areas where Model A2 and Model G overlap in their semantics), but there are different ways to resolve contradictions.

The source of all conflict is contradiction: two different parties may have different beliefs or values that cause them to want different outcomes or states: one wants P to be true and one wants ~P (not-P) to be true. The most obvious way to resolve a conflict is simply for one party to win and make P true (or ~P). This is most like a Beta strategy: bSe can be used to dominate the other party outright and ensure the desired outcome, and bFe can be used to convince him, so that he wants the same thing you do.

Symbolically we can represent this as

P & ~P → P (or ~P)

(with the arrow representing a state transition, not logical implication)

The issue with the Beta approach is, how do you choose which one it is and make sure that it's right? Alpha Ti(Ne) on the other hand resolves the conflict by finding a context (model, interpretation, etc.) in which one is true and another in which the other is true. Symbolically:

P & ~P → (A ⊨ P) & (B ⊨ ~P)

This avoids arbitrarily choosing one, and allows joining the two together in some kind of more comprehensive understanding. Socially, this means creating an environment where people can interact and coexist peacefully, FeSi. The issue with the Alpha approach is that it's not always clear what information to add to make each one true (and of course one might just be false).

Delta FiNe is similar to TiNe, except that we associate an individual to each proposition instead:

P & ~P → P(x) & ~P(y)

Propositions are associated with Ti and individuals with Fi, so the move from propositional logic to predicate logic is like adding Fi to Ti. An individual is not so different from a context or model except that it's "inside" the proposition attributed to it, while the model is "outside". Both give a way of adding hidden contextual information.

Socially, this means that Delta prefers to allow each individual to have their own view and non-interfering sphere of influence. (Clearly this is not possible in many situations, and tends to result in conflict-avoidance or acquiescence in practice.)

For Gamma we can say that as the opposite of Alpha it does not seek to resolve the contradiction or conflict in the first place. It shares acceptance of conflict with Beta and individual differences with Delta. So each quadra is a preferred method of conflict resolution, and Gamma may use the Beta or Delta methods as needed — most typically Gammas don't try to get everyone to agree internally on their values and beliefs, but will still engage in conflict if a particular desire is being obstructed. Arguably the Gamma approach can be short-sighted in that different values almost inevitably lead to conflict later on. Maybe there is a refinement of logic that can express the Gamma approach more easily, to distinguish between internal and external state.

Augusta tried to interpret conflict in terms of information, attributing it to different areas of interest and miscommunication. But in practice, conflict is due to very real differences in how we want the world to be — information metabolism includes both input and output, perception and manipulation of information and state.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

The Information Aspects

The basic goal of my research program for the last several years has been to define the semantics of Model A, in an irrefutable mathematical way. This post will describe a major step in that direction, which is the definition of the information aspects. The description here will be informal; a more formal description will come at a later date. But you can consider these definitions essentially definitive, I do not expect them to change substantially. Normally I don't make a distinction between the IM elements and aspects because it is not really a clear distinction (and it implies the question of how they come to be in exact correspondence), but in this context we are approaching them from a more metaphysical and general standpoint. In fact my research suggests that there are eight aspects and 16 IM elements — but I digress.

These definitions may seem overly general. But in fact this was forced by the evident relations between the aspects — in other words you cannot explain why Se complements Ni and conflicts with Si without this level of generality.

Notice that, unlike types, the information aspects need not be mutually exclusive. Fe is expression but all information can be expressed, every aspect is associated with a type of action that manipulates it (Se), etc. But of course in the standard conception of socionics you cannot have more than one type. In fact we may say that this is the defining trait of a type, it is a level where cognition (information processing) and behavior acquire mutually exclusive traits. By their nature the information aspects are so general that they overlap by necessity.

These categories have multiple levels of description, probably more than the conventional two levels of aspects and elements, and some of which we will touch on here. But the purpose of this article is to describe them in their metaphysical essence — which explains how they relate to one another in relations of complementation and conflict. 

The Irrational Aspects


Si: Presence, Quality, Well-Being

Si in its essence is absolute stasis and presence. It is the present state. As a process it seeks to maintain what is present, as opposed to acting to change it. Action is the opposite of perception and in fact changes what is present so we may also say that Si is responsible for passively perceiving what is present.

However, a state of absolute stasis is incomplete, given that it cannot change or improve. When the starting point is lacking this presents a problem. This is where Ne comes in — it adds potential to Si's state. At this higher level Si attempts instead to preserve the *quality* and equilibrium of the state, allowing for improvement rather than resisting all change as a rule.

A state in which change occurs but quality is maintained is a state that has life and well-being. Life is maintained through a dynamic cycle of satisfying needs and disposing of waste — homeostasis. Health is a way of measuring the well-being of the physical body.

So together, Si and Ne seek to preserve and increase the quality of the present state — they are present-oriented despite Ne being essentially about what is absent and potential.

Ni: Conception, Negation

Ni in its essence is that which does not exist or is not present. As a process it generates and recognizes what is not by negating what is. This is a conception that occurs within the mind as opposed to being received from the senses. This imagined state is by its nature disconnected from the real world but it can turn into a vision or a goal or an intention provided that such a connection is made.

The past and future are accessible through the imagination so they fall under the purview of Ni, but Ni is not limited to time.

Psychologically Ni means inherent dissatisfaction with what exists. From the perspective of Si, Ni is like death in that it seeks to negate what is present. But provided that it moves in the right direction Ni can lead to greater life.

When it becomes connected with action (through Se), Ni means a future goal state to work towards and plan for. Thus it is concerned with meaning and purpose, and cautiousness so as not to fall into danger, error, or misguidance from the goal.

Ne: Generation of potential

Ne generates potential, possibilities. It does this in a way that does not replace or exclude what is present but adds to its potential. Indeed we can say that it negates negation by coming up with more possibilities in addition to some initial possibility. So Ne is fundamentally positive. Moreover, there is no limit to how many possibilities can be imagined so there is no need for exclusivity. One need only select one for the purposes of actually taking action. When Ni does generate multiple possibilities it does so depthwise, maintaining direction ("homeorhesis") and getting farther from what is present, while Ne does so breadthwise, remaining adjacent to what is present. From the point of view of Ni this sideways movement is deviation, but in the generic case it is beneficial to have more potential at your disposal.

This adjacency means that Ne is focused on generating possibilities that are not only conceivable but accessible through an actual action that can be taken in the real world. So we can also say that Ne generates choices or options.

Ni is associated with the end goal of action (telos) while Ne is associated with new beginnings in which action becomes possible. Or one can say that Ne is the question while Ni is the answer. Or that Ne is the unknown and Ni is certainty, possibility and necessity, opening and closing.

Conceivability is a prerequisite for accessibility, but expanding possibility is a prerequisite for limiting possibility. That is, the first direction that comes to mind may not be the right direction. So Ni and Ne actually complement each other in this way.

Se: Impact, Action

Se makes an impact, i.e. it makes an actual, observable change on what is present. Without Se the other three irrational aspects are inert and cannot actually change or improve anything. Se makes an impact through action and/or words (expression). In a way expression is just a type of action, but there is also a distinction between performing an action yourself and getting someone else to do it. Action means leaving or disturbing the initial comfortable state of Si — so it is in this sense Se is opposed to Si and complementary to Ni, as it actualizes the image that Ni has formed in the future state. So Se and Ni are future-oriented in their joint values: Se actualizes Ni's vision and Ni guides Se's action. Action is always pointed at some future goal, no matter how near — it gets you from here to there.

So Se is also associated with the intensity and apparent change which results from action — movement through the space of possible states as well as physical space. This expands the space that you occupy; movement is always an expansion. Ne by contrast is "mental movement" or mental change, and not actual change which means affecting the perceptible state of things.

Action depletes vital resources, meaning our energy or what Jung called libido. From the perspective of Se, Si seeks to maintain a deficient state of stasis, but we also need rest to replenish our vital energy and allow for further action, so they complement each other in the long term despite being mutually exclusive states.

The Rational Aspects

Fi: Individual, Character

Fi is personal identity — character. That is, it characterizes the nature of the subject, which is the human being or self, as opposed to the world which is the object. The information associated with ethics is personal and therefore fundamentally about people. In reality the identity of the thing is the thing itself.

Notice that identity means the aspect that stays the same, so really it should be associated with Fi rather than FeNi, but for clarity we'll use the word character. The basic way that a person is characterized is by their actions. Words may lie but actions don't lie. So Fi measures whether a person is truthful or not by comparing their words with reality and with how they behave. A person who says what they see is honest and a person who does what they say is sincere. Truthfulness is the basis of all character and determines whether a person is reliable and trustworthy.

Similar to Si, Fi is inert and inactive on its own. The self does not need to act or express (or even perceive) anything but this is also the only way that it is known.

As a process Fi is focused on maintaining the integrity of the self and its intentions, and protecting it from external influences. Other people may or may not align with the nature of one's self in various ways so in a derivative way Fi is also about relationships. The more someone is like you or close to you the more they are a kind of second self or extension of the self.

Personal identity includes both future and past actions. Gamma Fi is focused on the past aspect, which means the actions one has already, observably taken. Delta Fi is rather focused on the future aspect, what kinds of actions a person may potentially perform in the future.

Ti: System, Structure

Just as Fi is the nature of the individual, Ti is the nature of the world. One is the subject and the other the object, the witness and the witnessed, one personal and one impersonal. The world is a system that contains the individual and in general many individuals. So a system means something unifying or global which has internal structure and unites its different parts or members together. Therefore Ti is also concerned with rules and laws (both prescriptive and descriptive), which define the general nature of a system such as society or the physical world, how they operate and their structural integrity is maintained. When joined with Fe it determines a common language and value structure that maintains group integrity.

So Ti maintains the identity and integrity of the system. For Beta Ti this means its order, so that each part is in its place. For Alpha Ti it means its generality, so that it applies to any situation that may exist within its purview. On a social level these correspond to hierarchy and inclusiveness respectively.

A system is impersonal due to including many individuals simultaneously and therefore transcending (or ignoring) their personal nature and differences between them. So TiFe values are collective and are opposed to Fi which is local and personal.

Ti and Fi both share in being essentially static on their own, Ti being something like Kant's noumenon. But the objective world of Ti is in reality the source of phenomena and not separate from them.

Te: Observation

Te is the process of gathering information about the world through observation. So it is fundamentally a passive process, like Ne. Knowledge is a fundamental type of resource and so Te by extension seeks to gather useful resources. Knowledge is a resource in that it guides action and allows us to make correct choices.

Gathering resources increases the self so Te complements Fi in its focus on the self and strengthening its integrity.

Logic is about what is objective but Te is the part that we actually observe in a dynamic sense, rather than what exists (Ti). Then again, in the long run these are the same: if something has a certain characteristic then it will eventually become apparent in the sum total of observations made about it.

Fe: Communication, Expression

Fe is the act of communication of information. If nothing else, communication conveys information about one's current internal state, i.e. it is expression. This includes emotional expression but is not limited to it. More specific and traditional definitions of Fe and Ti have struggled to make sense of why Emotion and Logic should complement one another — this problem is solved by recognizing that Fe is needed to disseminate the values of Ti to greater society, i.e. Fe in its essence is about any and all communication.

We communicate what we see and know, so in distinction to Te, Fe is what remains when the objective content of communication has been removed — i.e. it is the form. In distinction to Fi it means the dynamic aspect of identity. So TiFe valuers view personal identity as fluid and systemic identity as static, and vice versa for TeFi valuers.

Inter-Aspect Relations

So to summarize, we have the following types of information — what have been called macroelements or domains, i.e. what corresponds to the strength dichotomy:

Sensing = presence, actuality
Intuition = absence, possibility
Ethics = subject, self, personal information
Logic = object, world, impersonal information

These words are various ways of describing the same thing, included for clarity and not due to any ambiguity in the underlying construction. They make it clear what is essential and what is derived.

And we have the following types of values, which are directions that the psyche moves in:

SiNe = present-oriented values
SeNi = future-oriented values
FiTe = self-oriented values
FeTi = world-oriented values

The final presence trait is boldness which corresponds to introversion and extroversion. Extroverted aspects are processes while introverted aspects are the entities or states or objects that these processes act upon. In other words, as processes introverted aspects seek to preserve a state and extroverted
aspects seek to initiate a state. But in their essence the introverted aspects are the states or entities themselves.

So the fundamental dichotomies of IM aspects correspond directly to the fundamental dichotomies of functions. This is certainly not a coincidence, and by how Model A works they are independent in a certain sense for the rational and irrational
aspects. We may call them subdichotomies, so that sensing/intuition is one subdichotomy corresponding to strength and ethics/logic is another.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Interview: Rachel

link to video


Rachel requested to be interviewed rather than doing a typing video. In my experience typing videos are somewhat better than interviews in that they don't get bogged down in a single subject as much. But interviews do allow for some more flexibility in follow-up questions and targeting specific areas (to distinguish between a specific pair of types for example). In any case, as I note at the end, this interview turned out to be a surprisingly easy one. I came to a conclusion maybe 20 minutes into it. (Spoiler alert: the conclusion is mentioned at 56:45.)

Normally I would do a video interview, but the visual component isn't a great loss.

Rachel is a political science student, and maybe even more tellingly has a job as an assistive technologist. This is telling because, the way Rachel describes it, she fell into this job without intending to: she has a natural way with technology. So we already see some strength of Te. It is also notable that Rachel describes this as a result of her personal success as a student. Throughout the interview Rachel emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility, a Gamma theme. Despite having a disability herself, she is averse to the idea that people should be "babied" and given help unnecessarily - instead they should be helped only enough so that they can become self-reliant and "lift themselves up by their bootstraps", so to speak. This is of course a component of certain political ideologies, but it does suggest a Gamma worldview and particularly the Te triad. Rachel likes tinkering with technology and trying to figure it out by trial and error.

As I mention in the interview, Rachel can be characterized as someone who consumes large quantities of information with a view towards applying it. She has taught herself a wide range of skills/areas of study, including typology, and probably computers and other things. Of course she doesn't always know how she might apply the information in advance, but she has more difficulty with purely abstract areas like philosophy, she prefers to have concrete examples, more like Te than Ti. She mentions caring about the accuracy of the information she acquires, a Te motivation. The breadth of her study also suggests a lot of Ne. Along with her obvious proactivity -- she has a typing service herself, is hands-on with the technology, and even started building a studio herself -- this is already enough to point to LIE.

Rachel does not seem to place much value on emotions. Due to the nature of triads, we should expect an LIE to largely be oblivious to not only Fe but Fi, and not consciously prioritize it. Some examples are her disinterest in overly emotional news and heated arguments, which introduce an element of Fe (with Se). Other LIEs might be more contentious. As for Fi, she tends to often rub people the wrong way. I also mention at the end how SEEs are quite caustic as 4P Se types, yet they have a way of still managing to keep the relationship they want with any particular person, possibly using Fe to smooth things over. Rachel by contrast has had difficulty maintaining her relationships and is often somewhat surprised when they end up falling apart. She is "too direct" and ends up offending people (high Se, 1D Fi). She has no trouble directly engaging in conflict with people - "I was like 'screw you' when I left", "I don't believe in your kind of PC way of doing it". Even some of her closer relationships still seem distant and "not really real friends". Interestingly though she chose to participate in a Best Buddies program where she befriends people with special needs. It's relatively common for people to try to engage their suggestive function in some low-key way in their life, and maybe this is a setting where Rachel can work on developing her Fi. The suggestive function is an unconscious but strong need - Rachel says that she herself isn't sure why she does the program, and she only does it minimally/sporadically, it's easier in small doses (typical of a cautious function).

Rachel shows almost no priority on Fe, which is consistent with the nature of the role function, which is weak and subdued - she is uninterested in socializing for the sake of socializing, seeing it as a waste of time. She also hasn't done much collaboration in her various projects; although it is worth noting that her active nature tends to put her in contact with a lot of people, e.g. discussing things online and helping people at her job. She is also quite talkative and enthusiastic. She gives the example of an ice cream social - she feels "I just need to get ice cream and head out of here", in keeping with LIE's impatient Se-6 in contrast with Si: the idea of relaxing simply for the sake of it is largely antithetical to how she works. She also finds overly detailed physical activities to be taxing, such as jewelry making, crafting, crocheting, etc. Si generally is more present with these kind of things.

Rachel is a natural leader; she describes becoming the boss of a writing group, and ended up liking running the group more than doing the actual writing. Her physical activity is sometimes quite heavy: she once walked 36 miles for a campaign, and took a bold approach to surfing when she was younger. She is very willing to take risks and enjoys a good challenge, so she clearly has some Se. However, her physical activity is also inconsistent; EIEs also tend to swing from extremes of intense activity to doing hardly anything, although LIEs tend to be more consistent in their work habits. This is natural for the mobilizing function, which is sometimes over-used and sometimes somewhat lacking. In any case Se is clearly far more present than Fi - it is very hard to see her as an ILI, for example.

So to summarize, we see a pervasive emphasis on Te, a lot of Se, good Ne, no value on Si, and difficulties with both Fi and Fe, yet some unconscious aspiration towards Fi. All of which points clearly to LIE.

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Typing Video: Laura #2

Laura works in a caregiving role. She enjoys helping people in a hands-on way, including her own child, disabled children, the elderly, and the mentally ill. She wanted to do nursing for this reason but didn't find it to be hands-on enough. This clearly speaks to strong and likely valued Si, as does her interest in beautifying her environment, making it look "homely", and her own appearance ("girly girl", "quirky prints").

She says she just wanted to help people and fell into her current job - she didn't and does not have any grand life plan. "I just do things as they come along, don't have any concrete plans, just want to be happy." She basically just wants to finish her degree and get a higher paying job - most of her goals are prefixed with "maybe". All this confirms that the strong and valued Si is paired with weak and subdued Ni as Model A predicts.

Laura is a very positive person. She expresses the generic value that you should be nice to people, and "be a friendly face". You don't have to do "really grand, fancy heroic acts to change the world, it's these little things like just being nice to somebody and restoring their faith that people out there are nice... and the world is good in a lot of ways." So a recurring theme here is her way of lifting people's emotional states to a more positive one through mundane acts such as being nice or helping them with their immediate needs. In other words, she is all about Fe+Si, as opposed to Te+Si which is more concerned with impersonally managing everyday activities to make them run better. One may also contrast it with Fe+Ni which can in fact be concerned with "grand" acts that inspire people and energize their emotional state by showing them a greater purpose. (And Te+Ni is of course the complete opposite, as described in her attitude towards the business question: "would be a shit businesswoman".)

Laura's positivity is clear throughout the video: she is not unable to express dissatisfaction but she tends to sugarcoat the truth and focus on the silver lining. She cannot think of anything negative to say about her friends, for example, and of her family says only "we don't have a lot in common." She describes herself as friendly and cheerful, a people person.

She has a lenient attitude with people, has no strict criteria for friends other than "extreme stuff" like racism. She gets annoyed with overly direct people who "say it how it is". This is another manifestation of Si values, and rejection of the intensity of Se. The lack of judgment may suggest low priority on Fi and/or Ti.

Laura does show bouts of anger or harshness, such as with her criticism of her sister's partner when he wasn't helping her sister when she got hurt. While she did bluntly tell him "what's what", again it stems from her motivation to help and protect people. Despite this she seems to feel guilty for getting angry and limits her expression to avoid jeopardizing her relationship with her sister.

It's also notable that Laura wants to be the helper and not the one helped, in fact she has difficulty asking for help.

So far it is absolutely clear that Laura is an Alpha SF - but what about ESE or SEI? Let's look for some clues.

Being an emotional person, Laura sometimes becomes overwhelmed with her emotions: getting stressed, gets things out of perspective easily. This seems somewhat more typical of ESEs, who are generally more in emotional flux than SEIs, and therefore benefit more from the level-headed nature of Ti leading types. But it's still not a strong indicator.

A few other observations:

  • puts herself down, low self-esteem - this is more likely to be expressed by SEIs who have low Ne and therefore are less able to recognize their own potential or positive things the future might hold.
  • difficulty wording things - this would be weak Ti, so more likely of ESEs who have cautious Ti than SEIs with bold mobilizing Ti.
  • cares too much what people think - Fe, so slightly more likely for ESE.
  • dislikes boring, mundane stuff - not an unusual sentiment, though probably many people would consider the things she does as being rather mundane (such as childcare). She probably means boring in the sense of not providing emotional stimulation.
  • has been told that she talks too much, "calm down" - sounds more ESE.
  • cries when she is attacked or put in a conflict situation - lower Se so more SEI
  • doesn't normally get stuck in a rut - likely higher Ne and Se, so more ESE.
  • quite shy as a child, frightened all the time - more SEI.

So there are points here that could go either way.

But perhaps most importantly, Laura describes herself as busy and hardworking: she is a mother, she has a day job, goes to school, and writes on the side. She used to go out with her child every day (!) doing a variety of fun activities. She says that if she doesn't have things to do then she feels restless or bored. She dislikes waiting. Moreover she's determined, bossy with the house, and was frustrated and impatient with illness - "just have to sit on my ass and wait for it to be over." If she won the lottery, she would probably still work - she couldn't just do nothing.

These observations, drawn from various points in the video, portray a very energetic, busy person who doesn't like to just chill and do nothing. That is what leads me to prefer ESE, which has bold Se-8, to SEI which has cautious and not very prominent Se-7, and therefore greater contentment with inaction (rest).

Maybe the most problematic points here are her attitude towards conflict and how she describes herself as a child. An ESE being frightened all the time? Maybe not so likely. She says that she cries when put in a conflict situation, yet she also gave a very specific example where she confronted someone directly and forcefully, apparently without any hesitation (at least in the moment). People can also display contradictory behavior as children so I am not so concerned with that. (Elvis was also described as shy and introverted as a child, but he is universally agreed to be SEE.)

A final point about anxiety. Laura describes herself as anxious and worrisome. Part of this seems type-related and part not. Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorders. I've seen this in a variety of types - for example LSI women tend to be far more neurotic than LSI men, who are more likely to come across as "stony" or stable people. On the type front, one might link anxiety to Ni, since it stems from awareness of the possibility of something going wrong. Ni valuing introverts do tend to be more anxious in general. But, worrying is not uncommon in ESEs either (again, more typically in ESE females), so maybe it's also about simple emotional excitability, or the blocking Fe+Ni together.

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

Typing Video: Jen


Jen has been in the community a long time, and I typed her many years ago. My conclusion remains the same. But this video presents a self-contained and somewhat clearer view of her type than previous ones.

Jen talks a lot about her professional life and how she feels about different aspects of it. She expresses some regret at not having gone after her career ambitions. Her interests are not pragmatic by default, but she seems to have adapted to her new role well.

Jen is a sensitive person who easily takes things personally, and speaks very frankly about her feelings and her relationships. She talks at length about her family members and how they are. She also talks at length about what things she likes. All this suggests higher Fi, and along with the issues and neuroses she faces in her professional life, likely 4D Fi with 1D Te.

Her attitude towards conflict and general soft attitude suggests weaker Se, and that she almost certainly isn't an Se triad type. She is non-judgmental way, and "open-minded to a fault" - preferring to internalize conflict and blame herself rather than others. IEI could maybe superficially work with how she seems to live in her imagination much of the time, but other evidence points quite strongly to Ne values, such as enjoying finding innovative new ways to do her job and being (maybe excessively) open to new information. She is also highly avoidant of conflict and wishes people would be more understanding.

Overall her soft, open-minded nature suggests an Si valuing introvert, which along with the high Fi means either EII or SEI. These are in fact the two main types that have been contested for Jen in the past. How can we decide between them?

One can interpret Jen's career woes as a lack of ambition with respect to future prospects (suggesting lower Ne / higher Si), however this does not seem right given how she explains it. Rather it seems that she had high ambitions, yet lacked confidence in making them real, or taking the right practical steps involved. There are maybe other points that suggest SEI, like putting others' needs above her own, and her interest in drama and singing.

But EII seems to fit the best for several reasons. Jen has lacked confidence to an almost pathological degree — though she does notice this and has been working on it — suggesting Se-4 more than Se-7, as do her lack of discipline in writing and "wishy-washiness". Practical career development is a sometimes painful, yet rewarding area for her, in a way that makes perfect sense for suggestive Te paired with Si. She enjoys getting better at her role and learning whatever is required, despite it not being her dream job. SEIs, with suggestive Ne, are not really proactive when it comes to learning new skills and branching out, and arguably would get bored by the purely practical things she is learning. She also says it's enough to "do your best" at work ("putting in elbow work"), and it doesn't have to be perfect as long as you have good intentions. This is in contrast to the perfectionistic attitude sometimes linked to Ti.

Jen has an active imagination and enjoys fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, but also reading nonfictional guides about her interests - folklore, history, animals. There is Ni in how she immerses herself in fictional worlds, yet it is tempered by learning factoids about the real world (more Ne). Her "sympathy for the devil" attitude is a canonical expression of NeFi — to paraphrase her words: "someone may do something horrible but you have to see them as a human and think of what's led them to be this way, and feel sorry for them". She tries to always "do the right thing", a common-sense approach to morality; she does not elaborate any abstract principles whether in relation to politics, religion, or personal values.

While Jen can be silly and joke around with family members, this seems limited to people she already knows well, and is not at all unusual for ignoring Fe (paired with Ne-2 which is attuned to creative generation of possibilities (creative in the sense of novelty, not the creative function)).

Her boss says that she is innovative and not fazed by changes, though Jen herself questions whether this is true. Her Ne is maybe more subdued than normal for the creative function, but in certain cases the creative function can be difficult to see or even be perceived as a weakness by the person himself. 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Presence Cube

Recently I discovered a new model that is more meaningful than previous models we've discussed.

Any cube model requires three basic traits. The classical Model A cube uses mental/vital, valued/subdued, and evaluatory/situational. The issue is, other than valued/subdued, these dichotomies are not visible in practice. The other variations on the cube all depend on unobservable dichotomies like this.

The most visible traits ⁠in Model A are strength, values, and boldness ⁠— the presence traits. If we use the presence traits as the basis we get the presence cube:

The presence cube for IEI (image credit: Andrew Joynton)

It turns out that this cube gives some very interesting results. We can directly see dimensionality as a projection of the cube onto a certain axis. And there is a directly complementary projection which I call Priority, which defines the most preferred functions in practice: functions 1 and 6, then 2 and 5, then 3 and 8, then 4 and 7. The leading and mobilizing function (the 4P functions) tend to be very visible in someone's preferences, while the suggestive function and creative function are less visible as values due to being cautious (somewhat related to triads). The demonstrative function and role function are similarly used somewhat more due to being bold, although maybe not clearly less than the suggestive function. The 4P and 1P ends do seem to be clear in practice though, much like 4D and 1D functions — so we can think of them as trichotomies, with two extremes and one ambiguous middle region. The middle functions can in fact be lined up by rotating the cube appropriately. So we have two trichotomies and three dichotomies.

The presence cube viewed according to the Priority trichotomy for "Strategic Democrat" types: LIIs and SEIs prioritize Si and Ti and LIEs and SEEs prioritize Se and Te.

The trichotomy for values is linked to the inert/contact (aka stubborn/flexible) dichotomy: the functions at the extremes are stubborn, as their priority does not change easily, and the functions in the middle are flexible: if you rotate the cube slightly the 2nd and 5th functions may fall below the 8th and 3rd ones in priority. Likewise for the evaluatory/situational dichotomy which has the most extreme strengths and weaknesses (4D + 1D functions) on one end, and the medium ones on the other.

The vertical axis in the diagram is sort of a combination of dimensionality and priority, the sum of all three traits which we may call Level of presence, so we get 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, with the leading function being at the top as the sole 4L function. This roughly describes how much each function is present in someone's cognition and behavior. The 3L functions are the producing functions which are all directly connected with the leading function in some way. The connection the 1st function has with the 4th function is "severed" or veiled.

The LII cube, labeled

The main issue with the presence model is that there is a separate cube for Democrats and Aristocrats (in the Reinin dichotomy sense):

You can reflect the cube in any way to get all the other types with the same Democracy/Aristocracy trait, i.e. either the same quadra or opposite quadra. Rotations are actually unnecessary here; we have 2x2x2 = 8 transformations coming from each reflection / inversion of a trait.

If you project directly onto one of the faces, then you pair elements either as the standard blockings for the given quadras (ignoring boldness), or with one of their "skew blockings" along the benefit ring, ignoring either strength or value. These represent the most common element pairs that we see in practice, since typically rational elements work with irrational ones and vice versa.

The presence cube ties together some fundamental observations from socionics practice and is another significant step towards a meaningful, mathematical model of socionics.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Typing Video: Vision

Today we are typing "Vision". This is obviously a pseudonym, and one which already tells you something about him. A recurring theme is his vision for the future, which he has thought about in quite a lot of detail (I followed up with him to make sure of this). This suggests an Ni triad type, seeing as his long-term plans are a conscious part of what is important to him (rather than an unconscious part as the suggestive function often is).

But what is his vision? The main part of it concerns him and his family, rather than realizing some larger vision for society. This would suggest Gamma rather than Beta. Vision places a lot of importance on relationships: someone who is there to "have your back" in facing the world and going through rough times (so, more SeFi than NeFi). He is willing to cut people off when called for, a typical Gamma (FiSe) sentiment. He isn't against being friends with people who have different beliefs as long as they support him and his goals — a pragmatic approach that suggests lower priority Ti and maybe higher Ne as well. He occasionally uses harsh language at other points to describe people who have done him some kind of wrong. "Get over it buttercup" — Gammas are quick to emphasize personal responsibility when things go wrong.

Vision has difficulty thinking of weaknesses and things he needs help with. This is very unusual and suggests maybe higher Ne and possibly Te. The one that he does mention is a lack of trusting others — again a typical Gamma trait (Ni + Fi), though not a weakness in the Model A sense. His strengths include farsightedness and tenacity: never giving up, eventually succeeding even if he fails multiple times. This suggests some access to both Se and Ni, so likely not Ni leading.

Beyond the responses to the questions, it's worth noting that Vision proceeds quickly, even impatiently, through the questionnaire, often giving brief answers when he feels like it. Most people choose to use the full time allotted, whether because they want to get their money's worth or because they enjoy talking about themselves. His affect is bright and positive, suggesting higher Fe. He describes being "needlessly enthusiastic" and social around strangers which suggests bold and possibly weak Fe. All in all it's very difficult to see Vision as an introvert and especially an introverted Gamma.

What he dislikes in people is essentially the opposite of his own long-term thinking, which he describes as hedonism. He doesn't care for simply "enjoying" himself mostly, he would rather "use [his] youth effectively]" and "get power at the right time". While hedonism can be related to either Se or Si, in this case it is clearly about Si (+ Fe), in opposition to Se and Ni.

If it wasn't clear yet, the most obvious typing for Vision is LIE — the only type with bold and valued Se, valued Fi, and strong Ni. TeNi is further supported by his enthusiastic response to the "starting a business" question. And not only does he seem to have thought about starting a business before, for the lottery question he offers a breakdown with specific numbers (!). For the business he would do the "elbow grease" at first but eventually transfer the day-to-day management to someone else, and possibly sell it, suggesting a disinterest in Si. It's also notable how he doesn't have a strong preference about what type of business to start, focusing instead on capitalizing on whatever economic opportunity exists, e.g. selling hand sanitizer for the COVID pandemic. (Financial) autonomy comes up here, a common Gamma theme. He describes jumping into the stock market as a significant step in his life, where he took a risk despite the naysayers.

Even though Vision mostly seems to be a clear LIE, it's worth considering possible alternatives. The main ones that come to mind are EIE and SEE. He is unusually frank on the topic of relationships, suggesting maybe higher Fi. But SEE doesn't really work for multiple reasons: his focus on the future, just walking around and thinking while on vacation, being seen as a cool-headed person, etc.

As for EIE: He has no shortage of large-scale judgments about society or "this culture", and does wax romantic sometimes — even the name "Vision" is arguably a bit dramatized. But it's hard to see an EIE emphasizing personal loyalty and character judgment to such a degree, not to mention the economic focus. He also does criticize people for being overly autonomous, for not caring about others — despite his own emphasis on autonomy. But I'm prone to viewing this kind of social responsibility as simply a more mature, self-reflective Gamma outlook. And he doesn't care about, or even like, getting attention either.

Vision's attitude towards conflict is maybe unusually restrained for an LIE — he says he generally walks away from it, and doesn't get angry much in general. (But he contradicts this somewhat by saying that he would have gotten in a lot of trouble at high school.) It doesn't contradict the overall picture of Se valuing extrovert, but it's probably more likely for an Fi valuer, and someone with greater Ni. So it would suggest EIE and SEE even less so.

Vision, more than most people, fits the classical idea of the LIE's "unbridled optimism". He has no shortage of Ne: the purpose of life is "to make something better". But other LIEs are much more negative and skeptical, which is why I find the classical descriptions misleading. Nonetheless most would likely agree with his principle: "I live my life so I don't regret things.

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