Jan 16, 2007

ILIs on the Internet: a Case Study

Of all socionic types, ILIs consistently seem to feel the most at home in the virtual world of computers and the Internet. ILIs are often found writing blogs, managing forums, participating in online discussions, designing websites, and playing computer games. To me what's remarkable is that ILIs who are computer and Internet geeks don't typically feel distressed by their "excessive" online activities, as opposed to people of most other types. It's just a part of normal life to them and isn't any better or worse than real-life activities.

Here is a great example - in my opinion - of an ILI who is very active on the Internet: M. Alan Kazlev. He is the author of www.kheper.net - a sort of sprawling online encyclopedia of articles on esoterism with over 1500 page.

The site has virtually no design elements and lacks a unified navigational structure, but it is fascinating to jump from topic to associated topic if you share Kazlev's interest in "new scientific and esoteric evolutionary paradigm concerning the nature of existence and its infinite metamorphoses, and the transformation of the Earth and the planetary consciousness to a post-singularity state of Supramental (Infinite Truth-Consciousness) divinisation" (from the site index). Here is a complete list of topics presented on the website.

In my opinion, Kazlev's interest in and approach to spirituality is quite characteristic of ILIs in general. ILIs' worldview is full of uncertainty and rarely allows for a final commitment to one single overarching idea system. Such a "final commitment" would imply closing one's eyes to contradictions that ILIs are prone to see in every aspect of human activity. Rather than try to resolve these contradictions by proposing their own competing material/external explanation of reality, spiritually-minded ILIs instead strive to establish contact with "higher powers," "the light within," or some similar source of non-rational knowledge that goes beyond describing physical, observable reality (which is always contradictory to an ILI). As Kazlev says, "I am an empiricist. I accept only what is certain. For me, certain is the light from within." The worldview of a well-developed ILI cannot be expressed using verbal, logical means (as opposed to LIIs), and truth cannot be reduced to words and formulations.

Kazlev has a strong interest in things related to the introverted intuitionextraverted logic theme of "changes in functioning over time" as it applies to the world around us, the world within, and art forms:

In addition to www.kheper.net, Kazlev runs "Orion's Arm," "a bold new shared worldbuilding and creative writing project, creating and exploring a new vision of the future of humanity and other sentient beings, ten thousand years hence" [source]. Not surprisingly, the project is dedicated to the memory of famous science fiction writer Stanislaw Lem, himself an ILI.

Finally, Kazlev has two blogs - here and here, a formidable project on the history and evolution of life on earth called Palaeos (remember that I've typed the scrupulous Charles Darwin as ILI), and a wiki encyclopedia on the history of life on earth. In addition, he is a very active contributor to a host of topics on Wikipedia.

At one of Kazlev's blogs we read a sentiment common among ILIs:

"Although I do consider myself an intellectual of sorts (albeit a spiritual-esoteric intellectual) I do get bored with too much mental debate. Especially where the emotional being gets involved, then you have a big argument, with lots of hurt feelings, shadow projection, misinterpretation, etc. That's why it's better to follow the pure spiritual path and access the reality behind the words."

This reflects the ILI's value of introverted intuition above all else. introverted intuition involves a image or vision of reality that goes beyond words (because it is based on mental images). Also, the Gamma Quadra values of introverted ethics over introverted logic are evident. It's better to preserve good feelings than push one's logical idea system on others, especially when ILIs are by nature skeptical about the chances of finding truth in logical idea systems in the first place.

Finally, let's take a look at Kazlev's own biography. Sincere, self-aware biographies are always a fascinating read. Here we find out about the early origins of Kazlev's interest in science and palaentology, and that his "physical and especially emotinal development always lagged behind, whereas my intellectual development and imagination was very advanced. At the same time, my alienation was so great that I remeber thinking at this time that I really might be a martian." We also learn of what sounds like a dual friendship with an SEE:
At this time I had a friend called Daniel... who was schizophrenic and hyperactive, but a really nice guiy, not at all intelligent but very feeling centered, tall, social and emotionally developed and easy going, extravertive and talkative, obsessed with sex, and would go on all the time about things like how long his dick was which I really wasn't interested in hearing about. He was the opposite of me who was (and am) short, intense, moody, intellectual, private, emotionally backward (not now, but then)... Anyway Daniel and I used to walk the streets of Melbourne together, a bit like Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy. He was one of my few close friends, although we were quite opposite.
Also interesting is how a relationship helped him become less of a slob, how he spent several years doing nothing but playing computer games, and how a speech impediment has affected his functioning.

I hope Alan will forgive me for "showcasing" him here, if he happens to come across this.


AV said...

Hi Rick

I am an ILI and I particularly like the insight you have on their modes of understanding and expression.

I have been reading socionics (on the web) for the last three years. I had previously seen, on other sites, that there is a standard notion of what each type is supposed to be and consequent maligning or praising of that type.

I appreciate your attempt to understand and explain each type for what they are. Please keep up the good work.

Rick said...

Thanks for the kind words!