Mar 26, 2007

Sociopsychological Realms

I'm continuing the digression from socionics with a very important and interesting topic that relates to social psychology, personal development, and integral socionic types.

I'd like to talk about formal and informal communities of people that exist for some purpose. I don't know if there is a name for these things in psychological literature. Thinker Igor Kalinauskas calls them "sociopsychological realms" (my translation). This is a somewhat broader concept than religions and teachings, which I discussed earlier. It can also include communities that don't have a strong ideological or spiritual component, such as the community of boxing or the community of foreign service diplomats. Even families and closely-knit groups of relatives form such communities. And, within large communities you will always find smaller-scale communities with unique variations on the overall community culture.

People within such communities share a common purpose, common experience, common values, and a common basis for humor and mutual understanding. Strangers from the same sociopsychological realm easily find a common language with strangers from their community and tend to find them quickly in the mob. Certain attitudes, words, appearance, or demeanor give them away.

One's belonging to various sociopsychological realms has a powerful influence on one's self-concept. The "skeleton" of self-concept seems to be one's awareness of belonging to various social groups, with the "flesh" being one's awareness of how one differs from other members of these groups. (This is just my personal definition, though!).

Belonging to certain sociopsychological realms shapes one's values and behavior, but personality also influences one's choice of communities. People with physical, mental, and personality traits that differ significantly from the norm have a higher chance of ending up in a sociopsychological realm that embraces those traits than do people with an average degree of these traits. In the criminal community, you will find a higher frequency of antisocial individuals than in the population at large, but not all antisocial people end up in the criminal community. Likewise, not all people in the criminal community are antisocial. It is simply a statistical tendency.

If you are a member of a sociopsychological realm that devalues intellectualism, the chances of you leaving it are greater the more intellectual you are by nature. However, you will still encounter many "flukes" - for instance, highly intellectual people in communities that shun intellectualism, meek and unabrasive people in communities that welcome aggression and brute strength, etc. Going back to statistics, even people who are two standard deviations or more from the norm on the bell curve still make up 5% of each population.

That is, just because you are an abrasive, aggressive, and possessive individual by nature does not mean that we will necessarily find you in the sociopsychological realms of top managers, compulsive gamblers, or football players. We might find you in the community of Born-Again Christians, Cultural Catholics, opera singers, or... socionists.

Nonetheless, the chances of you rising to the top of the ladder and becoming a formal or informal spokesman for the community is higher in sociopsychological realms that are built upon traits that are innate to you. That is why someone like Mike Tyson is a boxing icon and Richard Dawkins is a symbol of Neodarwinism, and not vice versa. It seems important to self-realization to be a member of at least one sociopsychological realm where you can rise to prominence.

Boundaries of sociopsychological realms
Boundaries are a very important characteristic of any community. Any purpose that unites people also implies boundaries between the community and the rest of the world. If you and I are both fans of stock market investment, getting together to talk about our common interest does not yet make a community. But if we make a pact to work together in some way and achieve some joint goal, we have taken the first steps towards creating a small-scale sociopsychological realm. If we involve others in our activities, form a company, and articulate our company goals and philosophy, internal discipline, and work methods, a community is born that has clear boundaries, goals, and values.

As boundaries solidify, so does community spirit. Our community is better than others (or else why would we be in it?). Our competitors are our enemies. Friction arises as our community rubs up against that of others, even if these "neighboring" communities are remarkably similar to our own. Snowboarders are skiers' worst enemies - not rugby players or country music lovers!

Internal boundaries
In decent-sized communities, there are usually sub-communities or different "schools of thought" within the community that vie for dominance. This mirrors the biological world, where intra-species competition is often no less fierce and brutal than competition between species. Many communities end up finding the "enemy within" - people whose behavior seems to endanger the community mainstream. In any event, every sociopsychological realm has its idea of "bad behavior" that must be fought. In a religious community, this may be insufficient religious devotion, inactivity, indifference, or incorrect interpretations of scripture. In a mountain biking community, it may be people who buy cheap bikes or ride too slowly.

Each sociopsychological realm tries to submit its members to some kind of internal discipline.

Community ideals
Each sociopsychological realm has its "heaven," "hell," and "patron saints." Heaven is the ideal outcome of one's activities in the community. Hell is the lamentable situation people outside the community often end up in. Patron saints are the community's idols.

I'm not an expert on boxing, but in the boxing world heaven would probably be becoming a boxing champ and continuing on as a trainer of successful boxers. Hell would be the wimpy and listless life that most of the rest of humanity lives. Mohammed Ali is a patron saint.

In socionics, heaven is having a crystal-clear understanding of socionic concepts and models and being able to apply them to various situations. Also, typing well and quickly, maybe publishing some books and teaching courses, and making a name for oneself in the socionics community. Hell is the state of ignorance and bad relationships that many people who don't know about socionics endure. Patron saints are Gulenko, Augusta, etc. - whoever you read with the greatest pleasure.

In most religions, these concepts take on a more concrete meaning, but the general idea is the same, isn't it?

Choosing and switching sociopsychological realms
Some communities we just "fall into" by virtue of being born in a particular country and into a particular family with particular political, religious, and professional values. Others we grow into as we mature and develop particular skills and interests. Abandoning a sociopsychological realm and joining another one is a major event that does not happen that frequently. When it does, it is accompanied by a major shift in self-concept, values, and even behavior.

Often, these switches are a good thing, especially if one moves from a community that resonated less with his innate traits to one that resonates more with them. This can be a landmark experience of "finding oneself." Living outside of any sociopsychological realm seems to be impossible, and if one leaves one realm, one inevitably finds oneself in another, even if it is less clearly defined.


Anonymous said...

this was well written,...these concepts are the next evolution.

so well written indeed, that comments are not necassary..
(but this is a blog, so forgive my arrogant ineptitude)
& on a level i beleive that that is why people comment, to show there dominance..or promote there processing type,..or even act in concern for what might affect there sociopsychological realm.

come to think of the 'termites' Rick relates as introverted logic
(sorry, i read both articles simultaneously),
i would argue that introverted intuition is also a infiltrator of another kind...
it invests an existing system,
..and plays a hard game of directing...
for it is aware of the death which comes to a 'beloved system' once it becomes 'too' systemized,
yet it sets it's own systemizations in analysing the system..
..which is why the SOCIOPSYCHOLOGICAL REALMS are so important..
..i.e. i read Gulenko with pleasure, but i don't think he is a ILI or gamma, an ILE alpha...
yet what he writes seems to cross the boundaries of motivation.. and he seems to drive many types to there success by the vision he creates.. ensuring his survival..
infact the Gulenko example is worthy of description.

(thanx Rick for the articles, it is wonderful .. coming and practising to infest your system..
ultimately it ensures both of our survivals, so probably in a way it is reminicent of a sociopsychological realm)

..another thing is the 'funniness' associated with this..
to bring other ILE into a system.. all one needs is that the field requires that innervation... i.e.being like socionics
but to bring ILIs into a system...
this does not seem to be viable with stimulation,..
one needs people that process similarily... and for this one probably depends on the 'sociopsychological realms' or Gulenko effect
-anyway..whatever..i reserve the right to be stupid..this is a forum

Rick said...

Thanks for your comments, Fred, even if I don't always respond to them!:)

thehotelambush said...

So, should people move to countries that have a integral type compatible with theirs? This post seems to imply it.

It is an idea I have been dwelling on for a while. I plan to move to France eventually. :)

Also, how has your experience been living in a country that you supervise?

Rick said...

>> So, should people move to countries that have a integral type compatible with theirs? This post seems to imply it.

One's national culture is only the largest sociopsychological realm we're a part of. There are a lot of smaller-scale ones as well, culminating in one's immediate family. I think aligning the smaller-scale ones with our own type is more important than picking the right country to live in. They are definitely more important for self-realization.

>> Also, how has your experience been living in a country that you supervise?

:) I've come to the conclusion that I'm not very compatible with the dominant Ukrainian culture, but there are pockets of more businesslike people or those who share my interests that I can find a common language with.