Mar 9, 2007

Typing Religions, Teachings, and Movements: Socionics

Let's see how far we can take this approach by trying to analyze socionics, which is not a religion, not quite a teaching, but certainly a movement. Note that, just as in the previous two cases, we are not actually examining the specific content of the literature - or doctrine, as the case may be - but are looking for information emphases in the field as a social entity, or group of practicioners.

Aushra Augusta, the founder of socionics, was an ILE, and this has been decisive for the field's development. Augusta discovered a logical system and formulated its key principles, but left much work undone. After her main period of work on socionics, she drifted into esoterism, and I know nothing about her post-socionics development - only that it is outside the realm of contemporary socionics. For most ILEs, the search is never over...

The initial period of socionics' development in Vilnius, Lithuania was highly extraverted intuition oriented. Participants of her "brainstorm group" were involved in an exciting process of searching for and testing new ideas. This doesn't mean that only extraverted intuition types enjoyed the process, though! People of many different types were involved.

Some of these people went on to become socionists, and a few are still active today. Other early enthusiasts from other cities - Kiev, St. Petersburg, and others - are now the old-timers of today's socionics. Some of the early figures have discontinued their activities, and some have parted ways after bitter disputes. This mirrors the kind of early-stage development that religious movements experience. I would guess the same thing happens in movements of all kinds. The only difference is that in religious movements the losing parties are usually threatened with damnation. In other movements the stakes aren't as high.

One of the early ambitious followers was Aleksandr Bukalov (ILE), who formed the International Institute of Socionics in Kiev. This is the most dominant socionics entity today and retains the ILE spirit. The institute prints a number of journals with articles on all sorts of speculative and open-ended topics, in addition to socionics. There are plenty of other socionics groups and organizations with a different atmosphere and emphasis, but the institute remains the most influential and is the most natural heir to Aushra Augusta, who died two years ago.

Now, socionics isn't a spiritual teaching, but we'll see that this doesn't make our typing principles at all irrelevant. If we look at the socionics "culture" that expresses itself whenever socionists of any level get together at formal and informal gatherings, we see very clear information emphases. We'll use the same process as for the previous two examples.

extraverted intuition: Ever-present. Intriguing ideas that might lead to new insight or connections are valued everywhere. Most of the time you get the impression that people and the group as a whole are searching for something that they hope to find, but might not.

extraverted sensing: Not at all emphasized, except for the occasional SEE speech about how to "conquer" the opposite sex using socionics.

extraverted logic: Not at all emphasized. If people ever do anything "productive" with socionics, it's only on the periphery of the field or within small teams of like-minded socionists who are developing some joint project. Otherwise, this aspect is mostly left out of discussion at gatherings.

extraverted ethics: Quite emphasized. Not as a "religious" experience of course, but the process of trying out new ideas and hypotheses on each other is seen as a fun activity that brings people together.

introverted intuition: Hard to imagine that this is at all emphasized in the community as a whole.

introverted sensing: Aspects of introverted sensing such as diet and physical exercises are rarely mentioned, but introverted sensing is present in the assumption that people are applying socionics to attain balance and health in their lives. At times socionic factors (one's type or the intertype relations one is in) have been related to physiological processes, one's state of health, and disease. This suggests a latent introverted sensing value.

introverted logic: Heavily emphasized. Even at informal socionics gatherings where people are out to enjoy themselves, people discuss socionics concepts to try to understand them better. People ask each other, "Have you read this? Have you read that?" Discussion of conceptual systems is part of the common language of socionics enthusiasts everywhere.

introverted ethics: There is a sort of implied value of introverted ethics, since socionics is about relationships, but in actuality little attention is given to one's treatment of others. Heated arguments are common at socionics gatherings, and it is common for people to type each other without considering how it will affect other people's feelings (a reflection of introverted logic valued above introverted ethics).

As is the case with the spiritual teachings discussed in previous posts, all information aspects can be found in sub-groups of socionics. However, when people from different sub-groups get together, the overall group information emphasis takes over, and they revert to the "language" of the general group.

Might socionics ever become an introverted system?
I can easily imagine this happening some day. The most likely result would be a LII or LSI integral type. This would happen if the search ever stopped for some reason - for example, if some new, promising fields appeared which overlapped with socionics and drew away people who were in the searching mode. Or, socionics might reach a dead-end of sorts, which would cause extraverted intuition and other extraverted types to leave earlier than others. Those who are most attached to and identify most with specifically socionic concepts would stay and form the new core of the movement. Among these, introverted logic types would probably dominate.


Anonymous said...

Can we have an example of an organization where introverted logic is de-emphasized?

Ричард said...

>> Can we have an example of an organization where introverted logic is de-emphasized?

Sure. I talked about the world of Mormonism below. That is a great example of de-emphasized introverted logic. When discussing things related to their religion, members focus on interpersonal application and personal, or emotional, aspects and devalue the importance of strict understanding of scripture. They avoid telling other people they are wrong or doing anything else that could cause bad feelings.

Anonymous said...

How does the quadrant of a teaching's type affect its relation to its members?

What might a gamma or delta version of socionics look like?

If we have a sudden influx, of, say, gamma members, do you think the teaching will switch types?

Ричард said...

Those are very good questions to ask.

>> How does the quadrant of a teaching's type affect its relation to its members?
You mean "quadra?" (a couple sites out there say "quadrant"). You might think that it's harmful in some way to be involved in teachings or systems (or even countries) that don't correspond to one's own type or quadra, but that doesn't seem to be the case. However, it seems that on average people generally identify less strongly with teachings and systems that are distant from their own type and are more likely to leave. For example, there seem to be few ILEs in Mormonism and few ESIs in socionics.

There are "pockets" of different types or quadras in each system where one can find himself. These pockets can be just a few people, or can be major sub-groups. Self-realization basically means becoming the leader of some system somewhere at some level and making that system reflect your own values.

>> What might a gamma or delta version of socionics look like?

If we have a sudden influx, of, say, gamma members, do you think the teaching will switch types?

The structure of a system or teaching is highly inert, so it would take a higher proportion of gamma types over a relatively long period of time to actually restructure the system.

I would imagine that a Gamma "version" of socionics would basically be a field of research where lots of tests and empirical research is conducted and there are far fewer conclusions. This is characteristic of American science in general. Lots and lots of studies are done, but far fewer abstract systems are constructed. Researchers generally only allow themselves conclusions that are directly proven by their findings, and all else is considered speculation that may or may not be true.

So, I think there would be a lot of interesting research, but the conceptual structure of socionics would basically be ignored. Instead, there would be whole self-help books written with recommendations for work or improving relationships based on certain aspects of socionics which had been demonstrated in studies.

Basically, we would lose out on the whole conceptual structure, but would have a lot of useful methods and applications.

Anonymous said...

the gamma invasion sounds like the biologies,

Rick, what would u say the physicist and quantum guys are like,...
Extraverted Intuition, with Logic niches,
they reach points which are concrete, but then there whole knowledge system turns on it's head, for the possiblities or Intraverted Intuition explodes!
-fred..[was i clear?]

Ричард said...

>> Rick, what would u say the physicist and quantum guys are like,...
Extraverted Intuition, with Logic niches,...

I really don't know much about the community of physicists. My intuitive guess would be ILE, but that remains to be proven.

Anonymous said...

Why is the introverted sensing function always associated with Health and Diet, Balanced living? Introverted Sensing can lead SLIs and SEIs to lead fairly unhealthy lifestyles by behing extremely hedonistic. Doesnt everyone strive for a balanced lifestyle? I believe it is almost a stereotype. To be more general, I would say Introverted Sensing functions seeks harmony with the stimuli constantly being streamed in, for the purpose of finding comfort. This can lead to roads of unhealthy choices... Sometimes our senses overwhelm us and we seek escape if we do not know how to cope or are even too lazy to. --SLI in Ontario, Canada.

Ричард said...

Maybe a better formulation would be that dominant introverted sensing strives to maximize enjoyment and comfort. Sometimes this motivation leads to "balanced living" and an emphasis on health and well-being (the kind of Si types I am more familiar with), since by sacrificing a bit of enjoyment in one place you can gain greater overall enjoyment. But other times it may lead to the hedonism you speak of, if the immediate enjoyment offered is too much of a temptation.

In both cases, awareness is focused on the "art" of enjoyment and comfort.