Jan 5, 2008

The Socionics 'Game'

I would like to continue the ironic tone of my previous post and talk about what involvement in the socionics sociopsychological realm does to participants. I have a very low level of group affinity, so taking a detached look at the socionics community and comparing it to others out there comes easily to me.

In essence, I see the socionics community as a game or training ground where participants practice being ILEs. As I have already written, ILE is the integral type of socionics as a sociopsychological realm. Socionics "culture" is passed along through interpersonal interaction much more than through books and articles on the subject. If one simply stumbled across some writings on socionics and took no part in the socionics community, one might easily take the ideas or descriptive framework of socionics and inject one's own cultural values into them.

That is what happened to me. During my first year of studying socionics, I discussed it only with my immediate teacher and perused books and articles about it. I had no idea, for instance, that typing people could be a public event, that different people might have different opinions on people's types, or that there existed socionics based social groups where people gathered to socialize more than to learn or practice socionics. I was in for a shock when I came face to face with the introverted logic and extraverted ethics aspects of socionics culture that I hadn't foreseen at all: specifically, the focus on definitions and classifications and using socionics as a platform for social bonding and group formation.

When one is by oneself, one can apply bits and pieces of socionics or any other systems however they feel like. But when you get together with other socionics enthusiasts, you inadvertently switch to the "group language" -- which is ILE and Alpha quadra based. This means:

  • venturing forth any kinds of theories or hypotheses that might explain how things tie together (note: real-world phenomena, so extraverted intuition, not introverted intuition)
  • writing up your thoughts for peer review and discussion (logical analysis, especially with regards to theories rather than real-world actions/events = introverted logic)
  • sharing observations about "this type" or "that type" (observations are almost always within the context of a category -- introverted logic -- otherwise, they are not for general discussion)
  • bringing up new texts for discussion and to "figure out what it means" -- e.g. "have you read so-and-so's article on thinking styles?" (introverted logic and extraverted intuition focus, given the nature of the vast majority of socionics articles)
  • publicly typing everyone who shows up (putting people into impersonal categories = introverted logic)
  • livening up group interaction every now and then with fun and games (compensatory extraverted ethics and introverted sensing)

Maybe this all doesn't sound that remarkable. Maybe it applies to any sociopsychological realm? Well, let's imagine socionics had a completely different cultural focus...

  1. "Hey, come over to my house tomorrow. I'm going to be performing some socionics work on some people and I need your help. I can't figure out how to do a few things."
  2. "What does socionics say will match this shirt better? My old stonewashed jeans or these forest green slacks?"

  3. "My socionics experience for the day is that I felt angry at my friend for not inviting me to the party, but then I thought of how Gammas and Deltas interact, and I was able to forgive her inside of me." "Thank you. Does anyone else have anything to share?"

Obviously, to hear anything like this would be absurd and laughable to the extreme.

So basically, the socionics community offers us a place where we can practice generating insight and large-scale generalizations, hone our logical and analytical skills, use a bit of academic-like mumbo-jumbo now and then, and gain practice building charts and other graphics. It's pretty darn good mental training -- much like taking a couple college courses in logic or math analysis or something like that.


A common theme of social psychology is that our social behavior is a lot more programmed than we generally suspect. Alas, at times I feel sad that socionics turns people into unwitting ILE drones, me included (at least when I'm "in" socionics). It modifies people's natural tendencies, causing them to argue over things they wouldn't normally care about (as well as find humor in completely new places). If it's any comfort, the same happens in other established sociopsychological realms, so this is hardly unique to socionics.


Cyclops said...

This is interesting !

It is something I have perceived, myself. I beleive myself to be an SLI.

I've mainly been involved in forums and the like.

Something I have observed is lots of Ti, mainly TiNe. I have even (this was rather amusing to me on a personal level) observed a Ti based socionic conversation where a piece of classical music was analysed to death. IE the mathematical formula of the composition, how it was boring by half of the way through because it had been 'figured out', sequences in series presented as some sort of music writing formula tool. The whole concept of the music being enjoyed purely for the sensation, the slight naunces, the performers own 'feel' being injected, was completely ignored. Some would say this was the most important aspect, but it was met with bewilderment! :)

In regards to a different approach, something I have been trying to, in my own humble way, is to view the functions, the typing, intertyping etc as a way of creating more at peace feelings with oneself, other peoples, and more pleasant states experienced between and within individuals and peoples (Probably a manifestation of my Si)

My other approach, is that i've observed that there's so much information flying around that people often sit on and simply chew (Ti?) I have at times tried to put the information I have garnished, across in a more useful, easy to understand, and practical way/fashion, I guess among other things to assist people on a quest of 'understanding', so therefore it can be useful to others (My secondary Te I guess one could say is the approach used when organising this ?)

Both these approaches however, appear alien to the general socionic community. And it is saddening to that extent as how can it reach out to help other peoples of all types, if its only really gonna circle round the inherent, few types ?

Solution? I touch base occasionally on forums and what have you, but I think whats kept/keeps me going longer with it, among other things, is to have personal friends with a general perceived wider background, being able to discuss it with me also.

Ps something I first thought was, when first trying to learn about the field, was, .. socionics is not mainstream, so surely being interested in it would be enough to be 'accepted' into its community..apparently not..the thing which I perceive being designed to help the common man to help understand himself and his neighbour, has often had its very shutters put down towards him ! :)

Cyclops said...

Oh, something else to add.

Rick, can I ask what you think ?

This excessive Ti use. What I *always* seem to see is, by TiNe and to a certain point NeTi, is this: Someone constructs a sentence. Then someone else coming along and deconstructing the same sentence, because it grammatically didn't make sense, and then more often than not an answer will be provided based on the Ti detail orientated crunching of the grammer and what have you.

When I look at the question, I know what the person actually means, so whats with the detail picking ?

It occurs to me that this detail orientated 'not seeing the wood for the trees' use of Ti, is in direct contrast to the 'seeing the wood not the trees' aspect of their Ne ?

Also, what real life practical use does it all provide then?

What do you think Rick ? Thanks !

Rick said...

>> Also, what real life practical use does it all provide then?

The socionics community: mental exercise :)

Socionics: lots. Whatever you want to make of it -- self-improvement, relationship building, general education, etc.

>> Solution? I touch base occasionally on forums and what have you, but I think whats kept/keeps me going longer with it, among other things, is to have personal friends with a general perceived wider background, being able to discuss it with me also.

I agree. This is very important to learn pretty much anything and make it a significant part of your life.

thehotelambush said...

The pure-math community is basically the same way--very specific to one personality type's style of thinking, except INTj instead of ENTp. Sociology and anthropology are overwhelmingly Delta NF, literary theory Beta NF. I'm sure it's the same with most specialized fields.

Rick said...

Definitely, thehotelambush, thanks.