Dec 8, 2008

Clarifying "Quadra Values"

"Quadra values" is one of many socionics terms that is repeated often and yet understood litte. I would like to venture a technological explanation of the term that will also help to clarify some of the roots of intertype relations.

Everyone acknowledges all socionic functions and believes they have a rightful place in life. For instance, who would object that people in a competition are trying to beat each other? Or who believes that people should never get mushy and sentimental when they're in love with someone? Or that people whose job it is to forecast should not speculate? No one objects when Alex Trebek (Jeopardy game show) bluntly tells people on his show that they are "incorrect." These are approaches that are inherent to the activity.

Thus, if your conflictor is ESE and you are exposed to him or her using extraverted ethics in an extraverted ethics situation, it probably won't bother you, even though extraverted ethics is your "vulnerable function." What will bother you are uses of extraverted ethics in ambiguous situations or, even more importantly, in situations where you feel a different approach is more justified.

What differs fundamentally among quadras and types are responses to situations where a socionic function is being used outside the inherent domain of that function. For example, being robotlike in an interpersonal situation that demands sympathy and warmth, or appealing to personal sentiments in the context of scientific discourse. Or being overly individualistic and attention-getting when cooperation and trustworthiness are called for. If Alex Trebek continued to routinely tell people they are incorrect outside of his game show, many people would view him as being callous and rude (however, most duals will probably view this is a sign of admirable honesty and sincerity), even though it is perfectly acceptable in the context of Jeopardy.

Basically, if the function that is "overstepping" its bounds belongs to the quadra values (the four valued functions of the quadra, corresponding to the four base functions represented in the quadra), it is viewed as a "minor weakness," a "good joke," or a "sign of sincerity." If the function, however, is not among the quadra values (i.e. is one of the four "suppressed" functions), then overstepping the natural bounds of that function is viewed as "showing off," or as something counterproductive, malicious, or even sinister. 

Naturally, people view their own leading function as the most benign thing in the world and don't see anything wrong with applying it freely to just about anything. Then comes the suggestive function, which they may learn to grant the same range of expression (in others, at least) as they grant themselves in their leading function. Everything else, though, needs to be cropped, caged, and harnessed to make way for the free expression of these functions. So, while an ILE grants free reign in applying extraverted intuition and (if he's lucky) introverted sensing to nearly anything in the world, he sincerely believes introverted ethics must be limited to Mother's Day cards and eulogies. When he oversteps the natural bounds of extraverted intuition, it's just "practice" or "fun and games," but one someone else oversteps the natural bounds of introverted ethics, it's a deadly sin. 

So, to recap, peoples' negative reactions to use of certain functions occurs when they perceive someone to be applying the wrong function for the situation. There's nothing inherently negative about one's vulnerable function; one is just particularly sensitive to overuse of this type of activity or approach.

"Dyad values"
Values differ somewhat within quadras as well. For instance, in Beta Quadra, the LSI and EIE dyad (dual types) are more forgiving of overdoing things with introverted logic and extraverted ethics and a little less tolerant of overdone extraverted sensing and introverted intuition, though they still remain generally sympathetic. 

I believe this explanation has some constructive applications. For instance, if you want to avoid conflict, then try to resist natural, lazy impulses to overstep the natural bounds of your Ego functions, and instead try to appreciate (and possibly learn) the "best practices" inherent to each area you venture into rather than compulsively applying your leading function behavior to everything you see. Other types will be sure to point out your "errors."