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. 

Application
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."

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent discussion, and I'm glad you've tackled this topic. In forum discussions, it seems that many people are unaware of the fact that people can and do appreciate all IM elements when applied in the appropriate situation.

As for "quadra values," there are elements that still require perhaps further discussion. It seems most people who tend to use the term mean not only a tolerance for given IM elements when used "out of bounds," but also some sort of positive liking or need for those elements.

In addition, most discussions of "quadra values" I've seen tend to implicitly assume that all members of a quadra will value the respective four "quadra values" to some degree in the same way (though not necessarily to the same extent). That hypothesis is not necessarily true, but it is at least a common perception. The discussion here suggests possibly that people value ego block functions for different reasons and in a different way from how they value super-id block functions.

Finally, when people talk of "quadra values," there is another implicit assumption that there is a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts....i.e., that there are certain things valued because one is Alpha, Beta, etc., that go beyond merely the 4 independent values for each quadra. Conceptually, this makes sense since IM elements don't exist in a vacuum. But I think confusion often results when people try to articulate what the synergy is or seek a composite description for each quadra.

aestrivex said...

i object to the suggestion that people are not bothered by their conflictor's use of their leading function in situations appropriate to the use of that function (ie an ILI is not bothered by an ESE who uses Fe clearly in the domain of Fe).

arguing that it is the situation that produces any discomfort as opposed to the individual is perhaps a quibble over semantics, but it hardly seems appropriate that individuals would necessarily regard that as "acceptable" behavior. for example, to use your example, an ILE might "accept" mother's day sentimentality, but may still not like or approve of the societal obligation to perform this particular mindless ritual (perhaps you can tell that i hate this type of shit as well).

obviously, this is dependent on the context of the situation. some instances of one's vulnerable function might be less pronounced than others and people's responses will undoubtedly vary according to the specifics of the situation in very broad ways (as one example, participation on jeopardy is voluntary while similar criticism on a high school math test is not). this doesn't mean that quadra values have no influence in these areas.

Rick said...

Aestrivex, I think an important distinction can be made between what someone else is doing and what seems to be expected of you. If you are a mother ILE and get a Mother's Day card with a demonstration of introverted ethics (assuming it's positive), you are extremely unlikely to object or think that the person is overstepping the natural bounds of introverted sensing. Nothing is required from you in this situation. If, however, it is Mother's Day and someone suggests you send your mother a sentimental card, you may have a negative reaction.

Likewise, as an IEE, if an LSI legal advisor tells me that something I want to do is against the law (using introverted logic language), I will not be bothered by his way of putting it (unless is was overly blunt and critical), but I am very likely to be distressed by the limiting nature of unnecessary laws, and by the fact that I must adapt my perfectly normal behavior to comply with unenlightened laws.

In other words, the discomfort comes not from someone else appropriate using a function in a situation, but from the perceived expectation that you are to use that function as well.

OR, as discussed in the blog post, discomfort and objections also come when you perceive someone to be applying a function inappropriately, outside of its natural bounds.

Rick said...

whoops, typo in 1st paragraph above:

"you are extremely unlikely to object or think that the person is overstepping the natural bounds of introverted sensing. "

aestrivex said...

i mean, i think that the extention of applying expectations to the self is the application of pet peeves towards others. overall, i think you have a point in that situations should be evaluated based on their contexts and the expectations and experience of the participants, but i don't at all think that situations that lend themselves to the use of Fe will be uniformly treated as innocuous and acceptable by Fe-polr types.

thehotelambush said...

I agree. The more imbalanced a person is, the more likely he is to want to limit other elements even in situations where they are appropriate.

On another note, wanting to apply the leading function to situations where it is inappropriate also creates a kind of self-imposed tyranny: instead of "you must not do this!" it's "I must do this!" - two sides of the same coin.

Poster boy said...

I don't know last two posters, you make it sound like I as an SLI can't enjoy an ESE comedian at a comedy show. If however I was in a social setting and the ESE used that same Fe to create fun that I was expected to comply to, I would be somewhat uncomfortable.

thehotelambush said...

Good point. I agree that generally this kind of sensitivity is not the case.