Nov 1, 2010
Sep 11, 2010
If finding friendship with one other person is hard, try finding friendship between two couples. What does is take? Each member of both couples must find at least one friend among the other couple in such a way that all members are included. If any one person is left out of friendship, the couples are not entirely friends.
In the best case scenario, all four people are friends with all other three. This is rare, but happens. However, even this arrangement is fragile. A shift in the life circumstances of any of the four people can upset the balance and change the character of the friendship. The probability of such a shift happening in any given year is substantially higher than that of a shift happening among a single couple (a relatively high probability to begin with.
For instance, if a single individual has a 20% chance of a major shift in circumstances in a given year, then a couple has a 36% chance that one or more will experience a shift, and a set of two couples -- 59%. This is just to illustrate why close friendships between two couples are less stable than between two people.
What intertype relations might be more favorable for such a friendship? Among any four people, there is a dizzying variety of possible combinations of intertype relations. And yet, some tend to be more common than others.
It's easiest to recognize friendships between two dual couples. In my experience, it seems relatively common to have:
- dual couples
- activator couples
- semi-duality couples
- extinguishment couples
(where the relationship is defined by the intertype relation between any two individuals of the same sex)
A relationship between two couples may become unstable if there is cause for attraction between any two members of the opposite sex. Therefore, identity relations between couples are rarer than duality, and mirror rarer than activator. Identity friends typically have to keep their spouses out of the friendship to avoid sparking jealousy and concealed sexual competition between the two males or two females.
Since I have a lot of activator friends, I frequently encounter the "activator couple" scenario. Do couple friendships form in all cases? Only in about a third at most. It seems that most such friendships are saboteuged by rejection between "mirrors." In other words, an IEE and LSE may be close friends and may want to include the spouses in the friendship, but either the SLI spouse rejects the LSE or the EII spouse rejects the IEE.
There seems to be no surefire way of predicting rejection. It seems particularly common for the dual spouse to perceive the activator friend as a competitor for influence on the spouse. The more time the two spend together, the less time the dual gets with his or her spouse.
So, you can see how difficult it is for even an activator couple friendship to materialize. The likelihood of rejection between two opposite sex "mirrors" is quite high.
Paradoxically, more socionically distant relations between couples may be "safer" in the sense that the same sex friend of your spouse is less likely to be perceived as a direct competitor to you. However, such relationships will also likely not develop the same degree of closeness and trust.
As soon as we introduce non-dual couples, things get more complex since the likelihood of imbalance between the intertype relations of one member of a couple and the other member rises.
For instance, a LIE-ILI (mirror) couple (male member listed first for consistency) may become friends with a ESI-LIE couple (dual). In this scenario, two people get a dual relation out of the friendship, one gets an activation relation, and one gets "just" a mirror relation. It's easy to see that here the relationship will hinge mostly upon the ESI, who is "needed" by everyone else. Probably, the other three will only be able to talk amongst themselves, but when the ESI comes around, varied activities will become both possible and fun. It's typically hard to have extended fun with identity partners, mirror partners, kindred partners, etc.
The ideal friends for a LIE-ILI couple might be a ESI-SEE couple, but what are the odds of finding one? Likewise, the ideal friends for a LSI-SEE couple might be an EIE-ILI couple, but I would the odds of two such couples finding each other would be very low indeed.
Generally, it seems that the less socionically favorable the intertype relation between a couple, the more difficult it is to maintain friendships with other couples.
To avoid sociono-centricism, it should be noted that the less favorable AND stable a couple's relationship is in general (not just in socionic terms), the greater difficulty they will have maintaining friendships with other couples. This applies to duals with an instable relationship just as much as to non-duals with a stable relationship. Can duals have an instable relationship? Of course. (Nonetheless, dual relations appear to be more common than others.)
Furthermore, in practice friendship is based not so much on socionics ("we just feel good around each other -- that's why we're friends") as upon shared interests and history ("we enjoy doing X together, we've been through a lot together, we have a lot to talk about"). Socionic factors certainly influence the likelihood that two people will become and remain friends, but it is far from a 100% determiner.
Looking at interests may help to explain the frequent "mirror rejection" pattern mentioned above. When two activators become friends, they most certainly share some interests and commonalities in values. These shared interests and values won't extend to all areas of life, but they're definitely enough to justify spending time together doing something of mutual interest and talking about life. However, what you share in common with an activator may not be what they share in common with their dual.
For instance, I am passionate about backpacking and the outdoors. A lot of my activator LSE friends have also somewhat enjoyed backpacking -- enough to make trips together generally worthwhile and fun. But what is the probability that someone who enjoys backpacking somewhat, but not passionately like I do, will choose a spouse that also enjoys it? Probably under 50% (the more passionate one is about something, the higher the likelihood they will choose a spouse that shares or sympathizes with the interest). And there you have one possible reason for rejection. The friend's spouse doesn't enjoy or understand backpacking, and is mistrustful of people who make it a central part of their life. Probably, if we were to dig deeper, we would find some other fundamental value differences underlying an interest or disinterest in backpacking that would make itself felt in other ways.
Each thing that just one of the friends is particularly passionate about is similarly prone to cause rejection or mistrust on the part of the other friend's spouse, who, more likely than not, does not sympathize much with the passion.
What seems to increase the likelihood of a compatible intercouple relationship is when both activation partners are equally passionate about their key shared interest/s. This means that it is likely that both have chosen spouses who are at least accepting of and somewhat interested in the area of passion. In this case, everyone can participate and experience enjoyment both from the activity and from the conversations that inevitably result.
But "equally passionate" is just another way of saying that the activator friends are more compatible than two friends who are unequally passionate about their shared interests. Many parameters of compatibility are not encompassed by socionics. Higher compatibility between friends increases the likelihood of compatibility between their spouses and between both couples. If you and your friend have built a friendship upon mediocre compatibility, it is less likely that your spouses can be included successfully in the relationship.
Leaving socionics behind for a moment, friendships between couples are more likely to form on the basis of a common interest or interests among all four members. Socionics becomes one of the limiting factors to the relationship and will tend to make itself felt during longer interaction sessions involving a greater variety of activities (for instance, not just talking about or doing the common interest/hobby, but also eating together, planning logistics, relaxing afterwards, etc.).
Even among two highly compatible couples (say, a complete quadra) differences will arise where one or two people dissent from the majority approach. Dissention can occur on the basis of irrationality-rationality ("I don't like how they don't warn us about what they're going to do"), on the basis of gender ("I'm tired of everything having to be so goal-oriented; why don't you and I take a walk around town together while the men do their thing?"), on the basis of sensitivity ("I just want to be alone for a while"), or any number of other things.
To sum things up, friendship between couples is more difficult and complex than dynamics between two people. Intertype relations between the two couples play a significant role in choice of intercouple friends, but there are a number of other important factors determining the possibility of friendship.
Recently I have had more contact with homosexuals than before and have thought a lot about homosexuals I have known and about past acquaintances I now suspect are gay. I've tried to pinpoint their commonalities and psychological peculiarities compared to heterosexual men or women, particularly those of the same socionic type.
My first observation is that in every case I find it difficult to type these people. In addition to their socionic type there is something else that appears to "cloud" the type (actually, my idea of the type). For instance, a gay LSE might talk about and express his feelings in a way that makes me suspect he's actually an ethical type. Or a gay SLE might lack the male dominance and seem more passive or even insecure than is generally typical of the type. These are just some possibilities. In most cases I still can't identify the types for sure.
I've found that in some cases it helps to think of the gay man as a woman, and then understanding his personality becomes easier. Likewise for lesbians.
Another thing I don't understand is how intertype compatibility plays out between homosexuals. I'm used to seeing heterosexual couples where masculine men choose feminine women or somewhat effeminate men are with somewhat tomboyish or "manly" women. I don't understand the attraction between two men who both appear effeminate. Perhaps it is more common for one partner to be more masculine and the other more feminine.
I also don't know if there is a correlation between socionic type and the tendency to take a masculine or feminine role in homosexual relationships. It is slightly tempting to hypothesize that logical types gravitate towards a masculine role and ethical types towards a feminine role, but I suspect the correlation, like always, is not neat.
Among people of a single gender and type I find a fairly wide range of masculinity, femininity and other characteristics. It's not impossible to imagine, for instance, an effeminate ILE with a gay partner who is a masculine SEI. Presumably effemininity among males has only a partial, very far from absolute correlation with homosexuality, and sexual preference is determined by something other than dosages of testosterone and estrogen during prenatal development.
I invite people with more experience and knowledge to share their observations and ideas.
Sep 10, 2010
Aug 19, 2010
I have been listening to an interesting audiobook in Russian called Istoriya Otmorozhennykh v Kontekste Globalnogo Potepleniya about how climate changes have impacted past civilizations and determined cultural development. The main thesis of the book (written by a journalist, Aleksandr Nikonov, with a strong background in climatology and ancient history) is that comparatively difficult climatological conditions breed integrative tendencies, whereas periods of more favorable climate correspond to disintegrative tendencies.
Aug 14, 2010
Last edit: 29 Oct. 2012 (sensitivity added)
My personal typology includes not only socionics, but bits and pieces of other systems and observations that I have found to be important in my interactions with other people. My typology is not systematized, but here's what it includes:
- Socionic type captures key aspects of how a person interacts with his environment. It is able to answer perhaps 50% of the question, "who is this person?"
- Gender encompasses the overarching biological program of the individual and broad communication styles and expectations that can create both attraction and problems between the sexes, regardless of socionic type. Within the genders, varying levels of male and female hormones add additional variety.
- Striking characteristics or experience, if any, play a critical role in the lives of people who possess them. Examples include: someone who spends most of their time traveling around different countries, an Albanian immigrant living in the U.S., a WWII-era former spy, a concentration camp survivor, a professional basketball player, a grotesquely obese person, a dwarf or midget, someone with a serious stutter, a CEO, a person who makes a living off selling his own art, etc. In such cases, you can understand a great deal about a person simply by recognizing their striking characteristics, which may override or enhance type-related inborn personality traits.
- Somatotype, e.g. levels of endomorphy, mesomorphy, and ectomorphy, help to explain things like why one ILE is physically adventurous while another is mentally adventurous, why one SEI is more comforting and nurturing and another SEI more ascetic and austere, or why one ILI is distant and another chummy. Physical constitution also may carry over into the sexual sphere, influencing the types of movements and touching that people find sexual.
- Intellect or IQ, particularly closer to the extremes, adds a confounding factor to intertype relations, helping to explain why people who "should" get along according to socionics and common sense sometimes don't, and vice versa. For people close to the mean, this factor plays a smaller role in their lives.
- Sensitivity, particularly whether a person is highly sensitive (HSP) or not.
- Sexual attractiveness, including all relevant factors (looks, financial success, status), helps to capture hidden layers of competition and mating behavior (attraction and rejection) occuring between people regardless of their other characteristics.
- Activity level, including hyperactivity and speed of speech, sometimes plays a role in interpersonal interaction, helping to explain, for instance, why one SEE tires you and another doesn't.
Aug 8, 2010
Well-known socionist Ekaterina Filatova of St. Petersburg has finally got a book published in English: Understanding the People Around You: An Introduction to Socionics. It is an English-language version of her popular book in Russian that sold around 75,000 copies. You can order it on Amazon.com.
By Rick at 3:51 PM
Jul 14, 2010
Jul 8, 2010
Jul 6, 2010
This is a follow-up to my posts "More on Career Recommendations" and "The Energy Descent Future", both of which have little to do with socionics but contain information that could be important for developing career and business opportunities that both fit your personality and will be in demand in the future. So, this post should be at least as useful as more traditional discussions of what careers are suitable for different personality types. The shortcoming of such discussions is that they assume that the job market will continue evolving in the same direction as it has been over past decades. There are a number of reasons to suppose that this will not be the case.
Jul 4, 2010
This is a very condensed version of what was going to be a long essay. I decided that many of the points I was making were too obvious and repetitive to warrant a complete posting here.
Jul 1, 2010
For millenia individuals and groups of people have chosen to forego pleasures and comforts in order to obtain physical, psychological, and/or emotional benefits.
Learning to cope with physical hardships and deprivations has been a key aspect of entering manhood in many indigenous cultures. In learning to deal with pain and hardships, a young man developed valuable masculine qualities such as stoicism, willpower, and the ability to make sacrifices for the greater good.
In many religious communities, initiates have been taught to forego sensual pleasures -- sex, physical comforts, wine, and good food -- in order to direct all their emotional excitement towards worship or meditation.
It seems that asceticism has existed primarily as a cultural undercurrent; only rarely has it become a dominant cultural feature -- for instance, in ancient Sparta. Typically, mass culture is quite hedonistic (enjoyment and comfort oriented), and ascesticism is practiced among individuals and small groups out of the public eye. Even when some variety of asceticism becomes the official ideology -- for instance, in a highly militarized and/or fundamentalist state -- most people maintain a lackadaisical attitude towards the ideology and practice a milder form of it in their personal lives.
This suggests that self-discipline and abstention from indulgence is not for everyone, or that people are capable of it to different degrees. It could be a useful tool for people suffering from addictions, but the power of their addiction may be stronger than their ability to exercise self-discipline.
Self-discipline and some form of asceticism are common themes in the life histories of famous people today and in the past. It typically (but not always) requires discipline and concentration to achieve fame, and with fame come additional temptations that can lead to one's downfall if one relaxes one's vigilance (Elvis Presley comes to mind as a typical example).
Is asceticism relevant in modern society?
I would say yes, more than ever. Thanks to the immense and cheap energy of fossil fuels, industrial society was able to release most people from the inconvenience of hard labor and provide them with all sorts of comforts and pleasures at very little cost or effort.
This disruption of the human "power process" (the process by which people gain a sense of personal power or empowerment) was well described by Theodore Kaczynski in his treatise "Industrial Society and Its Future." Industrialization made the innately empowering vital activities (direct provision for one's needs) unnecessary and replaced them with surrogate activities ("jobs") that people pretend are vitally important but deep down feel that they are not.
Given the abundant cheap energy of modern industrial society, diverse forms of need satisfaction have been developed that an easily generate dependencies and addictions. This is an ideal way of making money for producers of goods and services. I'll start with things that are not traditionally associated with addictions.
1. Food. Food producers play on our natural biological impulses to generate addictions to their products, which contain sweeteners, fats, and excitotoxins that make us eat more of something than we really need, and also generate cravings. Since super energy-dense food was a relatively rare treat in our evolutionary past, we seem to be programmed to eat as much of it as we can when we come across it. Now this trait is kicking us in the butt, so to speak.
2. Comforts. In this category are all kinds of appliances and comforts that reduce one's expenditure of effort, and, of course, the automobile. On the surface they appear to make life easier, but beneath the surface they make us less resourceful, weaker (physically and psychologically), and more isolated. Once one is in this state, continued use of these "comforts" is almost inevitable.
3. Entertainment. In the electronic age it is now possible to spend many hours a day stimulating one's entertainment needs while putting forth very little physical and social effort. Myriad computer games, movie and TV program viewing, virtual social networking, information browsing, and virtual sexual stimulation are all easily addicting activities that can gobble up mental and physical resources. Since empowerment occurs via the achievement of results through the exertion of effort, entertainment activities produce little or no empowerment and actually tend to make one less physically and socially robust.
4. Traditional addictions. Drugs, booze, gambling, compulsive behaviors such as shopaholism, etc.
The typical member of a modern affluent society has mild to severe addictions in one or more, or even all of these areas: food, comforts, entertainment, and traditional addictions. In general, modern society provides decent mental development, is rather weak in emotional development, and is utterly pathetic at developing the body's physical capabilities.
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of idealizing pre-industrial society, which may have been far from ideal. Contact with rural communities in Ukraine and elsewhere suggests that such societies are prone to a different set of addictions, for instance alcoholism, domestic violence, and gossip.
Sometimes I wonder if most people in pretty much any society are basically doomed to spend their lives trapped by various addictions in an act of voluntary self-suppression that indirectly enables the self-realization of a few, more empowered individuals.
Addictions are a major obstacle to self-realization. Self-realization requires focus, dedication, passion, and, of course, concerted effort over a long period of time. Food addictions sap our physical strength, willpower, and self-esteem. Comforts remove us from the natural world and make us more helpless and dependent. Easy entertainment distracts us from personal goals that require effort and focus. Traditional addictions can rob us of our willpower and eventually of our friends, work, and families.
Socionics and addictions
We could take a brief socionics detour and discuss which types are more prone to different types of addictions. I'm not sure the correlations are great enough to warrant a separate discourse on the subject.
Certainly there are predominately "male" and "female" addictions. Males tend to gravitate to traditional bad habits (alcohol, gambling, drugs), to competitive games, sex, and food. Women seem to accumulate addictions to entertainment with social and emotional content, physical comforts, food, and drugs.
I'm sure there are also type-related patterns. I've seen a few SEI hedonists with dependencies on drugs and unhealthy food. ILEs and IEEs seem to easily get attached to online information gathering and dissemination, which can quickly become a meaningless activity if overengaged in. I'll bet there are plenty of ethical extraverts with Facebook addictions, as well as SLE alchoholics. I haven't peeked enough into the private lives of different people to recognize unequivocal patterns, though.
Asceticism as an empowering force
Addictive tendencies and unhealthy behaviors can be managed to a large degree by removing or altering the facilitating factors and adopting a more austere regimen in trouble areas.
This requires honesty to be objective about yourself, self-reflection to identify facilitating factors in your environment, courage to take steps that other people may perceive (at first) as strange and unnecessary, and a good dose of self-love to even care about it all in the first place.
Let me share what my wife and I have done to nip some problems in the bud. You may find our solutions unconventional and eccentric, but they have improved our quality of life and personal power.
1. Food. We keep no unhealthy foods in the home and consume no sugar (sometimes we use honey). We've replaced sources of saturated fat with olive oil and adhere to a Mediterranean diet whose health benefits are amply supported by scientific research. Sometimes when we are with other people or need to buy something to justify our use of wi-fi in a public cafe, we'll buy some food that we wouldn't consume at home, but we never buy this food at the store to bring it home. Any tendency towards unhealthy compulsive eating is kept out of the home. We've come to really enjoy our choice of healthy, largely unprocessed foods, and find that we never feel like pigging out because it lacks the substances and combinations that stimulate this behavior. We are also experimenting with growing food in our own apartment.
2. Comforts. We do not have a car and get around by public transportation. We've chosen a place to live where it is convenient to do so. We don't have a washing machine or dishwasher and have learned to do these tasks quickly (just as quickly, actually) by hand, which saves resources and makes us more flexible as travelers. Our attitudes towards comfort and cleanliness have become more natural as we've foregone expensive appliances and technology and learned how to do things effectively ourselves. We feel more capable and resourceful as a result.
3. Entertainment. We have no TV, radio, or Internet at home. This is perhaps the most radical lifestyle choice with the most unexpectedly positive consequences. Living without mass media promotes independent thought and the ability to engage in self-directed activities for longer periods of time. We spend more time talking and doing things together as opposed to being passive recipients of entertainment. No Internet at home means no compulsive Internet use, a better sleep schedule and sounder sleep, more time together, less chaos in the home, conditions more conducive to writing, a more physically and socially active lifestyle, and greater frequency of face-to-face meetings with friends and groups of people with common interests.
To deal with her dissatisfaction with superficial online interaction, my wife has chosen to go back to writing paper letters and mailing them to people who are important to her. She's removed much of her information on Facebook and no longer uses it to socialize. This hasn't been a problem for me, so I continue to use Facebook as I see fit, but not at home.
Whenever I get a new computer, I immediately remove all the built-in games to avoid compulsively wasting time on them. I have no games to play in the home. This isn't a problem for my wife, so she doesn't worry about it.
To get online, we go to one of several places in town or at friends' houses. This, I feel, puts the Internet in its proper place. If you have unlimited Internet access at home, as the years go by you will almost inevitably find that its role in your life has become too large and that in some ways you have become a slave to it. Of course, different personalities have different susceptibilities.
4. Traditional addictions. These have not been a problem, so we haven't needed to take any steps to fix it.
As you can see, our life is pretty austere in several ways. I believe that austerity is often needed to keep one's natural strengths from turning into compulsions that control your life. As I have probably written elsewhere, one's strengths are often related to involuntary behaviors -- things that you "can't help doing."
For instance, I can't help gathering and sharing information. When there are no barriers to this activity, I can engage in this compulsively and excessively online to the detriment of other areas of my life. I also can't help concentrating on something for long periods of time. This means that I can end up spending too much time on one activity past the point of exhaustion. Improving my basic habits and keeping the Internet out of the home reduces the likelihood that I'll have episodes where I have wasted many hours of time and end up feeling wasted myself.
In short, one's weaknesses are often outgrowths of one's strengths. If some asceticism is introduced to create some obstacles for these weaknesses to develop, you can enjoy and benefit from the strengths without overdoing it.
If you're a natural connoisseur of good foods, you may find you'll need to limit yourself to a strict diet where you may experiment only with natural, wholesome foods or where you are only "allowed" a gourmet meal once a week.
If you are wasting your life on computer games, you might remedy the situation by getting yourself an old computer that is too slow to run any interesting games.
If you have a habit of running up credit card debt, you might want to close all your bank accounts and adopt a cash-only policy.
Some people may think you're strange, but don't listen to them. The benefits to be gained from freeing yourself from dependencies are well worth any minor inconveniences.
Jun 21, 2010
During the past year I have spent a lot of time studying and thinking about the issues of energy, climate change, environmental issues in general (soil degradation, deforestation, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, etc. etc.), and the prospects of industrial civilization. I am now familiar with the ideas of a number of influential thinkers and have solidified my own views on the subject. In this essay I'll discuss energy descent visionaries -- people who have recognized underlying trends much earlier than the general populace -- different typical responses to these realities, and the types of changes that are likely to take place in society, from a socionics perspective.
It is very likely that peak world oil production (so-called Peak Oil) occurred in July 2008 at 74.82 million barrels/day, when prices also reached a historical peak of $145 a barrel. This probably triggered the world financial crisis. From now on production will fall because the remaining oil is increasingly costly to extract, and the economy flounders when oil prices rise above a certain level, since oil consumption is an integral part of every significant production process.
There are 4 basic lines of thinking on what will happen next, among those who are aware that something significant has happened. These were described by David Holmgren and are portrayed in the following graph.
1. "Techno-Explosion" - Human inventiveness, technological progress, and the invisible hand of the market will ensure us continued progress, economic growth, and new sources of cheap energy.
2. "Green-Tech Stability" - We may experience a small drop in economic output as we transition to a more sustainable economic model where alternative sources of energy come to replace fossil fuels and ultimately allow us to continue our modern lifestyle and current level of societal and technological complexity.
3. "Creative Descent" - As the economics of production and distribution fundamentally change, incremental decisions will be made at the individual level, resulting in a gradual retrofitting of much of our existing infrastructure for useful purposes in a new, increasingly sustainable society with ever less energy at its disposal.
4. "Collapse" - The end of economic growth will trigger financial collapse, followed by economic collapse, political collapse, and the disintegration of society.
Vast disinformation campaigns are funded by groups with vested interests in scenario #1 to discredit destabilizing information such as climate change research, Peak Oil, and the environmental movement. The mainstream environmental movement is also well-funded and generally fights scenario #1 and promotes #2, while making use of science that actually suggests #3 or #4. Almost no one is interested in funding campaigns related to #3 and #4 (for the reason stated above), so they stay out of the mass media, out of the public eye, and out of political debate.
People who are at the fringes of society and are part of various subcultures may be predisposed to views #3 and #4. They have already internally rejected mass culture and lifestyle in some way or another, and so it is hardly a leap for them to suppose that the powers-that-be will not be in power for long, and that people with lifestyles and views more like their own will prevail. In general, people tend to paint a picture of the future where people like themselves are more successful than average.
From a type perspective, it seems to me from my limited observations that types with may tend to support scenario #1 or #2, possibly because it is often hard for them to imagine a life much different from what they have now, their active nature often puts them in a position of material influence where they derive gain from the status quo, and because they tend to be somewhat more territorial about their current position and possessions.
Types with tend to place a lot of stock in technological progress and can't imagine that people would choose to give up technological advancements. They tend to be experts about one or two things related to energy and technology and are absorbed by the trends in those areas alone. I find a lot of people with views #1 or #2 among them.
Types with tend to see situations holistically (and often, but not always, superficially), change their expectations of the future quickly, and are less psychologically attached to the current socioeconomic system. Therefore, upon learning some facts about the situation, they easily jump to view #3 or #4. If optimism dominates melancholy in their temperament, then #3.
Types with seem to naturally be aware of problems; telling them that things may get worse is hardly news. Many seem predisposed to think that everything is going down the tubes and that nothing can be done about it (view #4). However, some have a strong contrarian streak that leads them to debunk whatever views they perceive to be dominant.
Types with tend to feel at the sidelines of society more often than those with . Criticism of modern civilization among these types is common, since industrial society devalues their natural strengths in many ways. These types seem predisposed to views #2 and #3, but not to the extreme pessimism of #4, which requires a great degree of imagination.
I have nothing to say at the moment about other socionics functions and how they may predispose one to a particular view of the situation. Of course, it is not only one's personality that influences one's views, but also one's position in society (what, if anything, is at stake), as well as cultural factors that are perhaps too diverse to classify.
Some energy descent visionaries and their types
As to be expected, when we talk of the trends of the future we find that more intuitive types have influential and well-articulated views on the topic. Take these typings, as always, with a grain of salt. Many of them are open to discussion. This is just a sampling of those who hold influential views and is not meant to be exhaustive. Representative videos are provided where possible.
Joseph Tainter (ILI) authored an influential book, Collapse of Complex Societies, where he hypothesized that societies collapse when they obtain smaller and smaller benefits from additional investments in complexity. I would not categorize him as an activist of any kind, but rather a scholar and theorist on the subject of complexity and collapse. He focuses on history and economics much more than environmental issues.
Tainter answers some questions
Jared Diamond (IEE), geographer and ecologist, authored the other well-known book on collapse, called Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Here he examines how societies respond to environmental problems that inevitably arise as a result of population growth and habitat exploitation. Diamond is outspoken on the environmental problems that modern society must solve over the next few decades in order to avoid collapse. His books and numerous public lectures have a human touch and tend to inspire activism.
"Why Societies Collapse" TED presentation
Ted Kaczynski (SLI), aka the "Unabomber," was a math whiz who severed his ties with modern industrial society to live a peaceful life in the Montana woods. When his peace was disturbed, he began a terrorist mail-bomb campaign against people who he felt represented the "Establishment." His manifesto, Industrial Society and Its Future, published in 1995, contains many psychological insights relating to industrial society's negative influence on the individual, but it shows a lack of awareness of numerous objective issues, notably the myriad environmental problems of our time, and Peak Oil.
Industrial Society and Its Future
Dmitry Orlov (ILI), a popular blogger and author, compares the collapse of the Soviet Union with the impending collapse of the U.S. He lays bare the foolishness of U.S. leadership and the folly of mankind in general.
Explaining why America will collapse
Richard Heinberg (IEE), ecologist and author, focuses on Peak Oil and how society must change to deal with it. He focuses on societal paradigms and adaptation to a post-Peak Oil future. His presentations have a human touch and suggest personal and community applications.
On our post-carbon future (note his criticism of Schwarzenegger's (LSE) faith in technological progress)
Bill Mollison (ILE), naturalist and co-originator of the concept of permaculture. Developed a design system for land use that is fully sustainable and can improve degraded land in a matter of years. Spent years traveling around the world helping set up permaculture systems and spread knowledge. Permaculture is a whole new system of living, not just a new agriculture method.
Permaculture in the tropics
David Holmgren (LII), ecologist and co-originator (with Mollison) of the concept of permaculture.
Permaculture & Peak Oil: Beyond Sustainability
Geoff Lawton (IEE), prominent permaculture designer and consultant. Has a warmer and more personal touch than, say, Mollison, while at the same time seeming somewhat less scientific and more enthusiastic.
At the Permaculture Research Institute
Al Gore (LII), politician, businessman, and climate change educator. Gore's type may predispose him to scenario #3, but his financial and political interests probably influence his promotion of a scenario that looks more like #2.
Gore's new thinking on the climate crisis
Bill Gates (LIE), business magnate and philanthropist, is wedded by wealth to scenarios #1 or #2. Any proposed solutions must therefore involve big business and centralized government. Furthermore, his personality leads him to focus on technology development and logistics, problems which seem entirely solvable.
Bill Gates on energy and climate
Afterthought: my personal views
My personal views are along the lines of the permaculturalists -- a dominated field (even though it focuses heavily on food production!). In my opinion, these thinkers have best been able to lay bare and tie together all the different factors and problems facing society and propose a realistic solution. They seem to have the best scientific support (and little industry support). Scenario #3 seems the most realistic and, at the same time, is sufficiently positive to inspire individual action. Proponents of scenario #4 have less to offer and seem to have less understanding of agriculture and ecology. Scenario #1 is impossible; if it were possible, it would already be happening, because all the economic incentives are in favor of taking that direction. Scenario #2 is potentially inspiring, but naive. See, for instance, Richard Heinberg's detailed report on the limitations of all important forms of energy. It will quickly become apparent that there is no complete replacement for fossil fuels.
The future - from a socionics standpoint
Cheap energy and ease of transportation promotes the concentration of capital and the growth of centralized power. Using abstract socionics language, this favors over . As oil becomes scarce, some trends of the past few centuries will be reversed. Instead of being drawn into a complex economic system where each person has a narrow function and only 1 or 2% of people produce food, people will retreat from the global integrated economy and begin producing more and more of their own food. There is no way to avoid the re-localization of agriculture and economic decentralization in the U.S. and other countries. This will favor a value shift towards . Whether society takes a more "Alpha" or "Delta" direction is hard to say. If existing societal institutions are basically preserved, then we might have a Delta situation. If not, then probably Alpha. Those who stand to lose most from this turn of events are large corporate and power structures who run our lives today. If these power structures collapse, new ones will eventually appear (the blind spot of today's permaculturalists). Permaculture philosophy is terrific for establishing sustainable human activity, but it gives little attention to the possibility of nomad raiders and the eventual establishment of a feudal system of governance where individual farmers and tradesmen must pay tribute and suffer some degree of servitude.
Jun 15, 2010
Psychological theories of temperament view it as a biologically based set of personality traits, present from infancy, that forms a sort of template for the development of personality... It is ordinarily thought to include such traits as extraversion or introversion, “neuroticism,” activity level, level of arousal, emotional reactivity, predominant mood, speed and capacity of information processing, ability to regulate one’s own behavior, and the capacity to deal with novel situations.
While research on personality traits as dimensions of temperament has been productive, we believe that it may be useful to shift the emphasis somewhat from traits to the subcomponent neural processes that determine those traits...
Temperament has a strong biological component, reflecting heritability and early developmental influences (including intrauterine and perinatal factors). At the extremes of temperament (e.g., marked shyness or gregariousness), it is likely that constitutional factors so dominate the picture that, barring exceptional experience, certain predispositions will have a strong and decisive influence on behavior and character that endures throughout the life of the individual. However, experience may modify certain aspects of the expression of temperament, and experience certainly accounts for much of the variability among persons with essentially similar temperamental styles. For example, research has demonstrated the importance of “goodness of fit” between the temperament of the child and the environment provided by the parents.
Temperament acts as a fundamental organizer for emergent psychological experience by affecting the probabilities associated with the activation of various neural networks. We are in fundamental agreement with Zuckerman’s (1995) conclusion that “we do not inherit personality traits or even behavior mechanisms as such. What is inherited are chemical templates that produce and regulate proteins involved in building the structure of nervous systems and the neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones that regulate them. We are not born as extroverts, neurotics, impulsive sensation seekers, or antisocial personalities, but we are born with differences in reactivities of brain structures and levels of regulators” (pp. 331-332).
Temperament as a process is always undergoing modifications and shifts (albeit often subtle) as ongoing adaptation occurs... Many different streams of processing contribute to the expression of temperament at each moment...
The probability is greatest that an individual’s temperament would occupy a more or less predictable region of the temperament phase space -- a shy child is likely to be shy most of the time.
Temperament may be more “noticeable” among those in one of the tails of the distribution, but temperament (or, more precisely, its subcomponent processes) influences even those who lie closer to the mean, whose expressions of temperament do not have a visible or defining “signature” such as hyperactivity.
[Speaking of a boy diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)] Parents, teachers, and peers may find him exasperating, and the behavioral style he acquires in turn may lead to the development of a conduct disorder or antisocial personality. If his parents and siblings are able to deal with him in a positive, adaptive manner, the outcome may be positive, but an active, agressive, energetic style is likely to dominate his personality. In the same way, the biologically shy child is likely to remain shy. If raised in a stern environment or exposed to physical and emotional abuse, such a child may develop a very avoidant personality style. If a child like this is treated sensitively and manages to avoid being traumatized, he or she may show a very successful adaptation in life.
Temperament, because it influences the probabilities of behaving in certain ways, can lead to a significant shapin gof the environment. Thus, temperament can have a significant effect on one’s learning history. A corrolary is that temperament not only affects the kind of environment the person encounters, it also affects how and what a persona learns from his or her experience. Distractability, for example, may lead one to overlook the details of certain transaction and may interfere with learning from those encounters. For the shy person, a single experience of interpersonal failure may provide an education that lasts for a lifetime. To a natural extrovert, the same sort of interpersonal failure may have little or no lasting effect.
[Quoting Thomas and Chess (1980)] [This] goodness of fit results when the properties of the environment and its expectations and demands are in accord with the organism’s own capacities, motivations, and style of behaving. When this consonance between organism and environment is present, optimal development in a progressive direction is possible. Conversely, poor fit involves discrepancies and dissonances between environmental opportunities and demands and the capacities and characteristics of the organism, so that distorted development and maladaptive functioning occur.
An infant’s temperament expresses itself in interaction with an environment that is first and foremost on interpersonal environment... It is an infant’s caretakers who first experience their child’s termperament and whose responses will influence how and in what way this temperament is brought into some sort of alignment with the demands of the environment.
Children who are temperamentally biased in one way or another may require more active engagement with caregivers to help compensate or correct for their innate dispositions... Different temperaments make different demands on caregivers, and different caregivers will show considerable variability in their aptitude and motivation in responding appropriately and adaptively to the child’s temperament.
Temperament can also be influenced to some degree by the child’s developing capacity for reflective self awareness. Thus, for instance, a shy person can deliberately behave in ways that stretch her behavioral repertoire or at least minimize its influence. Presumably such learning across time can, in some cases, become stable enough that the temperamental influence recedes in large areas of behavioral functioning. Nonetheless, under stress, one might expect the basic temperament to be more visible in such people. The disorganized, distractible child can develop neural networks associated with organizational habits if given adequate support in doing so. The establishment and activation of these networks over time changes the likelihood of their subsequent activation. Thus, procedural learning may shape the expression of temperament.
The fit between child and environment is never perfect. Winnicott (1960) suggested that this is not a bad thing, because a hypothetical “perfect fit” between an infant and its caretakers (where “perfect” is defined as total maternal attunement and adaptive responsiveness to her infant’s needs) would undermine a child’s spontaneous exercise of its adaptive capability (apart from being impossible). Within limits, imperfect fit leads to the exercise of these capabilities providing much of the scaffold for subsequent personality development. Thus Winnicott was led to observe that what was necessary to support normal developmental processes was a “good enough” fit between an infant and his or her parents.
Temperament can lead to psychopathology when a child has unhelpful or incompetent training experiences (bad fit). The shy child who is ridiculed or unsupported by the parents may go on to become pathologically shy, whereas another equally shy child who is supported and encouraged may develop an adaptive behavioral style.
...In some cases the constitutional imperative associated with a given temperament may be so pronounced that there is an increased likelihood of psychopathology. Temperament in such cases can be considered dynamically as leading to psychopathology by reducing behavioral plasticity.
Psychopathology also can result when an individual’s temperament is somehow not adequately and constructively accommodated by his or her life structure. Thus a distractible person who becomes an accountant or air traffic controller may experience stresses that could lead to pathology. Similarly, a gregarious person who finds him- or herself working alone may suffer as a result. Life structures that don’t conflict with pronounced temperamental variables are likely to be less pathogenic.
Finally, if a society is unable to provide appropriate niches that can accommodate people with varying temperaments, psychopathology can be the result. A border collie bred to walk great distances while herding sheep will develop neurotic symptoms if forced to live in an apartment in the city. Similarly, highly active children may become symptomatic in environments requiring long periods of sustained attention. Different societies are more or less successful in providing the variety of niches within which diverse temperaments can find expression.