Sep 21, 2011

Socionics Antidotes or Transcendence

What are the things that can allow one to overcome supposed limitations imposed by socionics theory on self-expression, self-development and interpersonal interactions?

Given that socionics is an intellectual framework, it may not be surprising that its "antidotes" are emotional and experiential in nature and involve relying on other parts of the brain in situations where one might have previously engaged in analytical thought or normal mental activity.

Put simply, the antidotes to socionics are things like compassion and instinctive, "because it feels good" behavior.

The practice of compassion is perhaps best developed in Buddhism. A quick search led me to this introductory article. The Dalai Lama also has some good writings on the subject. While experiencing compassion, you may find yourself doing and experiencing things that are hard to explain or describe socionically, like connecting deeply and meaningfully with people of every possible type. If you're honest with yourself about the experience, you may come to realize that type and quadra-based chauvinism and exclusivity are delusions and that the thinking behind them is simply erronious, despite being superficially logical.

Doing things that feel good in a holistic way is another antitode to construct-laden thought. Have you ever rejoiced in the process of physical movement, just because your whole body was working together in an efficient and pleasuresome way? Have you ever taken a dip in an ice-cold stream or lake and emerged from the water euphoric? How about building something with your own hands? Providing the body with positive holistic experiences and giving it a more significant role in your life allows you to continually take part in things that have no socionic explanation and engage universal biological mechanisms.

Postscript
I have experience leaving a semi-authoritarian religious community that fostered a variety of feelings-based delusions. The antidote to that was science and rational thought.

10 comments:

aestrivex said...

I think you are a little bit blinded towards thinking of socionics as strictly delusional and inspiring of a chauvinistic -- as you noted in your last post that your experiences are tainted with negativity and unusefulness.

As far as all of that goes, fine, but I do not share that perspective -- actually, I think I have a very grounded view of socionics' limitations and don't care very much that most people don't seem to share my view. From my perspective, the thesis of your post here, that socionics essentially limits spiritual progression by sticking you in delusional, chauvinistic thinking, is a concept I find bizarre and unreasonable.

My idea of spirituality is something of a mix of the enneagram and buddhism. While I am still learning more about buddhism and asian contemplative traditions, I have delved into the enneagram rather deeply in my own strange way, and part of the interest of that at least as concerns questions of personality and individual differences is the degree to which spirituality and individuality are integrated. Put more simply, the higher spiritual truth of "the delusion of socionics" so to speak is not to reject the wisdom of socionics and what it tells us about different kinds of people, but to put it in its proper place and to innately know the truth of it.

Rick said...

>> the thesis of your post here, that socionics essentially limits spiritual progression by sticking you in delusional, chauvinistic thinking,

I would like to write more in a later post on what I consider to be delusions engendered by socionics.

Chauvinistic thinking is, I think, more of a personality and intellectual trait than anything, and one who has it will easily find justifications within socionics for socionics-based chauvinism. Someone without chauvinistic tendencies will not apply socionics chauvinistically and will have conflicts with socionics chauvinists.

Delusions, however, seem to be much more universal.
By delusions I mean wishing, or expecting, something to be more true than it actually is. While under the influence of a delusion a person will deny that he is deluded, claim that he doesn't believe in something when he actually does, or find logical arguments to support the delusional view. My definition of "delusion" here is so broad that basically any nonscientific belief could be included under it. One could say that a person's philosophical evolution consists of a movement from one set of delusions to another, hopefully with the accuracy of the new delusions increasing over time.

My views of spirituality are developing as well and are probably equally idiosyncratic and formed under the influence of basic socionics observations and ideas, the philosophy of science, and bits of esoteric and spiritual teachings and psychology writings.

Basically, I view different modes of thinking, feeling, and acting as each having their intrinsic place in a person's life. "Proper development" amounts to learning to use these modes for their proper purpose. For instance, there are times for aggression, times for compassion, times for pure intellect, times for expressing sexual energy, times for individuality and collectivism, etc. etc.

There are a great many teachings that essentially try to cross out some of the modes of being as if they had no place in life. Other modes are then overextended beyong their proper domains. Many religions, for instance, negate sexuality, cripple the intellect, and apply feelings to situations where careful thought is more appropriate.

Other teachings favor other modes of being to the detriment of feelings. Socionics is one of these. Its great weaknesses IMO are 1) that it suggests greater veracity than it actually possesses due to its logical structure, and 2) that it overapplies logical thought to areas where feelings should rightfully dominate. You could say (as an oversimplification) that it is a logical type's patchwork solution to a lack of understanding of feelings and relationships.

Anonymous said...

Socionics is only one layer amid a multitude of layers. It's the skeleton of communication, nothing more. The problems people have with the Trojan horse of socionics is applying it to too many things or in seeing it as everything.

We all know there is quite a lot more to a person's body than its skeleton. And there are many other processes occuring inside a person's body than just the structure or skeleton.

Likewise in psychosocial layers of understanding. We live in a complex social world, rich with all kinds of meanings and interpretations. Socionics is just one way of understanding people, not the only way.

Spiritual experiences for example, help us to transcend problems that socionics explains. Art helps us to express ideas in a way that words fail at. There's probably a lot of examples that could be given. Using feelings may or may not be a better way to explain relationships, depending on the audience and context. Feelings can't always be explained well enough or quantified in a way that can be understood by people other than the ones who are in the situation.

The problem with socionics is when it's taken too far or used too rigidly.

Rick said...

>> Using feelings may or may not be a better way to explain relationships, depending on the audience and context. Feelings can't always be explained well enough or quantified in a way that can be understood by people other than the ones who are in the situation.

I was talking about choosing and acting within relationships, not explaining relationships to other people. In other words, the "heart" or one's "feelings" are a better tool for getting around in relationships than logic. However, logic and reason certainly become more important if the task is more intellectual in nature, for instance, conveying accurate information about a relationship to other people or generalizing about relationships. It seems to be a common problem that once people learn of socionics certain nagging socionics ideas interfere with their natural, feelings-based impulses regarding relationships.

I agree with the rest of what you wrote :)

aestrivex said...

Other teachings favor other modes of being to the detriment of feelings. Socionics is one of these. Its great weaknesses IMO are 1) that it suggests greater veracity than it actually possesses due to its logical structure, and 2) that it overapplies logical thought to areas where feelings should rightfully dominate. You could say (as an oversimplification) that it is a logical type's patchwork solution to a lack of understanding of feelings and relationships.

I don't even remotely agree with this. I agree for instance in principle with your most recent post about socionics trying and failing to model interpersonal (or romantic) compatibility fully and failing absolutely to live up to this perfect prediction in anything but a much reduced and inconstant way (but, importantly, in principle still a measurable way). Presenting as a hypothesis of reality a theoretical model, whether it properly purports to be fallible or not, is not something that should dismiss from any previously-held values. Naturally many people will get sucked into it in a dogmatic and perhaps cult-like way -- but of course this is no different from religions or some people's views on science (the dogma is most easily seen in really awful sham scientific movements like creationism).

The hypotheses presented by socionics itself are not the problem here, I believe; the problem that you are outlining is that people are less than objective and critical in evaluating what is in front of them. Why put the blame on socionics for being a legitimate and potentially misunderstood scientific/protoscientific/philosophical/whatever hypothesis that has happened to engender a lot of self-inflicted delusion? The higher spiritual truth of this, as I said, is a personal quest to see socionics in exactly the proper light and to recognize with clarity both its wisdom and its overextensions/inaccuracies, and in a personal way to not have it interfere with the proper functioning of the emotional world, as you say.

Rick said...

Fair enough.

I find this debate to be typical in a way. One can always criticize either the object or the subject for an unsatisfactory situation. In my case, I'm criticizing the object — socionics — as being inadequate and tending to create delusions. I do frequently forget the other viewpoint, which is also legitimate — that the problem is in the beholder. Yes, people are prone to delusions, and if they are deluded by socionics, then they probably would have found something else to delude themselves without socionics around.

However, taking that view to the extreme is also wrong; it removes responsibility from the people who form the objects in the first place and accepts the objects as "givens" when they are in fact products of living, thinking subjects. Socionics is not a physical product of Mother Nature, it is a human invention. If there is wisdom in it, it is the wisdom of Augusta, et al. Socionics' inaccuracies encapsulate her own inaccuracies of observation and thought.

So, to wrap it up, I would say that the inadequacies of socionics suggest that it needs scrutiny and revision, but it is indeed the responsibility of the socionics student to apply it for his own betterment (or worsement), and the inadequacies of socionics do not necessarily prevent one from using it as a useful tool or steppingstone.

lorimer said...

I'm very much enjoying this conversation, and glad to see some new posts on this blog :)

Something that has often struck me about many writings on socionics is indeed the [unintended] bias I perceive towards logical elements and a under-valuing of the possibilities inherent in ethical functions.

I suspect that exposure to, and intensive study of, any new sufficiently fascinating field of thought can lead to the isolationist and exclusionary tendencies you speak of; a person newly exposed and deeply moved by the study of physics might withdraw to an in-group in which that interest can be furthered exclusively, for example. The same could hold true of musicians, proponents of a religious or spiritual system, or a philosophical school.
I believe the problem you mention is perhaps more indicative of the trends in modern western life, probably compounded by the limitations in socionics discourse that we have yet to overcome. People refute a life outside of the internet and its constituent communicative tools in a plethora of ways too numerous to mention.
Perhaps its my predisposition as an IEE, but i've found the greatest benefit from building an understanding of the subject to be 'out there' in the experiential world. Having a framework in which to contextualize the things i'm not naturally good at helps me develop those areas in a more holistic way, my relationships (especially with people i consider difficult to interact with) are better, etc etc.
I'd like to see more people actively taking up the challenge of seeking the beauty in the differences with their mirage, crafting a safe orbit between the moth and the flame in partial duality, finding ways to have mutualistic asymmetrical relations, and making friendly rivalries with their conflictors, rather than cocooning themselves in perceived comfort in their own quadras or endlessly pining for duality, especially when its done exclusively within the depersonalized realm online.

aestrivex said...

Fair enough.

I find this debate to be typical in a way. One can always criticize either the object or the subject for an unsatisfactory situation. In my case, I'm criticizing the object — socionics — as being inadequate and tending to create delusions. I do frequently forget the other viewpoint, which is also legitimate — that the problem is in the beholder. Yes, people are prone to delusions, and if they are deluded by socionics, then they probably would have found something else to delude themselves without socionics around.

However, taking that view to the extreme is also wrong; it removes responsibility from the people who form the objects in the first place and accepts the objects as "givens" when they are in fact products of living, thinking subjects. Socionics is not a physical product of Mother Nature, it is a human invention. If there is wisdom in it, it is the wisdom of Augusta, et al. Socionics' inaccuracies encapsulate her own inaccuracies of observation and thought.

So, to wrap it up, I would say that the inadequacies of socionics suggest that it needs scrutiny and revision, but it is indeed the responsibility of the socionics student to apply it for his own betterment (or worsement), and the inadequacies of socionics do not necessarily prevent one from using it as a useful tool or steppingstone.


Perhaps it is further extending the "typical" (and also quadra-related, in my opinion) disagreement you speak of, but my way of seeing it is that you are still placing too much emphasis on the object.

Let us say (completely hypothetically speaking of course) that person A develops a personality typology and shouts loudly about how it is a perfect model of reality and how everyone should come talk about it and accept it as the one great truth. Person B develops a similar personality typology and quietly cogitates over the matter, writing and hypothesizing and dubitating over his views on the topic while actively attempting to avoid forcing his dogma onto anyone and trying to avoid attracting attention or criticizing Person A's competing movement. People flock to Person A's cult and ignore Person B and develop unhealthy neuroses with respect to the subject matter taught by Person A.

Who is at fault? We can blame Person A for "irresponsibly" leading people down an excessively dogmatic path. We can also blame Person B for not standing up to Person A and presenting his vision more forcefully. We can also blame the populace for blindly accepting Person A's dogma. From the limited information provided in this hypothetical scenario, we cannot reasonably accuse anyone here, including the populace, of having bad intentions.

Ultimately, saying that we should find the truth of socionics and put it in its proper place is a highly individualistic spiritual journey, as spiritual journeys are. I don't think in any way an individual quest for wisdom defends the infallibility from delusions of the creators of socionics (though I would say that anyone's wisdom or delusions of socionics are more their own than augusta's, considering of the highly subjective nature of the topic -- but this does not really matter anyway). Rather, the position that it does stem from is that we can reasonably find ourselves responsible/in control of our own actions, and that we are not in control of the actions of others or of our surroundings as unaffected by our actions, and that at any minute we should make the best of our surroundings -- including finding wisdom within them -- whatever they may be.

AntMedeiros said...

It seems to be a common problem that once people learn of socionics certain nagging socionics ideas interfere with their natural, feelings-based impulses regarding relationships.

Spot on, Rick. It's immensely helpful to hear another voice saying this. I think its great that you have continued to blog on the subject even as you move away from it.
I have personally found myself deeply entangled in the socionics web, habitually applying it beyond the point of helpfulness. In the end, it doesn't matter whether or not I have a systemic, logical way to explain human behavior if I'm to busy using that system to actually interact. It's reminiscent of the anxiety-producing logical trap of "mindreading." It's immaterial whether or not your right; computers are right all the time, that doesn't make them alive.

Now let's see how long I can keep up that mindset... I think I need to start Socionics Anonymous lol.

AntMedeiros said...

Also, I meant "you're"