Dec 6, 2016

How to Forget about, or Unlearn Socionics

  1. Either find a convincing intellectual explanation for why part or all of it is false. (e.g. this post)
  2. Or find a system of ideas to replace it which explains the same domains of personality and relationships.


Synchronic said...

I've been trying to forget about Socionics for a while now. It doesn't help that I've been learning so much about it for the past ten years. The unending uncertainty of it all really messes with me at times. It also doesn't help that Socionics hasn't really seemed to provide me with better relationships. The only thing that has done that is trial and error. After ten years, I think might know what type I am and who my dual is, but I don't know for sure and probably never will. I can't say it's been a waste of time, though, because I've had the pleasure to meet a lot of interesting people and learn a lot from them. Getting involved with Socionics made me start thinking about people and psychology in general, and I think that this helped me indirectly form better relationships. But as far as using type and intertype relationships, that hasn't really helped me much. It's hard to convince myself that it's false when I see it working subtly for so many others. For me the best thing to do is just to continue trying to think about life from other perspectives and to develop new interests that gradually supplant old ones. Read new books, go new places, see new people. Maybe, one day, I will find a man. Maybe not. I still have a hard time accepting that not paying attention to love will somehow cause one to find it. ("It happens when you're not looking for it.") But even Socionics experts will acknowledge that duality really only happens unconsciously when people act from instinct. So learning about Socionics is great for armchair fun, but it can never really help us integrate in real life, because that can only take place naturally. It's kind of funny that the ultimate use of Socionics is ignoring it once you know it. Maybe retrospect will help us learn more.

Rick said...

Synchronic, I feel for you.

Your comment confirms my observation that people are only really ever to put socionics fully behind them (once they've gotten in deep) if they experience one of the two conditions listed above. I haven't yet met a counterexample. I think it's because we continuously think about people and relationships anyway and use whatever point of reference we have. Because socionics is packaged as a unified system, it can only be replaced by another unified system of at least similar explanatory power.

I am thinking about how to adapt techniques from, say, rehabilitation of cult followers to help people who want to put socionics behind them, but are unable to.

My first idea was to treat socionics-related thoughts the same you would intrusive irrational thoughts that you want to get rid of. I haven't yet read up on the subject, but I imagine some combination of self-awareness, meditation, and cognitive-behavioral tools might work. Again, I need to read the literature on rehabilitating cult victims.

My other idea is to create a kind of simple brochure allowing people to debunk their own invasive socionics thinking. The brochure might include, for instance, mental tools to help people look for counterexamples they have been ignoring due to the confirmation bias. It might also include a set of different science-based tools for thinking about personality and interactions. I'm not entirely qualified to create this, but I am at least able to recognize the self-confirming thought patterns that people apply and the ways they conveniently forget phenomena that go against a socionics worldview.

Synchronic said...

So maybe treat it like an obsessive compulsive disorder, but only with the obsessive aspects? I think you're going in the right direction. That means CBT might have some effect. The issue is that when you try not to think of a pink elephant, you always end up thinking of one. The only way to put obsession behind oneself is to have something else in front of one. I don't think it has to be a theory of similar explanatory power, though. That would only draw one deeper into the net of typology which is kind of exactly what we don't want. It's learning how to engage with our everyday lives more fully and with different people we know. Developing and deepening relationships along with hobbies and personal interests outside the Socionics worldview is the only thing that really helps in the long run, because there's no real method that you can lose track of while doing it. It takes years, of course, but it works. Maybe I have a unique perspective because I was actually part of a real, legitimate religious cult as a teenager before learning about Socionics. So I know a lot about the cult mindset and how to deal with it. In a way, Socionics provided me with a way to escape that mindset.

But it's not really Socionics that did it. It's the relationships, some of them very close, that I formed with a few members of the typology community. I haven't really been able to replicate the depth of honesty and experience I've shared with the people I've met online in the Socionics and typology communities. I think that's a bit of a stumbling block for most of us. We're a bit more intellectual than those around us, so we have fewer outlets overall. And in turn, we're more liable to fall prey to obsessive interests like Socionics. Something to think about.

Rick said...

That all makes sense.

I was thinking of a non-typological system of explanations, not just another typology with the same inherent problems. I'd look for new answers to the same questions in psychology, brain science, and physiology.

I agree about relationships. Socionics is not a true cult, however. There's no guy at the top who tells the other members to stay away from you, nor is there a teaching in place to make socionics aficionados uncomfortable around you if you "leave." So you can basically continue relationships, as long as they are not based exclusively upon socionics.

If you completely lose interest in socionics, it is quite a bore to be around people who only talk about socionics. There are others, however, who have a lot more to say to you about different subjects. I've cut off some connections or let them slowly die while others are still alive and well.

Asdf said...

Well, I've probably had a similar experience to what Rick had a few years ago, and now I'm probably in a similar place.However, the reason I left it may be different and unique.

Many years ago, what made me want to stay away from Socionics was that I didn't like that it was creating too much negative stereotypes, that the typing was limiting my personality as well as others'. I didn't like that it was boxing people too much and limiting their potential. I still didn't really doubt the "truthiness" of Socionics, so it was just an emotional reaction.I just didn't want to think about it anymore. And due to some other various reasons, I didn't want to visit the forum anymore due to negativity etc., so I stop visiting it for a few years.

During that time, I hadn't completely discarded Socionics yet, maybe I sometimes thought of it, but very rarely. There was something else to do, so I had learned some rudimentary things about more mainstream and scientific psychology like cognitive psychology. When I think about it now, perhaps because I had left the forum, I could have found a foundation for more scientific psychology that I could fall back to rather than the non-scientific ones that are more commonly associated with Socionics, like psychoanalysis (maybe I still had an interest in and believed in psychoanalysis at the time).What's scary is that these typology forums typically shuts out any outside information that are not closely related to these typologies, e.g. the non pseudo-scientific psychology theories.

So this year, I "gave in" and came back to the forum again, because I was excited that maybe I had some "insights" that could be explained by Socionics. At first it was pretty cool, but maybe disappointed that there was hardly any progress, even if there was a few years gap in between. You'd think that there would be a lot of more progress and people would be talking about newer things. But it turns out that people were still literally talking about the exact same thing, years later. So I guess I lost steam and started to lose interest, but this time, something happened and I have made an "emotional" decision, I wanted to be REALLY against Socionics for good, I just wanted to prove it wrong. At the time, I didn't know that Socionics was exactly wrong, I still entertained the idea that it could be right, because hey, why not?

So I have studied more things about science, pseudoscience, and more proper psychology. Now I almost truly know that Socionics is almost completely wrong, and can almost explain it. I know what is good science and bad science. I can explain the difference between real science and pseudoscience, which was more of a nebulous concept before. So right now I am discovering more and more about these things.What I have learned from Socionics was what NOT to learn from Socionics.

It is truly interesting that even though Socionics is not a true cult, many people in it act like typical cult-followers. Whenever you criticize it, people will harshly shut you down and criticize you, even resorting to personal attacks. When you bring outside information that is not closely related to Socionics like Enneagram, people will likely be more skeptical of it and shut it out. I don't really know why this is so, other than that these kind of people that have propensity to cult-behaviors will be attracted to pseudoscientific theories like Socionics.

So, that was roughly my experience, and if somebody could relate to it, then that's cool, and thanks for reading this far. This is probably a relatively rare experience, so it would be a rare opportunity to speak it out. Maybe there are more people who have came out of the "Cult of Socionics".

tisk tisk said...

I have only been learning Socionics for about 6 months and at first I was really interested in it (and slightly confused with the V.I part to it), then slightly obsessed with the theory. Everything seemed to fit, the relations between people started to connect and make sense.

The only thing that threw me off this whole journey was my interaction with my so-called conflict partner. My sister and my best friend are my conflict relations. The description for us does not sit well at all for me, and this is not because I am being biased in anyway.

We interact differently in social situations, yes, but we also help each other on the way and are very open to each others suggestions and advice, more so than any other ‘type’ I have come across. The confusion began, when I took several tests. I have been listed as an INTp, ISTp, ISTj and ISFp – go figure right? Statistically I have been more ISTp, BUT there is a catch. I like the description of the ISTp, and I know enough about these tests, to decide what question will swing me to being that type on my final results. Weird? No not at all. Us humans always aspire to be someone/something – maybe ISTp is that for me.
At one point with the knowledge of being a potential INTp, I thought wow, that makes sense as to why my sister and best friend appear to be my ‘supervisor’ at times. OR, the biggest throw down was discovering that maybe I am their dual, which I thought, ‘oh well that makes sense as to why we worked really well when we lived with each other’.
Can I in actual fact be all three of these relations with them? Why not? Why am I bound to being an ISTp (supposedly)?

I do believe (a word which should be used lightly for theories) in extroversion and introversion in any theory be it socionics or MBTI, but any other function in my opinion that follows I believe can swing entirely one way or another way, due to life experiences and/or at any given time.
One last thing I would like to point out, is that 20+ years ago I had an obsession with astrology. I have almost erased that out of my brain now, but still find myself trying to figure out a person’s star sign. The thing is. We are all just trying to make sense as to why we work with some people and others not. I think the human mind is a lot more complicated and layered than just four letters.