Saturday, August 22, 2020

Typing Video: Jen


Jen has been in the community a long time, and I typed her many years ago. My conclusion remains the same. But this video presents a self-contained and somewhat clearer view of her type than previous ones.

Jen talks a lot about her professional life and how she feels about different aspects of it. She expresses some regret at not having gone after her career ambitions. Her interests are not pragmatic by default, but she seems to have adapted to her new role well.

Jen is a sensitive person who easily takes things personally, and speaks very frankly about her feelings and her relationships. She talks at length about her family members and how they are. She also talks at length about what things she likes. All this suggests higher Fi, and along with the issues and neuroses she faces in her professional life, likely 4D Fi with 1D Te.

Her attitude towards conflict and general soft attitude suggests weaker Se, and that she almost certainly isn't an Se triad type. She is non-judgmental way, and "open-minded to a fault" - preferring to internalize conflict and blame herself rather than others. IEI could maybe superficially work with how she seems to live in her imagination much of the time, but other evidence points quite strongly to Ne values, such as enjoying finding innovative new ways to do her job and being (maybe excessively) open to new information. She is also highly avoidant of conflict and wishes people would be more understanding.

Overall her soft, open-minded nature suggests an Si valuing introvert, which along with the high Fi means either EII or SEI. These are in fact the two main types that have been contested for Jen in the past. How can we decide between them?

One can interpret Jen's career woes as a lack of ambition with respect to future prospects (suggesting lower Ne / higher Si), however this does not seem right given how she explains it. Rather it seems that she had high ambitions, yet lacked confidence in making them real, or taking the right practical steps involved. There are maybe other points that suggest SEI, like putting others' needs above her own, and her interest in drama and singing.

But EII seems to fit the best for several reasons. Jen has lacked confidence to an almost pathological degree — though she does notice this and has been working on it — suggesting Se-4 more than Se-7, as do her lack of discipline in writing and "wishy-washiness". Practical career development is a sometimes painful, yet rewarding area for her, in a way that makes perfect sense for suggestive Te paired with Si. She enjoys getting better at her role and learning whatever is required, despite it not being her dream job. SEIs, with suggestive Ne, are not really proactive when it comes to learning new skills and branching out, and arguably would get bored by the purely practical things she is learning. She also says it's enough to "do your best" at work ("putting in elbow work"), and it doesn't have to be perfect as long as you have good intentions. This is in contrast to the perfectionistic attitude sometimes linked to Ti.

Jen has an active imagination and enjoys fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, but also reading nonfictional guides about her interests - folklore, history, animals. There is Ni in how she immerses herself in fictional worlds, yet it is tempered by learning factoids about the real world (more Ne). Her "sympathy for the devil" attitude is a canonical expression of NeFi — to paraphrase her words: "someone may do something horrible but you have to see them as a human and think of what's led them to be this way, and feel sorry for them". She tries to always "do the right thing", a common-sense approach to morality; she does not elaborate any abstract principles whether in relation to politics, religion, or personal values.

While Jen can be silly and joke around with family members, this seems limited to people she already knows well, and is not at all unusual for ignoring Fe (paired with Ne-2 which is attuned to creative generation of possibilities (creative in the sense of novelty, not the creative function)).

Her boss says that she is innovative and not fazed by changes, though Jen herself questions whether this is true. Her Ne is maybe more subdued than normal for the creative function, but in certain cases the creative function can be difficult to see or even be perceived as a weakness by the person himself. 

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Presence Cube

Recently I discovered a new model that is more meaningful than previous models we've discussed.

Any cube model requires three basic traits. The classical Model A cube uses mental/vital, valued/subdued, and evaluatory/situational. The issue is, other than valued/subdued, these dichotomies are not visible in practice. The other variations on the cube all depend on unobservable dichotomies like this.

The most visible traits ⁠in Model A are strength, values, and boldness ⁠— the presence traits. If we use the presence traits as the basis we get the presence cube:

The presence cube for IEI (image credit: Andrew Joynton)

It turns out that this cube gives some very interesting results. We can directly see dimensionality as a projection of the cube onto a certain axis. And there is a directly complementary projection which I call Priority, which defines the most preferred functions in practice: functions 1 and 6, then 2 and 5, then 3 and 8, then 4 and 7. The leading and mobilizing function (the 4P functions) tend to be very visible in someone's preferences, while the suggestive function and creative function are less visible as values due to being cautious (somewhat related to triads). The demonstrative function and role function are similarly used somewhat more due to being bold, although maybe not clearly less than the suggestive function. The 4P and 1P ends do seem to be clear in practice though, much like 4D and 1D functions — so we can think of them as trichotomies, with two extremes and one ambiguous middle region. The middle functions can in fact be lined up by rotating the cube appropriately. So we have two trichotomies and three dichotomies.

The presence cube viewed according to the Priority trichotomy for "Strategic Democrat" types: LIIs and SEIs prioritize Si and Ti and LIEs and SEEs prioritize Se and Te.

The trichotomy for values is linked to the inert/contact (aka stubborn/flexible) dichotomy: the functions at the extremes are stubborn, as their priority does not change easily, and the functions in the middle are flexible: if you rotate the cube slightly the 2nd and 5th functions may fall below the 8th and 3rd ones in priority. Likewise for the evaluatory/situational dichotomy which has the most extreme strengths and weaknesses (4D + 1D functions) on one end, and the medium ones on the other.

The vertical axis in the diagram is sort of a combination of dimensionality and priority, the sum of all three traits which we may call Level of presence, so we get 1L, 2L, 3L, 4L, with the leading function being at the top as the sole 4L function. This roughly describes how much each function is present in someone's cognition and behavior. The 3L functions are the producing functions which are all directly connected with the leading function in some way. The connection the 1st function has with the 4th function is "severed" or veiled.

The LII cube, labeled

The main issue with the presence model is that there is a separate cube for Democrats and Aristocrats (in the Reinin dichotomy sense):

You can reflect the cube in any way to get all the other types with the same Democracy/Aristocracy trait, i.e. either the same quadra or opposite quadra. Rotations are actually unnecessary here; we have 2x2x2 = 8 transformations coming from each reflection / inversion of a trait.

If you project directly onto one of the faces, then you pair elements either as the standard blockings for the given quadras (ignoring boldness), or with one of their "skew blockings" along the benefit ring, ignoring either strength or value. These represent the most common element pairs that we see in practice, since typically rational elements work with irrational ones and vice versa.

The presence cube ties together some fundamental observations from socionics practice and is another significant step towards a meaningful, mathematical model of socionics.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Typing Video: Vision

Today we are typing "Vision". This is obviously a pseudonym, and one which already tells you something about him. A recurring theme is his vision for the future, which he has thought about in quite a lot of detail (I followed up with him to make sure of this). This suggests an Ni triad type, seeing as his long-term plans are a conscious part of what is important to him (rather than an unconscious part as the suggestive function often is).

But what is his vision? The main part of it concerns him and his family, rather than realizing some larger vision for society. This would suggest Gamma rather than Beta. Vision places a lot of importance on relationships: someone who is there to "have your back" in facing the world and going through rough times (so, more SeFi than NeFi). He is willing to cut people off when called for, a typical Gamma (FiSe) sentiment. He isn't against being friends with people who have different beliefs as long as they support him and his goals — a pragmatic approach that suggests lower priority Ti and maybe higher Ne as well. He occasionally uses harsh language at other points to describe people who have done him some kind of wrong. "Get over it buttercup" — Gammas are quick to emphasize personal responsibility when things go wrong.

Vision has difficulty thinking of weaknesses and things he needs help with. This is very unusual and suggests maybe higher Ne and possibly Te. The one that he does mention is a lack of trusting others — again a typical Gamma trait (Ni + Fi), though not a weakness in the Model A sense. His strengths include farsightedness and tenacity: never giving up, eventually succeeding even if he fails multiple times. This suggests some access to both Se and Ni, so likely not Ni leading.

Beyond the responses to the questions, it's worth noting that Vision proceeds quickly, even impatiently, through the questionnaire, often giving brief answers when he feels like it. Most people choose to use the full time allotted, whether because they want to get their money's worth or because they enjoy talking about themselves. His affect is bright and positive, suggesting higher Fe. He describes being "needlessly enthusiastic" and social around strangers which suggests bold and possibly weak Fe. All in all it's very difficult to see Vision as an introvert and especially an introverted Gamma.

What he dislikes in people is essentially the opposite of his own long-term thinking, which he describes as hedonism. He doesn't care for simply "enjoying" himself mostly, he would rather "use [his] youth effectively]" and "get power at the right time". While hedonism can be related to either Se or Si, in this case it is clearly about Si (+ Fe), in opposition to Se and Ni.

If it wasn't clear yet, the most obvious typing for Vision is LIE — the only type with bold and valued Se, valued Fi, and strong Ni. TeNi is further supported by his enthusiastic response to the "starting a business" question. And not only does he seem to have thought about starting a business before, for the lottery question he offers a breakdown with specific numbers (!). For the business he would do the "elbow grease" at first but eventually transfer the day-to-day management to someone else, and possibly sell it, suggesting a disinterest in Si. It's also notable how he doesn't have a strong preference about what type of business to start, focusing instead on capitalizing on whatever economic opportunity exists, e.g. selling hand sanitizer for the COVID pandemic. (Financial) autonomy comes up here, a common Gamma theme. He describes jumping into the stock market as a significant step in his life, where he took a risk despite the naysayers.

Even though Vision mostly seems to be a clear LIE, it's worth considering possible alternatives. The main ones that come to mind are EIE and SEE. He is unusually frank on the topic of relationships, suggesting maybe higher Fi. But SEE doesn't really work for multiple reasons: his focus on the future, just walking around and thinking while on vacation, being seen as a cool-headed person, etc.

As for EIE: He has no shortage of large-scale judgments about society or "this culture", and does wax romantic sometimes — even the name "Vision" is arguably a bit dramatized. But it's hard to see an EIE emphasizing personal loyalty and character judgment to such a degree, not to mention the economic focus. He also does criticize people for being overly autonomous, for not caring about others — despite his own emphasis on autonomy. But I'm prone to viewing this kind of social responsibility as simply a more mature, self-reflective Gamma outlook. And he doesn't care about, or even like, getting attention either.

Vision's attitude towards conflict is maybe unusually restrained for an LIE — he says he generally walks away from it, and doesn't get angry much in general. (But he contradicts this somewhat by saying that he would have gotten in a lot of trouble at high school.) It doesn't contradict the overall picture of Se valuing extrovert, but it's probably more likely for an Fi valuer, and someone with greater Ni. So it would suggest EIE and SEE even less so.

Vision, more than most people, fits the classical idea of the LIE's "unbridled optimism". He has no shortage of Ne: the purpose of life is "to make something better". But other LIEs are much more negative and skeptical, which is why I find the classical descriptions misleading. Nonetheless most would likely agree with his principle: "I live my life so I don't regret things.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Typing Video: Micah

In this video Micah takes an unusual approach to the questionnaire. Many people have asked me whether they could write out notes beforehand. I prefer that they don't because this affects the spontaneity of the answers. It's my fault for not adding this to the instructions earlier, but the point is that Micah wrote some notes because he felt that his self-presentation would not be what he would like it to be if he were to just answer off the cuff. This suggests attention to Fe and in particular Fe with Ni. It is framed as a question about accuracy but the psychological motivation seems to be about what is expressed externally.

In fact Micah has an extremely consistent emphasis on Fe and Ni throughout the video. His main professional interest is in storytelling, a common NiFe theme. He is attracted to stories, literature, everything mythical and symbolic. He focuses on writing now but also liked the "energy" of the theater. Stories for him are a way to travel through a world that you have not directly experienced, a kind of escapism. This is a common theme with Ni ego types, including Gamma NTs, who are often found creating or consuming speculative fiction.

He enjoys the emotional aspect of stories; it's important for him to impact someone emotionally with his writing and he is attracted to stories that have an emotional impact on him. This impact can be negative but is usually positive. (more Fe with Ni)

Even more striking is Micah's statement that art is not "completed" until someone experiences it and emotionally reacts to it. This is an attitude that not many people would find relatable, let alone express it themselves - unless they had high Fe. Along similar lines: "art is a social concept", the audience "gives their energy" (8:57). If art stands still, or has no audience, then it's not alive. All Fe with Ni. Micah notes that this doesn't mean he just writes what people want to hear, but the idea of someone getting excited about it drives him to create.

Micah occasionally uses lofty, dramatic language - people are "concepts", the most "worthy" things to study in the creation - as opposed to God, the creator. Every great writer is a "philosopher" - that is, they give some kind of deep commentary on the nature of life. He naturally views things in terms of the large-scale of society - the idea of authenticity being "very cliche in today's age", "just the culture we live in". It's very common for Beta NFs to want to make some social commentary with their art.

Occasionally some Se comes forward too: putting on a happy face at work is a "battle thing", "tactics" - "won't be at a disadvantage", "can influence them".

Ti values can be seen in the emphasis on fairness, treating everybody equally, and the analysis of belief systems like religion. Micah sees it as "lazy, cowardly" to not broaden your understanding by thinking about your religion. He values "intellectual bravery" in considering different perspectives (Ne), but although he is good at doing it, he would prefer to "clear out the nonsense", going back to valued Ni.

Micah views his relationships in terms of external emotional cues (Fe), and needs to have shared interests to talk about, things he is passionate about (also Fe). He would need them to give positive reactions, or the "right" reactions to his writing, especially in the context of a romantic relationship.

Respect is important to Micah. In context it seems like this is coming from Se: "I want this respect". He finds it disrespectful to be dismissive or interrupted, which can make him angry and lash out. However he sometimes does not express the anger outwardly and may just leave.

Micah describes having difficulty finishing things, likely due to lower Se, which is involved with willpower and self-discipline. However he also becomes hyperfocused about certain things - "have tons of energy but I don't use it productively". This may suggest somewhat higher Se (with low Te), such as Se mobilizing.

Weak Ti is also apparent in his difficulty structuring times, such as a plan for the day.

The disinterest/annoyance with dealing with mundane things such as replacing shoes is an example of subdued and weak SiTe.

Now, all of this makes Beta NF likely, but when it comes to EIE vs. IEI the evidence is less clear. Micah seems more like a classic introvert: he keeps to himself, doesn't display a lot of emotion externally, and most of his interests involve him being by himself, taking in information.

But looking at things functionally, we see something else:

For Te: Micah doesn't seem totally averse to evaluating his career path in terms of usefulness. He would be interested in starting a business, and considers whether it would be financially successful (maybe due to some awareness of typology here).

For Fe: He describes himself as an attention seeker and is very sensitive to how he's perceived. He views relationships purely in terms of the external cues, and is unsure of how they are "under the surface", suggesting ignoring Fi rather than demonstrative Fi. It's also a bit odd for an IEI to be so extremely focused on the reaction to their work - normally I'd expect them to describe at least some internal motivation for it. (Not that Micah doesn't have one, but it's not described in any detail.) He also describes difficulty in structuring his time, needing external help with it.

For Se: Maybe the most striking piece of evidence for EIE is when Micah says that he has "tons of energy". IEI is a type with low Se and are more likely to feel a deficit of energy if anything. (There may be exceptions to this such as Alexander Grothendieck, who was sort of a workaholic, but they seem rare.) He also describes demanding respect in his interactions as noted.

For Ne: Here his discussion of examining one's views comes to mind, as well as his interests in crime, typology, and tying things back to his interests in creative ways.

Overall this video suggests EIE, with bold extroverted elements, but IEI is not out of the question. Micah eschews physical appearance, which may suggest lower Se (maybe less so in men), and despite having lots of energy he has issues with willpower and self-discipline. He says comfort is his "drug" but it's hard to see whether this is more about his self-perception or whether it actually stands out as a quality in his life. His attitude towards conflict is also maybe more subdued than normal for an EIE - more "freeze" than "fight".

I also followed up with Micah after watching the video, but I find the evidence presented here is more clear. Micah is active in the typology community so hopefully his type will become clearer over time.

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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Symmetry Breaking

It's common knowledge that Socionics is a "Ti system." That is to say, Model A and the socion itself are very beautiful, symmetric systems that are, apparently, all-encompassing. This is all well and good, but the theory is also severely imbalanced in this way. It needs to be Te too, not just Ti.

What is a symmetry? It's some kind of change or process that leaves a system looking the same as when you started. Essentially, it's "a change that's not a change". If that sounds like a paradox, it's because it is.

The classic example of symmetry is rotations of a shape: if you rotate a square by 90° it will look the same as when you started — as long as the different parts of the square have no other distinguishing features (such as the numbers in the picture below). It won't be deformed or broken, and will occupy the exact same location in space.

image from

But the right side of the square cannot literally be the exact same as the left side, otherwise it wouldn't have four sides, it would have at most three. If the parts of the square weren't separate and distinct we couldn't even recognize a process as different from doing nothing — except maybe by looking at intermediate states of the rotation, to see that yes, the square is moving from one place to another. In other words, the parts have distinct identities. But in reality identities are only distinguished by observable properties — by Leibniz's identity of indiscernibles, two different things must differ on some property.

The same is true of Model A: EIIs and SLEs are "the same" by virtue of being socionic types, which have strengths, weaknesses, values, etc. described in terms of the same functions and IM elements, but they clearly don't have the same thinking and behavior. If all the types were the same then socionics wouldn't be very interesting. In fact they wouldn't even be types, as everyone would be the same.

Of course socionics acknowledges these differences already — in type descriptions the differences are described, albeit often not very well, or using overly-specific examples drawn from the author's own limited and potentially flawed observations of the type. The real issue is that the differences are not explicit in the theory. There is a mathematical structure describing precisely how the relationships and functions fit together, but there is no mathematical description of, e.g. what makes Te different from Ti. This means that anyone and everyone can come up with their own definitions and say that they're right. Certain ones may fit together better and describe reality better, but good luck trying to convince anyone else to change their minds. So we have a community which is becoming ever-more fractured in its theoretical foundations, with any number of baseless hypotheses being accepted as fact, and passed off as legitimate theory to unwitting beginners.

But in fact there are beginnings of such a mathematical description, partially described right here on this blog. The elements are described by explicit geometric properties like extension (extroversion) and limitation (introversion). A distinct hierarchy emerges: the irrational elements are more fundamental and "wider" ontologically than the rational elements. Irrationality deals with direct apprehension, both physical (the senses) and mental (the imagination and memory). In other words irrationality is prelinguistic while rationality is linguistic. But rationality can be seen as the culmination of the system (and the intellect it describes), and perhaps gives it a greater degree of closure. All of the IM elements are good without a doubt in their own way, but they do play different roles and some are preferred over others in particular contexts.

As mentioned in another article, the contrary elements (Ne and Ni, Se and Si, etc.) are in fact the same information but opposite "vectors" or preferences within it. The dual elements are different, seemingly alien perspectives on the same reality, and our duals open us up to this perspective. The superego elements are arguably the "most opposite" from a higher perspective, but they share certain deceptive similarities and are "far apart" enough that contrary elements will conflict more readily. Conflicting elements can be reconciled in the long-term view but they certainly conflict in the here-and-now, as opposite states or choices (which produce said states).

That's roughly how it goes for IM elements. What about types? One benefit of 16-function models is that they identify types with IM elements, and therefore also functions with relationships. "Introverted socionics" further identifies types with relationships. Taken together, they will theoretically unite the basic elements of socionics into one fundamental reality, which manifests itself in different forms. It just so happens that IM elements are at the forefront of what we can describe in detail, because they are what we actually observe (i.e., information). So if you want to understand socionics, understand the IM elements.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Types are not boxes!

People sometimes object to socionics or typology in general, thinking that having a type limits you to being in a particular "box". First of all, typology is not prescriptive: it only claims to describe differences that are already there. Assuming that you're typed correctly, it's just a new kind of knowledge about yourself, not a new law that you have to follow. Surely if you had, say, a disease or a special talent you would want to know about it, right? Then you could seek out a cure for the disease, or actualize the talent and use it for good. Going to the doctor doesn't make you sick, it just tells you if/how you are sick — or in the words of Tupac, "I didn't create thug life, I diagnosed it."

But socionics does one better: Model A essentially says that we have all of the types within us, all of their basic functions and skills (as the eight IM elements) — only differing levels of access to them, with some being easier to use and others harder or more difficult to keep up. The leading function is "you", but it's merely the baseline state — you can "fake" being another type for a limited period of time, and in a sense we do this all the time when we use our other functions.
(from Wikimedia)

It's like the idea of a harmonic oscillator from physics. One example of a harmonic oscillator is a mass at the end of a spring: it has a normal state where it extends out a certain distance X. You can stretch it to extend beyond X, but if you let go it will contract, oscillating until it gets back to the equilibrium point X. Similarly you can compress it to a smaller distance than X, but it takes work. So the leading function is like the distance X, with other functions being closer or further from that equilibrium (and particularly the bold functions will be closer to it).

The functional, fractal (self-similar) nature of Model A — touched on but not elaborated by Jung — is so popular that other typologies are now adopting it: Beebe's 8-function model for MBTI, and tritype for Enneagram where people speak of "my 9 [fix]" as if it were an aspect of their personality, like the Model A functions.

Comparison Typing

Socionics has only 16 types, but clearly there are more than 16 kinds of people. Each sociotype therefore has to contain a wide variety of people, so as to cover approximately 6% of the world's population.

Socionics enthusiasts sometimes use "comparison typing", i.e. typing others based on comparison with other, already-typed examples. So if your brother is IEE you might determine whether others are IEE based on whether they are similar to him, whether they have a similar energy level, interests, level of skepticism, etc.

To some extent this is unavoidable and actually beneficial: comparing with known examples is a quick and easy way to type. BUT, it should only be used positively: if someone is similar to a known example then they are likely to be the same type. But if they are dissimilar then they may simply be a variant of the type that you haven't seen yet. If you are relatively inexperienced in socionics then the probability of this is higher — but no socionist can assume that they've seen all variants of the types.

Secondly, even when you do comparison-type, you should always attempt to describe clearly what similarities you're seeing, and how they're related to socionics. Not all similarities are related to socionics, and in fact, energy level and interests vary widely within types. If you don't give a theoretical explanation then you're essentially building your own idiosyncratic typology, which is probably going to be less coherent than Model A, not to mention impossible to discuss with other socionists.

Negative Typing

A more subtle issue is when there is not an explicit comparison, but when someone types based on what is absent from a person rather than what is present. This is again negative typing, and generally speaking not the right way to type. It can trip up beginners even when they have a solid understanding of the theory.

For example, "mobilizing Se wants to look fierce, [but he doesn't]". This is based on a specific attribute that the typer associates with mobilizing Se.

This is an argument based on what is not there, not on what is there. It's essentially appealing to comparison with known examples. You may not know any mobilizing-Se types who don't want to look fierce, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist.

If you use a general trait that really does get close to the essence of mobilizing Se (such as restlessness or desire for impact), then it would be valid to use negatively. But this example seems too specific for that. It would be better to look at what is present, and see what that says about the subject's relation to Se, where it would best fit in their Model A.


People often complain about "stereotypes". But stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason — they just shouldn't be used negatively, to exclude people from a type. For example, if someone greatly enjoys participating in the performing arts then it's evidence towards being EIE, or some type with high Fe. But clearly the majority of EIEs are not performing artists, and no one in their right mind would say "he's not an actor, so he's not EIE". And if you dig deeper, of course you might find the performer is not really motivated by the emotional interaction he's having on the audience, but something else. Maybe he got into the field by accident (like Harrison Ford). But this is less likely, because performance is closely tied with Fe.

Appendix: Converse Error and Bayesian Reasoning

Now, a bit of math!

Converse error is a logical fallacy: if A implies B, it doesn't necessarily mean that B implies A. This is essentially why negative typing doesn't work. But socionics is empirical (although not quantitative), so rarely do we have strict implications going from observation to type. As mentioned above, just as not every EIE is a performer, not every performer is EIE even though it's more likely for them to be EIE than SLI.

Technically the right framework to use is Bayesian inference, which tells us how to update probabilities using observation. We start by assuming a roughly equal probability for any typing to be correct. If the person to be typed is in a community that skews a certain way type-wise, then you might not assign equal probabilities. Or if you believe that the type distribution is heavily skewed (which I don't).

Anyways, the formula goes like this:

Here P(X) means the probability of X, H means the hypothesis (the typing in question, e.g. EIE), and E is the evidence (the subject in question being a performer).

Let's rewrite the formula using the example:

Now suppose

Then we get

In other words: if 2% of the general population are performers, and 4% of EIEs are performers, then we'll double our probability of the subject being EIE, to being 1/8 = 12.5%. And if three times as many EIEs are performers as everyone else, then we'll triple it, to get 18.75%. So the small percentage 4% becomes significant when considered relative to the other types. 12.5% is still somewhat low, but if we have many pieces of evidence like this we can form a good case.

Of course, it's typically very hard to assign exact probabilities to a claim — in life in general, much less in the notoriously ambiguous field of socionics diagnostics, where you may not even be sure what you think. Nevertheless, the general principle still applies.

So, no more criticizing stereotypes! Negative arguments and comparison typing are the real issue.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Quadrality and the Theory of Triads

Socionics is indisputably based on quadrality. Because it's built on dichotomies, everything is groups of two, then four, eight, sixteen (4 times 4), and so on. Model A is conventionally depicted as two rings, and for the types we have supervision and benefit rings, quadras, clubs, and so on. But what has not been mentioned up until this point is that, in practice, these groups of four (whether they are types, functions, elements, etc.) often manifest as groups of three - the fourth one remains hidden.

Example 1: Among the valued functions, the suggestive function is often out of sight, due to being weak and cautious. While it is an unconscious goal, people rarely prioritize it in practice - it's as if they are unaware that they need it. The remaining values (functions 1, 2, and 6) are manifest values.

This leads directly to the sub-example of quadra triads: you rarely observe that someone is, e.g. "Gamma" - there is always a bias in the information towards some subset of the quadra, such as the "Fi Gamma triad" (excluding LIE who has Fi suggestive), the "Ti Alpha triad" (excluding ESE who has Ti suggestive), etc.

Example 2: Among the strong functions, the ignoring function's goal is sometimes neglected to the point where it looks weak, due to being both subdued and cautious. We can use it when needed occasionally, as it's less stressful than the 1D functions, but not much beyond that. So, much like the suggestive, the lack of these two traits "overpowers" the presence of the third. This leads to club triads, e.g. the "Fe SF triad", the "Ni NT triad", etc. The remaining strengths (functions 1, 2, and 8) are manifest strengths.

Example 3: Among the weak functions, the mobilizing function is both valued and bold, so while clumsy and overconfident, it can be the "slow and steady one that wins the race", often developing habits over time that allow us to achieve its goal adequately for ourselves. The remaining weaknesses (functions 3, 4, and 5) are manifest weaknesses.

Example 4: The creative function, although cautious, is used with far less fatigue than the other cautious functions, to the point where it works together with the leading function amicably.

Example 5: All of the producing functions can be "blocked" with the leading function to define the type, however the vulnerable function is much more rarely used in conjunction with it. Similarly it is the one left out of the mental ring, being almost completely neglected compared to the others.

There are plenty more examples on the semantic side, to give a few:
  • Ti is the structure of language. Te is the objective information conveyed via language, and Fe is the implicit aspects of communication through language. Fi's relation to language is less obvious.
  • Se is "completely apparent" while Ni is "completely hidden", and Si is the balance between the two.
  • The Enneagram instincts roughly correspond to Si (self-preservation), Fe (social), and FiSe (sexual). Here we have two which are grouped together instead of one being hidden.
  • Se is the most masculine of the irrational elements, Si the most feminine, while Ni and Ne seem to lack gender for the most part.
  • The themes of aesthetics and beauty involve Si (pleasantness, good taste), Se (outward appearance which conveys status, impact and impressiveness, and sexual attraction), and Fe (adornment and expression through choice of fashion). Fi again seems to be absent.
  • Alpha is the quadra of unity (harmonious communal interaction, understanding the universe as a whole), Beta the quadra of duality (good fighting against evil, us versus them), and Gamma the quadra of multiplicity of independent things, facts, or people. Delta seems to have no particular attitude with respect to number.
  • If you take all four irrational elements (or all four rational elements) you can make a square with the opposite points being either duals, extinguishers, or superegos. But you can't make them identicals since that would imply repetition.

There are even more examples beyond socionics:
  • If you imagine two lights which are either on or off, we can have 1) both on, 2) only one on, or 3) both off. So four possibilities lead to three by the act of counting, i.e. by identifying the two lights.
  • The one who speaks can be either truthful or a liar. The one who does not speak is merely silent.
  • A car can veer off to the right, to the left, or stay on course. Its motion prevents the backwards direction from manifesting.
  • An action is either in the past, present, or future. When past, you find yourself after the end. When future, you're before the beginning. In the present you're after the end and before the beginning. But you can't be before the beginning and after the end.


"One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the One as the fourth." (Jung, Aion)
A mandala from Jung's Red Book
Jung was particularly prescient on this topic. He would create mandalas, a kind of four-fold diagram made of a square or cross combined with a circle. He interpreted this as an archetype of wholeness, unification of opposites, and eternal evolution and rejuvenation of the Self. The triad is by comparison incomplete, deficient:
"We find a wide spectrum of four-fold symbols and systems in religion, myth, history and culture. There are four winds (Boreas, Eurus, Notus, Zephyrus), four seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall), four directions (north, east, south, west), four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), four letters in the sacred name of God (YHVH), four ancient ages (gold, silver, bronze, iron), and four medieval humours: sanguine (blood), choleric (yellow bile), phlegmatic (phlegm), melancholic (black bile)to name a few.

Adding a fourth to an already established three has a transformational effect. In geometry, a fourth point transforms the two-dimensional triad or triangle into a figure with depth, the cube and the tetrahedron (a form lapis). As the mathematician Michael Schneider observes, “There are always four ways (another quaternity) to look at any three-dimensional structure: as points, lines, areas, and volumes, or as corners, edges, faces, and from the center outward (63). Ellenberger notes that “The quaternity can appear as a geometric figure of square or sometimes rectangular shape, or it will have some relation with the number four: four persons, four trees, and so on. Often it is a matter of completing a triadic figure with a fourth term, thus making it into a quaternity” (712). Jung searches for the quaternity when a trinity is encountered, “Jung over and over again in his writings returns to the alchemical question: “Three are here but where is the fourth?” (Edinger 189). The completion of the quaternity is seen frequently in alchemical works, even whimsically, “All things do live in the three/ But in the four they merry be” (quoted in CW 12 125)."
 Augusta may have been inspired by this to complete Freud's triad of ego, id, super-ego with "super-id" (although the analogy with the actual functions is a bit weak).

Dualization itself is completion of the four quadra values from two overlapping threes, where your leading function completes your dual and vice versa.

The theory of signed elements completes the three function dichotomies with a fourth, to produce 16 functions.

But socionics as a whole is based on Jung's four functions and is in this sense already complete. So the question becomes, how do we derive the three from the four, the appearance from the reality? Each triad is such a derivation.
"The goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is only a circumambulation of the self" (Jung, MDR 196)