Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Typing Video: Steffi (Tao)

Some observations:

  • Steffi begins the video by mentioning how she is a bit self-conscious and worried about getting her speech right. (probably low Se, valued Ti)
  • She describes largely being "in her head", and while she constantly seeks out knowledge, has no interest in applying it. (high Ni, low Te)
  • The words "honest" and "authentic" come up repeatedly, especially referring to expressing one's inner emotions, whether they are good or bad (Fe+Ni)
  • Says that the values question is "the most important question" — the search for values in particular. Steffi is still young and describes her values as being in flux.
  • Has an interest in history and connects her values with the Victorian period and the novels she read from that period. (Ni+Fe)
  • Comes across as a soft, accepting kind of person who nevertheless has a certain depth of emotion. (low Se, introversion, ethics)
  • Is quite good at articulating her self-observations. (probably high Ni, Ti)

These observations are already enough to point to IEI. In fact it is hard to see Steffi as anything but that type.

Although she is socially introverted (with only a few friends) and tends to keep to herself, Steffi describes being interested in people, and having been more extraverted, expressive, and focused on others as a child. Fe creative types tend vary widely with regards to social extraversion, and Steffi has embodied both of these extremes over the course of her life.

Her being in her mind and general focus on imaginary or past worlds suggests high focus on Ni, and probably ego Ni. She is interested in learning from the history by seeing it with an open mind, without bias. I find IEIs often emphasize the need for open-mindedness.

Despite being focused on people, Steffi has what some might find a shocking disregard for relationships in themselves: she "appreciates people" or "appreciates their existence" (one of a few dramatic phrases found in Steffi's speech) but treats everyone essentially the same, even her parents. This strongly suggests that Steffi values Fe and not Fi, as does her disinterest in "corrective" moral values (or "traits"), as opposed to abstract, conceptual ones like "beauty" and "simplicity". It seems like these values are arrived at through a process of reflection on the world and herself, yet they have little to do with how she actually operates in the world (she explicitly mentions that she didn't actually act on her value of beauty :). Despite considering authenticity and honesty "traits", she doesn't see how one might work on them, they "just are" and she wouldn't judge people very strongly based on them per se.

Difficulty acting and "actually living" in the outside world is another theme that comes up, very common in introverted intuitives, with weak and cautious Se. This is due to the tradeoff between Ni's focus on the internal world and Se's focus on the outside world. Steffi is more capable when it comes to dealing with practical Si details such as grocery shopping etc. In fact Steffi is rather mature for her age and is quite aware of her weaknesses.

Fe, especially as in Beta NFs, is about authentic self-expression. Steffi describes very clearly what this means to her: to show others who you are internally, even if who you are is "bad" (e.g. if you are envious).

Steffi's attitude towards conflict is surprisingly nonchalant: she neither shows a tendency to engage and defend herself (as most Se valuers would), nor does she seem to get bothered by the unpleasantness of the situation (as most Si valuers would). Not many types other than IEI (with suggestive but valued Se) would be likely to express this attitude — perhaps some Ne leadings could. Not taking these things personally could also be attributed to low priority Fi. What she does describe being sensitive to is the need to fulfill expectations. In my opinion this is an example of Ti, related to the theme of duty — she gives the example of selling ice cream and all the expectations placed on her by the customer and her work. She had to focus quite hard to get the change right (something which involves logic, a weak spot which she describes not having any intrinsic inclination towards).

Steffi mentions some far-off dreams for the future ("I have dreams but not goals" (37:24)), but her tendency towards inaction leaves some question as to whether these are things that might actually happen. She describes founding a cafe for discussing philosophy in an intimate, comfortable setting. She has no interest in noisy settings or getting a lot of attention through marketing. She also certainly isn't interested in working with numbers or the competitive aspects of business (Se+Te). These real-world exigencies are far from the mental realm that Steffi tends to inhabit when given the choice.

Some other strengths Steffi describes herself with are: empathetic, adaptable, creative, reflective, receptive. All traits that are reasonably typical of IEIs.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Typing Service

Want to find your socionics type?

Simply make a video with my questionnaire and send it to me. I will give a detailed analysis of your answers along with my conclusion regarding your type. I have 12 years of experience diagnosing type, and designed a special questionnaire for this purpose which I have honed over several years.

Videos must be between 35 and 60 minutes in length. I will retain a copy of the typing video in order to make improvements to the questionnaire.

Cost: $35. $30 if you let me post your video and an analysis publicly on my blog.

Email me at socionics16 (at) gmail (dot) com for payment information and any further questions.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Personality Questionnaire

Instructions: please answer the following questions in as much detail as possible. The idea here is to get a window into your thought process, what is important to you, how you see the world. Talk about whatever is comfortable for you to talk about, but the more information you give, the easier it will be to type you.

The Extended Questionnaire v3.0

What do you study or do for a living? How did you come to do that? What do you like or dislike about it?

What else do you do on a daily basis? What are your interests and hobbies? Why do you do them?

What are your values, and why?

Describe your relationships with family and friends. What do you like and dislike about them?

What do you look for in friends? In romantic relationships?

What conflicts have you encountered recently with other people? Why did they happen? Which kinds seem to happen on a regular basis?

What are your strengths? What do people like about you? What do you like about yourself?

What are your weaknesses? What criticism do you often face from others? What do you dislike about yourself?

In what areas of life can you manage well on your own? In what areas of your life would you like help?

What things do you dislike doing? What things do you enjoy more than others?

What goals, aspirations, or plans do you have for the future, and why?

If you won the lottery and didn't have to work anymore, what would you do?

What traits do you find endearing that others might dislike? What traits are considered positive/neutral by others but tend to annoy you?

What kinds of things do you do to manage and/or beautify your environment (your room, your house, etc.)?

In what situations or times in your life did you feel most fulfilled, and why?

How do you behave around strangers?

How do you react to conflict? What do you do if somebody insults or attacks you?

Ever feel stuck in a rut? If yes, describe the causes and your reaction to it.

Would you ever be interested in starting a business? Why or why not? What role would you play in it? What kind of business would it be?

How do you dress or manage your appearance?

What were you like as a child? How have you changed since then?

Do you like kids? Why or why not?

If you are doing a video you can stop here and/or choose from the rest of the questions as you like.

How do you feel about attention? Do you seek it out?

How do you approach responsibility? What do you tend to expect of others?

If you were to raise a child, what would be your main concerns, what approach would you take, and why?

What is your biggest accomplishment?

What was (or is) your high school experience like?

What is something you regret?

Who do you admire, and why?

What's been on your mind? Has anything been worrying or concerning you? What problems have you encountered lately?

What are your spiritual or religious beliefs and why do you hold them?

What are your political beliefs, and why? To what extent do you care about politics?

What kind of work environment do you prefer? What do you look for in a job?

What is or was your favorite school subject and why?

What is one common misconception that people have about life? Explain why it is wrong.

Where did you go on your most recent vacation? What did you do there? How did you like it and why?

Talk about a significant event from your life.

How do you see other people as a whole? What do you consider a prevalent social problem? Name one.

What do you do if you're not getting what you want? What approach do you use?

Are you comfortable taking leadership roles? In what areas? Why or why not?

How often do you get angry? What kinds of things make you angry?

What is one unusual trait or ability you possess? What makes you special?

What is your sense of humor like? Do you joke around a lot?

Your friend bursts into tears. What do you do? How does it make you feel?

What is the best thing that happened to you during the past week?

What is the worst thing that happened to you during the past week?

What is the purpose of life? What do you find personally meaningful in life?

What is the most interesting place you have been, and why?

Do you like surprises?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Masculinity and femininity

There is a small mismatch between how socionics divides up concepts and our everyday concepts, as well as other systems of thought.

Intuitively we have an idea of what it means to be harsh vs. to be nice. Socionically this is primarily Se vs. Si, with Se being harsh and Si being "nice". However, niceness also has a ethical quality which involves how you actively manage your relationship with others. For example, SLIs are "nice" in the sense that they generally avoid conflict and blend in, yet they are not "nice" in the sense that they go out of their way to make people feel good. In fact they can sometimes seem grumpy or standoffish which are the opposite of "nice".

You can see this in how writers conceive of personality: they often will set up exemplars of a "nice character" or a "harsh character", and these characters end up being sort of unrealistic from a socionics point of view, a combination of LSI and SLI for example, the "gruff tough man" who is aggressive like an LSI yet does not display anything resembling Fe values. Arguably this could be seen as a "non-dualized" or "introverted" kind of LSI but in any case, the dynamics of the suggestive function are rarely captured in their full complexity.

This dichotomy is also known in a more formal sense as "yin/yang", or "jamal/jalal" (beauty/majesty) in the Islamic tradition. While it is close to Si/Se, an SLE or LSI is more likely to be considered a prototypical example of jalal than an SEE or ESI, who have certain "soft" qualities coming from Fi. The reason is that ethics is from the feminine principle while logic is from the masculine principle. So the most jamal type would be an Si valuing ethical type.

Masculinity means extroversion and logic at the dichotomy level, however at an IM element level we can say that Se is the most masculine element, Te and Ti are also masculine, Ne is slightly masculine, Ni is slightly feminine, Si is feminine, and Fe and Fi are clearly feminine.[1]

Men have traditionally taken the riskier role of hunters, warriors, and expanders of the family's resources, while women traditionally are maintainers of the home and caregivers, an Si role. This is one physical manifestation of a primordial dichotomy and spiritual reality.

When it comes to types, the problem is even more complex. ESE men are often highly masculine because they are more aware of gender expectations. While Si and Fe tend to accentuate the person's gender (and maybe to a lesser extent with Se and Fi), otherwise generally types are masculine or feminine according to the IM element scale above. According to my observations, women tend more often to be ethical types, and men logical types, but not by a lot (maybe 60/40).

[1] These connections were recognized by user szaulinska some time ago here, noting that the masculine always complements the feminine. However, notice that while Se is highly masculine, its complement Ni is the least feminine feminine element (or arguably even neutral).

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Meaning and Mathematics

Socionics, like other scientific theories (in particular physics), relies on giving meaning to mathematical structures: the elements of a group are interpreted as relationships, and they act on elements of another set which are interpreted as types, etc. While proving things about mathematical structures is helpful for "mapping the structural landscape" and getting a sense of what is or is not possible, it must be complemented and guided by an understanding of what the structures actually mean. This is true even of supposedly "pure" mathematics. Often mathematicians have a vague sense of this, but only enough to "get by" — the deeper meaning is left untouched.

To see what I mean, consider an interval:

We can interpret this as being a scale, where one end is, say, hot and the other end is cold.

Then, if we bend and join the ends of the scale to make a circle:

Hot and cold then occupy the same place. But isn't that a contradiction? How can two opposites be the same?

In fact this "unification of opposites" lies at the very heart of socionics. For what is a dichotomy (like sensing-intuition or logical-ethical) itself if not a union of opposites?

We can then notice that, on a semantic level, what the two ends of a scale have in common is that they are both extremes, while the middle of the scale is balance or an equal combination of the two extremes:

So we have obtained a new scale -- which is none other than the distinction between Se (extreme) and Si (balance)! Or at least one major aspect of it, anyway.

Since any pair of binary opposites can be placed on a scale like this — including Si and Se themselves! — we see that socionics touches on some of the deepest and most universal structure of reality — that point where geometry, meaning, and structure all meet, and produce a self-describing model of reality.

Readers may recognize these concepts from any one of various ancient traditions: Sufism, Hermeticism, sacred geometry, etc. All we are doing here is fleshing them out using the language of mathematics.

The full consequences of this remain to be seen.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Model A cube

Model A is generally presented as a linear, 1-dimensional model, or as a 2-dimensional grid. You have functions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, also known as leading, creative, role, etc., which can be arranged in two different "loops".

But in reality, Model A is neither a line nor a grid. It's a cube. It is not 1-dimensional or 2-dimensional, but 3-dimensional.

That is to say, you can arrange the functions of Model A like so:

And when you do, the intertype relationships become symmetries of the cube. The top and bottom faces of the cube are the mental and vital loops.

Let's say that this placement of the cube represents LII, so that the closest bottom edge represents the ego block, with the leading function on the left. Then

-the duality relation is the vertical reflection (switching TiNe with FeSi)
-supervision is a 90 degree rotation about the vertical axis
-mirror is a reflection across the yz-plane
-comparative is a reflection across a diagonal plane
-extinguishment is the antipodal map / complete reflection which sends each point to the point opposite from it

Supervision can be replaced with benefit as the rotation to produce a "Model G cube" as it were, making the benefit rings apparent instead of the supervision rings.

Duality can also be replaced with extinguishment as the vertical reflection.

And comparative can be replaced by any of the "odd" relations - the ones that reverse the Process/Result dichotomy.

These three choices determine the model, so that there are 2*2*8 = 32 versions. The one above is the "dsk" (dual/supervision/comparative) cube. In all cases, the possible transformations are exactly the ones that preserve the cube itself and preserve the vertical axis. Half (eight) of them reverse the cube's orientation and half of them preserve it. In the dsk cube the orientation corresponds to the Negativist/Positivist dichotomy.

The diagonal reflection (which is the comparative relation in Model A) fixes half of the functions. We can expand the cube to a 4D hypercube, and Model A to a 16-function model, so that no relation fixes any functions:

In this case we can actually identify the types with the IM elements. I interpret this to mean that each type has an overarching goal in life, which is the leading function. Typically these are written as "signed" versions of the regular IM elements:


The elements of Model A (and any other cube model) are coarser versions of these elements, e.g. Ti is just +Ti and -Ti (LSI and LII) grouped together.*

Because types are identified with IM elements, in the 4D model we can simply choose which relations are adjacent to the type:

-(beneficiary and benefactor) or (supervisor and supervisee)
-one of the odd relations
-extinguisher or dual

There is much more to say about the cube, but this will do for now. This is the perfect logical system underlying socionics.

* Notice also that although the look-a-like relation is also a diagonal reflection in the Model A cube, it technically defines different elements than the comparative relation: Reasonable EJ, Reasonable IJ, Merry EP, Merry IP, etc.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Ti valuing types are sometimes criticized for ignoring empirical data if it is not consistent with their views. The argument, so it goes, is that empirical data is real or factual, and views can be changed, therefore the empirical data takes precedence over any prior belief that one may have concerning it.

While this is true, it can be misleading if taken too far, and in fact seriously impeded the progress of science on different occasions in history. One is the discovery by Galileo (ILE) that all objects in free fall will fall at the same rate. Typically if you drop a feather and a bowling ball they will not fall at the same rate. But as we now know, this is due to special conditions that exist on the Earth's surface (air resistance) and in no way contradicts the more basic and fundamental truth. Galileo presented an argument to this effect, but it is said that he did arrive at this fact empirically, by cleverly choosing an experiment in which air resistance wouldn't be a factor. The whole idea of doing controlled experiments in fact does mean "ignoring facts" or rather assuming a certain model of the world, in which the other factors are thought not to matter. (An assumption which may not be valid depending on how the experiment is set up.)

Another example is the Copernican model of the solar system (or rather the universe as it was known at that time). In fact the Copernican model was not much more accurate than the Ptolemaic model, although it did require fewer epicycles. The backlash it suffered is not unlike the reactions faced by proponents of speculative or revolutionary theories today, even if the one was supposedly based on religious dogma and the others on hard-nosed skepticism.

What this suggests is that reasoning from facts (Te) is not enough. One may also reason based on ideas or pure logic (Ti, with intuition). The most extreme example of this in the history of science is the theory of general relativity by Einstein (also ILE). Unlike quantum mechanics, which was cobbled together from various different observations, and whose interpretation and principles are still in dispute, Einstein started out with a clear physical principle: the laws of physics should be invariant under smooth changes of coordinates. Since there are many different ways of describing the same situation with different coordinates, it should not matter which ones we use. To this he added some empirical requirements, like reproducing Newton's laws in the limit — but in fact, he too was misled by this! He became stuck, trying to reconcile the idea with the "empirical" data. It was not until he realized that in fact coordinate invariance was the primary requirement (and the so-called facts required subtle modification) that he finally completed the theory. Empirical evidence for general relativity actually remained somewhat scant for many years. Another point to note here is that it is easy to confuse an interpretation of the facts (like a "proven" past model) for the facts themselves. All observations except the most basic are tied up in some way with interpretation.

So, as one might expect, the approach I (LII) use to develop socionics uses a great deal of a priori reasoning (while of course making use of both). It's like you have two masses, one consisting of knowledge that is known to be true by reasoning, and one consisting of all observations of the world. You can then bring them together by moving either point towards the other, or both, until they meet in the true model. In fact, a priori truths may seem disconnected or cover different domains (like general relativity and quantum mechanics), and themselves require unification. Our basic physical understanding of the universe has been stuck for decades, and what we need to move forward is a thorough re-examination of the concepts underlying the theories, starting with what is absolutely clear and building on top of that until everything has been "digested" into an indisputable form, or else cast aside as remnants of past confusion. This is a huge task, but it can, and will, be done.