Thursday, September 15, 2016
Two Kinds of Betas
Betas are known for their "activism", or having a general drive to shape greater society or community for the good in some way. This comes from valuing Ti, Ni, and Se all together: Ti results in having certain principles that one expects the world to work in accordance with, Ni means having a broad vision and tendency to exclude opposing worldviews or see them as harmful, and Se means fighting to establish these principles and overcoming the opposing worldviews. Fe then means trying to express the message of one's values to the world and have them recognized as being important (with the goal of them eventually being adopted, as others realize the value in what you are saying). Hence, activism. However, like many examples in socionics, this is only one possible manifestation that can result from the underlying category (Beta values). We can call this manifestation the "conscientious" or "cause-oriented" Beta.
Another manifestation is what I call the "cynical Beta", who for whatever reason is skeptical or jaded about the prospect of changing society, and focuses more on their own life. They may see themselves as somewhat of a rogue agent or a rebel, and in fact find the idea of activism to be laughable. (I suspect some Betas mistype themselves for this reason.) In more pathological cases, this can devolve into a kind of hedonistic life of self-indulgence, like Jim Morrison (likely IEI). Nietzsche (also Beta NF) advocates a form of cynicism, but paradoxically turns it into an ideal of its own, where you have the most complete and authentic self-expression (Fe) of your personal values (Ti) by asserting your will (Se) over life—while at the same time maintaining a strongly individualistic stance on life. (This is the basis of existentialism which, if not Beta, is a very typically Ni philosophy.)
In any case, this cynicism often comes from a Beta trying to change larger society, and ultimately realizing that they could not quite effect the change that they initially wanted to. This realization can also be dealt with healthily, without hedonism, resulting in a more mature, balanced, and down-to-earth worldview. (WSS had an interview in which an IEI described this process very clearly in the context of becoming a parent. Unfortunately, this interview is not public.)
The cynical worldview need not come after the conscientious one—some Betas go the other way. Some seem like they simply don't care too much about activism, whether because they haven't seriously considered the possibility, or because the concerns of their own lives seem more important. "Cynical" probably isn't the right word for this, "individualistic" is maybe better but still not quite right. SLEs seem the least likely to push for causes, having suggestive Ni. Even when they do try to influence society it's in more of a chaotic way that need not have any coherent vision behind it. The dichotomy here is just the scale of the impact that they want to have—SLEs are usually roguish even in positions of power.