Saturday, 8 July 2017

Louis XIV of France (LSI): Personality Type Analysis

Louis XIV, sometimes called "the Sun King" and "Louis the Great", reigned as King of France and Navarre from 1643 until his death in 1715 at the age of 76. He was the third French king of the House of Bourbon, ascending the throne when he was 4 upon the death of his father, King Louis XIII (IEI). His reign was the zenith of France as the leading European power politically, militarily and culturally. Louis XIV re-invented the French monarchy as a manifestation and celebration of the absolute power of the king; he was regarded by his contemporaries, as he is still today, as the archetype of the absolute monarch. His personal tastes in art, architecture, etiquette and even landscaping had a huge impact among his contemporaries which is felt still today.

Louis XIII, supported by his prime minister Cardinal Richelieu (LSI), had already greatly increased the authority of the monarchy; however, the death of both men in quick succession led to a weaker government, during Louis XIV's minority, under his mother Queen Anne and Richelieu's successor, Cardinal Mazarin. They broadly continued the previous reign's policies but their unpopularity, heavy-handedness and perceived lower legitimacy led to a series of revolts and civil wars collectively known as the Fronde; the most serious of them led by many nobles, including Louis XIII's brother, Gaston d'Orleans. The Fronde revolts were kept at bay by the Queen and Mazarin until Louis XIV's coronation at the age of 16, formally signalling the end of the Regency and essentially draining the will of the nobles towards revolt. Nevertheless Louis kept Cardinal Mazarin as chief minister until his death in 1660, when Louis was 22. The king immediately announced that from now on he would not have a prime minister - which had been the norm for four decades - and that he would govern himself: as he put it, "I request and order you to seal no orders except by my command . . . I order you not to sign anything, not even a passport . . . without my command". Even if later he allowed his minister a little more independence, it remains true that for the next five decades Louis made all major government decisions and nothing was decided against his will.

After this announcement, Louis still moved carefully to get rid of the most powerful left-over from Mazarin's cabinet, Nicolas Fouquet, the Superintendent of Finances (i.e. finance minister). Fouquet had managed to make himself almost independent of Mazarin's authority and his control over the state finances was total. He also built up a vast personal fortune and network of supporters, and he advertised his power and wealth by building the magnificent palace of Vaux-le-Vicomte. The king considered him too powerful and potentially too dangerous to be merely sacked; so he carefully first let Fouquet feel secure that he had the king's esteem, and then quickly had him arrested, when he least expected, by the chief musketeer, d'Artagnan. Fouquet was tried and found guilty of embezzlement, and sentenced to banishment. Louis 'commuted' the sentence to life imprisonment. Fouquet died in prison some 19 years after his arrest. To this day, his trial is the subject of French scholarly analysis as an example of an unfair, highly politicised trial for trumped-up charges.

The above already points to Louis XIV as an individual, not only with great focus on F, but also with a seemingly subtle, masterful approach to it. In isolation, Louis' merciless destruction of Nicolas Fouquet could be interpreted as either personal vindictiveness in destroying someone whom he considered irredeemable - pointing to R blocked with F, that is the Gamma quadra - or as the ruthless elimination of a powerful minister in a way as to signal to the whole nation that the king was all-powerful, establishing his authority, which would point to F blocked with L, that is the Beta quadra.

Having gotten rid of Fouquet, Louis appointed as ministers men whom he could trust and who owed their positions to him, such as Jean-Baptiste Colbert as finance minister. Colbert overhauled the taxation system, greatly increasing revenues and rescuing the state from near bankruptcy, and introduced measures to encourage manufacture and trade, greatly improving infrastructure, aiming at a positive trade balance. While Colbert had to have the king's support in all his actions, Louis XIV was not very concerned with economic policies as such, seeing the increased economic and financial strength as a means to enhance the power of the monarchy and of the French state. Accordingly, Louis soon started spending immense sums on building the huge palace complex at Versailles (at a cost of perhaps 10% of the annual budget, over many years), and on an aggressive foreign policy, with a succession of wars, all of which drained the state's finances, especially the last one, the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714). So the net result of Louis XIV's reign was that at his death he left a national debt five times higher than he had found it, and ten times higher than Colbert had left when he died three decades earlier.

Louis XIV spent over half of the period of his personal rule at war. All his five major wars had, generally speaking, the aims of expanding France's borders, or attacking external enemies (like the Dutch Republic), or installing on foreign thrones monarchs friendly to France. All his wars were aggressive ones started by him, even if arguably with some justification. They were broadly successful - one of Louis XIV's legacies was an enlarged French territory, with frontiers starting to resemble today's - but at huge cost to the population and economy of France, which was even more bankrupt when he died than when he took the reigns of government.

As for his palace at Versailles - which was built despite Colbert's exasperation with the cost - Louis' reasons for building it were manifold. First, he regarded the palace in Paris (the Louvre) as vulnerable to riots and revolts (as per his experience of the Fronde), and he seemed to have had an obvious dislike for the place. Second, he intended the palace to be a visible, giant advertisement of the power, wealth and glory of the monarchy (interestingly he was inspired by Fouquet's own Vaux-le-Vicomte palace). Third, and perhaps most importantly, he intended for the whole of the French nobility to make Versailles their main, if not only, residence. Louis XIV's power as king was still counterbalanced to some extent by the estates and regional legal powers of the nobility, which still made them possible sources of revolts. By keeping all the nobles either at Versailles, or on the battlefield in periods of war, the king kept them under his eye and under his control.

The above summarises (a bit simplistically) the main policies and priorities of Louis XIV as king: to increase the power and territorial extent of France, to increase the power and prestige of the monarchy, and to reduce the independence and power of the nobility in relation to the king. Although those could be seen as obvious aims for a king, that is not necessarily so and Louis was personally the author of all the specific policies. It can be argued therefore that more than just his position as king, they point to Louis's own personal psychology. confirming an intense focus on F. Louis' personal project of using a vast luxury palace as a visible advertisement of the power and prestige of the monarchy (which is F+E), and his dismissal of P concerns when pursuing F goals, point to E rather than P as a valued function, so Beta is his quadra.

In Versailles, Louis designed and implemented a rigid system of etiquette, which he followed daily and expected the courtiers to follow. It included a fixed routine for when he would get out of bed, go to mass, have his meals, see his ministers, have some brief private time with his family, then go to bed - the Duke of Saint-Simon, an eyewitness, said in his memoirs that it was possible to know exactly what the king was doing, no matter how far you were from Versailles, just by looking at a watch. It also included a rigid, perhaps petty, hierarchical order of etiquette in the sense of which ranks in the nobility were allowed to be present at the king's most intimate moments and on what kind of armchair they could sit while in the king's presence. It is revealing that Louis subjected not only others but himself to this regimented lifestyle (his two successors, Louis XV (ILI) and Louis XVI (LII) "escaped" from that routine often). This liking for a rigid structure for his daily routine, as well as for the social positions of those around him, point to L and F as valued and strong functions.

The Duke of Saint-Simon left some interesting observations:
His mind was occupied with small things rather than with great, and he delighted in all sorts of petty details, such as the dress and drill of his soldiers, and it was just the same with regard to his building operations, his household, and even his cookery. He always thought he could teach something of their own craft even to the most skilful professional men, and they, for their part, used to listen gratefully to lessons which they had long ago learnt by heart. He imagined that all this showed his indefatigable industry; in reality, it was a great waste of time, and his Ministers turned it to good account for their own purposes, as soon as they had learnt the art of managing him, they kept his attention engaged with a mass of details, while they contrived to get their own way in more important matters.
Although the Duke was not necessarily a neutral witness, if there is some truth to this portrait, it points to a person with an apparent focus on S, and even S+P, making the S4 of EIEs very unlikely and suggesting LSI or SLE among Beta types.

Louis expected the nobles to spend most of their time in Versailles; he did not mind so much if they also spent time in their own estates, but considered it an affront if they preferred to stay in Paris instead. The moment that the king decided a noble was guilty of that, he would regard him essentially as persona non grata and ignore the man's existence, saying "I do not know who he is" or "I never see him here". The moment that happened, the man was condemned to irreversible social oblivion. This ruthlessness in dealing with individuals who broke his rules - perhaps unwittingly in some cases - points again to R in a weaker and less valued function than L. Also, Louis officially allowed anyone to approach him with requests when he was walking in the garden, but his almost invariable answer was "I will think about it" - suggesting that being so accessible was again one of the rules he imposed on himself rather than deeply felt.  However, according to Saint-Simon, when someone managed to get a private audience with the king, regardless of rank, then Louis was inclined to be "kind-hearted and just", and it was permissible to contradict or even interrupt the king, as long as a posture of reverence was maintained, with Louis then even making exceptions to his rules. This willingness to make exceptions for individuals who did manage to speak to him on a more personal basis suggests some concern for R, and seems most like R3.

Finally, the Duke of Saint-Simon has this to say about Louis's greatest weakness:
His Ministers, generals, mistresses, and courtiers soon found out his weak point, namely, his love of hearing his own praises. There was nothing he liked so much as flattery, or, to put it more plainly, adulation; the coarser and clumsier it was, the more he relished it. That was the only way to approach him; if he ever took a liking to a man it was invariably due to some lucky stroke of flattery in the first instance, and to indefatigable perseverance in the same line afterwards. His Ministers owed much of their influence to their frequent opportunities for burning incense before him...

Not only does this confirm the E valuing of Louis XIV, but it also points most clearly to E5.

All the evidence points very clearly to Louis XIV as a Beta, with focus on F, L and a craving for E the most obvious and consistent traits, but also with some inclination to drift towards focusing on S. That would point to LSI or SLE as possible types, but it is difficult to imagine a SLE who would voluntarily submit himself, over decades, to Louis's repetitive around-the-clock regimented lifestyle, that pointing more to the energy levels of an Integrator type and to having L as more important than F. L1, F2, R3, E5 and S8 fit very well what is known of Louis XIV, making him a likely LSI.

To learn more about LSI, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources: besides the French Wikipedia, my mental image of Louis XIV was first shaped by Will and Ariel Durant's The Age of Louis XIV. Excerpts of the memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon are available online, like here. A description of the king's boring routine is  here.  The excellent French television series Secrets d'histoire has several episodes on Louis XIV in YouTube.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Hendrik Verwoerd (LSI): Personality Type Analysis

Hendrik Frensch Verwoerd was a South African psychologist, university professor, newspaper editor and politician who served as South Africa's 6th Prime Minister from 1958 until his murder in 1966. He is often called the "Architect of Apartheid" and was the politician chiefly responsible for the creation of the Republic of South Africa in 1961. It was during his government that Nelson Mandela (EIE), along with others, was sentenced to prison for sabotage until his release in 1990.

Verwoerd was born in the Netherlands in 1901; his parents emigrated to South Africa when he was about two years old. At first, he attended primary school in Cape Town, then in his teens accompanied his parents when they moved again, to Bulawayo (in what was then Rhodesia) and then back to South Africa, in the then province of the Orange Free State. He was an outstanding student and got the highest marks for English literature in the whole of Rhodesia, and the highest score in the Orange Free State in his exams for attending university. He went to the prestigious University of Stellenbosch near Cape Town where he graduated in psychology with a doctorate. Offered a scholarship for a post-doctorate in Oxford, and another for studies in several universities in Germany, he chose the latter. When he returned to South Africa, his academic record assured him a position in Stellenbosch where he became a tenured professor of sociology in 1934.

Those were the years of the Great Depression, and Verwoerd started getting involved academically, and then more actively, with the "poor-whites" social problem, that is, the massive unemployment and poverty among unskilled whites, which affected essentially Afrikaners (i.e. Afrikaans-speaking descendants of the original Dutch settlers of the 17th century) as they had been largely economically ruined by the Boer Wars one generation earlier. Then (if not much earlier) that Dutch-born, polyglot academic identified himself fully with the Afrikaner population, culturally and politically, and with the growing notion of Afrikaner nationalism. That essentially saw the Afrikaners as being caught between economic, political and cultural domination by the generally wealthier white population of British descent, and the competition for low-skilled jobs by the increasing migration of black natives (i.e. Xhosas, Zulus, etc.) from their rural areas into urban centres. Starting from his work as an academic, Verwoerd gradually shifted his focus to politics, until he was offered the position of editor-in-chief of a new Afrikaans newspaper based in Johannesburg, Die Transvaler, sponsored by the National Party (NP) as part of their efforts to increase their political presence in the Transvaal province against the ruling United Party of Prime Minister Barry Hertzog. With no previous experience in journalism, Verwoerd resigned his prestigious, tenured position as a Stellenbosch professor to move to Johannesburg and start a new career as newspaper editor in 1937. His editorial policy was to promote relentlessly the ideas, at that time, of Afrikaner nationalism: that South Africa had to cease being an independent British Dominion (like Canada, Australia, etc) and become a republic that would prioritise the interests of the Afrikaner population. His writings included frequent complaints against what he saw as the excessive domination of the South African economy, not only by English-speakers, but also by Jews, and he opposed the decision of then Prime Minister Jan Smuts to join the Allies in WWII. Nevertheless, Verwoerd always said that he was more anti-British Empire than pro-Nazi Germany. During that time, he was also relatively unconcerned with issues relating to native black South Africans.

The above already makes a few things clear about Verwoerd. First, his background, as a highly-educated, foreign-born, urbane academic who spoke several languages and had studied abroad and achieved an enviable position at Stellenbosch, was not one to obviously make him a fierce Afrikaner nationalist. That his beliefs were deep and sincere is obvious, I suggest, by the fact that he resigned his tenured professorship to become the editor of a new newspaper that might well fail (his father told him he was nuts in doing that). That points to a man not only with a need for some sense of mission that overrules personal comfort and career security, but even more so to a man with a deep need for, and identification with, a sense of collective identity. That already points to Beta as Verwoerd's likely quadra.

Under Verwoerd, Die Transvaler was successful, and the period of WWII and its immediate aftermath saw a rapidly increasing migration, due to economic factors, of the native black population from their original rural areas into the larger urban centres, such as Johannesburg, and the mining areas. That migration quickly changed the previously mostly white cities, with most of the new inhabitants living in informal housing. As in colonial Africa generally, that kind of uncontrolled migration of the local native black population into cities was not really allowed under the segregationist laws, but the Smuts government lacked the will, or the inclination, to do much about it, considering that migration inevitable. The NP used that issue to mobilise their campaign and so in the (mostly whites-only) elections of 1948 it narrowly defeated Smuts' United Party, forming the new government. The NP would remain in power uninterrupted until 1994. The new prime minister, D.F. Malan, Verwoerd's political patron who had brought him to Die Transvaler, now brought Verwoerd into his cabinet, having him appointed as a Senator and as Minister of Native Affairs.

The Malan government introduced its policy of apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning "separateness". Until then, South Africa had more or less typical colonial segregationist laws (not unlike the "Jim Crow" laws in the US), but those were sort of ad hoc and as mentioned, were starting to crumble in the Smuts government. Malan's government ruthlessly reinforced the existing segregationist laws and introduced new ones, but again sort of ad hoc, without much of a consistent ideology or system except that of promoting the basskap (supremacy) over the black natives, and of the Afrikaners over English-speakers. Malan was also less concerned than Verwoerd about the issue of making South Africa a republic, which he feared would unnecessarily alienate part of his electorate.

As Minister of Native Affairs, Verwoerd remained as determined a republican as before, but that was not his immediate concern in his new position. He devoted his energies to arriving at what he saw as a consistent system and ideology of apartheid, starting from what was to remain his basic premise: the interests of the Afrikaner nation came before anything else. His conclusion went as follows: the only logical way to forever prevent native black South Africans from eventually overwhelming the white, and specifically the Afrikaner, population politically was to forever deny them any possibility for a legal basis for political rights (which a small minority of them did possess, in the Cape Province) and of legal residence in the "white" regions. That necessarily meant denying them any legal claim for citizenship in South Africa, and the most consistent way of arguing that was to state that they were actually citizens of other countries. That led Verwoerd to devise a policy of converting the historical areas inhabited by the different native nations - Xhosas, Zulus, Sothos, etc. - first into "autonomous", "self-governing" "homelands" that would eventually become independent states (not unlike Lesotho and Swaziland are today). When that happened - so went his argument - white South Africans would likewise be foreigners in those new states and full political, economic and physical separation would follow. Any integration of the black population outside those "states" was to be stopped and reversed.

Verwoerd spent his ten years as Minister of Native Affairs developing, promoting and getting political support for his scheme, which is often described as "grand apartheid" to differentiate it from "petty apartheid", that is, the daily "Jim Crow" kind of segregation and discrimination. Verwoerd's ultimate goal was total racial separation, that is, eventually all of the black population would reside in those future homelands or states. As however by this time only some ~40% lived in those areas, and economic factors, such as the increasing industrialisation of the country, were rapidly decreasing that percentage, Verwoerd devised incentives to encourage, or force if necessary, industries to move to areas bordering those "homelands", so that the migration would be diminished and eventually reversed. He predicted confidently - on which basis is not known - that the migration would revert, from the cities to the homelands, in 1978. That kind of confident vision of the future, of a political goal, within the context of what he saw as a consistent set of policies, confirms the Beta values of T and L.

Verwoerd's development of this, what he saw as an internally consistent system, allowed him to defend it tirelessly in lengthy, repetitive speeches where he always came back to the basic argument that that was the only way to go and that there was no alternative if the Afrikaner nation was to survive. The two prime ministers he worked for - Malan and later Hans Strijdom - were not so concerned with internally consistent policies, Strijdom saying bluntly that he was only interested in basskap and not in economic development of homelands. But after Strijdom's death from cancer in 1958, Hendrik Verwoerd was elected the new leader of the NP and therefore the new Prime Minister of South Africa.

As prime minister, Verwoerd could now devote his energies to his decades-long goal: he held a referendum on the status of South Africa, with a small majority of the (white) electorate choosing the option of South Africa ceasing to be a Dominion, with the Queen as nominal head of state, and becoming the Republic of South Africa. Having achieved this, Verwoerd made conciliatory gestures towards the not-so-happy English-speaking population: they had ceased to be his main "adversary", he was now much more concerned with the political issue of the black population and the development of his grand apartheid homelands scheme. His concept of the black population as being theoretically "foreign guest workers" led to the introduction of personal passes that had to be carried by them at all times. This led to political protests, including the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, where 69 people were shot by the police. Some black political activists like Nelson Mandela - who in the Smuts years had sensed that things would gradually get better - lost all hope and went underground, eventually being arrested or fleeing into exile. South Africa's economy boomed during the Verwoerd years, making him politically supreme and neutralising all opposition, until he was stabbed to death by a deranged messenger during a session in Parliament in 1966 (even though the obvious assumption would be that his murder was political, no one has ever questioned that the man was insane; he died in prison in 1999 when Thabo Mbeki was president).

Looking closely at Verwoerd as a person: by all accounts, he was an autocratic boss who took all major decisions himself, whether as newspaper editor, minister, or prime minister - members of his staff at Die Transvaler said that he ran the paper as a "benevolent despotism". That was made more palatable by him working very long hours himself. As was already made clear, he felt the need to be completely consistent in his arguments and policies so that he could tirelessly defend them. That need for complete consistency made him sometimes look absurd: as a republican, he decided in 1947 that his newspaper would give no coverage at all to King George VI's (EII) visit. That led to the ridiculous situation where the paper would report traffic jams caused by the royal visit but not their cause. This points to a huge focus on L as well as F, and weak E (as he did not realise this would make him look silly even among his own staff). Generally, Verwoerd's approach of having a very basic set of political beliefs and then ruthlessly using force to defend them to what he saw as their logical conclusion already points to a Beta with L and F as ego functions, that is LSI or SLE.

As a politician, Verwoerd could never really display a common touch when talking to individuals (unlike his predecessors Malan and Strijdom, who were more conventional politicians), always seeming like an aloof, intellectually arrogant university professor who gave long speeches based on the assumption that he was right and everyone else was wrong. At best, he could make a somewhat benign "grandfatherly" impression as in this video and show patient politeness when listening to complaints - except when the person was an open political adversary, such as Helen Suzman, the only MP fully opposed to apartheid, whom he would treat with contempt. This points again to weak E.

Verwoerd understood that the implementation of his grand apartheid policies implied the economic development of the homelands, even if by force. He was however not that concerned with, or was even dismissive of, the overall costs and effects on the economy of South Africa as a whole, remarking that even if that made the country poorer, that was a price they had to pay. The mining magnate Harry Oppenheimer observed, "when you have a man prepared to slow down his nation's welfare on account of political theories, then you are dealing with an impractical fanatic". Verwoerd's response would be that his way was the only way. This points to awareness of P but one that is overruled by L.

Finally, as a minor personal detail: although not obviously fitting the overall picture of Verwoerd as a ruthlessly ideological politician and former tenured professor of sociology, his favourite hobbies were carpentry and similar manual work, having designed and partly built himself his holiday home, which shows that S was what he liked to focus on when relaxing.

A Beta whose main focus is L with an obviously strong focus on F, who intentionally ignores P and who has low focus on E (especially for a politician); also a man with a very rigid, yet certain, one-track vision of the future of his country and of his personal mission, pointing to valued but not very strong T.  L1, F2, P7, T6 , E5 and S8 all fit Hendrik Verwoerd perfectly, pointing to LSI as his Socionics type.

To learn more about LSI, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources:  Besides a general knowledge of South African history, the source was Henry Kenney's biography, Verwoerd: Architect of Apartheid 

Monday, 19 June 2017

Alfred the Great (LII): Personality Type Analysis

Alfred the Great was the 27th King of Wessex from 871 to 899, the very first English monarch to have ever been given the epithet "the Great" and most well-known for commanding the successful defense of Wessex during Viking conquest, which eventually lead him to become the dominant monarch of England towards the end of his life. The history of his life and reign as monarch of Wessex is explained in detail through the written accounts of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, historical documentation of what his reign was like, those who personally knew him and the biography The Life of King Alfred, written by the Welsh monk Asser.

The details of his early childhood are elaborated on in Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in which young Alfred (suspected to be around age four) travelled with his family to Rome in 853, to be made "consul" by Pope Leo IV. This was early preparation for his eventual succession as King of Wessex, though the possibility of Alfred becoming the next in line was slim. This was because he had three elder brothers (from eldest to youngest); Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, who had greater chances of future coronation as monarch of Wessex. (The first brother, Æthelstan died in 852, shortly after fending off a Viking fleet in Kent and had very little impact on the life of Alfred as a child.) After spending time in Rome for a few years, Alfred's father Æthelwulf visited Carolingian King Charles the Bald in 856 and married his fourteen year-old daughter Judith to signify the diplomatic alliance between the two kingdoms. Æthelbald heard of this news, enraged at now having an underage stepmother and casting aside his own mother, a kindhearted, devoutly religious woman who cared about the education of her children. In reaction to this, Æthelbald led a revolt in an attempt to depose his father of the throne on his return to Wessex. In the instance of civil war breaking out, Æthelwulf negotiated with Æthelbald to let him rule western province of his kingdom and for himself to rule over the eastern province.

After Æthelwulf's death in 858, Æthelbald's reign from 858 to 860 was relatively short and seen by Asser as unstable and lawless (Though further details of his reign is limited). Next in line was Æthelberht, his reign from 860 to 865 was internally peaceful and harmonious, though he died shortly before the invasion of the Great Heathen Army in 865. The reign of Æthelred was the most war intensive out of the three elder brothers, with some successful military victories early on. However, after the Saxon defeat of the Battle of Merton, Æthelred died a month after and left Alfred to deal with a kingdom on the verge of collapse, all on his own. 

During all of this political unrest, Alfred was known by his mother Osburh, to be fascinated with reading, poetry and education at a very young age. To encourage her son's interest in education, she offered a challenge to her four children that the first person to memorize a book of Saxon poems would be the new owner of that book. Even just recently learning how to read at age twelve (which was the result of the lack of tutors and scholars in the West Saxon Kingdom), Alfred had surpassed his brothers in intellectual strength by memorizing the entire book, thus winning the book of Saxon poems. Since then, Alfred was known to carry around books with him wherever he went and frequently sought quiet refuge to read alone. This specifically is from Asser's account, "[...] he collected in a single book, as I have seen for myself; amid all the affairs of the present life he took it around with him everywhere for the sake of prayer, and was inseparable from it".

Notably, in contrast to his brother Æthelred who based his military organization purely off of tactics and strong defense, Alfred naively came to the conclusion that peace could be negotiated between the new leader of the Danes, Guthrum. After exchanging oaths and swearing loyalty to a "holy" ring (thought to be associated with Thor), the Danes immediately broke their promise and decided to kill the hostages they captured anyway. By taking advantage of his weakness in F, the Danes thought that they had gotten a step ahead of the Saxons, though unknowingly to the Danes, Alfred had already blockaded their ships in Devon ahead of time in the case if they didn't keep their word. His preference of long-term military strategy over tactics served him well in the Battle of Edington and in his plan to storm the Dane's stronghold in Chippenham by cutting off their food supply and starving them until surrender. Guthrum and his men had no other choice but to come to a complete surrender, and instead of killing the men or arresting them for their actions, Alfred came to the conclusion that they should be converted to Christianity through baptism at his court (even accepting Guthrum as his adoptive son). With what has been written above, provides the most evidence for a type with F4 and strong T.

After the war, Alfred became a respected military strategist, though his innate talents were in law-making and governance. He was a wise administrator who proceeded carefully in diplomatic matters, reorganizing his finances and politely distanced himself from his thanes (nobles). Once he realized the current state of corruption in the state's legal system, he scrutinized the administration of justice and ensured to protect of the weak from oppression by ignorant or corrupt judges. In this way, Alfred decided it would be best to administer an important code of laws, after studying the principles of law-giving in the Book of Exodus, again with special attention to the protection of the poor. While avoiding unnecessary changes in custom, he limited the practice of the blood feud and imposed heavy penalties for the breach of an oath or pledge. His own attitudes are reflective of weak R3, his own efforts to distance himself from the members of his court could have been seen as impersonal and standoffish by some (though he did send frequent embassies to Rome conveying the translated alms to the Pope). He would much rather see them more as "co-workers" since he believed that unnecessarily making friends and enemies would make more unjust activities like bribes to be more accepted.

Alfred attitude toward learning is quite evident, due to his belief that the Viking raids were a divine punishment for the people's sins and he attributed these to a lack of education in general. He argued that through learning, men could acquire wisdom and live in accordance with God's will. In 878 CE, he invited scholars from across the European continent to his court, taught himself Latin and began to translate Latin books into English in 887. Baffled by how indolent and ignorant the common man was in comparison to these scholars, he directed that all young men must learn to read English. By his own translations, he released to the public English versions of books that were necessary people to know; The Ecclesiastical History of the English People and the Seven Books of Histories Against the Pagans. Alfred's translation of the Pastoral Care of St. Gregory I, the great 6th-century pope, provided a manual for priests in the instruction of their flocks, and a translation by Bishop Werferth of Gregory's Dialogues supplied edifying reading on holy men. To summarize, Asser's notes on Alfred characterize him as a scholarly man who had an unwavering interest in L pursuits, his own confidence and talents in these subjects indicating strong and valued L1.

Alfred's religious beliefs were inspired by the philosopher St. Augustine of Hippo, to which he credited him by adding very broad material that addressed problems concerning faith, reason and the nature of eternal life. His translations were from a wide variety of sources, one of which was Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy. Some of these psalms may have their origins in the intellectual interests awakened by the revival of learning under him. His reign also saw activity in reconstructed temples as centers of education, art, and foreign craftsmen were attracted to his court. The eclectic amount of interests and search for new ideas to accommodate both his religious and philosophical beliefs suggest Alfred had I2, or at the very least, a type with strong I.

More to the point, Alfred is a scholar by inclination, who became a war leader not because of glory, wealth or fame, it merely was because he had to. Though it is interesting that with such a beloved king, E is almost non-existent with Alfred. As stated before, he was a man who was beloved by his family and locals in Wessex, Alfred himself did not turn a blind eye to this popularity, though he felt this was only because the Anglo-Saxons only recognized him as king and not as a person. What's even more revealing is Alfred's emotional attitudes written in one of Alfred's last works, "Blooms" or Anthology. The first half is based mainly on the Soliloquies of St Augustine of Hippo, the remainder is drawn from various sources, and contains much of what is Alfred's passions are. The last words are quoted, "Therefore he seems to me a very foolish man, and truly wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear."  In general, a solitary and solemn man who avoided E matters, preferring to address the matters through writing because dealing with these problems socially brought him great discomfort, still fitting E5 nonetheless.

Concluding this analysis, there is a small anecdote that would be essential in putting together a clearer image of what Alfred type is. It's interesting that a scholarly man like Alfred, whose natural inclination to studying might've suggested that he had a sedentary lifestyle, but this was quite the opposite. Alfred was an avid huntsman who was often quite physically active, yet he saw his ability in hunting as more of a hobby than a more competitive activity. With this interest in a sport only for being physically active and healthy, would make S6 more likely for Alfred.

I would say that all of the evidence all points to LII Alpha values with visible L1, I2, R3, F4, E5, S6 and T8.

To learn more about LII click here

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Pedro II (EII): Personality Type Analysis

Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, also called Dom Pedro II the "Magnanimous", was the second and last monarch of the Empire of Brazil, from his father’s abdication in 1831 to his deposition in a military coup in 1889.

He was born in Rio in 1825, the son of Emperor Pedro I (SEE) and Leopoldina of Austria. He was five years old when his father abdicated the Brazilian throne and returned to Portugal. Raised by tutors, he was a serious, studious and shy boy, very different from his impulsive, physically hyperactive father. As per the constitution, regents were elected by Parliament to rule while Pedro was a minor. However, it soon became clear that without the personal authority that Pedro I had wielded, Brazil’s internal tensions and rivalries re-emerged in the form of a series of regional rebellions, some with secessionist goals. So after 9 years of near-anarchy under the Regency, the consensus in Parliament was that their best chance of avoiding further chaos was to end the Regency and enhance the central government’s authority with a ruling emperor. Therefore he was declared of age by Parliament in 1840 (not fully legally) at 14, and political stability did start to increase.

The constitution, reflecting Pedro I’s personality, assumed that the monarch would act as chief executive himself, as also the regents had done. That was initially the case with the young Pedro II, with him relying politically and emotionally upon an often self-serving inner circle of palace hangers-on and select politicians, the so-called “Courtier Faction”. Gradually, as he reached his 20s and gained more self-confidence, he dismissed or reduced the influence of that inner circle, by 'kicking them upstairs' or simply by ceasing to listen to their political advice while maintaining friendly personal relations. In 1847, with his agreement, the government’s structure was changed in a way suited to the times and to Pedro II’s personal inclinations, with the creation of the office of prime minister. Pedro II retained the considerable powers of calling new parliamentary elections and appointing the prime minister. At this time, the young monarch was described as someone who “was never rude and never lost his temper. He was exceptionally discreet in words and cautious in action”; “the shy and suspicious youth became a man who could be sophisticated and charming in social situations”. Those traits would generally remain constant throughout his life. Even taking into account his political and constitutional position, the above already points to someone not obviously focused on F, who prefers to tone down confrontations for the sake of smooth interactions.

In the exercise of his role as monarch, Pedro mostly focused on keeping the system working smoothly. As in similar parliamentary systems, he appointed as prime ministers leading politicians of the majority party in Parliament and then let the cabinets get on with governing. However, unlike more established parliamentary monarchies, he had more of a personal choice as to who exactly would be appointed. Also, since it was widely acknowledged that the party in power would cheat in elections to some extent (by ballot-stuffing etc.), sometimes Pedro used his personal influence to encourage the rotation in government of the two main parties (Conservative and Liberal, as in Britain), so preventing either one from becoming too powerful. Still, the policies during his reign were mostly those of the prime minister and the cabinet rather than Pedro’s own. This is illustrated precisely by two occasions when he clashed with his cabinet and had to threaten to abdicate to get his way: in 1850, in order to force the government to support a law that would finally enforce the ban on slave trade (in theory already banned in 1831); and in 1865, in the context of the Paraguayan War, when the government and Parliament would not grant him permission to travel to the front himself, as the nominal commander-in-chief. Those episodes are useful because they illustrate not only the limitations of Pedro II's political role in government, but also his unwillingness to clash with the political establishment except in matters about which he felt particularly strongly. Apart from such episodes, his other visible influence in government was that of essentially vetoing the appointment as minister of men whose personal integrity was in any way questionable, a matter in which the party politicians got used to and did not try to overrule. Overall Pedro's approach to his duties seemed to be keeping things running smoothly, guaranteeing the rotation of power between the two main parties, keeping an eye on the personal character of ministers, and mostly not interfering in the policies themselves. This points to R and P rather than L and E as quadra values.

Besides fulfilling his duties as monarch, Pedro spent his time essentially in intellectual pursuits. Those included a general interest in all sciences - he was an amateur astronomer, for instance - and in languages in particular, having become fluent (or at least functional) in the main international languages of the time: French, English, German, Spanish, and Italian, as well as in Guarany (spoken in Paraguay), classical Latin and Greek, and studied even Hebrew and Sanskrit. During his reign he refused to accept increases in the allowance allocated him, and he spent large sums granting student scholarships. That meant he lived in a (relatively) modest style, and he only adopted the 'pomp and circumstance' of his role when formally opening Parliament. In his private letters he even said that he disliked that part of his job, and that in his opinion the noblest profession was that of teacher, since they developed young minds. Again this shows a total disregard for the elements of power and status projection, i.e. E and F, and his interest in a variety of subjects and in developing minds suggest I as a valued function. All of the above already points to Delta as Pedro's quadra.

As soon as his eldest daughter Isabel was of age and could legally act as regent in Pedro's absence, he started a series of travels abroad, in the 1870s and 1880s, mostly through Europe but also to the Middle East and the US. In such trips he did not quite travel in cognito but on a modest budget, with a minimal retinue, and staying in small hotels. In one revealing episode, during his first visit to Paris, he wrote to Victor Hugo asking him to come see him in his hotel. Hugo, annoyed at being often seen as a 'tourist attraction' by important foreigners, curtly wrote back to say that he never left home to visit anyone. To Hugo's surprise, a few days later Pedro II knocked on his door, on his own, asking to see him. As per Hugo's own account, the Emperor was a polite, even shy man.

In 1876 he became the first foreign head of state to visit the United States, and together with President Ulysses S. Grant (SLI) he opened the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. There, he played a significant role by being fascinated by, and calling attention to, Alexander Graham Bell's invention - the telephone - which had already been overlooked by the exposition's judges. In 1930, AT&T recreated the event in a short film. It is significant that this is pretty much the only event of historical relevance in Pedro's foreign trips, and that it was a P and I event. Otherwise, Pedro's trips consisted of him visiting places, and meeting people, that he found interesting, and although not hiding, he certainly downplayed his role as a monarch and sitting head of state, preferring to spend time at the many literary and scientific associations he became a member of, particularly in France. Again, that points to I.

The prestige and power of the monarchy in Brazil was in obvious decline in the 1880s, for several reasons. The new generation of politicians and military officers had no personal recollection of the near-anarchy of the 1830s; the Paraguayan War of 1865-70 had vastly increased the army's sense of self-importance and corporate identity and grievance; the Princess Imperial, Isabel, and her French husband, the Comte d'Eu, were personally unpopular and few believed that she would succeed her father upon his death. An European-style monarchy in the Americas was starting to look increasingly anachronistic. Finally, the agrarian oligarchy ceased to support the monarchy due to its decades-long support for the gradual abolition of slavery, which was completed in 1888. By then Pedro II himself was a prematurely aged 63-year old, suffering from diabetes and mercilessly mocked in newspaper cartoons as falling asleep in official events. From his writings, the Emperor seemed aware that the monarchy would not survive him but he lacked the will, or the inclination, to do something about it (or even the knowledge of what he could do). So in November 1889, a minor military revolt in Rio which at first only intended to demand the replacement of the prime minister quickly escalated into a movement aiming at abolishing the monarchy itself. Rather than attempt any kind of resistance, Pedro II returned by train to Rio from his mountain summer residence, and was ordered by the new military provisional government to leave the country with his family by ship the next night. Too proud to accept the provisional government's offer of a large sum of money, Pedro spent the next two years in Paris, doing pretty much the same he did during his previous visits there, that is, at scientific and academic events, financially supported by wealthy friends and European relatives, until his death from pneumonia in 1891.

The overall picture we have of Pedro II is of a man who, despite his hereditary position, was seen by all who met him as modest and even shy; who obviously disliked the trappings of power and status of his position and who was apparently completely oblivious to, or uninterested in, threats to his personal political position, pointing to such weak and devalued F as to point to F4. Also a man obviously able to project personal charm in close encounters and to defuse conflicts (his only active role at the front of the Paraguayan War was precisely to calmly mediate a conflict of egos among the leaders of the three allied nations) and to manage personal relationships with politicians without seemingly any personally disliking him, which points to strong R as well as some awareness of E at personal level. His interest in a wide variety of subjects and languages, as well as his fascination with science and technology, suggest strong I and valued P but with I stronger - his P seemed more manifest in his attraction to knowledgeable people, pointing to P5.  R1, I2, F4, P5 and E7 all fit well what is known of Pedro II, making EII his likely type.

To learn more about EII, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources: besides the video linked above, the Wikipedia entries on Pedro II are long and high-quality, sufficing for a good idea of his type.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Angela Merkel (LII): Personality Type Analysis

Angela Dorothea Merkel is a German physicist, research scientist and politician who has been serving as the Chancellor (i.e. equivalent to prime minister) of Germany since 1998. She is not only the first woman in that position, but also the youngest when sworn in, as well as the only one with a background in natural sciences.

She was born in 1954 in Hamburg, in what was then West Germany. Soon afterwards her family moved to what was then East Germany so that her father, a Lutheran pastor, could take a position in Perleberg, to the north of Berlin. Therefore, she grew up under East Germany's Soviet-aligned communist regime. Always a very good student - among other things she learned to speak Russian fluently - she studied Physics in the University of Leipzig. Like every young East German who wanted to have a chance of being allowed to go to university, she joined the official youth organisation FDJ (Free German Youth) which led to some minor controversy later, although by all accounts she joined it because she had to, not because of any ideological conviction. Interestingly, she declined a position she sought as a lecturer of engineering as she was informed she would have to report on her colleagues to the Stasi, the secret police, giving as excuse that she was unable to keep secrets. She then became a graduate student at the prestigious Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof, completing a doctorate with a thesis in the field of quantum chemistry, and she then continued to work there as a research scientist after 1978. Her life was then relatively uneventful until 1989, the year when Europe's communist regimes collapsed and the Berlin Wall was first opened. Following the fall of the East German dictatorship, Merkel decided to join one of the newly-formed political parties, the DA (Democratic Awakening). She was described there as quiet in meetings, mostly not speaking, and helping with technical matters, like installing PCs. When the DA was hit by controversy - that one of their leaders had worked as a Stasi informer -  Merkel volunteered to be the one to deal with the press, becoming noted for her unflappable demeanour, calmly and knowledgeably answering journalists' questions. She attracted the attention of Lothar de Maizière, the head of the only democratically elected government of East Germany in the brief transition period before the reunification, who made her the deputy spokesperson of his government. She then joined the CDU - West Germany's party in government, with which the DA merged - and ran successfully for a parliamentary seat in the first elections of the unified Germany in 1990. The CDU chancellor, Helmut Kohl, who had noticed Merkel previously, immediately appointed her Minister for Women and Youth in his cabinet - a very junior position. Kohl promoted her later to Minister for the Enviroment in 1994. The chancellor clearly appointed her largely because he needed eastern Germans in his government, and as his protegee and the youngest minister, Kohl somewhat patronisingly referred to her as "my girl".

The above already provides some information for Angela Merkel's Socionics type. What first brought her into political visibility is a trait that is very clear to this day, her unflappability when answering complex questions in public, in a very non-emotional, calm, analytical and knowledgeable manner. She has nothing of the more 'inspirational' kind of politicians like Barack Obama (IEI), Bill Clinton (EIE), etc. Her 'charisma' - if it can be called that - stems from her self-confidence in her ability to understand issues and to answer questions in a logical and convincing way. That, and, her 'behind the scenes' low-profile stance in her early days of the DA, when she was almost unnoticed until being the the only one to volunteer to talk to the press in a crisis - already point very clearly to a person of very low E, and hints to low F as well, and of much greater confidence in her understanding of issues and ability to explain them clearly, logically and consistency (L and P). That already points to a Logical rather than Ethical type.

The CDU lost the elections of 1998, leading to Helmut Kohl being succeeded by the SPD's Gerhard Schröder as chancellor; Merkel however retained her seat, and became the secretary-general of the CDU, reporting to the new CDU leader, Wolfgang Schäuble. However, in 1999 the CDU was shaken by a scandal when it was disclosed that it had financed its electoral campaigns via several illegal means. That scandal hit several of the CDU's senior figures, including Schäuble and Helmut Kohl himself, while leaving Merkel untouched. She swiftly placed 'principle' above 'loyalty', publicly criticising, and distancing herself from, the party leaders involved in the scandal, including her former mentor Helmut Kohl, who saw it as a betrayal. With more senior party leaders out of the way, Angela Merkel became CDU leader, which also meant leader of the opposition. With the failure of Gerhard Schröder's SPD to maintain its majority in 2005, Angela Merkel emerged as the new German Chancellor, in a government of a "Grand Coalition" of the CDU and SPD.

Interestingly, although she had become CDU leader in 2000, she was not the CDU candidate for chancellor in the 2002 elections; rather it was Edmund Stoiber, the charismatic premier of Bavaria, who however lost the election to Schröder in 2002, leaving the path finally open to Merkel. Stoiber, the leader of the CDU's sister party CSU, had likewise been unaffected by the CDU scandals, and it is revealing that Merkel's rise seemed to depend far more on the self-destruction of her rivals than on her own drive for power (in a career path parallel to that of François Hollande (SEI) ).

As already mentioned, Merkel made a point of publicly condemning those involved in the CDU scandals, not sparing those to whom she owed personal loyalty, especially Helmut Kohl and Wolfgang Schäuble - some could unkindly say that she "threw them under the bus". This is an interesting contrast to politicians who value personal loyalty above all, like Jacques Chirac (SEE), yet the other evidence shown above does not point to Merkel being a ruthless power-seeker who stabs her former mentors in the back for the sake of her own personal advancement. Rather, it points to a person who devalues R as well as having low focus on F, with her placing abstract principles and concepts L, and/or pragmatism P, above R. Merkel's approach to R is best illustrated by her nearly identical answers in separate interviews, when she was asked about the status of her relationships with her former mentor Helmut Kohl, her former party leader Wolfgang Schäuble, and her defeated predecessor as chancellor, Gerhard Schröder - all by then in one form or the other in political oblivion, while she had risen to the top. On those occasions, Merkel's answer was a variation of (paraphrasing): "status of the relationship? What do you mean? Well we do talk. Sometimes" or in Kohl's case,  a very matter-of fact answer: no, they were not in contact.

Almost any other politician in her position, I daresay, would either have given more 'political', positive, socially acceptable answers, or 'passionate' ones (E), or elaborated in more detail in each specific case (R), or perhaps even, aware that she was in a position of immense power while her former rivals were in oblivion, shown either glee or mercy (which would be related to awareness of F). Merkel's answers - which were seen as odd by journalists - show again weak F, E and R, but R rather as something she feels the need to pay at least lip service to, pointing to R3.

Angela Merkel has been married (for the second time) since 1998 to Joachim Sauer, a chemistry professor in Berlin of some reputation in the field of heterogeneous catalysts. He keeps an extremely low public profile and they both prefer to live in their own apartment in Berlin, where she has said she likes to take refuge in a quiet atmosphere and cook for her husband. She has often openly expressed dislike for the gigantic Federal Chancellery designed and built by Helmut Kohl as the seat of government of the new unified Germany (a sign of lack of concern for any negative PR those comments could cause - weak focus on E+T) and that she prefers not to work at the huge Kohl-designed desk in her office but rather at the more down-to-earth meeting table. All of that points to a person with a clear focus on S, but with a lack of concern for, even awareness of, the symbolic trappings of power of her office (E+T). Also revealingly, when recalling her life as a researcher in East Berlin, what she emphasised as being very negative and depressive about that period was not the lack of freedom in East Germany along with the awareness that colleagues might be Stasi informers - no, what she found most depressive was how "ugly" everything was in East Germany. All of the above points to S as far more valued than F and places Merkel in the Alpha or Delta quadras.

What we have so far points consistently to a Logical type of the Alpha or Delta quadras who has very low focus on F, E and R, and the consistent description of her behaviour in her earliest political activities suggest an Integrator type. That would point to LII as well as SLI as plausible types; however, Merkel's approach to R and L  noted above points to R3 rather than to R6, and her S, although valued, seems S6 rather than S1: Merkel likes positive S sensations for herself but she is not a person obviously able to create a positive S environment for others, by means of a warm or soothing personality. The evidence points to LII as Angela Merkel's type and that fits everything that is known about her, as well as her approach to the office of German Chancellor.

To learn more about LII, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources: besides Wikipedia, several YouTube interviews as well as interviews and articles in the weekly Der Spiegel.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Ed Wood (ILE): Personality Type Analysis

Edward David Wood Jr., best known simply as Ed Wood, was an American film director, producer, writer, and actor, as well as the author of plays and many books, mostly novels. He has often been called the “worst director of all time”, having directed the supposedly “worst film ever made”, Plan 9 from Outer Space in 1956. Although he achieved little recognition in his lifetime, he later became a cult figure, a status consolidated by Tim Burton’s 1994 biographical film Ed Wood starring Johnny Depp. 

Ed Wood was born in 1924 in New York to middle-class parents. Already in his teens he showed enthusiasm for films and film-making. He served as a marine in WWII in the Pacific, seeing combat several times and being wounded more than once. Discharged as a corporal, he moved to Hollywood in 1947 to start working as a filmmaker. Although able to get work in the mainstream movie and television industry as a writer and director of commercials and very low-budget productions, from the beginning Ed preferred to work independently; a path he maintained to the end.

In 1953 Ed wrote, directed and starred (under a pseudonym) the semi-autobiographical, semi-documentary Glen or Glenda; it and his later Bride of the Monster and Plan 9 from Outer Space are today the movies most often associated with Ed Wood, but his total body of work, including movies where he just wrote or produced, is much vaster. Unfortunately, Ed never achieved critical or commercial success in his lifetime, sinking in the 1970s into exploitative soft-porn films and alcoholism, until his death in 1978 from a heart attack during an episode of binge drinking and depression.

We can get a first hint from Ed Wood’s Socionics type from a broad-brush look at his movies as a whole – at least those of the 1950s and 1960s, where they were still 'his' films, before he sunk into pure exploitation flicks. Their common traits are:

  1. a spark of originality, even in old genres, that make them somewhat innovative in relation to similar movies of the time; 
  2. usually plots that do make some sense and are often complex (even in implausible or absurd scenarios or premises); 
  3. awkward dialogue that sounds more like digressions on ideas or obvious tools to carry the plot rather than plausible portrayals of how human beings interact; 
  4. extremely low budgets with the cheapness of the sets and special effects being laughably obvious; 
  5. the use of stock footage to complement the story (or as padding); 
  6. very bad, wooden acting except when he had a truly good actor like Bela Lugosi.

Something revealing about the above traits is that Ed genuinely did not seem to realise the extent to which his awkward dialogues, extremely bad acting and obviously cheap effects and sets would detract from the audience's enjoyment of the often entertaining and original stories. He seemed to think that the audience would mostly overlook those 'details' in favour of enjoying the pictures as a whole (as he himself did). He obviously knew these movies were cheap; but he did not see the extent to which they came across as shoddy. I argue that that already points to Ed Wood having weak R, as well as E since he had extreme difficulty with convincing, realistic dialogues (showing a difficulty in understanding how people interact) but also probably weak S since he seemed to underestimate how his shoddy details would come across.

Ed's chief defining trait was an extreme self-confidence in being able to make movies single-handedly and in his ability to write original, interesting scripts in a variety of subjects and genres, as well as in bringing to production movies from nearly non-existing resources. This points to strong confidence in I as well as P, being naturally able to generate novel ideas and find the practical means of making his ideas work in reality.

Interestingly, Ed was far more focused on making the movies he wanted to make rather than making money from them, both in terms of not 'selling out' by trying to work as a hired hand for others, and in not really being very careful about protecting his interests when signing contracts and the like. Also, although Ed was depressed in the end due to the failure of his career, financial gain was never his chief motivation. That points to weak and subdued F as well as subdued P. It is useful to contrast Ed Wood with his near-contemporary, Roger Corman (LSE). Corman was in many ways similar to Ed in preferring to make his own movies independently and making them very cheaply. The chief difference is that Corman's ultimate goal was making profitable movies even at the cost of their originality, with Corman being far more a producer than a writer and creator of original movies he cared deeply about - that is, with P being a greater priority than I.

Ed's movies are also original and unconventional by slightly deviating from the norm in existing genres and movies, and he did that in a large variety of ways. He seldom, or never, went into truly 'experimental' movies that went deeply outside the norm or explored deep insights or inner demons, he preferred to explore ideas broadly while not going too deeply into them. That is consistent with being strong in I and preferring it over T for a filmmaker.

Taking a closer look at Glen or Glenda, which according to Ed himself is an accurate depiction of one aspect of his psychology and private life, we find an inclination towards cross-dressing. Ed Wood retained since childhood a liking for wearing women's clothes and a special liking for angora pieces. Yet, by all accounts, including of his ex-wife Dolores Fuller and his widow, Kathy O'Hara, this had no connection to homosexuality or transgenderism, but was a purely sensorial fetish, since his childhood when his mother used to dress him in girl's clothes, of angora in particular.

Ed's inner thoughts on the matter are probably illustrated by this passage of Glen or Glenda :
Give this man satin undies, a dress, a sweater and a skirt or even the lounging outfit he has on and he’s the happiest individual in the world. He can work better, think better, even play better. He can be more of a credit to his community and his government, because he is happy".
This is a first-person description of S5, in particular blocked with E in super-id, and according to those who knew him intimately it accurately represents his reasons for his cross-dressing.

This all boils down to a man of very strong and valued I1, with strong but subdued P8, weak and valued S5 and E6 as well as subdued very weak R4 with likely F3. The type that fits Ed Wood best is ILE.

The Church of Ed Wood, established in 1996, is a legally recognised religious organisation in the US based on Ed Wood as the Saviour.

To learn more about ILE, please click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Sources: besides Wikipedia and direct observations of his movies, the documentaries Ed Wood: look back in angora  and the "Incredibly Strange" episode on Ed . 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Avicenna (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ibn Sīnā, commonly known as  Avicenna or Ibn Sīnā, was a Persian Islamic philosopher responsible for bringing Aristotle's (LIE) works into the wider consciousness in the Post-Classical era. He originated a version of the Argument from the First Cause for the existence of God. Avicenna was also widely respected in his day for his medical writings and his textbook, The Cannon of Medicine, which remained a standard work until the 17th centuryBorn near Bukhara in modern-day Uzbekistan in 980, Avicenna had memorised the Koran by the age of 10 and by 21 was a well-rounded intellectual, accomplished in all areas of learning including medicine, mathematics, music, astronomy and logic. Avicenna lived in turbulent times, when Turkish forces were fighting for dominance in Central Asia. At the same time, local Iranian dynasties were struggling to gain independence from the central Muslim dynasty, the Abbasid caliphate, which was based in modern-day Baghdad, Iraq. Despite having to move from town to town in Khorasan to work for living as a physician and an administrator - Avicenna managed to further his intellectual pursuits and wrote around 200 treatises as well as several major works, of which the most famous are the Kitab ashifa (Book of Healing) and al-Qanun fi at-tibb (The Canon of Medicine). 

Avicenna's major contributions to the sciences were in medicine and philosophy. Reason, reality and a deep seated skepticism in determining fact from fiction was central to his philosophy. He also stressed the importance of gaining knowledge to be used as a tool to sharpen the mind. Avicenna believed that through reason, it was possible for an individual to progress through various levels of understanding and eventually reach the truth about God; the ultimate object of knowledge. Avicenna held that since God was the originator of existence, he must be pure intellect. Avicenna's approach was slightly different. He developed a scientific procedure in which "general and universal questions came first and eventually led to experimental work." It seems that Avicenna believed that the theoretical and the practical were two separate things, that theory was primarily just speculative and required practice to put it into reality. This gives us a decent case of the Gamma Researcher method to deal with unique ideas by diminishing the quantity of conceivable outcomes we consider, in view of testing of what really works. In this way, we can say at any rate this fits P1 and T2 for Avicenna - as he always scanning for and including himself in pragmatic ventures keeping in mind incredulously to decision components of his rationality that didn't fill a teleological need, instead of discover more things that fit the hypothesis.

As a young adult, Avicenna attempted to integrate elements of Aristotelian and Platonic (IEI) philosophy with his belief in God as the creator. In this area, he departed from Classical thinking and took on the central subject of metaphysics - the existence of God. Drawing on Plato's ideas, he made a distinction between essence and existence. He described essence is the nature of things, while physical manifestation is entirely separate. For example: The essence of a 'horse' or a 'stone' does not imply that a particular horse or stone exists. Existence has to have been created by a necessary essence that is itself not caused. To put it another way, for the material world to have come into being, another factor must have caused it; in turn another factor must have brought this factor into being. Avicenna proposed that an essential cause and its effect cannot be part of an infinite chain. There has to be a First Cause, and this is God. God is the necessary existent, and the world emanated from him. In this way, Avicenna believed that he had proved God's existence. Avicenna went on to show that God, reflecting on his own existence, emanated a First Intellect; the self awareness of this intellect gave rise to a Second Intellect. Successive levels of intelligence emanated from them, creating the universe and the matter that fills it; the tenth and final intellect produced the material world. For Avicenna, the nature of God means that the universe has to exist as it does. Every stage from the First Intellect through all the emanations to the creation of the material world was entirely necessary and not the work of a deity that decided the form of creation. Thus, the creation of God and the universe were all part of the same process. This contradicted the biblical and Koranic theory of Creation as an act of free will on the part of God. Within Avicenna's work, he was somewhat unconcerned with managing minor points of interest identified with their pragmatic work. He ignored the handy matters of association and the subtle elements of executing their thoughts, while driving an exceptionally dynamic way of life that infrequently veered off from his work, leaving insignificant time for unwinding. Moreover, in spite of managing broadly with medicinal practices - he found the physical state of the human body to sicken and inclined to controlling the psyche and soul into falling into evil longings like desire and intemperance. From what data we think about Avicenna, we can say in any event that he was a S4 type that gave little consideration to the physical components of his surroundings and had little commitment to expand on the parts of medicine that had nothing to do with scientific investigation.

For individuals to gain knowledge and grow closer to the truth about the Creator, they had to attempt to grasp the intelligible, using reason and logic. Avicenna followed Aristotle's thought in Prior Analytics, which he identified the capacity for a person to hit upon the middle term of syllogism to develop arguments. (A traditional syllogism has two premises and a conclusion, such as 'All mortal things die. All men are mortal things. All men die.' The middle term is the term that the two premises have in common - in this case, mortal things) For Avicenna, when a person understood such intelligibles, he or she came in touch with the active intellect, the final level of being that originated from God. The capacity for gaining knowledge varied enormously between people; a prophet who knew virtually all of the intelligibles, had the greatest capacity. He found mathematics and metaphysics as hard and thorny subjects. Both are purely theoretical, and usually the natural domain of the LII. He found it easy to make progress in medicine, which is an extremely practical subject, that requires a high level of practical improvisation, to tailor the treatment to the patient. That being said, Avicenna was not interested in thinking about the internal consistency of logical systems. He entirely based his viewpoints and suppositions on factual information, evidence, and ideas external to systems of logical inference. This fits L7 being largely overshadowed by strong and valued P.

For Avicenna, it was the human soul that engaged with the task of gaining knowledge of reality. The human soul was incorporeal - separate from the material world. This was because an intellectual thought, in order to remain a coherent concept, but instead was held by one single intellect. The soul was therefore also immortal, the disintegration of the body after death did not affect it. In Avicenna's final major philosophical work, Kitab al-isharat wa at-tanbihat (Book of Directives and Remarks), he wrote of the path of knowledge from the beginning to the final vision of God. It was written during the last fourteen years of his life in which he lived relatively peacefully in the employ of Ala ad-Dawlah, the ruler of Esfahan, Iran. Within Avicenna's span of over 200+ written works, he digresses on several topics that he learned for his own sake, but subjected these ideas to skeptical evaluation based on their applicability or usefulness to other ideas. Nevertheless, this supports the idea of I8 and taking a keen interest in a very broad range of topics that he compiled into a series of written works.

From what I've recorded above as of now is consistent with P1, T2, S4, L7 and I8. That is, the LIE type of information metabolism.

To learn more about LIE, click here.

If you are confused by our Socionics shorthand, click here.