Monday, 21 March 2016

Stephen Hawking (ILE): Personality Type Analysis

Stephen William Hawking, CH, CBE, FRS, FRSA is the former Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and author of 'A Brief History of Time', which was an international bestseller. Stephen Hawking's scientific investigations have shed light on the origins of the cosmos, the nature of time and the ultimate fate of the universe. His bestselling books for the general audience have given an appreciation of physics to millions. Stephen Hawking is regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein (ILE).

In Stephen Hawking's pursuit of optimizing theoretical cosmology in helping non-scientists understand fundamental questions of physics and our existence, he very frequently presents the reader with theories and alternatives developed over the years by various scientists. Stephen Hawking perceives unlimited potential within each concept, readily adapting and calculating the impending results of alternative considerations within the field, without great disturbance. He covers a very wide range of scientific interests in his research, articulating these interests with immense creative insight, especially in experimenting with the unconventional ideas that fit together into a grand framework of interrelated concepts to achieve intellectual awakening in how we perceive the world. 

Additionally, Stephen Hawking was also very inquisitive in his youth, reading up on any subject he found interesting and always brought a sense of intellectual play in the concepts he explained to others. This suggests that Hawking had strong and valued I, in the sense of constantly broadening his horizons and keeping an open-mind about ambiguity within his field of research. His orientation towards thinking in terms of the 'big picture' and becoming frequently involved in the latest idea or research project his curiosity takes him to, makes the most sense in the case of I1. What I think is very clear in Hawking's work, is his desire to convey the logical consistency of the theories that he wants to communicate to others. Stephen Hawking interprets the specific qualities of each concept, discarding the measurable facts that have no place in theoretical systems and using rhetoric to better explain the hows and whys of scientific phenomenon. In his work, Stephen Hawking derives principles, models and mathematical certainties, fragmenting the essential parts of a concept and reconstructing new ideas in favor of optimizing the newest theory or field of study he engages himself in writing about. Stephen Hawking is far more interested explaining various phenomena using general terms and is much less seriously invested in the properties and categories of scientific theories. Stephen often treats the importance of logical structure as a form of entertainment and novelty in how various ideas can be deconstructed and rebuilt into something completely different, yet still internally consistent. This solidifies the suggestion of L2 that systematizes the relationships and connections between seemingly unusual concepts.

In his youth, Stephen Hawking was quite the jokester who once placed a bet with a colleague over the existence of a black hole, simply to get an emotional reaction out of them for being proven wrong. He was very witty and goofy student when around peers and immediately opened up to others when his colleagues and teachers loved him and praised him. He went to efforts to perform to a crowd of people and felt comfortable expressing himself emotionally when the atmosphere was initially set. In the various interviews that I've seen Hawking respond in, he had no problem within humorous interviews in which he had to contribute to the positive emotional atmosphere and appeared to be very excitable when exposed to novel and satirical humor. However, Stephen Hawking is a very emotionally stable individual and can often come across as reserved or submerged in his thoughts, not coming across as very emotionally vibrant. His natural pensiveness in emotional expression and immediate shift towards positive emotions when the atmosphere is set a good argument in favor of E6.

In addition, Stephen Hawking was very capable of establishing a very dry and factual exchange with the other individual - often posing profound questions with embedded solutions of pragmatism. This would often occur whenever Hawking deemed that it would be necessary to stray from an exploratory topic of conversation to further advance to something more factual. At any rate, Hawking clearly had a knack for figuring out how things worked and was apt to rapidly making sense of the physical sciences - even if a theory seemed preposterous given the limited amount of information about the subject at the time. 

Nevertheless, Stephen was easily able to substantiate objective information in favor of proving the multiple books that he had written to help contribute to further learning in the scientific community. This illustrates an individual with strong L and P - despite naturally preferring L - in improving his resourceful and inventive P8. Thus far what has been mentioned about Stephen Hawking clearly points towards I1, L2, E6 and P8. In conclusion, I believe Stephen Hawking is a good representative of the ILE type of information metabolism.

To learn more about ILE, click here.

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

Editor's Note: Why Stephen Hawking is NOT 'INTJ' in MBTI

Many MBTI sites, including have typed Stephen Hawking as INTJ. However, this conveys a strong misunderstanding about this type, which, like ILI, is composed of T+P (or Ni+Te). While MBTI and Socionics can have their differences, it is important that both systems maintain a clear difference in the cognitive approaches of their different types, i.e. ENTP and INTP with L and I (Ne and Ti) should have the opposite approach to Intuition and Logic, when compared to ENTJ and INTJ.  The NT types are often to be found in their element, dealing with the abstract side of how the world works, such as in theoretical physics, philosophy, mathematics, etc. However, there is a clear split between how the xNTPs and the xNTJs approach these subjects:
  • For xNTPs, Ti and Ne would be the focus. This means someone who wants a framework (Ti) that can be applied across a vast array of different possible contexts and situations (Ne). In essence, the xNTP wants a 'Theory of Everything'. They are willing to try out lots of different ideas, attempting to find something which fits together intuitively and elegantly. In this way, they are motivated by intellectual sense-making, rather than a fundamental scepticism. Classic system builders like Albert Einstein, Immanuel Kant, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz etc. would all fit this way of thinking. 
  • For xNTJs, Ni and Te would be the focus. This means someone who wants to reduce the number of possibilities we consider (Ni), based on testing of what actually works (Te). Popper's 'Falsification Principle' is a very good example of this, where anything that cannot possibly be shown to be false must be invalid. This is the point of these types, they are sceptical by nature. They do not think that the theory can apply to all instances, and they look for evidence to say that the theory does not work. They seek to rule things out, rather than find more things that fit the theory. In this way, when xNTJs do finally formulate a theory on how things work, it is only because they have managed to eliminate all the alternatives, and this theory is the only one to stand up to their hard scepticism.
It is quite clear from Stephen Hawking that he would fit into the former xNTP camp. The film based off of his life was even called 'The Theory of Everything'. He is motivated to find theories to explain events on a cosmic scale. While an INTJ would spend time trying to falsify knowledge claims, Hawking comes up with new theories, that others try to debunk. Although Hawking can make use of empirical data, debunking is not his chief motivation. He has chiefly been a conceptual optimist, looking to find that perfect theory. This is why he was the first to propose a theory unifying general relativity with quantum mechanics and why he can be so keen to support the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. An INTJ would rather look to support an explanation only once they have ruled out all the other explanations.

For these reasons, INTJ would NOT be a good typing for Stephen Hawking.

No comments:

Post a Comment