Monday, 30 May 2016

Roger Corman (LSE): Personality Type Analysis

Roger William Corman is an independent American film-maker, mainly as director, producer, screenwriter, and studio head, active since the 1950s. Corman is mostly famous for the vast number of extremely low budget movies he made in a wide range of genres, mostly horror, science-fiction, adventure or comedy, and for having helped launch the career of many now very famous actors and directors, like Jack Nicholson (SLE), Robert de Niro, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola.

Originally Corman graduated as an engineer, but immediately decided to go into moviemaking instead, starting as a messenger in the 20th Century Fox studios, then quickly moving into independent film-making, Corman's consistent traits as a producer were a focus in maximising the efficiency in the use of scarce resources, re-using sets, wardrobes, and having actors and staff performing many roles and parts in the same movie. One extremely illustrative example of his approach is seen in how he came to make the movie "The Terror" in 1963: having completed one of his (relatively) higher-budget films, the horror comedy "The Raven", he realized that he still had three days to use that movie's elaborate sets before they were dismantled. Seeing an opportunity and disliking waste, he immediately asked an associate to prepare a script for another movie and asked two of "The Raven"'s actors, Boris Karloff and Corman's close associate Jack Nicholson, to shoot a few more scenes. The result was the movie "The Terror", mostly regarded as a low-quality effort with a plot that makes little sense, but which did make effective use of the sets before their demolition.

Likewise, Roger Corman shot the original "The Little Shop of Horrors" in 1960 in just two days, at very low cost, at the same time arguably creating the genre of horror/black comedy. Corman's 1990 memoir is titled "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime". He clearly sees himself primarily as a cost-effective producer and studio head rather than an innovative artist or film-maker; in interviews, he is extremely critical of the trend towards hugely expensive movies, starting in the late 1970s, which he found even immoral since there were better ways to spend or invest so much money. According to co-workers, he would keep the business side of making a movie all to himself, but gladly delegate to others creative control in writing or directing. He was famous for allowing, even encouraging, members of his team to assume different responsibilities and roles, often in the same movie.

The traits of high focus on maximising the efficient use of scarce resources, while believing in, and encouraging, creativity in others, already points very strongly to P and S in the Ego, and I in the Super-Id. As the above anecdotes show, Corman's ultimate goals were P+S, the efficient use of existing resources, with I a tool towards those goals. In his approach to relationships with individuals, Corman clearly preferred to work with the same team over several movies, asking them to change or expand their skills if necessary, rather than look for new people according to their skills. This extreme conservatism in relationships with individuals points to valued but weak R, likely in the Super-Id.

Another trait that points to Corman's valuing of I is in his having been very active in distributing high-quality foreign movies in the US, like Bergman's and Kurosawa's, when nobody else was interested. He did that despite the relatively low potential for financial profit, because he thought that was an interesting alternative to his standard production of low-budget movies aimed at entertainment. Early in his career the produced himself a more serious and meaningful movie, "The Intruder", which however was of disappointing financial returns, making him more careful about such experiments.

Finally, as a person, in interviews, Corman consistently comes across as low-emotion, blunt but polite and friendly, only occasionally showing amusement or irritation, which points to E role.

Everything in Roger Corman points to the Delta values of P, S, I and R, and more specifically to P1, S2, E3R5 and I6. Corman is clearly a LSE.

To learn more about LSE, click here.

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

Besides his memoirs listed above, interviews available online and the documentary "Corman's World".

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Wilhelm II (EIE): Personality Type Analysis

Wilhelm II was King of Prussia and German Emperor (Kaiser) from 1888 to 1918, when he abdicated and fled into exile in the Netherlands,  at the end of the First World War. He has been considered one of the individuals with the most responsibility for the outbreak of that conflict; however, in contrast to Adolf Hitler’s (EIE) role in WWII, the Kaiser’s historical responsibility in WWI and his broader historical role, as well as judgments of his character, remain a source of controversy among historians, in Germany and elsewhere.

Wilhelm II can be regarded as the first, or only, 'true' German Emperor in the context of the German Empire as recreated by Otto von Bismarck in 1871, since his grandfather Wilhelm I showed little interest in exploring the potential and significance of that role, preferring to remain in essence a King of Prussia, and his father Friedrich III only reigned for 3 months, during which he was already dying of throat cancer. It is largely because of this that Wilhelm II is often referred to as simply “the Kaiser”, both in German and in English.

The historical controversy regarding the Kaiser’s role in WWI can be explained by two factors that lead to ambiguous interpretations: (1) the uniqueness of the imperial constitution of 1871 and (2) the nature of the Kaiser’s personality and character, which reinforced the confusion caused by (1).  The 1871 constitution was designed by Bismarck – the chancellor (prime minister) – to fit the precise circumstances of his relationship with Wilhelm I: the chancellor was the head of government, but could be appointed or dismissed only by the Kaiser, with no direct accountability to the elected Reichstag, the parliament. Yet legislation and the budget needed to be approved by the Reichstag. That meant that if on the one hand the Kaiser’s personal power was severely limited by his need to govern through a Chancellor, and with some cooperation from the Reichstag, it also meant that the Chancellor’s independence was severely curtailed by the fact that the Kaiser could dismiss him, in principle, whenever he wished. Still, the Kaiser could hardly appoint as chancellor non-entities that would just do his bidding as they would have difficulty getting legislation approved. To make the situation still more complicated, the Kaiser himself was the supreme commander of the armed forces, without needing the Chancellor, but the military budget needed the Reichstag’s approval. The Kaiser’s somewhat confusing constitutional position is not directly related to Socionics but it helps to explain his actions in the context of his Socionics type.

One of the Kaiser’s most visible personal characteristics was the inclination to give bombastic, off-the-cuff speeches (especially to the army) where he used extravagant warmongering language (“take no prisoners!” etc), and at least one interview (the “Daily Telegraph affair”) where he made seemingly outlandish, and definitely tactless, claims (such as to have personally designed the British military strategy plan in the Boer War, and that his increasing maritime power was aimed at containing Japan rather than Britain, although Germany was in peace with Japan, etc). Likewise, his surviving annotations on letters, reports etc are equally bombastic . In isolation, such traits show a person inclined to make aggressive,  extravagant and boastful remarks based on his emotions of the moment – especially since with the Kaiser, there was an immense distance between his words and his actions (but also because the latter were limited by the nature of his constitutional position).  Often his remarks were so over-the-top that they made others question his seriousness or even his sanity, as in when he addressed Tsar Alexander III as “the admiral of the Pacific” and himself as “the admiral of the Atlantic”, which only led the Tsar to think that Wilhelm II was nuts. Yet, by all accounts, the Kaiser could be charming, approachable and genial in his dealings with individuals, especially those of clearly inferior position in the social hierarchy, whom he tried to put at ease. This is clearly visible in the many surviving film recordings of his public appearances, on occasions such as visiting an orphanage or as a good-humoured old gentleman in his Dutch exile. Also, the Kaiser was perhaps the first major public figure in the world to grasp the value, even the necessity, of exploiting the then-novel medium of cinema as a way to project and control his public image, alternating between an approachable “politician” and a formal, dignified monarch, according to the occasion. All of the above traits point to a man with a prime emphasis on E. This is further confirmed by his daughter, who said that he had the gift of “making each of his children to think they were his personal favourite”.

His two predecessors as Kaiser, his grandfather and his father, were contented to abide by the spirit of the 1871 constitution and let the chancellor- Bismarck – run the government with nearly as much independence  as a modern prime minister. By contrast, Wilhelm II, upon ascending the throne in 1888, quickly started clashing with Bismarck as to who 'was really in charge', partly due to policy disagreements, but mostly due to the question of status (ie whether Wilhelm II could meet ministers individually without Bismarck’s presence). This led to Bismarck resigning and the Kaiser accepting. Immediately afterwards Wilhelm II had two short-lived chancellors who were neither as strong-willed as Bismarck nor as accommodating as the Kaiser would have wished, until he found his seemingly perfect match in Bernhard von Bülow, his longest-serving chancellor (9 years). Von Bülow was a master in running the government as he pleased while never challenging the Kaiser’s formal superior position. The above traits suggest that Wilhelm II was mostly concerned with confirming his superior status in political hierarchy rather than insisting on implementing specific programs of government. This further confirms the Kaiser’s higher focus on E rather than on P but also points to highly Valued F, as also the nature of his spontaneous bombastic remarks. All of that is even further confirmed by the Kaiser’s vast expansion and modernization of the German military navy: that was done through the Kaiser’s personal involvement, and was one of the reasons for the background to WWI, with Britain fearing that Germany aimed at challenging British naval supremacy even to the point of eventually being able to attack Britain directly. Yet, by all accounts, the Kaiser’s true motivations can be summed up simply as “Germany can’t lag behind Britain” rather than as part of a detailed plan or specific policy goals, which further confirm his higher focus on F than on P.

The above traits – a dominant focus on Valued E and F, less emphasis on P – already put Wilhelm II squarely in the Beta quadra. The consensus among all those who observed him in describing the Kaiser as rather hyperactive and energetic, besides extremely talkative, strongly indicate that he was an energiser/extravert, so EIE or SLE.

The Kaiser was known for being much better in getting policies started than making sure they were completed, except in some very specific cases such as the build-up of the navy, about which he felt particularly strongly. He was noted for showing strong interests in a variety of subjects, including technological innovation and archaeology, about which he would gladly engage in informal conversation. Most notably, he involved himself in promoting scientific research, technological development and education in Germany, sponsoring the creation of the hugely prestigious Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut (today the Max-Planck-Institut) and pushing for education reform in Prussian universities so they would emphasize what today are called “STEM” fields. Those traits, although not ruling out SLE as a type for Wilhelm II, do suggest a very strong and spontaneous focus on I, suggesting that that was more likely I8 (as in EIE) rather than I3 (as in SLE).

The Kaiser’s use of F was directly connected to his use of his position as Kaiser. Yet, when truly challenged, he could  find himself in situations  where he was not sure how to exercise personal volitional pressure.  Thus he found himself into a nearly-powerless position during WWI, with generals von Hindenburg and Ludendorff effectively running the war effort; and despite the Kaiser’s foreign policy initiatives having helped set up the background for WWI, in reality he found himself unable to stop it from escalating at the last moment. Finally, he was rather easily pushed into abdication and exile at the end of WWI, feeling depressed, by von Hindenburg. This suggests a much weaker F than in a SLE.

A Beta energiser with quite visible I, extremely visible E, and valued but not-so-strong F: that is perfectly consistent with E1, I8 and F6. Further, besides a vague belief in the divine right of monarchs, it is difficult to see in Wilhelm consistent worldviews or ideologies, showing weak and/or subdued L. All the evidence makes EIE as more likely as Wilhelm II’s type than any other.

Sources: my first views of the Kaiser were shaped by Robert K Massie’s book “Dreadnought”, then further by Christopher Clark’s biography “Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power”.

To learn more about EIE, click here.

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

Monday, 23 May 2016

The Problem With Keirsey Temperaments

Those into MBTI have probably heard of David Keirsey's Temperaments, the system that splits the 16 types into four families of four types. However, like many things associated with MBTI, there are numerous problems that need addressing. In this first instalment of the new The Problem With... series, we will look at Keirsey's Temperaments and see why MBTI enthusiasts really should think twice about relying on them.

It's Messy
Keirsey's Temperaments try to put 16 personality types into four main groupings. However, the rules governing which type goes into which group are not sufficiently explained. Keirsey entirely focuses on the basic 4 Dichotomies that we see in the MBTI, i.e. Extroverted/Introverted, iNtuitive/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling and Perceiving/Judging, ignoring completely the 8 Cognitive Functions that ordain these dichotomies.

Without a clear rationale, it is simply asserted that out of the four dichotomies, the Sensing/iNtuition divide is the most important for how different types of people connect with each other. Although Sensors and iNtuitors differ in their affinity for processing concrete vs. abstract information, the burden of proof remains for explaining how and why this difference is more significant to our interactions than, say, the analytical vs. affective differences of Thinking/Feeling. Already, the split is entirely arbitrary.

Additionally, Keirsey divides Thinking and Feeling for iNtuitors (NTs and NFs), but divides Perceiving and Judging for Sensors (SPs and SJs). It has been suggested that the T/F (objective vs. subjective) divide is more noticeable in the abstract ideas of iNtuitors, while the P/J difference can readily observed in the concrete actions of Sensors. However, this misses the point that the middle two dichotomies (N/S and T/F) are very different to the outer two dichotomies (E/I and J/P). The middle dichotomies both tell you about the capability a person has with different cognitive functions. For example, a Feeler is going to have a more mature grasp and proficient use of both Introverted Feeling (Fi) and Extroverted Feeling (Fe), while having a relatively lesser aptitude for both kinds of Thinking. The same goes with iNtuition vs. Sensation. For this reason, N/S and T/F intersect well in distinguishing types by their capability with cognitive functions.

In contrast, the outer dichotomies tell you about the positioning and preference of these more and less developed functions. We know, for instance, that those matching in E/I and J/P prefer a similar energy in their interactions with the world. An EP may be more impulsive and improvising in nature, an EJ, more proactive and responsibility-taking. However, these concepts have nothing to do with capability and whether they are best with iNtuitive, Sensing, Feeling or Thinking cognitions. For this reason, prioritising Sensing and Judging (or Perceiving) together creates a grouping that partially looks at capability and partially at preference, a sort of hybrid. In the case of SJs, it just sets out the four types who are capable at and prefer Introverted Sensing (Si). For SPs, Extroverted Sensing (Se).

When Keirsey decided to have NT and NF on one side, but SP and SJ on the other, he created a lopsided, arbitrary distinction. The difference between NF and NT cannot be compared to the difference between SJ and SP as the classifications are looking at different things. Instead, it creates greater confusion; while it is easy to explain how NFs relate to NTs and vice versa, it is impossible to do the same comparing NFs with SPs. Perceiving ENFP will have a completely different relationship with the SPs compared to the Judging ENFJ.

This leaves us with a messy system, ordained by arbitrary and inconsistent rules. Not only that, but the system is severely limited in its use, not allowing comparison between the two kinds of Ns and Ss.

It's Inaccurate
A response might be to say that regardless of the theoretical mess, Keirsey's temperaments should still work and accurately describe similarity. However, even this is not achieved. A major flaw of Keirsey's Temperaments comes from inaccuracy in generalising each of the 4 types in a temperament to having certain traits in common. In the Please Understand Me series on Rationals (NTs), it is asserted that all "Rationals need to gather up abilities. Wherever they are and whatever they do, they strive to perform competently, and usually succeed".

For NFs and NTs, their commonality should only lie in their capability at certain cognitive functions. For instance, all NTs should be capable with iNtuition and Thinking, but less capable in Sensing and Feeling. However, in this video, the commonality is expressed as a fundamental value/preference, e.g. competence. Keirsey doesn't assert that NTs merely have the ability to do the same things. Instead, he asserts that NTs actually aspire to be a certain way. In doing so, the neglect of cognitive functions is made clear. After all, the desire to "gather up abilities" and "perform competently" has all the markings of preferred Extroverted Thinking (Te). His description of NT applies rather well to xNTJs, who combine have Te among their preferences and strengths. However, this description of the NT fails to describe the motivations of xNTPs, who prefer Introverted Thinking (Ti) and focus much more on creating and understanding new theories than any sort of competent, productive output. Oddly enough, Keirsey's description of NTs is perhaps even more indicative of xSTJs who both focus on Te, yet these would be SJs under his system. By generalising Te motivations to all NTs, while neglecting to attach that motivation to Te types that are not NTs, Keirsey misinforms people about the types with inaccurate group descriptions.

One can see a similar issue with Keirsey's Idealists (NFs), where the focus is placed much more on finding a higher cause and changing the world on a crusade. Such a focus is typical of xNFJs that prefer Introverted iNtuition (Ni) and Fe. However, it entirely misses the point of xNFPs with Extroverted iNtuition (Ne) and Fi, who shun lofty causes to focus on individuals and exploring their perspectives in good faith. As such, it is clear that trying to unite these four types under a shared value system would be inaccurate, requiring a deliberate neglect of the cognitive functions that drive these values.

Once again, Artisans (SPs) and Guardians (SJs) face a different issue. Artisans share Se and Guardians share Si, so it is appropriate to look for some shared preferences in these groups. However, Keirsey defines these values through the combination of Sensing and Perceiving/Judging, rather than investigating the cognitive functions themselves. As such some meaning is lost.

For SPs, Keirsey places the focus on spontaneity and freedom. However, this emphasis overlooks the fact that Ne is perhaps even more prone to whimsicality than Se, yet Ne types are relegated to the NFs and NTs. Ne is the function that tries to keep multiple possibilities open, hating to be limited or obligated, yet Keirsey tries to assign this to the SPs. Consequently, Keirsey places too much emphasis on the superficial, free-spirit behaviours we associate with all Perceiving types, rather than going into the unique qualities of Se and how it creates a certain world-view of immediate action and impact on the present moment. This ability to act with immediacy can protect freedom, but it can also be harsh and dominating. ESTPs are notable among the SPs for being rather more combative and ambitious than freedom-loving, e.g. Donald Trump, Alexander the Great and Winston Churchill. Furthermore, in the case of ISxPs, where Ne is especially lacking, but Ni occupies the tertiary position, obligation to a singular purpose, can actually be valued in its tendency to reduce the ambiguity of life.

For SJs, Keirsey departs considerably from conventional understandings of Si. By combining Sensing and Judging behaviours, Keirsey forms a pastiche of SJ values as rooted in tradition and preservation, seeking merely to conform to the expectations of society, how things have always been done, and hindering progress. In this focus on tradition, of which no basis can be found in Jung's definitions, Keirsey fails to accurately describe the SJs and what drives their behaviour. A description that does justice to the SJs would emphasise their desire for high quality and precision (rather than impact) of sensory experience. The xSFJs should create positive moods and hospitable surroundings, while the xSTJs should cultivate practical, high-quality work. Instead, Keirsey replaces these more complex, virtuous motivations with a general status as "conservators", a very relative quality more common with older people in society regardless of type than especially related to cognitive functions or individual personality. These 'Guardians' take "occupations that involve serving others and belonging to established, recognised institutions". Often this is taken to mean that SJs have the greatest intolerance towards novelty. On the contrary, having Ne in the Tertiary position would make ESxJs rather open to new ideas and perspectives and they are actually rather averse to commitment to a set path in life.

As explained, Keirsey's temperaments convey a great deal of inaccurate information when trying to generalise each of the four types per temperament. While the values of NTs and NFs are represented entirely by the xNFJs and xNTJs, the SPs and SJs are unified and described in ways that fail to do them justice alongside more rigorous descriptions of the cognitive functions.

It's Divisive
Continuing to look at the temperaments as Keirsey describes them, we see that while NTs are presented as the intelligent group, NFs the compassionate group and SPs the exciting, creative (although often less intelligent) group, the SJs are left behind in terms of any special or remarkable quality. Instead, Keirsey stresses tradition, conformity and a certain servility as core to SJ values. In this way, a certain hierarchy exists in Keirsey's system, where the SJs, and to a lesser extent, the SPs, are presented as inferior in their intellect, imagination and independent thought to the NFs and NTs. At the same time, little is done to address this disparity in worth. While NTs solve the mysteries of the universe and NFs inspire the world, the SPs are instead set to painting and fixing cars, while the SJs merely serve people better than themselves.

It is perhaps not surprising then that so few people involved in MBTI identify as SJ types. The SJs, widely claimed to be the most common grouping in the world by MBTI enthusiasts, are also the rarest presence on MBTI forums, or at workshops and meetups. The explanation given by many is that SJs simply aren't interested in personality theories like MBTI. However, if Keirsey's description has any merit, then a highly popular theory that has worked its way into prestigious establishments, such as McKinsey & Company, should not turn these types away.

On the contrary, it seems quite likely that when a group is described in an unflattering manner, where they are portrayed as mindless, servile drones of societal conformity, even those who might actually be SJs may not identify with their temperament as described, and may even feel a social pressure to identify as a 'smarter', 'free-thinking' iNtuitive type instead. In addition, being told that a group is just servile and traditionalist is a sure way to prevent attempts to go further and beginning to understand someone's viewpoints and where they are coming from. From personal experience, these dynamics seem to be at least true in a few cases, where I have seen disparaging remarks made by self-identifying iNtuitors about SJs, saying that they could never form a close bond with someone like that, or telling the rare ISFJ that they probably won't enjoy the meetups that go on (implying that the conversation is too mentally stimulating and unorthodox) and even looking surprised to find out that an NT like myself may actually be dating an SJ. I have even met a few people who seem likely SJs, but cling to their NF/NT typings, seeming disgusted that someone would suggest they are Sensing types. The frequency with which I have experienced these attitudes in others has been quite remarkable to me, and serves as a peculiar example of the prejudices people of an in-group can feel towards outsiders they distrust or feel they cannot relate to.

Such prejudice might be considered an unfortunate circumstance of an otherwise well-intentioned theory, except that Keirsey wanted iNtuitors and Sensors to be separated. In an attempt at social engineering, Keirsey asserted that N types mix best with other Ns, while the S types should be left to other Ss. Two types are seen as compatible as long as they are both N or both S. In this way, two very different types, but both iNtuitive, became seen as ideal pairings, such as ENTP with INFJ. Because of this, it can be argued that Keirsey achieved what he wanted in defining a group of personality types as servile traditionalists, while convincing more intelligent sorts of people that they should not mix with these people if they could help it. However, while a set up may be helpful in the short term to the self-indulgent, it divides people up and creates prejudices and insecurities that didn't exist before. As such, one can make a strong case where the continued use of Keirsey temperaments isn't merely confusingly arbitrary and misinforms people, but that in its divisiveness, it actually can cause real damage to people and their relations with others.

It's probably not MBTI
It is perhaps worth noting that many question whether Keirsey's Temperaments, often measured with his Temperament Sorter (KTS) amounts to simply being a separate theory to MBTI. Technically, the MBTI is what is tested using the actual Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and that official measure makes little mention of Keirsey's temperaments.

However, there is no denying that many people can and do mix concepts from MBTI proper with other concepts from related and offshoot Jungian typologies. There is something to be said in the MBTI practitioner paying little attention to categories like Keirsey's Temperaments, but simultaneously, most Jungian typologies are trying to understand personality differences, and operate on a similar 16-type base. As such, it makes sense to try to combine different ideas and theories on the subject together, provided they can be shown to be beneficial and increase understanding.

Unfortunately, it seems from the points above that an arbitrary, inaccurate and divisive system like Keirsey's Temperaments won't provide such such a benefit. Instead, if there is need to split 16 types from Jungian typology into four smaller families, then perhaps the clearly-defined groupings from Socionics, such as Quadra and Club, would be more beneficial.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Jeb Bush (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is an American businessman and politician who served as the Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Most recently he was an unsuccessful candidate for the nomination as Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 elections. He is the younger brother of former president George W. Bush (ESI) and therefore a son of former president George H.W. Bush (LSE).

Jeb Bush was, by any standards, a very successful governor of Florida: the first Republican ever to win reelection in that state, leaving office with 64% approval. His administration focused on cutting taxes and spending while seemingly maintaining a balanced budget (as required by the Florida constitution). As that inevitably included cuts in government spending, such as reducing the Florida state workforce by 11%, his approval rate must be considered a remarkable achievement.

Jeb Bush's chosen self-image as a politician is that of a competent administrator who focuses on making government more efficient while promoting economic growth and what he sees as necessary reforms in education and immigration. Although widely perceived as more articulate than his brother George, Jeb has never been considered a politician that relies on inspirational speeches and oratory. His persona in most interviews is serious-friendly, one could say with a studied politeness, with little display of emotion. He can get emotional - in the form of sadness or annoyance - when discussing specific personal subjects, such as his children's problems with drugs, or Donald Trump (SLE)'s insults during the recent presidential debates. But consistently his preferred approach as a politician has been to present his plans of what he intends to do and his record of having done it, seemingly expecting the electorate to recognize that he knows what he's talking about and therefore would do a good job. In longer, more free-flowing interviews - especially those done way before political campaigns - he seems comfortable and confident when talking at length about several subjects and his ideas to tackle policy problems such as education, immigration and economic growth, liking to focus on innovation and creative ideas, maintaining his friendly-polite persona but almost never cracking a joke or displaying much emotion on such occasions.

The above traits, very consistent, already point to P as Valued and I as a Strong function. His awareness of the need to maintain a friendly-polite personality, which however may come across as flat, besides the fact that he has often been described as "boring", is consistent with E as a weak function but not E4. Also interestingly, like his father, Jeb utterly lacks his brother's chief strength as a politician, namely the ease in coming across as approachable and warm to those in his immediate presence, establishing an easy personal rapport. Yet in that aristocratic family, Jeb had arguably the best chances to learn how to relate to the average person (by not studying in elite universities such as Yale, and volunteering to build schools in Mexico as a young man, etc). This reinforces the notion that both E and R are in weak functions.

When talking to individuals in small towns when campaigning, and when talking at length in an interview about personal issues, such as his daughter's problems with drugs, though, Jeb seems to have the inclination to 'forget' that he is ultimately talking to the general public and focuses on the individuals immediately in front of him, getting more emotional (in a subdued way) as in, sad when talking about his daughter, and annoyed/pissed off/moaning when talking about Trump's insults. Unlike more E-adept politicians - who are always aware that they must project a consistent image - Jeb ends up making comments that are later used against him. This trait - that it is fairly easy to get him to talk about personal issues in (what seems to be) private environments - is consistent with E3 and R5.

Jeb's strengths and weaknesses as a politician may be summed up thus: when in an executive position, he seems to know exactly what he wants to achieve and how to achieve it, and his focus is on economic growth and efficiency, and innovation (again, suggests Strong P). But as a candidate - especially at national level - his weakness is precisely not being able to control the image he's projecting at all times, and - as seen during the recent primary debates - he is completely clueless on how to react to the taunts from Donald Trump (showing Weak and
Subdued E). Jeb's ideal idea of a campaign seems to be, to talk about what he did as governor and what he intends to do as president, giving as much detail as possible, showing that he knows what he's talking about. Likewise in trying to get support among Hispanics, Bush spent time giving interviews and speeches in Spanish, showing his mastery of the language, but seldom trying to appeal at a more emotional level directly.

That was completely inadequate against Trump's tactics, which consisted of saying something crude and exaggerated about Bush (and others), which however seemed to be at least partly true, and hammering on it, until it "stuck" as true. In Jeb's case, it was to describe him as "low energy" - to which Jeb reacted in precisely the wrong way, that is, by moaning a bit about it in small towns (yet still being taped) and in the debates, trying to laugh it off - but not counter-attacking. Suggests Weak although Valued F. The same went for Trump's description of him as too soft on immigration because of his Mexican wife, etc.

What Jeb seemed unable to understand - or to give it enough importance -  is that Trump was slowly 'defining' him in the minds of a large part of the primary voters, so he was unable to effectively counter-attack or respond in kind. Trump was using sheer F - attacks on his adversary's weak points in order to destroy him - blocked with E - not in 'real' terms, but on the image. Jeb seemed not only unable to respond in kind, but incapable of believing that such tactics could work. Even worse, he seemed unable to hide that such taunts did get to him, especially the "low energy" one, suggesting that F is a sensitive point in which he's not very confident, which is indicative of F6.

The above shows. again,  a man far better at P than E or F,, but who does focus on E at the 'socially acceptable level' i.e. his public friendly persona (interestingly, George W Bush once described Jeb as "a rather dour guy" in private). Who keeps coming back to P competence as his selling point, who gets frustrated at F attacks but is at the same time not able, or willing, to fight back at that level. Also, a man who, when talking calmly about his policy ideas, easy slips into I  mode - new uses of technology and their potential, etc., in a way that is consistent with I8,

LIE fits the above traits better than any other type, and is therefore Jeb Bush's likely Socionics type.

Sources: besides Wikipedia and direct observations of Jeb Bush, I think that this video illustrates Jeb Bush's functional ordering of P,  E and I; while this illustrates his valuing of R over E.

To learn more about LIE, click here.

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

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The IM Elements - Part 2: Judgments

The 8 Information Metabolism Elements, often shortened to 'IM' Elements or even 'IMEs', are the building blocks of the Socionics theory. They represent the processes by which a person approaches one of the 8 'Aspects' of reality, presented as information from the external world, as well as our internal thoughts and feelings, before metabolising it into our cognitions and behaviours, essentially personality.

In this Two-Part series, I will go over comprehensive definitions of these IM Elements, covering 1) the Aspect of information, i.e. the kind of information we interact with; 2) the process by which we metabolise this information into the output of our personality; 3) a description of how a 'Strong', capable usage of this IM Element manifests; and 4) a description of how one would 'Value' this IM Element, appreciating its presence and use.

IM Elements can be most broadly split into the more observational Perceptions (i.e. what X is/could be) and the more evaluatory Judgments (i.e. how X should be/ought to be done). For Part 2, I will cover the 4 kinds of Judgment. To see Part 1, where I covered Perceptions, click here.

Pre-amble (skip to the 'Descriptions of the 4 Judgments' if you want a quicker introduction)

Judgments can either be BOTH External (i.e. objective and explicit) and Detached (i.e. experienced without feeling) OR BOTH Internal (i.e. subjective and implicit) and Involved (i.e. experienced vivaciously). The former is known as Logic, while the latter is known as Ethics.

Logic and Ethics can each be further divided into two kinds based on attitude and approach to that sort of Judgment. One could take take a Energising perspective, busily increasing the effectiveness of judgments for each situation. This is done to judgments in a Dynamic manner, continuously revising and changing over time.

Alternatively, one could take an Integrating perspective, sticking to a few that are reliable and correct. This is done to judgments in a Static manner, preserving the integrity of the judgements without being corrupted or changed.

This allows us to formulate 4 varieties of judgment:

  • First, when applying an Energising & Dynamic approach to Logic, we get Pragmatism (P).
  • Applying an Integrating & Static approach to Logic gives us Laws (L). 
  • Similarly, applying an Energising & Dynamic approach to Ethics gives us Emotions (E)
  • Finally, applying an Integrating & Static approach to Ethics results in Relations (R).
These are the 4 Judgments.

Descriptions of the 4 Judgments

1. Pragmatism (P):

Aspect: Factually-informed processes. Any working body or mechanism is made up of moving parts that change in their properties. Continuous observation of such processes provides data on how the thing works, its effects and how it can be improved. Such data is factual and concrete, being clearly substantiated in observation. The larger the quantity of data and the more often it is updated, the better the decisions that can be made, increasing the efficiency of these processes.

Metabolism: The individual focuses their attention on figuring out how things work from available factual data. Anything learned is treated as part of an ongoing stream of useful information, through which methods and strategies can be updated to maximise their productivity. In doing so, the person thinks pragmatically, optimising performance by applying well-informed, accurate expertise on the relevant subject, ultimately doing what works best. In doing so, processes are improved and prudent decisions made, the person being competent and helpful to their environment.

Strength: The person is good at taking in large quantities of factual data and understanding how to apply that information effectively. They are capable at problem solving, having a good sense of what works and how something can be made to perform even better. In addition, when encountering a situation where they might be ignorant, the person will know how to find the information they need and will easily update their thoughts and opinions on things as they learn. They will be able to readily explain how things work to others, relaying the facts with confidence, being widely knowledgeable. [Applies to ILE, LII, LSI, SLE, ILI, LIE, LSE & SLI.]

Value: The person places importance on doing things effectively for oneself. The individual needs to feel that they are improving, getting better at things in their life through the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Without continuous improvement in some way, they may feel they are being wasteful. They will place an emphasis on communication to accurately inform people in its full complexity, preferring to say only what they know to be factually true and helpful, expecting others to take what they say at face value. They may similarly correct simplification or exaggeration. [Applies to SEE, ILI, LIE, ESI, LSE, EII, IEE & SLI.]

2. Laws (L):

Aspect: Structures and axioms. Any data set can be found to have underlying norms and rules that seem fundamental to it. Distinct elements of a set can be shown to have qualities in common, which based on membership to a set, can be generalised categorically. Furthermore, all propositions in a system must be consistent to all be true. Consequently, structures can be formulated to reduce complex data to a finite set of rules, making sense of the available information, with fundamental axioms necessitating or negating contingent propositions.

Metabolism: The individual identifies regularities and norms in their data, formulating models with finite rules to explain what is necessitated and what is not permitted. Such systems are designed with consistency, accounting for what fits together without contradiction. Similarly, order is brought to chaotic situations through the imposition of rules with consequences, communicating the parameters by which certain actions are unlawful or obligated, and classifying available data into different kinds and varieties so as to aid comprehension of what things are and how they differ.

Strength: The person is good at making sense of their thoughts and of the things around them, being able to formulate a clear rationale for their positions. Similarly, they will be able to disperse confusion by creating categories that best divide up the available data. The person will be associated with refined precision and clarity of thought, quickly spotting what is consistent with what they already know and highlighting any contradictions. In this way, they may come across as highly logical, easily spotting breaches of rules and subtle distinctions between two points of view. [Applies to ILE, LII, LSI, SLE, ILI, LIE, LSE & SLI.]

Value: The person seeks to understand the world around them in a consistent, coherent manner. Desiring clarity and for things to make perfect sense, they look for signal in the noise of data, arranging them in a way that fits together neatly, providing them with a framework to account for new scenarios. The person will appreciate rules that can apply without exception, reducing chaos and confusion. As such, they will tend to create or follow a particular ideology or theory through which events are interpreted to fit together, and will much prefer when things align well under that lens. [Applies to ILE, SEI, ESE, LII, EIE, LSI, SLE & IEI.]

3. Emotions (E): 

Aspect: Affective motivation. People undergo an ever-changing kaleidoscope of emotion. These emotions can vary in nature and intensity, from happiness to anger to fear to solemnity. In each case, these feelings affect the bearer, motivating their behaviour. When expressed, emotion easily passes to other people, where it is felt in turn and passed on. As such, moods can travel outwards to include numerous other people, perpetuating a shared energy or feeling that can provoke or increase enjoyment. This emotional atmosphere can be participated in and contributed to, or undermined.

Metabolism: The individual experiences emotions which they express to the people around them. In doing so, any need to express one's feelings is satisfied and the emotional energy of the environment is increased, leading to greater affect and involvement. In this way, how people feel can be moved and uplifted through public expression, changing people's perceptions and instilling passion. Similarly, people are brought together under these propagated moods, supporting the feeling being created and the activities being undertaken with those feelings.

Strength: The person possesses a good understanding of their emotions and others', knowing how to appeal to their feelings and to be likeable. In this way, they can be charismatic, winning people over with their personality, or cheering them up, and being able to enlist people's voluntary, enthusiastic help. They will be confident in image-control, knowing how people respond emotionally to their behaviour, and making their communications more pleasing or to create a desired effect. In this way, the person will be good at getting a message across to others and instigating the right responses. [Applies to SEI, ESE, EIE, IEI, SEE, ESI, EII & IEE.]

Value: The person desires an enrichment of their emotional experiences, appreciating things by the amount they are made to feel or care. They will be attracted to things that stir interest, passion or enjoyment, preferring what is fun, uplifting or exciting. The person will desire to be accepted or even admired by others, evaluating the goodness of things by their effect on the surrounding emotional state. They will place an emphasis on authentic self-expression, being able to show how they feel, communicating their passions and not wanting to hide how they feel from others. [Applies to ILE, SEI, ESE, LII, EIE, LSI, SLE & IEI.]

4. Relations (R):

Aspect: Personal attitudes and bonds of trust. People naturally possess set characteristics of their personality which make them a certain way, and result in a certain character. The quality of this character can manifest sentimentally in what someone feels is good or bad, the inner sentiment experiencing attraction and repulsion to various stimuli. Similarly, a person's character can be likewise judged to be good or bad by others. In this way, two people of mutually attracting characters can come together in a close bond, or if repulsing, move apart.

Metabolism: The individual consults their personal attitudes towards people and events they encounter, registering whether they are attracted to or repulsed. In this way, judgments are formed on people's character assessing whether they are good and trustworthy, or not. From this judgment, an appropriate psychological distance can be established and maintained, with liked people being kept close as friends, and disliked people being kept away with animosity. In doing so, the individual decides their relationships with others.

Strength: The person has a good awareness of their subjective opinions towards other people and things, knowing with confidence what feels wrong or right to them. With other people, they can confidently decide on a person's character, judging whether they are good for them or not. They will be able to integrate these judgments into their treatment of others with appropriate nuance, setting the right sort of relationship with each person they interact with, allowing stable, reliable loyalties. They can expertly tell apart their friends from their foes, as well as business relations and acquaintances. [Applies to SEI, ESE, EIE, IEI, SEE, ESI, EII & IEE.]

Value: In valuing sincere treatment of people by individual merit, the person places an emphasis on the stability and reliability of their relationships with others, trying to treat each person in line with the way the unique relationship feels to them, based on character judgment. They will prioritise their relations with the people they like, giving preferential treatment and opening up in ways they would not with acquaintances, losing their usual formality. Fidelity is seen as especially important, and the person will try to know where they stand with others, being hurt by those who violate their bond. [Applies to SEE, ILI, LIE, ESI, LSE, EII, IEE & SLI.]

Extra observations

One can be strong at both P & L, OR at both E & R. The former would make someone a 'Logical' type, the latter, an 'Ethical' type.

However, when it comes to valuing information, one can value P & R together OR E & L together. The former would be a type with 'Integrity-Seeking' values, while the latter would be a type with 'Clarity-Seeking' values.