Sunday, 24 December 2017

Contempt (1963): Socionics Analysis of a Case Study of Conflict and Duality

Contempt (Le Mépris) is a 1963 French film directed and written by Jean-Luc Godard (IEI), the most "conventional" and most expensive of his films, with the script following closely the general plot of the novel Il disprezzo by Alberto Moravia. Godard was reportedly unhappy with the whole experience of making a conventional movie with his freedom limited by the producers; he also thought little of the novel. Be that as it may (or maybe because of it), I have found that the insights of the film and the points it seems to make, although not immediately explicit and often confusing for audiences, are made clear by socionics analysis.

The basic story is simple (spoilers follow): the French couple Paul and Camille Javal (played by Michel Piccoli and Brigitte Bardot) live in Rome.  Paul, whose goal is to establish himself as a serious playwright, still needs to make a living by writing crime novels and as a screenwriter-for-hire for the Italian film industry, having written a script for the commercially successful "Toto against Hercules". That leads to an invitation by Hollywood producer Jeremy Prokosch (played by Jack Palance) for Paul to re-write the script of the film he is currently shooting in Italy, a version of the Odyssey, directed by the master of German expressionism, Fritz Lang (played by Lang himself). Prokosch fears that Lang is making it too "artsy" and not commercial enough. Paul accepts the job, with Lang not objecting, because his fees will allow him to pay off the apartment in Rome where he and Camille live. Several encounters between Paul, Camille, Lang and Prokosch (and his assistant/interpreter, Francesca) take place in Rome and finally in Capri, where the Odyssey is being shot. The relationship between Camille and Paul is shown as very loving at first, but gradually cooling off each time they encounter the other characters, culminating in Camille clearly telling Paul in Capri that she no longer loves him; on the contrary, now she only feels contempt for him, and it is suggested that she may be starting a relationship with Prokosch.

The script itself does not make it easy for the audiences to understand exactly why Camille's feelings towards Paul shifted from love to contempt in just a couple of days. A large part of the dialogue is of the increasingly exasperated Paul asking her precisely that, with Camille initially either denying it or giving vague answers, until making it brutally clear in the final sequences in Capri that she indeed now detested him but refusing to explain why: that I will never tell you, until I die. Brief lines of dialogue suggest that Paul does suspect her true reasons and they are hinted at throughout the film, but still not in a very explicit way or explaining precisely why Camille's attitude towards her husband would change so drastically.

A fully consistent explanation is given by looking at the socionics types of the characters. Camille is a very clear and consistent IEI (which is Godard's own type and perhaps also Bardot's); Jeremy Prokosch is an equally clear and consistent SLE, although one whose need to brag about himself points to a clumsy use of E6 not unlike Donald Trump's (also a SLE). Paul is less consistently portrayed but he can be typed as a LSE.  That is, Camille and Paul's relationship was one of LSE-IEI Conflict, and the inherent issues with that relationship were brought to the surface in the presence of Camille's Dual, the SLE Prokosch.

Camille and Paul, although married, did not really understand each other's motivations. Paul was utterly captivated by Camille's beauty and her apparently solid love for him, which he assumed was a "fixed" thing: that is a manifestation of R5, a difficulty with understanding the status of others' relationships to oneself and how stable they are. From her side, Camille admired in Paul what she saw as his artistic integrity and independence, as well as his efforts to provide for her and thus protect her - appreciation of apparent L in others as well as a sign of her F5, the appreciation of others using assertiveness and power on her behalf.

That started to collapse with the entrance of Jeremy Prokosch. First, Paul decided to "sell out" to a vulgar Hollywood producer for the sake of the money he would have to finish paying off their apartment - a "mercenary" P motivation which however may be seen as corrupt by an IEI putting idealistic integrity (higher focus on L) first. Second, Paul, a LSE with very strong but devalued F8, clearly was not intimidated or impressed by Prokosch's overbearing use of F1, essentially not taking him seriously. That however caused precisely the wrong impression on Camille when, on two occasions, Prokosch (not very appropriately) offered Camille rides on his car and later boat, without her husband, with Paul not objecting and even encouraging her to accept, despite her expecting him to object and so "protect" her. But Paul was not taking Prokosch seriously as far as a threat to his relationship with his wife was concerned, due to his dismissive attitude to Prokosch's F and his obliviousness to risks to his R status with Camille - probably also aggravated by LSEs's difficulties in perceiving trends due to their T4. Also, from a practical P perspective, Paul saw no reason to object to her accepting rides from Prokosch.

From a F perspective though - the one that would be natural for the SLE-IEI Dual pair of Camille and Prokosch - what was going on was a high F man making clear his dominance of those around him, extending that to another man's wife. Paul's reaction was perceived not as obliviousness or not taking it seriously, but as submission to Prokosch's F, even to the point of letting his wife exposed to it as well. Paul's "corruption of his artistic integrity" - giving priority to P concerns over L principles - was not enough to make Camille despise him; but his apparent refusal to exercise F on her behalf was too much for her F5. He failed to show precisely what she most expected from him. Hence, her attitude to him became one of contempt. If Paul had used his F to "mark his territory" and said he would take a taxi with Camille, the first time, Prokosch might have taken the hint and Paul might have saved his marriage - at least for a time. As it was, the obvious manifestation of his R5 - his insistent asking of Camille for an explanation as to why she now despised him - would be as puzzling and irritating to her own R8 as her own desire for F had been to him.

There is a good-quality full version of Contempt on YouTube here - unfortunately not with English subtitles. The trailer of the 2016 restoration and re-release, with subtitles in English, is here.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Caligula (EIE): Personality Type Analysis

Caligula, official name Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known as the Emperor Gaius, was the third Roman Emperor, from 37 until his assassination in 41 at the age of twenty-eight. Along with his nephew the Emperor Nero (SEI), Caligula is probably the most (in)famous of all Roman Emperors, known popularly, for two millennia, as the archetype of the insane, depraved ruler. "Caligula" is a nickname, meaning "Little Boots", which he got as a little boy: his parents liked to dress him up in soldier's uniform while among the Rhine legions.

Caligula's "madness":  The image of Caligula as mad, in the sense of clinically insane, goes back to his own time. The most notorious story is that he appointed his horse to the position of consul (i.e. most senior magistrate); that however is an exaggeration of the historical record, which is that Caligula just said he was thinking of doing that. Nevertheless, all the existing historical records are consistent in pointing to Caligula as fond of making sarcastic, insulting, shocking remarks, as well as engaging in equally shocking and cruel behaviour, which often seemed inexplicable, and so it was easy to characterise him as insane. Nowadays the most accepted theory is that although an erratic and often capricious and irresponsible ruler, Caligula's behaviour was closer to what we'd today call a "troll" rather than that of a true lunatic.

Background: Caligula was the great-grandson of Augustus (LIE) and grand-nephew of Tiberius (ILI)Although only twenty-four years old, with no experience in government, and mostly unknown to the general public when Tiberius died, Caligula was the most suitable survivor of the "dynastic civil war" of the ruling family that took place in Tiberius' reign. He was acclaimed and accepted as Emperor of Rome by the Senate, the army, and the general population without much difficulty, above all because he had "inherited" the popularity of his late father, Germanicus.

Caligula was extremely popular at first due to feel-good gestures aimed at erasing the "gloom and doom" mood of the last years of Tiberius, especially the free (or rather reckless) spending on spectacles and public works, dissipating in less than one year the reserves built up by his predecessor. When money ran out, he had to turn to draconian measures to raise money, including higher taxes and confiscation of property of members of the aristocracy on trumped-up charges. He also executed or exiled close members of his family and inner circle, including his two surviving sisters and the Praetorian Prefect, Macro, who had been his most important supporter. A massive military expedition with the official aim of conquering Britain never crossed the Channel; instead Caligula stopped in France to remove and execute his own military governor on charges of conspiracy. Returning to Rome, he addressed the ongoing conflicts between the Greek and Jewish communities in Alexandria by ordering a statue of himself placed at the Temple of Jerusalem, since the Greeks had accused the Jews of not honouring the emperor. The local Roman governor managed to stall fulfilling that inflammatory plan until Caligula's timely assassination. That was the result of a plot involving not only members of Caligula's inner circle, but also senior members of his Praetorian Guard, fed up with the way the emperor would taunt and insult them: by giving them ridiculous and obscene watchwords and moving his finger pornographically when offering his hand to be kissed. A faction of the conspirators, and of the Senate, intended to abolish the very position of emperor and return to the system of the Republic; such dreams were completely derailed when the majority of the Praetorian Guard acclaimed Caligula's uncle, Claudius (ILI) as emperor.

Caligula's obelisk, St Peter's Square, Vatican
Caligula's behaviour:  As already mentioned above, it was Caligula's personal and public behaviour that made the theory of his lunacy seem credible. In a nutshell, he seemed to enjoy taunting, humiliating and scaring anyone of any kind of authority that was in his immediate presence; when interacting with truly humble members of the public, he tended to be more easy-going. His behaviour could be called that of a "troll" or prankster, except that his practically unlimited power, and his lack of scruples in punishing and even executing people, made his behaviour absolutely terrifying to those around him. His assassination was a backlash from that behaviour.

The most complete eyewitness description of Caligula's personal behavior was written by Philo of Alexandria, in his On the Embassy to Gaius, describing how he led an embassy of Jews from Alexandria to make their case to the emperor regarding the ongoing clashes there. Caligula received them as he was inspecting one of his villas and ordering changes in its interior decoration. Caligula seemed to only half listen to Philo's arguments as the whole group followed him from room to room, occasionally taunting them with questions like "why don't you eat pork?" As the Jews argued that different nations have different customs, and some don't eat lamb for instance, Caligula retorted "they're right, for it's not very nice". After complaining to the embassy that Jews were not paying him enough respect by making sacrifices to his statues, he ordered them to leave, saying, "these men do not appear to me to be wicked so much as unfortunate and foolish, in not believing that I have been endowed with the nature of a god".

This behavior - which is consistent with many other reports - makes clear that Caligula did not care at all about making others feel comfortable, welcome, or at ease; on the contrary, his inclination was to make others uncomfortable, scared, uncertain of whether he was joking or not. His pattern was to show in an "in your face" manner that he was far more powerful than those around him. Sometimes he would make the point explicitly, saying, "remember that I can do whatever I want to whomever I want". This very consistent pattern in his behaviour already points to F as quadra value with very subdued S, that is, to the Beta or Gamma quadras. That he also seemed very focused on the emotional response he would cause on others (whether fear, terror, or humiliation) points to a higher focus on E than on P.

Those priorities can also be seen in what is known of his actions in government. First, for someone who was emperor for under four years, the impact of Caligula's building projects in Italy is extraordinary (the tight-fisted Tiberius had built next to nothing in twenty-three years). Caligula brought to Rome the famous obelisk in St Peter's Square, weighing 326 tonnes, ordering the design and construction of a giant ship specifically for that purpose (it would remain the longest recorded ship for centuries, surpassed only in the 19th century). The obelisk was originally placed in Caligula's circus, or race-track, also built by the emperor on his private estates there. Even without knowing the actual sums, it is clear that they must have been astronomical. He also built a vast palace on the Palatine Hill (until then the so-called "imperial palace" had been a network of previously existing private houses), extending it down towards the Forum, behind the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Archaeological evidence confirms that Caligula actually connected the back of the temple to his palace, and it's recorded that he joked that the twin gods were now his "doorkeepers" - yet another example of his sense of humour aimed at making others uncomfortable or at being "edgy". Those building projects, focusing on the biggest, largest, most shocking etc., regardless of cost, are physical manifestations of a higher focus on F and E than on P, pointing to the Beta quadra (or if Gamma, only to SEE).
Caligula's palace on the Palatine hill, with the columns of the Temple of Castor

Much more bizarrely, and defying rational explanation, in the year 39 AD Caligula assembled the available ships (disrupting the grain supply in the process) besides building more for the purpose, in the bay of Naples. He ordered a pontoon bridge, over 2 miles long, built on the ships, connecting the towns of Baiae and Puteoli. Then, wearing Alexander the Great's armour, he spent two days riding his horse back and forth across the bridge, followed by soldiers and cronies, alternating that with wild drunken parties at night, with lots of people falling or being thrown into the sea, with a few drowning in the process. A contemporary, Seneca, wrote that the diversion of merchant ships to that purpose caused a disruption in the grain supply to Rome and its surroundings, with even a short-lived famine.

To the extent that this bizarre and hugely expensive spectacle had any purpose, it can only have been a combination of Caligula's personal amusement, and some kind of "message" he intended to convey with that spectacle, in an "artistic" way; and that message would be somehow related to Caligula's power. The problem is that contemporaries were all baffled at the precise reason for that exercise, demonstrating that Caligula did not bother announcing it. Since it preceded Caligula's (never completed) expedition to Britain, it has been speculated that it was meant as a symbol of his mastery of the seas and of his future conquest of Britain. But whatever Caligula had precisely in mind, the fact that its precise purpose remained unannounced and was almost certainly of symbolic meaning, points strongly to T as in one of Caligula's stronger functions, and T + E in particular. That Caligula again did not care about the expense of that project (and was seemingly unconcerned with the disruption of ship traffic caused by it) points again to P as a subdued and not very strong function.  This combination of functional preferences points more strongly to the Beta quadra, and to EIE or IEI in particular.

Caligula seemed to find it easy to think of cutting, witty remarks, and his approach to policies, projects and even interior decoration seemed more quirky and impulsive than settled; the historian Tacitus (LSI) summed that up with, "his impulsive ideas shifted like a weather-cock". This points to an ease with I and maybe to an Energiser. Finally, what sealed Caligula's fate was his inability or lack of concern with how the attitude of those around him was being shaped by his behaviour.  By making his inner circle, and even his personal armed guard, hate him more than they feared him, he was opening himself to his eventual assassination, yet he did not seem to realise that. That points not only to R as subdued in relation to E, but to R as more like an Ignoring rather than Background function, that is, R7 rather than R8, and I8 rather than I7. Finally, his approach to F - constantly reminding others of how powerful he was in an over-the-top way, which should be unnecessary - fits perfectly F6.

That is, the type that fits the evidence best on Caligula's functional preferences and strengths is EIE.

To learn more about EIE, click here.

Sources: the scholarly work on all aspects of Caligula's reign, referencing all the available historical and archaeological evidence, is Anthony Barrett's Caligula: the corruption of power

Sunday, 20 August 2017

The Walking Dead: Quadra Analysis

This analysis refers only to the TV series The Walking Dead, not to the comic book series on which it was based, looking at seasons 1-7. Warning: in analysing the series, some spoilers inevitably follow.

The basic premise is simple: what happens to a select, if changeable, group of individuals in the aftermath of a 'zombie apocalypse' that has led to the total collapse of modern society, economy, and political structure in the United States (and presumably the rest of the world), accompanied apparently by a not-fully explained fall (over 95%?) of the population. Although the first season dealt mostly with the issue of how to survive against attacks by the zombies themselves, in the later seasons the zombies increasingly became part of the 'background' of this new world, as one more challenge to daily survival, added to the more mundane ones of finding food, shelter, fuel, weapons, and the like. The actual danger (and source of dramatic tension) shifted in the later seasons from the zombies to the several groups of individuals, or communities, the main protagonists encounter in their wanderings from their original area around Atlanta, Georgia, to their later settlement in Alexandria, Virginia. While the background of the zombie apocalypse remains integral to plot structure and character development, it has become secondary to the clashes between the different groups of survivors.

I argue here that the whole premise and basic plot of The Walking Dead can be summarised thus: a Gamma group (the main protagonists) successively meets groups that are either Delta or Beta. Encounters with the Delta groups are peaceful, resulting in either cooperation or in the Delta group being taken over or absorbed by the Gamma group. Encounters with the Beta groups are mostly hostile, resulting in violent conflict, although in a few cases some sort of precarious accommodation is possible. Once one of the above encounters with a Delta or Beta group is settled, the plot moves on to the the encounter with the next Beta or Delta group.

And - - that's it. That's essentially what the whole show is about. I believe this reflects the natural point of view of the series's creator, Robert Kirkman, a likely Gamma himself.

In making this case, I will not suggest socionics types for every single individual character. When I type a group of people as Gamma or Delta, I do not mean that every single individual member is of a type of that quadra, but that the group as a whole is. Generally speaking, though, the leader of each group is usually of a type of that quadra (but, again, not without exception).

So here is my quadra analysis of each of those groups in their order of appearance:

Rick's group (for lack of a better name): Gamma quadra. Led by the series's protagonist, Rick Grimes, an ESI in my view, this group is characterised by the following traits.

  • intense sense of personal loyalty between the members, which is based on bonds of personal mutual trust rather than any sense of common identity or structure, united by trust and the goal of survival (R and F), providing most of the 'soap-opera' side of the series
  • leadership is (mostly) exercised by Rick by common consent, as a person they naturally accept as the leader due to his personal qualities (R), even when he is in 'Ricktatorship' mode
  • extreme suspicion towards outsiders, making a clear distinction between who is 'theirs' and who is not, especially in life-or-death matters (R blocked with F)
  • however, once an outsider is accepted into the group (even if reluctantly), the former outsider becomes as solid a member as the others and equally suspicious of 'new' strangers (again R and F)
  • no real sense of social hierarchy within the group (R)
  • the criteria used to decide whether an outsider should be accepted are based on utilitarianism (i.e. do they have what it takes) and on whether they can be trusted. However, exceptions are made for people for whom the group feels some concern for, even if thought to be useless at first (e.g. Eugene and Gabriel) (P but with R overruling it)
  • - instinct of immediate scepticism when situations or locations become too easy or comfortable - 'this is too good to last' or 'there is a catch' mindset: rather than enjoy it, their reaction is to assume that something is off (devalued S and hint of T).

The Farm: Delta quadra: led by Herschel Greene (perhaps a SLI). To keep it short, I will say that it shares most of the R traits above, but with a more generous and welcoming attitude to strangers, that is Rick's group, and even to the zombies, which they were extremely reluctant to acknowledge as no longer human: that is R blocked with I rather than F. Also much more focused on the daily practical matters of running their farm and preserving a normal, comfortable life as much as they could, rather than focus on its inevitable destruction. P blocked with S rather than T, and subdued F.

Woodbury: Beta quadra: led by "the Governor" (EIE). Essentially a few walled-off city blocks, trying to re-create for its inhabitants what normal life was like before the zombie apocalypse. Chief traits are:

  • - rigid hierarchical structure, with the Governor at the top, aided by an inner circle of armed sidekicks and technical specialists, exercising rigid control over the 'civilians' e.g. when to allow them to go outside the walls etc. (F blocked with L)
  • - approach to strangers is: either submit and join them, or be killed, even engaging on small-scale 'wars' to that end (F with L)
  • - however, there is considerable focus on the need to keep said civilians feeling happy, safe, and confident in the Governor's leadership, also by keeping them in the dark about a lot of what goes on - focus on E, preserving the image of normality
  • - also, an understanding that in order to sustain the above E image, things do need to work at a practical level, such as electricity, water, food, etc. Awareness of P
  • - but in the end, the bottom line for that community was the preservation of the power of the Governor, even with the use of savage force (F).

Terminus: Beta quadra: led by Gareth (IEI or EIE) a community that functions in a far more passive manner than Woodbury, consisting of a small number of people (maybe a few dozens) who survive by luring to their site any wandering strangers, via several posted signs promising shelter, and then slaughtering and eating them (that is, they are cannibals). The Terminus community has these interesting traits:

  • leadership far more based on a shared sense of purpose, mission, past, and even 'sin', than on the leader's charisma or brutal force (T stronger than F or E)
  • that shared sense of purpose is sustained by the existence of a large room containing memorabilia of their dead, for emotional reassurance, in a quasi-religious way (blocked with E)
  • rather than immediately confront any unsuspecting newcomer directly, with force, their tactic is to lure them with an initial atmosphere of deceptive, warm friendliness (E stronger than F)
  • apparently barely functional at a practical level, and unlike all other groups, resorted to cannibalism due to a complete inability to survive otherwise, by scavenging and the like (very poor P)

Although both Woodbury and Terminus are Beta, Woodbury had more of an EIE focus and Terminus, IEI

Grady Memorial Hospital: Beta quadra: led by Dawn (LSI), a police officer, this community is formed essentially of members of the Atlanta police force, medical staff, patients, and former patients now forced to pay back their treatment with indentured labour. It has given itself the purpose and mission (T) of providing hospital care to whomever may need it, but at the cost of maintaining an authoritarian, rigid set of rules devised by Dawn and ultimately enforced at gunpoint (L blocked with F). The focus on maintaining things running properly (P) is far greater than any feel-good or motivational concern (E). Although acting as yet another Beta antagonist of Rick's Gamma group, this community is portrayed as more humane and reasonable, and more open to negotiation, than the previous two Beta communities.

Alexandria Safe-Zone: Delta quadra when first introduced, led by Deanna Monroe (maybe LSE), this community is initially shown as living in a sort of 'bubble', the one that has managed to preserve the greatest resemblance to life before the zombie apocalypse. Centred on a neighbourhood that had been built with 'sustainable lifestyle' facilities such as solar panels and water treatment, their chief traits were:
  • focus on the practical, technical features of their community that maintain their lifestyle - besides the above mentioned, also the careful construction of a properly engineered wall around the site (P)
  • cautious opening to strangers to their community, with active 'recruitment' activities (R with focus on I rather than F)
  • Deanna is leader due to common consent and trust rather than through imposition of force (again R but with little F)
  • their approach to the future is to build upon, and improve, their existing facilities, with little awareness of the fragility of their existence (focus on S and I rather than F and T)

And, as with the Farm, the approach of Rick's group was to immediately 'see the necessity' of taking over control over Alexandria, due to a typical Gamma view of Deltas as oblivious to F and T dangers.

The Hilltop: Delta quadra, even if led by Gregory (ILE); it has Jesus (maybe EII) as its main character. Essentially the same general traits as Alexandria, but with P and S more focused on food production as the top priority (which would suggest that Alexandria has a higher focus on S than P).

At this point in the series, with the protagonists of Rick's group settling in one area and ceasing their journeys, rather than meet new groups in succession they start meeting new groups in a 'wider circle' way, with the general theme of Beta and Delta now happening simultaneously among several communities. Besides the Hilltop, these are:

The Sanctuary of the Saviors: Beta quadra, led by Negan (SLE). A very big group based on an old industrial facility (the Sanctuary) but with several outposts, its chief characteristic is its imposition of overlordship on the surrounding communities by brute force (F). Other notable traits are:

  • the authority of Negan is sustained by the threat of savage punishment with no pretense of it being otherwise (F 'unsoftened' by E)
  • power is exercised via a rigid hierarchy, with a privileged inner circle around Negan enjoying higher status and authority over the bulk of the Sanctuary's inhabitants, whose status is comparable to that of medieval serfs (F blocked with L)
  • rewards and punishments are awarded rigidly, based on a set of fixed rules (again F with L) but with Negan also deviating from them according to his whim (more focus on F than L)
  • existence of rituals aiming at emphasising Negan's superior status and everyone else's subservience, such as kneeling as he walks by (E used to reinforce F)
  • focus on erasure of personal relational bonds: Negan takes as 'wives' even the companions of members of his inner circle, and there is an effort to erase the meaning of personal identity (the "I am Negan" routine) - all of that is extreme devaluing of R, even obliviousness to it
  • nevertheless, the Sanctuary also places value on P matters, with things like electricity and food production functioning seemingly smoothly and with Negan micromanaging it (points to P with S)

What is very clear is that when thinking of groups that would antagonise the protagonists of Rick's Gamma group, Robert Kirkman could only think of the Beta quadra, and in trying to create groups as distinct from each other as possible, he ended up with groups that resemble each of the Beta types: EIE (Woodbury), IEI (Terminus), LSI (the Hospital) and SLE (the Saviors). Another example is:

The Oceanside: Beta quadra, led by Natania (LSI), based on an isolated beach campground, its chief trait is a ruthless no-exceptions rule that any person who learns of their existence has no choice besides joining them or being killed, even if they accept that the person is generally trustworthy (L blocked with F). Leadership is based on Natania being the obvious leader as an older, motherly figure (L with F). As with the other LSI group (the hospital), this group is shown as one that Rick's group sees as relatively reasonable.

The final group I will describe is The Kingdom: a mix of Delta and Alpha quadras, led by King Ezekiel (ESE). This community can be described as a sort of combination of the best traits of the Hilltop and Alexandria, on a larger scale, but interestingly with an added awareness of F (organised defence force) and E (Ezekiel's self-aware theatrical presentation as a medieval king acting as a beacon of reassurance and trust in his leadership). It's interesting that Kirkman's solution to 'improve' an otherwise Delta community was to add a benign source of F and E to it. It could be argued that the Kingdom as a whole reflects Ezekiel's type best, ESE, including the grudging focus on P and F, and that his policy of keeping most of his people "blissfully unaware" of the Saviors points to higher focus on E. Therefore a case can be made for the Kingdom as an Alpha community.

Conclusion: The Walking Dead, despite its apparent complexity due to the large number of characters and eventful plots, in the end it could be summed up as: 'Gamma group faces a succession of Beta and Delta groups. The Betas are always antagonists and need to be fought, the Deltas are allies but need to be helped or even taken over 'for their own good'.'

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ovid (ESE): Personality Type Analysis

Publius Ovidius Naso, known in the English-speaking world as Ovid, was a Roman poet known for his legacy of bringing a diverse array Latin poems into that of Western canon. He lived during the reign of Augustus (LIE), as a contemporaries of the legendary Virgil (ILI) and lofty Horace (ESI). At an early age, Ovid was tutored under Arellius Fuscus and Marcus Porcius Latro in Rome to study rhetoric and law along with his older brother. However, when his brother died at the age of 20, Ovid abandoned his studies altogether and devoted the rest of his life to poetry. His first success was penned around 16 BCE, known as Amores, a collection of erotic poems that were praised for their descriptiveness and consistently light-hearted themes. Ovid followed this work with more romantic poetry, eventually producing Metamorphoses, - 12,000 lines written in dactylic hexameter chronicling all of human history up until the death of Julius Caesar (SEE).

The majority of what is known of Ovid comes from his own writings. He was an ardent, passionate lover of women, he married thrice and divorced twice before turning 30. As a young adult, he travelled about the Empire to Athens and Asia Minor, squandering his family fortune on his relationships with women until returning home. He loved the popularity he got from writing poetry and understood that his poetry began to reach out to a certain group of people who not only had an appreciation for romance, but knew that romance certainly wasn't the only manifestation of human affection that could be shared between others. Ovid didn't want to be perceived as an expert on these topics, his motivation was out of pure fascination and interest with love's role in facilitating the quality of life's pleasures. It is clear that Ovid's great enthusiasm and engagement in the arts for the emotional experience of it, is first and foremost an indication of E1.

His most ambitious work, Metamorphoses, was organized by Ovid through the large amount of material covered in it and its engaging way of connecting topics discussed in the story to a different theme or by relating to the real world in some way. Ovid works his way through this subject matter, often in an apparently arbitrary fashion, by jumping from one transformation tale to another, sometimes retelling what had come to be seen as central events in the world of Greek mythology and sometimes straying in odd directions. It begins with the ritual 'invocation of the muse', and makes use of traditional epithets and circumlocutions. But instead of following and extolling the deeds of a human hero, it leaps from story to story with no dynamic connections, almost as if the author didn't acknowledge the importance of the progression of time. Ovid attempts to use I, out of pure interest to start a new trend of story-telling, with no sign of T in comparison to Virgil's literary prose. He is a man who was comfortable with exploring and improving upon I, even in the cases where he would get it wrong (I6) and almost a confusing disdain for using T when there was no valid reason to (T4).

The one person who definitely seemed to hate Ovid was Emperor Augustus, he didn't really care for Ovid's charisma and was annoyed with his lack of personal integrity. Augustus observed that Ovid's humanizing perspective of the gods was concerning and he believed Ovid's lifestyle to be in direct opposition to his efforts for incorporating Roman standards of morality. His own hatred towards Ovid was made clear when he eventually banished him from Rome to the live on the coast of the Black Sea. The details as to why he was banished is still a historical mystery. Historians tend to think that it had to do with a political or sexual scandal involving Augustus's granddaughter Julia, though there is a very thin basis for this assessment, and so it is thought that Augustus valued his standards of morality to such a degree that he banished his own granddaughter Julia for adultery. Ovid was in Julia's circle of friends, and Augustus perhaps blamed Ovid for venting the flame that led to her banishment. However, the only potential evidence that would allude to such an event occurring was in a poem that he had written on the topic of his recent mistakes that briefly mentioned, "something that I saw but shouldn't have seen". Ovid in this situation, failed to understand why Augustus was so concerned about the importance of R, the matter with Julia only being one example of many. Ovid's R7, or simply the greater emphasis on E > R, is evident based on what information is available in Ovid's relationships, not devoting himself singularly with one person and instead wanting to please anyone (or even everyone) he loved.

During his forced exile to the Romanian coast, the topics of his poems became excessively melodramatic as a result with his dissatisfaction of how horrid the scenery and weather was there, hoping for the chance that he could return to Rome one day. However, his attitude towards his banishment could be seen as an overreaction, since Ovid still retained his property rights and Roman citizenship. This, along with his appreciation of the passionate expression of love is intertwined with material pleasures works with a combination of E+S, more specifically S2.

Ovid worked tirelessly to produce these poems. A great amount of personal energy was directed to produce these works, with little or no intention of 'taking a break' - as was a common occurrence with Roman poets who were busy with a second job to earn more money. While never an underlying theme in his poetry, his use of F was only for the purposes of 'toughing it out' when tying up loose ends, and not giving up or considering switching professions during the period of time when his poems weren't doing as well as his earlier works. This shows that he had strong enough F, but unvalued for the most part, thus making F8 the best possibility.

In conclusion, Alpha values with no interest in T whatsoever, valued I though obviously not strong, devalued R to the point of getting him in trouble, a high focus on E and S, using F for personal ambitions only and conveying the impression of a friendly, joyful and even carefree man. Thus far, what has been mentioned about Ovid clearly points towards E1, S2, T4, I6, R7 and F8, suggesting consistently that he was the ESE type of information metabolism.

To learn more about ESE, click here.

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

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Louis XV of France (ILI): Personality Type Analysis

Louis XV was King of France and Navarre from 1715, when he was five years old, until his death in 1774 at the age of sixty-four. He was the fourth king of the House of Bourbon, ascending the throne on the death of his great-grandfather, King Louis XIV (LSI). It was during his reign that France consolidated its present European borders. Unlike his immediate predecessor and successor, Louis XV's reign and legacy are controversial and are often reevaluated. While Louis XIV is easily defined as the king who relentlessly pushed for increasing the power of the monarchy and for wars aiming at expanding French territory and power, and Louis XVI (LII) is the king who ineptly drifted into revolution and lost his head, Louis XV is far more difficult to assess. He has been considered the king chiefly responsible for the collapse of the prestige of the French monarchy - thus passing on to his successor an impossible legacy - due to the scandal of his private life and the perceived failures of his foreign policy. On the other hand, it has been noted that in his reign no foreign army ever crossed into French territory; that he was far less inclined than his predecessor to engage in aggressive wars; that Louis XV was aware of the need for peaceful years of recovery and for balancing the budget; that his reign was the peak of the Enlightenment period; and that in his reign, France built the world's most extensive and modern road network. It may be fair to say that the general population was safer and more prosperous in his reign than in Louis XIV's; yet Louis XIV's reign was widely perceived as increasing France's power, greatness and glory, and Louis XV's as diminishing them. That was probably his biggest 'failing'.

Louis XV succeeded his great-grandfather as king due to the dynastic catastrophe after 1711, when Louis XIV's son, grandson and even elder great-grandson all died in quick succession of natural causes, leaving the five-year old orphan Louis XV as the next in line. During his minority, Louis XIV's nephew, the Duke d'Orleans (ILE), acted as regent. Louis XV was considered of age at 13 in 1723, but he continued to govern with prime ministers, most notably Cardinal Fleury, his former tutor as a child. After the latter's death, when the king was 33, he announced that he would follow Louis XIV's example and run the government himself, without a prime minister.

At this point, it is convenient to drop the chronological narrative and focus on Louis XV's reported and obvious traits, also in comparison to Louis XIV, whom he 'officially' was emulating. Louis XV's personality has been usually described as something like, "gloomy, shy, reluctant to form attachments", a man who obviously found it more difficult to irradiate personal authority and self-confidence than Louis XIV, despite his position as absolute monarch and being generally regarded as one of the best-looking men in France, as well as fit and athletic. Colin Jones summed up Louis's personality in his massive The Great Nation. The king had,
-- a taste for a kind of morose hedonism. Awkward and uncomfortable in formal company, the king only felt truly at home among small groups of intimates with whom he could engage in gloomy gallows humour.
Louis XV was also described as disliking formal public occasions and he actually fled from even friendly crowds. He also found it difficult to give speeches, preferring to hand a written speech to a courtier who would deliver it on his behalf. Yet, he was not exactly a timid man, formally taking command of the French army during the War of the Austrian Succession, and by all accounts, exposing himself to some danger by getting close to the field of battle. Despite his recorded dislike for interacting with crowds, in his function as commander-in-chief he was assiduous in visiting and trying to console individual wounded soldiers.  He was also an enthusiastic hunter (hunting in the sense of pursuing deer at fast speed on horseback and with hounds, not the leisurely hunting of the aristocracy in the later 19th and earlier 20th century), far more so than his predecessor Louis XIV: Louis XIV included hunting among the activities that a king was supposed to pursue, while Louis XV was a genuine enthusiast.

As far as closer, personal relationships are concerned, Louis XV showed a consistent tendency of trusting unreservedly very few people whom he knew very well (like Cardinal Fleury) and, later, Madame de Pompadour (SEE). The king seemed to alternate, throughout his life, between years of more or less consistent monogamy (first with his queen Marie Leszczyńska for a few years, then with Madame de Pompadour, finally with Madame du Barry), and periods in between where he devoted himself to casual sexual debauchery, sometimes with teenagers with whom he had no actual acquaintance. Exaggerated rumours about his depravity during those periods, even to the effect that he drank the blood of those girls, contributed to the decline in the king's personal popularity during his reign. Notably, his personal friendship with Madame de Pompadour continued for some 14 years after their physical relationship had cooled, with her exercising considerable influence and power of patronage due to the unreserved trust of the king (which also undermined his popularity).

What the above descriptions of his personality point to is a man with difficulties in both E and R, but seemingly greater familiarity with R and longing for it. That already suggests a Logical type, and also points to the Gamma or Delta quadras.

Louis's period of personal government has been described as being a bit like 'anarchy' in the sense that despite his proclaimed intentions, he never imposed his personal authority and control on his cabinet in the way that Louis XIV or even Fleury had. Louis XIV had revamped the monarchy and the court at Versailles to make it work like some sort of clock, with all the members of the court, including the king himself, as sort of puppets in a rigid daily routine around etiquette, work, mass, meals, and 'private' time, all aiming at emphasising the king's authority and higher status, with his personal comfort and convenience receiving less priority. By contrast, Louis XV clearly hated that rigid system: early in his reign, feeling obliged to emulate his great predecessor, he dutifully adopted that same system. But he gradually began to 'escape' from it with increasing frequency, following it perhaps just once a week in his later reign. Louis XV preferred to withdraw into his private apartments in the main Versailles palace (which he expanded, at the cost of public areas), or to the smaller Trianon complex in the Versailles garden. In those private areas, he mostly dropped formality and spent time with his immediate family and some intimates - even to the point of being the one to pour the tea. Yet, he never stopped the formal etiquette and routine from operating in the main palace.

What is most revealing about the above is that Louis XV preferred to gradually 'bypass' the system inherited from Louis XIV rather than merely abolishing or drastically revamping it. Just as Louis XIV had used his power as king to invent and impose that ultra-formal system, it fully lay in Louis XV's power to relax it, to abolish it, even to move the court back to Paris (as the Regent, the Duke d'Orleans, had done), that is, to re-shape the monarchy in a way in tune with his personal inclinations, just as Louis XIV had done.

That Louis XV followed the 'path of least resistance' of bypassing routines and systems he disliked, rather than facing it head-on and reshaping it, already points to weaker F than F1 or F2. Also, Louis XIV was inflexible in maintaining that system because any concessions would start to diminish the aura of authority of the king (awareness of F with E). And as he would have predicted, Louis XV's increasing neglect of that system was one of the factors leading to the decline in his personal prestige and that of the monarchy. Yet, Louis XV did care very much about maintaining the power of the monarchy and acted resolutely when he thought it was threatened in more concrete ways, as in his 1771 abolition of the political powers of the law courts (confusingly called "parlements"). This points to a man who does care about his power and authority but finds it difficult to be personally forceful about it, and who seems to overlook the E aspects of power. A low focus on E is already visible in what was reported about his personality in his entire life, as a reserved, even shy man, who preferred the company of small circles of intimates rather than grandiose events and public appearances. This again points to someone of the Gamma or Delta quadras, with R more valued than E, which was also apparently very subdued, pointing to E4 or E7, which narrows down Louis XV's likely types to ILI, SLI, ESI or EII. 

The trait mentioned above of mostly following the 'path of least resistance' rather than facing head-on the existing 'establishments' was observed in other areas. Louis XV famously preferred to bypass his own official foreign ministers by conducting what became known as the secret du Roi - the King's secret - a 'secret diplomacy' conducted by the king himself, personally, during twenty years, using direct secret correspondence with foreign powers and the use of a network of spies and secret agents. Another evidence of this trait is what happened in the aftermath of his assassination attempt, by a man named Damiens, who stabbed the king in Versailles, wounding him in a non-lethal way. The king's advisers as well as the high court - parlement - of Paris wanted  to sentence Damiens to the full punishment reserved for regicides (and applied previously to the murderer of Henry IV (ESE) in 1610), that is, death after hours of savage, agonising public torture. The king's first reaction, upon hearing the description, was of horror and inclination to pardon Damiens - yet faced with unanimous opposition, he relented and let events 'take their course'. Finally, later in his reign, he supported his finance minister in a tax reform that would reduce the tax rate, spread the tax base more evenly, and probably balance the budget - yet, faced with stiff opposition of the nobility and church, Louis sort of let it drop.

The overall picture is of man who, despite the immense authority and power inherent in his position, had extreme difficulty in actually using them when faced with direct opposition from those around him - even if he clearly thought he knew better what should be done. So his attitude was either to give up, in frustration, or to just give up the open confrontation and do it his own way - on his own. This points to a man with very weak F - especially since, it must be remembered, all he had to do was to stay firm in his decisions and wishes, and he would be obeyed. Of the above types, this makes ESI and even SLI very unlikely for Louis XV.

Unlike Louis XIV - a man more inclined to focus on details while missing the big picture, and not inclined to reading - Louis XV was, since childhood, a man of great interest in reading books about many varied subjects, and always impressing foreign ambassadors with his easy mastery of the subjects at hand. He was also deeply interested in natural sciences, asking for demonstrations of newly discovered phenomena such as electricity. His awareness of his own knowledge and ability to learn a varied number of subjects must have been one big factor in his preferring to conduct foreign policy by himself, from his desk, rather than having to rely on the established diplomatic service, and in his personal involvement in tax reform. That points to a man with considerable confidence and focus on P. That was also seen on his war policy: even after fairly victorious wars, Louis XV tended to prefer a peace that more or less restored the previous status, rather than an expansion that would be difficult to preserve; and during the Seven Years War, he quickly realised that France had no chance to defend foreign colonies in Canada and in India against the British navy, preferring to focus resources elsewhere. This realistic approach, showing a higher focus on P than on F or E, although successful, was yet another factor in the king's unpopularity: the perception that he either only lost wars, or that even when he won them, he did not gain anything for France in the end. Many people, perhaps most, missed the days of the destructive wars of Louis XIV, who at least seemed to win.

What we have is a man with almost no focus on E - either at personal or political level - with a clear need for R close relationships but also with difficulty in them; with focus and confidence in P, weakness in F but seemingly valuing it: this is shown not only by his attempts to exercise his will, but also in his preferring intense physical activity in hunting and obviously liking best strong-willed women, like the Madame de Pompadour. E4, R6, P2, F5 fit perfectly all that is known and consistent about Louis XV, pointing to ILI as his Socionics type.

To learn more about ILI, click here.

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

Sources: besides Wikipedia in French and English, The Great Nation by Colin Jones, episodes of the French documentary series Secrets d'Histoire and the excellent documentary Louis XV le Soleil Noir.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Elizabeth II (SLI): Personality Type Analysis

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of the royal house of Windsor) is the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and as Head of the Commonwealth, is Queen of a further 12 countries. At 91 years of age, she is currently the oldest monarch in the world and holds the record for Britain's oldest ever, as well as being the longest-reigning at over 65 years on the throne.

She was born in Mayfair, London in 1926, during the reign of her grandfather, King George V (SEI). As the eldest of two daughters to the second son of the King, it was never expected that she would one day be crowned Queen. Everything changed in 1936, due to the sudden and unprecedented abdication of her childless uncle, King Edward VIII (IEI) in order to marry his American divorcee lover, Wallis Simpson (EIE). Duty fell on her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York to sit the throne and he was crowned King George VI (EII), taking his father's regnal name. From then, the young Princess Elizabeth, fondly known as 'Lilibet' by those who knew her, was carefully prepared to rule as the heir presumptive, receiving private tuition in constitutional history and learning French.

As a child, Princess Elizabeth was educated largely at home by her governess Marion Crawford, who later published a biography on The Little Princesses in 1950. Here, her natural love of dogs and horses that would persist to this day, were first described, as well as her orderliness and responsibility, which stood in stark contrast to her more impulsive and exuberant younger sister, Princess Margaret (SEE), who would later become the Duchess of Cornwall.

"...when it was time to return to their home in London, Lilibet carefully put away all the blankets and linen, covered the miniature furniture in dust sheets and wrapped up the silver in newspaper — ‘to prevent it getting  tarnished’, she told me.

She wasn’t quite six, but clearly loved order. After dinner every night, both she and Margaret — then a little fat child — would hold out their hands and their father would give them each a spoonful of old-fashioned barley sugar.

Margaret pushed the whole lot into her mouth. Lilibet, however, carefully sorted hers out on the table, and then ate it very daintily. She also kept all her belongings immaculately tidy — but there’d come a time later when she became almost too methodical and neat. Indeed, I grew quite anxious about her.

During the course of each night, she’d hop out of bed several times just to make sure her shoes were quite straight on the floor and her clothes arranged just so.

It was only when Margaret did a hilarious imitation of her sister’s bedtime rituals that Lilibet finally stopped performing them."

From this early stage, we can see a particular fixation on the physical minutiae of her daily life, feeling the need to make sure that everything is 'just right', even to excess. This makes sense for a type with S in a very pronounced position, albeit in a very structured way that suggests a great deal of L too.

At the age of 18, during World War II, Princess Elizabeth was eager to help with the war effort and became the only female member of the royal family to ever serve in the armed forces. She volunteered to work with the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service (WATS), training as a driver and mechanic. This unprecedented example of a British princess imploring the King that she be allowed to participate in practical work like anyone else is notable. Furthermore, the nature of the work was especially technical and required one to 'get one's hands dirty' with cars and other machinery. She did well enough to be promoted five months later to honorary junior commander. This suggests someone, first of all, willing to put aside the airs of hierarchy to work alongside regular people in a useful role. Second, it suggests that Elizabeth had a degree of confidence and competence with learning how to handle practical, mechanical tasks. Already, this mildly suggests strong, valued P, especially blocked with S.

At 21, Princess Elizabeth became engaged to her second cousin once removed, Prince Philip (ILI) of Greece and Denmark, an exile in the United Kingdom who would later renounce his foreign titles to become Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Prince consort. They were married in 1947. It is notable that Elizabeth decided to marry Prince Philip purely out of personal love and affection, despite him being a poor match in terms of his family background. The Duke of Edinburgh was not merely foreign-born, but all his sisters had married noblemen with Nazi links. Furthermore, he had nothing in the way of financial standing. While the King's advisers and Princess Elizabeth's own mother, Queen Elizabeth (ESE) opposed the union, the otherwise sensible and well-behaved Princess Elizabeth insisted on proceeding with the marriage. This suggests that despite being highly dutiful, Elizabeth felt it most important to marry the individual person right for her, regardless of family or fortune. This suggests the valuing of R over more E and L-related matters, such as status and public approval, as well as a certain firmness in its use.

In the years immediately following her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, which included the birth of two children, Charles, Prince of Wales (LII) and Anne, Princess Royal (LIE), she had the opportunity to lead a mostly 'normal' married life, although with Prince Philip being given second-in-command of the Malta-based HMS Chequers in 1949, they had to live intermittently abroad, leaving the children at home. It is thought that this period was one of the happiest of her life. This points to someone attracted to normality, rather than the pressures of royal duty, and if given free reign, would have been happy as a commoner.

It was while on holiday in Kenya with her husband in February 1952 that Elizabeth was alerted to the death of the King from lung cancer. Princess Elizabeth was crowned 'Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II' in June 1953. Unlike her father, who was born Albert, it did not occur to her to choose a regnal name different to that of her birth. When asked if she wanted to stay 'Elizabeth', she responded "of course!". This suggests, not just a preference for continuing with her birth name, rather than inventing a new persona, but also the absence of thought to the idea of ever doing so. That could mean that matters of E are not usually considered.

The name of greater consequence was that of the royal house. As a woman, precedent was that Her Majesty's descendents would belong to the house of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, changing from Windsor to Mountbatten. Unprecedentedly, her grandmother, Queen Mary (LSI) and the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Winston Churchill (SLE), opposed this position, arguing that the royal house remain with Windsor. Both of these opponents possessed strong personalities, and there is no information on how much the new Queen Elizabeth II resisted their wills, whether she folded unwillingly or did not care enough to protest. Either way, Her Majesty accepted their demands and declared on the 9th April 1952 that Windsor would remain the name of the royal house. What is clear is that this greatly distressed her husband, who notably declared "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children". The Queen's attempt to address her husband's disappointment was to grant him new duties and privileges, including full control over the household and more publicly, the position of organising her coronation. Eight years later, after the death of her grandmother and Churchill's retirement, the Queen would concede to Prince Philip, allowing all their male-line descendants without royal titles to take the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

During the year-long preparations for her coronation, and soon after the death of her grandmother, Queen Mary, the Queen was asked by her sister, Princess Margaret for permission to marry Peter Townsend, the Comptroller for her mother's household. He was a divorcé, over 16 years her senior, with two sons from a previous marriage. The Royal Marriages Act of 1772 required members of the royal family to seek permission of the monarch before marrying. Although the Queen was sympathetic towards her sister, senior politicians opposed the match, and it was known that the Church of England would not permit remarriage after divorce. Marrying outside the Church would have required Princess Margaret to renounce her right of succession to the throne. Her Majesty's approach to this solution was a delaying tactic, saying to her sister "Under the circumstances, it isn't unreasonable for me to ask you to wait a year." The Queen's intentions were thought to be to try and discourage her sister from pursuing the marriage, while trying to minimise any harshness or cruelty with her. She believed that, given time, her sister's affection would 'peter out'. However, the Government was more impatient, wanting to get rid of him. While the Queen rejected her private secretary's advice to send him away and opted to transfer him to her household instead, Churchill eventually arranged for him to be sent to Brussels on post. It would not be one, but three years before he could return.

Letters released in 2004 reveal that by 1955, with the replacement of Churchill with Anthony Eden (ESI) as Prime Minister, the Queen had been willing to draw up a plan to allow Princess Margaret to marry Townsend in exchange for giving up her right to succession, with Eden saying "Her Majesty would not wish to stand in the way of her sister's happiness." However, Margaret released a statement three days later, saying that she had decided not to proceed with the marriage.

What the incidents with her husband's name and her sister's marriage suggest about Her Majesty is someone who is cautious, sympathetic and averse to conflict, while also more open-minded to other people's points of view. Although not wanting to stand in the way of those close to her, the Queen prioritises not rocking the boat with her Government or other authority figures, while trying to harmonise her relationships in the wake of her decisions, appreciating their viewpoint and attempting to respect it in deed where able. It is worth noting that in both cases, Her Majesty was willing to make concessions to her husband and sister, but waited until after the strongest sources of opposition were gone before reaching a compromise. This points to valued instead of F and R instead of L, although with a sufficient degree of awareness in all four, understanding the balance of power but choosing to minimise disruption, and keenly understanding the importance of duties and traditions, while at the same time, trying to minimise the pain of individuals close to her where she can. It is also likely that the Queen did not fully consider how much her declaration in 1952 would hurt her husband, suggesting a certain oversight in her use of R.

Her coronation, over a year after her accession to the throne, was the first in British history to be televised, which met opposition from Churchill as well as the Elizabeth The Queen Mother and numerous royal courtiers, believing the ceremony to be a private, sacred matter. The Queen herself was uncomfortable about the idea, being notoriously camera shy. She had previously resisted having cameras film her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh. Nevertheless, Prince Philip, whom she had given the position of arranging the coronation (possibly out of a desire to make amends for not allowing him to pass on his name), believed that the coronation should be televised as means of modernising the monarchy. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) also thought this would be a good idea, and made the issue a matter of public discourse in the newspapers. Having been informed that the public was strongly in favour of being able to see the coronation for the first time, the Queen changed her mind, saying that "all subjects should have the opportunity of seeing it". However, she only allowed it on the condition that the camera take no close shots. From this, we see the beginning of an ongoing struggle for Her Majesty, someone who had always been ill-suited to publicity and being in the view of a large audience, but who felt motivated by a duty to do the right thing for her subjects.

It is notable that Her Majesty always felt a strong desire to follow the dutiful example of her father, who had given up a relatively private life to fill in for his abdicated brother. While the vivacious Princess Margaret was known as her father's "joy", Princess Elizabeth strove to be her father's "pride". This preoccupation with duty as an extension of her paternal relationship has been a consistent motivator over 63 years and once again, suggests that R is in a pronounced position as a motivator. At the same time, it is clear that the Queen's motivations were not out of an E-focused desire to reach out to the public.

The information we have so far is enough to provide a good sense of the Queen's values; someone who pays much more attention to the individual merits of the people they interact with, rather than their position in a rigid social hierarchy or their public reputation, who is attracted to a 'normal', private life and thinks nothing of engaging in un-glamorous, practical tasks deemed 'beneath' her rank and station if it provides some assistance, and approaches her formal duties as a means of emulating and respecting a person of deep love and admiration to her. The Queen tends to side with tradition as part of her embrace of duty, but this does not stop her from making concessions for the happiness of people she is close to. In rare footage, where Her Majesty reflects on the many letters she receives from subjects seeking her help, this emphasis on the personal connection is very apparent:

"I've always had rather a sort of feeling that letters are rather personal to oneself, you know, because people write them thinking that I'm going to open them and read them. I don't open all of them obviously because I don't have time to do that. But it does certainly give me... an idea of what is worrying people and what actually they feel I could do to help, and there are occasions when I can help. I can pass things on to the right authorities or I can even in some cases write to various organisations who will look into it. But I've always had this feeling that letters are written to ME and I like to see what people want to write to me. I think in a way one feels that there is a sort of "the buck stops here", so to speak , that I'm the one. I had a letter this morning about something. He said 'I've been going round and round and round in circles, but you are the only person who can stop the circle and YOU would be able to fix it.' I thought that was rather nice."

This manner of emphasising the personal characteristics of interpersonal communication, e.g. the relationship and expectations between two people, and readily describing how one personally feels about it, is normal for a type with R in a pronounced, valued position. Overall, this and the way Her Majesty prioritises personal relationships in decision-making is very consistent with an Integrity-Seeking set of values.

We can also see, from the Queen's decisions in moments of family crisis, a desire to avoid conflict, even going so far as to side with the more demanding, authoritative party while they are alive or in power, but to soften her position on those suffering from the decision once the source of demands is out of the picture. This can be seen in her granting the right of male, non-royal descendants to use her husband's family name, as well as eventually saying she will not prevent her sister from marrying Townsend. In each case, despite being the head of state, Her Majesty found herself as the intermediary, trying to balance different points of view, rather than a wilful party imposing her own will. This largely shows a monarch with little interest in utilising F, whether through force of personality, or with her constitutional powers.

Similarly, the previous footage, shows how Her Majesty conceptualises and approaches her role as Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms:

"It was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can. It's a question of maturing into something that one's got used to doing and accepting the fact that here you are and it's your fate, because I think continuity is very important. It is a job for life. 

Most people have a job and then they go home and in this existence, the job and the life go on together because you can't really divide it up. The boxes and the communications just keep on coming and of course the modern communications, they come even quicker. Luckily I'm a quick reader so, I get through a lot of reading in quite a short time, though I do rather begrudge some of the hours that I have to do this instead of being outdoors."

What this quote demonstrates is someone inclined to accept the Crown as something that happened to her, and to focus on adjusting and making the best out of the situation. At the same time, it is clear that, despite feeling a duty to do a good job as monarch, the Queen is much more satisfied "outdoors", engaging in pleasurable past times like looking after her horses, or else, being involved in charitable causes. Elizabeth gives no impression of someone who relishes in her considerable power as head of state. When taken alongside Her Majesty's approach to managing disputes, which show someone who clearly desires to smooth things over and make concessions, it becomes quite clear that S is much more valued than F, making it apparent that Her Majesty has World-Accepting values.

The combination of Integrity-Seeking and World-Accepting values means that Queen Elizabeth II is a likely Delta type. Furthermore, it is not hard to see that, with S and R being the most pronounced of the valued elements, Her Majesty must be a Delta Integrator, i.e. either EII or SLI. In a nutshell, Elizabeth II is primarily motivated by a sense of harmony and ease in her relationships with others.

The Queen's reign has seen the gradual transformation of the British Empire into a Commonwealth of Nations. Although she remains Head of State for most of these nations, the change in name to 'Commonwealth', a name used to describe England after the execution of King Charles I (LII) and the takeover by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (LSI), is telling in reflecting a further reduction of the British monarch's influence to that of an effective figurehead. The monarch used to wield considerable powers, with monarchs before the 17th Century being able to veto bills passing into law, enjoy diplomatic immunity around the world, commandeer any ship, declare war without consultation, control the entire British military, arrest people and seize their property. While these powers still exist in theory, no monarch in recent times has had the de facto power to attempt any of these without risking the United Kingdom becoming a republic. Despite this, up to 2011, the Queen still had the power to dissolve governments and call an election at will. While effective power has ebbed from the Crown since its peak in the 16th century, monarchs with a greater emphasis on F put up more of a resistance, e.g. James II (ESI) creating a standing army and reasserting power through the judiciary, or else, made greater use of the powers allowed to them, e.g. Charles II (EIE), George III (ESI) and William IV (ESE) dismissing governments, and Victoria (ESI) exercising a great deal of private influence over policy. The only known attempt by Her Majesty to exercise her power over Parliament was once where she prevented discussion of a bill to give Parliament the ability to conduct military action in Iraq, but only did so with the advice of her government. This largely follows the approach of her father, King George VI in keeping out of politics and government entirely, suggesting a F that is used as minimally as possible, that is either F4 or F7.

Despite this, video footage of the Queen shows someone rather more capable of being asserting herself on the one-to-one. As seen in one incident when the Her Majesty was supposed to wear the full regalia of the Order of the Garter, a highly flamboyant and impractical outfit, where she said "I'm not changing anything. I've done enough dressing like this, thankyou very much." and her own insistence that her grandson, Prince William, on his wedding day, wear the ceremonial tunic of an Irish guard's officer, rather than his preference for the Irish guard's frock coat. It became very clear to him that "you do not mess with your grandmother, and what she says goes".  What we see here is that although being one of the most laissez-faire monarchs in history, in regards to power and influence, the Queen is able to get highly assertive over particularly S-related matters, having to do more with aesthetic minutiae than anything else. This suggests F7 supporting S1, rather than F4 failing to support S6.

The main element of the Queen's activities as a figurehead is regularly meeting with people from a range of professions, including civil servants, volunteers, government officials, philanthropists, award-winners and celebrities. While the duties of administration in the palace, of appearing positively in front of the cameras and the general pomp and circumstance can be draining for her, Her Majesty seems to genuinely enjoy holding more private audiences with people in a variety of careers and getting to find out more of what they do. Although usually rather restrained and on her guard in public, she is often described as being rather more 'chatty' in these meetings, seeming to use them to satisfy a genuine curiosity about what people do. This is notable for someone whose personal passions can be counted as the breeding and care of her dogs and racing horses. It is perhaps a sign of someone who, despite the great regularity of her own life, is attracted to hearing the perspectives of other people, suggesting a weak, but valued I5.

The Queen's reign has not only been the longest in British history, but has perhaps also been very stable, with Her Majesty never having had to see off a conquering force or an attempt on her life. Nevertheless, she has faced challenges in regards to her popularity as a monarch, knowing that losing the approval of her people could one day mean the removal of the monarchy. The time her popularity reached its nadir soon after the death of her daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales (IEI), someone whose natural touch with the people regularly upstaged Her Majesty's more distant, less exciting figure. This highly popular person's death in a car crash, years after divorcing the Prince of Wales, brought collective expectation on the Queen to show emotion publicly for her loss. Her Majesty's approach was ill-suited to this requirement, deciding instead to withdraw from the public to the care of her bereaved grandchildren, holding a church service where no mention was made of the death. This caused public outrage, suggesting she had completely misread the nation's mood.

At the advice of her Government, the Queen resolved to speak directly to the people on national television, which although certainly helped to repair the damage, showed clearly how Her Majesty is not someone capable of publicly reaching out in an emotional display, and at her best, could only resort to sincere statements about the positive qualities of her late daughter-in-law's character. This shows, more than anything else, a complete blindness to the need for emotional affect, which best fits E4 with R6.

Although the Queen is not known for giving interviews where she gives her own opinions to the camera, the documentary of her being painted by Rolf Harris (it is an example of how rare it is to find video footage of a proper conversation between Her Majesty and someone else, that I am forced to use her discourse with a now convicted abuser of young women) provides a unique opportunity to see Her Majesty in conversation and the sorts of things she tends to focus on. It becomes clear rather early on that she is very inclined to 'small talk', discussing the bad weather and moving on to the biting habits of her dogs, of which she is very fond. While Rolf is a clear E-ego type, and naturally communicates emotively, the Queen is brief and matter-of-fact, both communicating factual information, rather than much of an emotional nature, while occasionally asking Rolf questions about how he does his work and inquiring into his stories. A good example can be seen with her response to this story he told:

Rolf Harris: "A couple of weeks ago I was down in Wales at a function and one of the people involved in organising it said "Did you know there's a painting by your grand-dad out in the main hall upstairs?" and I said "No". So he took me upstairs and there is a painting by my grandfather of your grandfather, George V reviewing the troops in the 14/18 war, in the trenches, and it sent off shivers down the back of my spine."

Her Majesty: "You didn't know it was there?"

The Queen in conversation demonstrates a precise and detailed knowledge of specific things, from the origins of her broach to the painting techniques of previous people to have painted her. She is also someone who incorporates an understated, dry humour in conversation. For instance:

Rolf Harris: "Are portraits a terrible chore?"

Her Majesty: "No, not really. It's quite nice. Usually one just sits and people can't get at you because they know you're busy doing nothing." 

These observations come together to suggest a person who is naturally proficient in matters of factual information and is more comfortable handling conversation of this kind, but at the same time, someone who is far more relatable in one-to-one conversation than in public. That suggests strong P for a Delta Integrator, i.e. P2.

To conclude, the Queen is someone who shows all the signs of Delta values, with particular emphasis on S and R, suggesting a Delta Integrator. Between the options of EII and SLI, it is apparent that the Queen is confident in matters of P, while being more reliant on the stories of other people for I, suggesting P2 and I5, with S1 and R6. At the same time, while she has limited, but successful use of F7, her greatest challenge as a monarch is obviously E4. The presence of L can also be seen as something unvalued when compared to R, but which is very much present in how she uses her S and how she defaults to conventional duty when her values are not conflict, suggesting the background effect of L8. This makes SLI by far the most likely typing for Her Majesty.

Sources: While I focused on real-life sources for analysing the Queen, including her Wikipedia page and the different links provided further up, I should add that the Netflix Series, The Crown is a remarkably insightful portrayal of the young Queen, Prince Philip and several others and would strongly recommend that people see its first season.

To learn more about SLI, click here.

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

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.