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.