Sunday, 28 February 2016

Immanuel Kant (LII): Personality Type Analysis

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher whose comprehensive and systematic work in epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics greatly influenced all subsequent philosophy, especially the various schools of Kantianism and idealism.

He was born in 1724 in the Baltic city of Königsberg, which at that time was part of Prussia, and now belongs to Russia (renamed Kaliningrad). Kant’s parents were very modest; his father was a saddle maker. Kant never had much money – which he dealt with cheerfully by living very modestly. It wasn’t until he was in his fifties that he became a fully salaried professor and attained a moderate degree of prosperity. His family were deeply religious and very strict. Later in life, Kant did not have any conventional religious belief, but he was acutely aware of how much religion had contributed to his parents’ ability to cope with all the hardships of their existence – and how useful religion could be in fostering social cohesion and community.

This pervasive interest in social cohesion and universal inclusiveness never left Kant's mind and it persisted with him for many years. He was interested in religion from a very empirical perspective, how easily people were motivated and driven by faith and how preaching one's beliefs immediately maximized a group's identity. From this I believe Kant was L and E valuing. Kant was described as physically "very slight, frail and anything but good looking" Though he was very sociable and some of his colleagues used to criticise him for going to too many parties. When eventually, once he was able to entertain, he had rules about conversation. At the start of a dinner party, he decreed that people should swap stories about what had been happening recently. Then there should be a major phase of reflective discourse, in which those present attempted to clarify an important topic; and finally there should be a closing period of hilarity so that everyone left in a good mood. The following that I have mentioned about Kant best reflects how much he valued E. I believe that having E in the Super-Id block makes far more sense for Kant, as he found initial conversation difficult and needed someone to "spark" the emotional atmosphere. Consequently, E5 over E6 makes far more sense for Kant, as he did not actively try to act silly or nonsensical in order to satisfy his need to be emotionally uplifted, but rather set the rules and guidelines for a light-hearted discussion and appreciated the results. I would say this is very consistent with L1 and E5.

Kant was writing at a highly interesting period in history we now know as The Enlightenment. In an essay called What is Enlightenment (published in 1784), Kant proposed that the identifying feature of his age was its growing secularism. Intellectually, Kant welcomed the declining belief in Christianity, but in a practical sense, he was also alarmed by it. He was a pessimist about human character and believed that we are by nature intensely prone to corruption. It was this awareness that led him to what would be his life’s project: the desire to replace religious authority with the authority of reason; that is, human intelligence. I think it is clear that Kant does not appeal to personal obligations and bides to the enlightening forefront of reason itself. Kant approaches ethics very cautiously and writes about it exclusively from an objective rather from a subjective point of view. Additionally, Kant was pervasively polite with the individuals he met and was never known to be an assertive or domineering character. He understood the need to form pleasant relationships with other individuals and didn't mind spending time with the individuals he trusted, though never seemed to be harsh or aggressive with other people.

As a result, Kant still critiques through judgement of impersonal logic, rather than his deeply felt personal opinions about other people. As a result, this believes me to suggest that Kant had R3 and F4. Immanuel Kant believed that truth is the highest pinnacle of understanding and that the impersonal logical structure of crafting functional systems of rational thought was the best method towards investigating truth. One of Kant's famous works was the The Categorical Imperative, designed to shift our perspective: to get us to see our own behaviour in less immediately personal terms and thereby recognise some of its limitations. Interestingly enough, when Kant wrote the categorical imperative, he reduced all immoralities to contradictions in the ethical system he created. As most famously quoted: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
Thus far what has been mentioned about Kant clearly points towards L1, R3, F4 and E5. In conclusion, I believe Kant is a very good representative of the LII type of information metabolism.

To learn more about the LII, click here.

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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Augustus (LIE): Personality Type Analysis

Caesar Divi Filius Augustus, born Gaius Octavius, was a visionary Emperor of Rome who helped expand the Roman Empire to unprecedented size. His action-orientated rule lead to great structural growth within the Roman Empire and his political dealings lead to a 200 year Pax Romana (Roman Peace) Golden Age.

Augustus abhorred inefficiency and put in place mass projects to improve the Roman Empire infrastructure. Augustus put it best in a famous quote: “I found Rome bricks and left it Marble.” Augustus had a very clear vision for the Roman Empire and had the drive and organizational skills to implement his ideas. From what conclusions that I have drawn from these observations point to the formulation of Augustus having P1, applying his knowledge towards practical projects and utilizing this prospect in a very effective manner. Additionally, Augustus was very concerned with the idea efficiency and optimization of Rome upon it's founding.

His ability to gather information and see things from a global perspective allowed him to make strategic decisions that laid out the foundation for prosperity and peace. This was never more apparent than when Augustus Caesar declined to take on the dictatorship like his adoptive father Julius Caesar (SEE), even when the populace cried out for him to do so. His ability to remain independent and trust his own perception of the situation allowed him to come to a politically strategic stance in order to avoid a fate similar to Julius Caesar’s. These are very P and F themes, with a much greater range of confidence in P and T. F is more restrained with Augustus, his decision making often has a strong connection towards future development or T. From the aforementioned observations, I find T2 to be a likely for Augustus, because this would accurately describe Augustus's periodically detached contemplation about realistic future developments.It is clear that Augustus was primarily more concerned with big-picture thinking and long-term strategies as an Emperor.

Augustus' behavior can best be summarized as very confident, calm and decisive. He also found it quite difficult to engage in social conversations and instead chose channel his creativity and insight into plans, opinions, and decisions, which they then communicate unmistakably. This contrast of public image versus internal preference is perfectly illustrated at the end of Augustus’s life when he famously states (on his deathbed): “Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit.” I believe this illustrates devalued E, perhaps in the case of E3 rather than being entirely neglectful of this type of information compared to E4. I think it is clear that Augustus was capable of adapting himself to the social atmosphere, however he was normally described as respectful and polite towards the interlocutor, yet he was emotionally unengaging.

He was also described as: "unusually handsome and exceedingly graceful at all periods of his life, though he cared nothing for personal adornment. He was so far from being particular about the dressing of his hair, that he would have several barbers working in a hurry at the same time, and as for his beard he now had it clipped and now shaved, while at the very same time he would either be reading or writing something." This illustrates devalued S4 as a "blind spot" for Augustus, being continuously ignored in favor for productive activity.

It is also clear that Augustus' valued R, particularly this can be illustrated in specific qualities that he possessed. During Augustus' reign as emperor, he was drawn towards selecting a number of close acquaintances that he completely trusted. This sort of carefulness and uncertainty in selecting friendships with individuals that Augustus trusted suggests R5, pertaining towards difficulty in augmenting the current state of affairs with the individuals around him. However, Augustus severely punished individuals, that regardless of closeness were seen to betray him. Evidently, what was previously mentioned and in context of this piece of information would make more sense for Augustus to have F6. He desired autonomy and control over his environment, but naturally being more cerebral in his leadership and having some degree of restraint in exercising his willpower. However, it should be noted that his past persona was of that of a mild and benevolent figure in his youth as a ruthless Octavian.

From what I've listed above already is consistent with P1, T2, E3, S4, R5 and F6. Consequently, I think that Augustus is a very good representative of the LIE type of information metabolism.

To learn more about LIE, click here.

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

Friday, 5 February 2016

David Bowie (EIE): Personality Type Analysis

David Robert Jones, known by his stage name 'David Bowie', was an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, painter, and actor. His career spanned five decades and his work especially known for its innovative design, as well as reoccurring themes of reinvention and visual representation. He had a great impact on popular music, continuously changing and redefining his style and image over the years, thus standing out for his originality. These changes were often so apparent and variant, that he has been called a 'musical chameleon'.

Interviews with David Bowie reveal a highly creative individual, but one that needed and thrived on the presence of conflict and turbulence in order to create. Bowie mentions his past of deliberately creating conflicts in the people around him, often to the negligence of their state of mind. From then, Bowie learned to observe the conflict in others and to draw inspiration from that. This is quite in line with someone from an E & F valuing quadra, which desires intensity of feeling and action in their work. In addition the ability and willingness to manipulate emotion in friends suggests a focus on and ability with E with little concern for R.

Bowie's motivations for going into music have also been expressed, with him being drawn to music as a 'revolution' of sorts. This shows from the beginning how he saw music as a medium to effect change, and that he was not so interested in the melodies in the music to begin with. We see in this, someone very much driven, not by their personal satisfaction or enjoyment of music, but by the effect that creativity can have on others and that great change can be enacted through such creativity. Similar themes exist in his discussion of other topics such as the internet. Bowie excitedly discussed the "feeling permeating music... and the internet", that something amazing would happen in "the construction between artist and audience", how the audience is becoming more important than the artist him/herself. His excitement about this lacked much cohesion, and he seemed much more able to convey how great such changes are, than define its make-up in any concrete terms. This approach shows clear Beta values, specifically towards profound, world-changing emotions (E+T) with an absence of clarity or definition, suggesting weak L.

An impression is also given of a highly addictive, chaotic man, who needed clear rules of abstention to avoid going off the deep end. Having suffered from alcoholism, he cited an absolute rule that he must never have alcohol again or it would have been the death of him. This was a man who had trouble monitoring his appetites and needed the help of his friends and strong boundaries to keep himself in check. In this regard, we see not only a great incontinence with S, but also a dependence on L to provide a stability he has difficulty providing for himself. This is quite in line with S4 and L5.

Additionally, Bowie drew on a wide range of influences in the creation of his music, and was an active instigator of a range of new, avante-garde ideas in the medium, as well as in other media, such as film and art. This is quite in line with someone who could expertly process the many possibilities open to them and utilise interesting and alternative avenues in their work, typical of very strong I. Given the clear Beta motivations, this fits very well for I8.

We thus see someone very typical of Beta revolutionary values with an Ego focus on E+T and likely S4 and L5. Finally, Bowie first emphasises the connection with the audience, effecting world change largely through how his artwork affects them, and second, emphasises himself being the active initiator of world-change, suggests E & F as Bold motivators. The relative absence of analytical prediction or setting out clearly how things will develop in the long term suggests that T & L are more Cautiously used. The long term revolution for Bowie seemed entirely to do with how he reached out to his audience and it seems completely unclear as to the motivation or ideology behind this change. This would strongly point to E1+T2 and F6+L5 for his valued functions.

One might argue that David Bowie's initial nervousness on stage, leading to his creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona, suggests a more 'Introverted' type. However, this is a misconception, as one's shyness has little to do with one's energy and whether they tend to energise the environment and cause things to happen or integrate and make it fit with one's needs and standards. It seems clear in that Bowie is the former. Furthermore, an EIE may often worry over how they might come across in a particular situation, disliking elements outside their control undermining the projects they are working on. Their F6 is Bold enough to get them into high pressure scenarios, but Weak enough to leave them feeling paralysed and needing support in unfamiliar situations. As such, it is not unusual for David to be an Energiser in Socionics and have hidden behind a persona when performing.

As such, the identification of E1, T2, S4, L5, F6 and I8 make EIE the most likely type for Bowie.

To learn more about the EIE, click here.

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


Wikipedia article 


Christopher Hitchens (ESI): Personality Type Analysis

Christopher Eric Hitchens was noted for his intellectual scepticism. He made forthright and harsh critiques and had a very independent approach, not quite belonging in any camp but focusing much on his own views and tearing down populist, but inaccurate beliefs with the more negative facts of the case. This sort of approach is a strong indicator of Gamma values.

However, while even MBTI would note this independent, intellectual and sceptical nature of Hitchens (he's commonly typed INTJ), it is apparent that his focus in this field was not Intuitive-Logical, i.e. abstract and systematic issues, but Sensory-Ethical i.e. politics, personal issues and people.

It has been argued that as an intellectual he must have been Intuitive (and Logical). This is incorrect. He did indeed convey his visceral disgust in an intellectual setting, but this is not the same as intellectualising moral arguments. For someone who intellectualises moral arguments, I would contrast with Sam Harris (LIE), who takes matters to a general philosophical issue, rather than Hitchens' relatively concrete emphasis on what person X did and how depraved they are internally.

Although supported by facts that he had read, Hitchens regularly drew attention to the personal aspects of the topic being discussed. He was a writer of polemics, wilfully attacking individuals in his critiques that were abhorrent to his sensibilities and who had done things that were damaging to people. He focused on Mother Teresa, Bill Clinton (EIE) and Henry Kissinger for instance. In each case, he drew attention to their failings as people and the critical sentiment he felt towards them. As such, although intelligent/intellectual, he was particularly conscience and principle-driven. Harsh judgement (R+F) was, I think, the most apparent theme in his intellectual work.

In general, Hitchens would talk about whatever he felt was wrong to him (R), and declare with conviction (F2) what made it unethical. There was less of the focus on trends and past experience to create a picture of bad outcomes from stupid decisions, but much more the act itself (F) as part of a deficient moral character (R). This is why, in politics, his work focused on individuals and their wrongdoing itself e.g. greed, hypocrisy, etc. rather than that something was stupid/wrongheaded (P) because of what it will lead to (T). He emphasised the question "is he really a good person?" and proceeds to show what was done that actually was quite bad of them. In comparison, David Starkey (ILI) focuses more on the long term stupidity of our actions i.e. based on how similar decisions have gone badly in the past, this new decision is very stupid. Starkey emphasises these trends and outcomes (T), showing whether our chosen strategy will work well or not (P). This is not to say that neither will attempt the other's approach at times, but that each other's alternative approach is not preferred.

In addition, Hitchens, although confrontational, was able to manage the level of confrontation rather expertly. He would calmly air his disgust and create the right level of distance to his opponent. In comparison, Starkey is unabashed in his derision of stupidity, suddenly and rudely railing against people who have said something without having thought it through properly. In this regard, Hitchens utilised R+F with far greater nuance, being civil and frank until he met someone deserving of a ruthless dressing down, where an angry Starkey can be treated as having acted unfairly harsh, open to critique by others for his rude (E4), but unmeasured and thus unconvincing attack.

These qualities, I think, make ESI the most likely typing for Hitchens.

To learn more about the ESI, click here.

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


Some clever comebacks

Polemic against Henry Kissinger

Polemic against Mother Teresa

The different approach of David Starkey