Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Se and willpower

On the16types.info, people often describe Extroverted Sensing (Se) as willpower. I have on several occasions said that such a description is way, way too limited to arrive at an understanding of what Se really is all about. In fact, equating Se and willpower can indeed lead to an incorrect understanding of what Se is, and as such, an incorrect understanding about oneself. For is the stereotypical procrastination or inertia of some types to be attributed to weak Se, as a lot of people claim? I do not think so.

Early this week my girl friend, who is struggling with issues related to self-assertion, came home and shared an experience where she was completely outmaneuvered  by an employee of a cookie store, who sold my GF 19 euros worth of middle eastern cookies when my GF really didn't want to buy it. She wondered how this could have happened.

Obviously I wasn't there when it happened, but my gut feeling told me there was some Extroverted Sensing at play here. So I explained about Se to her, both from a perspective of Socionics as well as mainstream psychological insights: Se is basically about the capability to make other people do things. Not necessarily against their will,  but still it is about making people do things they didn't plan on doing themselves, out of their own motivation. As I described elsewhere, Se can manifest itself in both healthy and pathological ways.

Mirriam-Webster describes 'willpower' as:
continence, restraint, self-command, self-containment, self-control, self-discipline, self-government, self-mastery, self-possession, self-restraint, will
All of these are about how a person behaves themselves on their own, and not so much about how they behave in social interaction. So willpower is not what Se is all about, at least not in the first place. Se is, first and foremost, about the "will to exercise power". Sounds almost the same as willpower, but it's quite a different beast!

Now even that is so vague that it can be interpreted so that it also includes EIIs trying to change other people's behavior by giving a moral motivational lecture. For is it not that the EII wants to exercise control over someone else in such cases? But that is not Se, of course. Se is about the will to exercise power by means of physical and psychological pressure over other people (or over external objects), disregarding their own say in the matter, implying that a conflict will not be avoided in the process, if necessary. Power, exercised in the common, everyday sense.

More can be said about it, of course, but what I wanted to stress here is that Se is not the same as willpower.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Suggestive and Mobilizing Function: a follow up

Already five years ago I wrote about the interaction between the Suggestive and Mobilizing functions, showing the differences between them from the perspective of two mirror types. In this follow-up article I want to expand a little bit on what I wrote before.

In the previous article I wrote about EIIs requiring 'the knowledge for successfully and efficiently carrying out procedures, as well as an incentive to act'. I want to expand on this, because I can imagine that in a sense this would apply to IEEs as well, especially the first part.

Both EIIs and IEEs need input of Te, procedural knowledge, so to speak. The difference is in the amount of support they need. Generally speaking (and really, I mean 'generally' here), when confronted with a problem of a Te nature, the IEE only needs a little guidance, e.g. being shown a simple example, after which they can take if from that point themselves. This nicely suits the Creative-Te of SLIs, which does not like to be engaged all the time. EIIs on the other hand, will have an ongoing need for guidance. Obviously they learn from what they have been demonstrated, but in order to stay productive, they need to be managed and guided on a constant basis. When it comes to Te-based activities, they flourish only when constantly being told what to do, rather not having to plan their activities themselves, or having to be creative at their tasks. LSEs can feed EIIs such needs.

To an IEE however, such behavior by an LSE would be experienced as micromanagement, resulting in frustration, because they get the feeling of being considered incompetent by LSEs, and fatigue, because they are overloaded with work. To some extent IEEs can deal with frustration, but physical fatigue is killing to them, which is related to their Si-Suggestive. Once shown the ropes, they'd rather be left alone to work at a leisurely pace, and this is exactly what SLIs, being themselves focused on Si, can provide IEEs. SLIs only intervene with IEEs when they see a need for it, and the way they intervene has a relaxing effect on IEEs, for they do not tell what the IEE must do, but rather present it in the form of interesting knowledge the IEE can apply themselves.

Ergo: The need of LSEs to manage, fulfills the need of EIIs to be managed. The need of SLIs to reduce discomfort, fulfills the need of IEEs to be calmed down.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Differences Between the Lead and Creative Functions

For a lot of Socionics enthusiasts trying to figure out their type, it is difficult to decide between two mirror types. How can one distinguish these two types?

The point with the Lead Function is that it is mainly applied to the benefit of the individual themselves, whereas the Creative Function is used to help other people out. Let me clarify this with some examples:

Lets take two mirror types, SLI and LSE. Both have Si in their ego block, but for the SLI this is the lead function, for the LSE it is the creative function. In social interaction Si is acted out different: as a Lead function, Si is used to inform the other person about what to, and often in such a way that it basically comes down to "this is good for me, it should also be good for you". As Creative function, however, Si is an active application enacted upon the recipient.

SLI: "you look stressed, why don't you take a shower to relax?" (IEE hadn't thought of that and takes the advice, EII feels misunderstood, because they are in need of physical contact, not a shower).
LSE: sees the person is stressed and lays their hand on their shoulders to calm them down (IEE feels interfered with, while EII feels the stress roll off their shoulders).

SLI: "You smell a bit bad, you should take a shower"
LSE: pre-emptively takes measures, or creates structural beneficial circumstances so that the other person more or less automatically takes good care of their personal hygiene.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Use your talents and do what you are good at!

In the past I have written extensively about the Mobilizing function, how it works and how it relates to other functions, such as the Point of Least Resistance (PoLR). In this blog post I want to bring all of this together in a sort of behavioral recommendation.

Various sources have already commented that using your Mobilizing function is often not effective. In fact, it can even make you look foolish or pathetic. How does it work?

The problem with using your Mobilizing function too much is often to be found in a history where you weren't able or allowed to express your ego functions. You try to overcome this usually external demand by expressing you Mobilizing function instead. What in effect is happening here is that you are being giving signs of disapproval when you use your ego functions, and you use your Mobilizing function instead, leading into acceptance and/or recognition seeking behavior. Although this does not produce the intended results, you are inclined to use that function even more, and the Mobilizing function becomes your neurotic behavior pattern. What is needed here, is to break to cycle and actively learn to shift behavioral focus back to your ego functions again.

Lets first focus on the dynamics of the Mobilizing function. Your strong point is, of course, your leading function. The information coming out of this function is what you are inclined to express socially. If this expression is systematically suppressed, you will start to use your Mobilizing function, using it as a carrier wave that allows you to express your leading function anyway, to have it and its information accepted or recognized anyway. Or so you believe. By itself using your Mobilizing function makes you look pathetic (since it's obvious to onlookers you are overdoing it), but it also often implies violation of relevant aspects involved with your PoLR function, which makes your behavior look erratic (i.e. stupid, ignorant, inefficient, a moron etc., depending on the type of PoLR  involved). Utimately resulting in forms of rejection and social exclusion.

When you are using your Mobilizing too much, you need to break the cycle of ineffective behavior by quitting using your Mobilizing to the best of your ability (a learning process that gradually improves over time). This in effect means that you, as much as possible, keep the information resulting from your Lead function to yourself, and have it manifested in the expression of your Creative function. It is possible at first that this even more leads to social exclusion, but that is just the phase of getting rid of people that you shouldn't hang out with anyway. After that you will attract more like-minded people.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"Based on your results your type is likely - unclear"

Recently someone pointed the Classis Jung test out to me as they felt it was a good test that pinpointed their type quite accurately. I also did this test, but in my opinion it suffers from the same problems as most other tests. I repied:
"First of all, many questions are open to interpretation about what is being asked, and secondly, those questions that do not seem to be ambiguous make me feel I'm not sure enough about my self-knowledge to be able to answer them."
Let me elaborate with a few examples:

Q: I desire high status.
In my opinion this question cannot measure a Jungian function. Any type can desire high status, the only thing that differs is the way in which they desire high status. For some people it means being in a high hierarchical social position of power, for others it means being recognized as an authority on some kind of knowledge. Depending on what this question wanted to measure, it should have been phrased more precise, so that it isn't open to interpretation.

Q: I draw ethics purely from within
Although I do believe I am more ethically self-starting than most other people so to speak, as a social and cultural scientist I can only say that no individual draws ethics purely from within. In fact, all psychologically healthy people draw most ethics for the most part from social interaction. Anyone who claims the opposite is just an ethical narcissist. By that I mean to say that this question can, e.g., not measure genuine extroverted or introverted feeling. Neither can it measure archaic manifestations of feeling.

Q: I rely on past experience and use it as a guide for the present.
If this question measures anything at all, it must be ADD or ADHD, not a Jungian function. All people rely on past experience to guide them into the present. Without that, you wouldn't have survived infancy.

Q: I require novelty in my environments
I do believe I'm always on the lookout for new insights and experiences, but at the same time I'm also very conservative towards new developments in society that I believe do not bring new benefits or are only superficial improvements that usually also involve unintended negative consequences, resulting in a zero-sum game. Likewise, there are people (e.g. SEIs and SLIs) that go through each day doing the exactly same thing as the day before and are happy with that, only to be pleasantly surprised if someone else (e.g. and Ne-base type) offers them new experiences. I.e. although they don't strive for it, the do require novelty in their environments. So once more this is a question that cannot really measure anything meaningful.

Q: I prefer to indulge in that which exists in the present moment.
It's not what I do typically, because that would interfere with the requirements of everyday life. But if I had my way, I would be smoking weed and have sex all day long, 24/7/365!

Q: I intuitively know and understand something without consciously being able to put it into words.
If I would take this question literally, I would have to answer "very inaccurate", because I often intuitively know and understand something, and most of the time I am quite able to put that into words. I.e. this question seems to measure two things at a time.

Q: I love indie rock
Are you serious? What is this supposed to measure?

I could go on and on about these questions, but the general idea should be clear by now. For personality tests to be meaningful, the questions need to be either unambiguously phrased, or they should have a couple of hundred questions to arrive at anything meaningful. The latter is what we usually see with scientifically validated tests such as the Big Five test or the MMPI-2 test.

And I haven't even mentioned the fact that many of the more simpler personality tests do not even include test questions that measure if people have adequate self knowledge....

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A perspective on some Intertype Relations

When it comes to Intertype Relations, I think there are two main aspects that determine satisfaction and success. The first factor is determined by the partners' Leading Functions, that basically determine how well two individuals can co-exist at close psychological distance. The second one is determined by the partners' Creative Functions, which support personal growth and change.

The Michelangelo Phenomenon

To elaborate on my introduction above, we will need to make a side trip. Research in mainstream (social) psychology has shown that there are certain factors to relation success and satisfaction. One of these factors is the so-called Michelangelo Phenomenon, after Michelangelo, who apparently once said that his job as a sculptor is to liberate a sculpture already existing in a block of stone by chiseling away the stone around it. In this vision, each person has an Actual Self and an Ideal Self, and what a good partner can help with, is the realization of the goal of becoming your Ideal Self. For this to happen, two conditions need to be met: your partner must support your own notions about both your Actual as well as your Ideal Self. Under these circumstances, chances that you will grow personally are higher and come closer to your ideal self, as are the chances that the two partners will grow closer over time. (Note: the Michelangelo Phenomenon can be considered the opposite of the Pygmalion Phenomenon, where partners try to sculpt the other partner according to their own conceptions of how the partner should be).

It takes me too far to go into detail right now, but let me suffice to say that the social psychologist who wrote about this (Caryl Rusbult) stated that such ideal situations often invlove couples where partsners are very much like each other in the sense that they have the same existential values and goals, while at the same time being compatible in their skills. I personally see this as mainstream support for the Socionics notion of Duality, although I suspect the Michelangelo Phenomenon extends to factors beyond those defined by Socionics.

Duality redefined

So, in the light of the Michelangelo Phenomenon, my personal definition of Duality becomes:
A relationship in which each person is allowed to be themselves by expressing and acting out their leading function (acceptance of each others Actual Self), while at the same time helping the partner cover their weak spots by using the Creative Function (acceptance of the partner's notions of Ideal Self and helping them to become that Ideal Self).

Relationship satisfaction and Personal Growth

To put it differently: ideally a good dual relationship provides two individuals 100% satisfaction in terms of relationship quality (related to the leading functions), and 100% satisfaction in terms of personal growth (as a result from using the Creative Functions). This, of course, non-Socionics factors left out of the equation.

We can also translate this way of phrasing it to other types of relations, e.g.:
  • Semi-duality: 100% relationship satisfaction, zero contribution to personal growth (compared to duality)
  • Activity: 50% relationship satisfaction, 50% support for personal growth
  • Mirage: 0% relationship quality, 100% support for personal growth.
Obviously we shouldn't take these numbers to literally, but you probably get the gist of what I'm trying to convey here. Going by my own experiences, I can say this usually holds true. Currently I'm in a semi-duality relationship, and even though we can co-exist very well and enjoy each others company, we cannot really help each other at realizing personal goals, also because at a larger level, our life values are quite different.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Creative Fi in action

There is a kind of emotional expression that I have only seen in IEEs and SEEs. Below you will find a couple of videos of people that are sending out emotional signal of the Creative Fi kind. These examples are the more sadder sides to Fi.

I do not know for sure if non-Fi types can perceive this type of emotion (as something distinct from other types of emotional expression), but I wanted to post these videos anyway.

Britney Spears

For a long time I had assumed Spears was SEE (I only knew her from her video clips), but after seeing this documentary, I changed to IEE. In the following scene (39:35-41:16), Spears gets emotional in the way that is typical for Creative Fi types.

 Mickey Rourke

I remember a scene from Rourke (SEE) on Inside The Actors Studio where he is being asked about his brother. Despite Rourke wearing a hat and sunglasses, he can't hide the kind of emotional expression similar to that of Spears above; it simple pours out of him. Unfortunately, I couldn't find this extremely powerful scene (if you get a chance at a re-run, go watch it!), but here is another video of Rourke getting emotional about his grandmother, which gets quite close to what I want to show:

This sort of emotional expression is typical of Creative Fi types that have something to confess. The greatest emotional burden for SEEs and IEEs is the realization that they have acted in selfish ways where they didn't pay gratitude to those who deserved it, or failed to support people that could have benefited from their qualities of being Creative Fi types. Simply: to have failed other people, and thereby to have let themselves down.

Of course, such things are by no means unique to IEEs and SEEs, it's the way they deal with it that sets them apart from other types, that have other ways of dealing with such realizations.

George Clooney

Here a scene from Clooney (SEE) performing in the movie The American. By itself not a good movie, but if there is a thing that deserves to be credited, it's Clooney's acting.

The scene is from the end of the movie, where the lead character has been shot. Clooney translates the situation into Creative Fi emotions. If that was intentional, it would mean that Clooney, in this scene, is actually not dealing with physical pain, but with pain of a more existential nature, e.g. looking back at his life and finally coming to an understanding of how everything got screwed up and realizing how he's been wrong (note: I'm speculating here). It's also possible that it was not intentional, but that Clooney was thinking about something from his real life that allowed him to play sad, distressed emotions (in which case he's not really acting all that great):

 Creative Fi and the Human Condition

What you've seen above, is basically the emotional expression of IEEs and SEEs in response to the Human Condition, and in particular its aspect of the individual ultimate being alone in the world. Well rounded SEEs and IEEs understand this fact, and above all, are capable of accepting it. But the true purpose of this capability is to help other people, and especially their duals, to overcome their inability of dealing with (aspects of) the Human Condition.