Pulling it together

So, I have decided to try and pull together a few key thoughts in a more succinct format and see how it goes. So I am going to start with a few definitions of words I use constantly, then a break down of what I see when I look at the MBTI typologies, and a more simplified definition of my Faulty Context theory and communications parity equation, folks might be able to read this even. (Completion update: I did okay here, I am still grappling with some decent succinct language when it comes to my theory, it is so easy to just run off and apply it to a host of issues, generates tangents and hypothesis very well, not great for succinct understanding though)

So, I have a few favorites words I like to use that are pretty much Jargon, but at the same time, do work well for how I think, I pick words that are the absolute best for what I intend to say, and sometimes just the effort of editing that chain of thought fails, so…I might as well define a few.

Epistemology:  By far one of my favorites, it means a way of knowing something, now that does not mean someone knows something right or without error, it in no way infers a rightness or wrongness to how we know. I see two important epistemologies in my work, the inherent and the socio-cultural ones as I define them. One is the baseline for how your brain thinks from conception, but trauma and damage can change this. The other, is our social ways of knowing, what we value, the activities we prefer, etiquette, etc. For example we “know” nodding up and down is a “yes” answer in western society, that same motion may not mean the same thing elsewhere, it is learned social behavior, we “know” what that gesture means.

Dichotomy: Two things in relation to each other that define their place subjectively in object reality, in my own definition, but really it is simply two things viewed in opposition to each other, so “good” vs “evil” is a dichotomy, the “conservative” and “liberal” labels in politics are dichotomies, I often reference false dichotomies, ones that are based on faulty context, I certainly include the two dichotomies I used as examples to be false, but many, for example the Myers-Briggs uses dichotomy, but it is inherent, a baseline, not stuck in a rigid black and white structure, so I would not call it a false dichotomy, because it is two end points on a spectrum.

Context: Well, context is a word with multiple definitions and use, when talking about context in regards to a source of information for example.  When I use context I mostly use my very denotative improved definition of the word, in particular in regards to personal or human context.  Context in regards to communication between two parties is a combination of their inherent and socio-cultural epistemologies in regards to a discussion and the object of the discussion, be it assets, theories, interest in art or peace negotiations. Context is the basis upon which we build our understanding about life, the world, the spirit, it all has some context. My theory focuses on the notion of Faulty Context, mostly seen in the form of false dichotomies.

Schema: Ok, so Piaget, a brilliant mind who studied his children for great insight into how they learned and stored knowledge, came up with his idea of Schema, schemata in plural, as how we build our knowledge. Now, the way Piaget describes Schema, it seems to be very empirical, which is to say learning in concrete compartmentalized cognitive structures, and this applies to a very large chunk of the population.  But, as I will mention below, logic is a form of Schema building as well.

I have more definitions as well, but they are best viewed in the context of the Myers-Briggs, and I use that model because I believe it really has isolated in solid qualitative ways a great deal of difference in personality types, I just want to re-orient it a bit with some new perspective, because I believe it is insightful, and when combined with my Faulty context theory, it becomes a powerful tool to understand what makes humans great, but also how we continue to inflict massive amounts of trauma on individuals and entire cultures.

Introvert Vs Extrovert: This drove me nuts for sometime, I tried to wrap my brain around it and I am so glad the slippery thought coalesced into something so, testable. What we are witnessing is a function of metabolism, the Introvert takes in more data than they can process in that given environment and the extrovert is able to process the data as fast as it comes in.  The two big ways we take in and prioritize data is the object reality as our physical senses take it in, and these sense do influence the other major source of data, social data, to include conversations, use of specific space, body language, etc.  So the Introvert will get fatigued over time the brains metabolic rate stays elevated to process the data, the Extrovert does not need to use as many calories processing the data and thus feels no mental fatigue as a result of this. Ambiverts are folks who are just at the cusp of real time data intake and processing, so depending on the situation can switch between the two roles, and may easily identify with practice what scenarios are draining, is it the social or the sensory that tends to tip the balance towards introversion.

Logical vs Empirical: To tie this back to the Myers-Briggs, this is Intuitive vs Sensing. I seldom use sensing at all in my blog, and prefer observant when referencing the Myers-Briggs, but honestly…I just did not like the break down and this was the first big chunk I tied together to help get my theory moving forward.  So Logical vs Empirical is how our minds process what we learn and dictates our preferred baseline method for building Schema a la Piaget with an added component, the logical mind. So to keep it simple, the Empirical mind naturally favors compartmentalized knowledge acquisition, they build up a solid construct of thought that is phenomenal with facts, figures, etc.  When an empirical mind “knows” something, it is a solid understanding. Piaget referred to index cards in the mind, each card a specific bit of knowledge, I prefer a modern city scape, Manhattan is a good example of bottom up empirical thinking, engineering in particular. So each building represents their knowledge, and each building may have a specialty with subdivisions within.  When an Empirical thinker grows and understands logical thinking and the value it has, I like to say the metaphor looks like Minneapolis, the Skyway bypassing some of the usual barriers to connecting information.  In the case of the logical way of thinking and learning, I like to use a metaphor of a pattern that starts at central point, the individual. Through cause and effect and the use of correlations the logical mind builds up understanding of the world through connections and inter-relations, were the empirical mind constructs great models and thoughts, the logical mind constructs one ever changing patterns, with empirical information and data woven into it, like a spiders web and the objects caught in it are empirical constructs that the logical mind has found value in and adapted.  So the empirical mind is going to like facts and figures, be more “grounded” in the here and now, the logical mind likes correlations (and can be prone to faulty logic if they do not learn to do things like triangulate and vet their information sources, psuedoscience, etc can really hijack a good logical mind) and if more dis-associative by nature, less “grounded” in the here and now, logical minds enjoy their heads in the clouds, it is where they will always do their best work.

Rational vs Feeling:  Ok, this was my breakthrough one that helped me identify the faulty internalized ways of knowing in my own head, so I have a special, but arguably more prone to biased outlook on this, then again I am naturally going to favor my own inherent baseline anyways.  So rational vs feeling is a social function, it is the evolution of animal instinct and emotional responses into what allows us to be connected emotionally to other beings, it is the basis for our compassion, our ability to take joy in other people’s actions (compersion), and is also where people usually demonstrate best that they are broken, mentally ill, or otherwise suffering.  Let me start with rational here, do not confuse rational for a lack of feeling, a lot of folks do this, the cold rational person is either truly suffering an underlying neuropathy or has simply been harmed socially enough to have withdrawn emotionally instead of seeing healthy growth over life into being more comfortable with feeling deeply. The healthy rational mind feels with breadth vs depth, often quoted in regards to this is “the good of the many outweighs the good of the one”. Likewise, the rational mind is also what I would consider to be a dis-associative personality trait instead of a grounded one.  Feeling people on the other hand put their natural social empathy towards the immediate with greater depth and thus are often very attached and grounded in the here and now more. A good example of the difference is that a feeling person will cry and feel deeply saddened by an event, where the deeply moved rational person is more prone to just weep, depth vs breadth. So rational and feeling are our baselines for how we prioritize social needs and existential threats as they apply to the social unit and not just the individual.  I feel I need to do more research here on the neuroscience, I have some good generic understanding, but I would like to get this more solidly connected to some good ole fashioned empirical data.

Expansionist vs Reductionist: (Still unsure of what I want to use, but that was not it, carry on) Trying these words out here and seeing how they fit (result: I hate them), this is my take on the Prospecting vs Judging function for people as a form of analysis and execution of decisions. The expansionist mind approaches a problem by looking at the branching possibilities, building up an understanding and making a tally as they go before coming to a decision and executing it.  The Reductionist approach looks at the problem in the here and now, figures out what context the decision needs to be made in and reduces down the background noise of their thoughts to execute a decision.  The expansionist or prospecting analysis, ever branching until the trunk is firmly defined from amongst the branches, is likewise what I consider a dis-associative personality and focuses on subjective context. The Reductionist/Judging analysis is more grounded in the here and now, in objective context.  And these can be easily confused, especially when dealing with an Introvert per Isabel Myers, the auxillary function as identified by Jung could be seen as very reductionist and grounded, but the Introvert has been hiding those ever expanding analysis, so folks may see a fairly grounded black and white decision out of the expansionist analytical process, but that is because they have been chewing on it for sometime.  In regards to personal growth, the expansionist thinker can learn tools to help prevent too much unnecessary analysis in the form of reducing down the options into a more concrete framework, such as an outline for writing (I need to use those more…). The Reductionist analytical process can learn the value of making sure they try and see other potential outcomes, brainstorming some ideas to help ensure they do not accidentally cause more harm than good if they miss a big picture moment or detail.  Oh before I forget, the definition of reductionist I am using is the reducing complex problems to more manageable or simple ones, which can be helpful in execution, especially in the face of an existential threat, but can be prone to over simplifying and missing the big picture.  So, both ways the mind analyzes data in regards to executing a decision are good approaches, the extremes are over thinking or over simplifying, but they find great balance in positive dichotomies such as the advisor and the leader, the thinker and the do’er, and we tend to devalue these things, which is a shame and leads to faulty context.

Sensory data input vs manipulation: This is my own category, that is a series of subcategories as well, but it is an important part of how any one person will think, and that is how we manipulate our sensory data.  If our rational/feeling social function is how we manipulate social data and understand it, then our Sensory data is part of how we augment and manipulate the data from our senses physical and objective point.  So sensory data input, how we take in our sensory view of objective reality is distinctly different from how we may manipulate it.  The empirically grounded sensory data is integrated into various ways of thinking consciously, but we are also able to naturally (and improve them through practice) manipulate sensory data.  And the difference in manipulation capability can be substantial.  Using myself as an example, I am my own best case study, as biased and subjective as it can be, it is useful and insightful, but I digress, I have fantastic ocular vision in a measurable way, at one point very proud of my 20/15 and 20/17 vision in each eye, called them pilot’s eyes since my father was a Naval aviator and he had good vision too.  Much to my anger for a very long time, I took for granted that folks might actually visualize things, unaware that I was what folks are calling these days “mindblind” and when I discovered I was deficient in college, oh my I was mad, angry, I felt so ripped off.  But as my blog points out, it is probably for the best, as it prevented me from retreating from the world as a result of complex PTSD, would not be writing this today I imagine had I been able to.  So, the ability to visualize has been connect to the ability to manipulate math in one’s head, sight reading sheet music, and some of the best examples are folks able to render from their own mind almost photo quality artistic endeavors, amazing stuff.  Likewise we can vary on our ability to manipulate auditory data, some hear the voices of the speakers in their heads, other hear their own voice with a change or cadence, and would not even rule out monotone conversations as a possibility.  Smell and taste I lump together, these are senses based on chemicals interacting with our nervous system, as a result I am unsure of just how much talent one can have in these categories, an area I need to investigate further, I know with a little conscious effort I can turn off an offensive smell after several minutes, so that is manipulating scent data in real time, but I am pretty sure my neurological system is still well aware of that scent, I have just compartmentalized it so as to not be a distraction, could be more a function of rating high in dis-associative qualities, being able to check out mentally has its advantages.  So, more room for me to explore there, writing this stuff helps identify these areas that are still half-formed hypothesis vs more structured and verified logic.  Finally, tactile senses, this get’s tricky, having experienced tactile hallucinations, the most extreme one being me reaching to feel my pulse on my neck, while very anxious after a stupid idea to experiment in college, I literally felt my fingers go into my neck, rest on my heart valve, I could feel the fluttering of the valve, I could feel the sticky warm blood, it was a pretty darn traumatic event. But it informs us on somatoform illness nicely in regards to my theory, so folks who are traumatized and damaged, who are dis-associative by nature could have a schizophrenic break, but if their auditory and visual functions are impaired enough, the result will be somatoform illness as a result of tactile hallucinations made manifest via the body’s own neurological connection to the mind, kinda crappy. But, the ability to manipulate tactile data is an interesting question, I would say I tend to translate visual data into kinetic/tactile data, but I do not seem to manipulate it much, and that might be because the body mind connection needs to maintain that definition between fantasy and reality more strongly than in a visual or auditory schizophrenic break.   Smell and Taste I believe would also apply to somatoform illness as well, but we know the brain can be tricked into smelling something different by using similar volatile organic compounds (I once convinced my wife, dog, and both cats I was cooking a hamburger, when I was using bread crumbs, egg, and ground coffee grounds, because roasted coffee gives off the same volatile organic compounds as the cooking red meat). or our brain will mix up tastes when we go to take a drink and we think it is something else.  These functions though, our ability to rely on how we manipulate or at least actively use our senses, are important in understanding how people think when we want to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Faulty Context Theory: So this is my baby, my life’s work and insight, taken from such a vast web of correlation and logic that, well I was frequently told I reached to far, I wanted to tackle to unwieldy of ideas, bah I say phooey to that, I will continue to shoot for the moon and if I miss, can’t say I did not try.  So, my work is a result of my ardent refusal, often subconsciously, but consciously as well to stop letting the current educational and academic system inhibit my ability to seek an understanding of humanity and the individual writ large and to identify why we have things like universal moral truths, which some would argue don’t exist, I am siding with Lao Tze and calling it morality as far as a healthy human who gets their baseline should. So, at the heart of faulty context is the notion of the over application of false dichotomies to how we understand the world subjectively and objectively.  Examples of false dichotomies I like to tackle are “masculine” vs “feminine”, I have a blog post already on this subject, the notion that gender is the result of faulty context in regards to there being more than one way of thinking inherently and then connecting these different inherent ways of thinking to sexual dimorphism, which is understandable, we do tend to see some inherent ways of thinking more apparent in certain sexes, but we also see differences in cultures and physical genotypes, it is a false dichotomy, based on a faulty understanding of context.  Gender is therefore an illusion based on a faulty understanding of how different people think and linking it to biological sex, when it has not connection to biological sex, and it a nurture factor not a nature factor in one’s sexual identity, which has an underlying natural trigger, it is not determinism, you can be a “feminine” man by current standards and still be quite hetero-normative in ones sexual behavior. So taking my new definition of personal context, that the inherent and the socio-cultural epistemologies must be known to communicate, we have a big problem.  Right now many folks have internalized faulty epistemologies and try to live by those ideals, ideals Susan Cain points out in Quiet began being marketed to us around 100 years ago.  To be successful one needs to be this, this, or this, etc.  When you view the world through men’s work and women’s work, instead of the many varied personalities, you force individuals in each of those gender roles to have to fight against or internalize the dominant paradigm as best they can, and this is damaging, especially to autistic minds who take more nurturing to achieve a solid sense of self identity.  Because we have a faulty context on how to teach, for example Piaget’s theory favors empirical thinking, we see individuals with Attention Deficit Disorder instead of a likely introverted and very logical mind, quite possibly brilliant and not as learning disabled as folks think, it is just maladpative to the current mainstream education model, in this case, a lack of proper understanding of a dichotomy seen in human Schema building, so not everything is based on false dichotomies. This can be fixed, and of course it not always horribly damaging if they have good home support or we make sure our public educational space can expand to better enable them to reach their full potential as well, a lot of charter schools now favor the logical thinker, these are good existing models to integrate on some level, effort over performance, unstructured self learning time, which will often look like play.  False dichotomies are best understood as rigid thinking from a black and white perspective, this form of empirical or often reductionist thinking has a survival function, but that survival function has held on long past it’s time in regards to other humans.  We need to clear the air to understand much of what we are seeing, and right now the world of the Introvert (solid example is the internet and reading) is fighting back for space against the dominant perceived desire for Extroversion, which is very silly, since as I state, the difference here is a metabolic function, so we need to make sure both have adequate space to thrive. The overstimulating world we live in is particularly dangerous to hypersensory folks, especially autistic children, we need to find a little balance here.  Likewise, right now, often seen in political discourse (The fact based empirically driven, faulty context ridden Fox News, or the faux News of John Stewart’s unrelenting logic and correlations that inform us of current events, which is it, comedy and current events news as satire) is a fight between logical and empirical thinkers, and we will continue to struggle until we see this as a bonafide biological baseline dichotomy that folks favor from birth, and that to communicate effectively we need to understand how other people think and learn.  We also need to de-obfuscate a lot of our current data, my posts on autism should be informative as to how we have gotten somethings pretty much backwards, not a lack of social skills, but intuition that sees the body language and facial expressions of folks easily and are damaged and confused when an in-authentic, or damaged, or non- self-actualized person lie to them, the body movement betrays them, the extremely logical can do these things fairly natural, empirical science now understands it as the science of micro-expressions, some folks come to it naturally and easily.  When you keep getting negative reactions when you call “bullshit”, well that child is probably going to end up harmed in someway, demeaned, devalued.  So my theory states that we will continue to traumatize, demean, devalue, and dehumanize people until we understand our personal inherent epistemology as well as humanity’s context. In a simple form, Faulty Context is the root of most trauma, miscommunication, and disharmony as we see it in the world today, based in part on cultural divides and in part on the devaluing of a natural and fundamental way of thinking that may be different from you, thus making us Aliens to each other.

Communications Parity: So, my communications parity equation, which I touched on already briefly is a pretty simple thing, you need to know how you are wired to think, your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of personal growth or trauma, just knowing these things give one power over how they learn and allows one to figure out where to find their joy in life.  If you also understand your cultural values (often without needing much thought) you can balance your options and choices against that. For example, the US is seen as extroverts, empirical thinkers, reductionist in their approach to life, rational and feeling both in good measure the feeling speaks very loudly), this general sense of the overall culture is informative in, say, engaging in globalized economic markets and the response to certain news. Individuals may not think the same way as the dominant culture, but when trying to make decisions, ones social and cultural norms certainly play a role in it.  If both sides know themselves well, inherently and socio-culturally, and they can communicate this difference, then you have parity and can facilitate a productive, honest, and mutually beneficial conversation, there may still be times when object reality and social considerations still prevent a compromise as well, but by and large, without false dichotomies obfuscating the truth, the parties should be able to come to a mutual understanding of each other at the very least that informs them of how they might get past other problems, where one might give a bit in exchange for taking a bit elsewhere, etc.  From a corporate and mass communications perspective, having folks who know their baseline, know their strengths, and are able to communicate the value of this difference, invaluable.

So the equation looks a bit like this: (Inherent + socio-cultural epistemologies) + context of communication understood on both sides = parity in communication. Yeah, still pretty math inept.


2 thoughts on “Pulling it together

  1. EverDream says:

    Very interesting – thank you for taking the time to write this. The additional category would add a much more pronounced physical aspect (if that is the right word, I am not a native speaker) to existing typological concepts. I will need to reread this post some more times to better wrap my head around the different nuances, but this is certainly a commendable effort. Great job.

    Have you had a chance to explore Socionics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socionics) at all? This theory is also based on Jungian concepts and is very popular in and around Russia, with lots of research behind it. I believe its proponents focus heavily on information metabolism and each type’s role in the society – this may be worth exploring. This could also be an interesting read: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits#Biological_factors.

    Looking forward to more posts!


    • I can barely contain my glee at being introduced to a whole new area I had missed until now, I will certainly be looking into this more, just a glance at the subject informed me that I may have some substantial reading, but at a quick glance it is certainly a solid attempt at making sense of what a lot of folks have seen, so I shall enjoy this, I thank you for the new information, so much out there, I cannot express how much a little prod in a new direction is one of the best gifts a person could give me haha.


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