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  1. #11
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    The real problem is not within people using labels to segment information into recognisable chunks and nor is it in their usage of such labels to communicate such data but rather the problem exists when the label becomes mistaken for the item it is applied to.

    I am an INTP not the INTP for example. Within me is things which defies the INTP label. Sure use the label to describe me but I am not that label I am merely well described , in most situations, by the information which that label stands for.

    That make more sense?
    Humans are limited. We can only define things by an absence or presence of a quality. Even our quantitative measurements are based upon qualitative scales. For example, we say that a certain amount of observed space should be defined as an inch.

    Then in addition to that, we attach "meaning" and "purpose" to our defined qualities. These are abstract qualities that cannot be observed directly unless measured by some quantitative scale (which is ironically defined by qualitative observations). For example, superiority. To measure superior intelligence, you have to take an IQ test. To measure superior building ability, you may ask how many years experience an individual has building. We can only really observe superiority as compared to inferiority which is of course defined as the absence of superior quality. As you can see, all these abstract qualties give rise to dichotomies where the absence of one defines the other. Black and white, cold and hot, wet and dry.

    The final step is that we associate "meanings" and "purpose" between abstract concepts in a sort of web fashion. Think of all the terms that mean the same as black. Dark, hopeless, dirty, angry, evil.

    black - Synonyms from Thesaurus.com

    This last step is where we get in trouble because we are associating abstract qualities with things that can't be observed or even measured.

    So you asked why we "compartmentalize", "categorize", and web things together. That is because that is how the human psyche is developed from birth and probably even beforehand. It's how we learn to interpret experience.

    There are alternative ways of course. The Taoist developed a paradoxical and unifying view of the universe that I find fascinating. For example, understand that black and white are defined as different and opposites, but also realize that they are the same thing, light.

    I don't know if that helps any.
    Last edited by Kiddo; 10-05-2007 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Because I posted part of another post and not the link i was trying to paste

  2. #12
    Senior Member developer's Avatar
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    I think that putting labels on stuff and people has biological origins. We are so proud of the brain activity created by our neocortex that we tend to forget the lower levels of brain function which in reality run a great part of our daily lives. In an evolutionary framework, speed and simplicity is most important. Our brains, like those of our biological ancestors in the African Savannah are hardwired to identify and categorize things as quickly and simply as possible. There is a sound, our ancestor turns around and sees something coming out of the Savannah grass: is it friend or foe, food or dangerous predator ? He needs to act NOW, or he will become part of the food chain real quick.

    While we perceive ourselves as brilliant, highly developed individuals, deep below the surface this program continues to run, day in and day out: prey or predator, your tribe or mine, stranger or clansman, US or Europe, GM or Toyota, J or P, etc.

    It served us well to get where we are, and it continues to help even today, but our world is too complicated to let it run our destiny. Your hydrogen bomb or mine ?

  3. #13

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    The problem comes from the "correctness" (i.e. how accurate the statements made about the categories comes to describing all of something in a category) of the categories as well.

    The problem with psychological type is that they are not categories, but simply labels. They form fuzzy sets.

    Fuzzy sets cause problems when they are treated like real sets.

    Note the difference:
    "I'll meet you at 9:30 for dinner." I show up at 9:25 to make sure I am there by 9:30.

    "I'll meet you 9:30-ish for dinner." I show up at 10:00 and am resented for being "late".

    The little "ish" screws up everything.

    Stop-ish at a stop sign. Green means go-ish. Red means stop-ish. In some countries, this how traffic laws are obeyed-ish.

    I am not an INTP.

    I am INTP-ish, also a bit ISTP-ish, INFP-ish, INFJ-ish, and INTJ-ish.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #14
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    The problem comes from the "correctness" (i.e. how accurate the statements made about the categories comes to describing all of something in a category) of the categories as well.

    The problem with psychological type is that they are not categories, but simply labels. They form fuzzy sets.

    Fuzzy sets cause problems when they are treated like real sets.

    Note the difference:
    "I'll meet you at 9:30 for dinner." I show up at 9:25 to make sure I am there by 9:30.

    "I'll meet you 9:30-ish for dinner." I show up at 10:00 and am resented for being "late".

    The little "ish" screws up everything.

    Stop-ish at a stop sign. Green means go-ish. Red means stop-ish. In some countries, this how traffic laws are obeyed-ish.
    Fuzzy sets vs. Real sets? I never knew what that difference of interpretation was called before... but I've certainly observed it. I've always found it's best to be as precise as possible, even if the person seemed to be allowing for open-endedness, because they may well not really know what their statement actually meant. Surely you know that people who use double negatives don't actually mean what they're saying, but in fact the opposite? Language is so misunderstood it's a wonder we can communicate at all.
    I am not an INTP.
    No, he's Not. (Just kidding, I know what you meant.)
    I am INTP-ish, also a bit ISTP-ish, INFP-ish, INFJ-ish, and INTJ-ish.
    You're quite a mixed personality, then. Do you think most other people are as mixed as you? In my case, I'm sure there's an obvious INFJ component, but what else? Is there any way to determine what other types you might resemble based on particular criteria? I suppose you probably just determined that by introspection, but I don't feel I understand the behaviors and underlying psychology of other types, or even my own, well enough to guess in that manner.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Fuzzy sets vs. Real sets? I never knew what that difference of interpretation was called before... but I've certainly observed it.
    Actually, the distinction is between Sets and Fuzzy Sets. I tacked on the word "Real" for emphasis.

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    You're quite a mixed personality, then. Do you think most other people are as mixed as you? In my case, I'm sure there's an obvious INFJ component, but what else? Is there any way to determine what other types you might resemble based on particular criteria? I suppose you probably just determined that by introspection, but I don't feel I understand the behaviors and underlying psychology of other types, or even my own, well enough to guess in that manner.
    You can see if you can tell how "mixed" I am from my MBTI history.

    I was tested once Freshman year of HS (in English class) and came out INTP, didn't pay much attention really, but it was another little theoretical system to play with so kept track of people's types if they revealed it. Senior year, again in English class, I took it and came out ISTP. At this point, I still didn't care, but became rather skeptical, since I figured people's types would change alot (though many people came out exactly the same).

    I took a much lighter version of the test in a Software Engineering class sophmore year in College (part of the profs. research) and came out INFP. I also kept track of some of the results of friends in the class out of habbit. At this point, I figured it was all BS, but didn't care enough to investigate.

    Once in a while, I would get sent one of those "fun" web versions of the test from a friend, and I have tested INTP, ISTP, INFP, INFJ (even on MLC's test, I think) and INTJ. If my freinds told me what type they were, I kept track (again out of habbit). One of these times my sister tested ENFP (and I still think that is a pretty good fit).

    When I started work, some of my coworkers showed some interest in the Keirsy's Please Understand Me. I found out my co-workers types this way, one decided I was INFP (maybe INTJ, but definitely not INTP). I got a little interested, so I ordered the temperament and interaction style booklets from the Undertanding Yourself and Others Series. I quickly went through, and my brother did to (he came out SP, Behind-The-Scenes, and I came out NT, Behind-The-Scences). That was about it for a while.

    Much later on (as in, a few months back), during my counceling sessions, I mentioned that at one point, I was interested in understanding people and that I had once bought some books related to that. My councelor suggested I look back through these books to see if things made sense. That is when I got very interested (I had also collected some of Freud's, Rogers' and others books by that time) and started reading voraciously. I also went through a good number of the Understanding Yourself and Others booklets, and joined MBTI Nebulous. One of the INTP people on that board mentioned INTP central and MBTI central, so I joined both. I spend most of my time on this forum.

    Going through all those booklets has given me a fair amout of confidence that a professional would type me as INTP. I also went through and analysed the friends and acquatances I "knew" the types of while reading the booklets. It is amazing, how well what is described in the booklets fit (but I could be "making them fit").

    Maybe I am more "mixed" than most others, but there seem to be a lot of "mixed" types on this forum.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  6. #16
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    You've pointed out a very real danger that can arise from misapplication of a system of categorizations. However, I don't agree that it is necessarily a negative thing, because generalizations can be useful. It is when tendencies become concrete and definite in people's minds that the problem arises.

    But the truth is, I am a J, and I need labels and such crutches to deal with reality. Maybe a P can just adapt, but I have to fit all stimuli into as many categories as I can in order to understand it, otherwise I can't make sense of it.

    But I am willing to create new categories for individuals that deviate from my mental standard, to explain and describe their deviation to myself, and understand them better. In fact, part of the way I remember people individually is in the specific ways in which they deviate from a particular standard. For me, my categories are how I explain my understanding, and what I create to deal with things, but they don't limit my understanding in the end.

    The trick is to note every difference, and be willing to change your judgment after your initial impression.
    You are not a J.

    You are not athenian200 or whatever.

    You are a mammal.

  7. #17
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    You are not a J.

    You are not athenian200 or whatever.

    You are a mammal.
    Are you sure? I thought someone said Athenian was a bird?


    Fuzzy sets versus sets is exactly the problem.

    Oh and do we know anyone who is a classic 'whatever' type person? I very much doubt it. The types as described seem to be like truth. It can be written down but it can't be found as written anywhere in life unless you slacken the parameters away from precision and hence end up with a fuzzy set.

    I guess the real question about all of this is very INTP. Why do people try to build such complex systems and realise things when they haven't understood the underlying currents in the information?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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