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  1. #1
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Default Unconscious Tendencies vs. A Method of Understanding People

    I first became interested in Meyers Briggs because there was a particular person that I did not understand. He was an individual that I hired and worked for me. It was early in my career when I was beginning to manage people. There was conflict between the two of us. I knew he was a strong performer and yet there was this dysfunctional dynamic that existed which not only impacted the relationship between the two of us but the broader dynamic of the group I was responsible for leading. I knew I was screwing up. I had always approached conflict in one manner. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the other person. In this particular case, it didn't work. I simply could not understand where the guy was coming from and it led to a great deal of misunderstanding.

    So, it was after some personal pain that I discovered typology. It was a revelation, because I was able to understand just how differently people could think. I never did figure out exactly what his type was, though I had some guesses. It was enough though for me to guess how he may approach things and that this approach was different than mine. @Mane describes a story where he had difficulty understanding someone - it was a stimulant for him being interested in the topic. In his case, it was a romantic relationship but at the core, it was a similar motivation.

    Now to the topic at hand. There are many ways to look at typology. One way is to use it to understand unconscious tendencies. This is useful in my opinion to the extent that it has practical application. So, I believe the primary value of typology is to help understand people, including yourself. Devoid of that practical application, it is interesting but not particularly helpful. Realize I am not saying it is necessarily a predictor of behavior but it does help you to understand how people think and that by itself is a very worthwhile thing.

    Thoughts?

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    I think my below quote from the Pathology in our midst thread offers an interesting perspective on Typology dynamics:

    Quote Originally Posted by RaptorWizard View Post
    Yes, many forum members follow Typology like a religion, not just as a general guiding star, but literally like the letters are their shephard.

    What's funny though is that a true INFP or whatever for instance would often be very understanding and accepting of those who are different or even in opposition to them, in which the INFP may try to harmonize and make peace - but under your definitions, the pathological INFPs on this site, which there could be quite a few under those terms, would judge and condemn others who they do not deem to fit in with their type as inferiors and outcasts.

    So I would say Typology systems can be taken too far, in which they become tools of separation and misunderstanding, whereas ideally they should help us come to appreciate one another and our unique gifts.

    I'm fairly sure enneagram and instincts also play a role in the immense diversity we can see within various individuals of the same MBTI type, so that 4 letter code alone by no means is a sufficient explanation to account for the whole of the individual.

  3. #3
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I tend to think of it more as unconscious priorities more than unconscious tendencies (which is yet another phrase I think I’ve stolen from Kalach- ‘unconscious priorities’). There’s information which stands out as being inherently more important- for whatever reason, it has more affective pull on the individual. And learning about the different personality types definitely helps make sense of why some kinds of information are inherently more important to other people, while other kinds of information stand out more to me. I mean, I’ve always noticed this is true, long before learning about mbti specifically, but mbti helps by providing organization to this and a framework with which to communicate it and better anticipate conflicts related to the differences.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    to understand unconscious tendencies.
    Pretty much (warning: Ti overkill ahead):

    The subconscious tendencies:

    Connecting new information & patterns with past collection (Si-Ne)
    Connecting new information & patterns within its own stream (Se-Ni)

    Reflecting upon information to explore the external (Ti-Fe)
    Super imposing information to express the internal (Fi-Te)


    The subconscious repressions:

    Ti & Te specialize in resolving cognitive dissonance.
    -> Thinkers repress feelings that don't make sense.
    Fi & Fe specialize in resolving emotional dissonance.
    -> Feelers repress thoughts that don't feel right.

    Te & Fe manifest as an information mapping mechanism, stressed by chaotic stimuli.
    -> Judgers pay more attention to the most cohesive information structure (Pi).
    Ti & Fi manifests as an information navigating mechanism, seeking maximum stimuli.
    -> Perceivers pay more attention to the most stimulating information structure (Pe).

    Extroverts experience their own presence faster
    -> Subjectively leaving them waiting for their cognitive processes.
    - -> Making them underwhelmed by stimuli and left to seek more of it.
    - - - > Feel the most comfortable when engaging the leading introverted function.

    Introverts experience their own presence slower
    -> subjectively leaving them catching up to their cognitive processes.
    - -> making them overwhelmed by stimuli and needing to take time away form it.
    - - - > Feel the most comfortable when engaging the leading extroverted function.


    The unfortunate implications:

    As a Thinker, you will be accumulating an ocean of repressed emotional dissonance, shaping your biases and emotional challenges right under your nose.
    As a Feeler, you will be digging your heels into as an increasing portion of reality becomes a composition of elements you aren't acknowledging and don't want too.

    As a Perceiver (Ji>Je) living on maximum stimuli, you will grow overconfident in yourself & your ability to adapt and handle any new information and situation coming at you.
    As a Judger (Pi>Pe) living on coherent stimuli, you will grow overconfident in your conclusions & ability to fully grasp and understand the information and situation you are in.

    As a Reflector (Ti-Fe), you will lack a strong connection to your sense of self, everything will feel a bit more distant and a bit less genuine. You'll be susceptible to throwing the baby out with the bathwater, true Scotsman fallacies and ad hominem's.
    As a Super-imposer (Fi-Te), a lot of what happens around you will seem counter intuitive, everything will feel a bit more alienating and a bit less reasonable. You'll be susceptible to circular logic, internal contradictions and unnoticed assumptions.


    Ideal usage:
    • Relationships: with others, expecting them to follow those principles would rarely be wrong, and it is an interesting case when it is.
    • Growth: with yourself, learn to be aware of those patterns, so that you can overcome the resulting limitations and grow as a person.


    In practice:
    • Theory: a large portion of Thinkers & some Feelers become entranced by the theory for its self-contained elegance, an easy to understand science that can not be disproved.
    • Identity: a large portion of Feelers & some Thinkers, utilize typology as an identity, "this is just who I am", embracing their limitations as a crutch so that they don't have to grow.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    Now to the topic at hand. There are many ways to look at typology. One way is to use it to understand unconscious tendencies. This is useful in my opinion to the extent that it has practical application. So, I believe the primary value of typology is to help understand people, including yourself. Devoid of that practical application, it is interesting but not particularly helpful. Realize I am not saying it is necessarily a predictor of behavior but it does help you to understand how people think and that by itself is a very worthwhile thing.

    Thoughts?
    I agree with this, I also found it interesting reading about how and why you became interested in it to begin with.

    I guess I never saw MBTI as either a predictor of behaviour or a good guide to understanding others, more it was a psychological theory and I like theory, although I do tend to think that it can blinker as much as it can illuminate, especially if you have a certain unwary approach to any theory in particular.

    Although typology is a good example of how much diversification it is possible to have in some theoretical fields because there is MBTI, enneagram, socionics, PTypes and all the crazy variations and schools with respect to each of these.

    It probably is because of the field, in some ways it does not obey the rules of evidence and scientific method that other more hard or natural sciences do, I've always thought that Comte's ideas about positivism, as a goal or end state for social sciences as it is for natural or hard sciences is a worthwhile idea.

    I dont think that subjectivity is on a par with objectivity in producing understanding, I dont really agree with the social constructivists, relativism or post-modernists in this respect. No matter how much good they have produced, and I do indeed think that they have produced good, its not on a par at all.

    There's better criticism of post-modernism in sciences than I can produce, the simplist is probably about the garbbled nonsense and cliches which pass for serious academic papers, which is easily spoofed.

  6. #6
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    Ideal usage:
    • Relationships: with others, expecting them to follow those principles would rarely be wrong, and it is an interesting case when it is.
    • Growth: with yourself, learn to be aware of those patterns, so that you can overcome the resulting limitations and grow as a person.


    In practice:
    • Theory: a large portion of Thinkers & some Feelers become entranced by the theory for its self-contained elegance, an easy to understand science that can not be disproved.
    • Identity: a large portion of Feelers & some Thinkers, utilize typology as an identity, "this is just who I am", embracing their limitations as a crutch so that they don't have to grow.
    With enneagram, I agree with "overcoming limitations" but with MBTI, I don't agree. I believe we realize our potential when we harness our gifts which includes not trying to be someone other than who we are. If there is something that resonates with you regarding preferences, then you flow with that rather than try to overcome it. Society pressures us to be different than we are. In that respect, MBTI helps us to accept how our individual differences are not flaws.

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  7. #7
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    What is the balance between developing one's strengths and addressing one's weaknesses? In a leadership class I took a couple years ago, we were told that no one becomes successful by working on their weaknesses; we do so by developing and harnessing our gifts. On the other hand, advice for those in technical fields often includes the need to develop one's people skills more. I have tended to follow the first recommendation, based on what works.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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    responding to @highlander & @Coriolis

    i think it's a false dichotomy - acceptance of your strengths vs. working on your weaknesses.

    I.E. the MBTI tells me i'm an ENTP.

    acceptance: most of the strengths of it are things i already knew about myself, but if i heard of this in my army time (were i was failing to embody a more ESTPish vision for myself), then yes, it might have being helpful, and i can see how for many this might be the case throughout most of their lives, especially in areas of conflict between your cultural ideal and your type, for example INxx's growing up in ESxx america. I am lucky enough to have grown in a culture one letter removed from mine (ENFP Israel).

    growth: after going just a bit deeper into the MBTI, it has revealed to me in what ways my type will likely compartmentalize themselves, by understanding the repression mechanisms. having being in various "blame the type" trials - including my own (on vent) - i have also found that the unhealthy behaviors in most types stem from upholding that repression. thus, my greater potential is in overcoming those repressions, and my ability to embrace my weaknesses (Fe & Si) to complement my strengths (Ne & Ti), and become more whole as a person.

    using the gene wolfe definition:
    1. a truth.
    2. a lie.
    3. a vision.
    = a mythology

    i started entrenching a running gag:
    "in every xNTP there's a little xSFJ growing inside"
    "in every xNFP there's a little xSTJ growing inside"
    "in every xSTP there's a little xNFJ growing inside"
    "in every xSFP there's a little xNTJ growing inside"
    and vise versa...

    basically: embrace yourself, but ALSO embrace the little [opposite function order you] growing inside of you.

    there's no need for either of those to conflict.

  9. #9
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mane View Post
    responding to @highlander & @Coriolis

    i think it's a false dichotomy - acceptance of your strengths vs. working on your weaknesses.
    It is less a false dichotomy than a zero sum game where time is concerned. We have limited time and energy: how are we going to spend it? Time spent developing one's strengths, I'm told, pays richer dividends than the same time spent correcting one's weaknesses. This makes sense when one considers one might need to invest quite a bit of time and effort to bring a weaker area even up to average capacity, never mind real proficiency.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    It is less a false dichotomy than a zero sum game where time is concerned. We have limited time and energy: how are we going to spend it? Time spent developing one's strengths, I'm told, pays richer dividends than the same time spent correcting one's weaknesses. This makes sense when one considers one might need to invest quite a bit of time and effort to bring a weaker area even up to average capacity, never mind real proficiency.
    This is a shitty argument, imo.

    I think it's largely rooted in the fear of releasing the suppression of one's shadow.

    There are several individuals on here -- all INTs (including yourself) -- who stick to this story.

    One, after much time arguing with him about this fact, finally seems to be turning the corner (at least conceptually).

    It comes down to marginal returns. If, after 25-30 yrs of developing your dominant and auxiliary, you think you wouldn't reap more benefits from putting some time and energy into developing your tertiary and inferior, you have a problem. The blind spots that not developing these areas creates will do more damage (perhaps unrealized) than further development of one's top two functions will do for the positive (in fact, at that point, returns on developing your top two functions may very well have turned to zero [or even negative]).

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