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  1. #1
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Default MBTI and relativism

    I've been scanning (not reading closely, I admit) this article.

    Some quotes:

    One of Jung's key emphases was that the "dark side" of human nature needed to be "integrated" into a single, overarching "wholeness" in order to form a less strict and difficult definition of goodness.(41) "For Jung", says Satinover, "good and evil evolved into two equal, balanced, cosmic principles that belong together in one overarching synthesis. This relativization of good and evil by their reconciliation is the heart of the ancient doctrines of gnosticism, which also located spirituality, hence morality, within man himself. Hence 'the union of opposites'."(42)
    In a comment reminiscent of our 1990's relativistic culture, Jung said of Hindu thought: " Good or evil are then regarded at most as my good or my evil, as whatever seems to me good or evil".(101) To accept the eight polarities within the MBTI predisposes one to embrace Jung's teaching that the psyche "cannot set up any absolute truths, for its own polarity determines the relativity of its statements."(102)
    Jung taught that the mandala [Sanskrit for 'circle'] was "the simplest model of a concept of wholeness, and one which spontaneously arises in the mind as a representation of the struggle and reconciliation of opposites."(104)
    In conclusion, to endorse the MBTI is to endorse Jung's book Psychological Types, since the MBTI proponents consistently say that the MBTI "was developed specifically to carry Carl Jung's theory of types (1921, 1971) into practical application."(105)

    My main question: If we are proponents of MBTI, are we endorsing relativism?

    Secondary questions: Is that endorsement active or passive? Does it matter if we are endorsing relativism or not? Is this just another variant of social/individual desires to control others?
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

  2. #2
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Sorry for the multiple posting! Dang curly quotes!!!! :steam:

    All fixed.


    (No, really--this is an EXTREMELY important topic, that's why I multi-posted. )
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

  3. #3
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Here is what I posted to the now defunct thread (I will hopefully be able to respond to your quoted passages later!):


    I will look more at it later (I did the skim read, and I *know* I have seen Satinover's name somewhere before!)... but I'm inclined to say, "So what?"

    I see this sort of mentality so often in Christian circles -- reinterpreting something so that it can be connected to some nefarious background, then discrediting it.

    People without any religious bent whatsoever can use the MBTI effectively. People with a religious bent (many different religious bents!) have found ways to integrate the MBTI. Obviously Jung's personal beliefs don't reflect poorly upon the tool.

    I also think it's dangerous to slander an idea system directly by attaching it to a particular human being. Almost anything can be discredited, because human failures abound in history. Did Haggart's recent "fall from grace" discredit his church or the beliefs he was promoting...? Or do ideas stand on their own merit?

    This sort of thing seems to be part of the mentality, "Let's find the dark sordid side of something that's popular, especially if it creates some ambiguity and/or alternate interpretations," and then misapplying Te-style logic to support that stance.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Here is what I posted to the now defunct thread (I will hopefully be able to respond to your quoted passages later!):
    Yeah--so sorry about that. My slip was showing.

    Thing is, Jung wrote PT right after his "breakdown" in the 'teens which inspired "The Gnostic Sermons." He was heavily influenced by Blavatsky and other spiritualists.

    Somewhere I think he also credits all or most of his breakthroughs to his experience in the 'teens.

    Hm. Maybe this is interesting to me because I've studied esotericsm/spiritualism for over two decades and because I don't inhabit conventional religious space.
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivercrow View Post
    Thing is, Jung wrote PT right after his "breakdown" in the 'teens which inspired "The Gnostic Sermons." He was heavily influenced by Blavatsky and other spiritualists.
    I suppose it would influence one's reading of his spiritual work... but why does it matter in regards to his psychological works, especially ones that operate in the secular realm?

    I know part of my problem is that I'm on a hair-trigger nowadays in regards to "Christian" mentalities I've never ascribed to for years but never was willing to comment on. Now I guess it's all just gushing forth... ... so prepare for proselytization!
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    shoshaku jushaku rivercrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I suppose it would influence one's reading of his spiritual work... but why does it matter in regards to his psychological works, especially ones that operate in the secular realm?
    Well, that's a good question--and part of the relativism umbrella, to some extent.

    If I know that you're more interested in values and operate from that position and I am more interested in logic and operate from there, then that's implying we are viewing events from different lenses. That's relativism. (Que "Quest for Ultimate Truth" theme music and anticipate the Usual Suspects to arrive onstage.)
    I know part of my problem is that I'm on a hair-trigger nowadays in regards to "Christian" mentalities I've never ascribed to for years but never was willing to comment on. Now I guess it's all just gushing forth... ... so prepare for proselytization!
    Meh. We have big shoulders--or should!--so we'll recover.

    How about focusing on the issue of relativism and de-emphasizing the religion aspect?
    Who rises in the morning, looks in the mirror and says, "I think I will do something stupid today?" -- James Hollis
    If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma.

  7. #7
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rivercrow View Post
    If I know that you're more interested in values and operate from that position and I am more interested in logic and operate from there, then that's implying we are viewing events from different lenses. That's relativism. (Que "Quest for Ultimate Truth" theme music and anticipate the Usual Suspects to arrive onstage.)
    And... I don't see a problem with that.

    How about focusing on the issue of relativism and de-emphasizing the religion aspect?
    To be honest, I've only heard of relativism as an "issue" within a religious context.

    Outside of that context, relativism is a fact, not a problem, correct?

    Seriously, it's pretty unarguable that each person is unique, and that in a given situation, different people have different perceptions, different needs, etc.

    One common problem facing parents of 2+ kids is "How do I give each specific child what they specifically NEED, and how do I relate to each in a relevant way... while STILL being FAIR and not over-favoring or over-punishing one?" Every parent in that situation realizes the "truth" of relativism. It's real. And if you do not acknowledge it, you end up screwing up your family and children in the long run.

    But religious circles then take relativism and equate it with "a lack of one motivating truth" or "an excuse to do whatever one wants." It's looked at in purely moral contexts and usually a slippery slope thrown in for good measure.

    Back to the quoted passages above.... I don't think by endorsing MBTI and thus acknowledging a multiplicity of individual-centered viewpoints that I am endorsing a "lack of morality" in any way.

    It's like cars or any other category of equipment. They all work similarly and do the same sort of thing, but the user manual that applies to one does not necessarily work for all the other cars you see on the road. Each model has its own set of instructions. Does this have anything to do with moralistic relativity -- how the vehicle is used? Not really. It's just the operator's guide. And MBTI is like an "operator's guide" for people.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #8
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    No, we are not; not if we limit MBTI to a type of behavioral psychology.

    For example: assuming Gandhi was an INFJ, the temperament granted expectations of earnestness and benevolence, I find his obsession with and ultimate superordination of satyagraha unreasoned, repugnant and conducive to any other evil.

  9. #9
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Moral Relativism is a doctrine in philosophy of ethics that morality is either determined by the individual(subjectivism), or by the group(conventionalism). And that morality does not have any intrinsic value.

    Here is an example of subjectivism. Hitler is just as good as Ghandi if they both followed their inner sense of morality. They both can decide for morality to be whatever they want for it to be. Neither of the two can say that he is more virtuous than the other because we do not have an objective standard to compare them with.

    An example of conventionalism would be how in a country A there is no law against murder, yet in the contrary B there is. Hence it is right for you to murder in contry A, yet wrong in country B. There is nothing wrong with murder as a thing in itself, the only thing that makes it wrong is because there is a rule against it. We cant say that country A's morality is better than B's or vice versa, because again country A and country B each make their own morality. Conventionalism is a specie of subjectivism in this regard. As from this it follows that the leaders of country A and country B were the ones who made morality based on their subjective standards.

    In short moral relativism is not a form of morality, it is a negation of morality. Morality just boils down to nothing more than practical politics.

    Now, straight to Jung.

    Jung believed that God for example is both Good and Evil. He phrased it this way to point out the erros in Conventional Christian theology of the Middle ages. The Conventional Christian theologians did not believe that Evil exists as a thing in itself. They believed that Evil is only a negation of Good. Hence God is good because he has all the qualities that somebody can possibly have, yet we are not good not because we have a quality of Evil, but because we lack qualities that God has.

    Jung says that having this theology, Evil is not recognized as a force to be reckoned with. As we could say then, fine, if Evil is only a lack of Good, yet God created everything, how could there be things that dont have everything that God created. Obviously they have to be connected to everything else, and because they are connected, it is impossible for them to be lacking.

    Jung argues that since God exists, be he the all wise and all good being, than this by definition implies that a complete opposite of him exists. This is a classical illustration of the mathematical law of inversion. For whatever qualities that they may be, there also must be an opposite of them somewhere.

    Hence, if God exists as a good being, what is his shadow like, evil. Like I, as an INTP prefer to use Introverted Thinking to deal with the world with. Yet, what is my shadow here. Extroverted Feeling, the opposite. This does not make God evil, or me an Extroverted Feeling type, it only acknowledges that such a thing exists, and that I am capable of using it. Just like God is capable of being Evil. (As we may argue that he demonstrated this in the Old Testament plenty). Jung's commentary on God and Jesus, as his supposed outing to Earth is that Jesus is all good, and his evil shadow falls back on man leaving mankind pinned down to Earth by the weight of sin.

    In short, Jung's concept of Anima has nothing to do with moral relativism. It merely acknowledges that for every good entity that exists, there is also an evil entity. It acknowledges the existence of evil, yet it does not dissolve the labels of good and evil. Moral relativism posits that what can be good to one person can be bad to another. IE, there is nothing wrong with Genocide, a relativist would be forced to concede. 'It is bad for me, but could be perfectly good for Adolf Hitler and I can't tell him that there is anything wrong with his values because we each make our own morality'.

    Tell me please, what relevance does MBTI have with this?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  10. #10
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Moral Relativism is a doctrine in philosophy of ethics that morality is either determined by the individual(subjectivism), or by the group(conventionalism). And that morality does not have any intrinsic value.

    Here is an example of subjectivism. Hitler is just as good as Ghandi if they both followed their inner sense of morality. They both can decide for morality to be whatever they want for it to be. Neither of the two can say that he is more virtuous than the other because we do not have an objective standard to compare them with.

    An example of conventionalism would be how in a country A there is no law against murder, yet in the contrary B there is. Hence it is right for you to murder in contry A, yet wrong in country B. There is nothing wrong with murder as a thing in itself, the only thing that makes it wrong is because there is a rule against it. We cant say that country A's morality is better than B's or vice versa, because again country A and country B each make their own morality. Conventionalism is a specie of subjectivism in this regard. As from this it follows that the leaders of country A and country B were the ones who made morality based on their subjective standards.

    In short moral relativism is not a form of morality, it is a negation of morality. Morality just boils down to nothing more than practical politics.

    Now, straight to Jung.

    Jung believed that God for example is both Good and Evil. He phrased it this way to point out the erros in Conventional Christian theology of the Middle ages. The Conventional Christian theologians did not believe that Evil exists as a thing in itself. They believed that Evil is only a negation of Good. Hence God is good because he has all the qualities that somebody can possibly have, yet we are not good not because we have a quality of Evil, but because we lack qualities that God has.

    Jung says that having this theology, Evil is not recognized as a force to be reckoned with. As we could say then, fine, if Evil is only a lack of Good, yet God created everything, how could there be things that dont have everything that God created. Obviously they have to be connected to everything else, and because they are connected, it is impossible for them to be lacking.

    Jung argues that since God exists, be he the all wise and all good being, than this by definition implies that a complete opposite of him exists. This is a classical illustration of the mathematical law of inversion. For whatever qualities that they may be, there also must be an opposite of them somewhere.

    Hence, if God exists as a good being, what is his shadow like, evil. Like I, as an INTP prefer to use Introverted Thinking to deal with the world with. Yet, what is my shadow here. Extroverted Feeling, the opposite. This does not make God evil, or me an Extroverted Feeling type, it only acknowledges that such a thing exists, and that I am capable of using it. Just like God is capable of being Evil. (As we may argue that he demonstrated this in the Old Testament plenty). Jung's commentary on God and Jesus, as his supposed outing to Earth is that Jesus is all good, and his evil shadow falls back on man leaving mankind pinned down to Earth by the weight of sin.

    In short, Jung's concept of Anima has nothing to do with moral relativism. It merely acknowledges that for every good entity that exists, there is also an evil entity. It acknowledges the existence of evil, yet it does not dissolve the labels of good and evil. Moral relativism posits that what can be good to one person can be bad to another. IE, there is nothing wrong with Genocide, a relativist would be forced to concede. 'It is bad for me, but could be perfectly good for Adolf Hitler and I can't tell him that there is anything wrong with his values because we each make our own morality'.

    Tell me please, what relevance does MBTI have with this?
    Did Jung believe in the law of inversion?

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