Sunday, January 10, 2010

Personality Types

During the early 80's, perhaps the deepest influence on my thinking at the time was Jung.
Happily the college library where I worked in Dublin had the "Complete Works of C.G. Jung" in stock which I regularly read in preference to standard Economics material.

It was the volume on "Personality Types" that chiefly engaged my attention.
In his theory Jung distinguished as between two attitudes (introversion and extraversion) and four functions (sense, intuition, thinking and feeling).

What fascinated me from an early stage however was the degree to which Jungian concepts were amenable to the holistic mathematical interpretation that I had been developing for some years.

For example, Jung classified his functions as rational (thinking and feeling) and irrational (sense and intuition).

Now rational and irrational are also used in a mathematical context with respect to differing number types.

Since the early 70's I had been using a four-dimensional classification (which in geometrical terms yielded a four quadrant approach) as the basis for the most fundamental interpretation of the key polar aspects underlying all phenomenal reality. Now these four dimensions corresponded in structural terms with the four roots of unity yielding - in relative terms - two real and two imaginary dimensions with respect to all experience with in each case one positive (+) and one negative (-) respectively.

It readily occurred to me that extraversion and introversion would constitute - in holistic mathematical terms - polarities that are positive and negative with respect to each other.
In then dawned on me that the functions (that Jung was addressing) were in fact - correctly - real and imaginary (with respect to each other). In other words when a function - say - sense was dominant in personality it was thereby given a real identity i.e. in conscious terms. Therefore the other function - in this case intuition - remained largely imaginary i.e. unconscious. So the true - and vital - relationship as between conscious and unconscious was as real to imaginary.

So I could now see clearly that once we accept actual experience of reality as necessarily involving both interacting conscious and unconscious aspects, that then we need to move, in holistic mathematical terms, to a complex rational approach (entailing both real and imaginary components).

And as I have been stressing all along the root problem with Conventional Science is that it is confined in formal terms solely to real rational interpretation.

So once again Integral Science relates to the corresponding specialised development of the imaginary aspect and finally Radial Science to the mature interaction of both (specialised) real and imaginary interpretation.

Now the Jungian classification of Personality Types (with 8 main categories) was later extended to 16 in the Myers-Briggs system. Here two additional attitudes (perception and judgement) were included.

However though in general I personally found the Myers-Briggs revised typology very useful, I could see a fundamental difficulty (based initially on examination of my own personality). In other words classification in the Myers-Briggs is basically made on the either/or treatment of opposite characteristics. However for certain personalities, it was my belief that both/and classification had also to be included.

For example, the Myers-Briggs system would classify a person as either (mainly) extrovert or introvert! In a primary sense I felt that certain personalities - e.g. with pronounced mystical tendencies - should be more rightly classified as centrovert (though in a secondary sense exhibiting either extravert or introvert tendencies). So in my own case though in a secondary sense I had no problem in being classified as introvert, in a primary sense I saw myself as centrovert.

Likewise, this approach would apply to the other Myers-Briggs categories. So again instead of approaching reality through sense or intuition, one could primarily operate on the basis of their mutual fusion in seeking what is truly essential with respect to reality (though once again at a secondary level sense or intuition might appear relatively dominant).

Again in relation to thinking and feeling (the 3rd category on the Myers-Briggs) one could primarily have a personality based on the volitional function (of will); finally in relation to the 4th category (perception or judgement) again one could correspond to the mixed type primarily seeking to achieve a middle way (through discernment).

So the four primary categories I define for the new mixed type are centrovert (introvert/extravert), essence (sense/intuition), volition (thinking/feeling) and finally discernment (perception/judgement). Again for the truly mixed type the primary categories would be CEVD (i.e. centrovert, essence, volition and discernment) with a secondary manifestation relating to the four either/or categories (introvert/extravert, sense/intuition, thinking/feeling and perception/judgement)

Then based on the four (holistic) dimensions I then sought to define each Personality Type as a unique permutation (or configuration) of these dimensions.

Now if for example we represent these dimensions as a,b,c and d then 24 different permutations are possible (corresponding to 24 basic Personality Types).

16 of these will correspond pretty exactly with the corresponding 16 types in the Myers-Briggs system. However this leaves 8 additional types corresponding to the new mixed group.

So now instead of 2 broad groups (of 8) we have 3.

In holistic mathematical terms the first are the "real" types (based on predominance of conscious understanding).

The second are the "imaginary" types (based on predominance of unconscious understanding).

The third are "complex" types (based on predominance of what is central to both conscious and unconscious). Paradoxically when integration is successfully achieved, these are also the most "simple" (due to a high degree of spiritual attainment).

Now one intriguing aspect of this modification of Personality Types is that it is essentially based on a new holistic mathematical definition of dimension (where a dimension is now defined as a certain permutation of - what in separate polarised terms are understood as - the four dimensions of space and time).

It also struck me at the time that this interpretation - applied to fundamental classification of psychological types - could equally be applied in complementary fashion to the fundamental nature of physical reality.

In other words just as we can classify basic Personality Types (through which structural interpretation of reality takes place in psychological terms) equally we can classify basic Impersonality Types (as the fundamental structures of material reality).

This was then to lead later to an intimate connection with the dimensions of String Theory (to be dealt with in a future post).

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