MBTI is dead? Long live Socionics!

I accidentally stumbled on an article about the death of MBTI yesterday. Strangely, it never occurred to me that there would be a wide audience interest in things like typologies in general and MBTI in particular. I always thought these were fairly specialized subjects only interesting for a minority of people. Since you seem to be interested, I present to you Socionics.

It all originated some time in the previous century with the works of Karl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist. His work was later built upon to create MBTI and later corrected and extended by people like Aušra Augustinavičiūtė, Gregory Reinin and Igor Kalinauskas to become Socionics. Nowadays Socionics is a young but fairly popular in narrow circles direction of social psychology. Actually, there are still raging debates on the subject of “where it all belongs”.

Socionics works with dichotomies of information processing functions and therefore describes how the given person filters and processes the information coming from outside, bases the decisions and outputs the information into the outside world. So Socionics is really a study in information metabolism of the psyche.

Given that, we can roughly say that a human being has some basic instincts at the base of its decision making, then there is the distinction between male and female, on top of that sits the information metabolism and that is all wrapped into a personality. The type of information metabolism determines those deep motivations inside the psyche that cause us to take many of our decisions. One has to note, of course, that different motives deep inside may cause nearly the same actions in different individuals. Different personalities may cause differentiation in actions based on the same motives.

Determining the type of information metabolism, or the socionic type, of a person is a task of uncovering those deep seated motivations that demonstrate how the given person processes the information. Tests for MBTI fail here because they try to correlate the behavior directly to the type but we see that the behavior is controlled by the personality. The type of information metabolism can be seen clearly when the practitioner concentrates on the motivations underlying the behavior. Unfortunately, the development of tests in this direction is far from mature yet and best results are based on the expert opinion… -->

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Being polite means you are not afraid…

I was in a place where you had to talk to a receptionist today. And it was not in US. And not even in UK. Or any other English-speaking country. But the people in front of me were American and they made a big show of being cosmopolitan: “she should address me directly and in English!’, screamed the lady at a helpful old man who tried to translate the words of the receptionist to her. Witnessing such scenes always makes me wonder why people from Nowhere In Particular, North Hole, U.S.A. think that people the world all over are obliged to speak their language. All right, but even then, why do they have to be so offensive?

I think they are scared. They feel insecure, that’s what drives them madly shouting at others. And that makes me think now that when people are polite that is a sign of them feeling secure and relaxed. So when someone is impolite, you can safely bet they are afraid.

Don’t be afraid. Be polite.… -->

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A matter of attitude

I came accidentally across an article describing the habits of burglars today. The article was short and interesting with some fair advice on where (not) to hide your cash. Since I usually do not have any cash at home anyhow, that was not so exciting though. But one of the comments on the burglars and burglaries stood out and it deserves to be shared:

I don’t sweat it. I have a 110 lb pit bull and a .357 Magnum among other guns. I got out of the military recently and currently carry a weapon at work. If you want my flat screen or my loose change, come on in…I have 40 acres and a bulldozer. Nobody will miss you.

It is all a matter of attitude all right.… -->

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Alpha human is not?

I came across an interesting statement that runs contrary to the preaching of the society:

As I keep having to point out, there are no biological alpha males in humans no matter what Evo-Psycho prophet-wannabees preach under the false mantra of “Real science is not PC, let the chips fall where they may”. Gorillas have them. Baboons have them, with variances between subgroups. Our closest relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, don’t. What they have are shifting power alliances for both genders (differing in detail in each species). They also have maternally-based status because paternity is not defined and females choose their partners. Humans have so-called “alpha males” only culturally, and only since hoarding of surplus goods made pyramidal societies possible.

This is interesting and sounds logical. I want to investigate this question a bit further. I would appreciate any useful pointers to information.… -->

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Software security by problem setting

We had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine yesterday. The discussion was about corporate communication, its failures and difficulties. Well, that’s his job. My job is security. And today I suddenly realized that everything we discussed yesterday about communication was equally applicable to my situation simply due to the human nature.

We try and push security into the company, into the development, into management, into everything. And it does not work. Some people say that it does not work as well as we would like it to but it works a little. I say it does not work at all. All this fake interest in something that can be done instead of working – that is not an interest in applying security. That’s not what we are after.

But the problem is the sane here as everywhere else. Why would anyone want to have security? Why would my CEO want security? He wants some certificate that he can wave around at public speaking occasions and get recognition and, even better, money for it. Why would developers want security? They want to listen to funny stories about security to have a legitimate excuse not to work. But they do not want to implement any security, that’s extra work for them that is not recognized in any way. Why would my customers want security? It’s cumbersome, and annoying, and costly…

So we are stuck in pretty much the same situation: I am trying to give people a solution to the problem they do not have. Or they think they do not have. People are notoriously bad at recognizing future problems and seeing the not-so-immediate outcomes. And that’s why I am failing before I started. They will not accept it because it is not their problem.

And the main million dollar question remains: how to make software security to be their very personal and immediate problem? If I can figure it out, then and only then we will finally have software security.… -->

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Assembly points au pair

I have a thought about those positions of the assembly point that pertain to the “norm” of the society. The common thinking is that there is one. I think it is not. I think there is a set of positions close to each other that form a sort of an “area” accepted and reinforced by the society.

When I meet someone and start an interaction, that person tries to reinforce his position of the assembly point in me, so that perhaps we have a better understanding. That is, I think, a natural mechanism. That is, natural to this particular organization of this particular society. Anyway, I can also reinforce my position of the assembly point and force it onto the other. Some positions are more easily forced than others.

What happens when two people live together is that they have to agree on a common position of the assembly point. Otherwise they would have to oscillate all the time between their own and that of the partner. Or keep their own and forget about deep bonds. Unproductive. So, they have a choice of agreeing on following either of the partner’s position or picking a totally new position for both. If they are lucky they both will feel comfortable with this common position and then they accept it and reinforce it. The position becomes solidified and it is much easier to keep it when there are two of you. Or more, counting the kids.

Any person with half a brain should come to this selection of the position of the assembly point as to the single most important decision in his life. This is the decision that will govern his life from that moment on. The position of the assembly point is the state of your consciousness, the state of your mind, and that results in the tasks, targets, restrictions that you set for yourself. With one swipe of the pen you sign a contract with yourself and your partner that will govern the rest of your life. This decision has to be taken very seriously and certainly with some critical analysis and meditation. And the partner must follow.… -->

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