Psychological Types

(after C.G. Jung & the Briggs-Myers Typology)

There are two kinds of people. There are dog people and cat people, Elvis people and Beatles people, New York people and LA people, Aristotle people and Plato people, morning people and night people, Leno people and Letterman people, Coke people and Pepsi people, people who put the cap on the toothpaste and those who don't, people who think that the Millennium begins in 2000 and those who think it begins in 2001, people who think that high school was the best time of their life and people who think it was the worst, people who leave lovers and people who are left by lovers, conservatives and liberals, etc. etc.

If we allow, however, that some dog people like Elvis and others like the Beatles, and that cat people are similarly divided, this really means that there are four kinds of people, and further sets of pairs will double and double again the kinds of people. And we have the further complication than other divisions of people are not in two but in three. For instance, Machiavelli says:

Minds are of three kinds:  one is capable of thinking for itself; another is able to understand the thinking of others; and a third can neither think for itself nor understand the thinking of others. The first is of the highest excellence, the second is excellent, and the third is worthless. [The Prince, Daniel Donno translation, Bantam, 1966, 1981 p. 80]

Similarly, Aristotle identifies three kinds of persons who attend the Olympic Games:  Athletes, who particpate, spectators, who watch the athletes, and the hawkers, who sell things to the first two kinds. [note]

So what is it going to be? Is there a classification of personalities that is systematic and will not produce endless variations? This problem was tackled in the classic study by C.G. Jung, Psychological Types [Bollingen Series XX, Volume 6, Princeton University Press, 1971, 1976]. Jung's typology, like the popular wisdom, is based on binary divisions, most importantly introversion and extraversion -- one of the classic "two kinds of people" divisions.

Although "introvert" and "extravert" are now terms in popular usage, with "extravert" meaning "out-going" and "introvert" the opposite, Jung's own definition is philosophically more interesting. Introversion for Jung is interest in the subject, while extraversion is interest in the object. This raises the important metaphysical question about the nature of subject and object. Although Jung would have found both question and answer in Schopenhauer, he was not interested in burdening his psychological analysis with particular metaphysical doctrines. "Interest in the subject" thus simply means the internal states, whether of one's self or of others, are the primary way that the introvert relates to the world, while the extravert relates through objects. One consequence of this is that when introverts are interested in objects, this tends to isolate them rather than relate them to others -- objects for an introvert are private rather than public.

In Psychological Types we also find two sets of "functions," thinking and feeling, and sensation and intuition. These multiply the "kinds of people" to eight, about which Jung has separate sections. I will not review the characteristics of each here, except to note that Jung classified both thinking and feeling as "rational" and sensation and intuition as "irrational" functions. One might not ordinarily think of "feeling" as a matter of reason, but Jung does -- there can be rational emotions as well as irrational ones. All the functions are actually present in each psychê, as are both subject and objects. Jung sees three of them as usually operative consciously, while the opposite of the primary function has a strong subconscious potential. This is characteristic of Jung's overall theory, where the unconscious balances and compensates for the contents of consciousness.

The greatest subsequent development of Jungian typology came with Isabel Myers and Katheryn Briggs (her mother). Their take on the "functions" was rather different than Jung's, since they added another set ("judging" and "perceiving") and believed that an individual did not have a single primary function but instead was typed with a preference on each of the four (including introversion and extraversion) dichotomies. All the possible combinations then give us sixteen kinds of people, although other types are allowed where there is not a clear preference for one side of a dichotomy over another. Each of the sixteen can be indicated with a four letter code, like INTP, for the "introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceiving" type. Ambiguity can be shown with an X, like INTX, where there is no obvious preference between judging and perceiving. This system is the Myers-Briggs Typology.

Determining a person's type can be accomplished with a test designed by David Keirsey, the "Keirsey Temperament Sorter." This used to be available on the World Wide Web but was then removed, probably so that the questions will not become too well known and consequently taint the usefullness of the test -- people would start answering the questions to get the kind of type that they already think that they are. The full test, however, with an extensive discussion of the Myers-Briggs typology, can be found in Please Understand Me, Character & Temperament Types, by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates [Promotheus Nemesis Book Company, P.O. Box 2748, Del Mar, California 92014, Gnosology Books Ltd, 1984]. This book has also been sold by the Advocates for Self-Government. All of the personality types are discussed in detail in this book, so that the INTP above is called the "Architect," which includes people that might build, for instance, a philosophical system.

INTPArchitectENTPInventor
INTJScientistENTJFieldmarshal
INFPQuestorENFPJournalist
INFJAuthorENFJPedagogue
ISTJTrusteeESTJAdministrator
ISFJConservatorESFJSeller
ISFPArtistESFPEntertainer
ISTPArtisanESTPPromotor
As with Jung's original typology, I will not try to describe all the characteristics of the new types. However, the names that Keirsey and Bates give to each are often suggestive, so they are listed at left.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, self-identifies as an INFJ, an "Author," in the "Acknowledgments" of her detective novel The Silkworm [under the pseudonym "Robert Galbraith," Mulholland Books, Little, Brown and Company, 2014, p.456].

Part of this new typological system, as expanded by Keirsey, is the view that there are basic kinds of temperaments -- sixteen types but just four temperaments. The idea that there are four basic temperaments goes back all the way to the theory of the four humors (based on the four elements -- earth, air, fire, and water), attributed by Keirsey to Hippocrates. The personality terms, still used, derived from the four humors, are seen below right. The Myers-Briggs-Keirsey temperaments are given below left. In these temperaments, the introversion/extraversion dichotomy is left out. The "intuition" and "sensation" types are separated, the thinking/feeling dichotomy is restricted to the intuition types, and the perceiving/judging dichotomy is restricted to the sensation types. The combinations NT, NF, SJ, & SP are in bold face in the table above, and color coded for a reasonable correspondence to the humors. If we substituted the Junging thinking/feeling functions for the Myers-Briggs perceiving/judging, we would be back to something like the original four Jungian functions, though with four pairs of twos rather than a single primary function. Keirsey and Bates consequently say that the idea of temperament replaces Jung's own idea of "function."

The names for the four temperaments are unrelated to the humors, but go back to Nietzsche's use of Apollonian and Dionysian and to a similar appropriation from Greek mythology, Promethean ("Forethought") and Epimethean ("Afterthought"). The Epimethean does seem to be the most conservative of the temperaments. While Nietzsche would see the Apollonian as the most aesthetic, its possible asceticism now contrasts with a hedonistic or a rationalistic aestheticism with the Dionysian or the Promethean, respectively. Again, the details of this may be found in the Keirsey & Bates' book.

With four temperaments, another system of four types comes to mind, the political differentiation found in the Nolan Chart. The different sets of fours may, indeed, match up no better than dog people and Elvis people, and in practice they may vary independently; but some similiarities warrant a comparison, perhaps just in the way of a thought experiment. The Epimethean has already been noted as the most Conservative, and the Promethean as a matter of fact seems to prevail among Libertarians. Matching Apollonian with Authoritarian may raise a question, but I do not think it is an accident that Camille Paglia often speaks of an Apollonian sensibility as "fascistic," based on the hard, aesthetic, and ascetic surfaces of things.

Kiersey is now calling this temperament "Idealistic," and one might not ordinarily think of idealists as authoritarian; but there can easily be in idealists, like Mahâtmâ Gandhi, a certain detachment from the limitations of reality that can become an intolerance and ruthlessness. One sees flashes of this in Gandhi, rather more in many of his followers, and then extremes in "idealists" like Lenin and Mao, for whom the limitations of reality could be erased by mass murder. In what I am doing here as a thought experiment, then, I will pursue this connection. However, as Kiersey has been changing his system, I am less interesting in following his changes precisely than in making what seem to me to be the best matches. Thus, in the diagram above I have matched up Kiersy's new terminology (Idealists, Guardians, Rationalists, Aristans) according to the colors that he used for them at his website. I think this produces better matches, given the colors I've already been using. If we think of "Guardians" in military terms, then this makes a good match with the Kantian typology below, where the choleric goes with the touchy self-regard of the nobleman or the hidalgo. However, a correspondent has warned me that Kiersey may now have changed the colors at his website also, so the reader should be cautioned that Kiersey should be consulted directly for his current presentation of all this.

Authoritarians, of course, want everyone to deny and sacrifice themselves for something else, whether religion, politics, or, strangely enough, art. The Dionysiac is a different kind of artist, perhaps just as self-destructive, but through self-indulgence rather than ascetic self-denial. The Dionysiac, like many political Liberals, and unlike either Libertarians, Conservatives, or Authoritarians, wants no constraints on behavior, certainly no moral or religious ones, or any that follow from conventional authority. In behavior, a Dionysiac is unlikely to respect the property rights of others, since such things are seen as artificial conventions limiting the human spirit, and so voting for those who attack property and wealth, with promises of "redistribution," seems reasonable enough. While Libertarians are often thought of as libertines, such a Libertarian could only expect to indulge himself on the basis of his own efforts and earnings, which naturally limits how far the self-indulgence can go, while Liberals expect to indulge themselves at the expense of others (as "welfare rights" or a guaranteed income), without any effort or earning on their own part, which means that the sky is the limit once the means are found through politics or litigation to soak others of their substance.

While Nietzsche himself has the classic Dionysiac vision, his own personal life was nevertheless Apollonian, and he ironically appeals to the kind of pinched academics and humorless political activists who are also themselves, not just Apollonian (in some arty or idealistic sense), but truly Authoritarian, and who repeat all the sins that Nietzsche himself described in the envious asceticism of Christianity. This folie à deux between Dionysian and Apollonian, a variety of moralistic relativism, strikes me as an important result of the typological thought experiment. It is a phenomenon that manifests itself in many ways, for instance in the deliberate rhetoric of freedom that is often used by Authoritarians, who thus sound like Liberals, but who then proceed in true Authoritarian fashion once they have the means of power. Thus, freedom from "sexual harassment" was sold as Liberalism (restrictions on business and property), but the limitations on innocent speech and behavior (restrictions on free speech and freedom of association) imposed in its name are truly Authoritarian (indeed, Totalitarian) -- as noted in a recent episode about the issue on the adult cable television cartoon show South Park (one of the most popular episodes ever), when a child asks an adult about the lack of free speech in sexual harrassment law, "Isn't that Fascism?" and the adult answers, "It isn't because we don't call it that." The true Apollonian response -- a false surface concealing the iron fist. [note]

The typology of temperaments is altogether a suggestive and intriguing system. Its practicality lies in the thought, first of all, that not everyone can possibly like the same things, the realization of which would be wisdom indeed for many, and, second of all, that different methods of persuasion, on political issues, may be necessary for different people, which is what attracted the interest of the Libertarian Advocates for Self-Government. An understanding of typology may even explain philosophical debates, as it has often occurred to me that differences between moralism (very Epimethean, sometimes Apollonian) and moral astheticism (very Dionysian, sometimes Promethean) often seem more like personality differences than like philosophical positions (the logic of which is usually very poorly understood). Jung's own typology includes an examination of a great deal of history, including controversies in the history of philosophy like nominalism and realism, rationalism and empiricism, etc. As Jung's psychology attempted to overcome the typological preferences with a comprehensive theory, so did Immanuel Kant's philosophy attempt to overcome the metaphysical and epistemological dichotomies with a comprehensive theory. A continuing identification of irreducible preferences, psychologically or philosophically, should continue to provide clues about the elements that need to be included in properly comprehensive and non-reductionistic theories.

It turns out that Kant himself had a typology of temperament, based on the traditional humors, set out in Section II of his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and Sublime (1764), "Of the Attributes of the Beautiful and Sublime in Man in General." At right we have the four temperaments, as last suggested in the Nolan Chart, with the Kantian gloss on each -- the associations, although tentative and experimental, seem fruitfully extended by Kant's analysis. The melancholic character, as Kant sees it, is the one that acts on abstract principles. "A profound feeling for the beauty and the dignity of human nature and a firmness and determination of the mind to refer all one's actions to this as to a universal ground is earnest... It even approaches melancholy..." [translated by John T. Goldthwait, University of California Press, 1960, p.63]. Now, since the mature Kant sees all true morality as responding to the call of duty and the application of the universal ground of the dignity of human nature, we might think that this temperament would be an unqualified good. But the Kant of the Observations has a sensible reservation:

Among men there are but few who behave according to principles -- which is extremely good, as it can so easily happen that one errs in these principles, and then the resulting disadvantage extends all the further, the more universal the principle and the more resolute the person who has set it before himself. [p.74]

In other words, if one is going to act according to principle, one better be damn sure one has the right principles. The damage that can be done by clinging to false principles while ignoring consequences is examined in the case of moral dilemmas -- the problem noted with "idealists" above. The mature Kant seems less sensible of this drawback.

Kant's sanguine character is the one that acts from goodhearted feeling, "which is changeable and given over to amusements" [p.63]. This sounds more like the Confucian theory of moral action based on the virtue of rén, "kindness"; but Kant always regards it as then a matter of inclination rather than understanding:

Those who act out of goodhearted impulse are far more numerous [than the melancholic], which is excellent, although this by itself cannot be reckoned as a particular merit of the person. Although these virtuous instincts are sometimes lacking, on the average they perform the great purpose of nature just as well as those instincts that so regularly control the animal world. [p.74]

A moral sentiment that is an instinct rather than a matter of reason would be precisely the content of Hume's ethics. That such an instinct and impulse "cannot be reckoned as a particular merit of the person" gives us a point of identity between the moral theory of the Observations and the mature theory of Kant's Critical works. The moral value of actions, in both venues, lies only in the consciousness of the fulfillment of duty. To be moved to do them by some inclination of feeling is not an intentional or rational act, and so not a moral one, especially when they are then subject to temptations and confusions that cannot be understood or distinguished from moral requirements. That morality frequently, or even usually, is well served by fellow feeling and goodheartedness is clear enough to Hume, Schopenhauer, and the Kant of the Observations but seems to lose status as the Kant of the Critical Philosophy clarifies to himself the rational requirements of morality. Be that as it may, the typology of the Observations seems more psychologically realistic.

Kant's phlegmatic character, which he sees as relatively insensible of either the beautiful or the sublime, consequently comes in for completely dismissive treatment at one point:

Since in phlegmatic mixture no ingredients of the sublime or beautiful usually enter in any noticeable degree, this disposition does not belong in the context of our deliberations. [p.70]

Yet, in summing up, Kant gives a very strong and positive characterization of the type:

But most men are among those who have their best-loved selves fixed before their eyes as the only point of reference for their exertions, and who seek to turn everything around self-interest as around the great axis. Nothing can be more advantageous than this, for these are the most diligent, orderly, and prudent; they give support and solidity to the whole, while without intending to do so they serve the common good, provide the necessary requirements, and supply the foundation over which finer souls can spread beauty and harmony. [p.74, boldface added]

Since self-interest has nothing to do with morality, and is even adverse to it, one does not expect the glowing description that then follows. But this is an excellent tribute to the moral realism of the Observations. Self-interest is not itself a wrong or an evil, and, as Adam Smith said, it is not from the benevolence of the baker that we expect to derive our bread. The baker is simply prudently trying to make a living, and prudence, indeed, is a virtue. Moral rectitude, without prudence, will produce little of value for the common good. Hostile critiques, indeed, of the prudence and diligence manifest in the free market are frequently thinly disguised calls for the theft and suppression of the goods that people honestly generate in the economic activity of earning their living. When whole regimes have sought to replace self-interest with disinterested and selfless production "for the People," the result has always been, not only poverty, but large scale theft and self-aggrandizement (not to mention murder) by the politically privileged. One does not need a modern ideology, just a traditional peonage, to produce such effects. As with all the temperaments, then, Kant detects what is of value in each.

Kant's choleric character is not moved by any inner drive or consideration but by a concern for the appearance he presents to others. The key terms for this type are thus honor, reputation, shame, and propriety. "He has no feeling for the beauty or worth of actions" [p.69], but is guided by standards that only exist in the estimation of others. This concern with appearances and surfaces is conformable to Paglia's view of the Apollonian character, which only involves the surface of things, and the role of the external as the source of authority, heteronomous in Kant's terms, is conformable to an Authoritarian viewpoint. Among the drawbacks for the type, according to Kant, is that the choleric character "is therefore very much given to dissembling, hypocritical in religion, a flatterer in society, and he capriciously changes his political affiliation according to changing circumstances" [p.69]. These are all tributes to the superficiality and lack of autonomy of the type. Yet Kant even has positive things to say about this type:

...the love of honor [Ehrliebe] has been disseminated to all men's hearts, although in unlike measure, which must give to the whole a beauty that is charming unto admiration. For although ambition [Ehrbegierde] is a foolish fancy so far as it becomes a rule to which one subordinates the other inclinations, nevertheless as an attendant impulse it is most admirable. For since each one pursues on the great stage according to his dominating inclinations, he is moved at the same time by a secret impulse to take a standpoint outside himself in thought, in order to judge the outward propriety of his behavior as it seems in the eyes of the onlooker. [pp.74-75]

While the choleric person may only want to know how his actions appear to others, there is then the chance that "a standpoint outside himself" may suggest the reflection how his actions affect others. Being able to see oneself in the place of others was, to Confucius, the foundation of morality. Once this is taken seriously, it is even more edifying that the fellow feeling of the sanguine type. Thus, as Kant himself says, it is, as "an attendant impluse," "most admirable" and of substantive value in a well rounded view of moral consciousness.

Since Kant's typology is based on his dualism of the beautiful and the sublime, it should be possible to represent the four temperaments with a square of opposition using the presence or absence of the two attributes. Since Kant says, as we have seen, that the phlegmatic type has no interest in either the beautiful or the sublime, that part is easy; we have the absence of both (sb). Kant says that the melancholic "has above all a feeling for the sublime" [p.64] and that the sanguine "has a predominating feeling for the beautiful" [p.67]. However, we apparently have no such clear statement about the choleric. If we assign to the sanguine character the presence of beauty and absence of the sublime (sb), then the challenge is to decide whether it is the melancholic or the choleric that has both of the attributes. Since the presence of both would seem to be involve the greatest consciousness of value, it should belong to the least deficient character. For both the mature Kant and the Kant of the Observations, that should be the melancholic, which is the only character with a predominant conception of moral worth. The choleric in that respect is gravely deficient, with a sense of morality that is not even autonomous, and vulnerable to dissimulation and hypocrisy. This would give us the melancholic character sensible of both the beautiful and the sublime (sb), and a choleric character lacking in awareness of beauty (sb). This assignment may be confirmed by Kant's description of national character, where he says that the Spanish display an expression of the sublime "of the terrifying sort, which is a little inclined to the adventurous" [p.98]. A preoccupation with honor, that Kant assigns to the choleric person, such that "In insults he falls back upon duels or lawsuits, and in civil relations upon ancestry, precedence, and title" [p.70], sounds more than a little suitable to the traditional Spain of the Conquistadores. This can motivate an assignment of the sublime to the choleric, but with the unbalancing factor of deficiency in the goodheartedness and jest of the beautiful.

The positive things that Kant has to say about each character imply that each involves a virtue. As it happens, the "Five Virtues" of Confucian ethics (kindness, righteousness, propriety, knowledge, and good faith -- shown matched with the five elements) make pretty good candidates. We have seen already the similarity of the "goodhearted" sanguine character to the Confucian virtue of rén, "kindness." Strong also is the correspondence of Kant's melancholic character, who acts on principle, to the Confucian virtue of , "righteousness." Confucius, at his most Kantian, says that the "superior man" thinks of righteousness, the mean man thinks of profit. Especially noteworthy is the correspondence of the Kantian choleric character to the Confucian virtue of li3, "propriety, good manners, ritual." The superficially of propriety, which Kant says tends to hypocrisy, explains the rejection of mere good manners by Taoism. Confucius, however, valued li3 very highly indeed. We see something similar in Edmund Burke, who said:

Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them in great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there and now and then. Manners are what vex and soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us by a constant, steady uniform insensible operation. Like that of the air we breathe in.

Being polite, indeed, means to avoid offending and irritating people. That this has no essential connection to righteousness we can see in persons who are polite but wicked (like Hannibal Lecter of The Silence of the Lambs), or in persons who are rude but noble (like Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice) [note]. The conflict between Confucianism and Taoism in this respect is resolved by the polynomic theory of value, where good manners are a hortative, not an imperative, good.

The phlegmatic character and the other virtues pose a bit of an interpretive challenge. The phlegmatic virtue would be prudence, and this is not the meaning of any of the Chinese virtues. However, the virtue of "knowledge," zhi1, has a related term, zhì, which can mean, along with "wisdom" and "cleverness," "prudence." So I have both characters at right. Prudence, of course, aims at self-interest, i.e. the concern of the "mean man" for profit (). Since profit is always regarded as a temptation to wrong, if not a positive evil, in Confucianism, it is not surprising that we can only get to it indirectly through the list of virtues -- although a "Confucian ethic" today in political and cultural discussions is usually taken to include a work ethic that is supremely a matter of prudence.

That leaves the fifth Chinese virtue, xìn, "good faith, truth, trust, sincerity, confidence." Xìn, as it happens, corresponds to the element earth, whose direction or place is the center. This doesn't relate to anything in the four humor theory, but we can put xìn in the center for a Chinese sense of completeness.

ExtraversionIntroversion
Sociable, dominantRetiring, withdrawn
AgreeablenessLack of
Agreeableness
Cooperative, sympatheticQuarrelsome, cold
ConscientiousnessLack of
Conscientiousness
Organized, efficientDisorderly, careless
Emotional StablityEmotional Instability
Calm, stableDistraught, unstable
Openness to
Experience
Resistance to
Experience
Imaginative, inventiveNarrow, simple
Outside of Jungian psychology, its more recent developments, and the associations pursued above, somewhat different categories for personality typology can be found. Thus, we find a list of "big five personality traits" in Nancy Segal's splendid book on twin research (Entwined Lives, Dutton, 1999, p. 72), as shown at left. Here we only find two Jungian categories, extraversion and introversion. The others are different, but also largely self-explanatory. We might therefore suspect that they are a bit more natural as personality traits than the Jungian functions. Or, we might consider that the four apart from extraversion and introversion might correspond to the temperaments given above, though with the added feature of polarity. Agreeableness thus could be Dionysian (sanguine), conscientiousness Epimethean (phlegmatic), emotional stablity Apollonian (choleric), and openness to experience Promethean (melancholic). This is certainly imprecise and problematic, but suggestive, like the original correspondence between the Hippocratic humors and Keirsey temperament above. However a person falls in the polarity of the "big five," if one of them is the dominant feature of the personality (with the most extreme score, perhaps, on the continuum), then we have something translatable into Jungian theory.

A correspondent has understood the columns in the table to always go together, i.e. "extraversion" with "agreeableness," and took offense that introverts were being accused of always being disagreeable. For myself, as an introvert, this may actually be true; but the basic idea in the table is that each of the categories varies independently, as indeed other comparisons made above, e.g. Melancholic and Libertarian (although, again, dead on for me), may do.

At left is a diagram for a system of four temperaments suggested by Helen Fisher (cf. Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, 2004). I have tentatively matched them up with the four humors and the Myers-Briggs-Keirsey temperaments. Fisher, as far as I know, doesn't do this. Her temperaments are related to her views about how people approach romantic love. It is also her idea that each temperament has a connection to a particular neuro-chemical. The occurrence of estrogen and testosterone is not supposed to mean that these types are sexually specific. While I understand that testosterone does play an important role in the sex drive of women, I am not aware, however, to the extent that estrogen figures in the neuro-chemistry of males at all. I thought that chemical pollutants that mimic estrogen were supposed to be screwing up virility. So perhaps Fisher doesn't mean this literally. I have not yet examined her reasoning.

I also had not found her typology in the book referenced above. I knew about Fisher's theory from television appearances. Now, however, the book containing the whole typology has just been published, Why Him? Why Her? [Henry Hold and Company, 2009]. Fisher's reasoning, data, and details are in the new book.

FactionVirtue
AbnegationSelfless,
EruditeKnowledge,
DauntlessCourage,
CandorTruth,
AmityLove,
There is an interesting typology in the popular young adult "Divergent" novels -- Divergent [2011], Insurgent [2012], and Allegiant [2013], by Veronica Roth. This is a post-apocalyptic dystopian society stuctured around "factions," or social castes. Each faction is supposed to be based on a particular virtue (shown here with Chinese equivalents, although these do not occur in the books), also conceived as the remedy for a particular vice. Thus, the Abnegation faction values selflessness as the remedy for selfishness, the Erudite faction knowledge as the remedy for ignorance, the Dauntless faction courage as the remedy for cowardice, the Candor faction truth as the remedy for falsehood, and the Amity faction love as the remedy for hatred. This all was supposed to derive from varying evaluations of what it was that caused the disruption and collapse of traditional society. Such a form, however, sounds much like an elaboration of the principle of social division in Plato's Republic, with the similar provision that while a person is born and raised in a particular faction, they may be better suited for inclusion in another. What is suitable is determined in Divergent through a sophisticated psychological test at age sixteen but, unlike the Republic, whether or not the teenager moves to the new faction is up to them. They may actually choose any faction. However, initiates may be subject to entrance tests, and if the initiate fails, they fall down among the "factionless," who, like Outcastes, do menial work and belong to no faction. Again, as in Plato's Republic, government is entrusted to the disinterested, namely the selfless Abnegation faction. However, in the books, Abnegation government is overthrown, and its members murdered, by the Erudites, who believe, as Platonists might, that their knowledge entitles them to power. Of course, Plato would probably regard such ambition as discrediting the required disinterest and thus would constitute knowledge but not wisdom. The Platonic analysis, after all, is ultimately based, not on the characteristic virtues, but on the psychological interest, which for rule is better manifest in Abnegation. In the end it doesn't matter, since the Erudites in turn are overthrown by the factionless Outcastes, whose numbers have grown decisively. The system is thus unstable, as Plato might have thought himself, and as we would expect in a dystopian story.

Karen A. Smyers, Ph.D., Jungian Analysis

Typology of the Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Gender Stereotypes and Sexual Archetypes

The Chinese Virtues

The Emotions

Ethics

History of Philosophy

Home Page

Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved


Psychological Types, Note 1


In rather crude popular parlance, there are also three kinds of males, depending on what part of the female anatomy appeals to them the most:  "leg men," who like women's legs, "tit men," who like breasts, and "ass men," who like the female posterior. Views about the psychology of the three kinds of men often accompany the use of the terms. Similarly, we now have a memorable triple psycho-political classification in Matt Stone and Trey Parker's movie Team America: World Police [Paramount Pictures, 2004], with the characteristic crudity of the South Park cartoon series, between people who are "dicks," "pussies," and "assholes." These are used with clever double entendre that I need not repeat.

Return to text

Psychological Types, Note 2,
Individualism

In this effort toward a higher morality in our social relations, we must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement, and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection with the activity of the many.

Jane Addams (1860-1935), Democracy and Social Ethics, 1902, color added


What kind of world do we want -- one in which everyone works to increase wealth to whatever extent they can, or a world in which everyone will be supported by either government handouts or private philanthropy, whether they work or don't work?

It is not an abstract question. We can already see the consequences on both sides of the Atlantic. Those who have grown used to having others provide their food, shelter and other basics as "rights" are by no mean grateful.

On the contrary, they are more angry, lawless and violent than in years past, whether they are lower-class whites rioting in Britain or black "flash mobs" in America. Their histories are very different, but what they have in common is being supplied with a steady drumbeat of resentments against those who are better off.

Thomas Sowell, "A look at two different worlds," 6 September 2011


The destructive work of totalitarian machinery, whether or not this word is used, is usually supported by a special kind of primitive social philosophy. It proclaims not only that the common good of 'society' has priority over the interests of individuals, but that the very existence of individuals as persons is reducible to the existence of the social 'whole'; in other words, personal existence is, in a strange sense, unreal. This is a convenient foundation for any ideology of slavery.

Leszek Koakowski (1927-2009), "Totalitarianism and the Virtue of the Lie," Is God Happy? Selected Essays, Basic Books, 2013, p.57 (cf. Hegel on the ontological unreality of individuals)


The contrast is between the mistake made by socialist critics of modern capitalist societies in thinking of those societies as "atomizing" their populations on the one hand, and the fact that these very critics of capitalism are now achieving exactly that result in their drive to perfect the human world.

The alienated victim of capitalism was not, in fact, an isolated social atom, because his conduct emerged from the immensely complex involvements he had with others. On the other hand, the communal paragon of the politico-moral world [i.e. that of political moralism] actually is a kind of atom, because he has been persuaded to withdraw his affections from an increasing range of inherited attachments such as patriotism and chivalry. The new doctrine construes this detached condition as a liberation from prejudice that facilitates embracing ideas that have survived the test of argument and evidence. It is, however, simply false that prejudice and rationality can be sharply divided in a world in which judgments about contingent events must inescapably be situational. In this arena, people convinced of the superior rationality of their opinions tend to become tedious and dogmatic. Their opinions are, in any case, over a large area of judgment the standardized responses we have been considering as the politico-moral.

Kenneth Minogue (1930-2013), The Servile Mind, How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life, Encounter Books, 2010, pp.311-312


I'm thinking of writing a children's story about a leaf on a tree who arrogantly insists he's a self-made, independent leaf. Then one day a fierce wind blows him off his branch and to the ground below. As his life slowly ebbs away, he looks up at the magnificent old tree that had been his home and realizes that he had never been on his own. His entire life he had been part of something bigger and more beautiful than anything he could have imagined [the State?]. In a blinding flash, he awakens from the delusion of self. Then an arrogant, self-centered kid rakes him up and bags him.

Chuck Lorre, "The Big Bang Theory," Production Vanity Card #431, 21 November 2013, color added (the Servile Mind in action)

A revealing issue concerns individualism. While modern liberals, communitarians, and even harsher forms of the Left (not to mention the totalitarian and authoritarian Right) like to attack individualism as the root of all evil, the welfare state socialism of most modern liberals actually promotes the most selfish and irresponsible form of individualism imaginable. This is because one cannot survive on libertarian or capitalist principles without cooperation with others. If economic exchanges are voluntary, then others must agree to the exchange. If one tries to circumvent such agreement through threat, force, or fraud, this becomes a crime, and punishment, rather than exchange, can be the result. Honest exchange thus encourages one to be polite and considerate and to have some care for what one is offering to exchange.

On the other hand, where one has a positive right to an income, housing, a job, medical care, etc., then there is nothing voluntary at all about the exchange. Others can be forced to provide economic goods, regardless of what one can give in exchange, and civility and consideration have nothing to do with it. As Theodore Dalrymple says in his chilling account of the British welfare state [Life at the Bottom, The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2001, p. 136], "Where every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude." The individualism that this promotes is of the most indifferent, atomistic, and hostile sort -- just the kind of thing that the Left likes to imagine as produced by capitalism. What we see in a public housing project, however, where people are subsidized or even supported by the government, is the true image of a Hobbesian "war of all against all," where young male predators, growing up in households where no one may have ever had to get up and go to a real job, terrorize and extort livings off of welfare mothers and the elderly, fathering children (whether by seduction or actual rape) they have no intention of ever supporting. As for keeping their neighborhoods a decent place to live, that is someone else's responsibility. As Dalrymple puts it, "On the one hand, authority cannot tell them what to do; on the other, it has an infinitude of responsibilities towards them" [p.140]. This is the folie à deux of Liberal and Authoritarian in a nutshell:  people can do whatever they like (complete individual freedom), but they can demand any benefit or service that they like from the government and others (complete welfare rights).

Forcing others to provide benefits, of course, is not a behavior merely directed at government. It is directed at everyone. But everyone, of course, has the same rights (more or less), and so the miasma of rude demands comes to be reciprocated from other individuals. Furthermore, when communitarians react to this situation by beginning to complain about individual rights, they do not mean the welfare rights -- they mean the negative freedom of classical liberty, the basic right to be left alone. The dualism of Liberalism and Authortarianism will thus tend to drift away from the Liberal side towards more and more government control and authority, all to insure that individuals are acting responsibly. The hostility and lack of civility between individuals become more and more attitudes that are reciprocated by the government itself, in the form of its own bureaucrats and officials. The functionaries whose job it is to provide all the benefits to the citizens mostly cannot be fired or punished for bad manners or indifference. They have their own right to a job, after all, and if citizens are getting things for free, then they don't really have any reason to complain about whatever they get.

Most people are familiar with the "insolence of office" in bureaucrats and others blessed with largely irresponsible authority. This has changed little from when Lactantius said of Diocletian's officials, "The activities of all these people were very rarely civil..." Telling comments about this could be found in the recent animated television series, The PJ's (i.e. housing "projects"), where the representatives of the housing authority were always shown as faceless voices behind frosted glass. This was under mottos like "Too Little, Too Late," which implies, of course, that not enough free benefits are being provided -- the typical leftist complaint about failure, that the program was not "fully funded." But such indifference and rudeness is a feature of any situation where there is no sanction for poor performance. Visitors to the Soviet Union discovered that waiters in most restaurants rarely had the slightest interest in good service, just as the restaurants where they worked rarely had available most of the items on their own menus. No one, indeed, could be fired for poor job performance -- the only good reason for anyone to lose their job would be some political deviation.

Individualism in capitalism thus has its limits. The irresponsible person might end up starving in the gutter. Under laissez-faire capitalism there were, of course, organizations (like the Salvation Army) who made it their business to offer help to such indigents, but only if they were willing to reform themselves at the same time. The "compassion" of leftist politics, of course, cannot allow such unfair judgmentalism to happen, so everyone is to be picked up out of the gutter and given whatever they need, by right. When they get the message about this, then it would be slavery to actually expect them to do anything to earn or deserve these benefits. They thus gain the right to be fundamentally irresponsibile, and fundamentally independent of any other person or any relationship of voluntary exchange or association -- even while the government is obliged to support them. This is even evident in feminism, where the very idea that women as mothers might be economically dependent on men provokes horror. Ironically, where Marx had said that capitalism turns even the family into a cash relationship, this is exactly what the modern Left wants -- wages from the government for housework, and such subsidies or support from the government that women can have children as "single mothers" and, with or without jobs, can live in a style equivalent to those married couples who support themselves and their children without subsidies. It is the duty of such married couples, of course, to pay sufficient taxes to support this right of financial independence in others. If the hardworking people resent all this, then they are damned by press, academia, and even pulpit as heartless, greedy, and self-centered.

Return to text


Psychological Types, Note 3


While Mr. Darcy's manners improve by the end of Pride and Prejudice, we do learn that even when he was at his worst, he was liberal and considerate on morally substantial issues. What happens to Hannibal Lecter is of particular interest. In the novels Red Dragon [1981] and The Silence of the Lambs [1988] by Thomas Harris, there is no doubt that Lecter is an evil and appalling person. Clarice Starling is only confident that he would not pursue her because "he would consider that rude." In Hannibal [1999], however, we get something different. Harris begins to represent Lecter's aestheticism as morally superior to the hypocrisy of the conventional mores and relationships that come to damage Starling's standing at the FBI. Starling's career is destroyed by amoral and self-interested careerists. In the end Lecter converts Starling to his ethic, taking a revenge terrible and memorable almost beyond contemplation on her principal nemesis at the Bureau. In the aesthetic triumph of taste and manners, the novel ends appropriately with Lecter and Starling at the opera. The makers of the movie made of Hannibal [2001], however, lost their nerve and avoided the Nietzschean rigor of the novel. Clarice is no longer converted by Lecter, and the movie ended much like Silence of the Lambs [1990], with Lecter's escape. The real conversion, of course, was that of Thomas Harris to the moral aestheticism of his own demonic and fascinating character.

Return to text

Psychological Types, Note 4
Typology of the Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Students entering the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter books are sorted into four residence Houses. These are in at least two places in the series explicitly described in terms of abilities, temperaments, and mental dispositions. Gryffindor House, that of Harry Potter himself, is associated with "brave deeds." Its animal is the lion. Leadership seems to fall on this House, whose colors are red and gold. We can easily associate it with a Sanguine personality, though it may have elements of the Choleric, as does Harry Potter.

Ravenclaw House, whose colors are blue and bronze, is associated with intelligence and cleverness. This, with its abstract focus, seems to go best with the Melancholic personality. Its animal is the eagle, despite the "raven" in its name.

Hufflepuff House, whose colors are yellow and black, is associated with steadiness, loyalty, industry, and, accepting students of all kinds, equality. This is certainly the place for the Phlegmatic personality. The House's animal is the badger.

Finally, Slytherin House, whose colors are green and silver, is the place for those, also clever, whose priority is ambition. Also, it only accepted, at least originally, those of "pure" magical blood. The element of pride here and of concern for appearances matches it up nicely with the Choleric personality. Its animal is the snake, which also suggests the attraction of the House to the Dark Arts.

There is a sex/gender association with each House also, since Gryffindor and Slytherin were founded by men, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff by women. The masculine Houses definitely dominate the story line. In terms of Jung's original typological functions, Slytherin, with its Dark Side temptation towards evil, would seem to have the most to do with the Unconscious. Indeed, Harry's own affinities with Slytherin are the Shadow side of his personality.

Psychological Types

Harry Potter and the Empire of Evil

Reviews

Ethics

Home Page

Copyright (c) 2003 Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved