Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Personality Types (1)

I have always been fascinated with personality types and their relationship as to the manner in which personal spiritual development subsequently unfolds.

Of course, I should stress right away that each personality is unique with characteristics that belong to many different personality types!

However, having said that, many people do certainly exhibit in varying circumstances marked characteristics that would be associated with distinctive personality types (in the major classification systems).

For example, at work I shared for many years an office with colleagues lecturing in IT disciplines and could not but notice - what in Jungian terms would be described as - their strong sense (S) characteristics. These then contrasted considerably with my own more intuitive (N) personality!

However even here, one has to be careful for it is possible to exhibit certain strong - say thinking (T) - aspects with respect to one's work and then to express complementary feeling (F) aspects in one's leisure pursuits.

And then personality characteristics can change considerably over time so for example someone with marked extrovert (E) tendencies in early life may discover a neglected introvert (I) side in later life.

Also there are both healthy and unhealthy expressions of all these personality characteristics, with actual behaviour often varying considerably as between the varying extremes.

So again we must recognise the unique identity of each individual personality, whilst also recognising the way in which identifiable distinct general characteristics can be manifest in actual behaviour.

Therefore just as all colours can be shown to represent different mixes (or configurations) with respect to 3 or 4 primary colours, one of the earliest uses of my holistic mathematical approach was the attempt to precisely identify the primary ingredients - as it were - involved in relation to the formation of all personality types.

And - because of the holistic complementarity of psychological and physical realms - this also served as the identification of the primary ingredients with respect to corresponding impersonality types which was to lead to a remarkable unexpected connection with string theory!


In the late 60's and early 70's, I had become deeply aware of two fundamental polarity sets, which I now realised as underlining all phenomenal relationships (in both physical and psychological terms).

The first were - what I referred to as - the horizontal polarities of external and internal which operate at any given level of development.

So therefore the recognition of any object (as external) implies - relatively - a corresponding (internal) mental perception with respect to the observing self.

So the act of recognition therefore necessarily entails both external and internal polarities that are in holistic mathematical terms positive and negative with respect to each other.

And in the dynamics of recognition positive and negative continually switch positions. Therefore at one moment we are aware of the external world (in relation to the observing self). Then at the next we are now aware of the observing self (in relation to the world).

Now, the big mathematical breakthrough that I made in 1970 was to see both of these polarities as the holistic expression of a circular number system (that represents the number "2").

So just as there is a well recognised linear (i.e. 1-dimensional) system for the recognition of all real numbers (in a quantitative manner), I was now starting to recognise that a corresponding - though not yet recognised - circular system existed for the recognition of all real numbers (in a corresponding qualitative manner).

Therefore when a "higher" dimension of 2 is expressed indirectly in a linear fashion, the two directions (i.e. dimensions) are represented as + 1 and – 1 respectively. Though these remain separate at the reduced 1-dimensional level of formal rational interpretation, they are intuitively combined (in an ineffable spiritual manner) at the "higher" 2-dimensional level.

So 2-dimensional appreciation therefore directly represents the intuitive recognition of interdependence, where both positive and negative polarities are now fully integrated with each other.

This holistic idea of interdependence is then directly associated with the developmental notion of integration, with the corresponding analytic idea of independence associated directly, in corresponding fashion, with differentiation.

Therefore to the extent that we recognise both external and internal poles as independent, we are thereby differentiating with respect to development.

However to the corresponding extent that we can equally recognise both external and internal poles as interdependent, we are by contrast integrating the experience.

Therefore the proper interpretation of both differentiation and interpretation with respect to development requires both analytic and holistic aspects (which cannot be reduced in terms of each other).

Alternatively it requires both linear and circular notions of direction.

However because accepted intellectual discourse is heavily weighted in a merely analytic manner, this inevitably leads to a reduced interpretation of development (where integration is explained in terms of differentiated processes).

This is turn exemplified by an unduly linear approach to the various stages where, for example, the paradoxical holistic relationship as between "higher" and "lower" is continually misinterpreted!


Though I was also aware of the equal importance of - what I referred to as - the vertical polarities of whole and part, it took me much longer to properly appreciate their true nature in holistic mathematical terms.

A growing familiarity with Jungian Psychology in the early 80's was of great assistance here.

Jung in fact implicitly formulated many of his notions in a holistic mathematical manner.

For example with respect to his four functions he distinguished two (T and F) as rational and two (S and N) - in complementary manner - as irrational.

However, I gradually came to the view that an alternative formulation, whereby two modes (or functions) would be classified as "real" and two other modes as - relatively - "imaginary" was more appropriate.

The two "real" modes had both positive and negative directions (which continually interchanged with each other). Likewise the two "imaginary" directions had both positive and negative directions (which again interchanged with each other in relative manner).

So one might inquire as to the distinction as between "real" and "imaginary" modes!

In this holistic context what is "real" relates to what is consciously understood in a direct manner. This corresponds in scientific terms with - what I refer to as - analytic understanding.

However "imaginary" understanding is of a much subtler nature. In a direct fashion it relates to holistic appreciation (that is unconscious in origin). However indirectly, such holistic appreciation can be indirectly expressed through conscious type symbols. And this indirect conscious expression (of what is primarily of an unconscious holistic nature) represents the "imaginary" aspect of understanding.

For example in a refined fashion, key spiritual archetypes (whereby conscious symbols are used to convey a deeper holistic meaning) represent the "imaginary" aspect of understanding.

Then in a less refined fashion, psychological projections represent the unrecognised "imaginary" aspect of understanding.

In both cases, though specific symbols are used to mediate, the meaning of the experience is thereby primarily of a holistic non-local nature.

However, one cannot properly conceive of the "imaginary" aspect in static rigid terms as it continually interchanges with the "real" in a dynamic relative manner.

One important connection I now made was the recognition that the interchange as between whole and part (and part and whole) entails both "real" and "imaginary" aspects, which dynamically interchange in relative fashion.

So when the part aspect is (consciously) "real" in experience, the corresponding "whole" aspect remains implicitly (unconsciously) "imaginary". Then in the dynamics of experience, the complementary opposite aspects switch so that the whole is now (consciously) "real" and the part aspect implicitly "imaginary" (in an unconscious manner).

Therefore both whole and part aspects can be "real" or "imaginary" depending on context.

However, when one attempts to understand the relationship between whole and parts in a merely conscious manner (as "real") we have inevitable reductionism, whereby both aspects are defined in terms of each other (in a merely quantitative manner).

And science as we know it is riddled through and through with such reduced interpretation!

I also made the vital connection that whole and part are mediated through the cognitive and affective aspects of personality respectively.

The volitional aspect then serves the vitally important function of striving to maintain appropriate balance as between "real" (conscious) and "imaginary" (unconscious) aspects with respect to both cognitive and affective modes of personality respectively.


All this dynamic understanding was then enshrined within the holistic mathematical interpretation of "4".

In other words, when expressed in the standard 1-dimensional fashion, the holistic notion of "4" has four directions (i.e. dimensions) that are real and imaginary (in a positive and negative manner). In mathematical fashion, these are expressed as the four roots + 1, – 1, + i and – i respectively.

However, whereas in an analytic sense these are understood as clearly separate, in corresponding holistic fashion, they are understood as identically interdependent (through direct intuitive understanding).

So by the early 80's, I had formulated the holistic mathematical modelling of the 4 key polarities (external/internal and whole/part) which again underline all phenomenal relationships (in physical and psychological terms).

Then at a somewhat later stage, I was able to see how this could be precisely used in the clarification of the fundamental personality types.

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