Systems Thinking and Personality Types and Arial LO24582

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 05/10/00

Replying to LO24565 and LO24576 --

Hi Don,

You wrote, and i agree:

> I've been reading last year's thread on this topic, and found myself
> getting quite curious about the subject of personality (or thinking)
> classification instruments such as the MBTI, Kiersey, etc. I was glad to
> see the recurring point made that these instruments are most validly
> applied by an individual to aid his/her own personal mastery, rather than
> as a way to judge others.

And i even like more:

> Even in self-applying such an instrument, there is some danger of having
> the result color one's thinking, as in the old saying "to a man with only
> a hammer, everything looks like a nail".

However, here we have a paradox:

> This has led me to speculate
> that one should apply at least two of these instruments, to get a more
> balanced picture and avoid falling into the trap of confusing the map with
> the territory, as the General Semantics folks put it.

because the personality types instruments are the map AND the territory.
These instruments look like mirrors - a real mirror supplies with a mirror
image by the way - and the picture you get from a mirror is not your head
- they should print this in small print on any mirror; "WARNING: this is
not a face" - but, these instruments are self-reflective {by default, by
design, by intention and by purpose} and they way you apply them is also
self-reflective - we should print this in small print: "WARNING: this is a
self-image". Using two will not solve this riddle.

> In turn, this has led me to ask: is there someone in this group with
> enough knowledge about several of the instruments to suggest how they
> might be related to each other, so as to find a good set to be applied
> simultaneously (or to find the right one(s) to be applied in a given
> situation)?

I have used several instuments (amongst others: MBTI, BrainMap, Reality
Inquiry, Learning Styles, Ned Hermann's Brain Test and the odd ones from
the (woman) magazines) and they are related. First of all, because i took
these test ;-) and secondly because i suppose there is a Common Collective
unConscious incorporated - having a body - in all of us, up to and
including every life form (CCC Inc, makes you think). This CCC Inc uses or
consists of archetypes, sustained or created by, how shall i put it, a
kind of frame of choices.

Living means choosing, between {looking, moving, acting, intending} right
and left - ("Who said between right and wrong?" "I didn't, i had to choose
between write and read" - Judy accuses me of a funny Dutch accent and
suggested i should record what i right* - (now this is really getting out
of control because now the thought of choosing between took along and left
appears, i'll leave it here)) , between forwards and backwards, upwards to
the sky and down to earth, inwards for our souls or outwards to our
company, between differentiating and conventionalizing - see what An drew
painted in arial LO24567 (to me it was represented in Times Roman, but i
think it was meant to be in Times Actual) - we are continuously (or
rather: actually) choosing, branching, deciding.

I choose to write "choosing between right and left" but i could have
chosen "choosing between right or left". Now, this i wrote to illustrate
the fundamental dilemma, paradox, equivocality of ambiguity we face: we
must choose right AND left but in the act of choosing choose between right
OR left. Now, our mathemathician have told me that there is an inclusive
OR and an exclusive OR, but to me there seems to be only an exclusive OR:
it is or right or left. The rest of my day i will spend to change a choice
i made for "right or wrong" into "right and wrong". This is the process of
healing and we do it on a small scale, like in a message or in a meeting,
and we do it on a large scale, like in our lives and in our society. The
process of living means having to live with our choices, and this is a
choice in itself.

Now this. There are some basic choices we all have to make, some
preferences we are born with, that developed long before we became
consious, or, perhaps better, that had to be made in order to become
consious. We have all been prewired and pre-instructed and pre-developed
and pre-conditioned into some choices. We have to live with our self (or
is it our selves, i'm not sure). These choices are, and i quote the one
developed by Jung, simply because these were presented to me when i was
very young and easily impressed, or perhaps because it is useful:

Life attitudes: extraversion and introversion
Perceiving functions: sensing and intuition
Judging functions: thinking and feeling
Life orientation: judging and perceiving.

The different ratios that seem to occur of the prewired choices are
dicated by or developed through or calculated using the processes of
evolution or given by a great omnipotent djinn. I prefer evolution because
2 billion years should be enough to calculate the best ratio between these
choices. (side line: it might be that we're in a transition period, were
the ratio's do not fit the actual environment and are being
re-established: we might prefer to much war (red) in relation to the
actual game (azure) we're in. End of line)

In my work (logisens and mind@work) i've illustrated, painted the choices
using colours:

Red means action, do it, responsibility and service, sensing (and concrete
Blue means justice, envision it, order and principles, thinking (and time and
Yellow means wisdom, imagine it, clarity and experiment, intuition (and art
and innovation)
Green means compassion, love it, stories and meaning, feeling (and being there
for you)

Our tragedy (or it is rather comic, when you realize it): "we can wear all
colours, but not at the same time". So, for instance, when red we long to
be yellow, but orange isn' purple. Or when feeling blue we want to become
green, but brown isn't azure.

> I'm thinking of possible relations such as:
> - A and B are contradictory; for example, A classifies someone as
> predominantly analytical while B classifies the same person as primarily
> intuitive.
> - A and B are complementary; generally, B enriches the picture that A
> paints, and vice versa.
> - A subsumes B, in that it refines or extends the results of B.
> - A and B "cut the space differently"; it's difficult (or not worth the
> effort) to try to relate the results of A to those of B.

"sommige dagen van het jaar, is alles wel eens waar" - Leo Vroman. This
might be one of those days.

Good hunting,


Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan)
LOGISENS  - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development
Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Group Decision Process Support
Tel.: (+ 31) (0)70 3243475 or car: (+ 31)(0)65 4685114 and/or
taoSystems: + 31 (0)30 6377973 -

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