Transcript Philosophy Unveiled Episode 9 by the author Lane Friesen:
We learned in the previous episode that the connections of MBNI [as explained in previous episodes, the name of this well-known psychological theory is trademarked, and thus we have renamed it] all have four-letter names, such as ESTP and INFJ. Our task in this episode is to decipher these names, and to map them onto the brain.
Before we start, I’d like to remind you of what we already know from philosophy. Berkeley, Locke and Descartes all appeared to have differing areas of consciousness. Berkeley spoke of a label of pain and pleasure, and Locke mentioned seeing a substratum. When we put the picture together, we discovered the circuit for the right hemisphere of the brain. At that time, we also labeled regions as being Extraverted or Introverted. It was done to prepare us for our present discussion in psychology. Extraverted Thinking, for instance, is located in the right hemisphere. It contains two cognitive strategies, Contributor and Facilitator, and they interact bidirectionally. The same two strategies connect as well in the left hemisphere, where they form Extraverted Sensing. The fact that connections are bidirectional means that we can talk, or we can listen. We can receive instruction, or alternatively we can give instruction. If loops that go through these Extraverted regions, with legs composed of MBNI modes, have differing directions of data flow from Contributor to Facilitator, or from Facilitator to Contributor, then the operation of one loop can block out another. We’ll look at all of this later on. Introverted Thinking contains Perceiver strategy. It means that a Perceiver person such as Locke is conscious in the region of Introverted Thinking, and can tell us about its operation. Introverted Feeling is the home of Mercy analysis. We saw that Berkeley the philosopher could see into this region. We conclude therefore that he had the cognitive style of Mercy. That’s because cognitive style, as we said before, is a difference in consciousness. Finally, Extraverted Feeling is the home of Exhorter strategy. We looked at neurology, and saw that this region is located in the orbitofrontal, and it helps Facilitator strategy to determine a label of pain and pleasure. This label is given to data that passes from Facilitator strategy down to Sensory processing and then up through Exhorter analysis to Mercy strategy. Later, we’ll be working much more closely with this information.
Our goal in this session, though, is to decipher the sixteen connections, with names such as ENFJ and ESFP, that connect the two hemispheres of the brain, through the hippocampus. The brain regions of Introverted Sensing and Extraverted Feeling, for instance, are linked by the MBNI modes of ISFJ and ESFJ. In the case of ESFJ, with its initial letter of E, we see that the connection flows toward Extraverted Feeling—the word Extraverted begins with E. ISFJ, in contrast, which starts with I, sends information in the opposite direction, so that it ends up in Introverted Sensing. The first letter of the code, therefore, always indicates the end point, or final destination: If this first letter is E, then the termination is Extraverted; if the first letter is I, then the end point is Introverted.The middle two letters of each code—as in xSFx, where x just stands for any possible beginning or ending letters—act as a kind of map: The first letter of the middle pair, on the left, tells us the connecting point in the left hemisphere; the second letter of the middle two—to the right of the first—indicates the connecting point in the right hemisphere. Thus, xSFx would connect S for Sensing, in the left hemisphere, with F for Feeling in the right, and so on for any middle two letters.An Introverted segment on the left, we will notice, never connects to an Introverted area in the right. Nor do two Extraverted regions—one on the left, the other on the right—link together. That connection—between Extraverted on the left and Extraverted on the right, and Introverted on the left and Introverted on the right—takes place in a totally different way, within the brain, and it is essentially non-cognitive. Let’s digress to talk about it for a moment.
There are wires, in the brain, that connect very simply across the hemispheres, from one cortex to the other. Each tiny portion of one cortical hemisphere is connected, across the hemispheres, to the same small part in the other cortical hemisphere. It’s done by something called the corpus callosum. We’ve probably heard of a split brain patient. In this individual, the wires of the corpus callosum are cut; it’s done to control things such as epilepsy. What I mean is that the doctor actually severs the connection between the two hemispheres. What happens then? There are strange effects. As we likely know, the left hemisphere of the brain handles the right visual field, and the right hemisphere interprets the left visual field. In the split brain patient, one hemisphere of the brain may not know what the other is seeing! As we said, the corpus callosum connects symmetrical segments of the cortex across the two hemispheres. If termination points in the two hemispheres are similar, then it means that an Extraverted region in the right hemisphere is being connected to its symmetrical Extraverted portion in the left. Similarly, matching Introverted areas are being connected. Thus, links between right hemisphere Introverted Feeling and its symmetrical partner in the left hemisphere of Introverted iNtuition involve the corpus callosum, as do connections between Extraverted Thinking and Extraverted Sensing, and so on with the other nodes. In contrast, connections between an Extraverted portion in one hemisphere, and an Introverted part in the other, or an Introverted piece in that same hemisphere, and an Extraverted region in its partner, or an Introverted portion from the opposite hemisphere, and an Extraverted portion in the other, or an Extraverted portion in that same opposite hemisphere, and an Introverted portion in the other, appear always to involve the hippocampus. A look at the diagram indicates that there are sixteen such possible combinations of Introverted with Extraverted, or Extraverted with Introverted. Unlike what happens with the corpus callosum and the cortex, it seems that these links can become cognitive, and may in fact determine personality. MBNI is thus an observation of what happens when various hippocampal connections spring into operation. This interpretation of MBNI turns out to be highly self-consistent—throughout the sixteen MBNI modes, and with what is known about cognitive style—and it will eventually enable us to make a further transition to brain diseases and then to neurology.
Before we begin with this extended analysis, though, let’s finish our explanation of the four-letter codes. We’ve already described the middle two letters—those are easy; they are the actual physical end points, the first in the left hemisphere, and the second in the right. Once we’ve taken care of those two middle letters, then it’s helpful to look next at the very last letter of the four-letter code, as this indicates which of the two middle letters is Extraverted. If the last letter is J, then the Extraverted connection point is in the right hemisphere—it will involve either Extraverted Thinking or Extraverted Feeling. If we look at the diagram, we’ll see that those are the only two choices. That of course makes the other endpoint, in the opposite hemisphere, Introverted—because Extraverted and Extraverted do not connect in the hippocampus. Finally, the first letter of the four-letter code, as we discovered before, then gives the direction of the flow. For example, if it is E, as in ESFJ, then information flows toward Extraverted Feeling. If it is I, as in ISFJ, then things are reversed, and the flow of information is towards Introverted Sensing.Let’s try another example. This time, the final letter will be P rather than J—let’s choose xNTP. The middle letters this time indicate a link between iNtuition and Thinking—N on the left being iNtuition in the left hemisphere, and T on the right indicating Thinking in the right hemisphere. The final letter this time is P. If it had been J, then we would be connecting to some Extraverted segment in the right hemisphere. However, now it is P. That tells us that the connection involves some Extraverted part of the left hemisphere. Since N, on the middle left, has already told us that we are dealing in the left with iNtuition, we conclude that the endpoint in the left hemisphere is Extraverted iNtuition. That of course makes the other endpoint Introverted—and in particular, the other terminus becomes Introverted Thinking. Now, let’s suppose that our original xNTP was INTP. The first letter I then tells us that information is flowing from Extraverted iNtuition to Introverted Thinking. If in contrast xNTP had been ENTP, then the initial letter would be E, and the flow of information would be opposite, from Introverted Thinking to Extraverted iNtuition.
Some final terminology. The source of an MBNI hippocampal information transfer is called the auxiliary, and the destination is termed the dominant. For instance, the diagram shows that ESFJ sends information from Introverted Sensing to Extraverted Feeling, and so the auxiliary in that case would be Introverted Sensing, and the dominant would be Extraverted Feeling. I should add that the terms auxiliary and dominant were developed by psychologists long before any transition was made to neurology, but they happen to be quite acceptable, and we retain them. MBNI data transport, in any one mode, is always triggered when something freezes because it cannot work further. The act of freezing makes it a mental assumption—an auxiliary, if we wish—and this forces transfer, from that location, to something else that is then able to work with the data. That ‘something else’ dominates the transfer process. When it is finished, then it may freeze in its own turn. This act forms it into a new auxiliary, and things progress further. We can think of it as a relay race. The auxiliary is the starting line. The runner races towards the finish—his action is the dominant, and the course he runs in is his MBNI mode of thought. When he gets to his particular destination, then a new auxiliary forms around the next runner, and that MBNI mode, or ‘runner,’ takes things further. It might help to give an example, and it will show you some of what can be done with MBNI.
Psychologists study human behavior. They trust what they see; it means that they use it as a basis for analysis. In other words, observation of human personality is their auxiliary or assumption. Where do the people whom they are observing live? They reside in an external world—a region that in a sense is Extraverted. Unlike computers, people have emotions, and the outside world is thus the realm of Feeling and its values. Put it together, and we might conclude that the auxiliary of many psychologists is Extraverted Feeling. Upon this foundation, they developed a theory called MBNI. Understanding is internal or Introverted, and theory-building is iNtuition. The dominant of the psychologists was thus Introverted iNtuition. If we look at the diagram, we can see that the connection from Extraverted Feeling to Introverted iNtuition—which represents what was done over many years by the psychologists—is INFJ. I [Lane Friesen] also spent years developing a theory of cognitive styles, and we mapped it partially onto neurology. Then, as we began to share our results with the psychological community, they confronted us with MBNI. Goodness, an alternative theory! How did it fit into what we had done? In line with my training as a physicist, I assumed that there had to be a logical explanation—my auxiliary was thus Introverted iNtuition. But this very region—Introverted iNtuition, my auxiliary—was the psychologists’ dominant. I was poised, therefore, to be the next relay runner in the race. Over a period of about a year, we constructed a composite Big Picture. This mental structure is formed, as we will soon see, in Extraverted Thinking, and this region therefore became my dominant. What connects an auxiliary of Introverted iNtuition to a dominant of Extraverted Thinking? As we can see from the diagram, it is ENTJ, and it does planning: among other things, I wrote a computer program to explain the two ideas, cognitive styles and MBNI, and their interaction. However, over time, I gradually found that the composite structure didn’t quite make sense when it came to the fine details! In some fundamental way, we were putting the jigsaw puzzle together incorrectly. So, I reversed the direction of the circuit. I took all that we had already discovered about cognitive styles, along with everything developed by the MBNI psychologists, reduced things to their elemental objects, threw them into the air in Extraverted Thinking, and then built a new theory in Introverted iNtuition—that’s the region where I, the author, as a Teacher person, am conscious. [Note: “I” and “the author” in these paragraphs refer to Lane Friesen, the author. The narration is done by Rachel. You may find more information at our website, www.cognitivestyles.com.] The result became a superset of the original two theories, and absorbed or subsumed both—it’s the subject of the current book. During the many years that it took me to do the current analysis, I was therefore an INTJ. I ate up and digested both our previous work and that of the INFJ psychologists, from the pieces in Extraverted Thinking.
Alright, let’s summarize. We’ve seen that the middle two letters of the MBNI code correlate to the two hemispheres of the brain. The second letter identifies the area, either Sensing or iNtuition, in the left hemisphere, and the third letter tells us about the region in the right hemisphere, which can be either Thinking or Feeling. Then, we linked the first letter of the four-letter code to the direction of the flow. If it was towards the Introverted segment, then it was I; if it went to the Extraverted part, then it was E. We went on to link the final letter, which could be either P or J, to the hemisphere which contained the Extraverted part of the code. If it was P, then the Extraverted aspect was in the left hemisphere; if it was J, then it was in the right.We then gave some examples. First, we showed that psychologists used INFJ to construct their theory of MBNI. Then, we demonstrated that it was first ENTJ, and then INTJ, that allowed the author to map the theory onto the brain, and to link psychology with cognitive styles, and then with philosophy.We can see the versatility of MBNI. On the one hand, Extraverted Thinking is a neurological area, and even at this simplified level, it can be used to describe brain functioning. Alternatively, it is the strategy mediated by that brain region. With this point of view, one can analyze social situations, and even the progress of a civilization.I’d like to look forward now to the manner in which we will eventually link this psychology back to philosophy. We recall from our integration of cognitive styles into philosophy that the Extraverted portions that psychology refers to always break up into two sections; that is, ET and EF in the right hemisphere break into two sections, and we’ll see that ES and EN do the same in the left hemisphere. It turns out that all sixteen MBNI modes connect in a highly symmetrical manner with these various Extraverted segments. The Extraverted MBNI mode, such as ENTJ, connects to one part of the Extraverted region, and the Introverted mode, such as INTJ, links back from the other portion. Both of these then connect to the same Introverted region. It’s quite evident that this will form a loop, or working memory circuit.Now, we know for instance that Extraverted Thinking contains Contributor and Facilitator strategies, and therefore, one of the loops involves an Introverted region doing pre-processing for the information that is transferred from Contributor to Facilitator analysis. This is also a general principle. The four styles of Mercy, Perceiver, Server and Teacher all do pre-processing in loops which involve the Contributor, Facilitator and Exhorter. The direction of data flow is very important. For instance, there is a loop through the left-hemisphere Extraverted region that contains Contributor and Facilitator strategies, which is governed by Perceiver pre-processing in the right, and we can identify this loop as MBNI Thinking. There is another loop through this same left-hemisphere Contributor-Facilitator region that we can link to MBNI Feeling; the loop is controlled in the right this time by Mercy pre-processing. Interestingly, Feeling runs data through this Extraverted left-hemisphere Facilitator-Contributor area in the opposite direction to that used by Thinking. That means that when Thinking is operating, Feeling is disabled, and when Feeling is functioning, Thinking is disabled – psychology knows about this, and speaks of it as a split or dichotomy between Thinking and Feeling. The same sort of thing happens with Sensing and iNtuition, and again psychology is aware of it. It’s a very elegant structure, and highly symmetrical.These loops can combine to form larger loops. As I said, we have identified over 24 different loops, and they interact in very specific ways, which we can learn about from the philosophers. That is the direction in which we are heading.So, where do we go at this point? In the next episode, I would like to discuss the MBNI terms of Judging, Perceiving, Extraversion and Introversion. We’ll see that these are legs in a loop which I will call Facilitator working memory. We’ll demonstrate later in neurology that it acts as the idling mode of the brain.That concludes episode nine of Philosophy Unveiled.