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Thread: On what, how, and why

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    Default On what, how, and why

    I have noticed some noises here and there about socionics being about "how" we process information, not about "what" or "why".

    I will use a simple example - which does not even need socionics to begin with - to illustrate a point.

    A guy is walking down the street in a city where the presidential primaries are taking place - this year. He's wearing a rather garish "Kerry 2004" sweater.

    Why would he be wearing that sweater?

    I can think of several reasons (in no order):

    - it's a political statement. He sees all of the present candidates as useless and is making a point of how he prefered Kerry.
    - it's a wicked sense of humor. His intention is to make people wonder what his intentions are. It's all a joke.
    - actually the sweater is very very comfortable and warm, he really likes it, so he wears it and he's not even thinking of the "Kerry 2004" written on it. He's oblivious to it, actually.
    - he worked in the Kerry campaign in 2004 and he got about 10 of those sweaters as a bonus, for free. So he just wears them because they cost nothing. He's aware that other people might notice it but he sees that as of not very important.
    - he's actually always voted Republican, and he's very much aware of the "Kerry 2004" thing and he dislikes it. But that sweater was given to him by a person who meant a lot to him, and sometimes he wears it because it gives him a sense of connection to that person (who's not near him anymore).

    And so on and so forth.

    We don't even have to get into socionics to write the above -- I think it's obvious.

    Now, bringing socionics into the picture, some of those reasons are related to focus on , others on , others on , or on or .

    If we focus on "how" -- well, "how" would explain that he, say, sees the sweatshirt either through the eyes of - "it's very comfortable" - or through the eyes of - "it connects me with an abstract concept" - whether a person, or a private thought, etc.

    It seems to me, though, that the "how" is merely useful as an explanation for "why". Also, except in rationality versus irrationality, or extraversion versus introversion, "how" doesn't seem to me to adequately explain intertype relationships - which are what socionics are all about.

    Finally, the quadras are about people more or less naturally drawn to each other. You have extroverts, rationals, introverts, irrationals. To me it seems that "how" an EP and an IJ process and react to information is very different, yet mirrors usually are drawn together (not without some problems, of course) - because in the end they share the same motivations, which is what those quadra "mottos", and quadra groups, etc, make sense. Quadras are about groups of people who share similar priorities - they are "normal" people so to speak.

    After all -- I'd think that some of the explanations above make more sense to you than others.
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    Of course, a person of any type could have any of those motivations -- but I think a person with focus on a particular function is more likely to do it for a particular reason than others.
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    point taken, but "why" we do something is often a function of "how" we process information.

    for example, if somebody doesn't realize or care that it's cold out (presumably this refers to a reasonable temperature, and not -50 degrees) because he ignores the signals his body is sending him, then he's not likely to wear the sweater simply because it's warm and comfortable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    point taken, but "why" we do something is often a function of "how" we process information.

    for example, if somebody doesn't realize or care that it's cold out (presumably this refers to a reasonable temperature, and not -50 degrees) because he ignores the signals his body is sending him, then he's not likely to wear the sweater simply because it's warm and comfortable.
    Yes, but I was getting at a broader point.

    People of different types will tend to interpret the guy's motivations differently.

    And please (everybody) do not get stuck in this particular example, which may be a bad one. What I mean is that functional preferences influence your motivations for doing a particular thing - different motivations for doing the one and the same thing. And that is the origin of a lot of misunderstandings between types.

    That guy, if not even thinking of the "Kerry 2004" thing, might casually enter, say, a Republican town hall meeting. Lots of people would take for granted that he must have had a political reason for doing it - because they themselves would not have done it otherwise.

    So, people will ask "ok, what's your point?" and he will say, "uh? No point at all, I wasn't even thinking of it". And they will say, "don't bullshit me".

    Which is pretty much what we see happening, here and IRL.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
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    I agree that motivations can be useful, and I also agree that we can't assume what someone else's motivations are for any given thing even if they seem obvious to us, because what seems obvious to us probably does seem obvious because of our functional preference and not theirs.

    There's only so much information we have available to us if we try to type someone. Motivational information is better than what someone does because, like you said, if someone's wearing an old Kerry shirt, there could really be dozens of reasons for that and any given person's assumption of why might not be right.

    It isn't perfect either because even people who don't value Si like warm shirts in the winter. But it's a start, and if we can see a trend develop, it can be useful.
    It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
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    You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.

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    i don't totally disagree with you, but this whole thing seems like it still has to do with "how" the other people are processing the situation. if the other people assume that he has some particular reason for doing something based on their IM preferences, then it still has more to do being in tune to that kind of information.


    i think socionics does have to do with how information is handled on a fundamental level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker Mom View Post
    I agree that motivations can be useful, and I also agree that we can't assume what someone else's motivations are for any given thing even if they seem obvious to us, because what seems obvious to us probably does seem obvious because of our functional preference and not theirs.
    That is the main point I'm making.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker Mom View Post
    But it's a start, and if we can see a trend develop, it can be useful.
    Yes. If something like wearing that shirt happens again and again, consistently, we can get a good idea of his motivations for doing them, and therefore of his functional preferences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17 View Post
    i don't totally disagree with you, but this whole thing seems like it still has to do with "how" the other people are processing the situation. if the other people assume that he has some particular reason for doing something based on their IM preferences, then it still has more to do being in tune to that kind of information.


    i think socionics does have to do with how information is handled on a fundamental level.
    I don't dispute that as far as it goes; I just think that thinking of "how" misses the point. It is not "how" that leads to deep personal misunderstandings between types.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    It is not "how" that leads to deep personal misunderstandings between types.

    i guess i can see that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17
    i think socionics does have to do with how information is handled on a fundamental level.
    I agree. Expat, I see your point about "why," referring to the deeper motivations, but, as niffweed pointed out, deeper motivations (from a socionics standpoint) are a result of how one processes information, not the other way aound. If an LII's core need is to develop structured systems of thought, that is because they process information in such a way; they do not process information in such a way because they want to build a structured system of thought. one cannot build a house from the roof down.

    also, a person's "why" motivations stem from many other things than functional preference. how their functions interact with things like values they are taught, things they experience, etc. mainly determine their motivations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat
    It is not "how" that leads to deep personal misunderstandings between types.
    it is the "how" that leads to misunderstandings between types. how an LII processes information and how an SEE processes information are what make them conflictors; neither likes the way the other processes information. The LII does not care about the reason why the SEE thinks the way they do; it is the way the SEE processes information (sorry for repetition) that annoys the LII.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    iThe LII does not care about the reason why the SEE thinks the way they do; it is the way the SEE processes information (sorry for repetition) that annoys the LII.
    That is why I said "deep" personal misunderstandings; if you don't care why someone does something, then I see it as a very superficial kind of misunderstanding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat
    That is why I said "deep" personal misunderstandings; if you don't care why someone does something, then I see it as a very superficial kind of misunderstanding.
    if you want to talk about "deep" personal misunderstandings, you may as well throw socionics out the window.

    we're not talking about caring; we're talking about why certain things annoy people. Caring about why it annoys you is a whole other topic. the point is that people annoy you because of the way they are, which is "how."
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    obligatory quote from Nietzsche: "He who has a strong enough why can bear almost any how."

    There is an entire psychotherapy that deal with the "why" part. It is called Logotherapy.

    Without knowing the why you might end-up misunderstanding a person.

    I see the "why" part as a direction towards which someone is looking. The quadra share the end result, the final image at the end and each type inside the quadra sees an aspect of that final image however that final image is still incomplete... Each quadra sees only a part of the image.

    When a persona finds a compelling enough why he/she sees the whole end image and in that process the why transcends quadra and it ceases to matter which type that persons has.

    Take Gandhi for example. The image he presented to the Indian people was compelling enough for everybody. You cannot have an uprising with only 1/4 of the population.
    "What is love?"
    "The total absence of fear," said the Master.
    "What is it we fear?"
    "Love," said the Master.

    I chose Love

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    @Sigma: I'm not sure if I understand you, but I think I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    if you want to talk about "deep" personal misunderstandings, you may as well throw socionics out the window.

    we're not talking about caring; we're talking about why certain things annoy people. Caring about why it annoys you is a whole other topic. the point is that people annoy you because of the way they are, which is "how."
    Let me rephrase it then. How does it work from the point of view of the LII, in your view? He'd say, "that SEE annoys me, because --" ?
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    And let me finish that phrase. Because "how" I process information is different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tov View Post
    And let me finish that phrase. Because "how" I process information is different.
    So you dislike someone because they do something differently from you? Is that it? No further elaboration is necessary?

    ETA: or even if you say "annoys you" rather than "dislike them".
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    That is exactly it if you think about it. Where do you think the personal sentiments come from. You couldn't produce them if you didn't have an information and if you couldn't process the information. Also you couldn't answer why without knowing how.

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    Can you (or anyone) indulge my Te for a while and provide examples? Describe an IRL situation where someone annoys you (because of information processing, but usually we don't think in those terms), and what exactly you are thinking when that happens?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    Can you (or anyone) indulge my Te for a while and provide examples? Describe an IRL situation where someone annoys you (because of information processing, but usually we don't think in those terms), and what exactly you are thinking when that happens?
    My mother pisses me off with the way she focuses her attention. Like when we talk she asks questions on the most absurd and inconsequential things. At which point I go into a yes-no mode as she is basically taking a report from me, asking question on what I need, did I do that, listing things I am going to do (Not should, but *going* to do), basically turns the conversation into my report on things I need and my obligations she imposes on me.

    I don't care why she does it, she just does it and I want it to stop. Basically my reaction is this picture



    as she never listens. When I tell her to stop she just keeps going and on and on and on.

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    Thank you. Very interesting.
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    my whole argument was that the "how" is the essence of misunderstandings. if two types process things completely differently, they will conflict to some degree. once you describe it, yeah, it becomes a "why" issue. but the actual conflict is caused by differences in 'how'.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Quote Originally Posted by snegledmaca View Post
    My mother pisses me off with the way she focuses her attention. Like when we talk she asks questions on the most absurd and inconsequential things. At which point I go into a yes-no mode as she is basically taking a report from me, asking question on what I need, did I do that, listing things I am going to do (Not should, but *going* to do), basically turns the conversation into my report on things I need and my obligations she imposes on me.

    I don't care why she does it, she just does it and I want it to stop. Basically my reaction is this picture



    as she never listens. When I tell her to stop she just keeps going and on and on and on.
    this reminds me of my infp boss. she always tells me (and others) to stop talking.

    i dont know if i have any good examples, but basically yeah people can do things that are related to how people are processing information. If they ask you to focus your attention on things that are related to your polr, it will psyche you out a little bit. I have had many conversations with an ISTj and an ESFp where they'll ask questions about physical details. I know an ESxp whose very presence will make me paranoid but I like her so I will pay extra attention to what the content of what she's saying is so as to counteract that feeling I have. when i do ascribe motivations to Se types, that is when I dislike them. Who knows if these motivations are accurate.

    I also know one INFj I guess she is my friend, at work and she will often ask me to supply facts for her. I do my best to give them to her, but I do find it moderately annoying. This does get a little into "why" because i admit the part that makes it annoying is that I feel as if she expects me to know everything. But it still does make me a tiny bit uneasy too. A better example might be annoyance created by my ENTj father when he can... really just go on for hours about what seem to me, random facts... just facts, one after the other, like a ticker tape. the sheer focus really does take me to a place where i feel i just have to make it stop. Nothing about the content (indeed, the facts themselves are sometimes interesting to me), or the reason why he's doing it matters to me at the moment (the reason why would probably make it more palatable, as it would have some semblance to a "point"), or at least doesn't enter my consciousness, I am just annoyed.

    I also am pretty sure that i annoy others in a similar fashion when i ask "why". my stoic nature of asking questions i'm sure bothers many people. makes them feel as if they are with a robot. rather than with a curious person. I am also pretty sure I've seen disgust from an ISFj partner when they view my infantile wriggling -- um.. yes I do bite my lower lip, look up at people in a shy way, and tilt my head often in a way that one would consider gestures to appear nonthreatening or weaker than my companion. heh. I know she's been very annoyed if i start to make jokes about analogies.. i was going to say jokes of any kind, but that's not true. She's laughed at my jokes before
    Last edited by Ms. Kensington; 01-30-2008 at 04:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Expat View Post
    I have noticed some noises here and there about socionics being about "how" we process information, not about "what" or "why".

    I will use a simple example - which does not even need socionics to begin with - to illustrate a point.

    A guy is walking down the street in a city where the presidential primaries are taking place - this year. He's wearing a rather garish "Kerry 2004" sweater.


    Now, bringing socionics into the picture, some of those reasons are related to focus on , others on , others on , or on or .

    If we focus on "how" -- well, "how" would explain that he, say, sees the sweatshirt either through the eyes of - "it's very comfortable" - or through the eyes of - "it connects me with an abstract concept" - whether a person, or a private thought, etc.


    After all -- I'd think that some of the explanations above make more sense to you than others.
    also, when you posted this example I actually imagined that i would probably notice how the person was walking first and the presence that he had rather than the fact he was wearing that garish sweater with the message on it. If the person had a forceful presence he might make me feel a bit averse. If he was bouncy in his step I might feel warmed by it, and I could see others being annoyed by that (why is his step so cheerful, busy, etc). Yeah, again, I think that knowing why will often help diffuse the annoyance caused by the "hows".. and then, by extension, the "whats"-- in my experience, more often than strengthen the aversion and by extension, strengthen the appearance of the socionc relation at hand. Which I think a lot of people here have said before (that since learning socionics, they have been less apt to ascribe some motivations or reasons why people are doing things, to my mind, because they have found a reason why these people are behaving the way they are).

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