© Dmitri Lytov, December 2006 - March 2007.
Information metabolism – one of the most key and at the same time one of the vaguest notions in socionics. The concept of “information metabolism” or “information-energy metabolism,” was borrowed from the Polish psychologist Antoni Kępiński, who, however, used it in a completely different sense from socionics. Kępiński used “information metabolism” to denote intellectual exchange. He used “energy” to denote a form of pressure (examples of “energy metabolism” often bore a negative connotation – for instance concentration camps, in which he was a prisoner).
Aushra Augustinavichiute placed Kępiński’s descriptive comparison in a central position in her theory; the psyche, which is similar to a stomach, is “fed” by information signals. Moreover some signals are useful, whereas others are harmful and exhaust the psyche. Augusta created model A in an attempt to combine together several phenomena: processes within the individual psyche, one's contact with other individuals, as well as information processes within society. The weakest part of this hypothesis is uncertainty and vagueness regarding the concepts “information” and “energy.” Yet another major weakness is that, being unable to investigate the nature of the Jungian mental functions, she attempted to substitute them with “aspects of information metabolism,” which supposedly have some fundamental philosophical basis (matter-energy, space-time, body-field, static-dynamic, etc).
Moreover, such contradictions in the theory of socionics gave birth to disorder and indecisiveness among socionists, including apropos the understanding of what constitutes a socionics type. Here it is possible to isolate at least two [four] (sic) opposite approaches.
“Informational" approach (Alexander Bukalov, Olga Karpenko, Vladimir Ermak and others, as well as the alleged “Antisocionics” of Shiyan). Its adherents refer to socionics types as “types of information metabolism.” Moreover, they consider this concept not only applicable to the human psyche, but – in a more global sense – to “information” in general. It is significant that these ideas are extremely similar to some eccentric views, but also to synergetics (the theory of self-organizing systems), having recently sprouted from the depths of cybernetics. Unfortunately, very little is known scientifically about the relation of socionics with synergetics and, in a broader sense, with cybernetics. There is also the matter that the Kiev international institute of socionics is highly sympathetic to a number of esoteric approaches, rejected by the scientific world.
The most radical supporters of this approach discuss the TIMs of inanimate objects or the integral types of nationalities.
“Sociological” approach (Victor Gulenko, Valentina Meged, Anatoli Ovcharov, Victor Antoshkin and others). Its supporters speak of a “sociotype,” which defines one’s mission in society as a carrier of some kind of social role. Accordingly, they consider information metabolism as a purely sociological phenomenon, i.e., as the transfer of initiative from the carrier of one role to the carrier of another role. The supporters of the “sociological approach” do not reject the hypothesis of integral types, but choose to examine it from a sociological point of view.
“Bio-psychological” approach (Ekatrina Filatova, Sergei Bogomaz, Dmitri and Marianna Lytov, Victor Talanov and others). The supporters of this approach consider “information metabolism” to lie in the plane of psychology, primarily in the theory of psychological compatibility, as well as the study of the nature of perception and other mental processes. Until we are capable of modeling the psyche by an approximate computational model, there is no sense in introducing “information” terms into socionics. They will be superfluous and not connected to real facts.
“Linguistic” approach (Eugene Shepetko, Vladimir Ermak, Elena Udalova, Vladimir Mironov, L.A. Kochubeeva and others). The supporters of this approach are convinced that vocabulary uniquely characterizes each element of information metabolism, which makes it possible to use lexical criteria in the determination of type. Articles which survey and critique this approach can be found in the section on socionics and psycholinguistics.
It should be noted that the term “energy-information exchange” became extremely popular by the end of the 1980s among supporters of different esoteric and eccentric approaches (“the theory of torsion fields”, “the theory of MEPV”, etc.). In the scientific world, completely substantiated and confirmed at every turn is the opinion that if the term “information” is not used by a specialist in computer science, and “energy” not by a physicist, then what lies before us is a clearly unscientific work. It is a pity that socionists neither consider nor respond to this trend.