Information: The sum total of experience/reality (the potion of reality available to the individual) as relates to the human mind.
Information Aspect: Eight perspectives on experience/reality.
Information Element: One's experience of each of the eight perspectives.
Function: Eight possible orientations towards not information itself, but the perspectives on information known as the Information Aspects.
Model A: The rules that constrain how each orientation towards information
The Socionics Portrait of Personality (Type Descriptions/Practical Socionics): The predictive model that considers the eight ways in which any one individual relates to each of the eight information elements, respectively.
Let us imagine that information is a mountain. It is a tall mountain, so tall that one cannot possibly see the entire thing all at once. One would have to be at an incredible height to see the entire thing, so high that there would not be enough air to breathe, so high that the rays of the sun would scorch you, so high that the electricity that surrounds the earth would kill you. Each side of the mountain has different characteristics from the others: perhaps one side is filled with moss, another side with trees; perhaps one side has more plants, and another side has more animals; perhaps one side is made of hard, rough rocks, and another side is made of smooth marble, etc.
Imagine that surrounding the mountain are eight cylindrical tubes reaching infinitely far into the sky. Each is equidistant from the mountain, and taken together they form a cylinder around the mountain (a cylinder made of cylinders). From inside each cylinder, one can see a certain side of the mountain.
These cylinders are the information aspects.
Now imagine that in each cylinder there is a ladder, rooted into the ground, straight, and sturdy, and sure. Now imagine that you control a team of eight droids, which can climb those ladders. By sending these droids to the top of each respective ladder in each respective cylinder, each droid will be able to see a large swath of the mountain, and by gathering the data from each droid you will be able to see almost all of the mountain. The higher up each droid is, the more data about the mountain it is capable of gathering.
The droids in the cylinders are the information elements.
You have a problem, however. You have a limited amount of fuel for these droids. So, you cannot send each droid to the top of the ladder. And if you try to fuel each droid equally, they will not ascend high enough up the ladder to see anything anywhere near the top. You will have a lovely, all-encompassing view of the base of the mountain, but all the useful things to know are higher up.
So you have to send some droids higher than others, so that you will at least know some of the higher up things. But you also have to have a basic knowledge of the base of the mountain, so you can't leave any of the droids out altogether. So you fuel up your droids, and gradually, they ascend the ladders. The droids with more fuel ascend the mountain more quickly than the droids with less fuel, but they are all constantly moving.
The relative height level of the droids are the functions.
Also, there are certain relations between the cylinders that mean that sending one droid farther up brings some of the other droids up as well, but pushes some of the other droids down.
The relations between the cylinders are model A.
Now, suppose that someone knew how much fuel you had put in each individual droid, and could therefore plot out how fast each droid would rise. While they wouldn't necessarily know anything about the particular mountain (the information itself), they would know certain characteristics of the different sides of all mountains. So they could make a schematic to predict certain things about the information you will ultimately receive. They could guess that one person would see the rocky side of the mountain, while a person that fueled their droids differently would see the smooth side. They could even make predictions about how two different organizations of the droids in the tubes would produce two different pictures, and how people acting on those two different pictures might interact.
These people are the practicioners of socionics, and the schematic is practical socionics; that is, socionics as applied to experience, socionics as a tool for making predictions and observations about the self, others, and the interactions between the self and others, (and two or more others).
One last thing. Suppose that some individuals are either given an extra supply of fuel, or their droids can somehow generate more fuel, or perhaps their droids are particularly hard-working, or maybe they just get lucky and a gust of wind or a geyser blows one of their droids upward. But these individuals (often called geniuses), have one or two droids that are so high up that they can see almost the whole mountain from above, through the eyes of one particular droid in one particular tube. So even though they can't escape having a particular perspective, they go so far in that particular perspective that from that perspective, they cans see almost the entire mountain.
And perhaps the tubes gradually bend inwards at the very top, so that if you get your droid to the very top of a particular tube, by pushing a particular perspective to the limit you are finally freed from your limited perspective, and see all of the information from above at a center point. These people can see the whole mountain, unbiasedly. Maybe it's only for a few seconds by pushing rocket boosters on their droids or something. But these people alone (Shakespeare, maybe Jesus Christ---if socionics applies to Him at all---started out at this stage and never left) get the full picture of the mountain, from top to bottom, all sides round.
By the way, if anyone is interested, in my head the cylinders are ordered around the mountain in the following order, from the south end, around the compass back to the south end:
Ni ---> Fe ---> Si ---> Fi ---> Se ---> Ti ---> Ne ---> Te ---> Ni (and so on).
The idea is that each complementary function pair is on the opposite side of the mountain from one another. I started with Ni, cause, well, that's my base function! Also, I imagined that the droids have to tilt to one direction or the other, so if you're IEI, you tilt towards the Fe side of the Ni tube, so you have a "blind spot" at the Te side, and vice versa. That's the polr!