Describing Si as 'skills' which are modular and can be applied to any situation
8:10 AM 3/18/2016
(By the way, I have recently been reading a lot of stuff from Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions sources, and that's why I'm talking about Si differently than they describe it in socionics. I'm aware of how it's described in socionics.)
I'll describe the insight first before I forget it. Then I will explain where it came from, how I got to it.
Si might mean 'skills.' It is not just about 'doing what you did in the past,' because that makes it sound extremely stupid. However, that is their struggle to describe something, and in a way, that description is accurate, it's just boneheaded-sounding.
With Si, you *are* 'doing what you did in the past,' as retarded as that sounds. However, it is much, much, much more than just that. It is an acquired skill which is a permanent behavior pattern, which is modular and can be applied to any situation.
So, if you acquire the skill of, say, finding resources in a library, then you can 'take that skill with you' to any place you go, and use it again. It's a tool in your toolbox. You can go to any library or anything that resembles a library, and use that skill of finding resources in it.
If it is an acquired skill, it means that you can do it very quickly and easily, more quickly than you did it the first time.
You can acquire an infinite number of tiny, detailed skills for every little thing.
If you want to achieve a goal, you can do it differently than the way I have always done it. I have always written a sort of step by step to-do list. I need to do this first, then I need to do this, then I need to do that. However, when I actually try to do that step-by-step list in real life, it turns out to take much longer than I expected, and small obstacles always come up that frustrate me, and the tiniest little things get in the way of finishing the ordered list.
What I need to do is make each 'step' into a 'skill.' The skill does not permanently sit someplace in time after having been done. It is not a historical record of something you did once, and only once, the way the items in the to-do list are. If you cross that item off your list, that means that it was done on such-and-such a date at this particular time. It is a unique event that occurred at a unique moment in history.
A skill is an eternal thing. It is not unique to one moment in history. You break down each step of this to-do list, this goal, into *skills*. Then, you do that thing over and over again, but you go nowhere. It's like spinning your wheels. You're going to get in the habit of spinning your wheels as quickly, efficiently, and easily as possible, but you are going nowhere. You are merely acquiring the skill of spinning your wheels as an end in itself.
I've been trying to customize the recommendations for 'How to be a SLI / ISTP.' This fits with that. It is better to view every step of a goal as not being a 'step in a goal,' but rather, 'a free floating eternal skill which exists as an end in itself and can be reused in millions of different situations.'
The skills will be microscopically small things, minutiae. You acquire the skill of turning on the faucet on the sink (I thought of that because I did that a few minutes ago). You acquire the skill of walking. When you refer to these as 'skills,' you are not viewing them as a step in a plan to reach a goal - you're not even talking about the goal. Instead, you are viewing them as tools or methods that you will use millions of times in order to achieve a million different goals.
I've been trying to understand what is Si and Te in the SLI, and what is the best way to use it. This feels like an important insight.
So, you have a large scale plan which is going to take a huge number of steps. You start trying to do just the first couple steps, and you hit these obstacles, and everything is inefficient and slow and awkward, and every step you're doing is being done for the very first time, ever. In order to achieve this large, complex goal, you have to perform 200 steps, each of which has never been done before. You get frustrated and give up after attempting only a couple of steps, or you get sidetracked by other things.
If you made these 'steps' into permanent skills, and then ignored the long-term large-scale goal, and just thought of acquiring the skills as an end in itself which goes nowhere, it would infinitely expand the amount of time it took to achieve this goal. You would take each 'step' and do it again and again, instead of doing it only once. You would look for those elements of it which were possible to do over and over again.
Sometimes, it's not possible to do something over and over again, because of the nature of the task. If you do that thing once, it is done forever. You might have to move to some other area to be able to do that same part of the task again. Like, you might role-play making difficult phone calls that you dread having to make, and talking to these people on the phone and getting the information you need from them. Maybe you can find some fake information to ask for that you don't really need. Then make phone calls to different phone numbers and talk to these people and ask for the unneeded fake information, just to practice the skill of making these uncomfortable, dreaded phone calls to bureaucrats or businesses or whoever it is that you dread having to talk to on the phone. (Ugh, the thought of calling government offices over and over to ask them a question about nothing...)
So normally, I'd make this goal, and I'd break it into parts, and I'd be like, 'Oh no.... Step 7 involves making a phone call to a government agency to ask them a question. There is no way in hell that I am going to be able to do that.' You just can't get past Step 7 because it is a skill that you have not acquired, so you cannot do it quickly and easily.
But if you make 10 pointless phone calls to various government agencies asking them about something you don't really need, and *then* you make your real phone call to the real agency that you actually do need to talk to, while those 10 fake calls are still fresh in your mind, then perhaps it will be easier.
This might even 'keep warm' the vulnerable function. If you have to unavoidably go someplace that involves using your 4th function, you could warm it up by doing similar things first that aren't real and aren't important and don't matter to your goal. (This however requires that you understand what your vulnerable function actually is.) They say that the 4th function can only learn by 'experience' and cannot even really acquire norms, but they also say that the information it contains tends to be forgotten if it is not being used. That means, use it, but only briefly, practicing it many times first before you have to actually perform the step in the goal for real.
But I am not trying to say 'We need to strengthen all of the functions' or something like that. I am saying to acquire carefully chosen specific skills that are going to be relevant and needed in some larger goal that matters to you. You have to identify what each of those skills is. When you write the steps needed to achieve this larger goal, you will immediately feel which steps are threatening and difficult. You'll be like, 'Oh, I have to do this particular thing, but I really, really don't want to, and I know it's going to go badly.' You'll see which steps are going to be the hardest. Those are the ones that have to be viewed as a 'skill' to be practiced repeatedly first before you actually do the 'one-time use' in real life during the actual achievement of the task.
I've been reading Dario Nardi's book, and I'm seeing these horrifically bad descriptions of sensing and Si, as usual. However, it's helpful for me to see *different* descriptions of these things in different schools of thought, and I merge them together and have insights about them. I'll be like, 'Oh! *That's* what those other people were trying to say when they said X.' I've never seen any descriptions of sensing that were recognizable enough to me, written in the words I would use to describe them, in a way that 'glorified' them properly instead of making them sound idiotically brain-dead ('You always do whatever you did in the past, duhhh!' which means 'Idiots like you never want to try anything new.')
Also, I think some of this really might be explained in that model that I have, which sort of resembles Model B, but which I have no name for, because someone in a forum told me Model B was different. It's the one where I have -Si/+Se, +Te/-Ti and so on, so that 16 elements are included in the model.
In that model, -Se/+Si is my ignore function. If people are describing +Si (instead of -Si), which is in my ignore function, then of course I'm going to say, 'Your description makes me sound like a frickin' moron,' because you hate your ignore function and you think it's something only morons do. So, maybe they are actually describing +Si when they say 'You only want to do whatever you did that worked in the past,' and the reason that description is so offensive and stupid to me is because it's actually my ignore function, but it's a perfectly fine description for people who *value* +Si.
That's just one theory for why some of these descriptions of sensing are just so awful to me, so offensive that I refuse to let myself be described that way. I'm trying to understand why mistypings occur, when you make a test and you describe sensing in such an awful way that all the sensors are choosing the 'intuitive' answers instead, because sensing is just so bad they can't relate to it and it makes them sound like morons.
But something 'clicked' - I had an understanding - while reading some of Dario's Nardi's struggles to define Si. The particular phrasing, the particular words chosen to describe it - it helps me to read the different schools of thought, as I said, and sometimes the different phrasings suddenly make me understand. I suddenly understood that Si can refer to 'skills,' but the descriptions totally fail to glorify the wonderful, amazing thing that Si and 'skills' actually are, how modular and flexible they are, how universal they are, how they are like tools in a tool set, how they can be taken from one situation to another situation indefinitely, how they can be made general and universalized, how infinite they are, how specialized, and how generalized.
You can look for skills that are more and more abstract and all-encompassing. Meta-skills, such as 'The skill of acquiring the skill of acquiring skills.' The minus sign means 'involving' or 'all-encompassing' or 'including.' The skill of learning how to learn.
I just want to see the four-dimensional -Si of the SLI described in a way that makes it *not* sound like a stupid moron, but rather, that makes me sound intelligent, the way I used to feel many years ago back when I was still in school. The only reason why adults stop learning isn't because their elderly brains are too rigid to learn anymore, but rather, because we become money-earning slaves who must destroy every hour of our life to pay the ever-increasing bills, rent, groceries, taxes, and cost of living. It is nothing but the lack of free time that prevents us from learning anymore. We should spend a lifetime learning, not wasting our time as slaves serving masters who become millionaires while our bodies are destroyed by hard labor and long hours and a hundred different drugs and stimulants to help us wake up in the morning because we are so exhausted.
That is the end of today's rant and/or insight, whatever it is.