NOTE: I'll be stating the obvious throughout much of this, but there are people here who I think need to hear it.
Is Socionics "Real?"
The answer, I've come to conclude, is: It's about as real as a peach.
"What the fuck is Baby talking about?" you ask. "Shit! He's gone all INTj on our asses."
Now before you mistake your bouncy brassiere for testicles, I assure you I'm quite sane, and once I lead you down my convoluted train of thought, you can be quite confident of this.
You see, this afternoon, sometime between lunch and dinner (let's call it lunchner <- Oy, that's a Germanic mass of consonants if I ever saw one) Baby was enjoying a peach. It was a beautiful, locally-grown peach ripened to fiery reds and oranges. His olfactory facilities bombarded with the perfume, a heady amalgam of springtime and blue skies and country air. His fingers carressed the soft, kindly fuzz while his lips met the flesh, a charming sunshine yellow. And the juice and flavor just brimming with peachy peachiness. A fulfilling and hearty lunchner indeed.
However, as any chemist worth his sodium chloride will tell you, the peach doesn't really exist. Actually, let's take it further and take the physicist's mindset, and realize that the peach does indeed exist, but not as Baby experienced it. Had his eyes been adjusted to percieve a much finer spectrum of radiant energy, the peach would become imperceptible amongst all the other particles (bouncing off of each other at precise angles and frequencies) surrounding it, made up of even finer particles, and so forth. The sweet taste of the peach is nothing more than the fungiform, filiform, foliate and vallate on the surface of the tongue recieving molecular information and sending it via electrical impulse to the brain which can render it as any combination of sweet, sour, spicy, and salty. And even the feel of the fruit is, in itself, a dulled and numbed experience subject to the confines of our relatively sensitive nerve endings.
As a famous neuroscientist once wrote: We never experience the world as it truly is fundamentally. We only experience the world as rendered through our limited nervous system.
"Dude, what's this got to do with Socionics?" you ask. Get that NASA-owned property out of your ass for a minute and chill. I'm about to tell you.
So far as we know, Socionics has its most fundamental basis in biology. Now before you say "But what about the nurture part? That's a big part of it, right?" Of course it is, genius. But you'll notice I said "biology" and not "genetics." There's a difference. Genetics is how you are wired from the get-go. Biology accounts for not only genetics, but also everything that happens on a molecular level afterwards.
All psychology has its basis on the molecular level. Something happens - neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and Dopamine (the like of which has been covered ad nauseam by a certain hyperactive member of this forum); hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and adrenalin; not to mention the fundamental nature of thought as electric energy; all these factors work their magic (or fail to, in the case of deficiency) in intricate combinations so that we experience the heartache that accompanies love, the palpitations that accompany dread, the utter horniness of being horny, and so on.
In short, it's messy business. So messy, in fact, that scientists have yet to pinpoint exactly how emotion aligns with patterns of release and metabolism of these basic materials of humanity. (And before you try and tell me that scientists have - go and find a neurobiologist near you. Pull him away from his work for five minutes, ask him what love is, and watch him collapse into paroxisms of maniacal laughter.)
What the laymen at present can deal with is the peach as apparent to our five senses and intellect. We can deal with the rough outline of what happens when biology goes awry by applying the more generalized lexicon of psychology. The peach is unripe. God knows what happened on the molecular level when the plant has yet to convert chemicals into sugars. All we know is that it's green, tastes unpleasant and brackish, and is hard as a tennis ball. The old woman is schizophrenic. Scientists can get the rough workings on the molecular level - proteins and neurotransmitters and hormones and all that jizzle in different combinations and different - down. But Psychologists deal with that messy mass of chemicals and conclude: "Crazy."
The fact is: we don't know precisely what occurs in each individual instance and can only apply a limited vocabulary to describe it. So it is with Socionics. In Socionics, we're dealing with rough patterns of thought, which have their basis on a fundamentally molecular level which are released and recombined and transmogrified in any number of combinations for any number of reasons (envirnmental strain going against the grain of how our brains and bodies are wired to react to such stimuli).
The functions are rough labels (you'll notice I use the word "rough" a lot... no it's not because I'm a pervert. You're the pervert! It's because it really is messy business.) we apply to something if it's "close enough" to a certain conglomeration of factors. (I'll be posting my versions of the functions someday soon.) And types are even more crude labels we apply to a pattern of patterns. And intertype relations even more sketchy.
This is why Socionics seems to become more diluted in accuracy as we stem outwards from the specific (functions) to the general (intertype relations). This is why not everyone will fit neatly into a certain type category. This is why people of the same type can be drastically different in some instances. And such and so forth.
We are dealing with the peach as we can understand it. Not as it actually is.