What is so special about Jungian Typology?

Jungian typology has become popular worldwide. Especially with the development of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). However it’s reputation among academics is not very good. One common reason for disapproval is its lack of scientific evidence. As I’ve argued in earlier blog post, the “scientific” rejection of Jungian typology I don’t find convincing. But it is a complicated topic, which will easily be misunderstood. As I’ve also argued before, I don’t approve of the MBTI either. In this post I do some further investigation of what I consider to be special about Jungian typology – trying to deal with some common presuppositions, and open up for new perspectives.

Table of contents

Is Jungian typology philosophy? And some words about philosophical approach
– – A quick philosophical background, Kant and Wittgenstein – two different views
The attitudes (introversion/extraversion) and the functions (feeling, thinking, sensation and intuition), are they legitimate?
The problem with “subjective bias”
The problem with categorizing, labeling and explanation
The idea of a non-hierarchical order
– – 1. The idea of that one function excludes its opposite
– – 2. The idea of different kinds of cognitive talent
The non-reductionism in Jungian typology and non-reductionism in philosophy
Summing up

Reference and further reading


Is Jungian typology philosophy? And some words about philosophical approach

Sometimes I come across the opinion that Jungian typology is merely pseudo-science. And I’ve been told that “The Big Five” is a better theory. However, that kind of claims hardly makes sense to me, as Jungian typology and The Big Five appears to me as two entirely different things. I’d be tempted to say that Jungian typology is interesting from a philosophical point of view, while The Big Five is not, regardless of their scientific status. However I’m also inclined to say that to say such a thing is problematic. What right do I have to make such a claim?

The general view is quite contrary, Jungian typology belongs to the field of Psychology and not the field of Philosophy. I would not neccessarily dispute that classification either. I’m fine with that Jungian typology belongs to the field of psychology, but I’d say one could also add it to the field of philosophy – but then with slightly different aims and different perspectives (as argued in earlier blog post). If one reads the book Psychological Types by Jung, which is the origin of Jungian typology, one notices that a lot of the content of the book is not what usually belongs to the (academic) field of psychology – many chapters I believe could (at least) equally well be classified as for example literature theory or philosophy.

Well, if we are now into a philosophical approach on Jungian typology, what does it mean? I don’t want to give any straight answer – as any answer I’d give would be not good enough. One hint would be the concept of “a priori”. Instead of relying on facts and investigations, we rely on what is inherently known (but it’s problematic to say so, as well as the concept “a priori” is problematic). Another hint could be: we dig deeper. We don’t assume so much. We avoid over-hasted conclusions (as well as the over-hasted conclusion that we are against hasted and illogical conclusions).

A quick philosophical background, Kant and Wittgenstein – two different views

Looking at history of Western philosophy, two of the most central philosophers during last centuries are Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 – 1951). Richard Rorty wrote in later half of 20th century:

Academic philosophy in our day stands to Wittgenstein as intellectual life in Germany in the first decades of the last century stood to Kant. Kant had changed everything, but no one was sure just what Kant had said—no one was sure what in Kant to take seriously and what to put aside.

Kant and Wittgenstein are two central names, and I’m inclined to say that they represent two distinctively different approaches. Kant is a rigorous system builder, while Wittgenstein (especially the later Wittgenstein) is more of a creative improviser. Maybe these two quotes can help to illustrate this difference:

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It is plainly not the effect of the levity, but of the matured judgement of the age, which refuses to be any longer entertained with illusory knowledge, It is, in fact, a call to reason, again to undertake the most laborious of all tasks—that of self-examination, and to establish a tribunal, which may secure it in its well-grounded claims, while it pronounces against all baseless assumptions and pretensions, not in an arbitrary manner, but according to its own eternal and unchangeable laws. This tribunal is nothing less than the critical investigation of pure reason.

– Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason (1787)

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(In this blog post the relationship between Jung’s Psychological Types and Kant’s Critique is discussed)
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The more narrowly we examine language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation, it was a requirement.) The conflict becomes intolerable; the requirement is now in danger of becoming empty. — We have got onto slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk, so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!

– Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (1953)

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The quote by Kant indicates a foundational approach, and the quote by Wittgenstein indicates a sort of denial of the successfulness of such an attempt. Kant may encourage the one looking for rigorous systems, Wittgenstein’s quote indicates the need for a practical turn in philosophy (insights which in turn, for example, Bourdieu have picked up). Some have interpreted Wittgenstein as “anti-philosophical”, seeking to uninstall philosophy. Later on Jürgen Habermas, among others, influenced by both Kant and Wittgenstein, have aimed for a sort of compromise, where he toned down the foundational aims of philosophy, but insisting on that philosophy can work as a Stand-In and Interpreter.

Why do I bring this up in a post about Jungian typology? Well, honestly, I don’t quite know. But part of reason I want to bring a philosophical background. I believe, on the one hand we have an aim for foundations, on the other hand we don’t quite believe in the legitimacy of these foundations. On the one hand, there is a common ground of knowledge and we may well increase our knowledge (as indicated in the Kantian approach), on the other hand there are a lot of prejudices, confusions and over-hasted conclusions which we want to deal with (a Wittgensteinian approach may help us with this). It’s about finding a balance between over-hasted conclusions and over-radical denial.

Both Kant and Wittgenstein had in common that they were dealing with what Jung would call the subjective factor. In earlier post I’ve dealt with both importance of and problems with subjective validation. Dealing with the subjective factor is what Jung calls introversion. Jung called Kant’s writings an example of “introverted thinking”, and if he had known Wittgenstein I’m quite sure he had agreed on that the later writings of Wittgenstein could represent as an example of “introverted intuition” (as I argued here). Perhaps one can say that the introverted thinker is more inclined to take interest in great systems of thought (“therories”), while the intuitive is more into imaginative improvising. (However, saying this, I’m sort of assuming what I’d like to prove.)

(For the one looking for a more conventional/professional way to answer the question if and why Jungian typology is philosophy I’d recommend this article Jung and Philosophy by William R. Clough)

The attitudes (introversion/extraversion) and the functions (feeling, thinking, sensation and intuition), are they legitimate?

One question is the over-all legitimacy of the Jungian attitudes and the functions. The question may appear strange. What’s meant by “legitimacy” for example? That question is something I’d prefer to leave somewhat unanswered. (Here recalling a quote by Wittgenstein, that a good guide needs to avoid bad streets)

One approach would be to consider the reception of the Jungian concepts; what does modern science say of them, and what use do they have in our language today? Are the concepts agreed upon, are they used and considered relevant today etc. Such an approach won’t prove anything, but it is an aspect which may well we regarded among with other aspects.

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So if we start with the so-called functions. Jung once described the functions in this way:
Sensation tells you there is something. Thinking, roughly speaking, tells you what it is. Feeling tells you whether it is agreeable, to be accepted or rejected. And Intuition [—] is a perception via the unconscious.

One can wonder, is it relevant to speak of perception and judgment as two central cognitive modes? Is it true that we have two ways of perception, of gathering information – sensing and intuition, and that we have two ways of dealing with information – thinking and feeling?

C.A. Meier, one of Jung’s earliest followers, wrote that:
[Jung’s] idea is to apprehend the most elementary instruments of consciousness, which cannot be further analyzed or reduced. (ref)

If that is the case, it would be quite extraordinary, wouldn’t it? But how can we then know if Jung actually succeeded in apprehending the most elementary instruments of consciousness? How do we deal with these questions? Well, there is no easy way.

Make a comparison, long time ago, early studies on human temperament considered we had four body fluids “blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile”. To us, now, that appear strange, not in line with what we would say today. Long ago they also had a conception that we have five senses “sight”, “hearing”, “taste”, “smell”, “touch”. To us, now, that doesn’t appear so strange. A modern scientist would disagree, but yet not say it is so far off.

We may ask, are the Jungian functions somewhat reasonable, like the idea of five senses, or are they an oddity, like the idea of the four body fluids? Is it all reasonable to make this sort of comparison, or is something seriously missing?
Of course something is seriously missing.

One alternative is of course to ask, what does modern science say of this? Is it true that these four Jungian functions exist, and is it true that they belong together?

We may then conclude that it is true that “thinking, feeling, intuition and sensing” are quite normal words that belong in our vocabulary. None of these words is like “black bile” which sounds strange to us. But does these four concepts belong together? Or is it true that judgments can be divided into feeling and thinking, while perceptions can be divided into intuition and sensation?

If we then look at what modern science says, as summarized in Wikipedia-articles, we notice that is not quite the case. Looking at the articles on judgment/decision-making and perception, you notice that it is far from centered around the Jungian concepts. In fact, if you look at the article on “perception” for example, you notice that the word “intuition” is not mentioned a single time.
Does this mean that Jung’s theory of functions is altogether wrong? Is it a sign of that we are entering a realm of pseudo-science?

Well, of course not. It is difficult to compare with say for example the idea of four body fluids – as with body fluids we can now present a new list of body fluids which people would consider more accurate, but when it comes to say “cognitive functions” there is no clear consensus what it is all about.

It is quite complicated to reach any consensus in more abstract matters. Wittgenstein said, for example, that what sometimes is considered as “scientific discoveries”, can often better be described as “grammatic innovations” (such as Freud’s idea of the “unconscious”).

Nevertheless, speaking of the Jungian functions, it is true that they never had any great impact on modern science and language today. When one speaks of these functions it is usually limited to the context of Jungian typology. Conclusions to make of it? It can be interesting to note that the Jungian functions have had no major impact on modern science, but we may yet not make any conclusion that there is something wrong or bad about them because of that (as many skeptics tend to assume).

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When we come to the attitudes described by Jung, introversion and extraversion, we can note that these Jungian concepts have had greater impact in society and the scientific community. In fact the terms introversion and extraversion (or extroversion) is now frequently used both in science and ordinary language, and Jung remains the main person associated to these concepts.

However, there tends to be slight agreement of the actual meaning of the concepts. I’ll deal more with that issue under the next heading…

The problem with “subjective bias”

It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy up till now has consisted of—namely, the confession of its originator, and a species of involuntary and unconscious auto-biography; and moreover that the moral (or immoral) purpose in every philosophy has constituted the true vital germ out of which the entire plant has always grown. Indeed, to understand how the abstrusest metaphysical assertions of a philosopher have been arrived at, it is always well (and wise) to first ask oneself: “What morality do they (or does he) aim at?”

In the philosopher, […] there is absolutely nothing impersonal; and above all, his morality furnishes a decided and decisive testimony as to WHO HE IS,—that is to say, in what order the deepest impulses of his nature stand to each other.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

Why do I bring this quote by Nietzsche? Again, I don’t quite know. But part of reason is I think it can help to elucidate the difficulty of a “neutral explanation” or “neutral understanding”. And not the least this applies for this kind of typology which deals with subjective matters. Part of the reason I bring the quote may also be to remind that subjectivity is and always has to be very central.

There seems to be a great difficulty in speaking about the Jungian typology in a neutral sense. Part of the reason I say so is because everyone speaking of it tends to present it differently. Many different people may for example approve of the same typology, they use the same concepts, but they end up with very different conclusions and ways of describing and explaining. As an example, we can consider what David Keirsey (the second most known popularizer of Jungian typology (though the theory of Keirsey doesn’t have much to do with Jungian typology at all)) wrote about Myers-Briggs (the most known popularizer of Jungian typology):
Myers found these words in Jung’s Psychological Types, but in adopting them she put her own spin on them. So let us consider what Myers actually meant in using Jung’s words in The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI]. E = Expressive or I = Reserved, S = Observant or N = Introspective, T = Tough-minded or F = Friendly, J = Scheduling or P = Probing

I think that Keirsey simplifies and underestimates way too much in his writing, which is shown here in the almost ridiculing of Myers. But the point remains that people tend to put their own “spin” to the Jungian concepts – it seems close to impossible to grasp any neutral core meaning of them.

Further on, when it comes to personality typing, there tends to be slight agreement on which person best fits what type. Just take the example Jung himself, he said he was a thinking type, with a definite problem with feeling. That hasn’t prevented a lot of the type community to insist on that he actually had a feeling preference above thinking. And as for Freud, the opinions of what type he would be, has varied from INFP -introvert, intuitive, feeling, percieving- to ESTJ -extravert, sensing, thinking, judging-, that is the opposite in every aspect.

No doubt, there seems to be a dilemma, that people who write about Jungian typology tends to create a bias – for whatever function or attitude that stands closest to themselves (most likely subconsciously, but nevertheless). For example, when reading Myers-Briggs Gifts Differing, it is not hard to notice a bias for feeling and intuition, and very well, the authors also admit themselves to have a preference for feeling and intuition.

Jung also notices the problem of subjective bias in Psychological Types:
I am [—] convinced that, had I myself chanced to possess a different individual psychology, I should have described the rational types in the reversed way, from the standpoint of the unconscious-as irrational, therefore. This circumstance aggravates the difficulty of a lucid presentation of psychological matters to a degree not to be underestimated, and immeasurably increases the possibility of misunderstandings. The discussions which develop from these misunderstandings are, as a rule, quite hopeless, since the real issue is never joined, each side speaking, as it were, in a different tongue. (ref)

The difficulty with explanation and understanding can be used both in defense of and to show downsides with the Jungian typology, I believe. As for the defense, empirical investigations which shows there is no validity in for example MBTI-theory, can be rejected because these investigations have no reliable foundation. Often MBTI is criticized for the fact that there is no bimodal distribution, and there is no “test re-test”-reliability, but if there is no way to quantitatively measure the distribution in a reliable fashion, then you cannot claim that there is no bimodal distribution, and if there is no way to make a reliable test in the first place, then the re-test can nor prove anything (as I’ve argued in earlier blog post). On the downside is of course that since you cannot rely on the validity of the test, it is hard to claim the usefulness of it.

What I’d like to point out is that there are many aspects in the Jungian typology which are difficult and uncertain, and to me that makes it interesting to dig deeper and explore further, rather than simple rejection or approval.


The problem with categorizing, labeling and explanation

One of the most common complaints about Jungian typology is that it is used to label people. Jung has often stressed that it was not in line with his intentions. For example, in a preface to later edition of Psychological Types, he wrote:

The opinion has gotten about that my method … consists in fitting [people] into this system and giving them corresponding ‘advice.’ This regrettable misunderstanding completely ignores the fact that this kind of classification is nothing but a childish parlour game … My topology is far rather a critical apparatus serving to sort out and organize the welter of empirical material, but not in any sense to stick labels on people at first sight.

But as I’ve pointed out in earlier blog post, it can be somewhat hard to understand what Jung meant by this. No doubt Jung also used the typology to describe characteristics of people, for example Goethe closer to feeling, Nietzsche closer to intuition, Kant closer to thinking. One can wonder, what differ Jung from other people who are more into typing? Can one say that it is a proper way to use this typing, and another improper way to use this typing?

I’m inclined to think that there is no fundamental difference, with say for example Jung’s typings, and the typings of the lot of the type community. The essential difference is rather that Jung tended to know better what he was talking about, and he was generally more careful when it comes to describe types and functions of people. As James Arraj pointed out:
[O]ver the years when Jung received letters about the question of types, he would insist, almost perversely at times, on their complexity. And this tendency came, I think, from his own keen understanding of how complex the whole matter is and how superficial some of our uses of typology have been. (ref)

Arraj also tries to explain some why typing is so difficult:
Typology [—] is a guide or compass in making sense of the individual impressions I receive. I don’t impose it on the material, but I use it to organize the material that is already present. This is what Jung was insisting upon in’ his various Forwards to Psychological Types. And much too often we underestimate the complexity of this material. I see your functions and attitudes and their state of development, but also the influence of your parents, education, the society you live in, the kind of work you do, the degree of your overall psychic integration, and the winds of your creativity in this moment, and habitually, which allow you, or even compel you, to show different sides of your personality.

But even this is a simplification, for I am only considering you and not myself. It would be more accurate to say the level of complexity must be doubled. Each impression I receive from you can be directed to various aspects of my own personality and provoke responses that condition my reception depending on my own type and its development, as well as its proclivities for projection, etc. (ref)

One issue which he is touching here, which I believe is important, is the multiplicity of possible explanations and categorizations. There are simply many ways to categorize people, and the realization of this can help to understand the somewhat arbitrariness of each categorization. For example, people can be typed in to men and women, young and old, upper-class and lower-class, city dwellers and country people, different religious groups, different ethnicities etc. And the behavior of people can also be explained according to each of these categorizations. Say for example, I don’t start conversations with strangers on the bus. One could then explain, “well that’s because you’re an introvert, and introverts usually don’t start conversations with strangers on the bus”, or one could explain “well that’s because you’re a Swede, and Swedes usually don’t start conversations with strangers on the bus”. There are an endless layer of possible explanations, and if you stick to just one type of explanations, you are not likely to get a good picture of reality.

Sticking to one type of explanations, and especially when it is with negative connotations is known to have the possibility of being harmful. Say for example generalized opinions about Jews or Muslims. I’d be inclined to agree that there sure are differences between for example Jews and Muslims, but also you easily interpret too much into it, and easily misinterpret it. Especially when you’ve got an aversion towards one of the groups. The counter-reaction can then be to not admit any difference at all, but I’m not so sure if that’s so good either – mainly because it is simply not true, and so you’re presenting a false picture of reality (which is likely to hit back on you later on) when denying or neglecting differences. I believe these issues with categorizations more or less can be applied for Jungian typology.

Visakan Veerasamy writes in an article entitled “My journey into (and out of) MBTI: Sometimes you have to climb up the ladder before you can discard it.”:
[A]fter a while, a new way of seeing turns into a new set of blinders. I started to obsess about MBTI, and I started viewing everybody through these lenses. What had expanded my mind and my vision of the world was now beginning to limit it. MBTI is ambiguous enough that it allows you to cherry-pick, and this is dangerous because it isn’t real knowledge. It’s simply confirmation bias- you start to see what you want to see. (ref)

I don’t think it has to turn out so negatively as is described here. But I believe it does issue an important warning. I believe that “typing” can be real knowledge, but one has to avoid over-hasted conclusions, and be aware of how one may entirely be wrong, even at times when one feels certain. The criticism Veerasamy issues, I believe can be more or less applied for any kind of generalized explanations from classifications. My point here is not that typing is wrong, my point is rather that typing is complicated.


The idea of a non-hierarchical order

Among the most special things about the Jungian typology is that it presents a non-hierarchical order. Many people who speak about their enthusiasm for Jungian typology also mention this as the most central thing.

This very idea of a non-hierarchical order is also what formed an important basis for Jung’s work. Jung had studied both Freud and Adler, and he found that both of their theories were sort of valid in themselves, but yet they were incompatible with each other (correct me if you think I’m wrong). Jung came to believe that the “acrimony between the Adlerian and Freudian camps was due to this unrecognized existence of different fundamental psychological attitudes” (Adler’s theory was introverted while Freud’s theory was extraverted), and further on “this [type-antagonism] discovery brought with it the need to rise above the opposition and to create a theory which would do justice not merely to one or the other side, but to both equally.” (ref)

What Jung then presented is something what could be called anti-reductionist. I believe that this anti-reductionism makes it somewhat incompatible with what could be called “Western science”. (Jung also discusses this in Psychological Types – I think he argued (something in line with), that in order to do science you have to assume a preference for the thinking-function, but the Jungian typology also admits preference for other functions)

This idea, I believe, can have far reaching consequences. Below I list two aspects I’d like to point out about it.

1. The idea of that one function excludes its opposite

Jungian typology relies on an assumption of opposites. For example, a distinguished and conscious thinking function demands a less developed and more subconscious feeling function. This is not something that is generally considered in our society, I believe. Rarely does one speak of “intellect” as opposite of being “empathy”, for example, or that the intellectual cannot be empathetic while the empathetic cannot be an intellectual (this may not exactly be in line with what Jung meant either, for example, I don’t think he equated empathy with feeling function).

2. The idea of different kinds of cognitive talent

If we consider Jungian typology there is indication of that different people would be good at different subjects. For example, we have the extraverted intellectual who is mainly interested in facts and acquired opinions, the introverted intellectual who is more analytically oriented, and values original thinking, and the intuitive who is more interested in creativity and imagination. These three aspects, and others, could well fit in to the concept of “intelligence”, but are also clearly distinguished from each other.

Usually, it seems to me, when we speak of “intelligence” we speak of it as a unified factor, and tend to not make distinctions between different kinds of intelligence. I believe part of our somewhat one-sided view on “intelligence” may have to do with the school system. We tend to get a kind of unipolar order in school, where some are considered more good while other are less good, instead of the multipolar order where different pupils are good at different subjects. The ones who are considered intelligent tend to have high grades in more or less all subjects in school, while others tend to have lower grades in more or less all subjects. Yet the subjects in school varies between social sciences, natural sciences, humanities, maths, aesthetics and more. That may leave the impression that some are good at everything, and that has to be the real intelligent ones, while others are less good at everything and that is the less intelligent.

One could argue that what the Jungian typology suggests is not in line with common sense. There are many hierarchical orders, where some are better and more successful, while others simply are worse. For example, Jungian typology would suggest we are talented in different subjects, but when looking at school, the results tend to be contrary – some are good at everything while others don’t get top grades in any subject.

As I see, there are several ways to deal with such claims. One way would be to tone down the claims of the Jungian typology. When you read Jung, you likely will notice he rarely makes any strong claims about his typology. He often admits its arbitrariness, that it is very complicated to make conclusions about it, and he says that every person is an exception against the rule etc. Another way would be to tone down how different the common opinion is. Even though one isn’t in to Jungian typology, of course one can speak of different talents, in different people. It is quite common to speak of practical minded people as opposed to theoretical minded people and distinction between feeling types and thinking types, is quite known. It is also well known there is a connection between creative genius and madness (which in Jungian terms could be described as differentiated intuition in combination with undeveloped sensation). (ref)


The non-reductionism in Jungian typology and non-reductionism in philosophy

Part of the reason why Jungian typology could be considered philosophically interesting, I believe, is its non-reductionism. As described above, Jung wanted to overcome acrimony between Adler and Freud by taking it one level higher, which is a kind of non-reductionist meta-perspective. In philosophy there is similar aim to avoid reductionism, it seems to me, and “meta-perspectives” is of very central importance.

If we consider academical philosophy we will also notice several acrimonies. Most known acrimony would probably be between “analytical philosophy” and “continental philosophy”. I’m not going to do any deeper analysis now, but I’m inclined to think that the analytical philosophy can be considered to be closer relied on the Jungian “thinking function”, while continental philosophy is generally closer to the “intuition function”. Richard Rorty divided philosophers in to two groups; “ironists” and “metaphysiscians”, and I’ve been arguing in earlier blog posts that it is similar to Jungian distinction between intuitives and thinkers (here). Also I’ve argued the Wittgensteinian view on philosophy is closely connected to introverted intuition (here & here). Those who encounter philosophy as a teaching and body-of-knowledge, are more likely extraverted, while those who view philosophy as merely a method and aren’t so interested in facts and opinions of others, are more likely introverted.

One could argue for the need of a philosophy which could accept all these different attitudes as legitimate.


Summing up

Writing this kind of text sort of pains me. I know already before I’m not going to be able to achieve what I’m aiming at. My hope is that readers will somehow understand that they do not understand, and that it will awaken further interest. (But experience tells me that is rarely the case)

Quite recently I took time to actually read all of the book Psychological Types by C.G. Jung. My first intention when I started to write, was also to write about that book and its reception. Here recalling the fact that Jung wasn’t pleased with the fact that it was “Chapter X”, where he describes his typology, which got most attention of the book. However, after a while I started to read more about other typologies and other writings on personality, such as astrology, humorism, socionomics and the Big Five, and then I thought it would be interesting to compare the Jungian typology with these other theories, noticing similarities and differences. And so I started to write some about that. But as I go on writing, there is always something else that catches my attention. I forget what I’m up to, can’t keep track of my thinking etc. After a while I noticed I’m more up to what I’ve written about in earlier blog posts, such as the relationship between Jungian typology and philosophy, and difference between Jungians, Scientists and MBTI:ers.

What I’ve been trying to point out is that Jungian typology is complicated. Visakan Veerasamy wrote that “MBTI is ambiguous enough that it allows you to cherry-pick, and this is dangerous because it isn’t real knowledge.” I’m insisting on that Jungian typology can indeed be real knowledge. But just as there can be good use of the typology it can also be bad use of the typology. For example, the fact that there tends to be little agreement on what function would be the most dominant in what person, doesn’t mean that it there is none or that it cannot be known. It may simply have to do with that some know what they’re talking about, while others don’t.


Reference and further reading

External links

(See list of links in MBTI:ers, Jungians and Scientists)

Jung and Philosophy by William R. Clough (This article is mainly relied on Jung’s book “Psychological Types”)

Internal links
MBTI:ers, Jungians and Scientists
Jung’s Typology and Philosophy
The task of philosophy is to use ”introverted intuition”?

Posted in Jungian Typology, Logic and science, Metaphilosophy | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Developing ideas for a “Make-a-Living”-project

On this blog I’ve published several posts about the Internet Revolution, and how the Internet is changing our society (for example here, here & here). In the book Netocracy: The new power elite and life after capitalism, Alexander Bard and Jan Söderquist, speaks of a new society emerging. One of the things they mention that caught my interest, is the idea that money will lose a lot of its importance, and instead other aspects will be regarded as more important. Lately I’ve also been thinking about how money doesn’t play any big role in many people’s life. Many already have what they need, and the basics of making a living (such as money for food and rent) isn’t very costly for most people compared to average wages (at least not in western countries).

On the other hand, it can be quite hard to make a living as a culture worker. Many things which culture workers produce are only accessible on the Internet, and it is quite hard to earn money on what is on the Internet. For example, I used to buy cd:s, but now I just listen to music from the computer/internet, I used to subscribe to papers, but now I get that information on the Internet instead. Books I read, movies I look at, also a lot from the Internet. I often aim at doing things legally, I pay for e-books etc, but I know many who don’t.

Some sites, like Wikipedia, asks for donations. I believe many people are willing to donate money for what they think is good and benefit from the Internet, but one can feel uncertain about the use of it. For example, how can I be sure this money goes to someone in need, ain’t it so these money goes to someone who already has a lot of money?

My idea would be to start a project intended to collect money for culture workers, and donations are only accepted for a smaller sum, enough to make a cheap living. Any donation exceeding that sum, is kept for someone else involved in the same project. The sum is only intended to be big enough so that one can keep doing one’s culture work, instead of being forced to look for some job which one doesn’t want to get involved in. A criteria could be that it is only offered for people who have no other income, or that their income is so small they can’t even afford food and rent. A suggested sum could be $1000 per month.

So who would this be for? Who is allowed to take part in this $1000/month deal? Well, that is a question up for discussion. It could be bloggers, writers of books and book reviews, writers of wikipedia-articles, students of the humanities, unemployed journalists, people who involve in forum discussions, political commentators, music producers etc.

Many things could be questioned. What are the criteria for inclusion? Does one have to prove certain amount of competence or merit? If so, how does one measure that? Do one have to prove that this culture producer has no other income, and is therefore in need of these money? Or is that criteria not required at all? A suggestion could be that each donor gets to set their own criteria. Ranking systems and queues could be applied. There could be different divisions, where people could apply for say either $2000, $1000 or $500 per month, depending on their merits and on their personal demands.

So far this is only a vague idea, and I have no plans to try and implement any of it for the moment. However, if someone else reads this, and wants to implement this kind of project, or something similar, you (probably) have my support.

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“The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World” by Pierre Bourdieu (excerpt)

Here is an excerpt from the text “Universal Corporatism: The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World” by Pierre Bourdieu.

It will be necessary today to invent forms of organization which would give voice to a great collective intellectual, combining the qualifications and talents of all specific intellectuals. Great historical precedents for this can be found (I am thinking, for instance, of the “philosophes” of the Encyclopedie). It is only a question of inventing a model of organization which, by turning to account the modern means of communication, would allow all competent intellectuals to give their symbolic support to public interventions, elaborated in each specific case by those among them most competent to address the given problem. The tension between central planning and spontaneous individual action could be resolved by constructing a true international network whose circumference (to adapt Nicholas de Cusa’s formula) would be everywhere and whose center would be nowhere. This network, endowed with its own organs of expression, could mobilize resistance to encroachments on the autonomy of the intellectual world, and especially to all forms of cultural imperialism; it could work to establish the grounds of a true cultural internationalism, aiming at the abolition of all patterns of protectionism and particularism, while seeing to it that the specific achievements of each national tradition accede to universality.

But there is no overlooking the obstacles to such a collective mobilization. In order to raise intellectuals’ consciousness of their common interests, it would be necessary to neutralize the propensity to division and particularism which is inherent in the very logic of the field. Nothing is more difficult than to make intellectuals understand that their struggles, even those for purely corporate ends and aiming only at defending autonomy, have to be collective because so many of the powers to which they are subject (such as that of journalism) succeed as well as they do only because the opposition to them is scattered and divided against itself. Oddly enough, since the logic of competition which sets them against one another means, in the most radical cases, that producers’ best customers are also their fiercest rivals, intellectuals are undoubtedly one of the groups least able to discover the common interests that unite them (and these interests need to be directly threatened, for instance, in England today, for intellectuals to be able to see the forest for the trees, i.e., that their rivals’ enemies are their own enemies as well).

Link to full article: Universal Corporatism: The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World

Internal links
A philosopher’s guide to Pierre Bourdieu
Internet Revolution, attentionalism and slow-thinking, with Alexander Bard and Pierre Bourdieu
Internet Revolution pt.3: How the non-attentionalistic can prevail over the attentionalistic

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“The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains” by Nicholas Carr

The Shallows written by Nicholas Carr, is a book exploring the effects of what the Internet has upon our lives. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer-prize in 2011. This book is of natural interest on this blog as here it’s written several articles (and probably more is to come) on how the Internet is changing our society and ways to deal with it (for example here and here).

Nicholas Carr strikes me as someone from a literary community. The book is not typically academical, it is not what I would classify as rigorous science. Rather it is a kind of “popular science” intended for a larger audience. Even though it is not rigorous science, I’d say that it is a good read. It highlights important issues and Carr is a talented writer.

I shalln’t say so much about it right now, but let the book speak itself from some selected quotes.

Selected quotes

Problems with Internet from a subjective point of view

I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or a lengthy article. My mind would get caught up in the twists of the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread , begin looking for something else to do. I feel like I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
[—]
what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

The net encourages the superficial reading

when we go online , we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, and superficial learning. It’s possible to think deeply while surfing the Net, just as it’s possible to think shallowly while reading a book, but that’s not the type of thinking the technology encourages and rewards.
[—]
“the digital environment tends to encourage people to explore many topics extensively, but at a more superficial level,”

….which in turn rewires our brains (here referring to empirical research)

The mental functions that are losing the “survival of the busiest” brain cell battle are those that support calm, linear thought— the ones we use in traversing a lengthy narrative or an involved argument, the ones we draw on when we reflect on our experiences or contemplate an outward or inward phenomenon. The winners are those functions that help us speedily locate, categorize, and assess disparate bits of information in a variety of forms, that let us maintain our mental bearings while being bombarded by stimuli.

Backing up with more empirical research

[In a study conducted they] had 232 people wear a small camera that tracked their eye movements as they read pages of text and browsed other content. [The researcher] found that hardly any of the participants read online text in a methodical, line-by-line way, as they’d typically read a page of text in a book. The vast majority skimmed the text quickly, their eyes skipping down the page in a pattern that resembled, roughly, the letter F.

How long time does people stay on a web page? About 20 seconds on average…

most Web pages are viewed for ten seconds or less. Fewer than one in ten page views extend beyond two minutes, and a significant portion of those seem to involve “unattended browser windows… left open in the background of the desktop.” The researchers observed that “even new pages with plentiful information and many links are regularly viewed only for a brief period.”

[One study] found that in most countries people spend, on average, between nineteen and twenty-seven seconds looking at a page before moving on to the next one , including the time required for the page to load into their browser’s window.

Looking forward – There’s no turning back

”The practical benefits of Web use are many, which is one of the main reasons we spend so much time online. “It’s too late,” argues Anderson, “to just retreat to a quieter time.”

The danger of how the computers may take control over our lives

(Referring to a study by Joseph Weizenbaum)

The great danger we face as we become more intimately involved with our computers— as we come to experience more of our lives through the disembodied symbols flickering across our screens— is that we’ll begin to lose our humanness, to sacrifice the very qualities that separate us from machines. The only way to avoid that fate, Weizenbaum wrote, is to have the self-awareness and the courage to refuse to delegate to computers the most human of our mental activities and intellectual pursuits, particularly “tasks that demand wisdom.”

Waiting for the countercultural movement

We may be wary of what our devices are doing to us, but we’re using them more than ever. And yet, history tells us, it’s only against such powerful cultural currents that countercultural movements take shape.

Some reflections after reading

I do think Carr has written an important book. As the quotes point out, he is warning of serious dangers of the Internet revolution. However, I do not think the book is to be regarded as “neutral”. He wants to point out negative aspects, and not so much positive aspects.

If I think for myself, I sure do recognize myself in many of these things he writes. I easily do get distracted when on the Internet. I sometimes surf around, with no plan, and frequently update pages like the news and stats on my blog, not being able to explain why. But speaking from my experience, I haven’t felt that everything has gone for the worse. This autumn (year 2013) for example I had a course in history of literature, and I was surprised by how studious almost everyone in class was (with about 30 students). A book like Anna Karenina, ranging over 600 pages, most would recall details in the story when talking about it (and many of the students were only about 20 years old, grown up in an Internet generation). Back in 2004 when the Internet culture weren’t so widespread I had another course in history of literature, and then students seemed to take the reading less seriously. And speaking about my behavior on the Internet, sure I do a lot of shallow surfing, but there are also times when I go for deep dives.

I think that when one realizes that ones behavior is really wrong, one is also ready to change it. But it is not so easy to realize it is wrong. There’s many “irrational” factors of human life which cannot be disregarded.

Further reading


The Shallows by Nicholas Carr @ Amazon.com
Nicholas Carr’s blog
Here is a short text by Carr where he defends the use of subjectivity and anecdotalism

Internal links
Internet Revolution, attentionalism and slow-thinking, with Alexander Bard and Pierre Bourdieu
Slow-thinking and the absolute need for time (With Pierre Bourdieu)
Internet Revolution pt.3: How the non-attentionalistic can prevail over the attentionalistic

MBTI:ers, Jungians and Scientists (Here I write some about both the problems and possibilities of subjective validation)

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Mapping Jungian Typology

 

Introduction

In an earlier post MBTI:ers, Jungians and Scientists I tried to open up for a more intellectual take on Jungian typology, asking for scientific methodology. MBTI and Jungian typology is popular at Internet communities, but in higher institutions such as universities it is scarcely regarded, and that I think is a pity. A scientific approach on Jungian typology could be done by merging philosophy, psychology and sociology. I know that there are some academic articles written on MBTI/Jungian typology, but as far as I know these aren’t very good. To make it good would be very difficult.

In another post,“Don’t think, but look!” – The most common misconception about Wittgenstein?, I was concerned with the thinking/intuition divide. Wittgenstein was talking about different modes of thinking, and he made the comparison to either draw horizontal lines or to draw vertical lines. And my idea was that this could describe the difference between thinking and intuition, that to think would be to draw horizontal lines and to use intuition would be to draw vertical lines (or vice versa). This further led me to the idea of drawing maps of Jungian functions. That one somehow can make the functions more comprehensible by illustrating graphically.

Here I’m presenting a map I’ve drawn. However the more I try to understand and explain the map, the less sense does it makes to me. And so I end up trying to describe the dilemma when presenting something that isn’t meant as an end product, but something that is to be understood as a part of a process.

Jung typology map

 

Explaining the map

The problem is not only that the map is incomplete, the problem is also that the map is prejudiced, confusing and misleading.

The green arrow, from field 1 to field 2, Intuition > Thinking

The green arrow in this graph is pointing at directions of the efforts of the intuitive. The intuitive stands with one foot in the realm of the unimaginable (field 1) and one foot in the realm of the imaginable (field 2,3,4). Consider quote by Wittgenstein:
“The aim of philosophy is to erect a wall at the point where language stops anyway.”
We could try to read it like:
“The aim of philosophy is to draw the green line, between what is imaginable and what isn’t imaginable”
When undertaking such a project which Wittgenstein is explaining here, the end product of it has to be within field 2, that is within the imaginable but irrational. The end product cannot be within field 1 as what is within field 1 is inexpressible (field 1 may be important but has to “pass over in silence”). The end product may not be within field 3 or field 4, as these are two specialized fields, and these specializations cannot help in raising awareness of the border to field 1.

(Perhaps one would want to redraw the map somehow so that field 1 doesn’t border to field 3.)

The blue arrow, from field 2 to field 3, Thinking > Intuition

The blue arrow is pointing at natural directions of the effort of the thinker, who has intuition as a secondary function. This person stands with one foot in field 2, and one foot in field 3. The question for this person cannot be to simply ask what is possible. That kind of question is of no use, the thinker would say. Instead, what becomes of interest is to move things from the realm of possibilities to the realm of probabilities.

If philosophy is about drawing the vertical green line, then perhaps science can be said to be about drawing the horizontal blue line.

The yellow arrow, from field 3 to field 4, Sensation > Thinking… no? Thinking > Sensation?

Here I am more confused. One could think of the yellow arrow as someone with one foot in field 3 and one foot in field 4. But it’s problematic. What comes to my mind then is a technician, and a practical oriented person, but something tells me that this kind of person is a Thinking type, with Sensation merely as secondary function, and if so it doesn’t make sense to draw a yellow arrow. Instead the arrow ought to be blue and pointed at opposite direction.

Another take, explaining the arrows

Green arrow —> moving from the realm of the collective unconsciousness to the realm of explicit possibilities.
Blue arrow —> moving from the realm of possibilities to the realm of probabilities.
Yellow arrow —> moving from the realm of probabilities to the realm of actualities.

What about Feeling?

At first I came up with the idea how to distinguish intuition from thinking, and then the idea how one could add sensation to this mix. But what about Feeling? At first I wanted to add feeling as a third dimension, but I didn’t come to the conclusion that it would solve problems. If I were to add a third dimension, I could as well also add a fourth, fifth and sixth dimension. Instead I drew Feeling as containing a little bit of all the other functions. Feeling is about tolerance and intolerance, approval and rejection. The Feeling type may approve of each of the other types efforts, but only insofar as it is creating harmony. For example, the creativity of the Intuitive type is appreciated if it is fine poetry, the sensuality of the Sensation type can be appreciated if it is aesthetic/beautiful, and the thoughts of the Thinking type is appreciated if it is useful for creating harmony.

One problem of the feeling type is the rejection of everything that isn’t harmonic, resulting in a kind of intolerance which limits the other types. Certain radical and controversial thinking, intuition and sensation, will not be tolerated – even though perhaps the other types need to be radical in order to be potent.

This is not quite in line with the Jungian theory which claims feeling is opposite of thinking and closer to intuition and sensation. But at least it can be noted that feeling is here drawn in horizontal lines just like thinking, while intuition and sensation are drawn in vertical lines.

Some more remarks on the functions

It seems to me that both feeling and thinking holds a kind of arbitrariness which doesn’t seem to exist within intuition and sensation. What is considered as reasonable for the Thinker and what is considered as tolerable for the Feeler, varies between different times and different cultures. But as for the Intuitive and the Sensor I’m not so sure, something tells me these functions are more universal, more equal over time and space.

 

The writers dilemma – to publish the incomplete – a plea for cooperation

I’d like to share the thinking process with my readers. But experience tells me that most of my readers aren’t interested in joining any thinking process. At best they are interested in the end product. And if there is no end product, I’m suspecting that they will treat whatever has been made, as if it was an end product anyway. The dilemma is then; should I put more effort in trying to produce end products, or should I somehow insist and try to make readers join the thinking process anyway? I don’t think I’m able to produce any end products, and the effort of trying would be a waste as I’m not adapted for that kind of work (like the dyslectic isn’t adapted for perfect spelling). (See earlier blog post, about dismissing the idea of a Total Intellectual.) That’s why I insist on trying to involve readers in my thinking process, by writing remarks like these. Here is a quote by Wittgenstein,

Imagine we had to arrange the books of a library. When we begin the books he higgledy-piggledy on the floor. Now there would be ‘many ways of sorting them and putting them in their places. One would be to take the books one by one and put each on the shelf in its right place. On the other hand we might take up several books from the floor and put them in a row on a shelf, merely in order to indicate that these books ought to go together in this order. In the course of arranging the library this whole row of books will have to change its place. But it would be wrong to say that therefore putting them together on a shelf was no step towards the final result. In this case, in fact, it is pretty obvious that having put together books which belong together was a definite achievement, even though the whole row of them had to be shifted. But some of the greatest achievements in philosophy could only be compared with taking up some books which seemed to belong together, and putting them on different shelves; nothing more being final about their positions than that they no longer lie side by side. The onlooker who doesn’t know the difficulty of the task might well think in such a case that nothing at all had been achieved. — The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know. E.g., to see that when we have put two books together in their right order we have not thereby put them in their final places.,

(reference: Blue Book)

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Philosophy, dialogue and interest for the ordinary

Wittgenstein once said “A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring”. I do sense that there is something in it. It is the discussion that brings philosophy to life. Remember Socrates, he did not write, he conversed, and mostly he was just asking questions. If you look at the later writings of Wittgenstein you see it is highly dialogic.

But the comparison to boxing? Does it mean that philosophy has to be rough? I, think no. But the point is rather that when philosophy is making impact, it is also likely to “stun” or “shake” you. A good discussion will move you one way or the other, and leave you with a new impression, which in a sense can be quite painful.

As for me, I like to listen. And I tend to not find more interest in listening to intelligent people than any other people. It does make me a bit concerned, when people I know visit my blog, and they tell me something like “this looks really advanced”, “too difficult for me” and “you must’ve read a lot”. They want to say something nice, and I do take it as a compliment, but at the same time I do get disappointed, because what they say is also a rejection, as if what I write doesn’t concern them. But in a sense, in my mind, it is indeed for them that I do write. I don’t consider myself as a high-flyer who likes to spend time among his high-flying friends (who I haven’t got anyway). I’m a person who like to talk with various ordinary people with different backgrounds. The members of my family, the immigrant barber, the nurse-assistants at the hospital etc. These are all sources of inspiration for me, and in a sense also for my writing.

But with that said, I don’t try to make my writing easy and interesting read for anyone. I have no primary intent to make things simple or easy-accessible. I may still be satisfied with a text I’ve written which I know most likely nobody will understand.

As for people I meet in every day life, it is not like I try to educate them, I believe that more usually I enter the discussion on their terms. And the day after a good talk we may both wake up feeling “stunned”. This blog however can be seen as a discussion entered on my own terms… and usually it’s not much of a discussion at all, as I’m the only participant. To be the only participant wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I’ve started to reconcile with the thought that it’s the way it is.

Further reading
Is philosophy easy or hard? Some quotes by Wittgenstein on difficulty and simplicity

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Internet Revolution pt.3: How the non-attentionalistic can prevail over the attentionalistic

Introduction

This will be part 3 in a series of articles involving the concepts of slow-thinking and fast-thinking, attentionalism and non-attentionalism. The first article presented Alexander Bard’s ideas of the Internet Revolution. Bard meant that the emergence of Internet led to (is leading to) one of the greatest revolutions in mankind. This leads to many radical changes in the society, for example it is a time of ATTENTIONALISM***.
Here is a quote from the book Netocracy, written by Bard:

The rules will change, but the constant underlying message of the curators [a kind of masters of the netocracy] to their net-citizens will be simple and unambiguous: you can never network well enough, you can never be good enough at communicating, you can never let yourself rest, you must constantly be ready to jump, constantly ready to learn new things.

As opposed to this I presented Pierre Bourdieu, who was concerned by increasing superficiality in the new emerging society. In a following blog post I developed his views on the need for slow-thinking and the absolute need for time. Bourdieu held a famous speech in television about television, where he claimed that: ”television rewards a certain number of fast-thinkers who offer cultural ‘fast food’–predigested and prethought culture–”.

***
No doubt, the Internet has meant and means a radical change in the society. Things will never be the same again. But what I’ve been pointing out is that there are different ways to adapt. One strong trend seems to be that in this new society people assume that you need to become more easy-accessible, attentionalistic, short and concise rather than extensive and rigorous. In this article I want to help show that there are other alternatives. The Internet revolution may in fact lead to a promotion of the qualitative (extensive, rigorous etc), by the uprising of structures and organizations that effectively can benefit the non-attention-seeking. Below I show this by an economic analysis.

Fast-thinking and slow-thinking, attempting to outline some general characteristics

An attempt to outline some general characteristics:

FAST-THINKING, attentionalistic, easy to access, gives quick response (but doesn’t last for long),
Possible ways to associate in positive terms: Witty, sharp, enjoyable
Possible ways to associate in negative terms: Superficial, shallow, vain

SLOW-THINKING, non-attentionalistic, hard to access, gives slow response (but lasts for longer)
Possible ways to associate in positive terms: Deep, wise, reliable
Possible ways to associate in negative terms: Dry, boring, slow

Please note:
This distinction between slow-thinking and fast-thinking is not meant as something fixed or clearly defined. It’s not meant to be applied for real life situations. It is more of a template, and real life situations aren’t that black and white. For me it’s mostly important to sketch some general outlines so you can see approximately where I’m getting at. As noted in earlier blog post, Bourdieu and Daniel Kahneman has also used the concepts of thinking fast and slow, and both of them use the terms in different ways than I do.

When the non-attentionalistic prevails, Bourdieu as an example

Is it possible for the non-attentionalistic to prevail over the attentionalistic? I’m sure it is. But also I think that we often are inclined to forget about this possibility. I think that Bourdieu himself, what he did and who he was as a person, can serve as an example. Bourdieu got known for being one who did not seek attention. He would often reject interviews and to appear on television, if the ones who wanted to interview him didn’t agree on the conditions he demanded. As I think is evident in his writings, Bourdieu didn’t try to charm or ingratiate people in main-stream media. Yet he would get both popular and famous. Now known as one of 20th century greatest sociologists. And as for example noted here by Craig Callhoun:

When [Bourdieu] died on January 23rd, 2002, Le Monde delayed publication by several hours so the front page could carry the news. It was the lead story on TV news in France (and other European countries) and ran with expressions of grief and loss from France’s president, prime minister, trade union leaders, and a host of other dignitaries and scholars.

How the non-attentionalistic can prevail over the attentionalistic, and how the Internet can change the conditions – an economic analysis

Consider for example selling and advertising. Imagine two companies, company A and company B, both selling a specific computer. One of the companies (A) spends a lot of money to make themselves seen and heard, while the other company (B) chooses to sell the computer for a cheaper price instead of spending money on advertising. Company A pays for advertisement in television, and they rent a store in the center of the city for expensive price but where many people pass by, while B has their store in some basement with low rent somewhere in the outskirt of town. So, both companies are selling the same product, but B sells the product for a cheaper price.

In the economists terminology we could say that to choose B would be the most rational choice for a buyer. But many would not know about B and thus choose A instead. But then, consider now the entrance of Internet and how Comparison shopping websites emerges. People start using these Comparison shopping websites, where all companies that sells the computer are listed, and then they easily notice that company B sells the product for lower price than company A. The attention-focused attitude of company A is here at danger, because the effort they spent on attention is of no use, and then they can’t compete with company B who spent their effort on price-optimizing. The Comparison shopping website makes it an open-ground-competition between company A and company B, where company B is advantaged.

Epilogue

I know it will be easy to read this text with the interpretation that the attentionalists are the bad guys (such as company A), while the non-attentionalists are the good guys (such as company B), however I want to stress that this is far from what I want to say. I’m sure that there will always be attention-oriented agents as well as there will be non-attention-oriented agents, and I don’t claim it is desirable to change that. My post is rather to point out that there is the non-attentionalistic path that still has potential, but which people tend to forget about.

Alexander Bard said “We ought to make revolution and hang all politicians who haven’t got any Twitter account” (he is of course not to be taken literary). This seems to me embrace the idea that all politicians ought to go more attentionalistic. As I see it, the microblog Twitter is an attention-oriented platform (limited to messages with a maximum of 140 characters), where a kind of slow-thinking is not able to exist. My counter-reaction is not: “Twitter is junk, let us boycott Twitter”, the counter-reaction is rather: “Look, there are also other ways to get recognition”. Twitter may be a great thing for some, but that doesn’t mean Twitter be a great thing for everyone.

The example with advertising and selling is not because I find it interesting to analyse how to make a profitable business, but rather I mean that it can have a figurative sense. If one tries to adapt in order to get attention, one is likely to fall behind those who focus on quality in certain senses. However, in order for the non-attentionalistic to stand a chance over the attentionalistic, some kind of organization is needed. The Comparison shopping website can serve as an example of such an organization. The reason Bourdieu could get so famous – despite his anti-attentionalistic attitude, is most probably also due to the help from organizations, such as a hierarchic and meritocratic system of education. Now the Internet can help provide new structures and organizations, where the non-attentionalistic may be benefited.

References and further reading

External links

Nicholas Carr – The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember
– This book has gotten wide popularity, speaking about dangers of Internet Revolution. I recently read it, and may write more on it later on.

(See earlier posts on this topic for more external links)

Internal links

Internet Revolution, attentionalism and slow-thinking, with Alexander Bard and Pierre Bourdieu
Slow-thinking and the absolute need for time (With Pierre Bourdieu)

“The Role of Intellectuals in the Modern World” by Pierre Bourdieu (excerpt)

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