Wednesday, October 1, 2014

FLG's Stream of Consciousness Brain Dump

FLG has been having some conflicts at work.  He has only had conflicts at work very rarely, so this threw him for a bit of a loop.  It's a fundamental personality difference, but he had trouble explaining to the other party because they couldn't get beyond the minutiae of the proximate issue of conflict.   Straight-up could not understand what FLG was saying.  This led FLG to try and find some sort of framework to analyze and hopefully explain the situation, which in turn led him to the DISC model.

The DISC model is a bit like Myers-Briggs, but less complicated.  There are two axes  -- task-focused versus people-focused and then active versus thoughtful.  In case you are wondering, FLG squarely in the people-focused and active camp.   The person he is having conflict with is task-focused and thoughtful or Type C in the lingo.

"The C DISC Styles are accurate, precise, detail-oriented, and conscientious."  Also,  "The C may need to focus more on people in order to build strong relationships, as they may have a tendency to focus on tasks more than people and to want to work alone. At times, the C will need to push themselves to be decisive and take risks, even if all the research isn't there to support it."

Since FLG is so action and people-focused, analysis paralysis as well as seeing people pretty much solely as means and not ends, drives him fucking batshit.  As he tried to explain any of this, it was like trying to explain a desert to a polar bear.  There was just no frame of reference to even build upon.   People are important to get tasks done, so clearly they care about people.  All very weird for FLG.

Anyway, as FLG was pondering this further, he began to think of the Type C's he has encountered before and it occurred to him that they are all hostages to their insecurities.    Now, we all have insecurities.  Even action-oriented, people-focused FLG has insecurities, but he thinks the most insecure people are Type C's.

And then he began to think of the careers that appeal to Type C's -- technology, bureaucracy, and academia.  Anybody who has been around college professors can tell you that accurate, precise, detail-oriented people who try to "right" and "accurate" and worry about credentials.  Bureaucracy has plenty of risk-averse, overanalyzers, who are sticklers for rules, order, and hierarchy.   Technology, particularly programmers, same deal.  It's more or less why FLG left engineering school.

But then FLG went back to the model and the three types break up along these key lines:

Dominance
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.
Inducement
Perceives oneself as more powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Submission
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as favorable.
Compliance
Perceives oneself as less powerful than the environment, and perceives the environment as unfavorable.

Therefore, the Type C's think of themselves as less powerful and the environment is unfavorable.   This, oddly, came back to FLG as he was watching Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  He realized that the absurdity of everything was trying to imply that deeper meaning was non-existent.  Or to state the opposite, the present and objective reality is the most real.  So, then the question is whether Type C's believe that.  And if we assume that they are focused on objective fact and afraid to take risks because of potential future adverse consequences, then that may very well be true.

FLG started thinking about this and realized that his time horizons theory would predict, through his corollary about empirical fact, that Type C's, if they are focused on empirical fact, have to be focused on short time horizons, then this means that Type C's would most often be liberal in their orientation.  And this holds for academics and bureaucrats, although probably for a lot of self-interested reasons in addition to the short time horizons.  Technology folks are probably a little different.

But then he went back to the model again.  It makes sense that somebody who perceives their environment as unfavorable and they lack the power to change would be political liberal, right?

See, but then FLG remembered Jacob T Levy's talk about taking politics less seriously in which he uses Augustine (and by extension FLG's homeboy Plato) to call for acceptance of the political environment and order, even if it is unfavorable.  FLG was confused.  But then he said, Ah!   That's Submission -- less powerful than environment, but environment is favorable.   What's interesting about Augustine in that argument is how he frames the environment.  It's not that Hippo was less powerful than the Vandals, for example,  and that environment is unfavorable.  No, no, no.  It is that we are less powerful than God and since we exist in his love the environment is favorable.

So then FLG started asking himself, if he is conservative and Type I and the argument about Submission is really a conservative argument, then does perceiving the environment as favorable make you a conservative?  On the face, it would seem yes.  If one likes the existing order and presumably one wants to conserve it.

Here's the thing though.   The Type I and Type S have people and relationship orientation in common.  That's where FLG started thinking some more.   He always asks the following question to try to downplay the importance of objective fact -- In what way would my life be negatively impacted if I believed the Sun revolves around the Earth?   Liberals have the most trouble with that question.  They know there's no negative impact, but they reject the falsehood purely for non-consequential reasons.  So, are people who are focused on objective fact, entirely separate from a facts meaning, more liberal?   FLG would argue yes from the individuals he knows personally and his time horizons theory, but that's just a collection of anecdotes and his crazy theory.   But let's say it's true.

If that is true and relationship-oriented people are conservative and task-oriented people are liberal, then conservatives would fall into Type I and Type S and liberals into Type D and Type C.  FLG no no way thinks that's 100% the case, but he's going to keep an eye out while trying to keep himself from confirmation biasing the whole damn experiment.

Just so you know, FLG feels like he just walked around in a mental circle.

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