iSoul In the beginning is reality.

Category Archives: Relating

Relating as persons: psychology, society, politics

Psychological Types of Myers, Briggs, and Jung

The typology of Myers, Briggs, and Jung is best known via the MBTI, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This test can be considered separately from the Jung-Myers-Briggs (JMB) typology that it’s based on. First let’s consider the JMB typology, and then the MBTI.

The JMB typology developed from Carl Jung’s 1921 monograph Psychological Types (The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 6), which he developed for use with depth psychology. Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Briggs, expanded Jung’s typology and adapted it for their test, the MBTI, in 1942.

Jung distinguished two general attitude types, extroversion and introversion, and four function types: thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. This resulted in eight psychological types, which Jung described mainly from literary examples.

Myers and Briggs modified Jung’s concept of intuition somewhat, which Jung had described as the “function that allows us to see around the corner of the future,” like hunches. Myers and Briggs emphasized that intuition involves the ability to recognize patterns and possibilities.

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Social libertarianism

The term “social libertarian” is an ambiguous term.  Some have used it to mean a political philosophy that is socialist on most issues except certain matters which are considered private (e.g., a candidate for Minnesota Governor, Scott Raskiewicz).  That is a primarily socialist position.

Here the term “social libertarian” indicates someone who is primarily libertarian but who acknowledges the importance of social institutions and the role that government can play to strengthen them without controlling them.  It might be called social framework political philosophy.

Libertarianism is considered the opposite of political authoritarianism.  Its basic principle is “the obligation not to aggress against anyone.”  This is the Harm Principle of J. S. Mill.  It is a purely negative principle that says little about what libertarianism would do in practice other than repeal laws.

The social framework position says that the purpose of government is to establish and maintain a framework for society.  This framework consists of legal structures, judicial rules, and policies designed to promote the welfare of the society as individuals and as a whole.  The state should not usurp the functions of society; it should support them.

There are only a few roles that are proper for the state: justice, defense, and diplomacy.  Beyond that the state should develop frameworks that society can use.  For example, instead of the state directly building and operating schools, the state should provide a framework in the tax structure so schools can afford to exist and parents can afford to send their children to school.  Instead of the state directly building and operating health care facilities, the state should provide a legal framework so hospitals can afford to exist, health insurance companies can stay in business, and people can afford to pay for health care.

Here is another example of this framework approach, this time concerning a very contentious issue: the state and marriage.  In the U.S. and other Western nations a religious dispute is taking place about marriage.  The focus is the issues of same-sex marriage but it also has to do with divorce.  It is a mistake for the state to step in and “solve” this religious dispute.  It will only exacerbate a religious conflict and undermine political cohesion.

The solution is for the state to step back from deciding who is married and who is not and let religious and social organizations take care of that.  Apart from minimal requirements of age and not being married to another person, the state should merely be the official recorder of marital status.  The marital status is condition of being single, married, or divorced and, if married, the person to whom one is married to.  It also includes the disposition of children and property if there is a divorce.

The transactions of marrying and divorcing should rest with religious and social organizations recognized by the state who have basic characteristics such as these: (1) they have written criteria and procedures they follow for making changes in the marital status of anyone; (2) they notify the state within 10 days if they make a change to the marital status of anyone; (3) they obtain if possible the consent of all parties involved to make a change in their marital status.  All changes in marital status include the disposition of children and property if there is a divorce.

Every time the state is informed by a recognized organization that they have made a change in the marital status the state records the change and the organization that informed them of the change of marital status.  This gives that organization jurisdiction over the marriage should there be any issue that arises.  If a married couple wants a different organization to have jurisdiction over their marriage, they may do so at any time if there is mutual consent.

The state does not recognize a marriage which involves anyone already married unless the state has been informed that there has been a divorce.  If the state is informed of a divorce by a different organization than the one that informed it of the marriage, the state informs the first organization of the change in status and the change in jurisdiction, too.

If both spouses want a divorce, the organization with jurisdiction is available to determine the matter.  The organization must follow its own written procedures but apart from that is under no legal obligation to grant a divorce.  If only one spouse wants a divorce, the organization with jurisdiction is available to adjudicate the matter.  If and only if the written procedures of the organization at the time the couple were married allow for contested divorce, may the organization perform a divorce and then only by following said procedures.  There is no appeal of the organization’s decisions unless there is flagrant disregard of their own written procedures.

The purpose of all this is (1) to get the state out of the business of deciding who is and who isn’t married, and (2) to strengthen the role of non-governmental organizations in society.


It Could Happen

NEW YORK, 2024 JUL 14. President of the Nations Jack Lever gave his State of the World speech to the United Nations today. President Lever began by listing his accomplishments in the past year. These included making the United Nations’ currency, the Uno, the sovereign currency of every country. Switzerland, the last hold-out, turned over it’s franc in May. He also stated that world unemployment was at the same level it was before the World Depression of 2010-2018. While he acknowledged that the world economy still needed redistribution of wealth, he said that much progress had been made.

President Lever then outlined the challenges he sees ahead. First was ending the epidemics that spread during the World Depression. Next was having the World Curriculum that was completed last year instituted in the schools of every nation. Third was bringing unity to the religions of the world.

He stressed the importance of the third goal even though the first two might seem more pressing. “The goal of world unity will not be achieved without religions reconciliation,” he said to the delegates who gave him a standing ovation. He went on to say “Each of the great religions of the world must become unified before world religions can unite.” President Lever said that as a Christian he was particularly interested in the unity of the Christian Church. “In the spirit of Constantine the Great, I am calling all church leaders to an ecumenical council of reconciliation.” he said.

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Why a new civilization?

This website is focused on helping lay foundations for a new civilization, not following the decline and fall of an old civilization. But understanding weaknesses in the old civilization may provide insight into what to avoid. The problem is that most analyses of Western civilization do not go far enough. They either support mild reforms or promote a revolutionary game of musical chairs.

The success of the hard sciences — mostly physics, chemistry, and biochemistry — has propelled science in general to the top rung of authority in Western society. Traditional authority structures of society such as religious institutions, community arrangements, and family relations have declined drastically in importance.

Central governments have supported science and have receive support from science. The spread of government-controlled education to the highest university level has also provided government with reciprocal support. Central governments have played other sources of authority against each other and increasingly taken their place.

The politicization of society has continued until only science has the authority to challenge it — but science is dependent on state support and so does not challenge central government. Science is becoming increasingly politicized as the source for more power grabs by the central government. But the politicization of science is the end of science. So nothing is left to challenge the power of the state and totalitarianism follows.

Meanwhile, science faces a moral crisis with its inability to place limits on research, on applications, or on the scope of science no matter how immoral. By including mankind in its naturalistic methods, science promotes atheism and materialism, much to the delight of a science establishment drunk with arrogance. Deconstructive, skeptical, and ironic methods that have brought down the humanities turn on science to undermine it and bring down the intellectual house of cards.

The mistake is giving too much authority to science in the first place. A modest science can take its place among society’s institutions only as science forsakes its exaggerated claims. The state that grew with science and technology also has too much authority. Which means that others should gain in authority. Who? The traditional authority structures of society such as religious institutions, community arrangements, and family relations.


Secular religion and religious secularism

Aren’t “secular” and “religious” mutually exclusive terms? Not necessarily. The term “religion” has two basic senses. The narrow sense of the term that means an historical religion, a self-identified religion, does not include secular religion. But religion in the broader sense is something that constitutes one’s life goal, the highest authority one recognizes, the self-existing reality one acknowledges. Negatively, it is something that people most resist changing. In that sense a secular religion is the religion of secular people.

Secular people are those who recognize or value no reality other than secular reality — a reality of this world, this era, this life. Marxism is the best known example of a secular religion. It is a religion for people who are anti-religious (meaning against every non-secular religion), and whose life goal is the establishment of a certain political system.

Religious secularism uses traditional religious language to express secular motivations, means, and ends. For example, those who use religious language to promote political or social goals are engaging in religious secularism. Both religious liberalism and militant forms of Islam fall into this category.

Secular religion and religious secularism find it advantageous to hide their agenda. Secular religion hides religion behind a secular facade. Their words are secular but their goals are religious. Religious secularism hides secularism behind a religious facade. Their words are religious but their goals are secular.

How do you tell whether someone has a religious agenda hidden behind secular language or a secular agenda hidden behind religious language? “By their fruit you shall know them.” Actions speak louder than words. Do they always interpret religious matters as secular realities or secular matters as religious realities? Do they consistently demonize their opponents? Does their agenda consume their life?


Politics by other means

There are two key social movements in modern society: the movement to make society more subject to politics and the movement to make society less subject to politics. The former movement is called socialism (it would be better called “politicism”). The latter movement has no single name but is called conservatism more than other names. In the French Assembly the royalists sat on the right and the radicals sat on the left, so socialists have come to be called the Left and non-socialists called the Right.

Historically, socialism burst on the scene with the French revolution, although precursors and related movements have earlier roots. Historically, conservativism as a political philosophy began as a reaction to the French revolution, although it has much older roots. In Europe, conservatives were identified with defenders of the “old regime”, the monarchy. In America, the monarchy ended with the American Revolution so there is no “old regime” to return to but there are cultural, economic, and religious traditions inherited from European roots that could be re-invigorated.

Today socialism has won most of its aims as stated in the nineteenth century, which were primarily economic. There are new aims now, particularly since the New Left surpassed the Old Left in the latter part of the twentieth century. These new aims are primarily cultural and moral.

The situation today in many developed societies is a high degree of politicization. There is little that is not politicized anymore: education, science, culture, morality, religion–all are influenced by the political order, subject to the political order, and commonly understood in political terms.

Carl von Clausewitz’s famously wrote “War is a mere continuation of politics by other means (Der Krieg ist eine blosse Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln). While there is some dispute about what he was trying to say, it suggests that politics can be continued in other ways, which is what socialism does.

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Principles of table manners

It is recognized that manners are culture-bound, however, there are principles that are similar in different cultures and make good sense.

1.  Show respect first to the host and then to the other guests.

Defer to the host. Let the host go first or wait until the host asks you to go ahead. Sit up straight in your chair. Avoid putting your elbows on the table. Don’t grab items in front of others; rather, ask them to pass the items. Don’t leave the table without asking permission or excusing yourself.

  1. Use the utensils for the food intended by the host.

Use utensils from the outside in toward the plate. Some foods that you may eat with your fingers: artichoke, asparagus (as long as there is no sauce on it, and it’s not too long), bacon (but only if it is crisp), sandwiches, cookies, small fruits or berries with stems, french fries and potato chips, hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, caviar, pickles.

  1. Use utensils in a manner that doesn’t approach threatening the host or guests.

Place sharper knife edges toward the plate. Hold fork tines downward. Don’t point utensils at others.

  1. Use utensils in a manner that doesn’t approach dirtying the host or guests.

Once you use a utensil, don’t let it touch the table again. Avoid dropping, splattering etc. food.

  1. Eat in a manner that minimizes non-speech sounds.

Avoid slurping, chomping, burping, etc. Minimize the sounds emitted from your mouth when chewing. Chew slower, keep mouth more closed to lessen sounds.

  1. Eat in a manner that minimizes others seeing chewed food.

Acceptable: don’t speak with food on your tongue. Better: don’t speak with any food in your mouth. Don?t speak with a mouth full of food unless it’s an emergency. Use your napkin to remove food from your mouth, etc. Don’t put the entire soup spoon in your mouth.

April 13, 2002

Unconditional Love in a Conditional World

What is love? Love is a discipline of word and deed comprised of denial of oneself and affirmation of one’s beloved. How can one legitimately say to another, “I love you”? That is, what basis is there for one to declare love to someone else (other than a previous vow)?

Since love is comprised of deeds as well as words, a declaration of love must be followed by deeds of love to be a truthful declaration. So a true declaration of love includes promises of future actions as well as present intentions. How can one make true statements about the future? Either by making true predictions or by making faithful declarations. A faithful declaration is a true declaration in the present that remains true in the future.

So the question becomes: how can one make a faithful declaration of love? Either there is an accurate predictor of future love or there is a faithful basis for future love. Popular culture would say that ?falling in love? is an accurate predictor of future love for some period of time. But it is well known that such periods tend to be short-lived. The other basis is faith.

There are three reasons that could ensure future love:

(1) One loves others indiscriminately;
(2) One loves the beloved’s unchanging character; or
(3) One loves the beloved unconditionally.

Reason (1) would apply to one who loves all or to a love that applies to all. This is legitimate but we are focusing here on a special love of one for another. Reason (2) would apply to one who knows the beloved’s invariant personal essence and can declare in the present that one loves that essence which is timeless. Since empirical knowledge can never attain such categorical knowledge, no amount of time or experience would suffice to justify (2). Apart from a revelation from a timelessly reliable source (as in God), such knowledge is not available to us.

Reason (3) would apply to one who is faithful to their word and has faith that their love won’t be undermined in the future. So their declaration of love is true in the present and will be true in the future. Such a love is not dependent on the beloved or on circumstances but on the integrity and faithfulness of the lover. Knowledge of the beloved may help inspire or enhance such a love but cannot change its nature. This is a faithful love.

Now the question arises, how can one come to the point of making a declaration of faithful love? This is a process of coming to faith. It is similar to any decision in which one commits oneself to a particular future and cuts oneself off from alternative futures. We make these decisions all the time but some of them are bigger than others, that is, they have longer term consequences. We must be willing to cut off a potential future of our own, thus cut off part of our self. So it is an act of self sacrifice. We must also make a choice and open ourselves up to the chosen future.

In summary, one can legitimately say to another “I love you” if one chooses to love them in integrity and faithfulness.

16 March 2001

Justification of tradition

Like many people born after World War II, tradition doesn’t come easily to me. We’ve prided ourselves on making our parents justify every practice they tried to pass on to us. If it didn’t make sense to us, it was oppressive or foolish and should be stopped. Automatic acceptance of tradition was unthinkable.

Tradition was another way of saying “we’ve always done it that way” even though no one could explain why. Tradition seemed to be something someone made up a long time ago and everyone since had to follow along even though it made no sense. Unthinking robots adhered to tradition and impersonal society imposed tradition on people. Tradition was the civilization Huck Finn escaped from and Tevye complained about.

But gradually I’ve come to see the value of tradition. Let me explain. What is tradition? Tradition simply means practices handed down from generation to generation. Note that each generation must practice them in order to pass them on to the next generation. So tradition preserves practices through time. However, traditions are usually not unchangeable; every generation makes some modifications. Here are seven reasons why tradition is valuable.

Tradition is a good place to begin. We may wonder how best to do something but often it is something that has been done many, many times before us. Why go to all the trouble of coming up with a new way of doing things when there is a way that worked before? If no good reason exists to do things another way, go with tradition. The burden of proof is on someone who would change things to show that these changes are better than tradition.

Tradition is familiar. We learn many traditions growing up. We hear or read stories that show traditional practices. People know their roles and the roles of others. But new practices may be strange and confusing; they have to be explained to people who may be skeptical of them or comfortable with a well-worn path. Tradition is like a friend we’ve known for years.

Tradition is empirical. There is a history of experience with tradition. Many others have tried tradition and found that it works. There is a kind of science to tradition: traditions have been tested many times and the results are well known. New ideas lack the knowledge-base of tradition; they need years of experience to fully check them out. Tradition is “tried and true”.

Tradition is evolutionary. Each generation has an opportunity to make minor modifications so traditions are never out of date. Traditions can be adjusted to suit new circumstances. Major blunders are avoided because something that has worked before will work again more or less. There is change as well as continuity.

Tradition is non-ideological. Because tradition evolves and incorporates change gradually, there is no one ideology that drives the process. Tradition is far different from an ideology that would revolutionize things according to some rule or idea. Many things influence tradition over the years. No party or faction controls tradition.

Tradition is worth passing on. Life is short and each generation desires to pass on something significant to the next generation. Tradition is a valuable gift for parents to give their children. It allows each generation to feel part of a chain of events reaching back in time and forward in the future. Tradition connects generations across time.

Tradition is long-lasting. Many things come and go in life but tradition continues year after year. Traditions begin in the distant past and continue for a long time. Fashions change year to year. Many new ideas are short-lived. Tradition remains through it all.

In the end it’s not that tradition has been fully justified. But I don’t demand that tradition be justified anymore. I may still wonder why a tradition is the way it is but there are other things I wonder about more. Tradition simply is. It’s everything else that needs to be justified.



Here are various links worth exploring.

Seeking Answers?

Religion and Public Life

Help the Persecuted

Defending Liberty