Worldviews, Personality and Communication

Whenever I’m involved in an interpersonal conflict, I immediately start thinking of personality differences.

I do focus on what people are saying, but I have a tendency to put a lot of emphasis on how they say it and what is behind what they are saying. I look to the motivations, the perceptions and the communication styles. I look to the beliefs and assumptions, the worldview or even the reality tunnel they live in.

In the present situation of conflict, my focus has been on someone who goes by the name hbd chick. The conflict really gets me thinking for the reason I feel very little negativity toward her. I love her blog. I respect her typically humble attitude and I’m impressed by her research abilities. But there is some difference between her and I, some difference that may be at a more fundamental level of our respective psychologies.

I don’t like conflict. I’m more of a conflict-avoidant type, but at times I feel drawn into conflict because of another side of my personality. I’m an Myers-Briggs INFP which means I’m fully capable of being insufferably idealistic and even asshole-ish in my defense of my core values. I have speculated that my problem is that I’m an FP (Fi) who was raised by TJ (Te) parents (TJ representing the aspirational and often the most annoying weakness of an INFP). I think I’ve overcompensated a bit in the TJ department and such not-perfectly-functional Te is what can really bring out the asshole in me.

I don’t like being an asshole, but I’m apparently good at it. I hold stuff in until I can’t hold it in any longer. The result is that I become critical and unforgiving.

Anyway, the odd thing is that hbd chick says that she also is an INFP and close to being an INTP. I wonder about that. If I had to guess, I get more of an INTP vibe from her. But it is hard to tell when you don’t know someone personally. Maybe the T is more of her online persona. This might explain my own dysfunctional T getting antagonized in response.

Going by her being an INFP, my criticisms of her should really annoy her. I seem to have been judging her by that T aspect I sensed in her, but she doesn’t see that as being her true self, as she says “at heart”.

This conflict is exacerbated further because of my particular annoyance in trying to find a way to interact with a guy who goes by the name JayMan, both hbd chick and JayMan being HBD proponents. His personality most definitely is different than my own. He has that T vibe without a doubt, especially TJ. He argues for the complete separation of the subjective and objective in exploring the issues of human society and human nature. I can tell you this. No normally functioning FP, in particular no INFP, would likely make such an argument.

That expresses what would be called a thick boundary type (see boundaries of the mind). I must admit I don’t play well with thick boundary types. My mind is pretty damn thin boundaried. In discussions, my thoughts go in a million directions. My thin boundaries is why I constantly see confounding factors in almost everything and JayMan’s apparent thicker boundaries are why he sees my complaints as irrelevant. He is a man who is intently and adamantly focused on what he (thinks he) knows and believes which isn’t to say he is necessarily wrong, just that he is very certain that he is right. Thick boundary types tend to feel more certain, in fact demand more certainty. In Myers-Briggs terms, this is what Judging (J) is about.

I’m of a different variety. I’m an INFP with heavy emphasis on the NP part (Ne). Extraverted iNtuition (Ne) is the single most absolute expression of the thin boundary type. I live in eternal uncertainty with a wide horizon of possibilities. Questions leading to doubts leading to wonder leads to imagining. I live my life contemplating the strangeness of reality, my head stuck in the clouds. To focus on a single theory or a single set of data would be nearly impossible for me.

My Te aspirational can make me a rabid researcher when it is in full gear, but Ne inevitably sends my mind off in new directions.

What I sense with the HBD crowd is that it attracts a lot more thick boundary types or at least those with thick boundary online personas. Either way, this means that it attracts people who want to focus on topics that focus on thick boundaries and in ways that are thick boundaried. I don’t mean extreme thick boundaries, but a tendency in that direction. The emphasis of HBD is on the boundaries between ethnicities, clans, regions, nations, etc. They have less interest in that which transcends, merges and blurs boundaries.

To my thin boundary mind, boundaries are imagined things. They are only real to the extent we imagine them to be real. The thin boundary type sees a less thick or clear boundary between even imagination and reality. It is because of this mentality that I look for how people, individually and collectively, project their imaginations onto reality.

This puts me a bit in opposition to the HBD mentality. Hence, the conflict. Cue the frustration.

10 thoughts on “Worldviews, Personality and Communication

  1. I hear there is a real HBD community out there but I only read two with any regularity, hbdchick and Steve Sailer. Niether of them fit your stereotype of a HBD’er (though, admittedly, a lot of Sailer’s commentors do). If you are interested in the subject itself, as opposed to the kinds of people who tend to be attracted to it, why not only read the best? Neither of them is a racist, that is for sure.

    • I’m a big fan of hbd chick. I don’t know Steve Sailer all that well and so I’ll refrain from judgment. Other HBD bloggers offer some interesting stuff such as JayMan, as we both have an interest in the work of David Hackett Fischer. I disagree with JayMan on some issues, but I still wouldn’t consider him a racist. I definitely wouldn’t consider hbd chick a racist.

      I must admit that I could be unfairly judging HBDers according to some of the commenters. Still, it makes me wonder why HBD blogs, including high quality blogs, attract such commenters.

      I don’t know that I have a stereotype about HBDers. I just have noticed that there are certain types of people attracted to HBD theory who seem less than desirable in terms of how they make HBD blogs appear by their commenting there. That seems problematic to me for a number of reasons. It lowers the quality of potential discussions in even high quality HBD blogs. I think the high quality HBDers have a lot to offer and I’d hate for them to be dismissed by most people because of guilt by association.

      Let me explain it this way.

      It would be like visiting a high quality blog about free market capitalism that happened to attract a fair number of fascists and corporatists. Or a theological blog that attracted theocratic and authoritarian fundies. When one sees such commenters, it makes one wonder what it is that is attracting them. It makes one wary and it also makes the blog seem less attractive as a place for discussion.

      Anyway, that is less of my focus in this post. I was trying to get at a more pychological level. To ask what attracts some ethnic nationalists/supremacists/imperialists to certain HBD blogs is to ask what encourages and allows for a thick boundary worldview in the HBD theory. I don’t know that there is anything inherent to HBD theory that makes this inevitable. So, I’m left wondering what is going on.

      I’m not criticizing thick boundary types. There is nothing that forces a thick boundary type to be an ethnic nationalist/supremacist/imperialist. My parents are more thick boundaried, but they are fairly normal people. There are a lot of positive qualities to thick boundaries and, through personal experience, I know there are many problems/challenges to thin boundaries. I’ve written about all this many times before in my blog.

      In this post, I was trying to get past the ideological angle in order to get at the psychological level. Some differences are just differences and aren’t an issue of right or wrong..

      • Hello Benjamin:
        While I’m nowhere near as seasoned an HBD blogger as hbd* chick or JayMan or some others (indeed, HBD isn’t the focal point of my blog), I do understand the apprehension you have vis a vis some blog commenters. Often it’s the HBD blogs that allow anonymous comments that attract some trolls or other offensive commenters (probably because such believe they won’t be “found out” in any way thanks to ‘anonymous’ handle; hbd* chick, however, does an excellent job of keeping trolls at bay). It’s tempting to look at a blog author a certain way given the flavor of the comments, but all you have to do is see what passes for comments in response to some news stories, YouTube videos, etc. to know that the comments do not (necessarily) reflect the beliefs, viewpoints, etc. of the article/blog writer or YouTube video uploader.

        On the topic of Myers-Briggs; when I took that assessment in college I was an “INFP” but now I’m not sure if that’s still the case (it’s been nearly 10 years since I took it)…

        Lastly, on an unrelated note, I find your blog rather interesting; as such, I’ve added it to my blogroll. Hope you don’t mind!

        • Howdy Nelson,

          As I’ve told hbd chick, I’ve come to consider myself as a HBD fellow traveler. I think it is highly plausible, but I’m naturally skeptical and so I maintain my right to await further evidence. I’m just curious about lots of things and HBD offers a lot to offer for a curious mind, especially hbd chick’s blog. If not for hbd chick’s massive research, I may never have been as attracted to HBD.

          Your mention of INFP is interesting. It would be nice data to see how different HBDers test on various personality measures such as MBTI. A complicating factor is that certain types seem to be disproportionately represented on the internet. The two most popular single type forums I ever came across were dedicated to INFPs and INTPs.

          I’m glad you find my blog interesting. It is simply about what interests me, but I can’t control what interests anyone else. Sure, I’m perfectly fine with being on your blogroll. I need to fix my own blogroll. I have some random stuff on there and it no longer represents my most recent interests and focus.

          • On the personality types of HBDers, that could be an interesting study…

            I can definitely relate to changing interests – even on my blog, I post on multiple topics; it reflects the tendency of my thoughts to travel…

  2. Maybe there should be no boundary (distinction) made between “thick boundary” people and “thin boundary” people, people who insist on certainty and people who don’t. Sometimes I want certainty, but sometimes I’d rather not know for sure. Maybe this is why FPs aspire to TJ, simply to be more well-rounded.

    • Well, a thin boundary type would more likely to see less distinction between thick boundary people and thin boundary people. I say that with some humor, but I suspect it is also true. Going by the research, it apparently is easier for a thin boundary type to fluidly slip into other mindsets.

      Anyway, the research itself posits no absolute categories. Ernest Hartmann explains that we have many boundaries and many ranges of thickness for these boundaries. There is a similar understanding in traits theory where research shows most people are closer to the middle on the spectrum and have some range in both directions.

      Nonetheless, it is interesting to look at the extremes. They might be the minority, but people at the extremes do exist.

    • Jon, a sense of objective certainty is something we all synthesize quite apart from warranted input from reality, some more, some less. The kind of certainty-seeking we’re talking about is not knowledge we’d ‘rather not know for sure’, but assessments of the world,that drive our life like morality, the nature of other people and personal relationships, and what we’re passionate about. Benjamin turned me on to Boundary Theory a while ago, and I find it a really useful distinction, especially in political ideology. It partially explains differences in morality and other values, clumps of personality difference, preferred symbolic language, and communication styles in ways that are very useful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s