David West Keirsey (August 31, 1921 – July 31, 2013)

frame work


re-: Latin – ‘again
imagin-: Latin imaginari – ‘picture to oneself,’
ing: Germanic -ung – Gerund – ‘continuing action

david west keirsey self portrait 2

My father died on July 30th, 2013 and I intend to honor him, if I can, by writing a blog about him and his ideas every year.  First year,  Second Year, Third Year

His ideas still have use because his ideas are slow ideas. Moreover, his ideas have wider applicability if re-imagin-ed, judiciously.

Only the educated and self-educated are free.

“… Up to that time I had learned a lot, but not at school. I began reading when I was seven. Read (most of) a twelve volume set of books my parents bought, Journeys through Bookland. Read countless novels thereafter, day in and day out. I educated myself by reading books. Starting at age nine my family went to the library once a week, I checking out two or three novels which I would read during the week. Then, when I was sixteen, I read my father’s copy of Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophy. I read it over and over again, now and then re-reading his account of some of the philosophers.” [Turning Points, David West Keirsey, 2013]

Klein Dual Inside Out

“I mention Durant’s book The Story of Philosophy because it was a turning point in my life, I too, become a scholar as did Durant, thereafter reading the philosophers and logicians—anthropologists, biologists, ethologists, ethnologists, psychologists, sociologists, and, most important, the etymologists, all of the latter—Ernest Klein, Eric Partridge, Perry Pepper, and Julius Pokorny—of interest to me now as then.” [Turning Points, David West Keirsey, 2013]

When I arrived on the scene (about 30 years later) upon which my father and I started debating about ideas. He was well educated, and more importantly self-educated, in Philosophy and Psychology.  He considered himself to be the last of the Gestalt Psychologists at the end of his life.

Being a “hard” science kind of guy by nature but always being questioned by my “Gestalt” psychologist father, I always, in the back of my mind, questioned the basic assumptions taught to me in school — like the physics concept of “mass.” I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what was wrong or what issues were being finessed, for I figured that I was either ignorant or not bright enough to know better.

“If you don’t understand something said,
don’t assume you are at fault.”
— David West Keirsey

My father was called Dr. Matrix by his staff at Covina School District. He considered himself as an self taught expert in Qualitative Factor Analysis, because he had to have six semesters of statistics (quantitative and correlative) as a PhD requirement for psychology, and found that those techniques missed important factors and meaning.  Rather, he looked for systematic (and wholistic) patterns in human action, using the principles of Gestalt psychology.  I often would be his sounding board on his tentative propositions in characterizing the observable action patterns.

Temperament Framework Productive Action
The Temperament Framework for Productive Human Action

sound barrier form barrierForm: Penetrating the In-form-ation and Ex-form-ation barrier.

Through out our discussions and debates, he talked about ideas.   We talked about philosophy, science, mathematics, computers, people and life.  Overarching the discussions were how to use “words” (qualities) effectively.  One of the themes of the discussions was “polarization”: how do things develop?  His PhD thesis was titled the “Polarization of Intelligence”.

polarization of intelligence
An extract from David West Keirsey’s Polarization of Intelligence, 1967.

However, he had decided that his PhD work was the wrong approach. He learned that trying to observe and measure something that is not directly observable: “thought”, was an impossible task and statistical measures didn’t help in resolving precisely the important factors and the corresponding relations.  In the process of analysis (taking things apart), you miss some of the properties of the whole system and its ecology (the person and his/her social field) including the surroundings CONTEXTS.

david west keirsey

Hegel’s dialectic, a general of view of that “polarized” development as the “nature of things,” was in the background of our discussions and debates.  My natural interest and education in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and the up and coming Information and Computer Sciences, I argued for Informational Factor Analysis, but really implicitly believed and talked about Quantitative Factor Analysis via measures as a counterpoint to my father’s often rhetorical questioning and my naivety.

On the human species abuse and use of words and tools.

Keirsey temperament matrix
A Qualitative Matrix of the Four Temperaments

Nobody understands Quantum Mechanics
Richard Feynman

If you can measure (perceive) it, you can’t understand (conceive) it.
If you can understand (conceive) it, you can’t measure (perceive) it.

— David M Keirsey and David W Keirsey

What is Life?


Hidden Patterns

bill martin tree of life
Bill Martin’s Depiction of the Tree of Life

The history of science has been the ebb and flow between the experimentalists and the theoreticians: the exact and the inexact, the qualitative and quantitative.

The progress of science is the discovery at each step of a new order which gives unity to what had seemed unlike. — Jacob Bronowski

Quantum mechanics, with its leap into statistics, has been a mere palliative for our ignorance  — Rene Thom

Robert Rosen, the theoretical biologist, addressed this debate I had with my father, and how scientists as a Kuhnian culture fought both each other and the evolving reality of the universe.  Rosen had said:

‘I have, much against my will, been immersed my whole life in one of the dualities, namely, the antagonism between “theory” and “experiment.”  My subject matter herein is another, in fact closely related duality, that between “hard” science and “soft” science, between quantitative and qualitative, between “exact” and “inexact.”

This duality is not to be removed by any kind of tactical accommodation, by any superficial effort of conciliation or ecumenicism.  The antipathies generated by the duality itself are only symptoms of a far deeper situation, which has roots partly in specific matter, partly in individual aspirations, and most important, in embracing of mutually incompatible weltanschauungen [world view], which reflect the deepest aspects of temperament and personality.  It is thus not a matter of logical argumentation or persuasion that is involved here; it is a matter more akin to religious conversion.

In what follows, I discuss the duality between qualitative and quantitative.  As we will see, in the sciences this dichotomy rests on (generally unrecognized) presuppositions themselves have formal, mathematical counterparts, which allow us to reflect this scientific dualism into an exactly parallel one that exists within mathematics itself.  This mathematical form of the dualism is centered around the notion of formalization; it can be expressed as the duality between syntactics and semantics; between what is true by virtue of form alone, independent of any external referents, and what is not. [Robert Rosen, Life Itself, Praeludium, page 2] [my emphasis]

So I intend to use my father’s methodology, Robert Rosen’s perspective, some judiciously choosen conventional science and mathematics, and use a systemic approach, combining both the quantitative results of science and the qualitative ad-hoc frame-works of science, mathematics, and information science into an integrated weltanschauungen of  Relational Complexity and Comparative Science.

Every scientist’s given is another’s analytic goal
— Susan Oyama
The remarkable thing is understanding never stays put.
It is important always to get a new understanding
… … … understanding can be improved

— Saunders MacLane
Currently, there is no firm semantic connection between Albert Einstein’s General Relativity “theory” (GR) of the “large,” and Niels Bohr’s applied use of Planck and Einstein’s notions of the LichtQuant (photon) and blackbody radiation (Quantum Theory) of the “small”.
 sporadic group network
Judiciously choosing the one guiding, overall framework, with many other frameworks integrated, I made the following  correspondence (not a correlation) with the 27 Sporadic Groups (including the Tits Group) to conventional physics and particle physics “concepts” that have been “observed” (partially through Quantum Mechanics)  in the last hundred years.
keirsey formatics forces particles simple sporadic groups
My father essentially had one methodology, the Gestalt, and one frame work: human action as a guide to understanding things.
However, standing on his shoulders (and Newton, Margulis, Darwin, Rosen, Einstein, Prigogine, Dirac, Planck ..)  and under-standing things using a dynamic multiset of frame works that complement and add to each other systemically, one can get a better understanding.

Frame Works

frameworks mosaic
To better answer the question “what is life?,”  we have look into what life is, not.  To better answer the question “what is existence”, we have to look at “what is life and death of things,” and what life and death is, NOT, whether that be about “light” (or lichtquant) or “dark energy and dark matter” or any other words or phrases that the current pundits might come up with.
 David Mark Keirsey
“Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds,
bursting with its own corrections.
You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.”

— Vilfredo Pareto

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