David West Keirsey (August 31, 1921 – July 31, 2013)
re-: Latin – ‘again‘
–imagin-: Latin imaginari – ‘picture to oneself,’
–ing: Germanic -ung – Gerund – ‘continuing action‘
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]
“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.
Form: 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”.
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.
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.
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
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.
It is important always to get a new understanding
… … … understanding can be improved
— Saunders MacLane
bursting with its own corrections.
You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.”
— Vilfredo Pareto