David West Keirsey (August 31, 1921 – July 31, 2013)
re-: Latin – ‘again‘
–imagin-: Latin imaginari – ‘picture to oneself,’
–ing: Germanic -ung – Gerund – ‘continuing action‘
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]
“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.
Go Ask Alice,
When she is ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you are going to fall.
Tell them a hookah-smoking, caterpillar
Has given you a call
when she is small.
She came into my focus, late: when I was 29 years old.
I really didn’t see her clearly when I was young. She was Pollyanna to me. The Energizer Bunny personified. My Gaia.
From the beginning, she would read to me what I was interested in. I learned to read by listening to her. Not fairy tales, not silly stories, but from the natural world: she read from Time Life: The World We Live In.
She had been there all along, the all encompassing foundation: at the start, there in the beginning, my World, my life.
She encouraged my passion of Science, to be the best I could be. She loved learning, I did too.
I quickly surpassed her in understanding the natural world, although she was always better with the people world. She was my first Teacher: she is my mother: all four feet, eight inches.
She supported my father in his education, when he got back from World War II. She went back to work, when he took a pay cut to be a university professor. She was a elementary school teacher for over 40 years. Everybody loves her, her fellow teachers, her students, their parents, her children and her grandchild. She was my father’s best Advocate. And she was my Advocate too, for I am her son: the scientist.
Even more than the other Idealists,Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner’s potentials. Teachers are able – effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible. [Please Understand Me II]
Yes, Life Itself. It’s complex, with many Dynamic Relations and Varying Contexts.
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said Feed your head Feed your head
— Jefferson Airplane
Now that she is not here all the time. She is fading from this world, the focus blurring. Time to take care of her, no questions, no answers, just be her foundation. I can’t explain my science to her which theoretically sound but of no practical use, as her World becomes smaller and smaller. Just appreciate her for being there in beginning as the foundation, and I hope to be there supporting as a foundation, however flawed, to the end.
David West Keirsey: Self Portrait
(August 31, 1921 – July 30, 2013)
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.
“I regard myself as the last living Gestalt Psychologist”
— David West Keirsey
Gestalt: German word for form or shape
He wrote a short autobiography at the bequest of us, it was titled: Turning Points. It chronicles some of the turning points of his life. I want to write “an intellectual history” of him using some of that material plus my fading memory about the ideas we discussed in those many years, since it might be instructive to see how and why his ideas were formed and evolved. Moreover, I think that his developed “methodology” of qualitative factor analysis and synthesis can contribute to the progress in science.
Many people have asked why is Keirsey Temperament Theory not known broadly as “it should be.”
For a long time, I couldn’t give a good answer.
The answer is: “It’s a Slow Idea.”
My father outlines “The History of Madness” in his lectures. And the Wholistic Theory of Madness is a slow idea, its roots going back to over a century with my father adding the idea of Temperament in the last half century. Fast Ideas about “madness” have been around since Homo Sapens possessed language.
They had to be discrete. Tongues will wag. For their idea is a slow idea, not well accepted in the world even today. Their slowidea on the human element, Hu, analogously called latentheat in physics and chemistry, generated a lot of heat by others, full of sound and fury at the time, for these other people vigorously opposed the idea:On Liberty – moral|economic. It wasn’t the fastidea at the time: the conventional wisdom of Victorian, Anglican, England: the idea of nationalised merchantilism — tariffed moral, economic, political, and social trade: locally culture restricted and centralized regulated trade of ideas and things: Oh Britannia.
‘… Bill Gates weighed in with his condemnation. “I think that the book actually did damage the generosity of rich world nations,” he said in a 2013 interview. “I have read it and I think she didn’t know much about aid and what aid is doing.” ‘ [My emphasis]
Sorry Bill — think again, haven’t you got that the other way around?
“Don’t just read it; fight it! Ask your own questions, look for your own examples, discover your own proofs. Is the hypothesis necessary? Is the converse true? What happens in the classical special case? What about the degenerate cases? Where does the proof use the hypothesis?” – Paul Halmos
Mary’s “little lambs” were medical researchers that she herded together: adults who were driven to find a cure for cancer, even as the children were suffering and dying: by the thousands. It was a dilemma: how to cure childhood leukemia, where the medical doctors could do nothing — they didn’t understand what cancer was. Experimenting on children with a cocktail of toxic chemicals was heart rendering, such that the original doctor who opened the door to that reasearch method, couldn’t do it.
I cannot make one child suffer and die, to save two others.
— Sidney Farber
Robert Mosessaid about Mary: that she had it all—intelligence, vision, generosity, charm, kindness.
Neen Hunt added this: “she also had courage, passion, and indefatigable energy, and the heart and will to apply her gifts and talents to reduce suffering from disease for people all over the world.”
“The strength of our nation depends on the health of our people. We must once again place the priority on research. It’s good for trade, good for jobs, and vital for all Americans. Medical research is our hope for our children and for the building of a healthy America.”
Mary was strategic… For that vision was for the future…