On the Question of Learning Words…

… and Tools.

“It is important to understand that the Four Temperaments are not simply arbitrary collections of characteristics, but spring from an interaction of the two basic dimensions of human behavior: our communication and our action, our words and our deeds, or, simply, what we say and what we do.” — David West Keirsey

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, Fourth Year.david_west_keirsey_young_man

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

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
and next year’s words await another voice.
— T.S. Eliot

He concentrated on them:  the use of words,

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Re-imagin-ing

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

frame work

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

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A Turning Point

David West Keirsey: Self Portrait
David 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.

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Rational Maverick

In Memoriam

It is the first anniversary of my father’s death.

david_keirsey_in_library
Professor David West Keirsey
(August 31, 1921 – July 30, 2013)

I always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library — Luis Jorge Borges

I was born into even a better paradise.  My father was wordmeister (a studier of words) and a personologist (a studier of persons), and a book reader: A Rational Maverick.  And I was just like him — well sorta’.  He was born in the 20’s and I was born in the 50’s.  Two ages of innocence:  he after WWI and me after WWII.

He had different upbringing than me, but we were of the same Temperament (Rational), Role (Engineer) and Type (Architect).  A kind of a natural science and engineering type of person: a nerd, in modern argot. I naturally graviated towards being a scholar in quantitative reasoning and the use of words, because of his and my mother’s library of life. He had naturally became a scholar in qualitative reasoning and the use of words.

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. (Long afterwards I read his magnificent eleven volumes—The Story of Civilization. I also have read his The Lessons of History many times, this being his brilliant summary of the eleven volumes.)

I mention Durant’s book The Story of Philosophy because it was a turning point in my life, I to 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, unpublished]

When I started to discuss (and soon to debate) things with my father, we discussed logic and the use of words.  I had become a reader too, rather naive and ignorant as children are, however.  Luckily, my father had learned what it meant to learn.

The second turning point occurred when there came a sudden, drastic, and permanent change in my life. In May 1942 I was drafted. I quit school immediately and joined the Navy to become a fighter pilot. Why fighter pilot? Because as a child I had read every book I could find about the fighter pilots of the first world war, finally resorting to 5 cent pulp books, many well written (I have no idea why these planes and their pilots fascinated me). So when called to war I could not imagine my engaging in any other kind of warfare. Not that I wished to go to war. Far from it ─ I wished to pursue, not the enemy, but college studies. Even so, I found flight training fascinating but challenging and hazardous, many cadets failing to pass the frequent tests at each stage of training. Incidentally, it was during flight training that I learned the crucial difference between education and training. An educated person has acquired knowledge; a trained person has acquired skill. An effective person has acquired both. [Turning Points]

He was able to go to college on the GI bill, renew his scholarship, and to continue “action” research (as he called it) when the War ended.

In January 1946 back to college. We lived in my wife’s parents’ home in Costa Mesa until the summer, at which time we moved to Claremont, this because my wife’s parents let us live in their (refurbished) garage. Indeed, we chose Pomona College in Claremont, not for its many merits, but solely because we had a place to live in. What a stroke of luck! Claremont was a college town housing no less than seven colleges, each unique and well known, one of them being Claremont Graduate University, my place of study for thirteen years, I resuming my interrupted life as a scholar.

 …

I attended Claremont Graduate University—the fourth turning point in my life.

Claremont Graduate University had a clinic in which I practiced counseling troubled persons for four years.

Pursuant to writing my masters thesis I studied ten persons said to have high blood pressure without physical disease or defect, then called “essential hypertension.” Met with each person many times for many months, using personality inventories and what was then called ‘associative anamnesis’ in which they told me the story of their lives while I asked them to go into more detail about their more disturbing experiences, taking copious notes all the while. No one had ever paid such rapt attention to them and tried so hard to understand how these experiences affected them, or accepted everything they said without criticism. It was on the basis of this method of interviewing that Carl Rogers built his notorious career, he giving the method names such as ‘non-directive counseling’, ‘reflective listening’, and ‘active listening’. Practicing the method early on and thenceforth gave direction to my career as a counselor of both troubled and troublesome children and their parents and teachers, and as a trainer of those who would practice such counseling, and finally as a writer on personality, counseling, and madness.

I found all ten persons to have the same personality, what I would much later call the Guardian. It was this long study of persons’ lives that set me on my lifelong career course. Thus I became a person watcher. Wrote Personality in Essential Hypertension for my MA degree. [Turning Points]

My father would go on to be a clinical school psychologist for the next 20 years, collecting and inventing corrective intervention techniques and developing Temperament Theory.  We would discuss experiences and his ideas, and many of the ideas that he got from the hundreds of books in his growing library.  Then there was:

The Book

Bates and I wrote three books, one of them titled Please Understand Me, the contents taken from transcriptions of my lectures and conversations with Bates, she the scrivener. When Bates died I gave the manuscript to her sister to have it published. Her sister did nothing about it for a whole year, so I then retrieved and rewrote the manuscript entirely and, finding no publisher, published it myself in 1978—a turning point.

The book had a strange history. It started as sixteen separate “portraits of temperament”, these being expansions of the sixteen “psychological types” of Isabel Myers, a novelist who was devoted to Carl Jung’s ideas on personality. Had the college book store print each portrait separately on typing paper, sixteen sheets clipped together, put in a manila folder and sold in the college book store. Sold five thousand copies the first year (1975). When Please Understand Me was written, the sixteen portraits were in its appendix, probably the reason the book still sells thirty or so years later and has been translated into a dozen foreign languages. [Turning Points]

He would go on the write or contribute to more books: Portraits of Temperament, Presidential Temperament, Please Understand Me II, and Personology.

He never completed Dark Escape, his magnum opus on Madness, a manuscript that he worked on and off for 60 years.  Some day I would like to publish it or a subset in some form.  Some of the work is at his blog site that I created for him,  http://professorkeirsey.wordpress.com

I continue to wander in the library of life, sometimes reading or rereading books that my father wrote or read: with thought in new regions that my father never could go to, but wondered about.

Yorick’s Answer

Surely You Infinitely Jest.

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him,
Horatio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
Act V, Scene 1 (Hamlet, with Horatio)

olivier-hamlet

The map is not the territory, but neither is a random (gaussian noise) sample, but they are both starts. They are better than nothing{the trivial group} or doG. And when they are combined intelligently, they are an unbeatable combination.

Keirsey’s law revised.

“You can’t beat first order statistics”the herd(strong correlation),
— unless you know the first order correspondences too,
and you don’t get in the way.

Yorick’s Answer

… was the right answer for me at the time. But in a crazy and 40 years from recall, the answer was luckily wrongly incomplete.

No, it wasn’t Yorick who answered. That’s not right, he is dead? No, Yorick isn’t dead, he is a fictional CHARACTER. Can fictional characters, die? Or when do they die?

There is no correlation there? What is the correspondence?

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, by any other name.

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My Father, The Greatest, and Of the Greatest Generation

He was My Father.

He died July 30th, 2013 at 91.

I have many memories of him, some early memories have that misty, but warm quality, of the fifties, an age of innocence.

You kinda of realize things slowly.  Kids must learn.  Things emerge into your consciousness.

I remember when I realized he was just a man around the time I was a young teenager, he wasn’t all powerful, he was human.  And later I realized what a man.  A Rational Man,  just like me.  And his ideas have changed many lives for the better.

And of course, he is of the Greatest Generation.  An American marine fighter pilot, who at one time was sitting on a carrier off the coast of Japan, ready to invade their homeland.  Not thinking of a future.  Then there was the news.. Atomic Bomb.  He now had a future, he could go home.

He returned, married my mother, went to school on the GI bill, and embarked on career as a psychologist.  School psychologist. Helping troubled and troublesome kids.

And he was Maverick, in ideas.

Dr. David West Keirsey with self portrait.Dr. David West Keirsey with self portrait.

He was “Just like me..”  — Oh, what a lucky person I am. 

What did “just like me” mean?

As it turned out this situation was unusual, although I did not know it at time and it took me a few years to realize it.  And as a father myself, I understand it much more as time goes on.  Your friends and family are rarely “just like you”.

The Father-Son relationship is complicated, whether or not you are a chip off the old block.

Being “A Chip Off the Old Block” — is not the usual situation, in life, as I was to learn from my father.

We both were interested in ideas.  As it turned out he would name our type of person as “an Architect Rational” (and lastly a “Designer Rational”  he was always tinkering with his theory) — but that is much a later in life.  We both loved to examine and debate ideas, he respecting my thoughts despite my youth and naivety.

He was a great listener. But he was always willing to debate ideas, and question the conventional.

My most vivid memory, and recurring memory of him was when I was about 12 years old, I came back from school and he had asked me what I learned and queried me about my new found knowledge.  Can a set be a subset of itself? That is the question my father put to me when I was about twelve years old, when I was being taught “new math” in junior high school and trying to explain to him math. I said “Yes, a set can be a subset of itself.” My answer at the time was less than satisfactory for my father, for he understood things much more than I did. A lively debate about this question ensued for many years between us and this question morphed to many other questions. The ensuing life-long dialog and debate between the two of us has covered a wide range of issues about life, both in the physical and behavioral sciences. My father spoke more of the behavioral sciences, I, more of the physical and computer sciences, and all the while both of us spoke of how words best be used.

He was well read in philosophy and psychology — and he loved history, particularly Civil War and WWII history, given that he was in the WWII.  But ultimately he considered himself a “wordmeister.”  He studied words.  And he studied persons.  He considered himself a personologist.

Beginning at an early age, my father would talk about the works of Oswald Spengler, Herbert Spencer, Will Durant, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Arthur Schopenhauer, Ayn Rand, Georg Hegel, Maurice Merlau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Wolfgang Kohler, William James, John Dewey, Ernst Cassirer,  Isabel Myers, Milton Erickson, Jay Haley to name a few.

In the last years he had physical ails that dimmed and slowed his brilliant mind, as the impromptu video below shows. But he still retained an intelligence and humor far beyond the ordinary, up to his last few days.

By the by.  Yes, I contended with my father on the ideas.  He needed someone to bounce his ideas off.  And, in the last few years he kept forgetting that I did put up some of his publishable work on madness (after trying to get him agree to let some of it out for about the last 10 years), here.  — David Mark Keirsey.

History of Madness

It Will Get Better..

Taller than 99.35 percent of all Americans, with the wingspan of an albatross…

“I’m living proof that no matter where you’re at or how hard it is, you can come out of it,” she said with assurance. “The key is you just can’t give up. Keep believing in yourself.

“It will get better.”

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Productive Ability

Professor Keirsey has outlined productive ability.

Professor Keirsey's Blog

productive_abilities

The four kinds of ability are not equally distributed. Half of the population, fifty percent, are Guardians, born with logistical ability, Forty percent of the population are Artisans, born with tactical ability. That leaves a mere ten percent for the Idealists and Rationals, born with diplomatic ability in the case of Idealists, and strategic ability in the case of Rationals. Fortunately, the few Rationals can do all of the mobilizing, arranging, inventing, and designing needed. Unfortunately, the few Idealists are far too scarce to do all of the educating, counseling, advocating, and reconciling needed, education, especially, suffering from the shortage of Idealists.

beneficiaries_matrix

Civilization would not prosper as it has these many centuries were it not for the preponderance of those born with logistical ability, the Guardians. Half the population, they see to it that procedures, products, materials, and possessions are safe and secure. The other beneficiaries, especially Artisans and Rationals…

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