Monday, February 20, 2006

Spirituality and Global Brain

There is a deep inner connection between the principles of Global Brain, our personalities - or better, our selfs - and our spiritual path. Peter Tuft Richardson describes in his book Four Spiritualities how the MBTI, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - based on the works of the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung - nicely fits in with the four types of personal and spiritual development. These four types can be found in every religion, the Indian veda's, the Chinese Tao and the different types of Yoga. Richardson gives examples of spiritual leaders for every spiritual path. So it didn't came as a big surprise that the four principles of bacterial life also fit in. If we supplement the four principles by personality types, we get:

It is the same matrix as a previous post. In this picture I've assembled the four personalities (NT, NF, ST and SF). These are the four combinations of two required functions. We need a function that perceives someting first and then a function to judge the input in order to do something. The perceiving - or irrational - function is either through the senses (the 'real' eye) - or Sensing or through the iNtuition (the 'mind's' eye). Recent studies of the working brain have confirmed this. Our seeing is more a kind of verifying what's already present or expected in our mind than a series of snapshots or a film.
The judging - or rational - function is either Thinking ( 'objective') or Feeling ('subjective'). We tend to 'think' that thinking is the best way to make a judgement. But in fact, feeling, our feelings, have already made an educated guess and the ratio only adds its arguments. This gives us the four combinations.

Every person has a certain predisposition. You cannot think and feel at the same time. There is not an even distribution of combinations in our population. 75% of the population are Sensing types, 25% Intuitive. There are three times as many sensing people, so that's why sensing is the norm. The Thinking and Feeling function is 50%-50% in a population, BUT 61% of men prefer Thinking and 68% of women prefer the Feeling function. Much of the popular literature on the differences between men and women can be traced back to these differences. In both men and women, the dominant judging function is combined with the Sensing, so for men ST (41%) is the norm and for women SF (47%). Overall the percentages are: ST, 38, SF, 38, NF, 12 and NT 12.

First of all, a preference doesn't imply that the complementary function is not available for an individual. Everybody can use their senses and their intuition, everybody can think and feel. But not at the same time. When we're under pressure, in an emergency, our preferences kick in. They are a kind of mental lifeboat.

Moreover, this distribution doesn't mean that one type is 'better' than another. They are just 'different qualities', qualities that are not always needed to the same degree. Use of a certain quality depends on the situation. Raising a child requires compassion, plowing requires action, running a company requires judgement and solving a paradox requires wisdom. However evolution is a smart gamer: these different percentages are the optimal combination for a population of hunters/ gatherers to survive. A tribe of only ST-men is, under pressure, less able to innovate, less able to experiment and not very compassionate. Their changes, united we stand, are slim. A group artistic, feely-touchy apemen, on the other hand, divided we fall, doesn't stand much of change either.

And thirdly: in our spiritual development (between brackets in the picture), we are required to accept, to learn from our lesser or minor functions. Denying yourself a quality, is denying yourself a part of fulfiment.

When we apply these findings to the Global Brain, we can see that 'Inner Judges' and 'Resource Shifters' are most common (76%) in a population. Makes sense in a time of peace and quite. The 'conformity enforcers' and the 'diversity generators' balance each other (12% and 12%), but because of the predisposition of T in men, the enforcers have an advantage in times of war and stress. Also makes sense.

In order to kick start a renaissance, we'll need all types. And we need facilitation to prevent pressure from building up. Because, in an unsafe environment, the weaker voices are silenced.


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