I’ve been thinking about the conflicting relationships between liberals conservatives and progressives and the non-acknowledgement by libs and cons to accept that progressives are any different; the urge for life as purely binary. A recent interaction on Facebook with a childhood classmate brought some things to light. Many of his statements and advocacy share striking similarity to other conservative and Sensor-Thinker arguments against anything different I’ve heard since I was, like, five years old. (I have a conservative ST Dad and a liberal NF mom and am a progressive NF myself—a “loaded” upbringing to say the least).
Here is what I’ve learned, largely through intuition (sorry sensors, you gotta pay me if you want me to invest time sating your needs, LOL).
Conservative flaws (“flaw”: a strength taken to an extreme):
• The “this is the way that it is and it’s good enough (it works well)” belief
“Liberals are supposed to be the ones who think, at least conservatives have the “it’s the way things have always worked” going for them.” A classmate from my youth.
• The “I’m not biased” and the “I use sound reasoning” beliefs:
Again from my former classmate’s reasoning: “All of us write from a bias. The idea is not to reject a narrative that is different than ours, and neither is it to accept it, but rather to come to some level of understanding. I use verifiable facts and sound reasoning in everything that I write – the fact that my narrative differs from yours does not preclude an opportunity for you to learn something. And vice versa. I always respect well reasoned writing irrespective of the political bent of the author. I guess that makes me the true liberal.”
The strength of conservative thinking is that it surveys where we are right now and then has the focus to preserve the way things are right now. Taken too far conservatism has a vested & essential interest to seek to prevent any change to it’s own definition of the status quo. The conviction of the status quo promotes self-serving beliefs that by their own natural overreach of its validity by going to extremes, often rather quickly. The self-assured defense of the position (the definition of the way things are and what is working well) is “we are all biased but I’m right [because I know the truth and the facts (as I’ve defined them) are on my side.]”
Conservatism necessarily self-limits. We can’t see things that are out of our field of vision. If we put on blinders we put of a lot of things out of our FOV. Once you take the self-assured conviction that you’re right, you preclude any notion that you might not be right after all and claim that you want to just “come to an understanding” with anything challenging what’s in your self-limited FOV. That extreme posture quickly turns into “I use verifiable facts” while we actually don’t; “verifiable facts,” conveniently, are only those facts within our FOV. A self-limited view based on the confidence in what’s around us at that moment and the belief that it’s always been thus, has now morphed into a bizarre m.o. where a person is walking backwards in a tight circle, holding hands to the eyes insisting that they are walking forward and also visionary. Any perspective outside the hyper self-limits is understandably viewed as arrogance on the part of the outsider that cannot possible be valid or true.
A great example, and a political irony, is slavery and its eventual abolition politically and how much longer it took to do so culturally (although class/wage slavery still seems to perpetuate). It was not conservatives who advocated abolition, it was liberals and progressives (at the time neither were so entrenched in political parties in spite of platform distinctions). Conservatives historically have opposed abolition and continue to advocate that slavery, recently slavery of indirect manifestation, is a good thing or at the very least, the way things are and working well.
• the belief that sticking to the status quo with only some minor tweaks in the extent map will allow enough room for those outside of it. It’s illogical to think that a core with a small map can provide room for everyone, and to think that the self-limited existing way of doing things can ever be expanded to include those the existing way of doing things by nature excludes.
The strength of liberalism is that is seeks to include everyone through fairness and equality on every level. Every organism is indeed valuable to the greater whole.
Liberals continually evaluate the conservative definition of “what is working well now.” Any survivable organism has to self-assess in order to adapt to changes.
Liberalism taken to an extreme binds itself to a core that may not be expandable to include everything that needs to be included. Paradoxically the extreme of liberalism is that it can exceed the limits of a system by hyper specialization. You need experts to effectively evaluate what we have now and experts to expand what we have now to include more. But ecology shows us in nature that specialization has it’s own limit. Historically it is the generalists survive where specialist do not. Taken to extreme the acceptance of the conservatively defined map of where we are becomes a default belief of liberals who tend to want to work within that same system and map.
Good examples of this include President Obama’s selection of conservative Wall Street people, the continual statements that our system is the best in the world (despite it’s clear flaws compared to other cultural/national systems) and perpetuation of conservative foreign policy and wars abroad.
• the need to strike a balance is extremely messy and will typically run contrary to conservatives and liberals at every step of the way. Progressivism is so self-conscious it often isn’t ready or isn’t available to implement needed changes when these contrary moments with conservatives and liberals arise.
The strength of progressivism is that it seeks what functions best for everyone as part of an efficient and inspired whole: total maximized human potential in-progress as the ideal.
Progressives self-limit based on an hyper-introspection, a constant assessment and evaluation of the status quo contrasted to the objectives and goals of maximization of human potential. It is true there is a need to continually evaluate and reassess progress along the way. But when is what we have good enough and how will we know it? When progressives self-limit, conservatives fall into a default oppositional (even defiant) role and the affinity with liberals’ inclusiveness becomes a seductive to distraction from the necessary task of redefining what is good enough.
Progressives are unfortunately at a distinct disadvantage as they are usually at the margins or outside the map to begin with and are fighting a steep uphill battle for inclusion in a map or system that seeks actively to exclude and silence them. Case in point, the Green Party’s perpetual battle to change the electoral system to one that makes more sense in supporting and actualizing the functional ideals of democracy.
Following upon Myers-Briggs definitions of personality types, a system that seems to work very well as it is comprehensive and proven function by those who use it to work well with others across personality types:
Sensor-Thinker (ST) personality cores are essentially (by their own nature) conservative; no information comes in or is processed beyond the limits of physicality and intellect limited to that physicality.
Compare this to the Intuitive-Feeler (NF) personality core which takes in information via very wet and messy means of pattern recognition, instinct and “vibe” and process them through even messier “feelings” rather than intellect limited by the five senses.
The sage ST learns to recognize the validity of the NF, sometimes through an NF who has learned how to verify or corroborate sensory info and process them through thinking. This ST has expanded their worldview to include others and other processes while maintaining their core system.
The sage NF learns to recognize the validity of the ST, sometimes through an ST who has learned how to verify or corroborate intuitive info and comprehend the very messy chaos/wet processes feelings and intellect which are necessarily parts of a larger whole (the human brain is a wet system of which feelings are markers and thinking is merely another function of the greater whole). This NF has expanded their worldview to include others and other processes while maintaining their core system.
Neuroscience in the last few decades has shown us the human brain is both wet hardware and wetware (physical infrastructure and software); physical matter composed of organic chemical matter and operating on chemical exchange amongst that organic chemical matter. It’s a “computer” but it’s physical infrastructure is somewhat malleable under certain conditions. The plastic/metal chassis and silicon based circuitry of a physical PC is non-wet by nature. It cannot rewire certain parts under certain conditions the same way the human brain can. That’s the difference between wet and non-wet hardware. Software in a PC is still non-wet in that it’s a binary code running through physical hard circuitry. The brain chemistry “wiring” is highly dynamic by comparison. It’s somewhat quite malleable and also very, very wet.
ST core function uses the least wet parts of that larger whole brain system but they are still wet. NF core function uses the most wet parts of that larger whole brain system and is aware of both. The self-limit of the ST’s least wet parts of the larger whole system often precludes the ST from acknowledging the validity or even comprehending how the NF is even functional. Eventually something enters the senses field of vision and the acknowledgement of what NF’s already know is agreed upon, with essential provisos (The ST is not going to accept anything too wet nor will they agree to any intuitive intake or emotional processing that cannot be verified or corroborated by senses and less wet thinking).
NF core function uses the most wet parts of that larger whole brain system and is aware that this necessarily and essentially must include the less wet ST functions. The self-limit of the NF function is a decision to not recognize the less wet ST functions of the whole system. But it takes very little interaction with the physical world to quickly realize the decision isn’t a functional one; the ST less-wet function is a critical component. The ST takes much longer to expand recognition of the more wet because its essential self-limit.
The conservative is by nature the ST, although many NF conservatives are so due to loyalty to STs or pattern recognitions that haven’t yet been fully processed through additional introspection and thinking.
The liberal is a pretty mixed bag of STs and NFs. Expanding STs (those setting aside self-limits as they begin to recognize NF insights as valid or reliable) and NFs with developing ST skills tend to fill the roles of Includers and Evaluators of the status quo, the latter of which is defined primarily by the conservative.
The progressive is also a mixed bag but more often NFs with a few sage STs. The dominant group of NFs tends to be the emerging and sage NFs; these personality types are often the first to recognize the value of the ST and the benefit of developing the two skill sets into a higher functioning whole. Essential to this is the awareness and focus on thinking outside the NF and ST boxes and redefining the status quo (the conservative definition of “what works” isn’t given the de facto veto power liberals will often allow)
We could be working together with a little self-control
The beauty of a collaboration of the two personality cores (and the three ideological approaches to life) is that nothing is omitted from consideration and use that is verifiably and inspirationally useful. The ST provides an efficient core with sensory feedback and confirmation while the NF expands and provides feedback and confirmation through pattern recognition and “feel.”
A conservative that sets aside self-limits maintains a core and preserves core things for times of scarcity. This conservative makes room and opens themselves to the insight, discovery and heart that progressives and liberals bring to the core.
A liberal that sets aside the self-limits of the existing map set by the conservative definition of the status quo and makes room for the redefinitions offered by the progressive is more open to collaborations and opportunities presented by their own desire for inclusiveness when processed through the constant assessment and evaluation of the progressive. The liberal who can hold the conservative’s strength of understanding what is around them while abandoning themselves to the expansion of the map progressives bring stands to benefit from more inclusion and more opportunities, things that already inspire them. The sacrifice comes in allowing an expanded map when they don’t believe it’s possible.
A progressive that can find a balance of conservation and inclusion of all amidst the tension of conservative hyper self-limiting and liberal displacement of map with inclusion finds a productive role as manager, mediator & arbiter of the best of conservative and liberal approaches and as an advocate or inspirational motivator for the maximum human potential.
The irony of all of this is the conservative necessarily and by their own nature has to sacrifice the most and trust others who are very much outside their field of vision. But the benefits when they do can be spectacular. Conservatives also stand to grow the most since humans tend to learn best through pain and suffering. By tolerating the pain-in-the-ass factor of liberalism and the suffering imposed by an unfettered progressive element, they can have the most satisfaction of the three in lived experience.
Kind of like the much more intense pleasure experienced during the process of an erection for the guy who’s on the smallish side when flaccid compared to the well endowed guy when flaccid. The journey to the result is the thing, after all.
All the above thinking is very messy and ST’s will go apeshit at the lack of citations, the sensory-thinking core that they trust as a fundamental core. I’ve already spent far too much time looking at, examining and observing the patterns intuitively over the last two and a half decades and I also have to earn some money actually working. I just wanted to put these notions out there. I expect many NFs and progressives, even a few liberals will find it juicy enough to consider a good start.