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 [Turning Points, David West Keirsey, unpublished]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.

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Maverick is His Name

Who is the tall, dark stranger there?
Maverick is his name
Riding the trail to who-knows-where
Luck is his companion
Gambling is his game
Wild as a wind in Oregon,
blowing up the canyon.
Easier to tame

River boat, ring your bell!
Fare thee well, Annabelle
Luck is the lady that he loves the best
Traveling ’round New Orleans,
living on jacks and queens
Maverick ïs the legend of the West

Yes, he was a natural.

He never did memorize the exact lines, but he was better than the writers, at what he said at the moment.  In the moment.

He didn’t need to act as Maverick, he was an original Maverick.  James Bumgarner,  was a self-described “scrounger” for his army company in the Korean War.

The Natural Operator.  It’s called Temperament.

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For the Good of My Country

No.

NO.

NO!

Grover Cleveland

Stephen Grover Cleveland [22nd and 24th President] was a man who knew how to say “no.” During his two terms in office he issued more than six hundred vetoes, four hundred and thirteen of them in his first term alone. This was more than the combined vetoes of all the twenty-one Presidents before him and more than any other President except Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Cleveland was quite proud of his record… [Presidential Temperament]
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Architecting History

James Madison

Thomas Jefferson, [Architect Rational,] served two terms as President, and like Washington before him decided that two terms of its “splendid misery” were quite enough for any man. He was eager to return to a life of study and to have his old friend, the gentle and scholarly James Madison, [Architect Rational,] succeed him in the White House. There was little opposition to his choice and “Little Jemmy” Madison, who stood about five feet, five inches tall and weighed in the neighborhood of 100 pounds, won the presidential election of 1808 handily, and was sworn into office in early 1809. Though he was pleased to have become President, Madison intensely disliked the ceremony and celebration that attended his inauguration. He was quick to announce to a friend his reaction to the gala inaugural ball: he would rather be in bed.

Another quiet, privacy-loving Engineer Rational had taken the helm of the ship of state. [Presidential Temperament]

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The Double Edged Sword of Temperament

David Keirsey:

So what are the RELATIONS between your beliefs and others?

Originally posted on Please Understand Me:

There are always peaks and valleys encountered in one’s life journey in time and space.

national_brother_week

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends.
But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy
is the quintessence of true religion”
Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Get action. Do things; be sane;
don’t fritter away your time; create, act,
take a place wherever you are and be somebody;
get action.”
Theodore Roosevelt

“Fix reason firmly in her seat,
and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion.”
Thomas Jefferson

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain
what I consider the most enviable of all titles,
the character of an honest man.”
George Washington

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well, the road to the heavens is also paved with good intentions and bad intentions.  Because we never know,

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Why?

David Keirsey:

Many individuals have asked “Who Am I” — the answer, of course, is complicated….

Originally posted on Please Understand Me:

That’s what he was asking him-self.

Why?

Why was his father so violent?

And Why — didn’t – he become violent?

He wasn’t as interested in who, when, where, or what: but why.  To answer the why, he also had to come up with the how — individuals become violent.

In asking these why questions, and researching for answers, he ended up with a useful and profound answer.

His answer is on the nature and nurture of the SELF: The Self as Soliloquy. And we all have a SELF.

olivier-hamlet

But that’s not the whole story….

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A New Page

of History.

You’re Hired. You’re Fired.  That’s business.

You’re Fired!  It was Donald Trump‘s phrase, he tried to trademark it.  But it is the old, tried, and true random way: Neo-Darwinism (but do not blame Darwin for he understood his views better than that).

No, how about Margulian Darwinism?

Because, Larry’s plan is different — fundamentally different. His choice.

You’re Hired.

A New Page of History

You’re hired, and your salary is a one time gift, of ~30 billion dollars give or take some billions, no strings attached, but Metaman tethered.

Are we on the SAME PAGE? Not likely.

Larry Page
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The First Visible Crack

I remember the exact moment and place.  As we talked, Karel had made the gesture of flicking his finger at an imaginary glass globe in his hand that would crack into a million pieces:

“It would just take a small Ping — the whole thing could shatter and fall apart” he said.

I thought, yes, just like the edge-of-chaos/order: a phase transition.

Soon it happened.  Few, if any, but Karel could have imagined it happening — and so soon.

He knew the system well: as a kid, he had been prevented to pursue what he was good at — mathematics — for the powers of Czechoslovkia wouldn’t let him go to school, because his father had escaped from the Soviet bloc, leaving Karel and his mother to suffer the consequences.  Karel knew what it is like not to trust anybody outside his immediate family — not say what everybody knew but could not say — the Soviet system was a human prison: Private Truths, Public Lies.  Karel did get out in 1978 by Jimmy Carter’s diplomatic initiative with Alexander Dubček’s short regime. Only a few could escape from the system.

Karel obtained his PhD in Mathematics from Stanford University a couple years later after our talk.   Nobody really thought it would happen.  The Iron Curtain seemed still solid in 1988.  The Soviet system had lasted for more than 75 years.  The Soviet Union was one of the two superpowers: a military and nuclear super power. Rebellions had failed before: Hungary and Czechoslovakia, otherwise subversive acts had to keep a low profile.

The first real crack on the surface of that Curtain had started in 1982, three years before Mikhael Gorbachev took power. That first crack, that finally spread like that imagined shattered glass globe of Karel’s in 1989, was Promoted by one man….

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Be Himself

I have often reflected that the causes of success or failure of men depend upon their … character, and [are] not a matter of choice. – Niccolo Machiavelli

He was there, tall and imposing, and upright with his natural grace and nobility. In front of the his men, he naturally commanded attention, his speech had seemingly come to close.

But now he hesitated. He stopped. This was unusual for him.

They knew him so well. They had followed him, through thick and thin, for years. But they were angry. They wanted to revolt. They hadn’t been paid; they had listen to his prepared speech; they had heard similar excuses before. Most of them still not convinced. He knew this.

He was at loss to what to do.

In a last desperate act, he pulled a letter from his pocket. Something was wrong, however.

He tried to read the letter, stumbling with his words, then, hopelessly staring at it.

He hestitated again. He, again, reach to a pocket, pulling out a pair of eyeglasses.

“Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray, but almost blind, in the service of my country.”

Most had never seen these eyeglasses, something only General George Washington intimates had ever seen him wear. Humbled and embarrassed, many of the officers were now in tears. For, if the speech had not already destroyed the revolt, this act assured its demise. Washington left the meeting. The officers unanimously voted to wait for their overdue wages, and they would not “retire to some unsettled country” and leave Congress without an army.

“On other occasions he had been supported by the exertions of the army and the countenance of his friends,” said Captain Samuel Shaw, “but in this he stood single and alone.”

With that George Washington continued lead and help found the United States of America.

Leading Naturally.

The point of this story is that George Washington, could not help himself, but be himself, and be leader even at his weakest moment. His officers followed the man, George Washington, because of who he was. Continue reading

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Word Warrior

She thought her words had power.  And they did.
maya_word_warrior

“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” — Charles Dickens

“There is the danger of the single story.” —  Chimamanda Adichie

But no one could accuse Maya of a single story: she is a natural storyteller…  And a Word Warrior.

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