In this article we’ll explore what cognitive type is at multiple levels/scales of analysis simultaneously. In order to do this, we need to be equipped with a framework of interpretation that is sufficiently multi-layered to make sense of it –else we risk collapsing a complex reality (and indeed the psyche is exceedingly complex) into a paradigm too narrow to hold it. I’d like to begin with an introduction to the phenomenon of emergence, with type existing as one such phenomenon:
In nature, H20 creates snow, wetness and other properties not inherent to the H20 molecule in isolation. Proteins, which are also not described in the properties of atoms themselves, give rise to life –the most complex thing we know of. As simplicity gives rise to complex order, entirely new phenomenon emerge with properties larger than the sum of their parts. Our universe exists in this fashion, with largely different manifestations at different scales. It thus becomes necessary to view reality in a scale-dependent manner; studying everything at the appropriate level of magnification.
Type is one such phenomenon affected by emergence, as type crosses over several scales of magnification. While type at the fundamental level may be simple, and little more than a subtle difference in the instructions (or order of operations) we give our brain, far more complex properties result in humans from the multiplication of that rather simple set of rules. As we make thousands of micro-decisions a day, informed by this metabolic process, we create entirely different lifepaths, habits and outlooks. Common themes emerge out of this multiplication which are expressed as philosophies, behaviors and careers –none of which are explicitly embedded in the biology of the function itself. Type cannot be comprehensively described merely by it’s metabolism, nor solely as it’s behavioral effects. But neither can the behavioral effects be left out while the metabolism is considered the real thing because one creates the other as consistently as H20 creates wetness and snow. Each scale of magnification creates a reality of its own, which is more than the sum of the previous scale’s parts. The following diagram demonstrates the four main scales of magnification that constitute the expression of cognitive type:
- Scale 1: First we start with how the function exists as a metabolic pathway of the brain at the lowest level (although arguably a lower level exists in genetics). This creates a persistent experience in the individual where all events in life are tinged by the formatting of their type. The functions construct their cognitive experience and phenomenology.
- Scale 2: Then we proceed to how the activation of that metabolic process elicits facial micro-expressions as a byproduct of its operation. The countenance changes, as does the body’s tempo as a result of the energetics that defines the primary function. If the person is a P-lead, then before any behaviors even manifest, their body will reflect that fluidity/viscosity due to how the information metabolism of the brain suspends the body in a relaxed state in relation to the world.
- Scale 3: Then we proceed with how that produces sets of typical behaviors, as a consequence of this cognitive origin and resulting body comportment. As these millions of daily decisions cluster, they create habits in life that are never absolutely indicative of the metabolism, but statistically far more likely to emerge from certain processes than from others.
- Scale 4: And lastly we magnify to how that function’s eternal existence in the mind of the individual alters their overall narrative of life, including the dramas that define their wider goals/ambitions, failures/hardships and repressions. It also magnifies to how that function’s permanent presence in the collective population produces eternal large-scale entities (i.e. Je and governments, Pe and entertainment) which are embodied as myths and archetypes.
All of these layers are part of a function, not just one. So far as we can tell, none of these can be excluded from a full definition of the function as they are tied to one another forwards and backwards.
However, the relationship between these parts is specific and nuanced. As we move away from the core causal agent (1:1), we incrementally move away from a pure description of type. These domains exist as a ripple effect as portrayed in the diagram to the right. The closer we are to the root causal agent, the more tightly correlated the two layers are. For instance, any specific behavior will not necessarily be present in all those of the type because behaviorism is an emergent property a few layers further out. But while we cannot predict what specific sets of behaviors any one person will adapt out of a given profile, we can estimate that they will possess far more of them than the average person simply through the identification of their vultology.
Each of these layers has unique limitations, challenges, and benefits. Below we’ll be studying the relationships that exist between these scales of magnification and how they produce the end effects that we see at each level:
Information metabolism refers to the way in which our brain processes data at a rapid rate to produce our unbroken sense of awareness. The byproduct of this metabolism is our consciousness. However, despite being in the midst of it, we are not entirely aware of how our own thoughts form. Due to how this metabolism necessarily precedes our thoughts, it generates the mind only after it has already executed hundreds of micro-computations which we can neither see nor trace. Unfortunately, our location at the center of our bodies does not gift us with any exceptional knowledge as to who we are and how we operate. It’s for this reason that self-report and self-perception is notoriously faulty. And if it were possible to accurately extract the essential metabolism of people via a survey of their phenomenological experience, there would be no need for vultology. Thus, while the metabolic layer is the closest to the root causal agent, it suffers from the most limitations.
This is the aspect that operates as the key identifier. The very first objective window we have into our information metabolism is in our vultology, which reveals the secondary effects of that cognition as it’s happening. We may not always be able to trace the construction of our thoughts from an inside view, but we can track their emergence from the outside. It’s proximity to consciousness makes it the most reliable indicator of it’s existence, but vultology is not without it’s own limitations. Through dedicated practice, some involuntary facial muscles may be deliberately controlled to a degree. Training in gesticulation may affect the tempo of signals as well. And irregular anatomy may also interfere with the easy identification of signals. These noise variables push vultology away from a 1:1 connection to cognition in some cases. It’s possible that the combined noise of these variables will lead to the mis-identification of the metabolism of the person. In order to double-check, a testimony of the person’s self-perception and an analysis of their behavior are compared to the vultology –all three of which can be seen as more accurate if there is convergence between them.
The behavioral aspect is the most rich with detail and information about what it means to be a type. It offers real-world examples of what things may be liked, what habits may emerge and what hardships may be faced. But as mentioned above, these can only ever be general. The variables contributing to an affinity for any particular topic or thing are ultimately innumerable. We can only predict an affinity for certain domains of interest with high accuracy, not any exact topic or object. Nonetheless, while the exclusion of any one behavior is no cause for concern, if there is an overwhelming mismatch in the behavioral profile and the subject, then it signifies a potential error in the vultology and metabolism.
Here we see an example of the forward and backward relationship between the layers. We can liken this to the relationship between the three branches of government. Behavioral mismatches –if strong enough– may require a revision of upper layers. But in general, vultology is to be trusted above static behaviors if all else is equal. If the vultology is robust, a lack of identification with specific behaviors is more attributable to the limits of collapsing all possible type manifestations into a set of most iconic ones. But when enough visually typed people display a trend in that direction, then the behavioral profile is slowly modified to reflect the larger reality of those with the given vultology.
Lastly, the mythological layer is the most removed from the causal agent, but is also the highest abstraction of that causal agent –its absolute manifestation. While typical behaviors will arise from the perpetual use of functions at the millisecond level, deep-rooted life narratives will emerge from the inescapable presence of the function within the person. The function comes to embody not just a set of behaviors, but a libidinal nexus; a sophisticated cognitive network with a voice and consciousness. Far from being only metabolic processes, the functions become sub-personalities or psychic characters that actively generate this drama. They are archetypes which occupy a role in the individual mind as well as in the collective. The net effect of these archetypes existing in the population produces large-scale social structures which define our political and global climate.
Due to this influence, the archetypes are also able to penetrate society as a whole, not just individuals with the function in question. All people can experience analogs to all the 8 myths whether by direct contact with them from their own psyche or from exposure to it from the outside. If it is from the outside, the dynamic is one of a super-ego relationship. An Fe type may be overtaken by the rationality of the Te myth which is praised in their parent culture –causing them to be driven by the myth through their own Fe function. This is generally undesirable as the super-ego is coercing the Fe type into an aberrant state and away from their own spiritual journey. Through this final layer, it becomes possible to diagnose spiritual sickness, understand the shape of the heart and illuminate people as to the higher callings of their being.
Some psychometrics (which we’ll get to next) and models of the functions like to highlight one of these layers and use it as the definitive criteria for type. The Keirsians use behaviors as their metric; defining type by what is explicitly manifested in habits and preferences. Keirsians eliminate the problem of ambiguity in typings by removing the need for cognition/functions and adopting a 4 preferences system. The JCF proponents use metabolism as their governing criteria for type, considering behaviorism an unreliable indicator. They create a theoretically airtight but wholly abstract definition of each function that exists outside of any behavior, and apply a type to a person if they appear to process information through the alleged pathway. This itself is dangerous due to the aforementioned fallibility of self-perception and our inability to view our thought’s constructions.
Neither approach succeeds in fully capturing the phenomenon, and further excludes important information by the narrowness of their scope. The theoretical push towards adopting either behaviorism or metabolism as the core indicator of type emerges from lack of any robust external quantifier; resulting in the need to lay down very strict conceptual borders around one’s ideas. However, these artificial restrictions are unnecessary when the entirety of type is taken into account. No part should be left out; metabolism and behaviorism must be reconciled if type is to be understood meaningfully. But historically they have produced widely different typings; forcing theorists to side with one approach or the other.
The addition of vultology as the identifier liberates these two domains from a burden neither was designed to bear alone. Vultology acts as a bridge between these two domains, forcing both to align with one another through a common denominator. Metabolism is confirmed against this outside factor and behaviorism is reintegrated into type as an emergent layer, with the caveat that all these behaviors are statistically significant, and not definitively indicative of type.
Rather than adapting a model that tries to explain type through one convergent principle or description, CT gauges the probability of an accurate typing more holistically through the net convergence of these four layers. This also acts as a quadruple checking system, with all layers refining all other layers, ensuring also that a typing is properly reflected at all scales of reality.