Utopia or Dogma?

The fiction and non-fiction of exploring human happiness.

Chapters four and five of my philosophy book deal with the ethics and politics of psychotype theory – the theory that we are all born with a set of information filters for communicating with our environment and which, consequently, influence what we find important, how we learn, how we relate to authority and community, how we interpret abstract words, the emotions we feel, our beliefs, our sense of justice and everything else that is related to our inner person and how it survives the world of ‘others’.

The chapters have been given the names Typotopia and Typocracy, mostly because I wanted to explain what they are about in one word and because everything in the book is related to “type”.

Typotopia looks at the needs of individuals and what accepting that people are born with a different psychology means for the development of their healthy self-identity and their freedom, obligation and expression in the social group. In other words, it looks at the requirements for an ideal place; ideal in the sense that every type of person (that is all 16 psychological types) must feel respected and deserving and to have their needs met, so they can grow up feeling happy.

It is therefore no personal ideal, like those described by writers of utopias, who paint the best possible scenario from their point of view, and simply assume that everybody else must also consider such a life ideal. The criticism that usually befalls such books can be taken as evidence that this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, I love those books.

Typocracy then takes that picture and explores how a typocratic (as opposed to democratic) society would be able to function. In other words, it takes a look at the social institutions (education, judicial, government, economy) and paints a scenario in which each of those is run with our inborn psychological differences in mind.

Thus, what I try to do, being aware of the different perspectives and needs of the different personality types, is see if it would be possible to create a “type friendly world”, a world that respects all typed of people, even if they are all different.

Like I said above, “justice” for example, is something people feel inside. It is not something objective, but we all feel a different sense of justice. So how would we be able to live together and still respect all those different senses? How, for example, would you deal with crime? Would there be crime? What would we consider crime?

But no matter how enjoyable speculating such ideals is, philosophical theory is still non-fiction.

But at times, philosophers take a more fictional approach; they invent scenarios that allow us to imagine what we would do in a certain situation, which they call a thought experiment. Usually, these ‘experiments’ are short exercises that require the thinker to deliberate over possible outcomes, in which the most logical answer is put forward as a resolution to the philosophical argument. But sometimes we need more than just logical outcomes. Sometimes we need to create a whole new world or large-scale scenario. That is where science fiction comes in with wonderful TV programs like “The Future is Wild” and “Evacuate Earth”.

But there are also scenarios that require that we consider more than just nature. In situations where we are dealing with people’s motivations and how they live together, we need to include their perceptions and their emotions and that is what my science fiction series does.

In essence, it takes the same perspective as my Typotopia and Typocracy chapters, but now we have characters with a history and experiences and prejudices and ideals that are not all the same and with different personalities. Not only do they all live on the same planet, but a large number of them decides to go on a space journey and start a new colony, so that they have to survive the journey (without killing each other) and create a new society that is better than the one they left behind. And they all know exactly how to do that. They are all like the utopia writers I mentioned above; each with their own ideal and equally determined to see it through. The only problem, of course, is that all their ideals are different.

And that is what human conflict is all about. We don’t need bad people to create problems; all you need is clashing personalities and each with the best of intentions.

But there is another aspect to the story. The planet they leave behind, which will appear a little bit dystopian in the eyes of today’s reader, is dogmatic and rigid. The problem is that their rigid social structure is based on type differences. In the course of their history, somebody actually managed to introduce psychological differences and they were adopted in several places. But over time, those running the place lost sight of the importance of being different and diverse, and started using it to pre-select children for certain jobs and social positions. Those who belonged to ‘controversial’ personality types, naturally ended up at the bottom of the social ladder.

They, more than anything, are determined to make sure that will never happen again. And since half the colonists are convicts, that makes their peaceful society a whole lot more difficult.

My question at the start of the book – because all my fiction starts with questions, which the characters then answer over the course of my writing – was whether they would be able to make it better or is every ideal doomed to dogma? Is my philosophy, my goal of creating a type friendly world, possible? Will we be able to create a world in which we prevent the natural tendency of groups to return to dogma?

 

 

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Bigger Picture | The Philosophy of Type Harmonics

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