Monday, 9 June 2014

Ladder of Abstraction

“Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.”
— Immanuel Kant

Friday, 23 May 2014

Communism vs Socialism

In a way, communism is an extreme form of socialism. Many countries have dominant socialist political parties but very few are truly communist. In fact, most countries - including staunch capitalist bastions like the U.S. and U.K. - have government programs that borrow from socialist principles. "Socialism" is sometimes used interchangeably with "communism" but the two philosophies have some stark differences. Most notably, while communism is a political system, socialism is primarily an economic system that can exist in various forms under a wide range of political systems.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Paragon Test

I like the Paragon Test.

Friday, 14 March 2014


The Nesters

INFP - "martyr" - In this mood, the INFP tends to sacrifice herself in an effort to promote her particular sense of truth.
INPF - Don Quixote of La Mancha - Like a more refined version of the "martyr," an INFP in this mood tends to turn his very identity into a metaphor for the truth he promotes.
IFNP - "transcendentalist" - This isolation-prone mood tends to idealize simplicity and a-rationality.
IFPN - "sentimentalist" - A combination of strong sensory and feeling preference makes this mood prone to collecting various objects to symbolize emotional states and periods in time.
IPFN - Bilbo Baggins (“master of baths”) - The combination of a highly fluid identity and relative sensory preference in this mood means the INFP likes an inordinate quantity of alone time.
IPNF - "monk" - Stasis and detachment tend to mark this mood. Often mistaken for an INTP.
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The Manipulators

NIPF - "Jedi master" ("Sith lord") - An INFP in this mood may create concord or discord without appearing involved. Its motives remain inscrutable. Of the INFPs mistaken for INTPs, this is the most dangerous from an INTP perspective.
NIFP - "crusader" - Much like the "Jedi master", but with a strong sense of right and wrong, this mood excels at intuiting the motives of others.
NFIP - "evangelist" - An INFP in this mood is like a more extraverted "crusader," and uses this power to make large groups of people feel good or bad.
NFPI - "performance artist" (Lady Gaga) - This mood generally manifests as an "evangelist" turned up to 11 on a scale of 1 to 10, and may make others uncomfortable.
NPFI - "flower power" ("Zen seminar disruptor") - They want to mediate, but tend to rely on the single answer: "We're all one, man!"
NPIF - Noah ("zookeeper") - Likely to notice and include those left out by others, an INFP in this mood collects personalities into elaborate menageries of potential. Everyone has a place in the grand scheme of life.

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The Daydreamers

PINF - “philosopher” ("false INTP") - Those of this especially calm and absentminded mood may mistakenly claim the type that fits their feelings about themselves the best, the INTP.
PIFN - "angry aesthete" (“lover of beauty”) - Tying their identity to art, an INFP in this mood is angry about the very existence of art of low quality. Unfortunately, they're usually right.
PFIN - Elliot Smith (“lyricist”) - This poetic mood combines skill with words and patterns to express feelings in writing or song that would be more difficult or uncomfortable to say in a plainer fashion.
PFNI - Stevie Nicks (“collaborator”) - More extraverted than a "lyricist", an INFP in this mood will usually rely on help from others to promote their agenda, whatever that may be. Lucky for us, it's usually artistic.
PNFI - Totoro - An INFP in this mood knows that the possibility for dreamy cuddles is endless. Just don't piss it off.
PNIF - Bukowski - I told you not to piss Totoro off. An INFP in this mood is more comfortable with combining seemingly incompatible things (at least in the eyes of others) and less averse to conflict than usual for the INFP type.

+ + +

The Nurturers

FINP - "moralist" (“counselor”) - The SJ of the INFP universe, an INFP in this mood carries a very robust moral code and is not shy about expressing it.
FIPN - "veterinarian" (“caretaker”) - Healers in every sense of the word, these are like the "moralist", but they tend to focus on the physical body of the "patient" first.
FNIP - Samwise Gamgee (Snuggie) - An INFP in this mood is always trying to find simple solutions to the emotional turmoil in people's lives. Once they find such solutions, they try to apply them wherever possible.
FNPI - "cuddle puddle" (“champion”) - This nurturer tends to use its very personality as an emotional ointment for the troubles of their subject.
FPIN - "fur suit" (“cosplayer”) - An INFP in this mood is preoccupied with the possibilities for refined emotions. This can lead it to a variety of novel solutions for self- and group-expression.
FPNI - Care Bear - A less refined version of the "fur suit," an INFP in this mood tries to craft novel emotional solutions for each separate relationship.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

How to Collaborate

Different strategies for dealing with conflict
Avoidance, accommodation, competition, compromise and collaboration are the five usual ways of dealing with conflict.
Avoidance is very commonly used, and involves avoiding the person or the situation involved in the conflict. This method isn’t usually helpful as nothing is resolved, but it may be necessary if you feel too vulnerable to cope with the situation
Accommodation is where you ‘submit’ to the conflict, e.g. by listening to unhelpful criticism and believing it. If you have low self-esteem you are more likely to use this method. Like avoidance, it is not a very successful method of resolving issues. It could be used if you know a solution is coming soon from an outside source
Competition is where the conflict becomes a ‘fight’, e.g. a colleague tells your manager you’ve been leaving early, so you retaliate by telling your manager that they’ve been stealing supplies. This often leads to the conflict escalating. It also means you are lowering yourself to the other person’s level
Compromise is where you work out a solution where you both ‘give a little’, e.g. if your colleague wants help with their project, you offer to help them with half of it. This is a more useful strategy but it can leave both parties feeling a little disappointed
Collaboration is where you commit to working together to arrive at a solution that is acceptable to both of you - a ‘win-win’ situation. This method is explained in more detail below.

How to collaborate
Collaboration can feel risky as it involves being very clear about your needs and having an open conversation with the other person to try and understand their point of view. To collaborate successfully, you need to:
Recognize that part of the responsibility for the conflict is your own. You may have avoided addressing the conflict earlier, or you may have reasons for your position that you haven’t been open about. Taking responsibility for this may encourage the other person to do the same.
Learn how to manage yourself during the conversation, e.g. how to relax if you are likely to become angry, or how to be more assertive if you lack confidence. It might help to have a third person present for your conversation. Getting emotional during the conversation is unlikely to be helpful.
Have confidence in what you are saying. Make sure this comes across by maintaining eye contact, having positive body language and not sitting while the other person is standing.
Try to focus on the behaviour and not on the person, e.g. ‘I find it difficult to concentrate when you talk loudly’ rather than ‘you’re such an awful gossip’.
Try and find out why the other person feels the way they do – if you can understand each other’s reasons then you’ll be more likely to come up with a solution that suits both of you.
Remember that people who enjoy creating conflict are often re-enacting difficulties from their lives previously – seeing their behaviour in this way may help you to be empathetic and will mean the conflict is more likely to be resolved.

Conflict Resolution

Thomas (1976) proposes that each of the five management styles identified may be effective depending on the situation. In fact, he matches the five conflict management styles with the appropriate situation as follows:


- When the issue is trivial
- When the costs outweigh the benefits of resolution
- To let the situation cool down
- When getting more information is imperative
- When others can solve the problem more effectively
- When the problem is a symptom rather than a cause


- When the objectives are important, but not worth the effort or potential disruption likely to result from assertive behaviour
- When there is a "standoff"
- To gain temporary settlements to complex problems
- To expedite action when time is important
- When collaboration or competition fails


- When quick, decisive action is essential, as in emergencies
- When critical issues require unpopular action, as in cost cutting
- When issues are vital to the welfare of the organization
- Against individuals who take unfair advantage of others


- When you find you have made a mistake
- When the issues are more important to others
- To build good will for more important matters
- To minimize losses when defeat is inevitable
- When harmony and stability are particularly important
- To allow subordinates a chance to learn from their mistakes


- When both sets of concerns are so important that only an integrative solution is acceptable; compromise is unsatisfactory
- When the goal is to learn
- To integrate insights from individuals with different perspectives
- When consensus and commitment are important
- To break through ill feelings that have hindered relationships (pp. 101, 102).

How to deal with the Work Programme

How to deal with the Work Programme (a Sociological Perspective):

This is the most common and natural reaction. The idea is that the problem will go away. It won't and not turning up for appointments will get you sanctioned and makes everything worse. The idea is the authority will pick on someone else. It is a short term psychological comfort zone and unsuccessful in practical terms.

Taking on board the rules and following like a mouse. This scheme might be highly successful but it is only suited to certain naive personalities. This can be very upsetting if the client follows the rules and then gets accused of not complying. Grounds for complaint then.

Fighting them every inch of the way and with your knowledge and their inadequacies you win your point. But it goes nowhere.

This I decided was the best way (second thoughts now) and I would agree in principle with the motives. This is the best solution, but tension occurs if the untrained (important point) adviser is punitive and does not want to play his part. Solution possible if there are sufficient jobs around.
Danger: if they change the rules. This would be grounds for complaint.

The power balance and rules do not allow this solution with an untrained adviser/negotiator. The client will get parked or sanctioned as unhelpful and will have to make his own way in the world. I think this would be the best option for me. Painful tension.


This is not out of my personal ken. I have seen this reaction when a person has a certain personality trait. It seems like a mental illness and they are out of control in a bad way. Some psychologists think this is even normal! The person committed suicide.
With clumsy incompetent behaviour of untrained advisors may quickly reach this situation.
They deal with released criminals and may themselves be in danger. Or the fellow clients at the WP could be in danger as well. There is no way of telling these nutters from their personal appearance.


There is an important rider. Some people who have a mental breakdown (for want of a better word) caused by abuse or trauma or head injury, brain illness, sustained bullying. This means that the "tough love" approach may exacerbate an underlying condition and cause a worsening of their life quality. These are hidden illnesses and are outside the scope of recruitment advisers.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

You See What You Are

“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

Book of Optics

Book of Optics

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Seven Liberal Arts of Classical Study

In medieval universities, the trivium comprised the three subjects that were taught first: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. The word is a Latin term meaning "the three ways" or "the three roads" forming the foundation of a medieval liberal arts education. This study was preparatory for the quadrivium, which consists of geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music. Combining the trivium and quadrivium results in the seven liberal arts of classical study.