Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sargon of Akkad

I discovered Sargon of Akkad from a recent discussion on World Socionics Society that presented Sargon of Akkad's introductory video (the first video here, "Who I am and what I do") as a putative embodiment of quadra values. I became moderately interested in Sargon of Akkad's views and continued watching two more videos, from which I stake my conclusions.

Now of course as readers of this blog may recall, I practice socionics by primarily conveying observations about the subjects, and not always paying as much effort to explicating how those objects fit into the socionics model quite so carefully. There are many reasons for this, including didactic reasons since in my experience, many beginning socionics have great difficulty formulating reasonable observations -- however, also, fundamentally the observations are more important than the conclusion.

There is a stark difference between making observations of a subject, and listening to the content of a subject's direct narrative; having the subject tell you, what they are and what they do. This is essentially what Sargon of Akkad does in the first video: he tells us, essentially, the following two main points (he also tells us various other things, which I will reinforce with my own observations; but these points represents themes which he tells us, and does not show us)
  • I am an independently minded person. I subscribe to no group and to no ideology. It is important to me that my content remain independent.
  • I am a flexibly minded person. It is important for me to receive feedback from others, and to be able to reevaluate my perspective when new information arises.
In addition, based on Sargon of Akkad's narrative, I would make the following observations:
  •  Sargon of Akkad is a principled person, who takes the ethics of conveying correct information to his audience very seriously and takes the patronage of his audience very seriously. The elaboration of his principles show that he feels genuinely guilty, as he says he does, about taking money from his audience, particularly if he feels it is not well earned and particularly from individuals that couldn't really afford to patronize him for his content.
  • Sargon of Akkad is a very controversial person who holds many unpopular points of view, as obviously he tries to convey to us with his introduction of various detractors. He holds these views because, as he tells us, he feels morally compelled to point out the errors in reasoning of those around him.
 Let's discuss these stated themes, and these observations. So far, I only consider information from the first video embedded above.

Part of the reason that it is important to recognize when someone is telling, and not showing, is that their internal narrative may be warped to their perspective, and actually inconsistent with the world. Sargon of Akkad tells us that he disdains ideologies in others, and insists on having all of the information available at any one time for himself, to constantly be able to reevaluate his worldview. But, if you remember from the introduction, one of Sargon of Akkad's nameless detractors, says the opposite, that "Sargon of Akkad is always unwilling to change his views on anything" (lightly paraphrased). So which of these is really true?

Sargon's comments that he holds no ideology merit careful skepticism because of the nature of ideological conflict in betas. Clearly, a lot of Sargon of Akkad's content is social or political in nature. This alone is enough reason to think of ideological conflict as a possibility for Sargon of Akkad's internal value structure. Beta types will sometimes have no difficulty identifying their ideological persuasions -- but other beta types who express a form of ideological conflict as a quadra values, nonetheless have a much more fluid self-identity, and may feel that their expression is limited by labeling themselves with any ideology, and therefore may have a resistance to doing so. (Kat Chapman, who I examined previously, would probably have such a self-concept).

The theme of updating views to reflect new information is presented in the WSS thread as a gamma theme, related to gamma independence. However, I think this theme is much less clear. The theme of gamma independence, in my view, relates to the stubborn unwillingness to generalize specific observed circumstances to well-defined rules in the absence of overwhelming evidence. The belief is that all things, and all agents, are independent: independently-minded, potentially rational beings to be evaluated on their own merits, and not subject to the contexts and surroundings that may have given shape to them.

The deep willingness to evaluate new information, is a characteristic of Te, which evaluates information unfiltered as it is. But is also a characteristic of Ne, and not Ni which is closed, by nature seeking to limit the possibilities in the world. Thus the characteristic of always being willing to reevaluate one's view, is really thematic fodder for the delta quadra, and not for the gamma quadra which values limiting possibilities, and attention to rapidly shifting worldly demands rather than expansive possibilities and the currently experienced harmony of the world's immediate lived circumstances.

If true, but not clearly true from the introductory video, in my view -- the need to be independent and have independent content, not influenced by others' interests -- does possibly suggest gamma independence.

In order to understand Sargon of Akkad better, I felt it was imperative to examine his content more closely -- to see what his content shows us about his way of thinking, rather than to take his word for it.

These are the two videos of Sargon of Akkad's that I watched to better convince myself of where he fits in socionics -- of course there are many, many other videos.

Here is what I observed from these videos:
  • Sargon of Akkad has a certain snark in the way he describes those people whose views he is addressing. While he endeavors -- as he says in the video about Gamergate -- to comment on others' ideas, and not necessarily to slander their character, he also -- in both of these videos -- speaks about "bad people." These "bad people" tend to be synonymous with people who, in his eyes, make arguments which make no sense; examples include the person he argues with in the islamic video, and Anita Sarkeesian from Gamergate whose conclusions he views as tenuous. Even when there is some wiggle room, he sees these people for having these "absurd" conclusions as "bad people." Using exactly that language.
  • There is no fear to take on controversial topics and tell the truth as he sees it. Indeed there is an impassioned willingness to get into any argument, regardless of its hopelessness, and a certain anger towards those who don't or can't see things his way.
  • As before, there is a principled approach to debate. The search for evidence tends to be quite careful, and quite explicit, and the process of delivering sources taken seriously. As in the video about islam, where great care is taken to demonstrate from many different sources, what is the most common view of homosexuality in islam.
From these videos, but not before watching these videos, I am more inclined to agree that Sargon of Akkad is a "maverick", with little attention to ideology. But I would describe it differently; ideology does not seem to be a component at all of his thinking, instead he focuses on evidence, and principled, self-directed ethical standards (as in his exhortations to keep Gamergate content very carefully focused on journalistic integrity, and remove all other bullshit).

It is very clear that Sargon of Akkad has a "bite", that he has a principled idealism and supra-worldly orientation towards "weighty" matters that is characteristic of Se-valuing types.

It is also very likely to me that Sargon of Akkad, a very private person who doesn't show himself, and makes a living without much activity, on Youtube creating intellectual content, is an introvert. And the description of "bad people" and the unwillingness in Gamergate to generalize that all gamers or all feminists are "bad people" but rather the preference to blame most of the true evil on "third party trolls," do sound like the harsh judgment of gamma types.

I think the type which makes the most sense is ESI, and not ILI. The reason for this is subtle. When I was speaking about it to Jack earlier, he said "I could see why Sargon of Akkad is more involved than detached" and when pressed what that meant he said "Sargon of Akkad manifests subtly more anger than an ILI might."

I see it differently. Actually, I find it very difficult to evaluate whether or not I would expect ESIs or ILIs to differently manifest anger.

The reason in which I see ESI as more likely -- and of course ILI is a very similar type and seems plausible to me -- is because I see Sargon of Akkad as manifesting not more anger, but more *openness* than I would expect from an ILI. Another way to say, is that in colloquial language, and not the technical language of aspectonics, he appears less detached than ILIs might.

One might wonder how an ESI with vulnerable Ne is less open than the ILI. This comes to a subtle point in model A, about which other people will disagree. I view model A as four pairs of axes, the leading/ignoring axis, e.g. in ESIs, Fi/Fe; the mobilizing/demonstrative axis, and so on.

That is to say, the ignoring function and vulnerable functions are both blind spots, and the leading function and (typically, after adolescence) the mobilizing function are strong spots which suppress their alternate pole. My view is that the primary axis; the leading/ignoring axis, is the one with the greatest polarity. Put another way, my view is that the vulnerable function, despite being a blind spot, is actually stronger and more consciously attended, than the ignoring function. This is a very subtle observation and a very technical point, which I expect a lot of people would disagree with the model I present.

From an ILI, I would expect less energy in argument, less willingness to even engage with people who are seen as worthless, greater laziness in presenting arguments to other people (even though Sargon of Akkad in truth does skip over some of his reasoning steps which he considers obvious), and critically -- I would ILIs to have even slightly *less* receptivity to others' feedback and less tolerance of criticism, and less willingness to constantly reevaluate their views, because ILIs more than ESIs have limitedness as a central aspect of their worldview, and also because ESIs have sensitive, suggestive Te.

Other things, Sargon of Akkad has a willingness -- not as much as some dedicated ideologues of course -- to frame broad generalities about those people he dislikes, to assign and describe their points of view in general ideological terms "the social justice warriors are fundamentally authoritarians, not libertarians" (lightly paraphrasing). As I said earlier, this lightly contradicts his self-directed claim of having no ideology -- he has an ideological orientation and he is willing to label himself as the "libertarian" (in the narrow sense of being the opposite of social authoritarians a la the political compass). I actually think this is a bit odd for an ESI; it makes me wonder about LSI as well which would be broadly reasonable. But in either case, the willingness to occasionally make broad generalizations shows lesser detachment and lesser emphasis of independent-mindedness.

Truthfully, the most important reason that I think Sargon of Akkad is more likely the ESI, has to do with experience of reading this kind of character. The most relevant example which comes to mind, maybe others have thought of it also -- slightly imperfect but still very similar in attitude -- is, of course, the late Christopher Hitchens, also a deeply uncompromising and principled intellectual.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and enjoyable to read. I would like to add that some of your arguments for Sargon being more 'open' than an ILI, I would also interpret as being more 'involved'. Looking at your explanation below, I can also see how someone more in touch with the opinions of their followers and combating worldly events that bother them, rather than detachedly rising above it all and not seeing the point, would be close to how you describe the ESIs greater openness:

    "I would expect less energy in argument, less willingness to even engage with people who are seen as worthless, greater laziness in presenting arguments to other people (even though Sargon of Akkad in truth does skip over some of his reasoning steps which he considers obvious), and critically -- I would ILIs to have even slightly *less* receptivity to others' feedback and less tolerance of criticism, and less willingness to constantly reevaluate their views, because ILIs more than ESIs have limitedness as a central aspect of their worldview, and also because ESIs have sensitive, suggestive Te."

    I would also add that, while a greater expression of anger was part of my given reasoning, I also want to emphasise a greater expression of emotion in general during his videos, both in his polemic monologues and warm, more jovial dialogues.