Labeling the Negativity-Positivity Spectrum (3)


This blog post is about levels of core emotional energy, and about the definition of those levels. Also discussed is a one-dimensional system for evaluating or “typing” human character and behavior, for the purpose of practical prediction, explanation, and understanding. It also touches upon the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

KEYWORDS: Core Emotional Energy, human behavior, Myers-Briggs type indicator, Occam’s razor, personality assessment, philosophy of science, positive psychology, scientific theories.

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This is the third part in a mini-series of blog posts where I describe some of the thinking that I am currently engaged in, in regard to the development of the idea of the Core Emotional Energy and its “levels”. The previous posts in this mini-series are here: Part 1, Part 2.

Core Emotional Energy: A Simple Character Assessment Tool

I am not sure that I have said this before in any of my blog entries in this series, so I will state it explicitly here: I am thinking of the term “Core Emotional Energy” as a simple “typing tool” or “assessment tool” for the evaluation of human personality and behavior.

One of the main features, I think, is that this “Core Emotional Energy” system is a “typing tool” that is one-dimensional. Thus, it is not a multi-variable system, as for example the Myers-Briggs type indicator is. So while the Myers-Briggs system has four “variables” or four “parts” in its groupings (as in “INTJ” or “ESFP”), my system only has one (“C” as in “core emotional energy”, or, expressed in a more precise fashion, the “intensity”, or frequency, of the “core emotional energy”.

Why Accept a Simple, One-Dimensional System? (1)

The almost obvious objection to a one-dimensional system like this might be the following. How in the whole world can an incredibly complex thing like the personality of a human being be described with only one variable, such as the “Core Emotional Energy”? Such a theory must be extremely simplistic, and, ultimately, also provide misleading and unhelpful results, if one even can call them “results”.

My response would simply be that there seem to be no correlation, in terms of theories in the sciences, between “correctness” and “number of variables”. To my knowledge, there is nothing preventing anyone from presenting, and using, theories with less variables.

The only criterion that one has to worry about is whether the theory has any predictive power, or not. If the theory can predict certain outcomes, then it needs to be taken seriously (by those who are in that particular field of interest) .

In fact, one could even argue that Occam’s razor would be applicable here. I mean, if you have variables that are not relevant in terms of causal explanation, would not a (traditional) scientist then just use Occam’s principle to ignore those variables, and instead provide a simpler, more “aesthetically pleasing” equation, providing that it delivers the same, or better, results?

Of course, I am not really using Occam’s (or Ockham’s) razor here. For I am well aware of the fact that this so-called “principle” is merely a theory; and, along with most theories of any kind, is not really proven, neither in principle nor in practice.

So I think it only would detract from my presentation if I would try to use it (in regard to the theories put forth by either Myers-Briggs or the Jungian ideas it is based on). For that would perhaps indicate either that I thought that Occam’s principle was proven (which I don’t think it is), or that I thought it was correct (which I also don’t think it is).

Why Accept a Simple, One-Dimensional System? (2)

But even if I don’t use Occam here, I could still say that there seems to be rather little scientific evidence to support the claim that the Myers-Briggs system factually is predictive.

And the fact that the Myers-Briggs system is so “popular” is also, of course, a no-go: it’s just the argumentum ad populum — the argumentation fallacy of taking what’s popular, or even what’s traditional, as a reason for thinking it is good (or true).

This is, of course, extra problematic (from a “scientific perspective”, that is) if such popularity is extended to non-authorities in the particular subject. So when I said “popular” above, I meant “ordinary people”. For it seems that the Myers-Briggs system is used by many non-specialists in psychology, particularly in circumstances involving “dating” and “relationships”, where personal chemistry and psychological compatibility are in focus.

The issue to which I am referring here when I am saying “extra problematic” is simply the issue of predictability. For whether a theory can provide robust predictions of the future, or not, is usually only seriously contemplated by scientists, not others. So-called “ordinary” people may not always be so strict and observant in these matters.

Scale of Emotional “Levels”: Negative vs Positive (1)

So let us start thinking about the scale of the Core Emotional Energy and its “levels”. What are these “levels”? And where shall we put them?

First of all, as I have said previously, the Core Emotional Energy uses frequency as its unit, as opposed to wavelength (see yesterday’s post). And since we know from our previous discussions, the spectrum of Core Emotional Energy is describing also the level of negativity or positivity (of a certain individual).

So the most natural thing to do, I think, would be to simply divide the whole Core Emotional Energy spectrum into two (equally large) parts. Thus, if the CEE is drawn along a horizontal x-axis, the left half of it would be labeled “levels of negativity”, and the right half of it would be labeled “levels of positivity”.

[figure 1]

To put the negativity on the left half seems natural, since the x-axis normally is thought of as “increasing” or “progressing” when we go to the right. So then we would naturally have the positivity on the right hand side.

Whether or not we also should have a “zero” point (origo) in the middle, I am not sure (maybe we can have different variants: one type of graph with x-values that are negative and positive, with the value 0 in between, and another variant where we do not have x-values that are negative, a also not a zero in the middle).

Scale of Emotional “Levels”: Negative vs Positive (2)

Alternatively, if the Core Emotional Energy were to be depicted instead along a vertical y-axis, the lower half would be labeled “levels of negativity”, while the upper half would be labeled “levels of positivity”.

To put the negativity on the lower half seems natural, since the y-axis normally is thought of as “increasing” or “progressing” when we go upwards. So then we would naturally have the positivity on the upper half of the diagram.

[figure 2]

As for having a “zero” (origo) point in the middle of the y-axis, I’m saying basically the same as I did in regard to the x-axis: I am not sure. The first version will most probably not have that. But I am open to suggestions and good arguments why we should have it. So let’s see.

In any case, I think that’s all for today. Tomorrow, I will be focusing on subdivisions, that is, how I am going to subdivide the “positivity half” and the “negativity half”, so that it will be really useful.

Chris Bocay

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First published: Thu 2 Jan 2020
Last revised: Mon 8 Aug 2022

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