Saturday, August 15, 2015

Alchemical Psychoanalysis of Black Consciousness

The purpose of this article is to:
  1. Identify personality archetypes among black knowledge communities
  2. Provide a case study to how a concept develops from pseudoscience, to proto-science, to modern science
  3. Gather Data to test a hypothesis about personality type

The other day I made an observation, and posed the question: “Are the various groups and organizations in the Black Conscious Community similar to the Black Fraternities?”

For the past 110 years, African-American men have enrolled in various colleges, universities, and institutions of higher learning in the United States and around the world seeking education to enrich and empower themselves in society.  While enrolled at these various institutions, they have also had the option to join a social fraternal organization.  Four of the most popular of these fraternities being namely: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.  Each of these fraternities has a unique personality type that they tend to attract.  Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has a reputation of being your scholars, book worms, scientists, and nerdy types.  Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity has a reputation of being the well dressed, well groomed, pretty-boy type.  Omega Psi Phi Fraternity has a reputation of being the strong, athletic, rough and rugged type.  Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity as a reputation of doing their own thing, possessing similar qualities of the other types but not really fitting in the other molds, but getting along well together.

However, the Black Conscious Community consists of groups like the pan-Africanists, UNIA, RBG, FTP, Black Power, Black Panthers, Black Muslims (Moors, NOI, 5%ers, sunni, sufi, etc), Black Egyptians, Kemetic Scholars, Asar Aset Society, Nuwaubians, Rastafarians, and Black Hebrew Israelites.    These various groups and organizations not only provide education on a variety of topics, but also provide social outlets and social groups which mirror the same personality types you find amongst Black Greek Lettered Fraternities.  Much like Alpha Phi Alpha, individuals who have an affinity toward the Black Egyptian or Kemetic scholarship tend to be the scholarly, book worm, scientific-minded, and nerdy types.  In fact, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity even uses Ancient Egyptian iconography as part of their fraternal motif.  Much like Omega Psi Phi, individuals who gravitate towards the pan-Africanist, UNIA, RBG, FTP, Black Power, and Black Panther organizations tend to be the more militant, rough and rugged type; Both the Que-dogs and the RBG can often been seen adorned in camouflage fatigues.  Much like Kappa Alpha Psi, the Black Muslim Organizations such as the Nation of Islam and Moorish Science Temple of America, place a significant importance on being the well dressed and well groomed.  The colors Red and White are also shared colors of all of the organizations.  And, much like Phi Beta Sigma, the Black Hebrew Israelites are diverse in their unification with some being scholarly, some being militant, and some being just chilled-out and peaceful.

While on the surface, the black college fraternities and Black conscious organizations may seem very divergent, but in reality, many members of black college fraternities were also active in Black Conscious organizations.   The civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.  The civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.  Huey P Newton, a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, was one of the co-founders of the Black Panther party for self-defense.  Khalid Muhammad, a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, was also a member of the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party for self-defense.  The scholar Dr. Asa Hilliard, professor of educational psychology who worked on indigenous ancient African and Kemetic history at Georgia State University, was also a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

The 4 personality types that are found amongst black college fraternities and Black conscious organizations is actually a very ancient observation.  Personality typing was first attempted in the system of Astrology which suggested that the astronomical phenomena occurring at the time of a person’s birth would determine the personality of the individual.  The 12 astrological signs would determine 12 personality types, and each astrological sign would correspond to one of the 4 classical alchemical elements of Earth, Air, Fire, or Water.  As it relates to personality types, these 4 categories were called the 4 Humors.  Although Astrology is considered a pseudoscience today, the 4 Humors concept initiated in Astrology would eventually be refined into the Proto-science field of the 4 Temperaments. 

The 4 Temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by an excess or lack of 4 body fluids: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm.    The presence of these fluids in the body results in 4 personality types: sanguine (optimistic leader-like), choleric (bad-tempered or irritable), melancholic (analytical and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful).   The 4 Temperament theory is said to have been developed by Hippocrates, the Greek Physician considered the "Father of Western Medicine" and creator of the Hippocratic Oath that modern doctors and physicians pledge once they become a professional.  However, the idea that bodily organs, and bodily fluids were associated with different personality types and alchemical elements was an idea that the Ancient Africans in Egypt developed and presented in the concept of the “4 sons of Heru” thousands of years before Hippocrates was born.

Hippocrates incorporated the four temperaments model into his medical theories.  But later discoveries in biochemistry have led modern medicine science to reject the use of the theory of the four temperaments in medicine.  However, in the field of Psychology, the four temperaments model still seemed viable, which is what led Carl Jung and his mentor Sigmund Freud to utilize it as a basis for their psychological typological theories.  Both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are examples of relatively recent scientists who are respected as scientists, but still openly advocated and promoted ideas that would be considered pseudoscience.

Carl Jung published his theory of psychological type based on the concepts from ancient alchemy and the 4 humors and 4 temperaments models, in his 1921 book entitled “Psychological Types”.   Jung's type theory introduced a sequence of four cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition), each having one of two orientations (extraversion or introversion), for a total of eight dominant functions.  However, the scientific validity of Carl Jung’s theory came into question because his theory was not developed through controlled scientific studies, but rather through clinical observation, introspection and anecdotal evidence.

To collect data and measure personality type and psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions, Myers and Briggs developed a psychometric questionnaire based on extrapolating the theories presented by Carl Jung. In addition to Jung’s 4 cognitive functions, and 2 orientations, Myers and Briggs also included a measure for an individual’s preference for Judging vs Perceiving, for a total of 16 personality types.  The 16 Myers Briggs personality types can be grouped into 4 groups of 4 falling into the categories of Introvert-Feeling, Introvert-Thinking, Sensing-Feeling, Sensing-Thinking, and these 4 groups are assumed to align with the 4 Temperaments, 4 Humors, and 4 classical alchemical elements of ancient times.

The myers-briggs indicator is frequently used in the areas of pedagogy, career counseling, team building, group dynamics, professional development, marketing, family business, leadership training, executive coaching, life coaching, personal development and marriage counseling.  The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is used by 89 of the Fortune 100 companies

So now, let’s collect some data and test the theory.  A link to a short 10 minute Myers-Briggs test below.  Take the test, and then leave a comment with:
•    your Gender
•    organization you share the strongest affinity with
•    the result of your Myers-Briggs test
For example, I would leave a comment saying: Male, Kemet, INTJ

My hypothesis is that while there will be some outliers, the majority of members of certain groups and organizations will have results that cluster in the categories corresponding to the classical elements sited at the beginning of this video.  For example: RBG = Fire, Muslim = Water, Kemet = Earth, Hebrew = Air

I would imagine that a similar pattern would play out for the 4 major black gangs: Crips, Bloods, Vice Lords, Folks (Gangster Disciples).

I think this would explain why certain groups have a tendency to get along, whereas other groups have a tendency towards conflict, and this would also provide a model for how groups could better interact.