Temperament: What if SJ (Guardians) did rule the world?

Today we will ask what would happen if SJ (Guardians) did rule the world.  This is a continuing series, looking at Keirsey’s four temperaments. The last blog post described Keirsey’s SJ Guardians and summarized this as follows:

IN SUMMARY  The Guardian SJ thinks about the world literally, as does the SP, but is totally different in willingness to shoulder the burdens of the world, and take responsibility for every task and every problem that comes his/her way.  SJs are devoted to a model of community, and believe very much in their own (and everyone else’s) moral responsibility to put common needs before personal whims.  They are the worker bees of the world, enormously involved in all the day to day functioning of human life.  Their primary intellectual strength is considered to be “logistical”, concerned with the movement of goods, services and people, and their interests follow this.  They have a deep respect for authority and for tradition in all forms.  Much of their own self-respect and self-esteem derives from carrying out their duties and obligations very well, and receiving recognition for this.

To those of  other temperaments, the inner life of the Guardian may seem rather sad.  Their dominant mood is said to be one of concern that things will get out of hand if they are not vigilant. Self-esteem is highly dependent on constantly playing their part well. They long for the gratitude of others but shrink from asking for it, long for belonging, perpetually seek for a sense of security, and aspire to positions of high authority so that they may obtain better control over life’s pending chaos.  However, to the Guardian SJ, no doubt this is the only fitting and proper way to interact with the world.

This week we explore two related questions, as we did earlier with the SP Artisan.  The first, and major question is:  What would the world be like if SJs not only ran it, but were the one and only temperament.  That is:  What if we were all SJs, from janitors, farmers, cab drivers etc.  to the President, and this had been true from the beginning of human existence?  As you read this please be aware that I am assuming very strong and clear preferences for both S and J.  (These are not your sorta-kinda SJs but really strong Guardian SJs.)

A comment from Lars, in advance of this was  ” “What if SJs ruled the world?”  I think they already do.”  I guess I would say not quite (or at least, not quite, here in the US).  Lars writes from Germany, I believe, so perhaps that makes some difference.  I certainly agree that the SJ Guardians manage a huge amount of everyday organization and oversight of rules and regulations of every kind, but our edgy world of hiphop, rap, X rated everything, personal ornamentation from tattoos to nose rings, single parenthood, and on and on, doesn’t feel very SJ to me.

Here I will ask ask some of the same questions I raised about SP Artisans.  (The question about populating the colder and more northerly climes seems only relevant to SPs.  I imagine that SJs and probably NTs and NFs would tend to go north if population pressures sent them there.)

What would education and commerce be like?  I think that K-12 education would be highly systematized and similar throughout any given SJ nation or nation-state.  I would also expect it to feature very strong teachings (indoctrination might be the most honest word) about moral behavior, good citizenship, responsibility to family and nation, and whatever form of religious belief that the given governmental unit shared.  All of this would be pretty standardized.

Some equivalent of college and university would certainly develop, to teach techniques, to do research in practical areas and to teach history and traditions.  It is hard to imagine major studies in philosophy that examined truly different ways about thinking of moral values, truth etc.  More likely, such courses would cover mainly the existing belief system, its history and its logical justification.  Psychology and Sociology?  Seems doubtful, at least as the wide ranging studies that they are today.  On the other hand, you can imagine many courses in business interactions, transportation efficiencies, and commerce in general.

Commerce itself could be expected to be a central social concern, and to function smoothly.  Agriculture should similarly be well organized.  But, given the SJ emphasis on reliance on tradition it is an interesting question as to how far they would progress toward our more modern forms of transportation, communication and manufacture.  I confess to being somewhat stumped about this.  Logically it would seem that they would need to be driven by some clear cut need before they would change what worked in the past.

A related question is “how about physical inventions?”  You can easily imagine SJs (at least in colder climates) steadily improving home construction–learning to build solid structures, to insulate, heat, bring in water and plumbing.  Would they invent some form of, or some alternative to the internal combustion engine?  This would allow much more rapid transportation, would facilitate harvesting crops, carrying goods to central locations, etc., but would mean moving way beyond any existing traditions.  I would think there would have to be some pressure like population growth exceeding the ability to supply food and other goods, in order to make this happen.  And, I would guess that there would be much worry and gnashing of teeth about the loss of control over people who could move about much more freely.  Similarly, inventions in communication from radio to internet would pose an endless conflict between efficient uses and a fearful loss of control over individuals.  You could pose natural competition between businesses as a force for invention, but if we take Keirsey’s assumption that Guardians are inherently cooperative, it raises the question as to how much competition there could be, and for that matter, how much private property there would be.

What would the social culture look like?  Honestly, (and you SJs may want to scream at me for this), I think it would have some resemblance to Islamic cultures, and perhaps to the original New England Puritans in the United States.  The drive for a strong, unified code of moral behavior, the strong reliance on maintaining traditions, and the strong respect for authority should logically produce a unified code of behavior that would apply to both secular and religious behavior.  I am assuming that some concept of god would exist as the ultimate authority, and that everyone in a given region, state, nation would be expected to accept that concept of god and the resulting rules of conduct.  It would be my guess that in such a system firm rules for marriage would exist, men would have authority over women, and children would be very firmly disciplined.  Unlike the laisse faire child rearing suggested for the SP culture,  bringing up children in a correct moral way would be critically important.

Would art, dance and music exist?  My guess is “yes” but in a very calm, “morally appropriate” way.  At one point Keirsey notes that “This is not to say that Guardians don’t lighten up and have just as good a time as others.  SJs can have a great sense of humor, lots of friends, ad will cultivate a full and satisfying social life….”  But within that satisfying social life, you can imagine that inappropriate sexual behavior (at least on the part of wives, and/or in public) would be deeply frowned upon, and humor that disparaged the rules, regulations and morals of society would be unacceptable.  With society entirely lacking in Intuitives, it seems likely that painting and sculpture would remain representative rather than abstract, and music would be simple and melodic.  In whatever form dancing evolved, it is likely that sexual overtones would not exist, at least in public (If, as I assume, men would play the dominant role in society, it seems possible that they would find a way to relax these rules from time to time, in private, and permit themselves some Dionysian moments in their otherwise Spartan life.)

What would government be like?  This one seems easy.  It would be very structured, with all its rules and regulations carefully coded.  It should function smoothly and efficiently for the most part.  But–I think–it might not be a democracy at all.  Certainly the two party sound and fury that is the United States system would strike a world of SJs as chaotic, constantly changing and unpredictable, and intolerable in its inefficiency.  It seems more likely that it would be a formal heirarchy, with those at each level constrained by very detailed documents giving the rules for all their responsibilities, and the rules for their removal and replacement if and when these responsibilities are not met correctly and efficiently.

Would they be warlike? My guess is only if severely provoked.  War, like democracy would be chaotic, profoundly wasteful of resources, and generally pointless.  The exception that I can imagine would be the possibility that tribes and eventually nations would grow in isolation from one another, and develop different sets of rules.  On encountering one another over time, as populations expanded, it seems possible that war might occur precisely over whose rules are the correct and proper rules!

And if SJs somehow became in charge of a world already full of SPs, NFs and NTs?  After fierce struggle I think it would devolve down to the world we have now.  SPs, in the SJ reign, would stay busy ignoring rules and regulations and forever finding ways to do as they pleased.  NFs would be horrified by all the varied losses of civil liberties in the SJ model, and would soon be mounting their own defiance with sit-ins and new forms of Occupy SJ Land.  And NTs–they would go right at it and bring together SPs, NFs and NTs in a moment of unity to bring down the SJ government.  But–SJs would not fade away.  They would simply go back to tidying all the rules and regulations that keep government running, and doing their best to suppress the excesses of all the SP, NF and NT souls that they have to put up with!

SJs:   Feel free to disagree to your heart’s content.  Your comments are welcome.

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