disclaimer: I am an very audacious, presumptuous and very ignorant buffoon who dares to speculate about things he knows little about. c.c ---but here's a go at an idea. since, to my knowledge, nothing like this yet exists.
The point of this system isn't to be "correct" from its first iteration, but to actually try to conceive of an appropriate start-to-finish "mathematical" quantification of the entire metabolic process of stress, or more generally, human interaction.
This is an experiment in figuring out what it would take to construct the right type of theory, and possibly elevate psychology into a more precise science.
Controlled Variables, Precise Definitions
In chemistry, mathematics, and physics.... everything is able to function because we can start with proper quantifications of (hypothetical) objects or substances. Whether that is numbers, or molecules. It's important to have a rather static understanding of the "subjects" of the interaction before we can calculate the interaction.
Given Carl Jung's quote in the image above, imagine this:
a) We know the exact emotional state of Subject A
b) We know the exact emotional state of Subject B
c) We can determine what the state of both will be like after the interaction
In order to do this, we have to have a language to define the "present tense" state of Subjects A and B. And that may be emergent from a constant background/default 'state' + the variability provided by the present moment's mood. I'll get back to this point.
One type of Interaction, One Subject
In order to minimize the variables for this thread, I'm only going to start with a single type of situation and a single subject's internal morphing.
Situation: Stress Subject: Jane
Ok! I hope that's all the setup needed... on to the thought experiment!
Suppose we have a "packet of stress" falling on Jane. And suppose we can give this stress package a measurement. Lets call it 100str ---where "str" is stress potency.
As you can see from this diagram, Jane took this packet of 100str and converted 70% of it into "ext(externalization)", 10% into "int(internalization)", only 5% into "rep(repression)" and 1% into "phy(physical stress)"
What this means, functionally, is that there's a sort of law-of-conservation-of-stress happening. All the stress that hit Jane is being responded to in some way. But Jane turned most if it outward. She projected it, she got angry at the stressors, she kicked the wall, threw a fit, and then went into the fridge and grabbed a cold beer.
But 10% of the stress hit her in the form of self-loathing and self-numbing. She blames herself to some degree. She can't completely put this on the situation, as much as she mostly feels the situation is to blame.
Then 5% of the stress is put out of mind. Numbed by the alcohol, and just general desire "not to think too hard" about it. She tries to forget about it, rather than ruminate on it.
And 1% of the stress was accumulated by her body. They say stress makes you age. This is true, and a lot more. It can cause a lot of health problems as psychoneuroimmunology is showing. So this 1% goes to her health declining; thus preserving the 100% total of the stress attained. This is where it all went. (and these 4 categories could be refined/added onto)
Differences in Stress Processing
Ok, but this begs the question.... why did Jane convert 70% of it into externalization/projection? This is where tools like the enneagram come in. Jane has, since she was little, had a rather hot temper. She's prone to be a defender of the weak, but also a bit too aggressive with what she wants.
So to bring this system into more precise quantification, we can simulate it like this:
Now, here, 100str hits Jane, and this is converted through jane's filter into the types of stress she receives. To the right we see Andy, who would take the same 100str and respond to it very differently. Andy would convert the *same* situation into 80% internalization, 15% repression and also take some physical toll with it. He would not externalize it at all.
Takeaways from this...
As many ways as there are to respond to stress, we all likely do a little of each. But we each respond to generalized stress differently, based on our pre-existing filter.
Ok, so the above example was intentionally simplistic in not explaining what the stressor was. In order to introduce one concept at a time.
But lets dig into that. Suppose the stressor was a flat tire, which caused a small accident on the freeway. The car was towed. They got to their office/job late that morning, got chewed out by their unsympathetic boss because of being late. And then finally clocked out and went home.
Jane - Was furious at her boss because it wasn't her fault. She had a legitimate reason for being late, and she could have been injured, but that didn't matter to the boss at all. All the boss cares about are the profits of the company. She gets angry at how the boss treats the employees in general and wonders whether or not to quit this stupid job.
Andy - Was deeply ashamed of getting there late. He realized the tire was wearing low a few weeks ago, but put off a decision to change the tire. So he feels utterly responsible for the crash and guilty for damaging another person's car. He feels deserving of the chewing out he got from the boss, and feels his whole life is worthless.
~~~~ Scenario: Stress Package #2
But what would happen if the contents of the stressor were different?
Suppose instead, there's a breakup in the relationship. The partner dumps them, with what seems like a totally petty excuse. They "got bored" and weren't getting anything out of it. This also counts as a stress package of 100str.
Jane is, as always, very upset and angry. But this time, she feels an uncharacteristic level of self-loathing and responsibility. Up to 40% from the previous 10% with the car incident. She's forced to repress more of this guilt too, in the form of closing her mind off to painful memories which were once sweet.
Andy is, as always, very self-depreciative. But this time, he finally gets verbal and does something he usually doesn't do. He gets into a shouting match with his girlfriend about all of the pent up feelings he's had the whole time. His repression dropped from his average of 15% to 5%. He blames her for having their relationship fall apart and says that he's always been doing 110% to try to keep them afloat, with little appreciation.
The nature of the stress package has to be understood as a dynamic variable in this equation as well. So with this all considered, we could say that how we respond to stress involves:
So why 100str? For simplicity of explanation... But to make matters more complicated, the "degree of the stressor" is actually contingent on our emotional sensitivity.
Sensitivity value would be a measure of how rubbed-raw a person's heart is. It's a measure of health and emotional permeability. The tragic part about stress which we all know about is that, the more unhealthy you become, the less able you are to deal with additional stress. So the more difficult additional stress is to process.
The simplest of stressors can be felt like an enormous burden to someone who is emotionally unhealthy or who has become hypersensitive to certain types of stimuli/triggers. Oppositely, someone who is emotionally healthy will not experience stress from the same event, or at most just a bit of inconvenience.
In the above example, Jane has a sensitivity value of 0.7 --- That means that if she is confronted with a situation that has the general potential to cause 100str, she turns that into 70str. In other words, having a sensitivity value (SV) below 1 means your sensitivity is low.
Inversely, if someone's SV is above 1.... lets say that it's 2.5, then that means that a situation with a general potential to cause 100str is converted into 250str of stress. Which then gets siphoned off to the various vectors, depending on the person's filter.
One's SV increases the more stress is accumulated through life. We can measure a person's SV by seeing how they respond to a given situation, and whether they over-react to something basic. People that are highly disturbed would have an SV value of above 5.... or so.
It's taking a while to put all the pieces together here. Ty guys for being patient with me. I know it must seem hazy atm. I'm close to wrapping up the initial concept. To help, one thing I wanna bring up is that of a comparable system of interaction dynamic; RPG battle engines.
Pokemon/RPG Battle Engines
For those familiar with the battle engine, you might know what I mean. But lets focus on Pokemon as an example.
#1: First you have the pokemon type. Pikachu for simplicity's sake. The pokemon type is comparable to cognitive type. As with CT, this gives the pokemon certain strengths and weaknesses. For example, the base stats of a Pikachu look like this:
This is comparable to, say, the standard development of a type:
#2: Then you have the pokemon's nature: there are 25 types of nature. And these too are also static.
These are comparable to the enneagrams, in a way. They exist as a separate thing from the pokemon's species, but is a type of nature that affects what properties of their Base Stats get amplified or reduced.
Assuming we take away the rigidity of the enneagram's rules, and focus instead on a spectrum, then the strengths of each number can be calculated as a sort of "stat" with all 9 "stats" accounting for the person's emotional landscape.
#3: Development: Then you have three factors. Experience Points (EXP), Effort Values (EV), and Levels (LVL). One can be a Lvl 50 Pikachu (Timid) with EV's in speed and special attack. Or one could be a Lvl 10 Pikachu (Timid) with EV's distributed randomly across all stats.
So even with accounting for Species and Nature.... level/exp/ev does a lot to differentiates two pokemon from each other. The same happens with humans. A TiNe type5 can be very different from another TiNe type5 based on equivalent sorts of differences in development.
Lvl can be equated to life experience, perhaps (?)(i'll try to flesh this one out in a bit), and EV relates to specific training of specific areas. So TiNe-5 #1 has done a lot of training of their Fe and can indeed articulate their Ti ideas fairly well, while the TiNe-5 #2 has amplified their top 2 functions without much concern for the bottom two:
So here in this diagram we see the RED being a TiNe's sort of "base stats" with the yellow being development. As you can see, it changes the expression of the type quite a bit.
#4: Lastly, the final big value is "status" which would parallel to "mood". In Pokemon, status accounts for:
The current HP points available from the max HP.
Status conditions such as Sleep/Paralysis/Poison/Burned
Temporary stat drops/gains (i.e. moves which halve the attack power of the pokemon)
These are all situational and go away once the pokemon is healed at the pokemon center. So I think it's a comparable metaphor for our daily moods. Having an energy drink spike or coffee buzz would be an example of a status change for the better; perhaps boosting cognitive ability of a certain sort (the T function?)
And being groggy from too little sleep would put someone in an irritable mood, which would simulate a status drop in HP/i.e.-stamina.
The main point I wanted to bring up with this Pokemon metaphor is that.... RPGs have, as they've been refined over the decades, developed a type of semi-organic system of interaction dynamics already. And they are, to me, examples of successful ---though simplistic--- iterations of this sort of "alchemy/chemistry" I'm speaking about in the OP with the interaction of two subjects.
For example, lets say you have:
Subject #1: Pikachu Lvl 25, full hp/stats, Timid nature, Max EV's in speed and S.ATK Subject #2: Garchomp Lvl 60, full hp/stats, Bold nature, no EV training...i.e. evenly distributed
You can see just from this surface glance what would happen. But if it plays out, you'll see it with more detail.
That's the sort of interaction "simulation" system or technology I wish to develop for this chemistry-of-human-interactions. But of course with quite a bit more tracked variables and better suited to the human condition.
Something like this could be used to very accurately simulate coworker interactions, partner interactions, and so forth. Or to track one's level of growth within life, and also to continually identify one's areas of weakness --- and to do all of that from within a concisely quantified system that can also be precisely communicated to others and which others can use as well.
There would be less wondering about 'where you are at' in a certain ability, or whether differences are all subjective anyway. Or at least, it'd be a language that can give a standardization, potentially. The eventual goal of this would be to function a bit like a medical doctor's current "patient chart" with all the quantified variables spread out:
Right now, to my knowledge, psychologists have nothing like this. There is no "chart" because there is no system of universally tracking psychic vectors, their degrees, their directions/trajectories, etc. But the development of this tool would give immense predictive power, and practical application power to the therapist.
Ok, next question is... so where did that 100str go?
Long Term Stress Levels
Well, as I mentioned, every stressful life situation we encounter compounds our life-stress. People who have severe disorders have had a lot of life stress. Whether that means repeated abuse by parents, repeated loss of loved ones, or repeated spirals of self-depreciation, there is a "real" imprint and tangible boulder in the psyche that is not going away anytime soon. So long-term stress is a description of the existing condition of our emotional landscape. Here is Jane's:
Jane's entire accumulated stress during her life is 29,516 (LTS). Or to be more precise, this is her present stress profile after discounting positive, stress relieving life events and amendments. This number can be decreased with time and life exposure. Or it can increase with stress.
It takes neurotic patients many years to heal and this is no coincidence. A system like this must account for the existence of this long-term... chip-away-at-it process... to be comprehensive.
Accumulation of Stress
Remember those 100str we talked about at the beginning? And 70% went to "ext"? Well that would be an example of this LTS number going up by 100 points. So that car accident brought her LTS from 29,416 up to 29,516.... with most of that going toward external anger (Ea).
So this ties in directly to the more immediate, day-by-day happenings. And the nature of the "filter" in the above examples is determined by this stress profile's fingerprint. In Jane's case, she turned most of that stress into external anger because she was already predisposed to do so ---- and the degradation states reinforce themselves in a feedback loop.
I added here a scale of degradation levels, which is meant to better simulate the "disorders" paradigm. For example, in healthy levels, the emotional vectors (enneagrams) display interesting and distinguishing quirks of personality and character. But at a degradation level of #1, the emotional vector starts to display problematic elements in life. It starts to deteriorate into more uncontrolled forms.
At degradation level #2, the emotional vector strongly classifies as a disorder. This is where type 3 turns into Narcissism, or where type 6 may turn into Paranoid Personality Disorder.
At degradation level #3, the emotional vector has become full blown neurosis. This is when type6 may become delusional paranoia, or when narcissism can become delusions of grandeur (i.e. I am the messiah).
So, for the sake of putting this together into (theoretical) application, this is the type of predictive potential something like this could have.
In this hypothetical new system, rather than having dozens of competing theories offering their take on certain phenomenon, most all psychic phenomenon would be convergent into a single theoretical model from which they all arise as a factor of degrees and as a factor of interaction --- the same way it's done in medicine.
i.e. - in medicine, if your cholesterol levels are high, but your HDL levels are low it means that you have a greater risk of heart disease. But if your cholesterol is high and your HDL is also high, it means you're not especially at risk. The interactions between the different levels are symptomatic of certain biological processes at work, and also predictive of them --- and vice versa.
So in the above patient's chart, the psychologist could tell that this patient suffers from depression. But depression is understood here to be a general term; there are many types of depression, and this chart measures that too. How so? Because the patient's Is level range cross over beyond the first margin.
This means the patient is constantly experiencing Is fixations that go beyond the normal functioning ranges and manifest as uncontrollable recurring thoughts; heavy-set schemas.
In Elaine's case, this means she's a constant self-defeatist, believing the worst of herself and not allowing herself to try new things because she has already decided it will fail. Anything she does try, she soon sabotages by carrying this expectation of failure into the endeavor.
But we can get more into the "cause" and "treatment" of this sort of thing later. For now I wanna focus a bit more on analysis of the chart. Beginning with a second example to compare against:
In this patient, we can see that Ana is also depressed. But Ana has two values that cross the threshold: Is and Ea. This means two of her emotional defense mechanisms have crossed over into unhealthy levels. What this means is that Ana will utilize both in conjunction, or separate, depending on the circumstance. Ana also suffers from mania. How so?
Because Ea is an externalized emotional mechanism. If a patient has a value of Is, Ic, Ia or Ca that crosses the threshold, they have depression. But if the patient has a value of Ea, Ec, Es or Cs that crosses the theshold, they have mania.
However, in Ana's case, she has mania and depression. What this means is that she will exhibit the tendencies sometimes referred to as bipolar -- or borderline. There are many different types of bipolar/borderline, and this is something not well appreciated in present literature. What this theoretical model would propose is that the underlying cause of each bipolar case is different, which is why a general term to cover the whole range ---as it's been used up to now --- is ill informed. This would present a paradigm shift in how we understand bipolar/borderline.
The new definition of bipolar/borderline would have a variety of sub-combinations and descriptions. One could be bipolar with Is+Ea tendencies, or with Ia+Ec tendencies. Both would go from mania to depression, but in very different ways. Y'see, the problem with bipolar as it's present conceived is that it's not understood as a compounding condition. That is to say, bipolar isn't "one condition" but it is a description of a person with compounding conditions. Looking deeper into the cause of the person's overall distress will reveal that they had toxic life circumstances which they siphoned off into different emotional strategies/mechanisms perhaps according to the situation or in order to mitigate the strength of the effect in any one vector.
In this next example, we have Roger, a person suffering from mania. Notice that he has both Ec and Cs above the threshold, with Cs going above the second threshold. Now, because both of these emotional vectors are external, Roger doesn't seem the type to exist in a "stupor" of depression. But he's quite perturbed in other ways. Having Cs (type3) above this second threshold signals neurosis. In him, what used to be a healthy sense of ego and confidence has evolved into a narcissistic personality out of an attempt to compensate for the stress in his life. As more and more power and entitlement is taken away from him at work and at home, the more he inflates himself.
Roger is not allowing himself to give-in to the fact that his prime is behind him, and he thinks in a manner that allows him to believe that he's the most important and relevant factor in everything.
And as mentioned prior, this diagram/chart would be able to diagnose a lot of other conditions (not just narcissism) presently known under other names. This theoretical structure wouldn't use the same exact terms (i.e. histrionic personality disorder) but it would essentially encompass the same terrains --and more, much more thoroughly-- because it's doing all of this from a cohesive architecture.
Reverse Deduction, Error Checking and Analysis
This is the part that, I think, really could define this method. The above examples take for granted that the patient's levels have been figured out. How, though, would that happen?
Like any good medical theory, multiple factors should converge. And irregularities in the hypothetical conversion can be used to tell that something is "wrong with this picture." Similar to those logic puzzles out there. Here are various converging angles:
The Symptomatic: If a patient already displays, known symptoms of (say) suicidal thoughts related to feelings of self-shame and unworthiness, then we know that Is has crossed the threshold.
What else does that tell us? It tells us that the patient has endured over (15,000str) in their life. What that means is that, the patient's history should cross-check with this fact and verify it. If, for example, an examination into the patient's past reveals very little in the form of stressors (lets say a grand total of no more than 5,000str) then we know something is missing.
Clues could be: they may have a yet-to-be-unearthed 10,000str in Ca (The Problem Denier), or it could be going into their health. Or the patient simply isn't revealing everything about themselves.
The Historical: This is what the above would check against, but this could also be a primary starting point. If we hear a full and detailed account of the patient's history, and it is filled with terrible misfortune, well over 40,000str, and we're not yet seeing the symptoms, that means that the symptoms are either not being reported/understood, or are latent.
The patient may have a very deep-deep set anger which may only come out in the most dire of circumstances, but may be enough to commit homocide. An Ea of over 20,000str could be lying right below a Ca of even more (i.e. 25,000str).
The Physiological: As I mentioned above, psychoneuroimmunology has made progress in verifying that stress has a direct link to things such as irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, autoimmune diseases, and from what I've read also a higher risk of the big players such as cancer.
A person with extremely high cortisol levels in their blood will be a strong indicator of distressed individual in a fight-or-flight response. Adrenal failure can also be an indicator of chronic stress. The presence of these physical ailments can also be another verification method for where and how severe the stress is.
#1: Dispersion - Going back to Roger's case, we see a man whose stuck in Cs, with a little bit of Ec in the mix. A strategy that can help a case like his is one of dispersion. This theory acknowledges that LTS doesn't just dissipate into thin air. There is a law-of-conservation-of-emotional-energy at work. So there is, especially at first, a very tactile reality to the stress and where it's going.
What dispersion proposes is to divide up a singlular and overwhelming stressor into multiple smaller vectors in order to mitigate the short term damage being caused. In Roger's case, the psychologist may propose that he properly grieve and acknowledge the loss of his prime. Rather than inflating himself or adamantly seeking to put-off a looming depression with ambition and cockiness, he should let the sorrow hit; let the stupor fall over him and humble his spirits.
This may translate to deeper moments in Ic's contemplativeness or Is' solemn/intimate emotionality. The psychologist would have to monitor to ensure that Roger doesn't become absolutely apathetic (extreme Ic) or suicidal (extreme Is), but a little of that could do him good. All of that stress, all of that grief needs to be mentally dealt with, and when it's properly absorbed by the more melancholy emotional vectors, the manic vectors will have less tension built up.
#2: Schema Psychoanalysis - Passing the first threshold signals the presence of a persistent conflation between an emotional vector and a malignant paradigm; a maladaptive schema. (i.e. "The world is never safe, I must over-prepare" or "I can never be loved, I'm too flawed.") This would be a patient-therapist effort to identify the maladaptive beliefs that lie behind the emotional vectors that have exceeded the healthy threshold. What sort of belief has been ingrained into the patient, either about the world, or themselves?
The self-reinforcing nature of schemas would need to be addressed with self-awareness. This could go a long way in preventing further stress accumulation by breaking the feedback loop.
#3: [---etc---]: I don't present known of too many other successful strategies but this would, naturally, be a constantly updating frontier. This theory/diagram/tool would mostly to be aide therapists in providing those services. As mentioned before, this theory would have those opportunities for growth/expansion.
Additionally, even the diagram could be expanded if more emotional vectors/mechanisms are found in the future. Another row or rows can be added while not truly changing the overall format of how data is evaluated. Though the evaluation criteria will evolve over time as well.