jwetmore wrote:David Wrote, "As I would say to my father (to his consternation) -- "Yes, and it's more complicated." "
So let's explore one of the angles of this issue through the lens of temperament theory.
Guardians generally support and control all institutions. Gaurdians have a desire for stability and support authority and tradition.
Even in the scentific institutions Guardians seems to be in control. Guardians are not easily swayed by evidence. The dust up that Galileo had with the Catholic Church in the early 1600's provides a good example. Briefly, until Copernicus published his theory in 1543 that the sun was the center of the solar system, the accepted view in western civilization was that the earth was the center of the universe. About 1610 Galileo raised the ire of established authorities by supporting Copernicus' view. He was forced to recant, but in 1632 he was found guilty of heresy.
Is the stability that Guardians bring to a culture, a country, an organization, a family, an individual, etc. a bad thing? Not necessarily. There seems to be a lot of evidence that stable societies and cultures are more successful than those that are less stable. However, there is also evidence that cultures and societies that are rigid are less successful over time. Jared Diamond wrote about China starting about the year 1000 in, "Guns, Germs, and Steel". In 1000, China had the most advanced society and the leaders exercised considerable control over a large area. This control appears to have created a stagnation that allowed other countries pass China and reach higher living standards, so that by the mid 20th century China could not be considered a developed country.
The interaction between control and evolution/adaptation appears to be a complex phenomina with no single answer regarding the proper level of stability. It depends on initial conditions, on current events, and a host of other variables. The variables probably include culture, demographics, technology, ecology, climate, at both the individual level and societal level. And even in retrospect the relative importance of the variables is subject to uncertainty.
So, it could be Gaurdians protecting the status quo, not only because of established interests, but also because that is what Guardians do. This tendancy is opposed by the other temperaments of course. Artisans seek advantage. I think they are generally less dogmatic than Guardians and will change alligence to ideas that have a personal short term payoff for them as individuals. They are generally an agent for change - but not necessaiy progress. Rationals continually seek the truth and try to provide better explanations. But they are not natural promoters and may not be effective communicators and persuaders of others. They tend to think "the facts speak for themselves". Rationals are generally agents for change. I don't have strong conviction ethier way for Idealists. I think they can act as either agents for change or for stability.
But ideas, like organisms do evolve. (There was a clever title to a post recently over on reason.com, "Ideas having sex"). How do new ideas gain acceptance? It's a good topic for a later post. (Hint, it is not just about the ideas themsleves, but about our - collectively and individually - reaction (or interaction) with the ideas. Talk about complex.)
Great post, read Architron's post on "Combining the Keirsey", for some of our ideas on temperamental evolution and the functions of each temperament within the society.