July 12, 2010
What is personality !!
[1.30 pm, IUCAA guest house, waiting for lunch,
probably a friend will call any minute now]
I am trying to hit a nail on something which is quite subjective. And its much wider than any one can emancipate just by himself. But its much like trying to describe the taste of coffee. I agree [and can not disagree] that there could be a very generally acceptable notion about how coffee tastes and there are almost cult following towards coffee taste and habits.
But such is also the case of the subject of personality. The epistemological description and study of personal types belong much to the subject of psychology and its customary descriptions vary so widely given to its “marketability” that trying to get a generally acceptable way of understanding such an interesting idea is a time taking venture. I am therefore just trying to gather my ideas into a crude form without much or rather zero recourse to psychological concepts.
Here is what I find a suitable notion of what personality defines. A personality is a very powerful expression of someone’s subconscious behavior towards the world such as to get appropriate response from the world to lead oneself towards an understanding by the world.
Again the notion in its entirety is subjective, as one can take the clue, if one were to peep a little harder and say: “well everyone doesn’t quite expect the world to develop an understanding in a person, probably such folks belong to a specified category”. But in such a definition there also is an essence of a definition for what personality is. Its the outward visibility of a person irrespective of that persons knowledge about such an outward expression.
Having defined such a notion, at-least for the sake of what my understanding of personality is all about, I am trying to tell you something more. Why is it that all living beings have a personality not just the human beings. Well, definitely not the plants, at-least so much which I can envisage.
A tiger as a representation of a particular species signifies one type of personality behavior. Aan individual tiger could be mild or laid back in its approach while another individual tiger could be much contrasting to the former, but as a whole their personality could be different from the personality of the man kind.
[1.45: Lunch break]
Well, so all living beings except perhaps the plants do have a personality? In some its quite visible and in others its not.
Another idea that come to me is that a person has his personality quite laid into his making right from the time that person was a kid. Possibly its just one part of the personality, which we can say, is the persons nature and we can categorize his responses to the world as his visible personality. But I [or one] would like to see all that summed up as a truer representation of ones personality.
A personality is much immensely complex than my naive ideas crudely summed up here, but one way the psychologists try to represent it is through careful analysis of many kind of personalities and their characteristic traits and then try to make a list of personality traits and associate some kind of tests to their way of such descriptions by some kind of empirical observations such as a specific type of questionnaire.
I believe such questionnaires are but a very short and limited way of describing personalities. Otherwise the psychologists would be the ones to completely predict human behavior from their “unattractive” system of description of human behavior. Human behavior changes with every other thought and possibly the psychologists are the least aware of human thoughts in its complete variation.