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Thread: How can we create a personality we desire?

  1. #1 How can we create a personality we desire? 
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Feb 2007
    How can we create a personality we desire?

    Personal heroism by means of individualism is a task requiring courage and self-confidence. Courage and self-confidence are characteristics of few sapiens, young or old. It is a path less traveled because it imposes terrifying burdens; these burdens display themselves by isolation from the common herd. “This move exposes the person to the sense of being completely crushed and annihilated because he sticks out so much, has to carry so much in himself.”

    Personal heroism demands that one exposes her self, i.e. s/he sticks out dramatically from the herd. Those creative types who expose themselves so must create their own justification. Herein we find something that may seem illogical “the more you develop as a distinctive free and critical human being, the more guilt you have. Your very work accuses you; it makes you feel inferior. What right do you have to play God?” By what authority do you presume to introduce new meaning into the world?

    Otto Rank was a colleague of Freud and, like Jung, carried theories far beyond those which Freud created. “Freud’s reality psychology emphasized essentially the influence of outer factor, of the outer milieu, upon the development of the individual and the formation of character,…I [was] opposed to this biological principle, the spiritual principle which alone is meaningful in the development of the essentially human.”

    For Freud the id is the nucleus of being and it, the id, is subject to the natural laws. In such a frame the personality consists of layers of identification that “form the basis of the parental super-ego.” This might be properly considered to be the spiritual structure of the average individual, i.e. the average personality results from the natural influences developed against the naturally evolved super-ego.

    Such a theory accounts for the average but does not account for the two creative extremes: the creative type and the so-called “neurotic” type. I would label the average personality to be a reactive individual; an individual who goes with the flow.

    There are two personality types that make up the proactive personality: one creative type squeezes him or her self into a tight ball in reaction to the inner and outer milieu, i.e. the so-called “neurotic” and the second creative type who creates a personality wherein the ego “is strong just in the degree to which it [i]is[i] the representative of this primal force and the strength of this force represented in the individual we call will.”

    This second creative type, which Rank identifies as the creative type while he identifies the other creative type as the “neurotic”, creates “voluntarily from the impulsive elements and moreover to develop his standards beyond the identifications of the super-ego morality to an ideal formation which consciously guides and rules this creative will in terms of the personality.”

    “The essential point in this process is the fact that he evolves his ego ideal from himself, not merely on the ground of the given but also of self-chosen factors which he strives after consciously.”

    Quotes from Will Therapy and Truth and Reality by Otto Rank

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  3. #2  
    Lyn is offline
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    Jul 2009
    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    I would label the average personality to be a reactive individual; an individual who goes with the flow.
    This is a common conundrum among those who are fond of being "misunderstood" and who actively seek to be iconoclasts. The charge against "reactive individuals" (as you call them) is that they are followers of the "common herd" and are therefore hindering their individualism: the whims of the collective determine the whims of these hapless followers. What makes the iconoclast virtuous, so the argument goes, is that he actively rejects the common herd and is therefore not hindering his individualism: the whims of the collective do NOT determine the whims of the iconoclast.

    The paradox, of course, is that anyone who actively seeks to be perceived as misunderstood (as those who are irresistibly drawn to the romanticized image of the isolated philosopher are apt to do) is no less controlled by the "common herd" than the hapless follower. If a self-styled iconoclast defines himself in opposition to a collective, then he paradoxically needs the collective to exist in order to create his own identity. Whatever he perceives as the collective's whims, he must define himself in opposition to them, and so the whims of the collective are just as much a controlling agent for the iconoclast's whims as they are for the follower he is so fond of scorning.

    That's why I'm always suspicious when a purported iconoclast constantly has to remind others that he is an iconoclast. It reveals an insecurity, as Freud would say. It also explains why those who constantly scorn the herd rarely offer concrete suggestions about how to change the situation. When you get right down to it, the iconoclast does not actually want things to change at all. He wants things to stay the same so he can continue to be the misunderstood hero.

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