Reflections on Personality Differences

Devika Sammy posted 11 months ago, 1 Responses
The statement speaks to personality differences between people, which was likened to differences of persons of the same race and nature. While race can have implications of cultural background, it may not. On the other hand, nature a broad term which may speak to human genetics expressed in personality. One method of examining personality via personality traits, one subject of psychology. Another means of examining nature is through the study of groups and more globally, society. The study of group behaviour can be distinct from individual behaviour, and the discipline of sociology was emerged to explore groups dynamics. The content of the second sentence in the statement speaks to the role of experience or socialization in shaping personality. It suggests that although personality may be genetically programmed, one’s life experiences such as parenting and education influences how genetics may or may not manifest itself in personality. Furthermore, the statement went on to underscore that personality differences amongst individuals may be enhanced by their environment. 
The primary agent of environment is socialization, and socialization patterns lead to the creation of cultures. Socialization and culture make man’s interactions predictable, yet, people are not physically forced to follow rules, norms and mores. Nonetheless, most people in society engage in ‘socially acceptable’ behaviours, while some resist conformity and ascribe to ‘anti-social behaviour’. Humans survived over the ages due to humankind’s propensity to form social bonds and live communally. Perhaps survival instinct then caused men to develop a need for belonging.  However, despite the appealing comfort and social pressure towards group order, structure and routine, some people who dare to defy these standards of conformity. While some who dare to defy group culture have been ostracized, many were revered for their creative, ingenuity and visionary thinking. Therein lies the contradiction of group conformity. 
The most meaning of the quote, for me however, was to emphasize personality differences despite socialization. In my mind, it raised one of the longest running debates in psychology namely, the role of nature versus nurture in shaping personality; the question of whether human personalities have been shaped by genetics of experience.  Moreover, the quote caused me to reflect on the idea that although people possess similarities, each individual also possesses some distinguishing essence. Although groups of people have been found to be similar, individual differences exist regardless of genetic and familial ties or experiences. The points of similarities and differences amongst people may be physical like race, or in nature, which would comprise of thoughts, attitudes, values and behaviours.  The quote went further to raise the question of freedom of choice and; this surfaced for me, the contradiction in the words of philosopher Rousseau “man is free but everywhere he is in chains”. Moreover, the statement conjured existentialism as I considered that choice may conflict with the idea of destiny on a superficial level. 
Furthermore, the statement may have an existentialist meaning for the human race. Existentialist thinkers examined the human condition and found that free will came from accepting one’s mortality in order to have free choice. It requires human being to not succumb to the temptation to assume absolute answers about the purpose of life, which would direct man away from the reality of the human condition. That is, there is no purpose to life, but, man’s free choice. By accepting that there is no higher purpose for human existence, then one becomes free to make choices and find one’s chosen purpose.  

Dear Devika,

thank you very much for your reflections. I am highly impressed by your detailed analytical progress. You share a wide range of very important points that you might want to integrate also to your end-of-chapter article, if they match with the topic and / or the remaining content.

I truly love many points that you raised, such as the origin or strongest impact on the development of the personality, namely if it is shaped by genetics or the environment. So, maybe it is simply both, while we leave it open to the mystery of Life itself, knowing best which part is the dominant one. Additionally, the point of visionaries who are often excluded from the mainstream society, remain the strong leaders for progress, development, and improvement. What a paradox of human existence.

I am very grateful for all your impulses.

Best regards, Daniel