Personality: S*****y Explanation

Forgotten Blog Post Draft from 2015

read somewhere recently that I should write down my world view or some of the fundamental belief systems for future comparison purposes.

(note : just came off okcupid, where I caved in and made a dating profile. and also answered a ton of questions, which made me think that maybe personalities are a lot less complex than essays and words sometimes make them seem.)

Our personalities are derived products of our values and our behavior.

Each of our personalities is a combination of values and behaviors. On the surface, we only see actions. Some of those actions are result of conscious decisions on comparing how different actions best represent our values.   Those values are the result of different experiences and key facts. But those values also informed by observations about ourselves. A person with a naturally cheery outlook will have a harder time understand someone who suffers from depression. These values lead to behavior which in turn reinforce those same values, creating a cycle of increasing stubbornness and conviction through age.

That our values are a consequence of our experiences is a very fundamental fact that I believe in. Someone who has never seen understood war will never understand the world the same way as someone who has. One of the ideals during the enlightenment was of the rational self, that the self is this idealized concept that makes completely rational decisions based purely on logic. And if extrapolated to the extreme, it would mean that everyone would eventually arrive at the same conclusion if everyone’s reasoning was sound. I firmly reject that.

This is the way I reason about it. There’s a really interesting idea called consequentialism. ‘holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. ‘ (wikipedia) If you believe in that, then you can see how our judgement of many moral issues will change based on the experiences we’ve had. Now suppose another fact that our experiences form a normal distribution and it’s simply kind of random which experiences we get. we don’t choose our bodies, our families, our background but they pretty much come to define the way we are. And taking these two ideas together, you can reach this conclusion that our values are determined pretty randomly.

Not all moral stances have equal validity (which is something you have to believe in to hold any moral stance I suppose) but it is certainly worth at least wondering the question of what beliefs we may have that are formed/influenced by life experiences that we cannot control? In a very abstract way, I think there is an average case regarding each issue. By average case, I mean an experience that gave someone an insight into both the good and bad sides of a particular issue. For example : there is a case of abortion which allows us to see both the benefits and costs to abortion.

This I suppose is the fundamental question that motivates my interest in other people. In my opinion, honestly most people are alright. We all have our political differences but in the end, few of us want world war 3 and endless suffering. We all have particular ideals because we think they will lead to a better life.  And by this age, my personality is pretty much determined (at least I think) and so I wonder what specific experiences might have caused specific personality/value changes? This is why I like to meet people and hopefully through comparison understand what happened to me. It’s kind of like an experiment. the independent variable being a particular event in question, the dependent variable being our personalities, and so they hypothesis is how this one event in my life may have influenced it.

In other ways, it’s also a curiosity question. I really want to learn more about life, particularly through the lens of humans, see the range of human beings we are able to create, see the parallels between societies, groups, but also celebrate the diversity. Does it make you a better person? I’d like to think so. I think it broadens your horizon. It makes you more approachable, more understanding. In some ways, you could call it training your empathy. So yea, hopefully I’ll find out a little bit more about myself then.

I don’t know fully where this idea came from, but I think humans of new york was an inspiration.

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