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Aliens and Strangers: A Perspective on Personality

Trenton Clark Rindoks

Liberty University

Abstract

Many theories of personalities exist in psychology today. This essay will examine the views of Trenton Rindoks which is based on the theories of Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers. From Adler the author gains insight into the strivings for stable individuals to meet the needs of the common good of society which is in line with Jung, Erikson’s and Maslow’s view of the drive to achieve self-actualization. From Rodgers and from the teachings of Jesus Christ a fair treatment of individuals as humans and not clients is gained. The basic premise of love the sinner and hate the sin is achieved. Actions motivate behavior and thus neurosis is centered in the mind and soul (heart) of the individual. A person should be held accountable for their actions committed but should be treated with love, compassion, kindness and respect the basic tenants out lined in by the Disciple Paul in 1st Corinthians.  Are actions from sin which in partially an unconscious action handed down by our ancestors as a result of the Fall but we as the result of the Original Sin have free will and make choices thus are actions are reside partially in are consciousness. As Sigmund Freud theorized The Mind is made up of three regions The Id (consciousness. Mind) Ego (Soul / Instinct) , and Super Ego( God Conscious/ Spirit) (King, 2013) and various defense mechanisms are in place to protect us from neurosis which is a temporary state of regress in many  people under the state of stress unless one’s psychic reserve becomes depleted or one’s coping skills fails then one falls into a state of neurosis. The individual is both product of genetics, collective mind (also called God or divine intelligence by some) and the environment and is shaped by such influences as nurture or the amount of love and belonging received throughout life. Motivation is complex issue and is most effective when intrinsic values are the governing force over extrinsic values. finally, development and maturation are essential a homogeneous process although maturation results in self-actualization. Self-actualization result normally results from a spiritual experience and is accomplished normally after instincts and needs are satisfied during development and one undergoes one or more crisis stages. The ultimate goal of the self-actualized human is to become with the God and the universe and to strive for the improvement of the greater good and future generations. “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1Pt 2:10-12 NIV, 1984).”

Aliens and Strangers: A Perspective on Personality

Personality arises from traits past down from generation, one’s reaction to his or her environment, a desire to meet basic needs and certain developmental conditions and the conditions of nurturing in the various stages of development particular from infancy to the adolescent years. Actions lead to behaviors and can be modified and stress can lead to a temporary state of neurosis which if left unchecked will result in a neurotic state of unbalance. A person view of self is based on two aspects the persona or image present the world outside and the demeanor or true self which holds various archetypes and conflicts that an individual may hide from the outside world. The Id or conscientious self may adopt traits of others and develop a soul sickness to try fit in with society. These traits can result from family dynamics, social, religious or political values or views project into the unconsciousness by other.  These negative views do not only impact the self-esteem of the individual but also impact how one interacts with the world and the people encountered on a daily basis (Ruiz, 1997).  As one gains maturity by going through various stages of a crisis one strengthens one’s identity and learns to work toward the well-being of society in general losing interest in selfish motivation and seeking to accomplish a specific purpose while passing wisdom and instruction to future generations. In 1st Peter 2 we are told “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1Pt 2:11-12 NIV, 1984)” This affirms the need to strive for the common good, to meet our basic needs, and to work towards self-actualization.

Foundations of Personality

Nature vs Nurture:

Personality evolves from traits based down from the evolution of humankind as hypothesized by Jung and other psychologist and is the result of the Fall as described in The Book of Genesis in the New Testament of the Bible.  These sins or instinctual drives act as motivational forces but when left unsatisfied can develop into neuroses. The necessary of nurture or love in one’s life especially in infancy through the adolescent years is critical as many key elements for human interaction are achieved during these stages in one’s life. Erick Erikson purposed a model of 8 development stages each with syntonic or positive developmental response and a dystonic or negative response. The most crucial of these is identity vs. identity confusion which normally appears during the adolescent period but may going well into the early 20’s or beyond (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013). Maslow outlined basic needs in a 5 hierarchy scale from the most basic of needs, physiological at the base of period to self-actualization at the top. As on meets the needs of each stage on then can move up to the next level.  During a crisis one may temporary revert to a previous stage and need to fulfill the needs of an earlier stage Maslow’s Model is thus a useful tool in crisis intervention (Kanel, 2007).

Biological factors come into play in the form of one’s genetic makeup. Approximately 40-60% of our personality is formed from DNA and adaptive traits passed down over generations as proven by tests done on identical and fraternal twins both that were raised together and separated at birth (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013). However the environment and such variables as culture, family, peer group nutrition and more also play a significant role in shaping behavior, cognition and personality. Human beings are intelligent animals and although some behavior may be conditioned others are learned by observation of others (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013).  In addition most of our actions stem from intent and humans thus play a role in shaping the environment they live in. Even random occurrence and chance meetings can be determined by mathematical prediction and one can arrange a schedule to increase the likelihood that such events will happen the only exception to the rule is when such events are the result of acts of God or natural occurrences (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013). Even still as cognitive agents humankind is capable of how to react to such occurrences. Mankind is agents of freewill not predestination.

The unconscious:

The Mind is made up of three regions The Id (consciousness. Mind) Ego (Soul / Instinct) , and Super Ego( God Conscious/ Spirit) (King, 2013) and various defense mechanisms are in place to protect us from neurosis which is a temporary state of regress in many  people under the state of stress unless one’s psychic reserve becomes depleted or one’s coping skills fails then one falls into a state of neurosis.  Also within the unconscious mind the various archetypes that are passed down from generation and manifest in dreams reside. These archetypes are derived from the collective mind of humanity, and shared by all and are psychic counter point to instinct (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013).There are an infinite number of archetypes but most common to all humanity are the persona, or of personality projected to the outside world, anima & animus, the male and female aspect of personality, great mother, wise old man hero and true self. These can manifest as dreams, fantasies and delusions revealing revelations to the connection that personality has with the collective spirit, past problems and conflicts. Dreams may also be analyzed to resolve present of future anxieties or failing defense mechanisms or coping skills. Such undertaking can help one become more enlightened, balanced and put one on the path of self-actualization once basic needs are satisfied.

View of Self:

The individual has two views of self which are active in the personality.  The persona or what one displays to the outside world, and the demeanor or true self.  The persona is often used to disguise intention or hide one’s fears or to fit in with the norm of society and can serve as mask and often be projected onto others.  Don Miguel Ruiz In his book “The Four Agreements” States that as people often are victims of the projection and perceptions of other individuals and society to achieve a better sense of true self we must be free of this great delusion or the mitote (Ruiz, 1997). This conflicting voice that resides in the unconscious is a collection of thoughts derived from culture and thought of others that goes against the will of the demeanor and diminishes self-esteem. One can overcome the mitote only by learning not to take things personally (Ruiz, 1997). The demeanor is the actual-self or true person and is comprised of a divine driving purpose that will determine what sort of place on should fill in society. As one meets certain basic needs and goes through various stages of development the self is enhanced. The environment plays minor part in this development of self and one’s link to the collective consciousness also determines elements of the true-self as does the amount of nurturing one receives through life.

Progression of Personality

Development & Maturation: 

A person undergoes eight stages of development each with a syntonic or dystonic reaction. The stages are:  Infancy, Early childhood, Play age, School age, Adolescence, Young adulthood, Adulthood, and old age (King, 2013).  In addition to the development phases one must meet certain basic instinctual needs and progress up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to become a fully developed human being. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs consists of 5 levels: Physical needs, Safety Needs, Ned for Love and Belonging, Self-esteem and Recognition and Self –actualization (Feist, Feist, & Tomi-Ann, 2013) (King, 2013). The Last stage according to Maslow is only achieved by a spiritual awakening and a small percent of the population, The author of this essay disagrees on Maslow on this point to some degree stating this may be achieved by the awakening of the Religious Self such as the transformation brought forth when the holy Spirt begins entering one’s life after one turns their will and life to Christ and accepts Salvation. However, one still must meet the lower needs on the hierarchical scale to achieve full actualization.

Motivation:  

Motivation varies from each person and depends on the circumstance and can be influenced by stress and intrinsic and extrinsic variables. Action leads to behavior but overtime certain behaviors can become compulsions and negatively affect the individual especially when used to deal with stressors in one’s life (Kanel, 2007). When coping measures fails neurosis may develop. A balanced individual will be motivated to serve the benefit of society where as a neurotic individual will be motivated by selfish ambition. Many cultures embrace the advancement of selfish ambition and personal gain and self-centered individuals often are seen as leaders and innovators in these cultures. Extrinsic values such as a drive for power and greed become the social norm in such a society. Three studies will examine the roles of the intrinsic personality type and how they apply to motivation, creativity, the academic setting, the workplace and the world in general.

A correlation between intrinsic value and attention involvement and the challenge of skills and the competency of the individual was conducted in 2011. Competence valuation is the variable of importance of an activity. Positive relationships between competence valuation and enjoyment have been proven in numerous studies. Thus, by testing real world scenarios the study hoped to find a correlation between competency and Intrinsic motivation. The balance between challenge and skill was also assessed 86 undergraduate students at a small private university were the group of the study, 56 were female while 34 were male. Each was given a PDA and was paged 10 day 0ver 5 days to find out what task they were doing, what mood they were in where they were located and other factors such as response time. Each participant was also given $25 to use on Campus for needs. The data was then analyzed using the experience sample method. The premise for this study is that attentional involvement is a motivator for intrinsic value. Surgeons, artist and other professionals report in other studies that when attentional involvement drops as a result to fatigue or being distracted or some other factor intrinsic value declines as well (Abuhamdeh, Csikszentmihalyi, & Mihaly, 2011).

The findings of the study concluded in the first SET  OF data that a balance of challenges and skills is necessary  for such a balance to direct attention to the task at hand in 62% of the participants. This supports the theory that allows the intrinsically- rewarding features of activity engagement to be more fully attended to, and theoretically more enjoyable.  Secondly, distraction, distorted sense of time or variables of this sort play a factor in Attentional involvement but to what degree would require more studies to be done on the subject before any conclusive evidence could be published on the subject. Next, 20% of the variance in attentional involvement resided at the between-person level proposing certain individual traits influence attentional involvement and enjoyment (Abuhamdeh, Csikszentmihalyi, & Mihaly, 2011).

Finally, two limits to the study were observed. First, attentional involvement may be the result of cause and consequence raising a concern on the causality of the observed relationship. Secondly,  as the data was interpreted using a BCS model one must consider  a few factors such as most of the activities examined were of an academic nature which ranks low on an intrinsic scale, both perceived skill and perceived challenge considered singly predicted attentional involvement, and the empirical level by the perceived challenge measure alone (Abuhamdeh, Csikszentmihalyi, & Mihaly, 2011).

A second test was conducted a private Midwestern university overt the course of a week to find if time was a factor. This group yielded a total of 809 reports and the results were surprising when compared to the semester long study.

The semester long study as hypothesized shows that neurotic individuals desire the traits of inconsistent affect activation. However the short term study revealed these same neurotics will use active affects to accomplish demanding tasks. However in General personality type influence motivation thus an extrovert will be driven to feel good and this will influence motivation where as a neurotic individual will be inclined to negative mood affecting motivation. A balanced individual will thus be inclined to a state of pleasantness and require less activation to become motivated (Augustine, H, Larsen, & Shulman, 2010).

However, as innovative as this study and its finding may be much more research need to be performed  before any conclusive hard evidence can prove any direct correlation between any of specific personality aspect and motivation.  Personality is simply to complex and individualistic to link to any specific motivation.

A Third study was conducted on creativity.124 undergraduate students at southeastern university were tested to see how creativity affects motivation specifically in relationship to the intrinsic and extrinsic value contained in this trait. The three subareas of open mindedness, self-efficacy and perseverance were also assessed to see what role they play in creativity. It has long been thought the extrinsic motivation has little value to creative individuals but a study conducted in Japan in 1977 shows that when creative individuals are offered monetary or other incentives in the workplace a moderate amount of motivation may be achieved. Eight hypotheses were tested in this study:

  1. “The trait of self-efficacy will relate to creativity.
  2. Perseverance will be positive related to creativity.
  3. Intrinsic motivation will mediate the relationship between openness to experience and creativity.
  4. Intrinsic motivation will mediate the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity.
  5. Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between perseverance and creativity.
  6. Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between openness to experience and creativity.
  7. Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between self-efficacy and creativity.
  8. Extrinsic motivation will moderate the relationship between perseverance and creativity(Prabhu, Sutton, & Sauser, 2008).”

The methods used for testing are as follows:

  1. Creativity: This attribute was tested using a 50 question what kind of person are you quiz.
  2. Open-mindedness: This was tested using NEO–Five Factor Inventory composing of 12 items.
  3. Self –Efficacy: The Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale composing of 10 questions was used to compile data for this category in the experiment.
  4. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation: The Work Preference Inventory was used to analyze one’s motivational style.

The results of the study concluded that there is a direct link between self-efficiency and creativity but one’s perseverance only plays a moderate role in creativity.  An extrinsic value motivates self-efficacy but not openness to new ideas and only moderately influences creativity. It was also found perseverance can negatively impact creativity at time one may need to stop a pursuit entirely, or try a different approach at the task at hand (Prabhu, Sutton, & Sauser, 2008).

Drawing a deduction from the above studies one can come to the conclusion that when intrinsic value is present an individual will tend to be more motivated than when extrinsic qualities are the only factor. However extrinsic variables such as rewards, compliments and so forth play a minor role in motivation. Also one’s particular orientation towards personality which can be reliably tested using the Big 5 test or Myers Biggs assessment among others also plays a factor. One should remember that each individual is unique and thus subjective thus one extrovert for example may be motivated towards a task in a different manner than another depending on biological, environment, maturity and fulfillment of needs. As such motivation is complex varying from individual to individual. Culture to culture…

Conclusion

1Peter 2:11-12 serves as a reminder of the importance for the need to reach self-actualization and to move through the various stages of development and the Hierarchy of needs while serving the common good of  mankind.  Using the various theories of Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rodgers as well as the writings of Don Miguel Ruiz and personal experience a theory of personality and development has been outlined in the above essay. Using the humanistic approaches backed by the tenants of love as out lined in 1st Corinthians 13, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres Love never fails (1 Cor 13: 6-8 NIV, 1984).”, and the belief in loving the sinner but not sin and the accountability of action; the treatment of individuals suffering from various afflictions and disorders will be accomplished. Like most theories of personality this is not a science and many may not agree with the methodology within. Some views are based on observations while others on the empirical data of other studies and theories. The purpose of this essay is to explain intend methodology and theories as they relate to Trent Rindoks using a psychological and Biblical perspective.

Word Count #  3,352

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Abuhamdeh, S., Csikszentmihalyi, & Mihaly. (2011). Attentional involvement and intrinsic motivation. Springer Science+Business Media. doi:10.1007/s11031-011-9252-7

Augustine, A. A., H, H. S., Larsen, R. J., & Shulman, T. E. (2010). Composition and consistency of the desired affective state: The role of personality and motivation. Springer Science+Business Media. doi:10.1007/s11031-010-9162-0

Feist, J., Feist, G. J., & Tomi-Ann, R. (2013). Theories Of Personality. (8th, Ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kanel, K. (2007). A guide to Crisis Intervetion (Vol. 4th). Belmont: Cengage Learning.

King, L. A. (2013). Experince Psychology 2nd Ed. New York: Mcgraw-Hill.

NIV (Swindoll, Charles R ed.). (1984). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publish House.

Prabhu, V., Sutton, C., & Sauser, W. (2008). Creativity and Certain Personality Traits: Understanding the Mediating Effect of Intrinsic Motivation. CREATIVITY RESEARCH JOURNAL, 20, 53-66. doi: 10.1080/10400410701841955

Ruiz, D. M. (1997). The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book). San Rafael: Amber-Allen.

 

           

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