One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Personality in context of social adaptations

Evolutionary psychology looks for adaptations of men to its environment. Surely, the basic needs for survival come first but it is not so easy as comparing men’s need with animals and plants needs. Yes! The air, food, water, reproduction, shelter, clothing and transports are common but the means of achieving these basic needs became too complex for men as compared to animals and plants. Hence while analyzing human behaviors, his motivations and cognitions one also keep in mind the evolution of human society which shape human personality. If we start studying human personality in the context of evolving human societies, so we should divide the human personalities into different historical eras as well as dividing them according to developmental level of the society which brought up that person.

As the basic needs of men are common, so the human nature but what have changed is behaviors. For example the need of the food is same as were for earlier men or animals and plants but kinds of foods and perspective of food has changed in every era of human history as well from culture to culture. As the personality of men results from his adaptations, so these changes in perspectives and behavior count in development of personality. Clothing is a necessity but choices and designs have changed and are changing continuously. Hence keeping the changing behavioral of men we try to find out some basic things that effect most human adaptations in ever growing organic societies.

1- Purchasing Power: - The most important factor that affects human personality within a society and among societies is the purchasing power. It is an established fact that especially socialists rely on most in analyzing human society and history. Surely the class system exists and people of different classes have adopted different life styles and hence different personalities. Due to the large purchasing power, people in high class society think of themselves superior than other classes, so they express their superiority in different manners of show off of wealth. Surely, as lower classes can’t afford the same show offs, so they feel inferiority. These feelings of superiority and inferiority are the truest component of personalities that existed in past and will exists for ever. Technological advancing can’t do anything with this behavioral constant. Technological advances change behaviors of people as use of technology bring more quality and speed in works but it also brings new problems and issues. Surely, when new technologically advanced products come into market, it is only affordable by higher societies, so they became the signs of superiority. As these products are massively produced, their prices become low enough that lower classes also can afford, hence higher classes look for alternative products.

2- Level of knowledge and creativity: - Knowledge also works like purchasing power. Knowledge specialize people and provide a rank and position in organizations and society. Knowledge in itself is influential developer of personality. As one specialize in a field of knowledge and even in a profession his personality mold into it. People expect differently from individuals with different levels of knowledge. People meeting with a high ranking scholar forget their own positions and ranking in respect to his knowledge. This is truer about religious scholars. As knowledge grow ones visions change about matter and he or she become less dependent on other factors that affect development of personality. Knowledge has the power to make scholars above from normal fitness criteria in a human society. Stronger tool is creativity. Creativity generates knowledge so a creative one has a higher position and ranking than a scholar. A creative self is more aware of himself than any other thing so he is less affected by other factors of adaptations. He creates his own world and environments and even rules of adaptations. He has more freedom though not a total freedom in adaptations especially in voluntary factors of adaptations. A creative self is a personality different than others as he lives in different world and has adapted a different life. How much a creative one succeeds in coordinating his creations with existing world is question of survival of a creative self? As the world and environment of a creative one is not an established world, so the most serious question is the survival of his/her new created world. A creative person can neglect everything but not natural orders. Hence beside creativity he/she needs to have a strong knowledge of natural world.

3- Customs and traditions: - Customs and traditions also affect the personality and it also work to some extent like knowledge and purchasing power but as its acquiring is easy and common as compared to purchasing power and knowledge, so its ranks and application is lower. As every society, group of people, nation, city and country has their own standards and traditions, so these traditions need some time to acquire. Knowing these traditions is the basic criteria for acceptability of individuals to these societies. Traditions are the sources of pride so people are more conscious about them. Traditions are so effective in controlling the developments of personalities that some psychologists and anthropologists have devised personalities types based on them. These personality types and modals depict a particular culture through these personalities. The effect of traditions and cultures are more obvious on culture oriented societies and in persons who strictly bounded by his culture and tradition. The invasion of pop cultures and conflict with approaching cultures are also play a vibrant role in development of personalities. Introduction of new cultural values cause a conflict inside the societies and even inside the families.

4- Religion: - Religions and ideologies are alternative worlds in which despite of evolutionary adaptations men adopt to set of creative adaptations. These adaptations are linear despite of cyclic, hence experimental. Here men adopt a set of principles and tries to modify both his life and environment to these principles. It is a higher level of adaptations. These parallel worlds and higher adaptations develop totally different personalities. Those persons, who have adapted to higher level of religious or ideological life, look strange and sacred by others and thought as superman as they have succeeded to adopt a superior world. The personalities that develop due to adaptations to these parallel worlds behave in specific ways and it is easy to predict their behaviors in certain circumstances. Their lives are objective and purposeful so they are more certain and have resolved personalities. Spirituality is a higher state of mind beyond logic and reasoning which are mental adaptations to the environment of men which are both inherited and developed by cyclic adaptations. By cyclic adaptations, I mean the adaptations that one learn from experience and repeated mental practices. Spirituality on contrasts is more based on beliefs and intuitions. Certainty and creativity are two strong tools in contrasts to adaptations with which men create alternative world in which men evolve more rapidly than their current adaptation levels. These religions and ideologies are devised to make men supermen, means men more evolved than current evolutionary levels.

5- Achievements: Achievements are what change the course of life, thoughts and hence personality. Men, with achievements are satisfied and have a positive attitude towards their lives and towards themselves and hence their personalities are fit to grow fast. On contrary, the lack of achievements causes helplessness and hopelessness and hence the men get a negative attitude towards life. This negative attitude weakens them and degrades their personalities. Certainly, the listed factors of adaptations have their positions in contributing in composition of personality but it is ones achievements that use them all to shape a personality. Achievements are the editors of all other factors. How many individuals I know that have drastic changes in their lives after small achievements. Violent, careless and irresponsible individuals become responsible persons who were working hard to have more achievements and creating opportunities for others to make their growth normal. Achievements are the greatest social healers. If a society wants to grow faster than others then they have to focus on creating opportunities for their citizens. As rate of opportunities increase surely the rates of achievements also increase. It makes people more hopeful by having positive achievements towards life. Achievements are the generator of Peace, progress, resolving conflicts and making rooms for more creativity.

6- Race: A race with expansionist ambitions who have dominated in different fields proves their dominancy the members of this race become proud due to feelings of superiority. The small races, especially those who have become victims of these expansionisms feel inferiority. If the dominated races have used creativity for their progress and glory, then it make the feeling of superiority more strong among its members. Cultures and achievements of these dominant races become more acceptable and valuable as people look to them as causes of success and as source of superiority and civilization. It is a very effective, dominant and most visible part of personality and behaviors. I have seen this phenomenon very frequently, that when a westerner walks in streets, people try to speak to them and look to them as an alien. The people don’t know what that westerner is? May be a criminal who are searching for a safe sanctuary. On contrary an easterner, whether he is a scholar or common man looked as an inferior person to even very common westerners. Surely, this behavior is not new. It is a historical phenomenon. It is possible, that in future west lose their position to some eastern countries as once it was.

7- Appearance: Appearance affects both in positive and negative ways. Physical appearance is both constructive and destructive to personalities. It is mostly depends in visualizing of that physical appearance both by society and the individual, himself. There are many examples that a physical damage has played key roles in developing ones personality and successes. I know students due to their disability to play they have turned all their attentions to their studies and have made careers that others have just wished and they earned positions and respects that amazed others. On contrary, there are examples that due to physical beauty some students have spoiled their personality and destroyed their lives and beauties. Physical beauty attracts people, so it may spoil and construct a personality. Those who developed their other qualities and haven’t exploit their natural quality, the physical beauty provided them the confidence and attraction that helped them make visible their other qualities and hence added to their achievements and successes. People with physical disability or with not an acceptable appearance, usually fail to attract people, hence naturally they feel inferiority. If this sense doesn’t overcome then it will destroy the personality as these individuals escape visibilities and hence competitions and development of their personalities. Cosmetics and medical science has improved enough that they can help improve physical appearance, hence it must not an obstacle in way of development of personality.

8- Authority: Authority from consensus. It is what everyone knows, so authority is a kind of social recognition for fitness of a person. It is not necessary that the men in authority are the fittest persons. Most of time authority is not due to personal evolution but due to social evolution. It is the society which provides ranking and give authority to everyone according to their rankings. Societies are always less evolved than evolved persons, as societies are the organized sum of individuals and people are at different levels of evolutionary positions. A society has to accommodate all these individuals so its pace of evolution becomes slower than evolved individuals. As authority comes from consensus of society, so it is not necessary that people chose the best minds or the most evolved individuals as more authoritative but it is more close that people chose those who are more close to their evolutionary levels. Other reason that fittest persons are not most authoritative individuals is the level of evolution of society. Every society has developed its own methods of ranking, so they chose individuals according to their own methods. Factors of age, family, locality, religion, wealth and education are some examples that most societies have adopted for their rankings. Ranking and authority affect personalities as both individuals and society measure ones fitness according to their rankings and positions in society.

9- Recognition/Identity/fames: Though recognition, identity and fame are not same thing but in term of adaptations they are rooted in same thing and that is a sense of fitness. They are rooted in satisfaction they are fitted to their environment and their survival is assured. When we say survival, we don’t mean just living but survival for men and even for other organisms is immortality. The difference between two struggles for immortality is in levels of evolution. Animals and plants struggle for this through spreading their genes, the real identity of them but as men are more evolved they not only struggle to spread their genes but use other methods. Men use their creativity to prove their fitness. Egyptian pyramids, great wall of china, the race for sky scrapers, giant statue of Buddha in Bamiyan and a lot of other amazing struggles are evidence of this property of men. The struggles for getting recognitions, identity and fame are also the causes of most conflicts. As these conflicts can be seen in small children and also in old men and women, so it is natural to deduce that it is part of instinct of living organisms. Competitions and even sometimes wars shape and reshape these struggles. These competitions and wars are tests of fitness of organisms, that either the identity or recognitions that they claim is true or not? Surely! What is in genes will express themselves in personalities also. According to levels of identity and recognition, one gets response from other. How one sets his struggle for changing his current level of recognitions and identity will be milestones in development of his personality.

10- Migration: Migration has always been a very contributing factor in development of nations and cultures. There are many examples of migration in history that have changed the face of history but migration become a routine in modern world as travels become a matter of days and hours. Cultural exchange and changing nationalities are real issues of modern world that have economical, cultural, psychological and hence political effects on both migrants and nationalities which well come them. Migrations are filling the gaps between races, cultures, religions and hence civilizations. It is increasing the tolerance of people and understanding of fellow human. Migrations are turning cities into cosmopolitan cities and hence enhancing attractions of wealth, knowledge and creative ideas. The diversification of cities though bring some conflicts in terms of identity and economic competitions but these are expected part of transitional stages. The level of maturity of cities affects the personalities of its dwellers, so the thoughts and behaviors of people are connected to maturity of cities in terms of diversity. Duration of exposure to diversity and level of diversity effect perceptions and visions. Here I just want to give an example to elaborate the connection between migration and personality. Two cousins migrated to Australia, one was exposed to diversity and another one not. The one who was exposed to diversity chose Sydney as his new home and other one Adelaide. When I asked the reasons for these choices, the one who was exposed to diversity replied me, “I chose Sydney because this is a large and diverse city. This city provides me more opportunities to grow than other ones. I know Sydney is an expensive city to live and I have to work harder and face more challenges but I welcome these challenges as they provide me more room to grow. On other my cousin chose Adelaide because it is smaller city with less diversity. Life here is quieter and cheaper so he loves a calm and less challenging life and is ready to grow more slowly”. By providing this example I don’t mean that people exposed to diversity always accepting challenges and diversity and those haven’t exposed escape out of it but I mean people who are exposed to diversity are more comfortable to adopt new and diverse places and who aren’t feeling difficulty in doing so.

11- Socialization: How one is reared and in which circumstances are also an important factor in development of personality. Large families where there are many children, the attention of parents are divided among children, hence children learn to avoidance and compromise. Here the children mature earlier than expected time as children learn from each other. Surely, the position of a child among other children play key role in development of his personality and hence his position in society. Usually, the older child is slower in response than younger as they got less exposure than younger ones. Younger children use the experiences of older one and him to become more learned one. Though this is not always a rule. It is possible that because older one got more attentions so, his education help him to be in position of leadership and learn by his experience and knowledge how to rule. Beside position of a child among children, the tradition of child rearing is also important in development of personality of children. Some traditions provide more freedom and opportunities of self-reliance; hence here children’s positions are mostly their personal struggles. In some traditions child are taught to be more compromising and follow the hierarchy of leaderships in families and society. Here children are more traditional and their developments are mostly relied on social struggles. Though it is also not a rule as some children take these traditions in their own opportunity while others fail to do so. As family is the first place in socializations and the first and real school of a child, so the way a family introduce children to each other and society is key in development of personality of children. What is given preference in a family build the attitude of children towards life and world? If a family gives preference to education, surely their children will be more educated while if a family gives preference to money, the children will search for making money. Cultural and religious preferences of families are also key in development of behaviors of children.

12- Age and gender: As per rule of historical development a personality is changed by passing time. By accumulation of new experiences, knowledge, opportunities and situations one change his positions and visions. Developmental stages effects one personality and hence it is natural to expect different personalities in every decade of age of a person like twenties, thirties, and so on. Every decade of a human has its own physical, mental and social demands which affect the personality of an individual. It is quiet natural to expect of a boy playing with mud and from a man in his thirties creating an artifact from mud. This expectation indicates of unconsciously accepting a change in personality with growing age. Gender, is a biological specialization of human. Both men and women are affected by their genes. The physical and mental developments of both sexes are separate and at same time every society behaves differently by both sexes differently according to their customs, traditions, cultures and laws. These differences in developmental stages as well as different behaviors and expectations from both sexes affect their personalities. Surely! As time change the perspectives about both sexes are changed. Similarly new traditions will also modify their behaviors about both sexes but it is impossible that basic biological and mental differences between both sexes wiped out. These are evolutionary adaptations of life. It is not adaptation of men that they could change but of life, hence change in life is only modification on basic lines.

Argument: - Though purchasing power, knowledge, race, nationality, culture, tradition, religion, appearance and many other factors play vital roles in development of a personality but lives of great men is lead us to different conclusions which are normally observable. There are many great men who evolved out of environments that lack most of above mentioned characteristics that are necessary for development of positive and productive personalities. The stories of these great men are told and taught in schools to inspire and encourage students to make their ways into productive parts of society. Observable examples are self made personalities. It is very famous that self made personalities are undefeatable. Self made personalities are evolved their internal qualities to find ways out of miserable lives into desired one or fittest parts of society. What is most important in lives of great men and self made personalities are their two main qualities and that are,

1- They did something unique and different from others.

2- They took risks of practicing something new and untested.

The two points that have been the source of success and development of great men and self made personalities require two qualities. For doing something unique and different requires creativity and for taking risks one requires courage. Creativity and courage are two qualities that are dominantly natural and can overcome all social requirements that we have listed for evolution of personalities. But besides, it is also important to note that a particular environment play key role in producing great men. An environment where creativity is polished and praised has the potential for producing great men. We have seen that a particular period in life of a nation is very important for that nation as they have produced great men in that duration that changed the face of that nation. Commonly we know such periods in life of a nation as a golden age. Surely, those ideal environments come out of some inspirations. This inspiration may come from thirst for truth and power of convincing fellow citizen as in classic Athens or thirst for scientific discoveries and inventions as in reconnaissance in Western Europe and first half of twenty first century. These inspirations may also come from thirst for social change as in revolutions and freedom movements. The communists and Islamic revolutions and freedom movements in colonized countries are evidence of such inspirations. These inspirations also come from thirst of progress and making a nation glorious and notable among the nations of world. Countries that are known as Asian tigers like Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, are example of this inspirations. Iran and UAE are another example of such inspirations.

Inspirations that create environments for evolutions of great men and self made personalities are common vision that a nation get. This vision might be processed to come from a single visionary man or from a group of visionary men.

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