Who am I?—and What is Personality?

(Extract from: the human and transpersonal dimensions of personality by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, sacred web journal 35)

“The concept of personality is central in [contemporary] Western
psychology”.31 “In the West it was Freud who began the systematic study
of personality”.32 Nonetheless, after more than a hundred years since

the inception of contemporary psychology as a separate and distinct
scientific discipline, it is still wrestling with the essential question of
“what is personality?”

Consequently, it is widely recognized that:“There is no agreement among contemporary psychologists on a definition of the term personality.’”33

In addition: “Modern theorists of personality seem to differ radically from one another in their assessment of the
importance of the identity issue.”34 The issue is not that modern and
postmodern psychology is in its infancy and will one day develop into
a true psychology; the issue is much more precarious due to the fact
that contemporary psychology attempts to study what is beyond its
epistemological and ontological scope and trespasses upon the domain
of metaphysics.

Since contemporary psychology is unable to verify either the existence of the spiritual domain or the existence of the human psyche, it has been called (as from the passage by Carl Jung, quoted below) “a psychology without a soul”35—a powerful, and yet
paradoxically puzzling assessment given that soul is the raison d’etre
for psychology’s very existence:

It was universally believed in the
Middle Ages as well as in the Graeco-Roman world that the soul is a substance. Indeed, mankind as a whole has held this belief from its earliest beginnings, and it w as left for the second half of the
nineteenth century to develop a
“psychology with out a soul.”

Under the influence of scientific
materialism, everything that could not be seen with the eyes or touched with the hands was held in doubt; such things were even laughed at because  of their supposed affinity with metaphysics. Nothing was
considered “scientific” or admitted to be true unless it could be p erceived by
the senses or traced back to physical causes.36

Key representatives from within modern psychology have openly
disclosed the impasse of today’s therapeutic orientations:

“There is a tie that can unite all of us [the whole of contemporary psychology]: the
frank acknowledgement that we know very little”.37 And again: “[W]e
know so little of the earliest and deepest strata of the human mind.”38
Because it attempts to operate beyond its capacity, contemporary
psychology takes on an impossible task and is ill-equipped to comprehend
personality or anything else pertaining to the human psyche.

The chief characteristic of the last half of the nineteenth century was the
breaking up of personality into
fragments.These fragments were
symptoms  of the psychological, and spiritual disintegration occurring in the culture and in the individual. One can see this splitting up of the individual personality not only in the psychology and the science of the period but in
almost every aspect of late nineteenth century culture.39

When viewed through the lens of
modern and postmodern
psychology and its materialistic science in the absence of the Sacred,
human personality becomes disintegrated and essentially dehumanized:

“[Contemporary] psychology comes in with the bulk of its theories, its
prevailing views of human personality, its images of man, obviously in
league with the objectives of the nihilist Satanic spirit. Man is a computer,
an animal, or an infant. His destiny is completely determined by genes,
instincts, accidents, early conditionings and reinforcements, cultural
and social forces.”40

Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may be said to exist, and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences. Although ontology as a philosophical realm is academic in the sense that it is inseparable from each thinker’s epistemology, it has practical application in information science and information technology, where it informs ontologies with chosen taxonomies.

Epistemology (Listeni/ɨˌpɪstɨˈmɒlədʒi/; from Greek ἐπιστήμη, epistēmē, meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and λόγος, logos, meaning “study of”) is a term first used by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier to describe the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge[1][2] and is also referred to as “theory of knowledge”. Put concisely, it is the study of knowledge and justified belief. It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired. Much of the debate in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification. The term was probably first introduced in Ferrier’s Institutes of Metaphysic: The Theory of Knowing and Being (1854), p. 46.

31.  Charles T.Tart,“Some Assumptions of Orthodox, Western Psychology,” in Transpersonal Psychologies, ed. CharlesT.Tart (New York, NY: H arper & Row, 1975). p. 84.

32. A.H.Almaas,“Being and Ego ,”in The Pearl Beyond Price: Integration o f Personality into Being:An Object Relations Approach (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2001), p. 22.

33. Anand C. Paranjpe, “A Personality Theory According to Vedanta,” in Anand C. Paranjpe, David Y.F. Ho and Robert W Rieber (eds,), Asian Contributions to P sychology (New York. NY: Praeger. 1988), p. 185.

34. Anand C. Paranjpe, “A Personality Theory According to Vedanta,” in Anand C. Paranjpe.
David Y.F. Ho and Robert W Rieber (eds.), Asian Contributions to Psychology (New York, NY: Praeger, 1988),p. 197.See also Anand C. Paranjpe, S e lf a n d Identity in Modern Psychology and Indian Thought (New York. NY: Plenum Press. 1998).

35 Metropolitan of Nafpaktos H ierotheos,“Orthodoxy as aTherapeutic Method,” in The Illness
a n d Cure o f the Soul In the Orthodox Church, trans. Effie Mavromichali (Levadia-Hellas,
Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 1995). p. 46.” (Psychology without a psyche.”
(George Feuerstein. “Pure Awarness.” in The Psychology of Yoga: Integrating eastern and Western Approaches for Understanding the Mind (Boston, MA: Shambhala, 2013), p. 135): see also Hubert Gruender, Psychology w ith o u t a Soul:A Criticism (St. Louis, MO:
B. Herder, 1917).

36 C.G. Ju n g  T h e Basic Postulates of Analitical Psychology,” in Modern Man in Search o f a Soul, trans. W.S. Dell and Cary F. Baynes (New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1933),
p. 173.

37 Frederick S. Peris, “Theory and Technique of Personality Integration,” American Journal
o f Psychotherapy, Vol. 2. No. 4 (October 1948), p. 586.

38 Erik H. Erikson.“The Life Cycle: Epigenesis of Identity.” in ldentity:Youth a n d Crisis (New
York. NY:W.W. Norton & Company, 1968), p. 104.

39. Rollo May, “Compartmentalization anil Inner Breakdown in the Nineteenth Century,” in The Discovery o f Being: Writings in Ex istential Psychology (New York, NY: W.W. Norton
& Company, 1983), p. 62.

40 Henry A. Murray, “Personality and Career of Satan,” Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 18. No. 4
(October 1962), p. 53.

Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)


If only this did not relate to numerous people in my life at the moment… lol oh well, can’t change them, when it is their own internal battle, their own lack. A baby will eventually soil it’s diapers, a hateful, spiteful, ungrateful, manipulative personage will soil their diaper too…although as they are so oblivious they’ll probably sit in their own feces and not notice the difference…..

Sometimes kitty’s are so honest… at least their malice is only over kibble, belly rubs and how much wool you dangle in front of their face….

We and God are not two separate existences; therefore the will of God is also our own will. If we want to change, then God will not stop us from changing. The poet Nguyen Du put it like this:
“When necessary, the heavens will not stand in the way of humans.
The result of past actions can be lifted,
future causes and conditions can be created.”
The real question is, do we want to change or not?

Do we want to hold on to the lure of suffering and let our minds wander around in dreams? If in your heart you want to change, then whatever spiritual being you believe in will also be happy for you to change.

Families work the same way; no person is completely separate. If the son or daughter changes, then the father and mother will also change. If the energy arises from the son or daughter and effects a change in them first, then it will also produce a change in the heart of the father and mother some time later. Families are not made up of completely separate entities. Even if God has predisposed things to be a certain way, we can still change because, as the Bible says, “we are children of God” (I John 3:2).

What is the relationship between the creator and the creature? One has the ability to create and the other is what is created. If they are connected to each other then we can talk about them as subject and object. If they are not connected to each other, how can we call them subject and object? The subject that creates is God; the object created is the universe in which we live. Between the subject and the object there is a close relationship, just as there is a close relationship between left and right, night and day, satisfaction and hunger; just as, according to the law of reflection, the perceiver and the perceived have a very close link.

When the angle of incidence changes, the angle of reflection will change immediately. What we call the will of God is linked to our own will. That is why the retribution of our past actions can be changed.

— Thich Nhat Hanh (The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice)