|Extra statistics determining where you will be in 10 years!|
In almost every paper, magazine, or internet headline, we see some sort of statistic. Some of these statistics state something about personalities of famous people,the likelihood of some people ending up in serious debt depending on their college major, or socioeconomic factors that played a role in the most recent shooting up of an outlet mall. These statistics try to delimit and constrict who we are and where we stand in society. As a result, personalities are boxed up and human traits become confined to set patterns inflicted upon them by their upbringing or economic circumstances. Specifically for personalities expressed in the mass media, they are simply limited to averages of what people do, where they came from, and what career they seem to be set on. Limiting personality to a statistic impedes a true representation of a person’s personhood and personality. What is needed is a full realization of the human good. By this I mean that man needs to actively live out his personhood by living and totally loving his relations. By acting courageously, a man’s personality is courageous. But he cannot be courageous without fully being this way. The man is called courageous when his personality emits courage and his talents and skills are developed according to this courage.
In Liturgy and Personality, Dietrich von Hildebrand says the following:
“A personality in the true sense of the word is the man who rises above
the average only because he fully realizes the classical human attitudes,
because he knows more deeply and originally than the average man, loves
more profoundly and authentically, wills more clearly and correctly than the
others, makes full use of his freedom; in a word - the complete, profound,
In a world where average reigns, one is incapable of authentically being a person. Our personality arises from our personhood. Our personhood comes from our relationships with others. We would not be fully realized persons if we did not have others in our life to give us our identity, we would only be individuals. For example, a mother is only a mother because she has a child. Being a mother is inherent in her identity as a person but this inherent identity can not be known outside of her relationship with her child.
Now her personhood is fully realized in so far as she is a relational being and she lives in full activity of her relational personhood. To the greater and deeper extent that the mother loves her child, the more fully a personality she is. She is more profoundly human the deeper and more authentically she loves.
Therefore, personality is not merely a Myers-Brigg score, and it cannot be limited to a categorization of the temperaments of phlegmatic melancholic, or a choleric sanguine. Instead, personality deepens and grows when man is actively living out of personhood. This seems to be the fullest personality, personality It is an authentically living man desiring to live in full freedom and love - loving every person that he encounters by the very fact of their dignity.
(1) Liturgy and Personality, Dietrich von Hildebrand, chapter 2, page 15
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