• You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to additional post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), view blogs, respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free, so please join our community today! Just click here to register. You should turn your Ad Blocker off for this site or certain features may not work properly. If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us by clicking here.

Deeper issues in personality psychology

ThatsWhatHeSaid

Well-known member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,263
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
I've been interested in and practicing Zen Buddhism for the last 15 years. I'm going to share my biggest insight so far because it relates to criticisms I've had of personality psychology for a long time.

When you're first introduced to personality theory it can be tempting to think you're being understood and understanding yourself. In a way, you are. But you aren't understanding your fundamental self, just one of the forms it takes. Let me explain without any jargon.

What are you? Really, what are you? At your core? This is the essential question in Buddhism and Zen. We have a vague sense that there's an operator behind our thinking and decisions, but there's a reason that image is vague: it's not real.

Consider the actual building blocks of your experience, which is really the only thing you ever really know exists. I'm talking about your ongoing experience: your sensations (the screen you're looking at right now, the sounds) and your thoughts, your body feedback, and your emotions. You can never escape them, and yet they're always changing. In Zen this is called emptiness.

The reason you can never escape your ongoing, ever changing experience is because it's closer to your fundamental identity. We could say "You" are that experience. "You" don't have an experience--there's no possession because there's no separate owner.

But the fact that everything in your experience is changing means nothing can endure, including any possible notion of "You." It's like trying to build a house on quicksand. Things might look similar from one moment to another but they are not. There can't be a lasting self. There never was one. But there is experiencing.

The weird thing is that experience, besides changing, is composed of everything "outside" you. And reciprocally, you compose other people's experience. Everything is interconnected, an idea called Interpenetration. (Sounds dirty.) In a way, you make up everything and everything makes up "you." (The colloquial you, since the actual you never existed in reality, just as a concept.)

The personality you study in this forum is real insofar as it articulates themes in thinking, behaving, feeling, perceiving, but these things are never stable. They change constantly and are one stream of input that comprise experience. (Possessive language becomes tricky here.) But they are not the real you because there is no you. "You" as a stable thing doesn't exist. "You" as something that flashes in and out of existence does, but something that flashes out of existence can't be the fixed You we all think exists. That understanding, when it really sinks in, relieves years of tension and struggling.

All this is psychology that overlaps with religion and some forms of spirituality. Hence the forum.

Peace! Miss all you fuckers.
 
Last edited:

Pionart

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
4,024
MBTI Type
NiFe
The self that personality typology studies is not the true self. It is essentially your genetics.

I don't know what you're getting at with the self being defined by external things or whatever. We have a spirit/soul, and this is who we truly are. This is what goes to the afterlife and reincarnates.

The self that I uncover with things like voice reads is not the true self. It is your earth personality. It covers a lot of what applies to you as a human, but doesn't apply to your soul. For that, you need to look elsewhere.

I have more thoughts on this, but I would rather keep them private.
 

Pionart

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
4,024
MBTI Type
NiFe
I have to make a correction to my above post.

See, when you're reincarnating, you tend to reinarnate as a personality type which fits your soul. So it's not true to that the are totally disconnected. Knowing your personality type can definitely tell you something about your soul, but it's not always the case that they're even similar.
 

KitchenFly

Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2015
Messages
881
The self that personality typology studies is not the true self. It is essentially your genetics.

I don't know what you're getting at with the self being defined by external things or whatever. We have a spirit/soul, and this is who we truly are. This is what goes to the afterlife and reincarnates.

The self that I uncover with things like voice reads is not the true self. It is your earth personality. It covers a lot of what applies to you as a human, but doesn't apply to your soul. For that, you need to look elsewhere.

I have more thoughts on this, but I would rather keep them private.
You are the soul you are a soul. Personality is a mechanic a part of intelligence, personality is fixed design. A component of the minds operation.
 

ThatsWhatHeSaid

Well-known member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,263
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
The self that personality typology studies is not the true self. It is essentially your genetics.

I don't know what you're getting at with the self being defined by external things or whatever. We have a spirit/soul, and this is who we truly are. This is what goes to the afterlife and reincarnates.

The self that I uncover with things like voice reads is not the true self. It is your earth personality. It covers a lot of what applies to you as a human, but doesn't apply to your soul. For that, you need to look elsewhere.

I have more thoughts on this, but I would rather keep them private.
I tried to explain it in plain English, so if you're not sure what I'm getting at, maybe you could point me to what's confusing.

I would say there's no soul either. We should define it before we debate it though.
 

Pionart

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
4,024
MBTI Type
NiFe
I tried to explain it in plain English, so if you're not sure what I'm getting at, maybe you could point me to what's confusing.

I would say there's no soul either. We should define it before we debate it though.
I probably just don't see it as correct. That's why I don't get it. No need to explain further.

Like I said, the spirit/soul is that part of you that reincarnates. It's not fixed; it evolves over time. It (usually) doesn't die, it just changes over time. It is our "true self", beyond our genetics and other earth-forms.

Do you not believe in an afterlife, either?

Surely you have the EXPERIENCE of having a true self, right? That there is a unified consciousness that perceives what you perceive, and wills as you will?

Then, you are denying this experience, and it's not accurate.
 

ygolo

My termites win
Joined
Aug 6, 2007
Messages
5,996
I've been interested in and practicing Zen Buddhism for the last 15 years. I'm going to share my biggest insight so far because it relates to criticisms I've had of personality psychology for a long time.

When you're first introduced to personality theory it can be tempting to think you're being understood and understanding yourself. In a way, you are. But you aren't understanding your fundamental self, just one of the forms it takes. Let me explain without any jargon.

What are you? Really, what are you? At your core? This is the essential question in Buddhism and Zen. We have a vague sense that there's an operator behind our thinking and decisions, but there's a reason that image is vague: it's not real.

Consider the actual building blocks of your experience, which is really the only thing you ever really know exists. I'm talking about your ongoing experience: your sensations (the screen you're looking at right now, the sounds) and your thoughts, your body feedback, and your emotions. You can never escape them, and yet they're always changing. In Zen this is called emptiness.

The reason you can never escape your ongoing, ever changing experience is because it's closer to your fundamental identity. We could say "You" are that experience. "You" don't have an experience--there's no possession because there's no separate owner.

But the fact that everything in your experience is changing means nothing can endure, including any possible notion of "You." It's like trying to build a house on quicksand. Things might look similar from one moment to another but they are not. There can't be a lasting self. There never was one. But there is experiencing.

The weird thing is that experience, besides changing, is composed of everything "outside" you. And reciprocally, you compose other people's experience. Everything is interconnected, an idea called Interpenetration. (Sounds dirty.) In a way, you make up everything and everything makes up "you." (The colloquial you, since the actual you never existed in reality, just as a concept.)

The personality you study in this forum is real insofar as it articulates themes in thinking, behaving, feeling, perceiving, but these things are never stable. They change constantly and are one stream of input that comprise experience. (Possessive language becomes tricky here.) But they are not the real you because there is no you. "You" as a stable thing doesn't exist. "You" as something that flashes in and out of existence does, but something that flashes out of existence can't be the fixed You we all think exists. That understanding, when it really sinks in, relieves years of tension and struggling.

All this is psychology that overlaps with religion and some forms of spirituality. Hence the forum.

Peace! Miss all you fuckers.
QFT
 

ThatsWhatHeSaid

Well-known member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,263
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
I probably just don't see it as correct. That's why I don't get it. No need to explain further.

Like I said, the spirit/soul is that part of you that reincarnates. It's not fixed; it evolves over time. It (usually) doesn't die, it just changes over time. It is our "true self", beyond our genetics and other earth-forms.

Do you not believe in an afterlife, either?

Surely you have the EXPERIENCE of having a true self, right? That there is a unified consciousness that perceives what you perceive, and wills as you will?

Then, you are denying this experience, and it's not accurate.

Appreciate the reply and the thoughtfulness.

I can't say with certainty that there's an afterlife. I don't have any direct experience or evidence of it, save for a few strange experiences. I'm open to it.

I have the experience of a self, but upon careful inspection I find that it falls apart, so that leads me to not trust my every day experience. Surely I am something, but what? Even if I'm not a separate self that persists, I'm at the very least some kind of conscious experience. If that experience is changing moment-to-moment, then it's a self in the sense that it's my identity, but not a separate self. I think we're probably both in agreement so far.

Is there a unified consciousness that perceives what I perceive? I'll be honest that in my experience so far, I haven't reached that conclusion. I realize it's the heart of many traditions and systems (Zen, Vedanta) but "I" only experience "my" part. I can see that other sentient creatures are also having a similar experience, but the unification of it all isn't something I feel right now.

Would appreciate another response! This is a good convo.
 

Pionart

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
4,024
MBTI Type
NiFe
Appreciate the reply and the thoughtfulness.

I can't say with certainty that there's an afterlife. I don't have any direct experience or evidence of it, save for a few strange experiences. I'm open to it.

I have the experience of a self, but upon careful inspection I find that it falls apart, so that leads me to not trust my every day experience. Surely I am something, but what? Even if I'm not a separate self that persists, I'm at the very least some kind of conscious experience. If that experience is changing moment-to-moment, then it's a self in the sense that it's my identity, but not a separate self. I think we're probably both in agreement so far.

Is there a unified consciousness that perceives what I perceive? I'll be honest that in my experience so far, I haven't reached that conclusion. I realize it's the heart of many traditions and systems (Zen, Vedanta) but "I" only experience "my" part. I can see that other sentient creatures are also having a similar experience, but the unification of it all isn't something I feel right now.

Would appreciate another response! This is a good convo.

If there IS an afterlife, doesn't this prove the existence of the soul?

Consider this proof: when you're thinking, you're producing thoughts that have no origin in the outside world. They haven't come from the environment, or your experiences, or genetics. Where have they come from then? The answer is: your soul.
 

ThatsWhatHeSaid

Well-known member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
7,263
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
5w4
If there IS an afterlife, doesn't this prove the existence of the soul?

Consider this proof: when you're thinking, you're producing thoughts that have no origin in the outside world. They haven't come from the environment, or your experiences, or genetics. Where have they come from then? The answer is: your soul.

I don't think it has to be. Assuming it's real, whatever reincarnates could still be subject to change, conditioned, and hence not have a separate existence, even if it's separate from the body.

My thoughts happen in response to my environment though. Even when I dream, I dream about the things I see and experience and the emotions they may generate. Your thoughts right now are happening in response to what you're reading. Your thinking is like a function that take in x (stimuli) and produces y (a thought).
 

Pionart

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2014
Messages
4,024
MBTI Type
NiFe
@ThatsWhatHeSaid

I said the soul DOES change though. It's still the soul... if it survives beyond death what DOESN'T it survive?

Thoughts don't just occur from stimuli. They are partly created separate from anything in the world...

But it seems nothing I can say will change your mind, so I give up on the conversation.


Also, you seem to be an NeFi, not a TiNe. Your OP shows the NeFiTeSi function order.
 

Tennessee Jed

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2014
Messages
590
MBTI Type
INFP
[...snipped] What are you? Really, what are you? At your core? This is the essential question in Buddhism and Zen. We have a vague sense that there's an operator behind our thinking and decisions, but there's a reason that image is vague: it's not real.
[...]
The personality you study in this forum is real insofar as it articulates themes in thinking, behaving, feeling, perceiving, but these things are never stable. They change constantly and are one stream of input that comprise experience. (Possessive language becomes tricky here.) But they are not the real you because there is no you. "You" as a stable thing doesn't exist. [snipped...]
I disagree with the OP. Perhaps my opinion here is a consequence of being Fi-Dom and thus being habitually "in touch with my feelings"; but I have a very strong internal sense of "me," specifically, a strong sense of internal continuity and "self" over time. I still regard the world in much the same way as I did yesterday, 25 years ago, and as a kid. (I'm currently in my late 60s.)

As I see it, my "self" is composed of two main elements:
1) A repository of memories, experiences, opinions, beliefs, philosophies, etc. built up across a lifetime; and
2) My Fi-Dom brain "architecture" or "cast," which operates as kind of a focusing lens: It provides me with certain standardized preferences with regard to the generation of responses.

So when a stimulus from the outside world comes in, my response to it is shaped by comparing the stimulus to previous experiences of the same type, checking memory, beliefs, opinions, etc., plus the action of my Fi-Dom architecture which steers me in the direction of certain knee-jerk responses.

Of course I can modify my response by turning on some attention and concentration and applying rationality. But that tends to be the exception rather than the rule; most of us are operating on auto-pilot much of the day. And of course I'm influenced by my unconscious at the margins. But that is largely composed of my non-Dominant functions, which I also regard as an extension (albeit less accessible) of my "self".

Anyway, as an Fi-Dom (and thus with a lot of time spent on introspection and being "in touch with my feelings") I've gotten a strong sense over time of how I'll react to things based on the two main elements that I listed above (repository of memories, etc. plus Fi-Dom brain architecture). And over time, I've come to regard the interaction of the two main elements as my "self." There is a tremendous amount of continuity there.

Of course, the repository of memories, etc. slowly changes over time; whereas the Fi-Dom brain architecture is more stable. But any changes occur within a larger framework of continuity. Like I said at the start, I can trace my development backward to when I was a kid and feel a sense of continuity despite the obvious fact that I'm very different from that kid now.

Just saying. My own personal experience, of course.
 
Last edited:

Tennessee Jed

Active member
Joined
Jul 24, 2014
Messages
590
MBTI Type
INFP
[...snipped] The weird thing is that experience, besides changing, is composed of everything "outside" you. And reciprocally, you compose other people's experience. Everything is interconnected, an idea called Interpenetration. [...snipped]
In addition to what I said above about continuity and self (post #16), I want to respond to the idea that meditation results in a sense of connectedness with the world around us: Specifically, I'm talking about your concept of "interpenetration."

I took some classes in transcendental meditation when I was in my 20s and living in Hawaii, and I meditated routinely for years. The transcendental meditation instructors made some exaggerated claims about what meditation could achieve, but my own experiences in meditating didn't support those claims. Ultimately, I just felt that meditation was a good way to calm down, get relaxed, and even go to sleep. And I was fine with that; I was rather high-strung, so I used meditation for years to keep a handle on my emotional state and maintain an even keel.

But as a result of my own experiences with meditation, I've always been highly skeptical of any claims of "connectedness" with a higher consciousness or even just the immediate world. Meditation didn't work that way for me.

Also, Carl Jung studied eastern mysticism for many years, and he came away with much the same impression as I had. The following quote (in italics) is from "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious," where Jung talks about meditation. Jung says that the conscious and unconscious are basically irreconcilable. He says that yogis claim to achieve a state of "ecstasy," or claim to plug into a "universal consciousness," but that it is basically just a state of unconsciousness. He said:

"The yogis, attain perfection in samādhi, a state of ecstasy, which so far as we know is equivalent to a state of unconsciousness. It makes no difference whether they call our unconscious a "universal consciousness"; the fact remains that in their case the unconscious has swallowed up ego-consciousness. They do not realize that a "universal consciousness" is a contradiction in terms, since exclusion, selection, and discrimination are the root and essence of everything that lays claim to the name "consciousness." "Universal consciousness" is logically identical with unconsciousness. It is nevertheless true that a correct application of the methods described in the Pali Canon or in the Yoga-sūtra induces a remarkable extension of consciousness. But, with increasing extension, the contents of consciousness lose in clarity of detail. In the end, consciousness becomes all-embracing, but nebulous; an infinite number of things merge into an indefinite whole, a state in which subject and object are almost completely identical. This is all very beautiful, but scarcely to be recommended anywhere north of the Tropic of Cancer. [...] Conscious and unconscious do not make a whole when one of them is suppressed and injured by the other. If they must contend, let it at least be a fair fight with equal rights on both sides." (p. 288)

So I don't necessarily want to anticipate what claims you might make about meditation. But you seemed to suggest that my "self" is to be found in connectedness with the world around me via meditation. You said, "In a way, you make up everything and everything makes up 'you.'"

So I'm just saying: That's not my own experience. My experience is rather more solipsistic: My "self" comes from inside (as described in post #16), and meditation doesn't seem to connect me with any larger sense of "self."
 
Last edited:
Top