- what is personality? -

Same But Different

In some ways we are all the same. We all have the same human nature. We share a common humanity. We all have human bodies and human minds, we all have human thoughts and human feelings.

Yet in other ways we are all completely different and unique. No two people are truly alike. No two people can ever have the same experience of life, the same perspective, the same mind.

Even identical twins are unique in this respect: twin number 1 will always be twin number 1 and will never know what it is actually like to be twin number 2, to experience life and see the world through number 2’s eyes. [Ref 1]

Somewhere between these two — our common humanity and our unique individuality — lies personality.

Personality is about our different ways of being human. How we are all variations on the same themes. How the human nature we all share manifests in different styles of thinking, feeling and acting.

Personality Defined

Personality can be defined as consistency in a person’s way of being — that is, long-term consistency in their particular ways of perceiving, thinking, acting and reacting as a person. Organised patterns of thought and feeling and behaviour.

To some extent, people generally do tend to operate in a similar way day after day, year after year. We’re not talking about specific actions being repeated again and again, like compulsive hand-washing, but about overall patterns, tendencies, inclinations. Someone who has tended to be quiet and reserved up to now will probably still tend to be quiet and reserved tomorrow.

It is this general predictability in individuals’ thought patterns, behaviour patterns and emotional patterns which defines personality. Or to put it another way:

“Your personality style is your organizing principle. It propels you on your life path. It represents the orderly arrangement of all your attributes, thoughts, feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and coping mechanisms. It is the distinctive pattern of your psychological functioning—the way you think, feel, and behave—that makes you definitely you.”  [Ref 2]

Talking About Personality — Four Types v. Five Factors

In ancient times it was thought that all people could be divided into just four personality typessanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic. This was supposedly something to do with the dominant fluids in their bodies (blood, yellow bile, black bile or phlegm). This idea was briefly revived in Renaissance Europe and there are some modern versions of it around today.

But when you actually look into it, trying to fit all the world’s people with their amazing range of differences into so few boxes is not easy. For example, ‘sanguine’ people are supposedly extroverted, creative, sensitive, compassionate, thoughtful, tardy, forgetful and sarcastic. But in fact there is no evidence that these characteristics go together at all. You can certainly be creative without being extroverted. You can certainly be compassionate without being sarcastic. So what does ‘sanguine’ really mean, if anything?

Dividing people up into a few types may be a nice and simple way of looking at the world, but in reality it doesn’t get us very far.

An alternative approach used by modern psychologists is to look at the words we actually use to describe each other’s personalities. This is called the lexical approach.

When we describe someone’s personality, we use words which characterise whatever makes that person distinctive and perhaps even unique. This is partly because we tend to notice people’s most outstanding characteristics (as opposed to ways in which they are just average). For instance, just as we might describe someone as ‘very tall’ or ‘totally bald’ based on their physical attributes, we might also describe them as ‘very shy’ or ‘totally domineering’ based on their personality.

We also want to remember what it is that distinguishes one person from another — being very tall and totally bald is an unusual and distinctive combination, as is being very shy and totally domineering. We remember, and talk about, the things that stand out the most.

So when we look at the words most often used to describe human personality, we find that they describe the extremes rather than the averages. (Similarly, there is no word in the dictionary to describe people of average height, only people who are distinctly above or below average in height: tall v. short.) Also, these extremes can be organised into pairs of opposites — shy v. outgoing, impulsive v. cautious, dominant v. submissive, and so on.

Moreover, when you take all the personality-describing words in a dictionary and analyse how people use them, you find they can be separated into a certain number of sets or ‘clusters’. The words in one cluster all have a b-r-o-a-d-l-y similar meaning, but mean something different from the words in other clusters. And what psychologists have found again and again is that there are just five clusters. In other words, there are just five sets of words (including their opposites) which contain pretty much all of the words we might use to describe personality.

These are known as the ‘Big Five’. We could simply call them Factor 1, Factor 2 and so on, but they have been labelled as follows:

  • EXTROVERSION — the tendency to be outgoing, energetic and sociable
  • OPENNESS — the tendency to enjoy variety, novelty, challenge and intellectual stimulation
  • NEUROTICISM — the tendency to experience unpleasant emotions
  • AGREEABLENESS — the tendency to be friendly, compassionate and cooperative
  • CONSCIENTIOUSNESS — the tendency to show self-discipline and self-control

Each of these five factors is actually a sort of mega pair of opposites: extroversion v. introversion, openness v. closedness, neuroticism v. emotional stability, agreeableness v. hostility, conscientiousness v. spontaneity. For example, we find that there is one whole set of words which describe either aspects of extroversion (‘outgoing’, ‘energetic’) or its opposite, introversion (‘shy’, ‘withdrawn’).

It’s as if everything we have to say about personality falls under one of these headings. This is one of the most robust findings to come out of decades of research into human personality. [Ref 3]

So in contrast to the ‘types’ approach, many psychologists now understand personality as how we all vary on these five dimensions or five factors. It’s not that the world is divided into (say) sanguines and cholerics and so on. Rather, we are all variations on the same five themes, and these variations define our personality traits. We each have our own scores on the same five scales. An introvert, for example, is simply someone who scores low on the extroversion scale.

The five factors are not etched in stone, however. Many studies show that we can include a sixth factor, called Honesty/Humility (or the H factor). This is essentially a dimension of character maturity, ranging from high selfishness to high integrity.  [Ref 4]

The number of factors we “find” also depends on how strict or how loose we are with our statistics.

To get down to five factors you have to accept fairly loose connections between words. This means that, for example, we get lots of surprisingly different traits lumped together under ‘extroversion’ (such as dominant, outgoing and passionate), which is kind of reminiscent of having lots of different things attributed to the ‘sanguine’ type.

We could, however, be very strict with the numbers and look for tight clusters between words which are strongly connected. When researchers do this, they can identify 20-30 factors, or “facets”.

We can think of of the big five as a big, fuzzy “cloud” of traits, each one covering four, five or six specific traits. This seems to give a much richer description.

So … how many personality traits are there?  The answer is: how many do you want? If you want to view people in very broad brush-strokes, then the answer is five (or six). If you want a more “high resolution” picture, then you can use 20-30 or so.

A d v e r t i s e m e n t


Different Views

Funnily enough, despite the discovery of the Big Five, there is still no agreed psychological understanding of personality. This is because psychologists have yet to agree on their understanding of human nature. Different psychologists can hold fundamental beliefs that are diametrically opposed.

For instance, is there such a thing as free will, or is everything we do determined by factors beyond our control such as unconscious processes? Can people change of their own volition or are they doomed to remain the same throughout their lives?

Some psychologists believe in free will and others don’t. This has a dramatic effect on how they study human behaviour and personality, how they interpret research findings, and what they believe it is possible for human beings to achieve.

Some psychologists, such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, have emphasised the importance of free will and individual experience in the development of personality. From their ‘humanistic’ perspective, personality development is at least partly the result of our conscious choices in life. And if people want to change their own personalities, their conscious intention to do so is important.

It is this perspective that has given birth to the hugely popular self-help and personal growth movements.

For those psychologists who refuse to believe in free will, personality is entirely the result of genetics, or unconscious forces, or environmental conditioning. It’s all out of our control.

  • Evolutionary psychologists tend to see everything in terms of genetics and natural selection.
  • Psychodynamic psychologists tend to see everything in terms of unconscious conflicts and repressed memories from childhood.
  • Behaviouristic psychologists tend to see everything in terms of conditioning.
  • Social psychologists tend to see everything in terms of people’s social environment.

Each of these schools of thought emphasises the importance of one factor. Stepping back to see the bigger picture, though, it is clear that each is, in itself, a very limited perspective. Each provides a piece of the jigsaw. And none of them accepts the remotest possibility of fee will. Indeed, in each of these theories, free will is just a grand illusion.

However, I am always reminded of the great American psychologist William James (1842-1910). As a young man studying medicine, he became immersed in the supposedly scientific and rational view of man as a mere machine, an automaton driven by blind impulses and brain chemicals. But the more he thought about it, the more depressed he became. After all, it meant that he himself was just another machine that could go faulty and end up in an asylum like one of his own patients. James became suicidally depressed.

The turning point came when he read an essay on human freedom. He suddenly understood that believing or not believing in our innate freedom is — paradoxically — a choice we can make. To believe in free will, he realised, is itself an act of free will, and he declared:

“My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.”

And so his life as a free agent began.

Nature and Nurture

Between all these one-sided views lies the general consensus: that our personality is built on a combination of conscious (voluntary) and unconscious (involuntary) factors. To some extent our genes and environment play a role, and to some extent our free will plays a role. But probably the greatest role is played by the interaction of these two — how we learn to cope with life using the resources we’ve got.

Overall, personality is about nature interacting with nurture. Or to put it another way:

Personality = Temperament + Character

  • Temperament refers to our nature — our inborn characteristics, our ‘factory settings’, how we are wired. Even at birth one can see individual variations on the human theme. Some infants, for example, are naturally timid while others are naturally bold.
  • Character refers to our acquired (or nurtured) characteristics, our ‘custom settings’, how we have learned to deal with life since we were born. Our character is also the sum of our virtues and vices. A person of good character, for example, has high integrity; a person of bad character does not. It helps to be a good judge of character.

It has been said that temperament is something we share with other animals, while character is, perhaps, uniquely human.

A Spiritual Perspective

I have been interested in personality for as long as I can remember. What makes people tick? In what ways am I different from other people? Are we all the same under the skin? These questions have always intrigued me. This is one of the reasons why I became a psychologist.

But in additon to the psychological viewpoint, I also hold a spiritual view of personality. This view is something I want to communicate with my website.

From this perspective, personality is the vehicle through which the self (the spiritual self, the soul) operates in the world, particuarly in social interactions.
Overleaves
If the essence of you is like a source of pure white light, then your personality is like a set of filters overlaying the source, creating colourful patterns. In other words, your essence is pure potential and your personality represents those aspects of potential which are actually manifesting. (See Overleaves: the structure of personality.)

So in a sense, personality is a selective filtering of who we truly are. Some portions of our inner light, by which I mean much of our true being and true potential, are sharply focused into life while other portions are filtered out. And we do this for good reason.

Having a personality that emphasises, say, one’s capacity for aggression and filters out one’s capacity for peaceful acceptance enables one to really experience the pros and cons of aggresion. The same goes for all aspects of personality. They are all, from the perspective of the soul, learning tools.

So what is personality? It depends upon which perspective you take on human nature.

From my perspective, fundamentally accepting the existence of the soul and free will, the personality is the lower self while the soul is the higher self. Personality is the ‘costume’ worn by the soul as it operates in the material world in human form.

But I also think it is important to have a multi-layered view of the personality itself. There is a deep, inner part of the personality — that ‘selective filtering’ I talked about — which is the framework specially adopted by the soul for a specific human lifetime. This ‘deep’ or ‘true’ personality reflects our soul’s purposes in life.

Then there is a more superficial part of the personality which is simply all of the habits and traits instilled in us during our formative early years. This ‘false’ or ‘artificial’ personality is merely the baggage we pick up along the way. It is how our parents trained us to be, how our school friends wanted us to be, how we came to believe we ought to be.

A major turning point in life occurs (usually around 35-45) when we try to let go of these false ways of being and discover our real personality, our true character, the person we set out to be from the start. This emergence of a real self is something of which, I suspect, the majority psychologists have no inkling. But it is something I have experienced for myself very clearly, and it is, I believe, an important aspect of life. It is certainly something I wish to convey through this website.

- barry

Show citation details

Notes / Further Reading

[1]

No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality (Judith Rich Harris)

No Two Alike: Human Nature and Human Individuality, by Judith Rich Harris.

Amazon page

[2]

Self-Portrait

The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do, by John M. Oldham and Lois B. Morris.

Amazon page

[3]

Personality

Personality: What Makes You The Way You Are, by Daniel Nettle.

Amazon page

[4]

The H Factor

The H Factor of Personality: Why Some People Are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive – And Why It Matters for Everyone, by Kibeom Lee and Michael C. Ashton.

Amazon page

 

55 Responses to “What is personality?”


  1. 1 butterfly07 18 Aug 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks so much for this and all the other amazing content on your website. More quizes like the soul type quiz would be great…. maybe something to help us pinpoint our overleaves or step/stage?

    Your style is very easy to read while successfully addressing complex, abstract topics. Your use of colors and math equations quickly get a concept across.

    This is helping me on my journey of discovery and it provides a way for me to start organizing my own thoughts and feelings into a more comprehensive personal methodology. The next step will be to integrate that methodology into my belief system/ religion/ spirituality. It will be great when I know for sure: who I am, why I am and where I am going! :-)

    Many thanks.

    • 2 - barry - 18 Aug 2009 at 4:17 pm

      Great comments – thanks butterfly07.

      I do intend to do a lot more personality quizes (quizzes?), to cover all of the overleaves.

      I hope you find some resolution with regard to reincarnation and Christianity. I find it interesting (Scholar that I am) that you should want to maintain a concept of a final judgement. In every channelled teaching I have come across – Emmanuel, Michael, Abraham, Orin & Daben, Pathwork, A Course in Miracles, Jeshua, Conversations With God – this concept simply does not exist. The supreme Being apparently has no interest in “punishing” or “rewarding” anyone. That does not mean that there is no ultimate justice. People do commit horrendous crimes in life, and we do violate each other terribly. But rather than God keeping track of who did what to whom and saving all this information for a final judgement, what appears to happen is that each soul makes judgement upon itself at the end of each lifetime.

      As far as I understand it, when we die, one of the first things we do in spirit (with the guidance of higher, wiser beings) is undergo a life review process in which we go through all of the choices we made during the life just gone and observe their effects, including their effects ON OTHERS. In so doing, we immediately understand what was “right” and what was “wrong” about each choice.

      If, say, during this lifetime, I hurt somebody by sexually violating them, then during my post-life review I will be shown exactly what that was like for the vicitim. I will see exactly how terrible it was for that individual. And … here is where karma comes in … I will then voluntarily sign up to undergo an equivalent violation experience (on the receiving end) either in my very next lifetime or in some subsequent lifetime.

      “Judgement” is therefore not a mass event at the end of time but a personal event at the end of each life – and it is we ourselves (in spirit, in the full glare of the eyes of God, being particles of God ourselves) who make the judgements of our own actions.

      It’s easy to think of all this in terms of “sin” and “punishment” or “karmic retribution”, but from the soul’s persepective it’s all about learning from our own mistakes over a very long timescale. We make mistakes out of ignorance, we experience the consequences of those mistakes for ourselves, we try again in the next life, and so we learn to love and grow. It’s a brilliant, beautiful, continuous self-correcting process.

      I found it extremely useful to finally understand that the world isn’t divided into good people and bad people. We are all souls undertaking a long-term journey in which we seek to evolve ourselves into great, perfect beings. But along the way we all stumble and fall – we all make bad choices, we all hurt others (and ourselves) terribly, we all take wrong turns sometimes and get stuck in bad ways. It’s an inevitable part of our evolution. Some souls perhaps make more bad choices and do more harm than others – Kings and Warriors will no doubt kill more innocent people on average than Servers over the course of their many liftimes. But those same souls will also experience being the victim of as many bad choices and harmful acts. It all balances out perfectly.

      It’s not my intention to knock anyone’s belief in Judgement Day, or any other article of faith, but it is my intention with this website to share the wonderful insights of reincarnation and information about our souls and their life between lives and how all this relates to the everyday choices of the human personality. And from this perspective, it seems that all religions contain certain elements of doctrine which are incorrect and unfounded. In the case of Catholicism, these would include the idea of God’s final Judgement and the notion of eternal damnation. I sincerely hope you can experience the relief that comes with letting these go – but I do understand it’s a tall order to let go of something that is so fundamental to one’s lifelong sense of reality!

      - barry

  2. 3 butterfly07 18 Aug 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks Barry … yet again you help provide a clear rationale in a very open way without making judgments or insisting on right or wrong. That encourages us all to keep learning and sharing.

    I love how you explain that in the process of reincarnation, the soul judges itself and overall this is a self-correcting system by design instead of a higher God keeping track and then dictating the final reward/penalty. I can say in my heart and mind that feels so much closer to what my instincts are telling me. But I equally still believe that there is a higher God, our creator, and we are not his/her equal … and that Christ came here to show us the way. So I get stuck because there does not seem to be one existing methodology/religion that combines those 3 key concepts.

    I don’t trust myself enough yet to let go of my safety net … which is to live a good life and be as fair and kind as I can while genuinely asking for God’s grace for eternal salvation (which traditionally is “rewarded” in the final judgment process). In other words, if I stay true to that “golden rule” which is the “traditional key” to unlock the pearly gates, then even if I get creative with the other stuff, in the end, I will not miss the opportunity for eternal life…. a “win-win”, the best of both worlds. The risk of getting it wrong and missing eternal life which means this life is my only existence …that seems too high a price for me to swallow at this point. Might sound crazy… but that is where I am in my journey currently. It is a feeling of knowing there is more but not absolutely certain that any one methodology/religion is 100% correct. I guess ultimately that is where faith comes in… but for a scholar it take more than faith!

    Eternal life for me is to be with God/Spirit and my dear parents and loved ones forever and to be surrounded by unconditional love where no one is suffering and everything is possible for everyone. I am a risk/pain avoider (at least in this life) and scholar soul type (based upon your great quiz)… so I am thinking my approach is consistent so far with what I probably contracted for this time around with maybe a planned or unplanned lean toward the negative soul pole of theory! But I am hoping that my doubts will push me to keep searching so I can find a solid direction soon and then move up a level so I don’t have to repeat this lesson again!

    Thanks again…. keep up the great work. I owe you one on this side and the next! :-)

  3. 4 Hussain Ali 14 Dec 2011 at 1:27 pm

    that is so cool and informative.

  4. 5 charlene 09 Jan 2012 at 6:49 pm

    So fascinating, this article alone offers answers to alot of my questions. Thank you. I think I will be on this website for some time!

  5. 6 Rissy 30 Mar 2012 at 6:19 am

    Hi Barry, i thoroughly enjoyed this and took it in and have a big favour to ask. I am doing a critical review for my psychology class and I was wondering whether I could get your full name, the date this article was published and your qualifications. Thankyou :)

    • 7 barry 30 Mar 2012 at 7:30 am

      Done.

  6. 8 Sara 25 May 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Barry! very insightful analysis of personality! I too would like to use this as a source in a paper that i am writing for one of my master’s level courses. I would like to properly cite this article, so if you could send me all the necessary info – full name, date, etc. – that would be great! thanks! :)

    • 9 barry 25 May 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Done :)

  7. 10 gurkamel 29 May 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Hi barry, This article is amazing! I Love It! and I would also like to cite this because its an excellent resource for my English paper. It would be great if you gave me all the info I need like credentials and the date it was published as well as your full name. Thank you!

    • 11 barry 31 May 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Done!

  8. 12 Hanifa Macarimpas 18 Jun 2012 at 1:30 am

    its nice guix……..4me a personality is one we need to us……..

  9. 13 derrickmond 20 Aug 2012 at 8:44 am

    i have very much enjoyed

  10. 14 William 03 Sep 2012 at 4:17 pm

    What an interesting take on the subject of personality! I have used a lot of information in your article for my Post graduate dissertation. I need to credit the source, please furnish me with all the necessary details. Thanks

    • 15 barry 03 Sep 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Done! :)

  11. 16 fashionista 10 Oct 2012 at 9:39 am

    I do not agree that not two people are alike and not have the same life experiences. I have someone who walked into my life that we can read each others thoughts and are identical to one another in personality and the list goes on. Life experience are also the same with very little differences if any. It is as though you were looking into a mirror and the refection of yourself is a real person you can have in your life. If I feel sad this person sences it and feels sad at the same time too. It is like a living cell that split at some point in life but remained the part of the other rather completely transforming into a separate entity with its own individuality

    • 17 barry 10 Oct 2012 at 9:45 am

      Ok, sounds like you have a soul mate or essence twin with you there. Even so, you are still in two souls in separate bodies. When you stub your toe, it’s you who jumps up and down in pain. The other might perhaps sense that you are in pain, but that’s not the same thing. Your pain is yours. No matter how much similarity, resonance and psychic communication there is between you, you are not the same person.

  12. 18 Ryan 11 Oct 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Hey Barry this is perfect for my personality assignment, i would like to source the article

    • 19 barry 11 Oct 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Done

  13. 20 varun 01 Jan 2013 at 8:43 pm

    hi, i am suffering from great personality disorder from last 10 year i am changing my personality every new day sometime i try to be confident then other time i try to positive please help me

    • 21 barry 03 Jan 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Hi varun
      Sorry to hear of your struggles; it sounds very difficult for you. But what kind of help exactly are you looking for?
      B

  14. 22 Angela Timmer 22 Jan 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I often question individuals and there personality. When I meet new people I can usually tell who to keep my distance from versus someone I can learn from or grow close to. I find myself looking into others when they speak and I question there actions or thoughts. When I look into them its like I am trying to read a book and find there story, find out why they feel a certain way or why they made the decisions they made. It is all a way for me to learn life in a different view almost like through others. With that I have to have such an open mind. Sometimes it is with much concentration which can be exhausting while other times not. With that I have to go off of feeling and conscious but many times it has never proven to be wrong. Then again there are times that I do fail or more so that people may change and there fore throw me off whether its a close family member or friend or even someone I was getting close to and have to distance myself. But this is an explanation of my deeper being. I am always trying to find ways of learning and being open to many ideas. That is where my stubbornness comes in and where I choose to learn things whether it may be the hard way; yet I still choose to do so. What really brought me here was an in depth conversation I had with my boyfriend and how he says that my way of thinking is so inconsistent yet I am so predictable mainly when it come to decisions that I make. He does not always approve and how he puts it life is so simple yet I make it so complicating. We struggle often based on how we see things differently and how different we feel. I am trying to find why he can not see or better understand where I am coming from or how I think yet I can understand him clearly and I always tell him when I understand. I hope some day maybe he can understand me but then I fear that he may never will. There are very few who can but those who do I keep very close to my heart and I have the best connection with : )

    • 23 barry 22 Jan 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Angela

      Thanks for that. If you look around the website, you can see that there are many ways in which two people can be different. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – there are some combinations that are very compatible. The goals of Dominance and Submission, for example, obviously go well together. But there are also some combinations that just don’t work. If one person has the goal of Acceptance while the other has the goal of Rejection, that’s not really going anywhere.

      My wife and I have got huge value out of identifying our differences using this personality framework. For example, she has the attitude of scepticism while I am an idealist. In any given situation, I look optimistically for any kind of positive outcome while she will look very suspiciously for anything that might be wrong. When we finally spotted this difference between us, it was delightful! Now we know what to expect of each other, and can see the value of each other’s perspective. (Bear in mind that none of the traits are better or worse than any other – all are of equal value.)

      Also, we can help each other out whenever we slip into our negative poles. My idealism, for example, can become very naive and ungrounded, while her scepticism can turn into being automatically distrustful. We are able to gently point out to each other “I think you may be in your negative pole right now.” Not as a criticism, but as a loving aid to awareness and growth.

      Cheers

      barry

    • 24 nyler 17 Feb 2014 at 11:34 am

      oh, it’s a nice massage. i also like it.

  15. 25 Amy Demps 28 Jan 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Hello Barry, may cite this? This would go great for my Human Growth and development report. I will need your name (the author), year, volume (if there’s one), and # of pages. Please and thank you!

    • 26 barry 29 Jan 2013 at 8:17 am

      Yep, emailed you.

  16. 27 Taunia Capranelli 21 Feb 2013 at 5:39 am

    I would like to use your article as a cite. Can I please have the information that is needed to do so. name, year, volume and page number

    Thank you
    Taunia

    • 28 barry 21 Feb 2013 at 7:08 pm

      Done :)

  17. 29 kanya 16 Mar 2013 at 10:02 am

    This is great information.
    I would love to know, don’t you have a printable personality test so that I can see which personality tÝpe I have.

    Thank you in advance!

  18. 31 Brenda 02 Apr 2013 at 6:09 pm

    thank you Barry :) all your articles are very intresting and insightful! I would like to ask you if you could write an article on ‘double ganger’ it’s a concept I don’t quite understand how it works. Thank you for all your amazing articles I can’t get enough of them. The articles about personality like this one and the Michael Teachings have really helped me find myself.

    • 32 barry 02 Apr 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Many thanks Brenda. I don’t think I can write an article on the doppelgänger, not being an expert, but I have looked into it briefly and here are my impressions.

      The current scientific theory stems from a medical case in 2006. It seems that a certain part of the brain (in the left hemisphere) creates and maintains an awareness of where we are, how we are standing, and how we appear. But if this brain function becomes cut off from our more general self-awareness by some neurological problem, then it is possible that we can sense our own physical presence but not perceive it as ourselves; instead, we perceive it as another being, “over there”. Evidence for the theory is based on brain stimulation – when their brain is “zapped” in a certain place, people can sense another person nearby, possibly in the same posture as themselves. However, they do not see it as their own doppelgänger, so it’s not really a proper explanation.

      It also doesn’t explain the more paranormal accounts, such as Abraham Lincoln getting foreknowledge of his fate from a doppelgänger he saw in a reflection. In these cases, it might be that in a relaxed state (light trance) we can sometimes spontaneously open up to significant life information from our own soul, and maybe this is perceived (interpreted by the sleepy brain) as coming from of a double of oneself.

      That’s all I have so far.

  19. 33 Dominik 09 Jul 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Hello barry!
    I’m impressed by your article and I would like to quote some of your material in my BA thesis. Could you email me the details, like author’s name, year, volume and pages? I would be really grateful!

  20. 34 Dominik 10 Jul 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Hello Barry!
    I’m really impressed by your article. I would like to quote some of your work in my BA thesis. Could you send me the author’s name, year, volume and pages? I would be grateful!

    Dominik

    • 35 barry 10 Jul 2013 at 7:53 pm

      Done :-)

  21. 36 Maha 15 Aug 2013 at 2:40 pm

    “From my perspective, fundamentally accepting the existence of the soul and free will, the personality is the lower self while the soul is the higher self. Personality is the ‘costume’ worn by the soul as it operates in the material world in human form.

    But I also think it is important to have a multi-layered view of the personality itself. There is a deep, inner part of the personality — that ‘selective filtering’ I talked about — which is the framework specially adopted by the soul for a specific human lifetime. This ‘deep’ or ‘true’ personality reflects our soul’s purposes in life.”

    If you’ve ever read any of the Seth material by Jane Roberts, he like many of the books regarding Enlightenment refer to the Consciousness which underlies the lower self or ego. Conditioning of the ego is a filter which exemplifies the attachments and beliefs accrued in the growth of experience. We are taught by our parents peers and social structure what is real, what we should achieve, and how to compare ourselves to each other. TV ads tell us what to wear, what beer to drink and what car to drive etc.

    Consciousness being unaffected at the level beyond the soul personality, many teachings reflect upon the absolute Self in Yoga or Union. Meditation upon the absolute Self allows one to witness both the absolute Self and the ego Self to create a perspective which expands the awareness beyond the identification with beliefs and feelings in any experience.

    Since consciousness is not bound by time, the experiences of past, present and future are seen as constructs that allow experience to unfold in a manner that ego can grasp within the relative physical world. In that sense ego can be put into service rather than believed as the master or character of Soul. Also a much bigger picture ensues when Soul is seen as multidimensional and not specific to one singular lifetime.
    Being that soul is multidimensional, and Consciousness not being sequestered to the individual experience of a single lifetime as the ego is limited. All lifetimes interact with each other bringing a different perspective to what you might call life purpose.

    Generally speaking, a lifetime might have probable outcomes, but they are not hardwired nor exclusive to a particular time or space even if the experience seems so.

  22. 37 Manda Hinton 30 Aug 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Barry.
    I would love to use some of your take/ opinions on personality from this page for my uni research, would I be able to have your last name for referencing?

    • 38 barry 30 Aug 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Done. :-)

  23. 39 Dao Ngoc Lien 13 Oct 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Hi Barry,
    What you wrote is really interesting for me. I want to cite your idea in my own report. Could you please let me know your full name, the date of publishment and your references?
    Thank you so much!

    • 40 barry 16 Oct 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Done

  24. 41 Lafika 25 Oct 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I would like to study astrology or human personality.

  25. 42 Luz 02 Nov 2013 at 5:37 pm

    May Gods grace cover you everyday. This article has been of deep blessing to my life. Thank you

  26. 43 Meshu 13 Dec 2013 at 4:51 am

    Hey Barry, I would like to use your article for one of my papers and would like to cite it. Therefore can you please provide me with the info I need to cite it. Thanks

    • 44 barry 10 Feb 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Done (very late, sorry)

  27. 45 nancy 22 Dec 2013 at 2:37 pm

    this helps me in my studies thank you very much

  28. 46 worker 31 Dec 2013 at 5:41 pm

    hello
    i would like to reference your research
    could you please leave me an email as soon as possible so i can use it
    thanks

    • 47 barry 02 Feb 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Done … Finally!

  29. 48 silus 28 Jan 2014 at 9:45 am

    Where can i find the reference and citation of personality as i was hoping i could use this is my essay, could you get back to me asap many thanks.

    • 49 barry 28 Jan 2014 at 9:41 pm

      Done

  30. 50 Xiyu Wong 28 Feb 2014 at 3:45 am

    Barry, may i know your full name and the date for this article? It’s so useful for me!!

    • 51 barry 01 Mar 2014 at 9:56 pm

      Done ✔️

  31. 52 kidir ahmed 04 Apr 2014 at 8:11 am

    Where can i find the reference and citation of personality as i was hoping i could use this is my essay, could you get back to me asap many thanks.

    • 53 barry 04 Apr 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Done. I really ought to add the citation details to this page!

  32. 54 Nicole Stam 17 Apr 2014 at 10:24 pm

    How can i cite this article? Has been a massive help towards my assignment!

    • 55 barry 21 Apr 2014 at 9:12 pm

      Hi Nicole (and others)
      I’ve been tinkering with the page. Hopefully you can now see a drop-down “Citatation details” thingy at the end of the article (just before the book list). Let me know if it fails!
      cheers,
      barry :)


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