Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Similarity of Man, or, The Ego of Man

May 23rd, 2014

     There are only a few types of people in the world.  I know that we like to think that everyone is a unique individual with wholly different plumbing than anyone else.  This is true and untrue.  It is true int hat, biologically, there is almost infinite variability in man.  There will most certainly never be two men with the exact same neuron organization pattern in existence.  It is untrue in that the general behavioral consequences have many less probabilistic reactions (mostly due to learned/simulated responses seen in the past demonstrating what is proper or possible, and due to the natural lack of response reactions to any given stimulus).  While biology may yield a human who has never before set foot upon the earth, many people will have the same reactions to specific stimuli.  When stimuli are viewed back-to-back, it is, of course, less likely that the individuals will continue behaving similarly.  But these are broad categories under which some people may be catalogued.  I will not administer titles to these groups at this time; such categorization is tricky due to the common man's need to be individualistic.  Were I to create such broad groups (and other theorists have done so in the past), they would lead to different types of interventions that would be used to pursue betterment.  I must be clear in saying that these titles would not label the client, but instead would only describe behavior (much like diagnosis should do).


June 24th, 2014

     I'm wondering if we romanticize the human personality too much.  We continually marvel at the complexity of our own brains, but are they really so intrigue-worthy?  We revel in our own superiority due to our increased intelligence.  I think that there are equal parts stupidity and ingenuity where the human collective is concerned.  Sure, we've created books and harnessed electricity, but we've done so many things that warrant repugnance.  We've created so many wonders fit for gods, yet we still lack basic self-control and morality.
     I don't want to go too far off track here.  We see ourselves as superior to all due to our inventions.  Douglas Adams said it best when he wrote:  "For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars and so on - whilst all the dolphins had ever done was much about in the water having a good time.  But conversely, the dolphins believed that they were far more intelligent than man - for precisely the same reasons."
     I think that the turning point in our superiority in intelligence occurred when we became conscious of our consciousness.  Somehow this imbued us with a sense of supremacy so vast that the behavior study of humans became very different from the study of any other animal.  We have shown, though, that the needs, habit, tendencies, etc. of man are similar to the "lower" animals.  Primates close to us, like chimpanzees and gorillas, exhibit behavior that is so close to ours, such as grouping and communication.  Verbal language, something uniquely human (another engineering marvel of ours), isn't just ours.  Well, it isn't our insofar that not only we can learn it.  We can teach other beings communication (parrots (though meaning behind the words might not be understood) and gorillas), so can we teach them to feel?  To think?  I believe that primates have already answered that for us.
     Complexity in behavior deals pretty heavily with brain plasticity and neuroscience as well as previous education and experience (nature versus nurture at its finest).  I can't help but equate this to the biological variance inherent in DNA.  Just like we see people who resemble others (including, sometimes, that other's behavior as well) we experience different behavior-styles in people.  If these groups can be given names and whose elements can be catalogued, doesn't it then seem as if personality variance is finite?  We act as if it is not.
     I think that it can follow that certain measures can then be taken for certain personality types.  This can help when people are seeking treatment.  If all this is correct, and I have no reason to think that it is, then human personality is not as infinite as idealists once thought.  In fact, it is the finiteness of personality that allow us to treat it.  Were the human mind a constantly changing and uniquely independent variable, it is somewhat reasonable to think that only the deepest of psychotherapies could work.  Perhaps that is the crux of some of the deeper psychotherapies' arguments.

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