Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Forgiving Personality in Politics and Spirituality

The truth is different for everyone, that's the first law of chaos in A Course in Miracles. And one way we know that statement is obviously true is because we all have different personalities. Even similar personalities are still different. At the present time in human history, personality is scientifically measured using the Big Five.

The Big Five personality traits are the following:
Agreeableness: measure of compassion and politeness.
Conscientiousness: measure of industriousness, orderliness, punctuality, dependability.
Extroversion: measure of social enthusiasm.
Neuroticism: measure of negative emotions and volatility.
Openness: measure of intellect openness and creativity.

There are a number of websites where you can take Big 5 personality tests for free. Different tests give slightly different results, but the general ratios are usually similar.

As should come as little surprise, different personality traits make a person more or less attracted to certain ideas in both the political and spiritual realm. People vote and worship their temperament. Lower openness and higher conscientiousness is correlated with stronger conservative views both politically and spiritually. Conversely, higher openness and lower conscientiousness is correlated with stronger liberal views both politically and spiritually. Very agreeable people tend to be more attracted to charitable equity both politically and spiritually. IQ is separate from personality. So there are dumber and smarter people with similar personalities. Things get quite complex and much less linear quite quickly the more factors one takes into account.

For example, there are two main types of contemporary politically correct leftism that appeal to two types of personalities. Politically correct (PC) is a term that describes the strange union of postmodern philosophy and neoMarxism that is embodied in the main ideologies of the contemporary left. Now, of course, most postmodernists and Marxists would certainly reject that assessment but that assessment comes out of the present day results of the dissemination of postmodern philosophy regardless of the original intents of the thinkers lumped into postmodernism. Most people on the left never studied postmodern philosophers like Foucault and Derrida even though they are the people who planted the seeds that have become contemporary PC leftism. I studied and read the postmodernists. I took college classes on them and got A's. But even though I did find some useful grains in the postmodernists that even resonate with ACIM and nonduality, I'm no fan of postmodernism (although I do like Baudrillard). One example of postmodern-compatible-thought in ACIM is that there is no hierarchy of illusions. That's nice to know. But, of course, in practice, you are able to read this blog post over the internet on a screen right now because people sorted out hierarchies of illusion. Another example of a link between postmodernism and ACIM is in how Derrida's work gets deep into the issues surrounding the first law of chaos (unlimited interpretations/perspectives). The problem with Derrida's analysis though is that, in practice, there are a limited number of interpretations of the world that are at least true enough. And knowing those things clearly helps human survival. In many ways, postmodernism is an example of what happens when you confuse levels in ACIM. That's why, despite Marxism's history of catastrophic failures in implementation, postmodernism has resulted in neoMarxism (Derrida was a Marxist.) Postmodernism revitalized Marxism by turning everything into power struggles between oppressed and oppressor, replacing the original, more limited, Marxist concept of poor vs. rich. So postmodern neoMarxism instigates an endless victims victimizers game of oppressed and oppressor that is exploited for objectives of political power. But anyway, I could write a whole pointless book on the delusions and confusions of the bastardized postmodernism power cult of perpetually warring identity groups. But I'd rather not lol. One of my favorite summaries of PC thought is presented in this 1993 comedy sketch from "The Kids in the Hall."

But back to the subject of the two types of contemporary PC leftists. The commonality between the two main groups of contemporary PC leftists is high agreeableness in terms of compassion. The first group, PC egalitarians, arises first and foremost from exposure to ideas emphasizing perceived social inequalities and injustices involving individual differences. So some ideological indoctrination is necessary to get the ball rolling. PC egalitarianism tends to appeal to people who are high in openness, high in agreeableness, and high in verbal intelligence (medium to high IQ). However, politically correct egalitarianism becomes warped by people with different personality traits and so they turn it into politically correct authoritarianism. Politically correct authoritarianism tends to appeal to people who are high in conscientiousness in regards to order, high in agreeableness, and low in verbal intelligence (medium to low IQ). Politically correct authoritarians applaud censorship and punitive justice. There is also a high correlation between PC authoritarianism and people who have a clinically diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder or who have a member of their direct family that does. Interestingly, the same major traits that makes politically correct left wing authoritarianism also make right wing authoritarianism: higher conscientiousness and lower verbal intelligence. Higher conscientious people, in general (independent of IQ), are more prone to disgust, tend to be less open in terms of borders and sexuality, they are more concerned with cleanliness and order, tend to be healthier, and have greater in-group preferences.

(If you want to read a summary of the study from which I got all the above information go here: )

The difference between PC and right wing authoritarianism tends to simply revolve around group identity. The authoritarian left is a mother cult stemming from higher agreeableness while the authoritarian right is a father cult stemming from lower agreeableness. In the PC culture of the west, the authoritarianism of white straight males is usually characterized as right wing and so racist, sexist, fascist, etc. Conversely, the authoritarianism of people against the historical western hierarchy is usually characterized as anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-fascist, etc. However, both authoritarian groups have identity politics at their core; both seek to weed out by force some opposing group. Identity politics are abhorrent whether right or left and I usually don't hesitate to let people promoting them know that. It is by no means reasonable to attribute victim or victimizer status to people simply due to group characteristics. If that's not the kind of thing that characterizes racism then there is no reason for the word to even exist.

The similarity of left wing and right wing authoritarianism is an example that shows that groups have much more overlap than individuals. The individual is the ultimate minority regardless of what groups the individual fits within. The fact that right wing authoritarianism is currently painted much more negatively and broadly by western society than left wing authoritarianism makes left wing authoritarianism more insidious. The Oedipal mother authoritarian is every bit as dangerous as the father. You want your parent figures, both male and female, to foster independence, not tyrannical dependence. Because tyrannical dependence is predatory! And predators first stalk and take out the animals identifiable from the herd. You've got to remember, the ego universe is about twisted notions of God. God is the only parental figure with which total dependence is mutually ideal. Don't worship false gods!

Both female (left) and male (right) authoritarianism should be consistently called out by western society as dangerous. But people are afraid to criticize leftist authoritarians because they will invariably be called some derogatory term like racist or sexist if they do, regardless of their race or sex. Look at the treatment of black female conservatives as an example. Since the PC egalitarians have a "protective (Oedipal) mother" personality, they consistently come to the defense of the PC authoritarians, who are perceived as their own distressed, vulnerable infants. Unlike right wing authoritarianism, leftist authoritarianism is still not well studied. Since most academics are leftists, they've naturally concentrated on diagnosing pathology in their rivals, not their supporters and themselves.

Authoritarianism is becoming more prevalent among millennials in the form of extreme intolerance for conflicting views. Many attribute that trend to trends in over-protective parenting (Oedipal mother) and the prevalence of ideological echo chambers emphasized by parents, educators, and media. Things like safe spaces and support of limiting free speech are the post modern neoMarxist authoritarian millennial versions of traditional conscientious conservative emphasis on the protection of person and property through clear borders and boundaries.

Right wing force is mostly projected externally on protecting against "others" while left wing force is mostly projected internally on absorbing "others." Therefore, right wing authoritarians want ordered homogeneity through forceful exclusion while left wing authoritarians want ordered homogeneity through forceful inclusion. Both have an acute pathological desire for worldly homogeneity, which is what happens when you look for oneness in the world. Homogeneity in this universe is death. Don't confuse levels! Pursue oneness in the mind, where it is not only obtainable but also desirable.

The emotion of disgust is important in identifying authoritarian vulnerabilities. Research has shown that authoritarian attitudes are clearly linked to feelings of disgust and that disgust is linked to higher conscientiousness.

In general, people who feel more disgust support stronger protections against the objects and ideas that trigger disgust. The lower in IQ people are, the more willing the disgusted people are to outsource that protection to authoritarianism. The disgust correlation is supported by the "parasite stress hypothesis," which shows that threats to human welfare in the form of disease and famine feed authoritarianism. Disgust is a strong emotion because it has important survival advantages. For instance, the indigenous South and North Americans were catastrophically devastated by disease upon the arrival of Europeans. Which illustrates the value of having a predisposition to being disgusted and repulsed by that which is foreign, unfamiliar, dirty, or polluted. But disgust is also a vulnerability because the disgust link with authoritarianism means that a diabolical person or group left or right could exploit it to gain authoritarian power. The more one is disgusted by something or someone the harsher a person is willing to be in the treatment of that person or thing. Consequently, disgust becomes fuel for supporting the use of government force and thus authoritarianism. So look out for what disgusts you, because eliminating that object of disgust is your ticket to supporting authoritarianism. And also watch out for being disgusted by the disgust of others.

Eye rolling is an expression of disgust. And eye-rolling about one's partner in romantic relationships is a strong indicator of a doomed relationship. So if you can't help but roll your eyes about your romantic partner, that's a bad sign lol.

It is worth noting that strains of authoritarianism are very prevalent in environmentalism. Just the thought that the world would be better off in terms of ecological order if you yourself or other people didn't exist is genocidal. If you ever want to explore the pathologies of psychological projection, simply look at the term "climate denial." The only people I respect on matters of environment and pollution are people who believe in property rights. And since most people believe in taxation, very few actually believe in property rights. Human-made problems are a product of inconsistency (self-contradiction).

Another interesting thing to note about politics and personality is that conservatives are a bit less neurotic than liberals. Liberal males test the highest in neuroticism. Furthermore, conservatives and liberals have the same average amount of agreeableness. However, the agreeableness of liberals is more compassion oriented (bleeding heart) while it's more politeness oriented in conservatives.

Extremes in high agreeableness are a female personality characteristic while extremes in low agreeableness are a male personality characteristic. That makes sense biologically because there are advantages to women (and even some men) being hard-wired for high compassion. High compassion can be exploited by infants, the sick, the wounded, and the downtrodden (and resentful neoMarxists). Conversely, it is also biologically useful for men (and even some women) to be hard-wired for a lack of compassion so they can kill animals for food, fight against threats, and not be taken advantage of. We don't want everyone to have the same personality quirks because not everyone is a helpless infant and not everyone is a threat. Altruism can be just as much of a pathology as callousness can. In the dualistic ego universe, any virtue run to extremes in the world invariably becomes vice.

In the evolved human family dynamic, men produce and women distribute. The archetypal female ethic is one in which everyone gets taken care of through distribution of the resources made possible by a worthy mate (good provider). And that makes sense at the family level (including extended family), which is where that ethic should be implemented to the fullest. That ethic doesn't scale up well though without introducing big problems. The archetypal male ethic is competition for females. So deep down men don't want to help unrelated men compete for females nor do they want to take care of females who provide unrelated men mating opportunities. Men will minimize their effort for securing resources to the extent that there is no advantage to extra effort.

But anyway, as you can see, in the realm of politics, people robotically promote and adopt political ideas that justify their own personality preferences. And the same applies to spirituality. So, for example, a person too low in conscientiousness and too low in openness would have a very hard time getting anywhere with A Course in Miracles. A Course in Miracles requires a certain minimum level of openness and discipline. Similarly, someone low in agreeableness in the form of compassion and low in extroversion would have a very hard time getting very involved in socialistic spiritual ideas and practices like feeding the poor.

In a society of freedom of religion, personality differences leading to spiritual differences isn't that big of a problem. However, since those same personality differences and spiritual differences leak into political differences, the result is a lot of conflict. The realm of politics is people fighting over control of the guns/force of government. Consequently, in the realm of politics, people seek to impose their personality quirks (half-baked preferences) on others using government force, which never really works since force can't change personalities and thus can't change human nature.

Those with the personalities to recognize the dangers of government force in all its incarnations left and right advocate for less government force and less government spoils for people to fight over. But the people without the right personalities and thus ideologies can't quite appreciate such a remedy. Given enough time, half-baked ideas combined with the guns of governments destroy societies. Because most ideas that are appealing to certain personalities don't work in practice long-term or even short-term. Marxist ideas are a good example. People have at least mostly learned to despise discredited right wing authoritarian ideas, but Marxism persists. Despite the 20th century's horrific body count resulting from the implementation of Marxist ideas, there are still people (neoMarxists) who believe such ideas can work. Such people are deluded enough to think that if they were personally in charge, given their superior moral character, Marxist ideas would work. Nope! Sorry folks. If it requires the initiation of force on otherwise peaceful people, it already doesn't work. The socialist calculation problem alone makes Marxism doomed to devastating inefficiency at any scale. Even the modest Marxism (socialism) that exists on the back of contemporary capitalist societies can't consistently stay in budget while maintaining adequate quality; the consequence is ever-growing public debt and persistent calls for more taxation. Marxism is a philosophy of resentment in the guise of compassion; it's much more about hate for the rich than empathy for the poor. Nietzsche recognized that and so was able to foresee the tragedies (body count) of implementing Marxist thought before it was even tried.

Here are two interesting Nietzsche quotes that are worth a read:

"In the doctrine of socialism there is hidden, rather badly, a will to negate life; the human beings or races that think up such a doctrine must be bungled. Indeed, I should wish that a few great experiments might prove that in a socialist society life negates itself, cuts off its own roots. The earth is large enough and man still sufficiently unexhausted; hence such a practical instruction and demonstration ad absurdum would not strike me as undesirable, even if it were gained and paid for with a tremendous expenditure of human lives."
"You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality: your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue. Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy--perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers--erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra 1883

General incompetence and unconscious guilt makes utopian delusions such as Marxism just that...delusions. But the general lower conscientiousness of liberals as a group compared to conservatives, combined with their higher agreeableness in terms of compassion, makes them still favor lots of Marxist ideas, especially in the form of neoMarxism. It's not like anyone is pro-poverty, it's just that people have different ideas about the most realistic and peaceful ways to reduce it. Capitalism has and continues to raise more and more people out of poverty.

Different personalities have different utility. High openness people start companies (novelty) but high conscientiousness people run them (stability). So diversity in personality is useful for society. Although capitalism is no utopia, it does actually work well relative to its alternatives. And in fact, capitalism's alternatives aren't sustainable at all without riding the back of capitalism. Historically, capitalism has worked well for conscientious people. Capitalism has been more of a crapshoot for lower conscientious people. That plays into why the left favors government forced income redistribution to achieve homogeneity by inclusion. While some of the richest people are liberal due to creative entrepreneurial tendencies favoring large financial rewards, the conservatives don't favor wealth redistribution nearly as much since conscientious people as a whole tend to have more money and work harder for it. In any organization, the most conscientious people do the bulk of the work. In America, there are only three things a person has to be conscientious enough to do to stay out of poverty: 1 - Graduate from high school, 2 - Get married before having children, 3 - Get and keep a full-time job. The bar for conscientiousness, even in the flawed corporatist capitalist system of present day America, is not very high for those who want to live a life vastly better than almost all people in human history. However, as technology continues to advance, capitalism is finding less and less use for lower IQ people. And no amount of education can make low IQ high IQ. IQ has no correlation to morality but it does to economic usefulness.

Since my own personality is shaping this very blog post you are reading right now, it'd be informative if I let you in on my personality details. I've taken Big Five personality tests and the results haven't been surprising. I'm always extremely high in openness (intellectual novelty and creativity), medium high in conscientiousness, low in neuroticism (low in negative emotions), low in extroversion (I'm very introverted), and fairly low in agreeableness. Additionally, I'm high in IQ. IQ is a can of worms politically since science indicates that IQ is around 75% rooted in genetics. Even though I couldn't care less about special bodies in terms of genetics, it is worth noting that I've got a chunk of Ashkenazi Jew in my genes, which is one of the two highest IQ genetic groups, the other being East Asian.

Everyone who knows me knows my most defining characteristic is that I'm hyper creative and intellectually adventurous. There is zero correlation between grades and creativity. And for that reason I didn't go to Harvard lol. Dumb is dumb but there are many ways to be really smart. Creativity is my strong point. But creativity screws up measurement systems because things that can't be contained in a limited box can't be measured. I've taken IQ tests and I tend to run in the 130 range on culturally biased tests. I'm usually about 15 points higher and closer to around 150 on unbiased tests (tests that are visual rather than word oriented). I don't know how much I believe any IQ measurements though. Some days I feel quite smart, other days quite dumb lol.

Creativity is all I care about really. I don't even care about being smart other than that it helps in the implementation of creativity. Creating is the only activity that keeps me happy (other than forgiveness of course). But creativity is a curse because it is very difficult to monetize most creativity. I'm intelligent enough that I could do most jobs in the world with some training. But many of the very well paid jobs and thus desirable jobs require a kind of seriousness that a highly creative mind can't muster consistently. For instance, you probably don't want a creative accountant or creative doctor lol. My creativity even gets in the way of me talking directly about ACIM; I'm usually creatively dancing around the course's ideas to present them in roundabout ways.

If you are not creative, be happy about that lol, because creativity has many downsides--especially for men since the option of being economically unproductive is less viable for men. Even a really good creative idea (novel and useful) still takes marketing and sales to result in profits. And since I'm also very introverted, sales and marketing are particularly unappealing activities for me. But I'm also quite conscientious and so I'm aware of just how impractical and risky it is for me to indulge in creativity. But I can't help it because the risk (financial instability) makes me much less discontent than the lack of freedom to create. I create all kinds of objectively pointless things that never see the light of day let alone ever generate income lol. But it's what I must do to stay consistently content. My books are creations but they are also compromises to make something somewhat marketable. The stuff I really like to create is not very marketable in any practical sense.

My political preferences reflect my personality well. People vote their temperament and the fact that I don't vote reflects mine. My politics are the golden rule. Which is best summed up in the political philosophy of voluntaryism. Voluntaryism is just ordered anarchism: anarchism ordered around the simple rule of no initiation of force (we should strive for all human interaction to be voluntary not coerced). Voluntaryism is full openness (liberalism) and conscientiousness (conservatism). The beauty of voluntaryism is that it lets people be free to limit themselves (sacrifice freedom for security) in whatever ways they want based on their personality long as they don't impose those limitations on others through force or threat of force. As far as I'm concerned, people are free to pursue whatever half-baked social ideas they want as long as I'm free to opt out, directly and from effects. The way I assess people's politics is very simple. If a person thinks he or she knows what is best for everyone and is willing to impose that upon everyone by force, then that person is dangerous (which constitutes most people and politicians thus making forgiving it all quite ubiquitous). Sorry, but if a person doesn't have it together enough to recognize the danger and immorality of government force in the hands of anyone, then that person sure doesn't have it together enough to know what is best for everyone. Understanding the golden rule in terms of politics is important going forward, because technology is moving the world in the direction of two main choices: techno voluntaryism or some variety of Orwell's 1984.

My spiritual preferences reflect my personality well too. My God is oneness. And as a super introvert, I'm not concerned about changing the world only changing my mind about the world through forgiveness.

Even though personality is a given in many ways, you don't want to be a slave to it. For example, prisons are filled with people with low agreeableness and low conscientiousness. Such people would do well to learn how to not be enslaved by their personalities. Low conscientiousness is one of the biggest trouble makers for people.

Since a lot of creative types who do things like write stories that turn into books and movies are low in conscientiousness, there is a common theme in stories where the writers glorify their own personality type. You know the typical story; the irresponsible free-spirit breaking the up-tight conscientious person out of his or her rigidity. The Shawshank Redemption is pretty much my favorite movie partly because it flips around that typical counterproductive and unrealistic story. The Shawshank Redemption glorifies conscientiousness combined with IQ and openness; plus it is anti-authoritarian.

Although, at my core, I'm fairly low in agreeableness, I nonetheless have learned through life how to be polite, kind, and to champion shared interests. And even though I'm very introverted, I can be extroverted if there is a good reason to be. I just can't maintain extroversion very long without becoming drained; I liken it to trying to drive fast in low gear. Also, even though I'm fairly high in conscientiousness, my openness and my IQ make me very anti-authoritarian (anti-initiation of force).

Are you starting to appreciate this personality stuff? Understanding personality is great for forgiveness because it helps keep you from falling prey to the first law of chaos. The world would not be a better place if everyone had my personality and neither would it if everyone had your personality. For one, if everyone was like me there'd basically be no economy lol. Not only do I have very few material wants, I don't want to take on the grueling tasks required to keep the world as it is running. More stuff (especially expensive and complex stuff) more potential problems. And the more rules added on top of that, the less interested I am in playing at all.

The world is complex; it does best when left to self organize so that the novelty builders and stability builders can constantly compete for efficiency. And that makes for a competence hierarchy, which is desirable if you want things to actually work! Competence is the kind of hierarchy we need in society. And much to the dismay of the neoMarxists, competence means accepting hierarchy, heterogeneity, gender differences, and competition. Civilized competition is cooperative because all who play must agree to the rules (namely the golden rule). And common rules are the domain of culture. Good luck interacting with people if you can't even communicate well enough to agree on the social rules. That's why I maintain that things like racism are mostly a phantom compared to culturism. Everyone is a culturist out of necessity due first and foremost to language. Difference in culture is the main thing that fosters division. And culture at the end of a gun by way of government just fosters even more division. Cultural diversity just makes Towers of Babel. It's chaotic enough that we all have different personalities. Realistically, we need enough commonality in any given society so we can at least communicate clearly enough to agree on the rules. If you can understand the game you can get along without understanding the other players.

And, of course, the real game is true forgiveness. True forgiveness is about taking full responsibility for everything you perceive. The reward for taking on that responsibility is healing the mind and thus awakening. ACIM isn't about changing behavior and so it isn't about changing your personality anymore than it is about changing your skin color or height. Those things are all part of your class curriculum. Who you choose as your teacher, ego or Spirit, is what matters. Spirit has an antidote for all personality pathologies, which help facilitate the Characteristics of God's (advanced) Teachers (M-4).

So anyway, forgive when you see people trying to impose their own personalities on others and on things like ACIM. Just like voting, people worship their temperament. So you can find all kinds of formulations of ACIM that appeal to different temperaments. There is no universal personality only a universal experience.
"A teacher of God is anyone who chooses to be one. His qualifications consist solely in this; somehow, somewhere he has made a deliberate choice in which he did not see his interests as apart from someone else’s. Once he has done that, his road is established and his direction is sure." (M-1.1:1-3)
(Note that for those who have read book four in the Undreaming Chronicles, Forgiving the Human Robot, bio-survival relates to extroversion and neuroticism. Emotion relates to agreeableness. Intellect is related to IQ. And morality relates to conscientiousness and openness.)