Let me start my discussion about my preferences by beginning with the first category Free Will/Determinism: Do we consciously direct our own actions, or do other forces govern them? I rate myself a C here. I believe there are things we can control and there are things that we cannot control. It is the 9/11 week and I cannot help but say that the people whose lives changed because of that event will be inclined towards choosing determinism.
If I answered this question without thinking about 9/11 I might have gone more towards Free Will, but as it turns out, I have an event in mind that tells me there are many things in life that we cannot control. I believe in Free Will and I like to have control in life and over the things I want to do, on a small scale, we can control almost everything, but other forces usually determine the life changers.
The next category is Nature/Nurture: Are we influenced more by heredity or by our environment. I have rated myself C again. I feel that my family and my genes have contributed hugely to whom I am. The environment that I was brought up in also influences me. My friends and the people I met during the course of my life have influenced the way I think. I feel that there is a basic set of thoughts, ideas, interests, skills that we get when we are born, and our bringing up and our environment adds to our thoughts and opinions.
There are certain people in life who change the way we think and they are usually parents, friends, and teachers. I believe that there are three ways to learn new things by meeting new people, by reading and by traveling. I honestly do not know of any other way to learn and that is why I believe that we get a certain structure or DNA and importantly our skills but we add to this by meeting people, reading and traveling.
Coming to the third category Past/Present: Is our personality fixed by early events in our lives, or can it affected by experiences in adulthood? Yet again, I have rated myself C. Now I feel defensive, but the fact is I truly feel torn once again. What happened in my childhood certainly affects me in how I react; some reasons I know, some I do not. However, at times when I am lost for how I reacted in a certain way I look back at my childhood and I try to relate things. Our adulthood changes our outlook, or rather our experiences change the way we react and this is why I say that we are influenced both by the events early in our life and by events that take place in our adulthood.
The fourth category is Uniqueness/Universality: Is the personality of each human being unique, or are there broad personality patterns that fit large numbers of persons? Here I have rated myself at B. I feel people are unique. There are patterns and there are so many tests and so many theories that try to put us in box A vs. box B; but I believe that we humans are unique in nature and less of the types that can be boxed. There are words to describe behaviors, attitudes, reactions, but they are a part of our vocabulary. A person cannot be one word. He is different in different situations and that is why I feel that people are unique.
If my reaction is 1 in situation A and 2 in situation B, then I agree that there will be people who will have the same reactions for these 2 situations; however, if the list was 10 situations long, then I contend that there will be very few people who will belong to one group. We are all different in different situations and we are different because of differing opinions, bringing up and my favorite ways of learning and what we were exposed to since our childhood. If we are to consider the second and the third category, we will see the reasons why people are different, or rather unique.
The fourth category is Equilibrium/Growth: Are we motivated simply to maintain a physiological balance or state of equilibrium, or does the urge to grow and develop shape our behavior? I believe we all want to grow and develop ourselves. I have rated myself D here. There are areas in our life that motivate us and there are others that we just go about doing. Some people are motivated about their careers and we can see them work a hundred hours a week, while there are others who prefer a 9-5 job and like to work a 40-hour week.
No, I am not saying that those who work 40 hours and do not want to stretch for any reason what so ever are happy in status quo, what I am saying is that their job may not be motivating them the way it motivates a person who is willing to work a hundred hours a week. What I am also saying is that the person who works 40 hours probably wants to grow in other areas in life, and develop him or herself. How often have we seen people who are interested in other things like art, science, reading or gaming! The fact is that we all want to develop ourselves, the only question is what is our area of motivation and development?
The final category is Optimism/Pessimism: Are we basically good or evil? I have raged myself B here. I believe that I am good and I want to do good. I want to give and add to the world. We take so much that we do not even count, every ounce of water that we take from this earth is something we take and never think about. It is the mot natural thing to do and yet I say that we are all good and want to add positively to life and the world around us.
Dont we want to help a pregnant woman? Dont we want to help an old couple cross the street? We may not always do such simple acts, but the fact is that when we miss doing them, they come back and haunt us we tell ourselves, I was in a hurry. We make an excuse. We do not put our thoughts into action, but the core is all good, the core is clean, and pious.