Dump Vultures

How much of your personality is your intrinsic self? If y0u are braving against mere survival instincts, then against comfort, then in spite of these influences insisting on having your personal preference – are you then displaying true personality? It takes some comfort level before types will declare their independence and take a chance on their guns to see them through. Some types won’t be needy, will test fate even when they’ve got next to nothing to depend on. Others will need to be much more self-assured before they’re willing to risk (astrological Cancers, I’m thinking of you). Where do we draw the line between the effect of our environment and the effect of our soul’s urge to change our experience of our environment?

Where do you draw the line? I want to know as much as you do. I want to sleep at night, amidst both my dreams and my nightmares, knowing whether I’m being true to myself or giving in to impulses based on fear, even when I’m afraid. I want to know what I fear is being taken from me, so that I understand that fear better. So that I understand me better, so that I might become a stronger person in its wake (no pun intended – but not too shabby, eh?).

“True personality” might include an acceptance of childhood environment and adult environment into its calculation, but I have a hard time accepting this. If we were born and raised in our personal rendition of Utopia, and still there, among other Utopians, who would we be upon our choosing? Or better yet, if we could design it, what would “Utopia” be like?

On my route back from work I usually see many vultures circling over the dump. They are attracted by the scent of bacteria in the wind, their best chance of eating in the way they are designed. I want to believe that humans are more than that. When we are assured of our basic or “physiological needs”, our “safety needs”, and perhaps our “love and belonging needs”, according to Maslow, we seek to satisfy more personal desires. That’s where personality may shine brightest, for we are no longer burdened by the seriousness of our needs or the grasp it has on our minds. When we feel a sense of desperation or duty and we must stave off less immediate concerns in order to accomplish a basic level of security, making adjustments to our personality to do so, we are some other version of ourselves. Are we each one personality, or a set of personalities tailored according to the situations we find ourselves in?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Here’s an interesting version:

Murray’s Needs

One final question: Is a unique personality a total combination of all consistent traits in action or reaction to the fulfillment of needs, wearing a slightly different “mask” of the self as befitting the needs of the moment?

Watch Yourself Through a Johari Window

via Johari Window – take the test online

Above is a link to a site by Kevan Davis that allows you and your chosen friends to participate in the creation of a Johari Window all about you. On the same site, here’s the link for the “Nohari Window” – even better!


A Johari Window is a model of the self that can help people take a step closer to self-awareness. It is food for thought, but powerful enough to be its own buffet – it has the potential to bring up a cornucopia of questions, but will leave you starving to know more about yourself.

The “Window” is simply four panes, drawn simply as a square cut into fourths. Even Americans can do that for themselves.

The upper left pane is the “Arena”: the you that you see in yourself, and that others can see as well. Show-off.

The lower left pane is the “Facade”: the you that you see in yourself, but that others cannot see. You big fraud.

The upper right pane is the “Blind Spot”: the you that you are in denial of or cannot see, but others see clearly. (I think this is the one that worries me the most.)

The lower right pane is the “Unknown”: neither you or anyone else can see this part of you. How exciting! The you we never knew.

I said in my last post that personality tests should aspire to more than being a reflection of your opinion of yourself. You and I both know too many people with a skewed impression of themselves to take any stock in that. You might want to know what Kanye West scored on his test, but it’s not like it will change your opinion of him. If there were a way to allow others who know you well to contribute, the tests can be much more meaningful. Anything to protect you from handing your money over to Tony Robbins.

Though technically you could simply ask loved ones to take a personality test with you in mind, with how they see you, it’s not clean and easy (even worse than your facade to them muddies the results). I haven’t been introduced to a test that is designed for the input of others, save the one linked at the top of the post. (I don’t know so much yet, so I’m hoping I get to edit this post when (if) I find one.) (I want you to pay for your crimes.)