Completing the Personality Theory Journey
At the end of Chapter 1 you were given an exercise to explore who you think you are, and whether other people see you as you see yourself. In the various chapters of this book, you have been introduced to many different ways of viewing personality and its development. You have probably been able to see elements of each major perspective in your own personality, which can make it difficult to think of one theory as being the right one. In these final chapters, you have been introduced to mystical approaches that suggest that there is no real personality or ego; it is an illusion, which separates us from the reality that we have within us an essence of divinity, a soul if you will. In order to help us realize our soul, and to be one with the divine reality, these mystical approaches suggest paths for personal development designed to help be at peace with who we are, and with our place in the universe.
So, have you ever contemplated, or have you practiced, actively developing your personality in a way that will lead to contentment in your life and peaceful, friendly relationships with other people? If you have, was your religious faith an essential element, and do you think that such a “spiritual” approach can also be effective if done “humanistically” by people who are atheists? And now the big question: Do you believe this topic belongs in the field of psychology, or should it only be considered by theologians and philosophers?
As before, there is no right or wrong answer to this last question. The mystics emphasized that the divine is divine, and the physical world is the world in which we live. Sometimes the two come together without conflict, but other times the conflict that arises from religious/political differences leads to terrible tragedies. Consider this: you have not completed your personality journey, despite the title of this section. Your life continues, your education continues, and you have significant control over the direction that both of those endeavors follow. How does that make you and your classmates feel?