Is there such a thing as human personality? The usual answer is that of course there is such a thing, and it is easy to define. After all, everyone is nice or nasty, looks and acts a certain way and has certain goals, habits and oddities. There are “disturbed personalities” due to circumstances or heredity; come to think of it, “normal” personalities are also formed by circumstances and heredity, are they not? Personality is thus defined as man’s behavior and as the function of circumstances and heredity.
Yet deeper reflection is not satisfied with this answer Men are creative, producing things of beauty or utility undreamed of before. Human creativity transcends and hence cannot be explained by circumstances and heredity. Man always sets up rules of what shall count as right and wrong in human relations; neither circumstances nor heredity can account for this moral faculty in man, at most for variations in the rules themselves. Man has at MI times and places shown spirituality, that is, a sense of worship, awe, fear and longing for some spiritual power higher than himself. Again, circumstances and heredity cannot account for this spiritual dimension of man. The question also arises how man can at one and the same time be an individual with a unique personality of his own, and also live in unity with his fellow men. How is it that man can speak as no other creature can? Why is man in fact the ruler of the rest of creation whether he wills or not? What, in short, is the origin of human personality?….
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