Technically, temperament is the behavior pattern each of us is born with--our basic individual nature; personality is what it becomes after nurturing by family and society. This page explores the personality road-map with two anecdotes that remind us how closely we are related to other species in Nature. We differ from chimpanzees by about one percent in our gene complement. Yes, each species has about the same number. Each species has a Y chromosome that descends only through male offspring, and mitochondria that descend only through female offspring.
Humans have upwards of a two-dozen identifiable personality traits. However, it makes good sense to simplify their descriptions; that has been done in various ways. Many psychologists have come to the following organization:
- Altruism (Energizes Herding Instinct)
- Cooperation (Herding Instinct)
- Honesty (Builds Trust)
- Sympathy (Empathy Fits Better On This Site)
- Trust (Arises From Honesty)
- Assertiveness (Fierceness)
- Energy (Energizes Fierceness)
- Enthusiasm (Aids and abets the above)
- Excitement Seeking
- Outgoing (Enhances Herding Instinct)
- Sociability (Enhances Herding Instinct)
- Anxiety (Negative driver Toward Herding)
- Consciousness (Comprises the Ego, or Self)
- Conscientiousness (Enhances survival)
- Achievement, Striving
- Self Discipline
- Sense of Duty
- Openness (Indispensable to Progressive Society)
- Artistic Ability
- Breadth of Interest
Saints, sinners, war presidents, and doves all share these traits. Agreeableness, carefulness, extroversion and neuroticism in particular seem to be shared with our animal friends.
And how about Binta Jua, the lowland gorilla in the Chicago zoo that saved a 3-year old child who fell 18 feet into her habitat? Is that not akin to a sense of responsibility--for another species yet? And if you believe that curiosity and imagination might have something to do with tool using, then we must include the chimpanzees and many birds in the list of nature's species exhibiting traits in the cluster we call openness. Further, most females and many males of thousands of species show true altruism in caring for their young. Some of these things are hard-wired into our genes.
Our point in these illustrations is to illustrate how much humanity is a product of nature. We embody what many other species had already evolved for our use and misuse when we came along. See Human History and Natural History for more on this important issue.
Posted by RoadToPeace on Wednesday, August 03, 2005.