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  • Writer's pictureMichael Holme

The character / personality continuum

Updated: May 2

There isn't a character / personality continuum as such. Anything that way would need to be rather nebulous around its edges. Truthfulness over deception, or humility before conceit, are strictly diametric. In fact, both those examples form part of the more complex former one, which I think is useful to look at.

One of the initial mentions in my "I am" book, is its reminder of D. H. Lawrence's character Mr Morel. The point made was that life involved very few options at that time, early 1900s, whereas choices are uncountable now.

It is no wonder in the modern era that personality has become a monster that leads to a societally acceptable, and even encouraged, dishonesty. It is used as a weapon of social competition and progression. As people reach middle age and onwards, candour has more chance of mocking the externals of personality, albeit, and ironically, after many exploitations of younger affected people have been made by the machine that is popular culture.

It's also no wonder that neurotic illnesses such as anxiety and depression, are prevalent in young people, because the pursuit of reality or a more genuine life, is a very lonely and self-isolating one, requiring great strength, as opposed to the highly default paths of least resistance, that "off the shelf" routes allow. Strength and lack of it, is another dichotomy that overlaps the one in the title of this piece.

My own poem, Sonnet #7 - "A conceptual verse", from 2017, states "Good character beats personality". I shared it at an open-mic event when I was about 50. An older man I respect, said "if only it did". I was disappointed. I wanted character to prevail, and more to the point, in the developed world. This has so many fundamentally important repercussions. It even overlaps with my oft quoted taking of the red Matrix film pill, over the blue one, or a proverbial removal of wool from our eyes, and is the route to social confidence amongst pretenders. It's another expression of an Exit from Hell !

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