The mind I think finds no rest till it has identified, classified and named a thing or a phenomenon. Until the mind has accepted conditions as having clearly defined causes and effects, it has little peace.
For us to survive, we have mastered many sciences, trying to understand the world and its occupants. Of great interest to me is psychology, this quest to understand human behaviour. What fuels humans? What makes up their psyches? Can we predict human behaviour and use this in organising a society?
We have had many great thinkers with deep insight. Prodigious works; from Galen’s classifications of human types into Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic to Freud’s interpretations of the Libido, to Adler’s ‘’will to power’’, to Jung’s Introverted and Extraverted types, to the wisdom of the old women who have seen life in its nakedness, who look into a man’s eyes and can hear the whisperings of his soul, to the novelist who veil penetrating truths in tales.
These masters have done so much work that if a generation decides to sleep, the effects might not be so catastrophic. As an independent mind, who pledges no allegiance to any school of thought, I imagine what would have happened if all these masters had been brought together, locked in a building, not permitted to leave till they had all agreed on what truth should be. But contrasts are what give life meaning and the differences in their understanding have varying shades of potent truths.
I think human behaviour is like a chameleon’s colour, our goals and ambitions are the environments that determine who we are at a point in time. One is who he is because of what he is becoming. A person’s behaviour and responses to life are task oriented.
A gentle, godly woman will kill her husband to protect her children if she defines it as a necessary and doable task. I have seen very quiet shy boys who on taking religion become confident, outspoken men, charging up crowds. Shy unharmful teenagers who on joining terrorist groups find a voice and can face anything. Everyday people become killers to protect their families and fatherland. Charismatic leaders sway the emotions of millions and have them do their bidding? Women become outspoken and tough to survive environments dominated by testosterone. Boisterous, outgoing men who after being ruined by adversity become quiet and humble. Religious people who hit crazy money and become regulars at strip clubs.
We misread people and it costs us opportunities in business and life. On interacting at length with people instead of trying to base our assumptions on their intrinsic natures, we can try understanding what they yearn for in life; see them from their present positions in life, the things they lack. On the other hand, isn’t the oak tree is in the oak seed? The genes of one’s parents singing songs in one’s mental space, the creativity of the artist being determined by her constitution, the murderer having a particular mental makeup. Humans are full of surprises, but sometimes we know who we are dealing with.
I conclude by saying I don’t know myself, I don’t know my good friends, brothers or sisters. We are something or somebody momentarily to achieve our ends, but also what is planted in us from nature and nurture will constantly play pronounced roles in being.