Personality and Personal Growth
Dr. V. George Mathew, Ph.D.
The personality of an individual can be
described in terms of how much Inertia (Thamas), Activation
(Rajas) and Stability (Sathwa) he has. Inertia
is uncontrolled inactivity and social withdrawal.
Activation is compulsive over-activity both physical and
social. Stability is freedom and flexibility.
A stable person can act or not act, be in the midst of
people or be alone as he chooses or as the situation
demands. The personality of an individual is the result of a
large number of causative factors. Heredity is cumulative
ancestral experience over past generations of the
individual. Climate influences personality. Hot
climate produces Inertia, Cold climate induces Activation and a
moderate climate favors Stability. Food also
influences temperament. Too much of cereals tends to
increase Inertia, hot, spicy, non-vegetarian food produces
Activation and raw food (fruits and vegetables) is conducive for
Stability. Temperament is contagious. You tend to
develop the characteristics of people with whom you
associate. The way a child is reared at
home influences his personality. The socio-political system
also influences personality. Social
oppression and oppressive forms of government and the
laissez-faire situation, lawlessness, etc. induce Inertia
in people. People tend to have Activated temperament in
highly competitive societies. Real democracy and the type
of economic system which may be called benevolent market economy
favors the development of Stability.
Self-realization is the result of pure
Stability. Stability increases when the other
two components of personality, namely Inertia and Activation
decrease. Pure Stability leads to Transcendence. A whole
lot of confusion has arisen as a result of not differentiating
between people with different types of personality while
prescribing practices for self-realization. What practice
is best for person depends on his personality. People with
high Inertia have to take up a practice to decrease their
Inertia, while people with a high degree of Activation have to
attempt to decrease their Activation.
People with high Inertia have to practice
morality. They must learn to be punctual,
meticulously keep their word, be honest and truthful, etc.
People with high Inertia generally are group dependent and
therefore they must gradually learn to develop autonomy by moving
away from their social support group by travelling, being alone,
etc. A person with high Inertia can develop Stability
without necessarily developing Activation.
Individuals with high Activation should develop
the habit of channellising their
energy into altruistic channels. They should practice
social service. They should get rid of their dogmatism and
narrow group identifications by serving groups of people other
than their own, learn religious philosophies other than their
Practice of awareness and mediation are
effective depending on the degree of
Stability a person already has. Mediation will be very
effective for a person with at least a moderate amount of
Stability. A very high degree of Stability makes meditation
superfluous. Only pratice of awareness is required.
Ultimately, Stability is freedom from
fear. When fear leads to withdrawal
and inhibition, it is expressed as Inertia and when the same fear
is manifested as compensatory aggression and self-aggrandizement,
it becomes Activation. Pure Stability is absolute courage
and freedom from conditionalities and dependencies.
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