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Personality Dimensions / Dialogue Alignment

Last updated on December 24, 2016

There has been quite a lot of blame put on the notion of ‘fake news’ during the recent Hillary-Trump election but it is quite clear that what divides us is not facts but how we feel about the facts.

We cannot hope to have a dialogue between a right-wing ‘Trump-Supporter’ and a more centrist/left-wing ‘Hillary-Supporter’ if we disregard their feelings and their moral points of view. 

A thought experiment to illustrate this: Show both parties statistics of poverty in America and the expected comment from the right might be that the people need to work harder and government needs to get out of the way to let business grow so they can create more jobs. The comment from the left side of the spectrum could be expected to suggest further government involvement to help the poor get the support ‘they need’ to get back on their feet. 

This simple thought experiment illustrates that it’s not the facts/statistics/data which divides, it is the moral compass of the parties as to how they feel it should be dealt with. 

My proposal is that we develop a personality gamut where people can indicate where they feel they belong and when they then are in dialogue with someone else they can more easily see where they differ and where there are overlaps. There is nothing new in assigning dimensions to personalities, but it may prove to he helpful for people to be actively involved in putting themselves on ‘the spectrum’ and to see where others fit, to more naturally understand how they relate.

It is clear that designing such a model for personality dimensions will need involvement from people who themselves differ in personality traits otherwise we will get into the classic issue of academics designing it but leaving business and military personalities either out of the spectrum or classifying them as inherently being on a ‘bad’ side and the academic being where these other personalities should aspire to move towards. And vice versa. 

Imagine if we could actually get to grips with a few essential personality traits and find a way to illustrate them visually, maybe with a spider graph. 

A full description of someone’s personality would neither be necessary, possible or useful however. The personality traits should probably be assigned along axis based on the question: “To solve a problem, indicate what you feel is important:”

More government involvement  <———>  Less government involvement

More about gut-feeling  <———>  More about intellect and rationalism

Self Reliance  <———>  Community Involvement

Please comment on this list (a VERY rough start!) and suggest models to use. :-)

Published inPhDThoughts

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