Split Personality – Several Role as one – Part 2


Personality is individuality, is a character, is a destiny of a being as center of among all other creatures; ‘’Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of high courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal condition of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom for self-determination.”

There are three distinct meanings for the term “personality,” two of them general and popular and the third technical and philosophical. The first and most general meaning is that personality is the sum of the characteristics, which make up physical and mental being. These include appearance, manners, habits, tastes and moral character. The second meaning emphasizes the characteristics that distinguish one person from another. The two meanings overlap or merge into each other, as the first considers all characteristics pertaining to the individual, without comparing him with others, while the second sees the same facts in relation to the outside world and fixes attention mainly upon the features that distinguish the subject from his fellows. This second meaning is equivalent to individuality. It represents a widely prevalent conception of the term.

But the third meaning is the most important, and is the only conception of any value to the psychic researcher and the philosopher or psychologist. This conception of personality is concerned only with mental characteristics; it makes no distinction between common and specific marks. In fact it connotes mental processes rather than fixed qualities. The capacity for having mental states, or the fact of having them, constitutes personality for the psychologist and the philosopher. Personality is thus the stream of consciousness, regardless of the question whether any special state is constant or casual, essential or unessential. Physical marks will have no place in this conception, unless they may serve as symbols of mental states. It abstracts from them and denotes only the stream of mental phenomena.

This third meaning is so radically different from the other two that it gives rise to perpetual misunderstandings between the philosopher and the public. These misunderstandings arise particularly in the discussion of survival after death. The layman with his conception of personality looks for physical phenomena of some kind to illustrate or prove it. Consequently, if interested in psychic phenomena at all, he prefers materialization, which best satisfies his conception of personality. He cannot take the point of view of the psychologist or the philosopher, who neglects these purely sensory characteristics, and fixes his attention on mental states as the proper conception of the personality, which may survive.

Materialization would supply the very characteristics, which the layman fixes upon to represent personality. But precisely the fact that mental states are not presented to sense, leads the philosopher to conceive of immortality as possible.

If the layman’s conception were correct the philosopher and psychologist would deny the possibility of survival with entire confidence, as a necessary implication of bodily dissolution. The day could be saved only by the doctrine of a “spiritual body,” an It astral body,” or an “ethereal organism,” supposedly a replica of the physical organism in its spatial and other characteristics. These represent personality after the manner or analogy of the physical body. The real spirit may indeed have a transcendental bodily form; but the stream of consciousness remains the same whether there is any “spiritual body” or “ethereal organism” or not.

This is the fundamental element in all conceptions of spiritual reality. It is not necessary to decide the question of a “spiritual body” or “ethereal organism” as the condition of believing in the existence of spirits. That is another and perhaps a secondary problem. What we need to know is, whether the stream of consciousness survives, whether the personal memory continues, not how it continues. The fact of survival is to be considered first and the condition of it afterwards.

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