Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our characters

There are many schools of analysis in dissecting human characters. I’m no expert and doesn’t necessary buy 100% of any school of thought. However, there is one quite simple theory that I learnt in high school from a catholic priest that I found very interesting and insightful that I want to bring up here. Just wanna share with whoever interested. In fact, this theory should have a name and must be come up by someone, but I don’t remember what it is, so I can’t provide that here. However, if anyone happens to know, please leave a comment.

The theory is that human character can be grouped under one of the following 4 mutually exclusive categories:

1. I know, and they know.
2. I know, but they don’t know.
3. I don’t know, but they know.
4. I don’t know, neither do they.

The ‘they’ here means anyone except mine.

I know and they know – This share of characters is the usually the largest among all. In fact, the ‘character’ here does also apply to information as well. For example, I like music and I tell people what music I like. Or, visitors can see the music collection I had if they know me, or simply visit my blog or else. Then, my hobby/interest is disclosed to the public. In terms of character, if I am an optimistic person, I would encourage people when they are down, and look at the bright side myself when I’ve problem. As this behavior will be shown and made to be known, so it becomes part of public profile about myself that everybody knows.

I know, but they don’t know – This is easy to understand. It is about those things so-called personal secret. Of course, I’m not gonna talk about mine here. Cos, once I disclose it, it will automatically become ‘I know and they know’. Things that belong to this category are mostly about thoughts in your brain¸ or activity that are secretly done. One thing I wanna point out is that. Secrets here are those only known by oneself. If there is a secret between you and your spouse, there is still not ‘secret’ enough to fit in this category, unless he/she passes away without leaving any trace of record about ‘our’ secret. Cos, even if he/she promises not to talk about it, only God knows someday he/she may tell someone about that. Also, this category doesn’t only include those ‘top secret’ serious stuffs, something very simple would fit this category as well. For example, if I’ve a fantasy of having certain superpowers and I’ve never told anyone about that, this fantasy fits to this category as well.

I don’t know, but they know – when I first heard of this category, I was very surprised of its existence. How can there be something about me that other people know but I don’t? However, it does exist. Similar to the category above, once I know it either because I was told by the others or I realize it myself somehow as I get to know myself better, it will become a ‘I know, and they know’ item. For example, when I was young (I mean really young), I thought I was a very patient person comparing to most people. However, in fact, I wasn’t patient at all, I could not stand still while waiting in line and always try to look over the shoulders of the person in front of me to see if he/she was about to finish of what he/she was doing? Also, I always held the exact amount in my hand already while I was waiting to pay for my purchase, cos I didn’t wanna waste time to open wallet to sort out dollar notes and coins at the counter. Similarly, I liked to cut short of what other people’s words while they were talking to me, cos I thought I already knew what they were gonna say just based on what they had already said. All these behavior showed that I was not a patient person, but I didn’t realize it until others told me that I was very impatient in many things and told me of the incidents above. As a side track thing, just get me knowing myself better does not necessary make me to change…

I don’t know, neither do they – this category had been a mystery to me until I was told of an example. Certainly, hopefully that is not gonna happen to me. That example was that a person who was well known (including herself) to be a very pro-life person, suddenly kill someone out of an impulse. Then, everyone including herself was surprised by her action. That’s a result of her shadow/hidden character of a person that she didn’t know that exists within her. Usually, this category of characters is either something very good or very bad, dramatic for sure, also the size of this share of category is also unknown as well.

Not sure if the above breakdown of characters would provoke any thought on readers, I just wanna blog it as trivial lesson that I learnt when I was young to share with anyone interested.

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