- An attempt is found in ancient literature to describe personality by invoking an indigenous construct, the Probabilistic Orientation. A poet by the name of Kanian Poonkundranar, who lived in Tamil Nadu during 4000 BC, has rendered an account of this description in his poem and the poem is found included in an anthology of four hundred poems in Tamil titled Purananooru (Four Hundred Poems on Non-Subjective Aspects of Life).
- The construct used to differentiate people in their personality is labelled, for want of a better term, the probabilistic orientation. The term connotes a set of beliefs and convictions regarding the probable nature of events. The probability characteristics of events owe their origin to an ever evolving Nature which is set in evolution. The reality one can experience is of a transient fleet of events unfolding themselves as programmed by the evolutionary nature of Nature. Evolution determines the probability distribution of events through stochastic principles.
- An individual has neither absolute freedom nor is bound by an holistic bondage. A dynamic friction is exerted by forces within and forces without in every action of men. Individual efforts can motivate one’s action. But, the limitation of its effect is determined by the probability of success stemming from the stochastic process governing the forces involved in the action.
- Poetic expression of the construct: Given the perspective just above described, an individual is bound to develop in himself a set of behavioural consequences which shapes the perspectives that ultimately lead to the typical orientation of his personality. The poem attempts to present this orientation as follows:
All places are my abodes dear,
And every one is my kith and kin;
Good and bad are caused by none,
Sickness and convalescence are just but natural;
Nothing is new in death,
Rejoice life as sweet we do not,
Nor despise it as sour;
Convinced are we through the serene vision of the seers,
Along with lightening pour down cold drops;
The Mighty river rolls down the stone
Into pebbles with constant noise, lo!
The Boat sails in the river.
Likewise precious life has it’s course
In the course of Nature.
Hence, We do not wonder at the great
Nor look down upon the small.
(The probabilistic orientation of personality by S.Narayanan and N. Annalakshmi)
But on the subject of personality my favourite and much deep in thinking is the following from Rabindranath Tagore's book Personality published in 1917.
- We are face to face with this great world and our relations to it are manifold. One of these is the necessity we have to live, to till the soil, to gather food, to clothe ourselves, to get materials from nature. And we are always making things that will satisfy our need, and we come in touch with Nature in our efforts to meet these needs. We are always in touch with this great world through hunger and thirst and all our physical needs.
- Then we have our mind; and mind seeks its own food. Mind has its necessity also. It must find out reason in things. It is faced with a multiplicity of facts, and is bewildered when it cannot find one unifying principle which simplifies the heterogeneity of things. Man's constitution is such that he must not only find facts, but also some laws which will lighten the burden of mere number and quantity.
- There is yet another man in me, not the physical, but the personal man; which has its likes and dislikes, and wants to find something to fulfil its needs of love. This personal man is found in the region where we are free from all necessity, — above the needs, both of body and mind, — above the expedient and useful. It is the highest in man, — this personal man. And it has personal relations of its own with the great world, and comes to it for something to satisfy personality.
- The world of science is not a world of reality, it is an abstract world of force. We can use it by the help of our intellect but cannot realize it by the help of our personality. It is like a swarm of mechanics who, though producing things for ourselves as personal beings, are mere shadows to us.
- But there is another world which is real to us. We see it, feel it; we deal with it with all our emotions. Its mystery is endless because we cannot analyze it or measure it. We can but say, " Here you are."