24 August 2007

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Personality complexes + Job Offer

Two news items + essay

Dear friends,

This week we are discussing Personality Complexes.

I am sure most of us have to deal with complexes in other people and
maybe in us. But of course we know how to handle these situations, at
least in theory. Maybe you can find the time to come and tell us about
your ideas on personality complexes.

Kim and I are going to the encierro in San Sebastian de los Reys, but if
there is enough interest we can go during the night for the night festa.
Of course, you don't have to join us for the encierro. Please let me
know if you are interested.

In the meantime, Ian has brought the following job vacancy to my
attention. If you know any with the right background please pass them
the details:

TV Presenter (Madrid)
Listed by Roger Casas-Alatriste on July 30th.
Jobs - Television/Film | 1 views | Report
MobuzzTV, Madrid-based online television channel is seeking for female
TV Presenters.

Prior experience not as important as the passion in working of an online
television while having a for interest communicating and be part of a
new media experience.

The position is full-time and based in our main office in Madrid, Spain.


* Female
* 24-30 y/o
* Perfect (native) english / french / german
* Writing skills
* European citizenship
* The ability and passion to communicate
* Knowledge on blogs, online social networks, online video
* Strong willingness to contribute to a small team

Salary: €1.500 Month

Please send CV, photos or audiovisual material to: mailto:casting@mobuzz.com

Hours: Full-Time
This job is salaried.

See a video about it here:

An example of what they are after here:

take care and see you Sunday,


**********HOLIDAY FLATS**********
Mayte; Almería (Villa de Níjar);


Paloma; Marbella (near Elviria);


+++++++++MEETING DETAILS+++++++++
SUNDAY 6.00pm – 8.30pm at Molly Malone's Pub, probably downstairs----
-Email: philomadrid@yahoo.co.uk
-Yahoo group >> philomadridgroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk <
-Old essays: www.geocities.com/philomadrid
- Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com/
-Group photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/photosphilo
-My tel 606081813
-metro: Bilbao : buses: 21, 149, 147

Personality complexes

There is probably a thin line between personality complexes and
personality disorders. Our first objective would be to make sure that we
do not cross that thin line and cross into territory that is not within
our domain. The next thing to do would be to define and establish what
is a personality complexity and how it concerns us philosophically.

A personal disorder is something which ought to concern medical science
and hence outside our scope to find a solution for the problems not that
personality disorders do not have philosophical implications. Moreover,
a disorder might easily be because the brain is damaged or not
functioning properly for physiological reasons. On the other hand, I
would argue that a complexity is more due to psychological or emotional
causes rather than direct brain damage or malfunction. Of course, there
will always be a physical reductionist cause to a complexity but the big
difference is that I assume that someone with a complexity would still
have a normally functioning brain (all things being equal).

The most obvious philosophical issues relating to personality complexes
would involve ethics, philosophy of mind, including the nature and scope
of voluntary and involuntary actions, personal identity, social
interaction and communication. However, what is complexity in the
context of mental health is questionable. Consider this quotation from a
document published on the National Personality Disorder Website (NPDW)*:
Complexity is a word which is often used in literature and policy
relating to current mental health provision, but its legacy is from
concepts which are no longer acceptable and language which is today
regarded as discriminatory and pejorative.

We also do not want complexity to mean difficult or complicated which is
also a meaning hinted at in this document. In psychology the term
complexities was introduced by Jung and is generally accepted to mean
(Wikipedia: complexes (psychology)), "In psychology a complex is
generally an important group of unconscious associations, or a strong
unconscious impulse lying behind an individual otherwise mysterious
condition: the detail varies widely from theory to theory." Which is
much closer to how we use the words "personal complexes" in every day
life when we speak of a person having complexes.

The article on complexes in Wikipedia lists some familiar complexes plus
those discussed by Freud and Jung such as Oedipus complex by Freud and
the father complex by Jung. The popular complexes included in the
article are: God complex, Inferiority complex, Messianic complex,
Napoleon complex, Persecution complex, Superiority complex. Maybe these
complexes are popular and more familiar to us because they are more
common in the population. To this we can add the very real possibility
that talking about sex and sexual matters in the context of child/adult
relationship are still a taboo subjects. We might be familiar with the
Oedipus or Electra complexes, but they are hardly the subject of
conversation in polite society.

These familiar complexes might just be at the extreme end of the
spectrum. Maybe there are milder complexes which we do not recognise
them as such, maybe some of which come across as just irritations.
Others might even be camouflaged to represent acceptable normal
behaviour. For example, the belief by some bosses that working long
hours is best for business. Whatever the reasons for believing that
working long hours is good for business what matters is working
efficiently and effectively. There are many successful business and
managers who do not believe working long hours is the key to success.
However, working long hours is generally seen as a virtue and not an
inefficient use of time. However, some bosses still insist on long hours
without giving any evidence that it is the best strategy for the business.

In general these popular and familiar complexes seem to affect our
behaviour and relationships with others. Someone who has a pronounced
idea of superiority complex will certainly be a nuisance to those around
them. And by equal measure, someone who suffers from an inferiority
complex might fail to be an asset to their community or a benefit to
others simply because they lack self confidence. such a person, who
might contribute to the well being of a community, does not do their
fair share of community work to share with others. Compare this with
personality disorders which are a detriment to the sufferer first and
foremost and then maybe the community.

The ethics of complexes does seem to fall into these two general
categories, nuisance to others or lack of self confidence. Both
categories have ethical consequences as I already pointed out. If there
is nothing more annoying than someone with an acute god or superiority
complex, then there is nothing more unfortunate than an inferiority
complex. And such an inferiority complex need not be one of feeling less
competent than others, but also maybe to other factors. A napoleon
complex is based on being short, a complex about obesity, a complex
about one's family background (working class background for example) or
even a complex of inferiority one notices in some immigrants from third
world countries. At face value, it seems that these complexes are self
imposed and unjustified. A law abiding immigrant has nothing to feel
inferior about living in another country, a short person has nothing to
feel bad about their height; and if they do it is their fault or at the
very least their own doing. Maybe, but their must always be a reason why
someone would want to feel disadvantaged, or lack self-confidence.

The reason is simple, some of these self deprecating complexes are also
the result of how others treat us or behave in our company. Someone who
feels incompetent might have never been encouraged or praised for what
they did as a child, maybe someone who is conscious about their height
might have been rejected by prospective partners for this reason alone,
maybe an immigrant does experience endless discrimination. As the NPDW
points out, complexes are/were regarded as "discriminatory and
pejorative" or the result there of (my inference). after all, children
are supposed to be seen and not heard, Napoleon was taller than the
average French man in his time (see Napoleon Height; AskYahoo), fashion
designers and clothes shops only cater for wafer thin people, and some
countries do have a pronounced sense of superiority complex that can
make some people run for cover. In other words, although there might be
some self-imposed consequences for these negative complexes, they might
also have good cause to point at the real world and how those who live
there behave.

Ethically, it seems that personality complexes are indeed complex,
creating unique situations that cannot be generalised. Trying to avoid
someone because of their irritating complexes might be an accepted thing
to do, but discriminating against some because they have undesirable
person features (short, foreign, etc) is not acceptable. Yet, nature has
evolved us to avoid strangers and short might have signified weakness in
the distant evolutionary past. If, therefore, personality complexes are
at the very least ethically complex, could it be that they are also as
complex for scientific analysis. For example, can we extrapolate general
probabilistic truths based on very individual peculiarities? And
specifically about negative complexes (inferiority, persecution ...),
are they the result of the same cause in all people, and are they
relevant in degrees of justification to experience such complexes.

Personality complexes are also a sort of personal identity feature.
Maybe there is something endearing about the professor who always wears
the same jacket or hardly ever has a hair cut. Or maybe the mother who
does not buy green clothes for her children or venture out in the wind.
These are behaviours which although peculiar and maybe a bit irritating,
they are nevertheless harmless. What they certainly do, though, is that
they contribute to our uniqueness as individuals. These regular
behaviour traits help others establish strategies and ways of dealing
with us. If one of our professors has a particular complex about certain
questions it means that we have to adapt to this situation. If we do not
mind being told off, that is.

Who we are has a lot to do with how we behave. And although we might not
have any doubt about our personal self or identity, others might not be
privy to the same information we have about ourselves. Thus, who we are
in the public domain also depends on what we do in the public domain and
not only what we say. Our complexes show themselves in the public
domain. Which might be quite unfortunate sometimes, we might not think
our complexes are relevant for who we are, but others might think
differently. They might associate us purely on our complexes. Hence,
they might avoid us because of a complex which we might not think is
important, or realise we had. But if they gave us a chance we might be a
good asset in their life. My point is that that who we are and what
others think we are, are two different events. Personal complexes are
material factors in this duality of the public and private identity.

Which is where the issue of information comes in. our behaviour is
information to our observers and how this information is interpreted
depends on the background, experiences, and, dare I say it, the personal
complexes these very same observers have. In other words, personal
complexes are means of communication. If we accept this premise we can
imply that some complexes are aggressive communications and some are
defensive communications. I might be speculating of course, but this
argument surely leads to the conclusion that these are basic
evolutionary survival strategies. In which case, how much complex based
behaviour is voluntary and how much is done through evolutionary instinct.

Of course it is difficult to speculate how each given complex really
works in this evolutionary communication game. An aggressive complex,
such as superiority complex, might function on the principle that attack
is the best defence. But how does an inferiority complex or an obesity
complex work in the scheme of things? Maybe these defensive type of
complexes work by making us more conscious and more aware of the other
people around. If you like a defensive complex works like a super
sensitive radar. Which is quite appropriate since a defensive system
requires real time information about the situation around the perimeter
and sensitive to slight changes. Thus an immigrant with an inferiority
complex is more sensitive, I would argue, to the possibility of someone
they are with will be racist or discriminate against them. A shot person
would be more sensitive to people who might discriminate against them,
maybe because the others are all tall.

How this ties up with, for example, the professor who wears the same
jacket is very speculative. And it is not even clear that we are fully
aware of our own complexes; at least to the point of recognising them as
such, never mind giving them a name. However, what matters is that
complexes are quickly and more often effectively detected in us by
others before we do.

Take care,


*National Personality Disorder Website
Complexity Working Party Brief

from Lawrence, Pub Philosophy Group, Sunday meeting: Personality
complexes + Job Offer

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