James Theory of Personality
James Theory of Personality
William James is universally credited as one of the most contributive American psychologists. His major academic contribution to the development of the psychological studies is that he intuitively combined elements of psychology, philosophy, and religious studies. He was among the pioneers, who considered that the societal and biological elements of the Self combined together are the determinants of our ego. Namely, our Ego should be analyzed through our biological, material, social, and spiritual selves (Frager & Fadiman, 2012). However persuasive and legitimate the theory may seem to be, it has its strong and objectionable elements simultaneously.
I believe that Professor Jamess greatest contribution is his analysis of our self-esteem process. In fact, a typical person is happy, when his/her self-seeking and self-estimation feedbacks are matched. That is one the strongest elements of his theoretical framework. Moreover, his theory is further potentiated by his affirmation that a typical person always compares and contrasts his/her self-image and his/her ideal self. Consequently, the bigger discrepancies between theses selves are, the more negative impact on the self-esteem of a particular individual is inflicted (Frager & Fadiman, 2012). Practically, it can be exemplified on the number of suicides among the top executives amidst the 1930 crisis. The assumptions of James were fully confirmed.
However, his theoretical paradigm has not been perfected completely. Most importantly, it is lopsided in the way the author explores the social constituent of the theory. It is known that the biggest part of his research has been conducted in the laboratory and was based on his personal experience and observations. The self-seeking v. self-estimation dichotomy has been developed theoretically, but not supported experimentally. Besides, it is necessary to accentuate that his potentiated theory is not completely bias-free. The author has several times considered suicide, because of the social estrangement sentiments. In his subsequent works, the society is depicted as the most important determinant of the ego. Therefore, especially in the light of the insufficient probative studies in this regard, his theory should be interpreted as partially personalized.
My personal experience suggests that the theory of Professor James is indeed valid. My firm opinion in this regard is that the focus is to be made on the analysis of self-seeking and self-estimation elements of the self, and to parse the way they are reflected in the material, social, and spiritual paradigms of our daily life. Both I and Me components are inherent to this classification.
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Naturally, when we plan our career endeavors, decide to attend the gym or exercise our religious needs, we practically formulate our self-seeking process. As determined by the studies of Prof. James, our self-seeking process or other goals are of material, social, and spiritual natures. Materially, the mankind in general and I, in particular, always determine what our appearance is expected to be (the so-called bodily appetite), what partner should we have (what qualities and traits should follow, what has to be possessed; some people, who are innately or genetically predisposed to polygamy even convert to Islam in order to satisfy their material ego), what our proprietary priorities are (in other words, what career field should we pursue and how much time and energy we should devote to it, how ready and dedicated we are to achieve some material goods). Spiritually, all people are determined to evolve into the intellectually capable members of the society and to formulate their innate and sincere religious aspirations. Although this approach is sometimes criticized by the opponents of this theory, whose main argument is that atheists do not possess the spiritual constituent and, therefore, the theory lacks probative evidence probative evidence, these findings are nevertheless legitimate. Personally, I had a series of conversations with those, who vigorously denounce the existence of the Lord, and found out that this approach is nothing, but their spiritual element of the self-seeking process. In other words, the negation of Gods existence is their sincere spiritual self-seeking protests, since they are oriented at establishing that everything has developed scientifically and evolutionally.
Practically, when I entered the high school, I have formulated specific goals and objectives for myself, which constituted my material appetite. Upon the completion of this stage of my development as an individual and as a member of the community, I summarized my results and analyzed whether my self-seeking matched my self-estimation. Being totally gratified with the results, my self-esteem was enhanced. For my peers, who performed poorly academically, the findings were totally reverse. The majority of them suffered long-term depression, while some individuals were even observed and diagnosed medically.
Moreover, the validity and academic soundness of the James theory is proven by the contemporary matrimonial practice. Having conducted a number of conversations with my friends and colleagues, I inferred a series of supportive evidences. Firstly, the partners in a typical matrimony usually expect that their spouse would have specific characteristics. These requirements vary individually, geographically, and genetically. For some wives steady income and social status of their husband is a priority, while for others charisma and personal attractiveness are the determinants. During the period of courtship, we all innately and intuitively try to demonstrate that we indeed possess those characteristics. However, if we fail to demonstrate them further, the marriage is automatically on the verge of the collapse. The divorce court practice of the United States demonstrates that 89% of the marriage denunciation reasons, irrespective of the fact, who initiated the divorce, can be generalized as inability to match the expectations. My firm opinion is that these findings fully corroborate the legitimacy and relevance of James theory, irrespective of the strong critical opinion.
Overall, my viewpoint is that although Prof. James failed to conduct sufficient experimental studies personally, our daily life completely confirms his assumptions.