This Q&A webpage covers the most common questions, objections and misunderstandings. Click on any Comment or post other questions below.to see its Answer.
Q.1: What do these do?
A: The defines a person’s general approach to interpersonal or social life, and also the handling of any specific interaction in which self-interest is at stake.
Q.2: How many can you have?
A: The various contain distinctive and contradictory values and injunctions; they do not support each other. However, it is possible and desirable to have at least two, as explained in the next section. It is still the case that one is primary and that only one dominates in any particular interaction at any time. This is a matter of observation, not theory.
Q.3: What does it mean to say I «have» a ?
A: It would be more correct to say that the has you, because it shapes your thoughts and activities. It is even more accurate to say that you are identified with a .
Q.4: What does it mean to say I «identify with» a mentality?
A: It means that your seems to you to be the natural and inevitable way of dealing with the world. You probably operate it in an automatic and possibly unreflective way. It characterizes your life and you believe it is essential for success. You tend to assume (or wish or expect) that everyone thinks the same way as you do. You probably associate with others who think in the same way and avoid those with alien . (There will be much more to say on dealing with others as this Framework is more deeply explored.)
Q.5: These types are far too extreme. Isn't it possible to be powerful without being sexually depraved, to care for your children without being racist, to believe in a good cause and not be a fanatic?
A: Of course. But you mix up having a particular trait or quality with having a mentality-identity. Many extremely powerful people are not -centred. Many supporters of causes are not -centred. Many caring parents are not -centred. Also, many factors such as personality traits, social conventions and practical circumstances affect the manifestation of your .
Q.6: Doesn't everybody use elements of several or even all ?
A: Using an element and identifying with the are two different things. All have a contribution to make if you wish to prosper. (You will see how that happens in the later Frameworks derived from this set of seven .) Most people find the use of two most natural as explained here.
Q.7: If all are so valuable, why do we stick with just one or two?
A: It is a matter of what is logically and psychologically possible. There is also another factor: most people find it personally gratifying, and rewarding in practice, when they reinforce and reaffirm their preferred .
Nothing is less successful than a half-hearted approach to survival and success. The need to be totally committed and get the benefits that flow from a particularleads to an intense internal focus on it, which drives out competitors. So tend to exist in extreme forms and are stoutly defended.
: Can you adapt your to the situation or the of the other party?
A: If you are self-aware, you can handle other people according to their . That does not mean that you abandon your own or truly adopt their . It means that you add a dash of realism into your interaction rather than seeking to impose your own . You may find that you feel uncomfortable, awkward or even fearful when you use an uncongenial approach. Guidance from someone you trust can help here.
: Does this mean that we react negatively to others based on their ?
A: Yes. You may find that you feel contempt or abhorrence for the approach of the other person. It seems natural to do so: e.g. centred people tend to look down on individuals who value reason highly; centred individuals tend to sacrifice family life for their ideals; and so on.
Q.10: Some of the don't make sense to me: how can I deal with that?
A: Yes: that is a natural initial reaction. But think more deeply: the issue is not whether an approach makes sense to you, but whether it makes sense to those who identify with it. Their concern is identical to yours: how to perceive reality and how to act on those perceptions to benefit themselves. To the adherent, the appears to describe reality and clarifies what is absolutely essential if they are to survive and thrive. Criticisms, dismissal or moralizing by others carry no weight.
: Yet some surely reflect a poor morality?
A: It is true that certain are weak on self-development and so tend to release aggression and show less concern for morality, while others can be intensely moralistic and disapprove of naked aggression. Yet all are found in any society and all seem to reflect ineradicable elements of human nature.
Q.12: centred types who lie and cheat seem like crooks to me. Isn't that what they are?
A: OK: but why stop there? You might say the centred types are cranks, the centred types are poseurs, the centred types are dreamers, the centred types are bleeding hearts, the centred types are fat-cats, and the centred types are primitives.
In all cases, a combination of personal standards, intelligence and social skills will determine whether or not you attract the pejorative label. It can be remarkably difficult, for example, to notice and keep in focus the regular lying and cheating of a sophisticatedcentred person who has reached a respected position in society.
Q.13: Can you ignore that you dislike?
A: Yes, but that would put you at a disadvantage in life. People who are different from you exist, and they will impact you one way or another. The better you understand them, the better you can respond. In any case, there is something to learn from each.
Q.14: Why not abolish or criminalize objectionable approaches?
A: Apart from disagreements about which should be abolished, abolition has been tried and found impractical or impossible. All governments criminalize the abuse of power—although the effect on politicians, at least, seems minimal. Governments can also use laws and brute force to suppress the manifestation of other (e.g. by burning books, breaking up families, or prohibiting free enterprise) but as the are part of human nature, they will eventually spring back—probably with greater strength than ever. Meanwhile, there will be much suffering and harm.
Q.15: How did I come to develop my one or two main ?
A: Probably through a mix of unconscious socialization and deliberate education that interacted with your inherited tendencies and capacities. Great entrepreneurs, for example, are probably born rather than made. But being brought up by a successful entrepreneur provides habits and attitudes, not to mention money and contacts, that foster whatever entrepreneurial potential exists.
Q.16: Can a be taught?
A: Within limits, if the learner is willing. Teaching involves exhortation and personal example, as well as feedback, advice and instruction during interaction. It is a socialization process.
Q.17: Does schooling or further education have a role to play?
A: Almost certainly. Schooling that suppresses competition, for example, probably inhibits a centred . Schooling can teach teamwork and enhance -centredness. Authoritarian methods, applied rigidly, support centredness and probably inculcate it. Learning about the systematically is suitable for a person in early adulthood; and it should definitely be part of management development and personal growth courses.
Q.18: How do I learn about the other in the absence of a teacher?
A: Mainly through experience. Reflect on your interactions. We come across all the as we grow up. We get to know a range of families as children, and some will be centred. We meet centred authoritarian teachers and bullies at school. In adolescence, we are exposed to idealism, and in vocational training, discover ideologies. When we earn a living or transact any business, we will interact with centred people. Our neighbourhood exposes us to centred individuals. Finally, we are mostly exposed to centred and -centred approaches through reading their analyses or commentaries on the resolution of social problems.
Q.19: I think I may have changed my . Does a person’s change over a lifetime?
A: As we grow up or our life circumstances change, we do deliberately or unconsciously shift between . But once a is established in adulthood, we probably resist change unless life circumstances force us. If life gets harder, for example, people tend to activate centredness or centredness.
Q.20: How can I know what my is at present?
A: Watch how you behave and relate to others. Look at the type of work that attracts you. Examine the type of person that you like to mix with. Decide which set of injunctions has a natural appeal or seems more real to you. Ask a friend to visit this website and give you their view.
Originally posted: July 2009