Friday, July 26, 2013

Difficult Personality Types: Confusing Terminology

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There are many individuals who possess certain self-defining characteristics which we try to label them with. And all too often, we mislabel them -- and almost as often, they mislabel themselves! Let's think about this and try to find out what the characteristics are which define a person. Let's stop mis-classifying (either a Lingovation or a word assembled out of convenience) our fellow Humans. After all, we are the readers and followers of The Braintenance Blog - and we are each and all compelled by a quest to become more intelligent and more knowledgeable (by the way, do you fully understand the difference between intelligent and knowledgeable?) in the interests of the mind's own desire for growth.

1) Many times the words "cynic" and "skeptic" are used interchangeably. Yet each describes a very different kind of person. What are the crucial differences between a cynic and a skeptic?

One is an obsessive questioner, and a challenger of the status quo, but without making a judgment, per se. The other starts with the fundamental premise, the assumption (if you will) that things are all for the worst, and that the basic nature of Humankind is quite evil and self-serving. He finds an underlying agenda or motivation of selfishness and sinfulness behind every Human act.

2) What is the key difference between an agnostic and an atheist?

One has drawn a conclusion, and the other believes that he does not have the ability to draw a definitive conclusion, so he cannot be either a believer in God, per se, or a disbeliever... he has no proof either way. He is confessing ignorance, and the inability to take a stand either way in the absence of proof which meets his "normal standard."

3) What are the characteristics of a misanthrope?

4) What are the defining differences between a sociopath and a psychopath?

5) What are the differences between an intention and an action? Are they merely the consequences associated with one and not the other?

Categorizing, stereotyping and pigeonholing persons can be a very difficult and dangerous business. Years ago, one of the most stunningly brilliant individuals it was ever my privilege to know was almost thrown out of public school because of his inability to learn conventionally -- he was called ineducable and even 'possibly retarded.' Later, we found out that Robert was severely dyslexic [perhaps lysdexic would be a more appropriate term] and that he had to learn (or mentally process) things in a different way than that which was conventional.

The worst part of the label game is that it might induce a subconscious self-fulfilling prophesy. What if you were told that you were stupid, repeatedly? -- how do you think you would fare on your examinations, or at doing routine tasks?

Remember, my friends: "Words can heal, but they are also weapons if misused or abused."And misused implies ignorance, while abused implies evil intent.

Choose your words wisely, and use them just as wisely.

As always, thank you for reading me, and for sharing these articles with you colleagues, connections and contacts through the many social media platforms with the help of social media sharing tools -- and there are so many.

Douglas E. Castle | | | and of course, E. Castle

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