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Cavemonkynick

Personality, Is It A Choice?

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Cavemonkynick

About a week ago, I had a bit of an epiphany when I randomly remembered something I heard in church once.

My youth pastor once told me that people have a mask for every occasion. There's the mask we wear around strangers, the mask we wear around people we don't like, a mask for our friends, a mask for our family, the list is as long as you want to make it. Now the way he sold it, the masks were to hide our true selves from the world for whatever reason. While I understand his viewpoint I have to disagree. The masks don't hide us, they are us.

The definition of personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character. This makes personality subjective to each individual. How we chose to present ourselves to our friends, family, loved ones, strangers, whatever, those are our masks and they are each their own personality. They say who we are when we're alone is who we truly are, but at the same time it's just another personality, another mask. When, we are not governed by the standards of someone else, we are governed by our own. Granted, this is usually the purest of our personalities, the core we build around, but when all is said and done its still just another personality.

That core personality is what I want to talk about. The question is, do we chose what that personality is, or is it ingrained in us from birth through genetics, out upbringing, or both?

Personally, I believe that everyone is who they chose to be, regardless of which mask their wearing. I do believe that the world can influence these choices, but in the end, their still our choices to make.

What do you think?

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Vy'drach

I'd say mostly choice since there's been enough people that turn out in ways that go completely against the environment they grew up in. Things such as people who grew up in racist environments but turned out to not be racist themselves simply because it wasn't something they believed in.

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Drasiana

Asking whether it's a "choice" or "not a choice" doesn't appreciate the complexity of the situation, necessarily.

People are dealt a hand when they're born, of who they are, that is beyond their control. Race, sex, gender, class, orientation, family status, so on and so forth, and this does have a great deal of impact on who they are. However, human beings are complicated, and there aren't simple factors like "furry genes" that can be turned on and off, that influence the likes, dislikes and general disposition of an individual. Also respect that people in similar situations may be vastly different personality-wise, it's also not a clear case of being influenced purely by outside factors either.

Who you are, generally, is out of your control, and develops from a complex mix of biological disposition and subconcious development in response to outside factors. So while not everything (and arguably, very little) of who you are is hard-coded into your genes, saying that it's a choice is also incredibly misleading.

From my standpoint, the only thing about yourself that you can "choose" is whether you will acknowledge yourself as what it is, be it flaws or strengths, and how you will temper and develop yourself accordingly.

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Redeemer

I believe some parts of it are a choice. Others, not so much.

There are parts of my personality that I can control, like my mannerisms, my attitude, etc. But I can't control my sense of humour, and that in itself is awkward because I always laugh at things that aren't so funny to others.

I also have a mental condition that heavily influences my personality. I fight with it whenever it gets bad, but there are some things I just can't change. Personally, I hate that. I used to have medication to help control my worse days, but I got so sick of relying on it, I found other ways to cope, such as drawing, blogging, exercise and cooking. Sometimes it can be so goddamn difficult, I can even be self-destructive, and that's usually when I reach out for help.

It's maybe shocked you a little that I talked about something so personal, and I apologise for getting so deep.

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Fedora

@Redeemer: No need to apologize. You're saying your piece and that's admirable. It's actually pretty sweet that you can talk about yourself like that.

As for what I have to say about, I think the majority of it is due to how one is brought up. The things one is taught or does in their childhood becomes familiar and we think of it as an ingrained part of us. I dunno when the "ingraining" stops and the personality development based around that familiarity starts but it I believe it's why all children are inquisitive from an early age and how it can be quelled very quickly.

A parent who shelters they're baby may teach the baby that people are frightening hence the child growing up to be shy. This can also happen with a doting parent as the gentle lifestyle can make a harsher experience away from the parent unfamiliar and frightening. A child who lived a rough and tumble childhood knows just that and tries to apply it to the world at large. The things we learn first are things we most likely won't forget. Not to tsay this is perfect though.

I was raised a bit old-fashioned like. I know a bit of chivalry and I expect people to follow up on manners. I was also raised with a lot of "don't worry about it" seeing as my parents also had their reasons for not liking straight-up old fashioned so I try my best to let things go. But I learned manners first, guess what happens more on a whim?

And yet, odd considering that I also have my own delusions of chivalry since I'll say I'm a gentleman before realizing I forgot to hold the door for a lady or something like that. I think my forgetfulness is a genetic thing due to how much it happens and yet I feel bad for forgetting my manners. Is that sense of responsibility a form of my upbringing? Or something I made up because of my own forgetfulness?

Well, that's my rant. I hope it makes sense but if it doesn't, eh. I would like to know how much of this stuff is choice though. I mean, I grew up with "pink is girly" stuff and yet here I am enjoying My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and I do so willingly. There are surprisingly little bronies where I live.

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LoneWolf

With my girlfriend, I'm comfortable being exactly who I am, and I can be completely open. She knows stuff nobody will know. Ever. She's proven to be very accepting of whatever man fur internet denizen I've become.

Online, I'm definitely more open than I am IRL, however that doesn't mean I don't occasionally put on my "Internet Mask" (an IP Subnet Mask hur hur) and put on a show, if not just to entertain. I also swear a whole lot more online than in real life. Maybe it's because nobody can overhear.

In the real world, among close friends, I try to be myself, however I do selectively remove certain aspects of my person, mostly my furrydom and stylistic preferences. I appear normal around people I don't know, if not exceedingly intelligent and a little cocky. However if it weren't for this I would likely wear a lot more color and more interesting clothing. The problem is, I've established who I am in real life, and any deviation from that causes people to scratch their heads.

As far as business goes, business conduct is appropriate and that's that. Put on your business mask or go home.

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Redeemer

@Redeemer: No need to apologize. You're saying your piece and that's admirable. It's actually pretty sweet that you can talk about yourself like that.

That was actually so comforting to read. Thank you, Fedora, I truly appreciated that.

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Cavemonkynick

@Redeemer Totally agree with Fedora. It takes a lot to admit your flaws and your willingness to be open like that proves your determination to change. Props.

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Thu'um

Humanisem is the idea that the human mind is capable od achieving tremendous things, and even perfection, through simple will. I was for the longest time simply not a fur, becuase i didn't want to be. Like orwell says , the human mind is infintentaly malable. while certin events no doubt influnce who we choose to become we are all sort allowed to make our own choices. But then as Martin Luther says a man only has so much influence on the world and himself , the rest is god.

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BIade

I don't think it's much of a choice at all. You are a result of your genetics(temperament) and a culmination of all your learned experience. Sure, you have choices to make, and some which may seem to happen spontaneously, but it's all based on what came before that decision.

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The Shaper

Well, I've tried to be a nice, caring individual who wants to make friends with everyone regardless of their flaws and ideals, but regardless of me trying to choose to be a better person, I find myself looking through a much more cynical perspective than most. Some things do stick, however. I still feel some guilt when I am mean, I still feel some doubt and regret if I do something atrocious, but that doesn't stop me from doing them.

I don't think I actually chose to have a cynical worldview but I do nonetheless, so in some aspects, it may be choice, in other aspects, it must be more complex than "I choose to be nice".

Also does "personality" in this case mean the same as "attitude"? Because I could have a different attitude around someone other than with someone else regardless of my feelings toward either. It isn't necessarily my personality that dictates how I act in either situation.

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Lord Shen

Perception can be a false reality. The onlookers are the only ones who identify what they see as a mask. Its all just islands of the motherland--snippets of the whole.

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