Can You Change Your Personality?

All in the Mind podcast.

From Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior by John M. Doris:

Scholars with a background in evolution see evolutionary psychology as the key to understanding how the world works just as theologians regard their discipline as the king of studies. Sociologists see social mores as the magic key. Psychologists talk about the Big 5 personality traits, but sociologists may argue that these traits are shaped, in part, by our interactions with others. For example, when I am successful in life, I am more outgoing, more energetic, more generous, more agreeable, more open, and less neurotic. When I am failing in life, I go in the opposite directions.

* Behavior is – contra the old saw about character and destiny – extraordinarily sensitive to variation in circumstance. Numerous studies have demonstrated that minor situational variations have powerful effects on helping behavior: hurried passersby step over a stricken person in their path, while unhurried passersby stop to help…The experimental record suggests that situational factors are often better predictors of behavior than personal factors, and this impression is reinforced by careful examination of behavior outside the confines of the laboratory. In very many situations it looks as though personality is less than robustly determinative of behavior. To put things crudely, people typically lack character.

* When compared with advances in the natural sciences, psychology has exhibited little uncontroversial progress.

* Character and personality traits are invoked to explain what people do and how they live: Peter didn’t mingle at the party because he’s shy, and Sandra succeeds in her work because she’s diligent. Traits also figure in prediction: Peggy will join in because she’s impulsive, and Brian will forget our meeting because he’s absentminded. So too for those rarefied traits called virtues: James stood his ground because he’s brave, and Katherine will not overindulge because she’s temperate. Such talk would not much surprise Aristotle (1984: no6ai4-23); for him, a virtue is a state of character that makes its possessors behave in ethically appropriate ways.1 I’ll now begin arguing that predictive and explanatory appeals to traits, however familiar, are very often empirically inadequate: They are confounded by the extraordinary situational sensitivity observed in human behavior.

* Recognizing the domain-specificity of practical endeavor helps explain how the upstanding public servant can be a faithless husband; the marital and the political are different practical domains and may engage very different cognitive, motivational, and evaluative structures. We can also understand how there be considerable may integration within a practical domain; a scholar must be both diligent and honest in her research if she is to do commendable work, although this does not entail that she exhibit the same qualities in her teaching.

* Globalist conceptions of personality are predicated on the existence of substantial behavioral consistency, but the requisite consistency has not been empirically demonstrated.

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American Fear

One of the big differences between life in Australia and in America is the amount of fear.

Americans walk around with much more fear about crime, litigation, loss of a job, and loss of health insurance. Australians don’t worry much about these things. Australians have a bigger and more generous social safety net, much more of a sense of community, a higher quality of life, socialized medicine, and relatively few lawsuits.

Many of the things Americans worry about don’t register for Aussies.

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Blacks Ride Free

Ever since Uber and Lyft effectively doubled their prices about a year ago, I’ve ridden the bus more in LA and it seems like about half of the black passengers don’t bother paying while about 90% of other groups do bother paying the fare.

Asians are the most scrupulous about following the rules with regard to masks.

Enforcing rules against theft is racist.

* Black passengers cited, punished disproportionately by Sound Transit fare enforcement

* “Blacks Can’t Jump”: The Racialization of Transit Police Responses to Fare Evasion: “This study demonstrates that racially disparate fare evasion citation outcomes are the product of racialized social systems that allow transit police officers to determine the belongingness of Black riders in systems of mass transit. Using citation data from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, we test the impact of race and place attributes on transit officer decisions to allocate punishment for subway fare evasion using mixed effects logistic regression controlling for individual and contextual predictors. Although rider racial identity alone proves statistically irrelevant, Black riders suspected of fare evasion possess an elevated risk for being fined as opposed to merely being warned at stations located within predominately white neighborhoods and as stations increase in ridership. These findings demonstrate how transit police officer discretion challenges Black belongingness on systems of public transportation. Broader implications of this work include the importance of scholarship linking statistical disparities to organizational intent and integrating diverse voices in policing policy development.”

* NYT: Subway Arrests Investigated Over Claims People of Color Are Targeted

* RTA enforcement of fare evasion on HealthLine discriminates against blacks, ACLU and NAACP say

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When Your Options In Life Dwindle

There are few things that are as thrilling to me as the open road with no commitments. You give me time and you give me money and I’ll want to drive or fly away.

Like a running back, I want to run to daylight.

I still savor the memories of all those college professors who told me I could become anything I wanted. My mom said I could become a star for God. My dad was a star. I wanted to outshine him.

I’ll never forget taking the I-5 South from Sacramento in March of 1994. I was returning to LA after five years away and I had a place to stay in Westwood for a few weeks until I got things sorted. I had money in the bank and I had choices and I had dreams and I had no obligations.

I was 27. I was coming out of six years of bed-ridden Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I felt like the world was my oyster (while living out of my car for most of the next year). I loved exploring LA and its beautiful women. I thought about returning to UCLA to finish my degree. A 27-year old on a university campus would not be weird. Or I could go to work for Dennis Prager. He said he might have a job for me. Or I could become an actor or write a book. The possibilities seemed endless (beyond my significant limitations of exhaustion).

As the months rolled by, I felt my options dwindle. I couldn’t articulate what was going on. I just felt my life getting smaller. I saw that I would not be on the same level as my peers for much longer because they were all getting established in careers and family. Within six weeks, I learned I wasn’t getting the job with Dennis Prager. Then I realized I did not want to return to UCLA to study Economics. So I started going on acting and modeling casting calls and I got hooked on the Hollywood culture. At the same time, I was having a ball exploring every type of Judaism. I felt like there was a significant conflict between these two worlds.

One significant parting of the roads that I faced was my sex life. Whatever I chose to do with that would send my life in two different directions. If I chose to contain myself, the best way to live the monogamous life was serious religion. If I chose not to contain myself, I could wander indefinitely. I was having a ball having a ball but I sensed that my promiscuity was incompatible with my best interests (marriage and children and career and commitments like a mortgage). Without consciously choosing balling over non-balling, I kept balling and though my actual promiscuity ended by the summer of 1995, the fantasy of promiscuity dominated my life for the next 17 years and with it a mounting dread that my life was going unlived.

The most intense Judaic experiences I had in LA in my first three years were at Aish HaTorah. Orthodox Judaism did not seem as rational to me as non-Orthodox forms of Judaism, but it moved me more deeply. I resonated with Orthodoxy in ways I couldn’t articulate and did not expect but there were feelings of joy for me that were only available inside the dance. For my first six years in LA, I kept a foot in both camps, but by the summer of 2000, after a trip to Israel, I went in all in on Orthodoxy. That choice narrowed my life options.

By the time Covid rolled around in 2020, I was simultaneously happy with a small life and yearning for something more.

One great thing I learned from ten years of therapy and 12-step programs is that I always have more options than I think.

I want to run to daylight. At the same time, I recognize the force of some sort of ratchet in my psyche that wants to separate me from others so I can live alone in my delusions.

It’s 2022 and I’m nearly 56. I’m happy but I’m living small and there’s got to be more for me. My default setting is towards isolation and I have to keep making concrete choices against my grain to go social. So most every Sunday these days, I explore LA again like it’s 1994.

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Richard Spencer Debates Styx On Free Speech, Online Anonymity (5-20-22)

03:00 Styx vs Richard Spencer – Internet Anonymity, https://odysee.com/@KillstreamKlips:4/killstream-klip-styx-vs-spencer-internet-anonymity
09:00 Richard takes things seriously
28:00 The porn question
35:00 What does it mean to be a Christian? https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/donna-summer-facts/story?id=16370574
42:00 The Buffalo shooter had a toothache, https://twitter.com/oneunderscore__/status/1527713922928852993
47:30 Riding the World’s Biggest Waves, Without a Surfboard, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/19/sports/big-wave-bodysurfing.html
56:00 Why You Should Not Use Ivermectin to Treat or Prevent COVID-19, https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/why-you-should-not-use-ivermectin-treat-or-prevent-covid-19
59:30 What’s the future for non-Haredi Jews in the diaspora? https://twitter.com/jh_swanson/status/1527813423068860419
1:00:30 Richard reflects on his debate with Styx, https://radixjournal.substack.com/p/the-great-replacement?s=r#details
1:02:30 Stripper says we’re in recession, she checks market to decide if it is worth going in to work
1:06:20 Richard says Ann Coulter, Peter Brimelow, Tucker Carlson only offer extreme whining
1:07:00 The class issue
1:10:00 Richard Against “Free Speech”, https://radixjournal.substack.com/p/against-free-speech?s=r#details
1:24:00 Richard Spencer on America First, Nick Fuentes, The Alt-Right, His Shortcomings, and More, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4k5Dv74rTJ4
1:36:00 Is America First imploding? Friendship nationalism

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