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Chapter 1: Political personality

Assuming we can tell bad from good (kakotic from kalotic), this diagram would clarify page 93.

**** Diagram ****

Sometimes the effects are generally good and sometimes bad. By good effects we mean that more are changed for the better and create better effects on other people. They bring to themselves and others more of the values in life that we've been talking about in earlier pages -- power, affection, respect, knowledge, etc. They have personalities that adjust well the need for security to the need to expand experiences.


You may be challenged on the idea that the class is above average on kalos, or that book-reading is what does it. It is good then to retirare per svillupare, to retreat a bit on both points in order to develop the argument. The Fortune study of practical and idealistic students alluded to above (Introduction) may help. Noncollege youth (and adults) almost always show up as significantly less polyvalent, benevolent, and scientific than college-educated persons.


A simple true-false test of the student's recall of polyvalent/benevolent connotations may be made up by altering slightly the list of sentences on these pages.

You can also ask the students to rate themselves on the list (a 1-10 scale is better than yes -or-on). Then ask them also to rate themselves similarly on the negative side effects. Discussion might well follow.

Again, they may be asked to rate the degree of their approval on the importance of the social effects, after turning each into a statement of policy. Is there a (mostly unconscious) pattern of correlation showing up between the personality and desired social effects?


Apropos the cartoon of the kalotic judge, is he exhibiting a negative side effect?


You can try a test for rigid types, self-administered, by reworking this list. Scores will be much lower, of course (students are attuned to the free college atmosphere).


An assignment : to relate in one's own words what is occurring in the procrustean cartoon. To recall him, Procrustes (meaning "the stretcher") was the nickname of a brigand named Polypemon from ancient Attica who possessed a bed upon which he forced his guests to sleep; if they were too tall to fit the bed, he chopped their legs off; if they were too short, he pulled them until they fit.


Freud's thesis is that a baby's excretion are important to it, even if the adult attendants find them a nuisance, and one of the first epic struggles between generations is initiated by the adult's seizure of control over them and the enforcement of discipline concerning them. The retention of excretions against external and internal pressures to give them up, starts a history of struggle placed in the same original frame but with most original denotations suppressed in the unconscious. This miserable and unequal initial contest can help from one's later character, lending a basis for rigidity, retentiveness, stinginess, and taciturnity. (This theory usually excites either indignant howls and jeers or a long embarrassed silence. I wrote a term paper once, brashly asserting the connection between anal eroticism and bureaucratic personality. The professor didn't like it much.)


At the end of the first paragraph I wrote, "Try to think of others like it. One such tearing experience would be the trauma of being born. Students know where babies come from nowadays, so they have little trouble recognizing this experience as devastatingly likely to have long-run effects on pessimism and insecurity feelings.


Senator Edward Kennedy and his family get about 300 threats of assassination per year. If you calculate that few of these are repeaters, if you add to each of these a few, say ten, who are targeting one or another of a hundred other publick leaders, if for every one who writes or calls a threat there is one who simply plans it, we arrive at 26,000 Americans in any given decade dream it is to kill a national leader.


You may wish to point out to students that the would-be assassin of Governor George Wallace was, like Lee Oswald, having serious sexual problems. He bought his gun the day after being jilted by the only girl he had managed to become friendly with. Explosive "arms" are an obvious phallic symbol, especially serviceable for reassuring one against sexual impotency fears. In the army, men strip down periodically for "short-arm" inspection.


The unidentified characters described here are meant to be Cato the Censor, Napoleon Bonaparte, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, Lyndon B. Johnson, Herbert Hoover, and Richard Nixon.


This fictitious interview is designed to reveal how an interview may flew along, how character is revealed through responses, and how much material a few questions may bring forth even though the job of analyzing the responses is difficult (and often the best material cannot be standardized). Students might be asked to write their analysis of the character of the respondent.


The little "political personality test" has not been scientificated; it is merely for self-analysis and discussion.


In The Ghost in the Machine (Macmillan, 1968), Arthur Koestler goes on a lengthy search for the sources of aggressive paranoia. He says man's rationality derives from the cerebrum the subcortical limbic system is the seat of fear, flight, and fight behavior; we are not able to control the limbic system, which sends mixed signals to the upper brain centers which the latter cannot cope with but can respond to in malevolent (and benevolent) ways. From this finely directed bestiality come the external, horrendous social and personal crimes. I am tackling this fundamental human problem in a prehistorical and psychological study with another theory, but the best I can present now is this existential or circumstantial theory of rigidity. We may not know the causes, but we can do much to isolate and confine rigidity and obsession, with their frequent companion, paranoia, in politics. (That's what this Chapteris all about.) We must also, however, avoid slackness sloppiness, and complete lack of social discipline (see the cartoon on page 345, "the typical reader"); I therefore coin the notion that authority is the kalotic future.


These characters are, of course, Cromwell, Hitler, and Stalin.


The list of techniques for weighting the procedures of society in a polyvalent/benevolent direction is condensed. If might therefore be useful to have a carefully led class discussion of each of the topics mentioned as techniques of influence. One student might introduce each with five or ten minutes of explanation and comment.


The therapy groups listed under D(2) are usually without orientation (a typographical error).


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