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Consciousness Of Personality Produced By A Violent Change Of Occupation


This assertion is justified by an appeal to human experience. Men
become sure of their own or of other people's personality by
experiencing strong contrasts of natures in themselves or by observing
them in others. For instance, a sudden and violent change of
occupation establishes personality as a distinct entity. The civilian
turns soldier. Almost immediately all parts of his nature are
affected. He feels the development, as it were, of a second nature
within him. His faculties are transformed. He enters a new universe
of thought. His range of knowledge narrows in one direction, widens in
another. His volitional nature is altered. His will narrows in scope,
but increases in intensity. Nor does his emotional nature escape the
change. Aesthetic values are reversed. He no longer feels pleasure
and pain at the old objects. Physical desires play a much larger part
in his life, and he loses taste for intellectual pleasures. The
soldier returns to civilian life and, as it were, with his civilian
attire he resumes his former nature, and all his old thoughts and
feelings and impulses come flooding back. Such an experience is of
considerable psychological interest. It exemplifies the
interpenetration of different states of thought and activity. The
contrasts bring home to a man the fact that his spirit is a synthesis
of heterogeneous elements. They force him back on himself. They rouse
in him the dormant sense of personal being. It is the apprehension of
strong contrast in his experience of himself, the apprehension of the
plurality of his being, that accentuates the deep-lying unity. The
more violent the change in the walks of life, the clearer becomes the
concept of the continuity. Civilian or soldier, the man, the person is
the same.

Personality is thrown into relief not only by change of occupation, but
also by moral contrasts. Conflicting passions, opposing motives and
internal debate serve to make a man realise himself. Strong
personalities are often those in whom the conflict between good and
evil is most acute. It is the very opposition of natures which brings
out the personal element into the full light of conscious recognition.

We must now examine human personality in greater detail; we must
indicate its functions and show how it differs from human nature. Only
by coming to grips with this psychological problem is it possible to
appreciate the points at issue in the Christological question and to
judge between catholic and monophysite.

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