HAMLET AND OTHER
NEW and FREE BOOK
NEW YORK - MOSCOW
© NELLY DEN MD PhD "SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST"
© VLADIMIR LEVI MD PhD "INTRODUCTION"
Translator: David Gurevich
Artist: Alexander Valdman
Web-development: Igîr Simdyanîv
VLADIMIR LEVI "INTRODUCTION. NELLY DEN AND HER SECUNMIR TEST"
THE NECESSARY PRETESTING INFORMATION
REGISTRATION BEFORE TEST AND TESTING
Part I. Why was SECUNMIR made? Of what? And how is it made?
Part II. What is Nobler? Hamlet and Us.
NEW MULTI-FACTOR PERSONALITY TEST AND ANTI-STRESS RECOMMENDATIONS. SHORT VERSION OF SECUNMIR. NO REGISTRATION NEEDED
VLADIMIR LEVI "INTRODUCTION. NELLY DEN AND HER SECUNMIR TEST"
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.
W. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 4
Can a book be a mirror that you can see yourself in?
Can one and the same text be a work of art, a psychology research, a popular book, a psychology test, and a how-to book in self-improvement?
It can, and I have been convinced of it.
I would like to mail you my popular-science book based on my thesis that I defended in St. Petersburg.
The dissertation contains a passage that deals with testing of the accentuated characters of twins. The findings indicated that not only stress - sensitive accentuated traits (according to statistics, every other person has them), but even low- and medium-pronounced traits have an estimated heritability of 80 percent, give or take 15 percent, which made it possible to update Karl Leonhard’s concept. This data was omitted from the thesis, but my book presents it in detail. I also have a questionnaire that can be used for self-testing. The descriptions are complemented with examples from Shakespeare and the Bible. I also have a chapter that deals with Hamlet’s psychological features <…> If you are interested in my book, I’ll send you the whole thing…
<…> In my day I was the only psychiatrist at the general-profile clinic at Tashkent School of Medicine, where three thousand patients were being treated at a time. <…> I used tests widely and discovered that twins provide interesting material for understanding the source of personality traits. I tested a bunch of both sick and healthy people. <…> I published articles and formulated the subject of my thesis, which I then defended."
These letters I received from my fellow doctor Nelly Den ( Feldman) led to our personal friendship and my knowledge of her original work.
Accentuation is intensification, emphasis, and a more acute form of certain qualities or characteristics. When we apply it to a character or a personality, we are talking of a higher than average intensity of certain traits. The highest degree of accentuation may verge on or cross into a pathology. The opposite is also possible – an unusually low representation of certain qualities. For example, there are people of average height, very large and very small, very dark and very pale ones, and so on.
Karl Leonhard is a 20th-century German psychiatrist, a prominent researcher and practitioner, who coined the concepts of personality accentuations and described 11 types of them. Nelly Den used Leonhard’s classification as a basis, with substantial additions and improvements of her own.
SECUNMIR (SUM for short) is the abbreviation for English version of Nelly Den’s book. This abbreviation comes from the title of its Russian version named the Secret Unique Mirror. As you read the book and answer the questionnaire, you draw a self-portrait of your psychological essence, a natural basis of your personality, or what is called nature.
Here is an excerpt from my letter to Nelly, written when we discussed how to make her book, still unpublished, accessible to our readers.
"Nelly, your creation awoke in my memory a number of tests I have run into and worked with, and this is the main result of "reason's icy intimations, and records of a heart in pain", as Pushkin put it: however powerful, voluminous, measured, and reliable a test might be, its most important element is not the test per se, but its perception, its interpretation, and the interaction of the tester and the testee, whether this occurs directly or through the text. In this sense your test stands apart and is a happy exception among many popular manuals for psychological self-diagnostics. I admire your manner of addressing the reader – where every line exudes understanding, warmth, remarkable lightness, and delicate non-intrusive sincerity, with love of truth and the reader.
Naturally, we cannot predict how the book test will work for every reader and how an individual reader will benefit from self-knowledge and work on his persona; it all depends what sort of soil your seed will fall into. But I am sure the effect will combine usefulness and fun. Your book is imbued with curative atmosphere of cultural enlightenment in the spirit of the Silver Age – the atmosphere of humanity combined with the search of truth about humanity – which is a resurrectionary combination! At the same time it is a terse but extremely capacious encyclopedia of character studies, a voyage through thoughts and aphorisms from the mankind’s worthiest minds, and a most interesting guided trip through the Bible and Shakespeare. (As I read, I had to constantly fight an impulse to grab a Shakespeare book and start re-reading it again with a better vision.)
Your book is so vividly unique – I can’t think of anything like it now or ever. I am flattered by your invitation to co-author, but there is no need: the work is complete, magnificent, and I am feeling fine as its passionate reader. I love Alexander Valdman’s illustrations – witty, peppy, and saturated both psychologically and philosophically – a jazz accompaniment to your author solo.
We can place the electronic version of SECUNMIR on our site. It will require a certain time and effort, especially formatting the text. But with your authorial literary and psychological assistance, our employees and friends, programmers and web designers of IT - studio "SOFT TIME", Igor Simdianov and Maxim Kuznetsov can handle it, without a doubt. (They did! – VL)
<…> As for your self-criticism, commendable as it is, I dismiss it completely. There is enough of everything in the book, and whatever is missing should not be there. I am sure that this beautiful fruit of your mind and soul will find its path to the reader and gather a grateful audience that will thank you many times over and over."
You can see why Nelly Den, a talented psychologist and psychiatrist, is entitled to call her book SECUNMIR - SECret UNique MIRrow: it is the only one of its kind, unique.
But why is it SECret? - The reflection on the twelve main, most important, personality qualities is visible only to the person looking in this mirror. (Twelve is a significant number: 12 signs of Zodiac, 12 apostles, etc.) The SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST IS CONFIDENTIAL. You may reveal this picture of your traits to others or you can leave it to yourself and do with it – with yourself – what you want and what you can.
But if for some reason you don’t like it, you shouldn’t smash the mirror like the Wicked Queen in Snow White did. The mirror is good, kind, and honest. It tells you only the truth, though perhaps not the whole truth.
Happy trails on the path of self-discovery, dear friends and readers!
My greatest gratitude goes to Edward Feldman, my husband and colleague (he is a neurologist and psychotherapist, while I am a psychiatrist and medical psychologist), my comrade-in-arms and opponent. His competent professional advice and literary erudition helped me with my thesis and my book.
Vadim Moiseyevich Bleykher is a Doctor of Medicine, whose belief in the prospects of my studies of twins was heartening and encouraging. I am grateful for his solidarity as a scientist and his consultations.
It is a pleasant duty to thank the scientists at St. Petersburgh’s Bekhterev Psycho-Neurological Institute for accepting my thesis. Most of all, I was helped by my scientific advisor Victor Anatolyevich Tashlykov and my reviewer Veniamin Borisovich Iovlev.
I am deeply grateful to all the authors I have quoted in the book and their translators into Russian.
I am grateful to all those who took part in my research, especially my ex-colleagues at Tashkent State Medical Institute who helped me find twins and conduct psychological testing.
I will never forget my friends – Maria Spector, Ana Bueno and William Wieting who were very kind to me and expressed their belief in my ability to complete my book and for their CONFIDENCE IN USEFULNESS OF SUCH A BOOK FOR MANY PEOPLE.
I thank Irina Barskova for proofing and other remarks she made while entering the Russian version of my book on the computer.
TO MY DAUGHTER LILYA,
TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER MAYA AND MY GRANDSON DANIEL,
WITH LOVE, TENDERNESS AND HOPE.
THE NECESSARY PRETESTING INFORMATION
What can a decent person talk about with the greatest pleasure…?
The answer is, about oneself.
We intended to warn without offending; we intended to be useful without wounding.
Every human possesses his/her own unique personality. Many people are mistakenly sure that they know such a complicated, fate-bearing, stress and anti-stress - forming "substance" quite enough. In order to prevent or to correct this mistake I offer the latest psycho - metrical instrument - SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST (SUM or SECUNMIR for short). It has several important quantitative and qualitative advantages in comparison with well known personality tests. The most valuable characteristic of SUM is that it provides much more psychological traits (which dependent mainly on genetic factors), inclinations, dispositions, and portraits then any other self-tests. Each of these nature traits is homogenous, i.e. none of them includes characteristics of another. Portraits are described not only by author of the book but also by many Shakespearean and Biblical quotes. Since psychological self-testing increases individual self-awareness, self-control and leads to self-improvement I may hope that SECUNMIR will be used by everybody who is interested in such a kind of increasing. I think that most people agree with Anton Chekhov's words: "Man becomes better when you show him what he is like." This is from one side.
From another side, before a reader embark upon SECUNMIR, I deem it necessary to caution him/her and introduce certain needed explanations. Basically, results of SECUNMIR testing reveal both positive and negative human qualities. But who wants his qualities to be "figured out"? Who wants to read about his deep flaws, even though due to education, habits, life experience, etc, they hardly ever reveal themselves, if at all? The reader will receive knowledge that might shatter a rather widespread concept of freedom as an unhindered chance to be yourself. However, coherent information on clear virtues may also evoke unpleasant feelings. This is what Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues, wrote about it: "To praise a person in such a way that praise seems to set a limit to his virtues is to insult him; there are few people so modest in this world who would not be offended when their true value is being quoted."
It is true that the testing results – I prefer the term "reflections" – are phrased in such a way that addresses the reader’s reasoning, rather than his emotions and feelings, taking into account that, as Hegel put it, "the wounds of the Spirit heal, and leave no scars behind".
The text also points to the flaws’ antagonists – the internal compensators that are a component of the testee’s - nature. Also, a reader finds out about his/her flaws in own company.
It is also important that the reflections do not include the personality’s intellectual, moral, and ethical traits. Otherwise the author of SECUNMIR would have to beware the kind of an attack that Hegel describes in his Phenomenology of Spirit. Hegel quotes Lichtenberg: "If anyone said, ‘You certainly act like an honest man, but I see from your face that you are forcing yourself to do so and are a rogue at heart’; without a doubt, every honest fellow to the end of time, when thus addressed, will retort with a box on the ear". Here Hegel joins Solon who claimed that "individuality can be judged only on the basis of the whole life after it ran its course".
Yet every person bears not just a temper, which everyone admits, but also certain inborn psycho - biological, personality traits. These characteristics mature by the age of 19 or 20 and remain stable through one’s life (the highest stability is between the ages of twenty and fifty) and allow us to make scientifically based predictions, which helps prevent stress, various health problems, and certain psychological errors. Hans-Jurgen Eysenck concurs: "For most people predictions in the area of material things are nothing unusual and are received as a matter of fact. But when we talk about using science to predict human behavior, this causes mistrust. We like to think that we are "masters of our destiny", that no general laws or rules that make the prediction possible can apply to us."
Naturally, a reader wonders: "What specific psychological properties are you talking about? If, as you say, they are not value-based, how can they be the two sides of the coin? How can one, using the data on these properties, make predictions and what are they?" SECUNMIR answers these questions. This test is confidential: a testee may use NIC, an assumed name in the registration form.
Just like any other test, especially one administered on its own, SECUNMIR requires that certain conditions be met. The most precise information about the person will come from the testee who will give the most sincere answers. In doing so he will describe the "seed" of his/her nature, while the test results will produce the reflections of the traits most likely to grow out of this "seed". Such traits include natural components, professional and erotic inclinations, risk factors – the kinds of predisposition to disease – and stable models of relationships with people. Naturally, testee have to pick a proper moment for such self-search and avoid doing it in a stressful situation. The test questions should not cause lengthy reflections or overly complicated search of the most objective well-balanced answers on your part. Testee should not try to present himself/herself in a better or worse light and try to second-guess the tester as to what this or that combination of answers might reveal. There are no catches here; nor is there a so-called scale of lies. The questionnaire aims to reflect the self-perception of the tested individual: this is about how a person feels, what "seems" to him, and whether he has or does not find himself in certain states. It asks whether such states are frequent, periodic, rare, or never occur at all; in short, whether a certain state is "like" him. For example, when we read Pushkin’s description of his character Tatyana, "Often for a whole day she would sit in silence by the window", we don’t ask the poet to be specific about what "often" means: once a week, twice a week, or once in ten days? We understand that that’s what Tatyana is like, that’s like her, and that’s how Pushkin sees and shows her.
Now a few words about the numerous quotes (from Shakespeare, the Bible, and scientists and philosophers) that reader will see on the pages of this book. There is an old joke: "If the author copied from one book, it’s an act of plagiarism; if he did it from ten, it is compilation; but if he copied from a hundred – that’s a work of science." Well, my book is popular-science and is based on voluminous research, including my own, my thesis among others. Moreover, unlike hard sciences, psychology has no formula; instead, it uses formulations that reveal different sides of certain psychological traits. Thus when I offer the reader quotes from authoritative sources, I supply the best formulations, I offer artistically and imaginatively narrated personal traits, and at the same time I reaffirm my authorial position.
There is another important reason for quoting.
Carl Jung mentions it: "Even the most original and autonomous idea does not fall out of the sky but germinates in preexisting and objectively defined intellectual soil whose root system, whether we want it or not, is interwoven very tightly." Thus, as I feel profound gratitude to this root system as a source of my knowledge and scientific inspiration, I present it in the form of carefully selected quotes, related not just to my findings, but to each tested reader’s psychological traits as well.
A few words about the book’s composition. On the one hand, I would like it to stir interest among psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists, by presenting them with some new data on a person’s character and nature. On the other hand, I’d like to introduce the book to a wide audience. Therefore I should warn in advance that particularly busy people willing to spend no more than two or three hours on self-testing can start it right away after reading Necessary Pretesting Information. However, to be able to comprehend SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST completely, it is desirable that you read Introduction as well.
Chapters "Nature Components" and "Proof" address experts and those who need detailed information and precise arguments proving the legitimacy of the offered test.
Unfortunately, not everything about psychological science lends itself to extensive popularizing, and my book is not exception. I still hope that it will not leave the reader indifferent. To a varying degree, every person "knows himself or herself"; as scientists say, if our results match those arrived at by others, that’s nice; and if they don’t, now, that’s really interesting.
By endowing each of us with a character of his own, the nature simply pointed us in a natural direction,
and man can be calm, wise, kind, and happy only insofar as he knows his nature.
Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues
Anyone can get to know the truth about oneself, yet few agree to do so. But a truth about oneself not only makes one’s life easier, but enhances it as well.
Ordinary people display more wiles and shrewdness in trying not to know themselves than the most sophisticated thinkers in doing the opposite – in attempts to know themselves.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
I often feel and realize even more deeply that one’s nature and one’s fate have the same basis.
This book "SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST" deals with a person’s psychological predilections, potential and predicting the important aspects of his/her individual’s life. Since I wrote brochure "Secret Unique Mirror" in English together with Edward Feldman © 1999 and my book in Russian "Ñåêðåòíîå óíèêàëüíîå çåðêàëî" ("Secret Unique Mirror"), copyright 2007, I refer to the abbreviated title, SECUNMIR or SUM, which reflects well its essence – the sum of knowledge.
"Would you like to read a book just about You, about the natural traits of Your character, Your temper, Your personality – that is, about the psychological properties that are "in your genes" and can largely predetermine your destiny?" I posed this question often and got nothing but affirmative answers. However, some voiced doubts that it was possible to write a book about a person the author had never met. Potential readers also wondered about the reliability of the information that the book could provide. Therefore, right away, as I am helping you find your way about SECUNMIR, let me provide some brief information addressing these doubts; for greater detail, read the Proof chapter.
On the basis of my twenty-year medical and psychiatric experience I started having doubts about the Oedipus Complex and asking myself whether personal nature was formed between birth and the age of five (according to Freud), or certain traits are already in our genes. This is why I did psychological testing of twins, which is one of the most objective ways to learn the degree of genes’ contribution into one’s personal traits. In my research, I used the modified by me Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire based on Karl Leonhard’s accentuated personality concept. The research showed that a person has 11 to 12 personality traits, and any expression of its intensities, whether low (values 0, 1, 2, 3), very low (-1, -2, -3), average (4, 5, 6), or high, i.e. reaching accentuation or displaying a trend to it (values 7, 8, 9), depends on heredity by 80% plus - minus 15 %. A similar study was conducted by Eysenck in 1980, though he was basing it on only four psychological parameters.
In view of the high genetic conditionality of genetic properties, I combined them and, for the purposes of this study, termed the resulting combination human nature, and the twelve traits that make it up, nature components.
At the next stage of my work, I applied the same test that I had used with twins to healthy and unhealthy individuals. Thus I established a connection between the nature’s components and predisposition towards various illnesses, as well as the components’ role in forming a person’s psychological potentials and inclinations. Thorough analysis of twins (and subsequently, family) testing helped me arrive at the meaning of components (in all three degrees of intensity) as personal compensators. This compensatory nature shows up in cases when certain components’ positive sides soften others’ negative ones.
I managed to publish and "stake a claim" to most of the data obtained both in articles and in my dissertation. Then, on the basis of the work done, I compiled a new personality test – SECUNMIR – which takes into account twelve components and the intensity of each component (low, medium, and high). Its numbers form (raise 3 to the 12) thousands combinations (psychological portraits) of human nature. This is much higher than the numbers you can get from any other popular questionnaire for self-testing your personality traits. Why is this number so important? The higher the number of signs, detail, and nuances taken into account, the higher the number of versions; consequently, the obtained psychological image will be more individualized and closer to reality – in fact, quite unique. (Hence the primary title, Secret Unique Mirror).
In reading the results the tested individual should take into account that this psychological reflection is not absolutely stable: the SECUNMIR grading system that include 10 values, from 0 to 9, presumes life dynamics fluctuating within the limit of 1-2 grades.
Naturally, when we take into account not only the accentuated traits that served as basis for assigning a person to a given psychological type, but unaccentuated ones as well, the concept of "type" becomes eroded, and we need to analyze carefully the composition of all the elements making up the nature of a specific person. This is the way to obtain a true personality portrait, as well as method of defining psycho-biological basis of human nature and soul (psyche).
Since almost each component contains specific pluses and minuses, which, in turn, hinge on one’s genes and are quite stable through one’s lifespan, one has a chance to make predictions about one’s future. By this I mean stable psychological inclinations and potentials, including interpersonal, professional, and erotic ones, which willy-nilly reflect in person’s feelings and actions, since "nature prevails". I also mean the specific features of an individual’s sensitivity to stress – his psychological Achilles’ heel. This is why SECUNMIR shows each person’s stumbling block, since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the latter can be found in its components. Thus, depending on the combinations conditioned by these components’ varying intensities, an individual may or may not have internal compensators that would help him/her regain composure. In this way SECUNMIR may help detect a personal flaw not balanced by a compensator. If the individual in question cannot overcome his psychological problems by his own, he should consider asking for professional help called psycho-correction or psychotherapy and visit a psychologist.
In this situation, it becomes a duty for a professional psychologist to convey - if only for prevention’s sake - the clear desirability of self-testing to the population. This is even more important if we take into account that, according to the science data, about half the population of various countries is accentuated, i.e. especially stress-sensitive, and occupying a gray area between health and illness. In view of all this, why shouldn’t a person, when left to one’s own devices – i.e. in secret (hence SECRET Unique Mirror) – why shouldn’t one test himself or herself?
In discussing the hypothesis of the innate origin of human nature, I was greatly influenced by works by Immanuel Kant, Carl Jung, Carl Leonhard, Pyotr Gannushkin, Andrey Lichko, Vadim Bleykher, and Hans-Jurgen Eysenck, all of which are widely quoted in SECUNMIR, as are works by other scientists, philosophers, and thinkers.
Further, I addressed Shakespeare and the Bible. This is what I thought: if (as we know) human genetic pool has not changed substantially in the last few thousands of years, then in both Biblical and Shakespearean times all the nature components were revealed to the fullest and could be described in these valuable sources. My studies bear me out: I found texts on all of the components, as well as lessons and advice corresponding to these psychological traits. I sorted out my findings under separate headings and included them in Reflections and Nature Components.
Thus, you are about to find out which character – Moses, David, Hamlet, Brutus, King Lear, Juliet, or other characters – you share common traits with. I cite Hamlet especially often as Shakespeare’s best-known and the most profound play. I also analyze Hamlet’s nature in the second part of Proof, using the descriptions of his eleven components in Reflections. This is why almost all the sections dealing with Hamlet are the most detailed ones. The book also contains a number of texts on Shakespeare’s Brutus’ psychological traits; I concur with Lev Shestov, Russia’s foremost Shakespeare expert, that Brutus is the most positive character in Shakespeare’s work. Marc Antony may be voicing the author’s opinion when he says of Brutus that "His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world ‘This was a man!’"
The book describes twelve nature components: eleven have three degrees of intensity each – low, medium, and high – while the twelfth has four such degrees. Altogether, it makes for thirty-seven chapters. Many sections in Reflections conclude with indications of compensators of potential psychological flaws. There is also Pattern section, which shows varying intensity of twenty-four typological human qualities, which are different combinations of nature’s components.
As a result, at first you draw from the book your own personalized "helping", which consists in a popular description of your nature components, complete with relevant texts from Shakespeare, the Bible, and other sources. Each section concludes with a picture, done in a somewhat ironic style by Alexander Valdman, a well-known book illustrator.
Then you can proceed to "second helping" – Patterns, which will show, in percentage points:
1) your natural inclination towards various models of relationships with people (dictatorial, peace-making, aggressive, etc);
2) the intensity of your potential erotic traits (cold, playful, jealous, etc.);
3) your degree of comfort in business, arts, science, and other fields of endeavor – i.e., to what extent they correspond to your nature components;
4) the intensity of your psychological factors that predispose to psycho-somatic illnesses like ischemic heart disease, asthma, stomach ulcers, as well as hysteria, depression, obsession, and general neurotic disorders.
The book is concluded by the "Proof" chapter, which might be of interest to psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, literary critics or historians, philosophers, and educators.
At the end of the first part of "PROOF'" a reader may find the detailed comments on scientific elaborations that is the basis of the book.
Thus SECUNMIR differs from similar tests both qualitatively and quantitatively. Its special feature consists in giving the reader an opportunity to reveal his innate psychological traits, which is proven by twins testing. Second, testee learns not only own especially intense (accentuated) traits (according to Leonhard), but he/she also get the reflections of the qualities present at low or medium degree of intensity (described by me). This is supplemented by the information of nature components that are also internal compensators. As for SECUNMIR’s quantitative edge, this includes detailed descriptions of thousands combinations of nature components and a broad range of various predilections and potentials in Patterns. All told, each reader gets a detailed book about him or herself, which, I hope, the reader will find both interesting and useful.
Upon concluding Introduction, it is reasonable to pose the question: Take a self-respecting person who uses a regular mirror and says, looking at it, I don’t want to know you anymore! – wouldn’t the reader take a chance to peer at the reflection of his nature, character, personality and contours of soul offered by SECUNMIR?*
The book SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST is published in printing form in 2012 year, ISBN 978-3-659-17715-6. The author is Neli Feldman (Den). The short version of this book NEW MULTI-FACTOR PERSONALITY TEST AND ANTI-STRESS RECOMMENDATIONS is published in printing form in 2013, ISBN 978-3-659-45334-2, the author is Neli Feldman.
REGISTRATION BEFORE TEST AND TESTING
You must have finished "Necessary pretesting information". Below you will find a little questionnaire to help us know a few things about you. After you fill it out, you will see the test questions with the two columns for marking your answers. The one on the left is for answering YES; the one on the right, for NO. Use your mouse to answer the questions. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Nor are your intellect or morals being tested; this is strictly about WHAT and HOW you feel.
Low Anankastic Component
You have a natural capacity for taking decisions without lengthy hesitation or doubts. You complete a task and move on to the next one without going back to double-check. Hence, you can easily do the job that requires clear and quick action. You are firm and highly confident of yourself.
In love, you will most likely be guided by your feelings, without thinking too much. Your partner will constantly feel your profound sensuality, and it will bring many happy and worry-free moments to your relationship.
On the other hand, as you don’t stop to think about various details or go back to various phenomena and facts, you could miss their important aspects and thus commit a serious omission. Then you will be criticized for lack of attention or even negligence. When work demands special attention to detail that you cannot dispense, you might need to delegate it to someone else. Later, you might become dependent on this person.
People with low-level anankastic component do not like to retreat even when it is necessary; once they take decisions, they do not go back on them, considering them the only right solutions. They are proud of their firmness; they ignore advice; they may be imprudent, overly trusting, and self-confident. They are not prone to long discussions or analyzing their acts – especially if they are mistakes, and are therefore prone to repeating them.
All of these flaws may show up in love relationships as well, constantly eroding and ultimately destroying them.
Julius Caesar, the eponymous character of Shakespeare’s play, is a vivid example of a self-confident unflinching man. The most prominent patricians come to him with a plea to spare a good man:
BRUTUS: I kiss thy hand, but not in flattery, Caesar.
Desiring thee that Publius Cimber may
Have an immediate freedom of repeal.
CAESAR: What, Brutus?
CASSIUS: Pardon, Caesar! Caesar, pardon!
As low as to thy foot doth Cassius fall
To beg enfranchisement for Publius Cimber.
And this is how Caesar, imperious and firm, replies:
I could be well moved, if I were as you;
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me;
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumber'd sparks;
They are all fire and every one doth shine;
But there's but one in all doth hold his place.
So in the world, 'tis furnish'd well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one
That unassailable holds on his rank,
Unshaked of motion; and that I am he.
A few minutes later he will be slain by the conspirators. But, perhaps, if he had shown more flexibility, they might have gone back on their murder plan.
In a similar mode, Othello, trusting and impetuous, kills Desdemona and dies himself. He does not reflect for too long, but once he made a decision, he doesn’t go back on it. He says to Iago:
Think'st thou I'ld make a life of jealousy, to follow still the changes of the moon with fresh suspicions? No! To be once in doubt is once to be resolved.
And that’s what happens. When Iago sees Othello is resolved to take revenge on Desdemona for her "betrayal", he says provocatively, "Patience, I say; your mind perhaps may change." Othello responds:
Never, Iago: Like to the Pontic Sea, whose icy current and compulsive course ne'er feels retiring ebb, but keeps due on <…> Even so my bloody thoughts, with violent pace, shall ne'er look back…
And so, despite Desdemona’s pleas, Othello does not budge.
DESDEMONA: O, banish me, my lord, but kill me not!
OTHELLO: Down, strumpet!
DESDEMONA: Kill me tomorrow, let me live tonight.
OTHELLO: Nay, if you strive –
DESDEMONA: But half an hour!
OTHELLO: Being done, there is no pause.
DESDEMONA: But while I say one prayer!
OTHELLO: It is too late.
Regarding the last phrase, A.C. Bradley noted astutely that Othello seems to be talking about something that is a fait accompli. Othello is not killing Desdemona in a fit of jealousy; he already took the decision and is now acting on it. Pushkin also believes that Othello was rather trusting than jealous. Dostoyevsky wrote, "Othello would not lurk and spy; he is trusting. To the contrary, he needed to be pushed and incited with extraordinary effort to lead him to the thought of infidelity."
Another example from Shakespeare. In Timon the Athenian, the eponymous hero’s loyal servant Flavius, seeing that not one friend of Timon - who was not prone to doubt – came to help him, complains thus:
No, my most worthy master; in whose breast doubt and suspect, alas, are placed too late: you should have feared false times when you did feast: suspect still comes where an estate is least.
In Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare talks about the benefits of noble doubt: … the wound of peace is surety, surety secure; but modest doubt is call'd the beacon of the wise, the tent that searches to the bottom of the worst.
In the Old Testament’s Proverbs, Solomon echoes these sentiments:
Every purpose is established by counsel. (Proverbs, 22:18)
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established. (Proverbs, 15:22)
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. (Proverbs, 19:20)
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs, 2:3-5)
Medium Anankastic Component
You have a very valuable nature component that will enable you to analyze facts and phenomena important to you in a consistent, careful, and detailed fashion; you will also be able to wrap it up at the right moment – i.e., draw valid conclusions and take decisions.
People with medium anankastic component are described as acting clearly and thoughtfully. They tend to plan in advance to avoid inaccuracies. They are naturally scrupulous and try to do everything precisely, deliberately, and thoroughly, ‘from here to here’, without going overboard. Generally they don’t need outside supervision, since they follow rules and regulations willingly, out of their innate need, and are prone to spot violations on the part of others.
There are several handy examples of medium-level anankastic component in Shakespeare’s characters. In Henry IV, Lord Bardolph says in preparing for the battle:
When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection;
Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at last desist
To build at all? Much more, in this great work,
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up, should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
To weigh against his opposite; or else
We fortify in paper and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men:
Like one that draws the model of a house
Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o'er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked subject to the weeping clouds
And waste for churlish winter's tyranny.
In the same play, Archbishop of York tells his interlocutors how scrupulously he familiarized himself with the military affairs before joining the camp of war:
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we suffer,
And find our griefs heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run,
And are enforced from our most quiet there
By the rough torrent of occasion;
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles;
Which long ere this we offer'd to the King,
And might by no suit gain our audience.
He displays their list of grievances and goes on:
Then take, my Lord of Westmoreland, this schedule,
For this contains our general grievances:
Each several article herein redress'd,
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
That are insinew'd to this action,
Acquitted by a true substantial form
And present execution of our wills
To us and to our purposes confined,
We come within our awful banks again
And knit our powers to the arm of peace.
In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock also comes off as careful and thorough. This is a typical dialogue that is preceded by Bassanio requesting Shylock for a big loan, with Antonio acting as its guarantor:
SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats; well.
BASSANIO: Ay, sir, for three months.
SHYLOCK: For three months; well.
BASSANIO: For the which, as I told you, Antonio shall be bound.
SHYLOCK: Antonio shall become bound; well.
BASSANIO: May you stead me? Will you pleasure me? Shall I know your answer?
SHYLOCK: Three thousand ducats for three months and Antonio bound.
BASSANIO: Your answer to that.
SHYLOCK: Antonio is a good man.
BASSANIO: Have you heard any imputation to the contrary?
SHYLOCK: Oh, no, no, no, no: my meaning in saying he is good man is to have you understand me that he is sufficient. Yet his means are in supposition: he hath an argosy bound to Tripolis, another to the Indies; I understand moreover, upon the Rialto, he hath a third at Mexico, a fourth for England, and other ventures he hath, squandered abroad. But ships are but boards, sailors but men: there be land-rats and water-rats, water-thieves and land-thieves, I mean pirates, and then there is the peril of waters, winds and rocks. The man is, notwithstanding, sufficient. Three thousand ducats; I think I may take his bond.
BASSANIO: Be assured you may.
SHYLOCK: I will be assured I may; and, that I may be assured, I will bethink me.
High Anankastic Component
You have a deep-rooted inclination to doubt, analysis, elaboration, and a desire to avoid every single error. As you analyze yourself (you have a strong inclination to that as well), you hope to obtain certain knowledge that you need to define your path in life most clearly. High anankastic component forces a person to seek what Archimedes called pou sto, or a fulcrum ("Give me a fulcrum, and I shall move the world"). You are constantly looking to check, clarify, and select the optimal solution, and this will protect you from acting hastily and rashly.
Once you made sure certain rules or directives are correct, you will follow them closely. Despite doubts and hesitations, you can be very persistent, once you have taken an important decision. In this case, you will demand of yourself and others that everything be done accordingly and will display necessary firmness in the matter.
Due to your predilection to doubts and lack of self-confidence, you might resign in the face of difficulties, avoid them, and fold up in routine day-to-day problems. If you don’t take a timely decision, you will not embark upon necessary action that would stem from this decision. Besides, in the course of preliminary deliberations you will lose both time and energy. A situation or a task requiring extraordinary responsibility might even depress you. In such cases, you might want to delegate responsibility and end up depending on others. By refusing to take a decision on your own, you will miss an opportunity, since others are generally guided by their own interest, which may not dovetail with yours.
There is one more disadvantage of the high anankastic component. Friedrich Nietzsche believed that "people who don’t feel confident in public take advantage of a chance to display publicly their superiority on someone below them – for example, by using mockery."
People like you are usually assigned tasks whose execution does not allow for mistakes. On the other hand, you often take more time to complete them than others do.
"They suffer under the burden of responsibility: they are rendered miserable by the impossibility to execute a task as perfectly as their conscience demands. Therefore not only do they not strive for promotion, but at times refuse an offer of a more responsible and better paid position. Often they find it more acceptable to eschew responsibility for the job completely, rather than try to deliver it in less than perfect manner. Such people are tormented by an unfounded guilt for acts both committed and omitted. Most people lacking in self-confidence feel better in the military, since strict discipline leaves no room for indecision and hesitation." (C. Leonhard)
In the extreme case (a nine-point anankastic score) a person is never sure of anything; he will keep checking and re-checking his actions, yet will never settle down. His typical question is What if…? followed by a set of positive and negative outcomes. This person is tormented by doubt, often bothers others with it, and answers a question with a question. Then he/she may develops obsessions. I am talking about coming neurological decompensation, which necessitates psychological care, psychotherapy, autogenic training, self-help improvement, and possibly medication.
You must take into account that your excessive anxiety, internal worries and stress, may cause displeasure in others. It is also possible that in the course of trying to resolve your doubts you may become a pest who ignores others’ desires and time needs.
The dynamics of your nature may lead to your constant dependence, and need of advice. Your sense of inferiority, internal restraint, and excessive caution may suddenly change to impatience or fake (strictly for the show) decisiveness or sometimes self-confidence.
Uncertainty about your love feelings, doubts about your choice of partner and his or her feelings and your sexual behavior – these are main negative traits that often affect your love life.
A good example of high anankastic component is Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet. Leonhard wrote that "this trait defines his behavior and constant hesitations; on the one hand, the desire to avenge his father, and on the other, inability to do something specific. Inclination to check and weigh his every step prevents Hamlet from decision-making."
Lack of confidence leads Hamlet to demand repeated oaths from his friends who witnessed his meeting with the Ghost. They swear several times and then are forced to ask him again what it is he asks them to swear about.
HORATIO: What news, my lord?
HAMLET: O, wonderful!
HORATIO: Good my lord, tell it.
HAMLET: No: you'll reveal it.
HORATIO: Not I, my lord, by heaven.
MARCELLUS: Nor I, my lord.
HORATIO: How say you, then; would heart of man once think it? But you'll be secret?
<…> Never make known what you have seen tonight.
HORATIO and MARCELLUS: My lord, we will not.
HAMLET: Nay, but swear't.
HORATIO: In faith, my lord, not I.
MARCELLUS: Nor I, my lord, in faith.
HAMLET: Upon my sword.
MARCELLUS: We have sworn my lord, already.
HAMLET: Consent to swear.
HORATIO: Propose the oath, my lord.
HAMLET: Never to speak of this that you have seen, swear by my sword. <…> Come hither, gentlemen, and lay your hands again upon my sword: never to speak of this that you have heard, swear by my sword. <…> Once more remove, good friends.
And then the Prince once again demands that they swear.
In order to find a reliable justification for his decision to avenge his father’s death on Claudius, Hamlet says:
...I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle; I’ll observe his looks;
I’ll tent him to the quick: if he but blench,
I know my course.
Then he addresses Horatio:
There is a play tonight before the King.
One scene of it comes near the circumstance,
Which I have told thee, of my father’s death.
Even with the very comment of thy soul
Observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan’s stithy. Give him heedful note;
For I mine eyes will rivet to his face,
And after we will both our judgment join
In censure of his seeing.
When Claudius involuntarily reveals the truth during the play, Hamlet does get his justification, yet immediately follows it with more questions and elaborations:
HAMLET: O good Horatio! I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?
HORATIO: Very well, my lord.
HAMLET: Upon the talk of the poisoning?
HORATIO: I did very well note him.
But the moment Gildenstern enters, Hamlet starts it all over again:
HAMLET: Sir, a whole history.
GILDENSTERN: The king, sir, -
HAMLET: Ay, sir, what of him?
GILDENSTERN: Is in his retirement marvelous distempered.
HAMLET: With a drink, sir?
GILDENSTERN: No, my lord, rather with choler.
Even in his love letter, Hamlet can’t help speaking of doubts:
Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
Finally, Prince reads Claudius’ letter to the King of England with the order to execute Hamlet. Even then he still keeps pondering whether he should kill Claudius.
Does it not, thinks't thee, stand me now upon,--
He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother;
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes;
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience
To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
The final decision to kill his enemy was taken immediately following the play performance; yet Hamlet is still asking questions, and still fails to act.
Curiously, Shakespeare furnishes advice in the course of the play, first in the lines of the Player King:
…what we do determine oft we break.
Purpose is but the slave to memory,
Of violent birth, but poor validity,
Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,
But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be.
Most necessary ’tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt.
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
And then in the lines of Claudius:
We should do when we would, for this "would" changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents.
And then this "should" is like a spendthrift sigh
That hurts by easing.
In the Bible, Moses is a vivid example of high-level anankastic component. The founder of monotheism is beset with doubt, lacks self-confidence, and desires passionately to have the favorable ending of the exodus confirmed from above. When God in whom Moses believes passionately tells him, Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:10-14)
Overcome with humility, Moses asks, who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
God promises: Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: when thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.
Shouldn’t that be enough already? But read on:
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? what shall I say unto them?
God’s answer is firm: I AM THAT I AM: <…> Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
None of this seems to have any traction with Moses, who, unperturbed, goes on with his questioning: But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.
God does the rod-into-serpent bit and leprous-hand bit – nothing works, Moses is still trying to get excused from his divine mission: O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.<…> O my LORD, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.
More miracles and wonders follow. But Moses is as cagey as ever and goes on with his if’s:
If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us;
if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.
If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. (Exodus 33:15)
Yet, as "behooves" a deeply anankastic person, once Moses’s faith has been reinforced and once he also gained confidence in himself, now Moses demands literal observance of every single commandment:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy, 4:2)
Most stress-producing situation for High Anankastic Component: the need to take an important decision in the absence of certainty of positive outcome.
Low Heuristic Component
In your life, you are inclined to follow only well-trodden paths, in keeping with solid rules and traditions. You will fully trust life experience and common sense and will not fall for the innovations that have not met popular approval. Once you master a professional career, you will be able to do necessary routine work, deriving pleasure from your skills and feeling no discomfort. Your commonsensical arguments will be able to cool down the most ardent dreamers as you draw their attention to practical needs.
You belong among the literal-minded who ask a concrete question and expect an equally concrete answer. They prefer working with facts and numbers, rather than ideas and theories; they like clear instructions, rather than general outlines. People like you usually focus on matters in hand without wondering what is next; besides, they are more inclined to do things rather than pondering their next move. Their imagination always follows experience and is linked to specific facts and dates. Moreover, in real-life situations they are interested in the empirical, tangible aspects that could be observed here and now. They live for today and are distrustful of plans for remote future; their motto is "we’ll see". Modern psychologists call these people "sensors".
A sensor may bring solidity into his intimate relationships. His practical-mindedness brings much joy and peace in everyday life.
You should also keep in mind that, because you are ill-disposed towards various innovations, you could be quite conservative and sometimes even firmly oppose the innovations that you yourself could benefit from. At the sight of failure of others’ innovations, you may experience (and demonstrate) an unfounded sense of superiority. You may also sound mean and ironic towards dreamers and innovators who have not realized themselves. Since you don’t like change and prefer routine stability, you might miss much in your relations with others. Some of this restrictiveness may apply to your work as well, especially when you work "from here to here", without allowing for a possibility of pushing the envelope or making an exception.
In intimate relations you may also be somewhat monotonous. You might get criticized for lack of fantasy and being plain dull.
There is a character in Shakespeare’s Henry IV named Hotspur – ambitious, brave, and simple-minded. At the same time he loathes fantasizing, poetry, and anything unusual and extraordinary. He minces no words when talking of himself:
I had rather be a kitten and cry mew
Than one of these same metre ballet-mongers.
I had rather hear a brazen canstick turn'd,
Or a dry wheel grate on the axle-tree,
And that would set my teeth nothing on edge,
Nothing so much as mincing poetry.
In the same play, Prince Harry notices a trait in himself that is also typical of sensors. He says to Falstaff:
But, indeed, these humble considerations make me out of love with my greatness. What a disgrace is it to me to remember thy name, or to know thy face to-morrow! or to take note how many pair of silk stockings thou hast; viz. these, and those that were thy peach-coloured ones! or to bear the inventory of thy shirts; as, one for superfluity, and one other for use!
Another sensor is Rosenkrantz, a friend of Hamlet’s. This is a dialogue between them:
HAMLET: Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! What replication should be made by the son of a king?
ROSENCRANTZ: Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
HAMLET: Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: he keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed: when he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
ROSENCRANTZ: I understand you not, my lord.
Indeed, sensors are numerous worldwide. Freud wrote that "mankind has an instinctive defensive reaction to intellectual innovation".
Sensor’ properties have been known since the days of the Bible. In Gospel according to St. John, we read:
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. <…> Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
In other words, Nicodemus perceives Jesus’ speech as a typical sensor would.
Elsewhere in the same Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples:
I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
Jesus’ speech is idiosyncratic, laden with metaphor, and unintelligible to sensors:
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Therefore Jesus’ disciples strove among themselves, saying, how can this man give us his flesh to eat?
<...> Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, this is an hard saying; who can hear it?
Above, we have dwelt on sensors’ flaws, yet we should also bear in mind that sensors are the keepers of traditions and mores that help society cohere into a whole.
Medium Heuristic Component
A medium heuristic score represents a combination of two basic qualities: a moderate ability to anticipate the coming events and a profound need to use the anticipation to solve specific life tasks. People with medium score generally believe in fate and omens, yet they don’t "let it all hang out", but choose a hands-on approach. Indeed, intuition is a form of perception and its yield can be more valuable than logical calculations.
In Richard II, an experienced captain takes a decision on the basis of real events, but in establishing its basis he does not ignore prophecy and omens:
The bay-trees in our country are all withered,
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven.
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth,
And lean-looked prophets whisper fearful change.
Rich men look sad, and ruffians dance and leap;
The one in fear to lose what they enjoy,
The other to enjoy by rage and war.
These signs forerun the death or fall of kings
Brutus in Julius Caesar thinks in similar terms. He sees Caesar become a tyrant, ready for coronation. Filled with premonitions, Brutus says:
He would be crown’d:
How that might change his nature, there’s the question.
Lowliness is young ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber-upward turns his face;
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend. So Caesar may.
Then, lest he may, prevent. And, since the quarrel
Will bear no colour for the thing he is, 630
Fashion it thus; that what he is, augmented,
Would run to these and these extremities:
And therefore think him as a serpent's egg
Which, hatch'd, would, as his kind, grow mischievous,
And kill him in the shell.
Elsewhere in Julius Caesar, Cassius takes omens and premonitions quite seriously:
… I change my mind,
And partly credit things that do presage.
Coming from Sardis, on our former ensign
Two mighty eagles fell, and there they perch'd,
Gorging and feeding from our soldiers' hands;
Who to Philippi here consorted us:
This morning are they fled away and gone;
And in their steads do ravens, crows and kites,
Fly o'er our heads and downward look on us,
As we were sickly prey: their shadows seem
A canopy most fatal, under which
Our army lies, ready to give up the ghost.
<…> I but believe it partly,
For I am fresh of spirit and resolved
To meet all perils very constantly.
In Richard III, too, ordinary citizens speak of their premonitions.
SECOND CITIZEN: Truly, the souls of men are full of dread: ye cannot reason almost with a man that looks not heavily and full of fear.
THIRD CITIZEN: Before the times of change, still is it so: by a divine instinct men's minds mistrust ensuing dangers; as by proof, we see the waters swell before a boisterous storm.
The desire to foresee everything and avert trouble is characteristic not only of those with medium (or high) heuristic component, but also of those beset by anxieties and doubts. Yet these sentiments and heuristic components stem from different origins. There are people with a developed heuristic component who are far from anxiety-ridden. Moreover, calmness and self-confidence seem to deprive them of a chance to use intuitive information, be it their own or someone else’s. This is exactly the situation in Julius Caesar. Of course the Republic supporters are unhappy with the coming coronation of Caesar. But Caesar is self-confident and senses no danger. His wife Calpurnia is filled with premonitions, including the dream, in which she saw Caesar’s statue "Which like a fountain with an hundred spouts, did run pure blood, and many lusty Romans came smiling and did bathe their hands in it."
Caesar knows about the dream. Three times did Calpurnia groan in her dream, "Help, ho! They murder Caesar!" She pleaded with him not to leave the house. His reply: What can be avoided whose end is purposed by the mighty gods? Wet Caesar shall go forth.
Calpurnia keeps trying to persuade him. Moreover, the augurs also advise that Caesar stay out of the Senate. He rebuffs them:
The gods do this in shame of cowardice:
Caesar should be a beast without a heart,
If he should stay at home to-day for fear.
No, Caesar shall not: danger knows full well
That Caesar is more dangerous than he.
Calpurnia concludes wisely: Alas, my lord, your wisdom is consumed in confidence.
Shakespeare’s Henry IV also contains some interesting reflections on foretelling abilities.
O God! that one might read the book of fate,
And see the revolution of the times
Make mountains level, and the continent,
Weary of solid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea; <…>
O, if this were seen,
The happiest youth, viewing his progress through,
What perils past, what crosses to ensue,
Would shut the book and sit him down and die.
Thus we should be happy to be medium-heuristic: it is a wonderful human quality that allows us to see things to come only in part, and at the same time insists on the practical solution of problems in hand.
High Heuristic Component
High heuristic component is a great gift of nature that combines deep intuition, thirst for finding new ways of doing things, metaphoric thinking, and rich imagination.
This gift provides you with a great creative potential. For you, a slightest impulse is enough to generate various ideas, to calculate their results and combinations. Your imagination allows you to look into the future and to anticipate various outcomes. You enjoy finding and mastering new things and making plans. If you develop your ideas on the basis of modern knowledge, you will become a leading innovator in the area that will hold your interest.
You are given to emotional epiphanies; occasionally you predict and anticipate events and make unexpected discoveries. With people like you, imagination outpaces experience; you are among the pioneers and the mold-breakers. Such people are given to metaphors, and they take many things for granted.
High heuristic component is common among theorists, preachers, and high-level analysts. They are fond of gathering data on global level, interpreting and critiquing it, and then they present public with new more advanced options. They are said to "have a nose" for change in complex situations.
Immersed in your ideas, as you implement them, you can persuade people who are too conservative and commonsensical to accept your innovations. You might also annoy these people. On the other hand, a person who made you dependent on him and who senses your ability for innovation may demand that you restrict yourself to following his designs. Yet your abilities will manifest themselves and "work" only when ideas and concepts germinate in your own head – a process that cannot be pushed forcibly. It is true that getting new information may push you into a low period. A temporary lack of a main idea or a plan, some pessimism or increased skepticism, may dampen your imagination. These are reasons that may lead you to criticize yourself for "stagnation" or ennui.
With heightened devotion to certain ideas you may indulge in theorizing, while ignoring the problem of putting them into practice. At times, such imagination games may yield no fruit. Yet others, more practical people, might pick them up and run away with them.
You may be accused of absent-mindedness, lack of focus, daydreaming, or withdrawal from reality. Some will say you are building air castles, or are too eager to jump the gun, or make too much of an isolated case.
At times, deeply immersed in your problem, you may lose interest in your intimate partner or maintain a relation only if you meet intellectual or everyday support or some other form of assistance.
Which of Shakespeare’s characters have highly heuristic traits? Prince Hamlet, of course. He knows his own ability to anticipate and exclaims: O, my prophetic soul! Early in the play, the moment he hears that the guards saw his dead father’s ghost, he anticipates the gloomy turn of events: My father's spirit in arms! All is not well; I doubt some foul play.
When asked what he did with Polonius’ body, Hamlet goes into a verbose metaphoric riff:
KING CLAUDIUS: Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?
HAMLET: At supper.
KING CLAUDIUS: At supper! Where?
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table: that's the end.<…> A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
KING CLAUDIUS: What dost you mean by this?
HAMLET: Then, a man might use that worm as bait, to fish with. Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
Elsewhere in Shakespeare’s opus, young Romeo tells of a prophetic dream and notes he has never been wrong in his dreams: I fear, too early, for my mind misgives some consequences yet having in the stars shall bitterly begin his fearful dare with this nights revels, and expire the term of a dispised tile closed in my breast by some vile forfeit of untimely death.
In Richard II, the Queen, too, is filled with vague mournful misgivings:
Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune's womb, is coming towards me, and my inward soul with nothing trembles: at some thing it grieves. (…) This is nothing less: conceit is still derived from some forefather grief; mine is not so, for nothing had begot my something grief; or something hath the nothing that I grieve: this is in reversion that I do possess; but what it is, that is not yet known; what I cannot name; this is nameless woe.
Bushy comments on her suspicious character (which he terms "conceit") and hears in response:
This is nothing less: conceit is still derived from some forefather grief; mine is not so, for nothing had begot my something grief; or something hath the nothing that I grieve: this is in reversion that I do possess; but what it is, that is not yet known; what I cannot name; this is nameless woe.
The Bible is chock-full of prophecies, but I’ll just mention a few where a person’s nature qualities are tied to his or her future. Thus the Angel tells Hagar: Behold, thou art with child and shalt bear a son<…>And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him. (Genesis 16:11-12)
Elsewhere, God tells Rebecca: "Two nations are in thy womb, and two manners of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:23) And Rebecca did give birth to twins, which looked different from each other – in our time they would be called fraternal, or dizygotic twins (from two different fertilized eggs), as opposed to identical, or monozygotic (from the same egg). As per modern science, the twins were endowed differently, too: "Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents." (Genesis 25:27)
Before Jacob died, he delivered a number of predictions, highly allegoric and metaphoric in form, to his sons.
Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee.
Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass's colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk. (Genesis 49:8-12)
Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. (Genesis 49:16-17)
Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: the archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) (Genesis 49:22-24)
The most comprehensive and complete explanation of the intuition phenomenon comes from Jung:
Intuitive cognition is free of doubt and full of confidence, which gave Spinoza (like Bergson) grounds to consider intuition the highest form of cognition. <…> Intuition aims to grasp the widest spectrum of possibility. <…> It is exactly that auxiliary means that functions automatically when no other function can find a way out of a situation, where one is otherwise hemmed in. <…> An intuitive person is never at a place of generally acknowledged values, but always at the place of opportunity. <…> He embarks on new projects sometimes with extraordinary enthusiasm, but, once their size has been set and their later growth is not in the cards, he abandons them with indifference and not an iota of piety, and does not seem to ever remember them. As long as opportunity exists, an intuitive person seems to be chained it to by destiny itself."
French author Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues, writes this about instinct, too :
"Instinct means instant transition from one idea to another that can combine with the first one. It suggests an ability to grasp a connection between the remotest of of objects, which requires a quick and flexible mind. Such unexpected and unprepared turns invariably evoke a great deal of surprise."
And, finally, a quote on heuristic component from Blaise Pascal, an outstanding 17th-century thinker and a deep intuitivist himself:
"We do not rest satisfied with the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if in order to hasten its course; or we recall the past, to stop its too rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander in the times which are not ours and do not think of the only one which belongs to us; and so idle are we that we dream of those times which are no more and thoughtlessly overlook that which alone exists."
The most stressful situation for people with HIGH HEURISTIC COMPONENT it is the time when they forced to perform monotonous routine work for a long time.
Low Affect - Exalted Component
According to your answers, your emotions are not especially powerful. This allows you to reflect on situations calmly, without jumping to conclusions. You are prone to contemplation and well-balanced peace. In general, the balance and moderation of your feelings prevent you from go to extremes.
You can overcome hurdles of life calmly and help your love partner do likewise. Your overpowering common sense will provide both of you with a feeling of confidence.
If you approach others with your standards alone, their strong feelings and affectation may seem excessive and contrived, and you may develop unfounded distrust towards them. You may simply misunderstand them, and vice versa.
Your love partner may sense a certain lack of emotion in your feelings, which may lead to reproaches of coldness, lack of passion, etc.
Lady Macbeth is a typical Shakespeare's character with low-intensity feelings. Her chilly unflappability is especially vivid in comparison to her husband’s feelings. After he kills Duncan, she says, "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done ‘t."
MACBETH: This is a sorry sight.
LADY MACBETH: A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.
MACBETH: There's one did laugh in's sleep, and one cried, "Murder!" That they did wake each other: I stood and heard them: but they did say their prayers and address'd them again to sleep.
LADY MACBETH: There are two lodged together.
MACBETH: One cried, "God bless us!" and "Amen" the other, as they had seen me with these hangman's hands. <…>
LADY MACBETH: Consider it not so deeply.
Macbeth notes her unflappability: You make me strange even to the disposition that I owe, when now I think you can behold such sights,
and keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, when mine is blanched with fear.
While she orders Macbeth:
You do unbend your noble strength, to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them; and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
MACBETH: I'll go no more: I am afraid to think what I have done; look on't again I dare not.
LADY MACBETH: Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers: the sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures: 'tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil. If he does bleed,
I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal; for it must seem their guilt. <…> Things without all remedy should be without regard: what’s done, is done.
We should note that the low intensity of feeling does not mean such people render ethical judgment on others and themselves that is less deep. Eventually, Lady Macbeth does fall ill. She cannot sleep in the dark; she walks in her sleep as she constantly rubs her hands:
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!
Her doctor observes: Infected minds to their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine than the physician.
Medium Affect - Exalted Component
The medium affect - exalted component means that you are equally capable of feeling both sad and happy events; your internal emotions are sufficiently strong without being excessive. Therefore in general you are not prone to extremes or suddenly losing all hope. You have strong emotions and thus are able to understand other excitable people. Your balanced feelings will also help you understand others who are somewhat chilly emotionally.
Brutus in Julius Caesar is the best example of a person with medium affect - exalted component. He loved his wife Portia and values her as a daughter of noble Cato and someone worth of him. Then, he suddenly learns of her death. Soldier Messala attempts to soften the situation, using hints, yet Brutus insists on being told the truth.
BRUTUS: Now, as you are a Roman, tell me true.
MESSALA: Then like a Roman bear the truth I tell: for certain she is dead, and by strange manner.
BRUTUS: Why, farewell, Portia. We must die, Messala: with meditating that she must die once, I have the patience to endure it now.
MESSALA: Even so great men great losses should endure.
Only then Brutus remembers his duties: "Well, to our work alive. What do you think of marching to Philippi presently?"
He behaves similarly with Cassius,
BRUTUS: O Cassius, I am sick of many griefs.
CASSIUS: Of your philosophy you make no use iIf you give place to accidental evils.
BRUTUS: No man bears sorrow better. Portia is dead. <…>
Impatient of my absence,
And grief that young Octavius with Mark Antony
Have made themselves so strong—for with her death
That tidings came—with this she fell distract
And, her attendants absent, swallowed fire. <…>
Speak no more of her. Give me a bowl of wine.
In this I bury all unkindness, Cassius. <…>
Come in, Titinius! Welcome, good Messala. Now sit we close about this taper here, and call in question our necessities.
Another example of the moderate affect-exalted component is Claudius in Hamlet. Seized with remorse about his brother’s murder, he prays wildly and exclaims:
O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven; <…>
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
So – he is still hoping. Later, fatally wounded and aware that the rapier’s tip was poisoned, he would exclaim: O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
In Richard III, it is the eponymous hero, King Richard, who embodies the power of emotion aimed at defeating his enemy Richmond. His troops are defeated; but Richard does not fall to despair and fights to the last.
RICHARD: A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!
CATESBY: Withdraw, my lord; I’ll help you to a horse.
RICHARD: Slave! I have set my life upon a cast,
And I will stand the hazard of the die.
I think there be six Richmonds in the field;
Five have I slain to-day, instead of him.—
A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
High Affect - Exalted Component
You are clearly prone to the highest, most intense emotion. You exalt at happy occasions and fall into despair at sad ones. Emotional obsession, passion, storm of emotion, delight, abandon, ravishment, ecstasy – all these are manifestations of your heightened excitability. You can be sensitive, romantic, and artistic. You are so overcome with emotion that you may have a need to pour them out in letters, verse, art, or music. You are capable of great emotional commotion, which may be followed by catharsis.
In your intimate relationships you experience ecstasy and bliss, your heart flies from excess of feelings; you thirst for life.
Yet you should take into account that you are also in danger of a deep depression caused by sad events. You might also experience a feeling of life being intolerable or a complete loss of hope, and a feeling of inconsolable stemming from failure. Moreover, if you get into a habit of falling into despair easily and do not develop a coping mechanism, you might not be able to handle not only the particularly sad occasions, but even usual, somewhat rougher, ones. Thus you might develop such mechanisms, since by nature you are prone to despair.
Highly intense emotional life of hopes and obsessions may turn into series of bitter disappointments and an overly dark view of reality. Besides, you are prone to burden your life with suffering that concerns not just you, but others as well. On occasion, you tend to take their woes worse than they themselves do, while their reactions may seem to you to be devoid of color. Conversely, others may see you as a person of raging emotion, lacking in sense of measure or wisdom, and tending to what Leonhard called "reckless ecstasy" - one who reacts to reality in an exaggerated manner and has a hard time adapting to it and who is in fact a slave to his passions.
A loss of love partner is especially dangerous for you, if you have nothing to ease your despair at this stage. There is even a danger of suicide (short-circuit theory). Even in the regular flow of an affair, if you wish to hide the intensity of your feelings, you will have a hard time doing so. When your love enters a relatively stable stage, you might feel it is dying.
You are capable of accusing your partner – without foundation – of insufficiently deep and bright feelings or in failing to understand your feelings. Your erotic or sexual contacts may fall prey to your unpredictable emotional storms. As a result, you will perceive standard rough edges of a relationship as a tragedy, and may cool off towards your partner as a result. Exaggerated sensitivity may lead you to make a hasty decision about breaking up with someone who loves you.
Prince Hamlet is highly affect - exalted, though in his case it is compensated by a tendency to doubt and reflect. Nonetheless, Horatio takes note of the intensity of his feeling at the meeting with Ghost.
HAMLET: My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.
Still am I call'd. Unhand me, gentlemen.
By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.
I say, away! Go on. I'll follow thee.
HORATIO: He waxes desperate with imagination.
Once Hamlet is convinced of Claudius’ crime, he is seized with an intense feeling of revenge:
'tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.
Meeting Ghost shakes him up so badly as to frighten Ophelia when she sees him. She tells her father:
My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
<…> Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.
Thus comments Polonius on Hamlet’s behavior:
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures.
At Ophelia’s grave, the Prince exclaims in utter despair:
I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.
Another Shakespeare's character, Othello, experienced such intense feelings towards Desdemone that meeting her made him ecstatic
It gives me wonder great as my content
To see you here before me. Oh, my soul’s joy!
If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death,
<…> If it were now to die,
'Twere now to be most happy, for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.
Othello is no longer young; he knows himself and his ability to go from joy to despair and demand of life all or nothing. He says,
Amen to that, sweet powers!
I cannot speak enough of this content.
It stops me here, it is too much of joy.
And this, and this, the greatest discords be
That e'er our hearts shall make!
Discord does take place. He rages over Desdemona’s dead body:
Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul
But I do love thee! And when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.
Young Romeo and Juliet possess extreme high affect-exalted component. After meeting Romeo for the very first time, Juliet says, "If he be married my grave is like to be my wedding bed". In the famous farewell scene both lovers are seized with ecstasy of love:
JULIET: Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day.
It was the nightingale, and not the lark,
That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.
ROMEO: It was the lark, the herald of the morn, no nightingale. <…>
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
Juliet asks him to stay longer. "Let me be ta'en," says Romeo. "Let me be put to death.
I am content, so thou wilt have it so". As she finally says goodbye, Juliet asks him what time she has to send for an answer the next day. "At the hour of nine," says Romeo. Even this is too long for her:
JULIET: I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.
ROMEO: Let me stand here till thou remember it.
JULIET: I shall forget, to have thee still stand there, remembering how I love thy company.
ROMEO: And I'll still stay, to have thee still forget, forgetting any other home but this.
Finally, Friar Laurence is ready to marry them in secret. Says Romeo,
Do thou but close our hands with holy words,
Then love-devouring death do what he dare;
It is enough I may but call her mine.
After Romeo is ordered to leave his town forever, he takes out his sword to kill himself. In despair, Juliet wishes to kill herself, too. She says to Friar Laurence: Come weep with me—past hope, past cure, past help! <…> And with this knife I'll help it presently.
Without a doubt, any person with the high affect-exalted component thinking of suicide should need Friar’s very important and instructive monologue:
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.<…>
Hold thy desperate hand. <…>
Since birth and heaven and earth, all three do meet
In thee at once, which thou at once wouldst lose?
Fie, fie, thou shamest thy shape, thy love, thy wit,
Which, like a usurer, abound’st in all
And usest none in that true use indeed
Which should bedeck thy shape, thy love, thy wit.
Thy noble shape is but a form of wax,
Digressing from the valor of a man; <…>
Thy wit, that ornament to shape and love,
Misshapen in the conduct of them both,
Like powder in a skill-less soldier’s flask,
Is set afire by thine own ignorance;
And thou dismembered with thine own defence.
The lessons provided by the Bard are well supplemented by Schopenhauer:
"No incident should lead to great rejoicing or great despondency. Part of the reason is the mutability of all things, where everything may turn around in an instant; another part is the deceptive nature of our judgment of what is good or bad for us. It is this deception that has just about everybody complaining about what subsequently turns out to be to his greatest good, or rejoicing over something that turned out to be the source of great suffering."
De la Larochefoucauld, who knew a thing or two about human nature, also wrote that
"There are horrible disasters and cruel failures that are hard to conceive of: just imagining them plunges us into despair; yet when they befall us, we find in us the resources we had no idea we had; we brave the storms and turn out to be more resilient than we could know."
Nonetheless, a deeply affect - exhalted person who is not given to depression (say, Romeo and Juliet) may commit a suicide in certain circumstances. Hence, advice may not be enough, even from Friar: the two young lovers still killed themselves.
The simple recommendation: at the thoughts of suicide one should go to a specialist: a psychotherapist or a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Most stress-producing situation for High Affect-Exalted Component: sudden wrecking of hopes and plans.
Low Rigid Component
You have a natural ability to be flexible and easily retreat when it is needed (depending on emerging obstacles). You can be tolerant to your own and others’ errors and flaws, avoiding quarrels and conflicts. You will not go to bat over being right or crack your whip to be number one, and damn the costs. As you acquire life experience, new events will make you review and change your convictions without great inner conflicts; you will be able to evade what is sometimes called "sharp corners".
In your love life, you are most likely to be trusting, not too jealous or demanding.
You may get into the habit of retreating when faced with hardship and will start breaking the rules while looking for an easy out or an exception. Even involved in something that’s important to you, you may not display enough persistence or will and fail to stand up for your own interests.
Low rigid component has been observed to make people too flexible: they forgive or just ignore repeated signs of disrespect; they remain followers or subordinates, trusting and gullible. They are often disorganized; they are not in a rush to perform their tasks. They are careless and inconsistent and prone to idle talk. They are evasive; they often change their positions and hate commitment. They always have a number of options, and they often say that "all people should do what they like". These people avoid drawing conclusions and are not ready to show resistance or voice protest, even when it is called for. They do not seek to make plans and they often wait for others to make decisions. They conduct their affairs with uncertainty and are often described as "neither fish nor fowl". They like it when problems are not brought to a final solution and when there is no need to assume responsibility and control the situation. It is pretty hard to get their specific opinion on a specific issue. They tend to postpone for tomorrow things they don’t have to do today. In general, they have a unique relation with time: they seem to be impervious to its flow and demands; they are capable of bringing a medicine to a person who already got well. In general, they never make firm promises; on the other hand, they never make categoric demands. They are said to "let it all hang out", and they leave it to others to "pull chestnuts out of the fire", i.e. solve problems or look for a way out.
In love, too, they may not be sufficiently insistent and retreat if they find out about a "better partner". They are reproached of uncertainty of their feelings and intentions, of lack of commitment and desire to solve problems.
Rodrigo in Shakespeare’s Othello is just the kind. He is in love with Desdemona and asks Iago to solicit his case. He asks Iago to pass her expensive persents, which Iago has no intent of doing. Iago cons Rodrigo out of money and manipulates him any way he sees fit. Finally, Rodrigo is led to say:
Every day thou daffest me with some device, Iago; and rather, as it seems to me now, keepest from me all conveniency than suppliest me with the least advantage of hope. I will indeed no longer endure it, nor am I yet persuaded to put up in peace what already I have foolishly suffered. <…> I have wasted myself out of my means. The jewels you have had from me to deliver to Desdemona would half have corrupted a votarist: you have told me she hath received them and returned me expectations and comforts of sudden respect and acquaintance, but I find none.
Rodrigo realizes that he is being manipulated: I do follow here in the chase, not like a hound that hunts, but one that fills up the cry.
Yet even here Iago manages to pull the wool over the trusting Rodrigo’s eyes: If thou the next night following enjoy not Desdemona, take me from this world with treachery and devise engines for my life.
Asks Rodrigo: Well, what is it? Is it within reason and compass?
Then Iago suggests that he kill Cassio, since it is Cassio – according to Iago – that Desdemona is in love with. Rodrigo agrees: And that you would have me do? Then, before wounding Cassio, Rodrigo reasons: I have no great devotion to the deed and yet he hath given me satisfying reasons.'Tis but a man gone. Forth, my sword: he dies.
In Measure for Measure, the Duke has some curious thoughts on beating the law:
We have strict statutes and most biting laws.
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
Which for this nineteen years we have let slip;
Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
This refers to those especially flexible people who bend the rules and lead others to do it without understanding the consequences of such policy.
Medium Rigid Component
This component suggests that the person in question combines several positive qualities: tenacity and persistence in doing things, firmness of principles, and stability of views, as well as a capacity to be flexible when needed or if the circumstances change radically.
People who have this component set themselves specific objectives and pursue them doggedly. They obey their own rules, but they are able to consider and understand other options. They are sensitive to issues of honor, dignity, justice, and freedom of choice. They respect their own rights and those of others, and they know how to stand up for themselves without humiliating the opponent. They can admit their errors and try to correct them. If they envy, it is so-called "white envy", causing them to outdo or catch up with the lucky opponent.
Such is Henry, Prince of Wales, in Shakespeare’s Henry IV. In his youth, Henry went on various kinds of merrymaking with Falstaff. But once he set out to become a real king after inheriting the crown, he transformed himself. When the king voices his doubts about his son joining his enemies, Henry says,
And in the closing of some glorious day
Be bold to tell you that I am your son;
When I will wear a garment all of blood <…>
Which, wash'd away, shall scour my shame with it.
Prince Henry challenges a highly vain Percy Hotspur to a fight, but as he does, he gives his opponent his due. Thus does a Hotspur’s associate report it:
I never in my life
Did hear a challenge urged more modestly,
Unless a brother should a brother dare
To gentle exercise and proof of arms.
He gave you all the duties of a man;
Trimm'd up your praises with a princely tongue,
Spoke to your deservings like a chronicle,
Making you ever better than his praise
By still dispraising praise valued in you;
And, which became him like a prince indeed,
He made a blushing cital of himself;
And chid his truant youth with such a grace
As if he master'd there a double spirit.
As Hotspur’s both opponent and rival, Prince Henry says:
I do not think a braver gentleman,
More active-valiant or more valiant-young,
More daring or more bold, is now alive
To grace this latter age with noble deeds.
For my part, I may speak it to my shame,
I have a truant been to chivalry;
And so I hear he doth account me too;
Yet this before my father's majesty--
I am content that he shall take the odds
Of his great name and estimation,
And will, to save the blood on either side,
Try fortune with him in a single fight.
Luck is on Prince’s side. Having defeated Hotspur, he says farewell to his rival:
Fare thee well, great heart.
Ill-weaved ambition, how much art thou shrunk!
When that this body did contain a spirit,
A kingdom for it was too small a bound,
But now two paces of the vilest earth
Is room enough.
Medium rigidity is also a component of nature of Brutus from Julius Caesar. Brutus calculates every step while preparing for the killing of Caesar. He sees the laws of republic being violated, with Caesar trying on an emperor’s crown and becoming a tyrant. Says Brutus to his fellow conspirators:
Oh, that we then could come by Caesar’s spirit
And not dismember Caesar! But, alas,
Caesar must bleed for it. And, gentle friends,
Let’s kill him boldly but not wrathfully.
Following the murder, Brutus addresses his fellow citizens:
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: --Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I slew him. <…> Who is here so vile that will not love his country? If any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.
In Anthony and Cleopatra, the combatants display medium rigidity. Here Lepidus attempts to reconcile the two sides:
That which combined us was most great, and let not
A leaner action rend us. What's amiss,
May it be gently heard: when we debate
Our trivial difference loud, we do commit
Murder in healing wounds: then, noble partners,
The rather, for I earnestly beseech,
Touch you the sourest points with sweetest terms
Another character of this play, Venditius, is persistent and tenacious. Although he knows the value of combat merit, he still opines that
Better to leave undone than by our deed
Acquire too high a fame when him we serve’s away.
Who does i’ th’ wars more than his captain can
Becomes his captain’s captain; <…>
I could do more to do Antonius good,
But ’twould offend him, and in his offense
Should my performance perish.
In Henry IV, Archbishop of York says that "the king is weary of dainty and such picking grievances," but
He cannot so precisely weed this land
As his misdoubts present occasion:
His foes are so enrooted with his friends
That, plucking to unfix an enemy,
He doth unfasten so and shake a friend".
This is standard psychological dynamics for people with medium rigidity.
We find a similar quality in King David who exclaims in Psalms:
O LORD my God, if I have done this; if there be iniquity in my hands;
If I have rewarded evil unto him that was at peace with me; (yea, I have delivered him that without cause is mine enemy:)
Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. (Psalm 7:3)
High Rigid Component
Nature endowed you with the need to search for independence, to assert yourself, persistence, tenacity, and the wish to be Number One. You are a great lover of freedom and tend to fight for your own dignity, while being highly demanding of yourself and others. You have inclinations to leadership, vanity, pride, certainty, and tenacity in achieving the objectives you set for yourself. Your profound long-term emotional memory of the events that touched you will help you link separate facts and phenomena into a whole, find convincing arguments and proof for your ideas, actions, and evaluations, and remember everything that is meaningful for you.
In love, you are a conqueror. The object of your affection must be yours alone. Your attention may be consumed for a long time with the deepest absorption in love and its connection to all your plans and hopes.
Bear in mind that, once you get involved in an important matter and pick a certain idea as a basis for your action, you may make mistakes in evaluating facts as you miss on contradictory and mutually exclusive aspects, nuances, or details. Such interpretation and tendentious selection of arguments might lead you into fallacy. Then you might develop "extra-valuable" ideas that will obsess you completely and that are considered psychological disadaptation. At this point it is desirable to turn for psychotherapy and/or psychological care.
People with high rigidity tend to persist in their arguments, unwilling to admit their errors. Sometimes they become fanatics or petty troublemakers – suspicious and prone to confrontation, or tireless arguers tending to emphasize their criticizing position. Hard circumstances render them especially vulnerable, quick to take offense, hypersensitive grudge-bearers who keep scores and yearn to triumph over enemy.
High rigidity leads people to exaggerate their abilities. Then their insistence gradually turns to stubbornness; self-confidence, into arrogance; ambition, into careerism; and pride, into hubris. This is followed by exaggerated scruples, intransigence, high-handedness, and moral deafness. They have a low opinion of others’ real-life qualities and concentrate on their flaws instead; they are excessively demanding to others, blame them for their own failures, and denounce them. Thus develops deliberate malevolence to other people.
In love, you cannot forgive; you show jealousy and intolerance; you suppress your partner’s will and desires – all of these have a destructive effect on a relationship.
Shakespeare’s most famous character, Prince Hamlet, has a high degree of rigidity. We have to admit that hardship forces mostly negative aspects of rigidity to the surface. He says of himself, "I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious." Hamlet condemns everybody and everything in sight. The whole world is a prison, he claims. Rosencrantz parries: "Why then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your mind." (Curiously, the words about the world being a prison belong to Thomas More, whose Utopia Shakespeare may have read.) Hamlet’s another friend, Gildenstern, remarks that "Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream."
Hamlet is also suspicious. In reference to his mother Gertrude and Claudius he asks Rosencrantz and Gildenstern, "Were you not sent fore? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation?"
These "spies", as certain critics term them, immediately confirm his guess: "My lord, we were sent for."
Hamlet says in response to their questions about the source of his sadness and bizarre behavior: Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery.
Then, Hamlet groundlessly suspects Rosencrantz and Gildenstern of plotting with Claudius:
There's letters seal'd; and my two schoolfellows,
Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way
And marshal me to knavery.
Even in his last moments, vain Hamlet cares about his good name and asks his loyal Horatio to tell the truth: If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart absent thee from felicity a while, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain to tell my story.
Another character, Hotspur in Henry IV, says of himself:
By heaven, methinks it were an easy leap
To pluck bright honour from the pale-faced moon,
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,
And pluck up drowned honour by the locks.
Defeated and already dying, Hotspur addresses his rival:
O Harry, thou hast robbed me of my youth.
I better brook the loss of brittle life
Than those proud titles thou hast won of me.
They wound my thoughts worse than thy sword my flesh.
Shakespeare describes excessive love of freedom, passion of rivalry, and unwillingness to submit when needed. In Measure for Measure, he has Claudio say:
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
Elsewhere, in Troilus and Cressida, Odysseus reasons:
This chaos, when degree is suffocate,
Follows the choking.
And this neglection of degree it is
That by a pace goes backward, with a purpose
It hath to climb. The general's disdain'd
By him one step below, he by the next,
That next by him beneath; so every step,
Exampled by the first pace that is sick
Of his superior, grows to an envious fever
Of pale and bloodless emulation
The Bible considers various aspects of high rigidity. For example, Job is told that
But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.(Job 36:17)
Proverbs contains plenty of warnings to the effect:
Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud (Proverbs 16:19)
A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23)
It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. (Proverbs 25:27)
Ecclesiastes says: Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself? ( Ecclesiastes 7:16)
While Gospel according to St. Luke teaches: Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. (Luke 17:3)
For those in the habit of criticizing their neighbors, Gospel according to St. Matthew sets a serious task:
why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:3)
Many thinkers had various ideas of both qualities and flaws inherent in people with the high rigid component. For example, Kant wrote:
Arrogance, or the desire always to have an upper hand, is a kind of vanity that we use as a foundation to expect others to set themselves below our level; thus it is a sin in opposition to respect, which every person is legitimately entitled to. Arrogance should be distinguished from pride; the latter is love of honor, i.e. concern about never lowering your human dignity in front of others (which is why "pride" is usually accompanied by "noble"). Indeed, arrogance demands respect of others, while denying them same."
De Larochefoucauld opined that pride, which inspires us with so much envy, is sometimes of use toward the moderating of it too.
Jung warns us: "You can be completely seized by this or that idea, if you do not realize why it holds such sway on you <…> You should ask yourself: "Why am I obsessed with this idea? What does it to me personally?" Such enlightening doubt can protect us from danger of wholly falling victim to our own ideas."
Schopenhauer notes the positive side of criticizing:
Just as a man carries his own body weight without noticing it, yet feels any extraneous weight he needs to shift – similarly, we take no note of our own errors and vices, while seeing only those of others. Yet in the person of another, each has a mirror reflecting his own sins and errors, indecent and repulsive sides <…> When you criticize others, you are working on your own improvement. Thus he who has an inclination and a habit of subjecting actions of others to careful and severe criticism– silently and to himself - at the same time works on his own correction and improvement, since he will find enough justice or at least pride and vanity to avoid for himself what he often severely denounces in others.
Most stress-producing situation for High Rigid Component: impossibility to get out of a humiliating position.
Low Dysthymic Component
If your dysthymic component is low, this indicates that you don’t get the blues often, and they don’t last. Also, you need a valid reason for them. Even in times of grief (they happen) you recover fast, without losing presence of mind and energy.
Relative lack of depth of your grief and suffering may give people around you reasons for reproach. For example, someone might say that, if you can handle this grief with such ease, perhaps you didn’t love a dead relative or friend that much. Others may be amazed and admire your self-control and ability to recover fast.
You can find a good example of this quality in Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Duke Senior, chased out of his castle by his brother, settles in the Forest of Arden in the style of Robin Hood. This is how Duke Senior describes life in the forest to the young nobles who chose to join him:
Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we not the penalty of Adam,
The seasons' difference, as the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say,
"This is no flattery. These are counselors
That feelingly persuade me what I am."
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head.
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
Amiens, one of those in the audience, exclaims: happy is your Grace, that can translate the stubbornness of fortune into so quiet and so sweet a style.
Elsewhere, in Troilus and Cressida, after the first much-awaited night of love with Cressida, young Prince Troilus learns that his beloved is about to be given to Diomedes the Greek in exchange for noble warrior Antenor (this takes place during the Trojan War).
AENEAS: We must give up to Diomedes' hand the Lady Cressida.
TROILUS: Is it so concluded?
AENEAS: By Priam and the general state of Troy: they are at hand and ready to effect it.
TROILUS: How my achievements mock me! I will go meet them: and, my Lord Aeneas,
we met by chance; you did not find me here.
Thus Troilus recovers instantly and worries about his own safety. We will find the evidence that he is still in love with Cressida in the lines below; that is, this is about his inability to grief deeply. As he says goodbye to Cressida, he demands her fidelity.
CRESSIDA: A woeful Cressid ’mongst the merry Greeks! When shall we see again?
TROILUS: Hear me, my love. Be thou but true of heart,—
CRESSIDA: I true! How now! What wicked deem is this? <…> When shall I see you?
TROILUS: I will corrupt the Grecian sentinels, to give thee nightly visitation.
But yet, be true.
CRESSIDA: O heavens! ‘be true’ again! <…> O heavens! You love me not.
In contrast to Troilus’ low dysthymic component, here is the instant reaction of Pandar’s (Cressida’s relative) to the news of exchange of Cressida: "The devil take Antenor! the young prince will go mad!"And later on to Cressida: …would thou hadst ne'er been born! I knew thou wouldst be his death. <…> 'twill be his death; 'twill be his bane; he cannot bear it.
Yet Troilus weathers the storm and thus unwittingly brings Cressida to suspect that he does not love her.
Medium Dysthymic Component
This means you are somewhat prone to see life in sad terms; yet it doesn’t absorb you completely, since you can see both sides of the coin.
People with this component often give events a pessimistic interpretation, showing a general sense of displeasure or dissatisfaction. They are often skeptical, ironic, and lightly melancholic. At times they underestimate their potential and back down in the face of problems. They don’t take well to change: "No news is good news".
Such is Cassius in Julius Caesar. Observant Caesar says of Cassius that "Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort as if he mocked himself and scorned his spirit."
Despite Cassius’ combat experience, his pessimism caused him to commit a fatal tactical error in the campaign. Says Titinus, one of his comrades-in-arms: Mistrust of my success hath done this deed. Yet another soldier counters:
O hateful error, melancholy's child,
Why dost thou show to the apt thoughts of men
The things that are not? O error, soon conceived,
Thou never comest unto a happy birth,
But kill'st the mother that engender'd thee!
Medium dysthymic component is also present in the young Rosalind in As You Like It. An active, dynamic girl, she falls in love, but tends to interpret things in a somewhat gloomy manner and keeps finding flaws. Her counterpart is Celia, optimistic and judicious. In their typical dialogue, Rosalind speaks of life’s flaws, and Celia, of pluses:
ROSALIND: O, how full of briers is this working-day world!
CELIA: They are but burs, cousin, thrown upon thee in holiday foolery: if we walk not in the trodden paths our very petticoats will catch them.
ROSALIND: I could shake them off my coat: these burs are in my heart.
CELIA: Hem them away.
ROSALIND: I would try, if I could cry 'hem' and have him.
CELIA: Come, come, wrestle with thy affections.
ROSALIND: O, they take the part of a better wrestler than myself!
Speaking of love, Rosalind declares: "Boys and women are for the most part cattle of this color". Later in the play, she delivers an ironic monologue where she gives the short shrift to the romantic side of love:
… The poor world is almost six thousand years old, and in all this time there was not any man died in his own person, videlicit, in a love-cause. Troilus had his brains dashed out with a Grecian club; yet he did what he could to die before, and he is one of the patterns of love. Leander, he would have lived many a fair year, though Hero had turned nun, if it had not been for a hot midsummer night; for, good youth, he went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont and being taken with the cramp was drowned and the foolish coroners of that age found it was 'Hero of Sestos.' But these are all lies: men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.
People with medium dysthymic component regularly develop oppressive sadness that they cannot explain (since it is exclusively innate). In The Merchant of Venice, Antonio describes a state just like this:
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
The same component is a variant of the norm that presents no particular stress-producing danger, yet it needs to be overcome regularly, since excessive complaint and often-displayed discontent will become a burden not only to others, but to the person himself. Rosalind, too, sighs: O, Jupiter, how weary is my spirit!
And why not heed the dialogue between Gonzalo and Sebastian in The Tempest?
GONZALO: When every grief is entertained that’s offered, comes to th' entertainer—
SEBASTIAN: A dollar.
GONZALO: Dolor comes to him, indeed. You have spoken truer than you purposed.
Ecclesiastes, too, cautions against fruitless lamenting:
Say not thou, what is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)
High Dysthymic Component
This means you are able to find negative sides of life where others won’t. This sort of astuteness will help you avoid many troubles, misunderstandings, and careless and hasty decisions. A serious view conditioned with dysthymic component will lend substance to your convictions, actions, and plans.
On the other hand, you may develop a tendency to paint events in dark colors, see them as harmful, and focus on negative aspects. Then, without good reason, you will feel like a loser and even happy events will no longer make you happy. As you lose self-confidence, you may turn down a project that is perfectly within your powers, believing you won’t have enough resources or energy. Thus you will slide further into pessimism and develop doubts about value of life. Depressing events and actual failures may push one to suicidal thoughts. In this condition, without outside assistance, it is hard to overcome not only actual disasters but even routine day-to-day mishaps.
People with high dysthymic component have periods of having the blues, complaining about life, seeing no light at the end of tunnel. At times they voice discontent with themselves without reason; they blame themselves for failure, lose old interests, and see the world through the dark glasses. Their lousy mood and constant unhappy harangues put off friends and acquaintances. Most importantly, the high dysthymic component distorts reality, deprives you of full-fledged feeling of happiness, and develops a passive attitude to life, while actual failures and troubles aggravate the above.
Low sex drive and dejected mood are main dangers to your love life.
The most dysthymic Shakespeare's character is Prince Hamlet. His melancholic musings are of global philosophical nature:
I have of late—but wherefore I know not--lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
Hamlet fails to experience the joy of life and does not value it. "I do not set my life at a pin's fee." When Polonius asks him, "Will you walk out of the air, my lord?" Hamlet’s response is: "Into my grave?" He says to Polonius: You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal — except my life — except my life — except my life.
Two months after his father’s funeral, Hamlet remains gloomy, "the clouds still hang" on him. Left to his own devices, he exclaims:
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
After meeting Ghost, Hamlet deems it his duty to act and revenge his father, yet he still cannot overcome his usual melancholic passivity. This is how he rants against himself:
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words
And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
The Bible contains a number of texts of grievous woes and pleas to God for help.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. <…> I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land <…> Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit. (Psalms, 143: 4, 6, 7)
Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better (Ecclesiastes 7:3)
In 2 Corinthians:
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
In general, philosophers take a positive view of moderate melancholy. Aristotle wrote:
Great men are always of a nature originally melancholy.
Cicero, too, wrote that "all talented people are melancholics". We should note, though, that for gifted people, melancholy periods are often followed by ones of profound inspiration, and it is this time that is truly productive.
Schopenhauer wrote that
"Although people with difficult disposition, dark and worrisome by nature, in general deal with more imaginary disaster and suffering, they also have less real trouble than people who are cheerful and carefree. Whoever sees everything through dark glasses is constantly in fear of the worst and takes precautions and does not err as often as one who renders everything a cheerful appearance."
In conclusion I should remind you that people with high dysthymic component are more prone to depressive disorders. If one of them has thoughts of suicide, he or she should turn to a specialist – immediately, and especially in stressful circumstances.
Most stress-producing situations for High Dysthymic Component: large scale failures or a series of small -scale ones; lack of concrete stimulating prospects.
Low Emotive Component
This score suggests that you are not very much prone to sympathy, empathy, or compassion. People endowed with this quality do not jump recklessly to help those in trouble. Yet they can be very effective in extreme situations, when one must take decisions and render assistance with cold thinking, unburdened by emotions. This is especially the case in large-scale disasters (earthquakes, wars, major terrorist acts), which generate a lot of emotions that tend to affect even those not directly harmed. Emotionally cool people are good at triage, sorting victims by need of assistance. Alas, in everyday life this coolness also makes such people help out only when they deem it rational or useful. They seldom join groups outraged by cruelty. On the other hand, their dispassionateness helps them equitably resolve complex situations that hinge on opposing sides’ reciprocal offenses.
A person’s inability to empathize with someone else’s grief is almost always obvious to others, which leads to reproaches of indifference and even callousness.
Such a "cool customer" especially has a problem when he or she is genuinely fond of the love partner and is unable to show it. They often face reproaches of emotional rigidity, of lack of compassion or generosity. Yet when such a person is aware of his emotive insufficiency, he tends to compensate with favors or gifts, and at times does so more often than those endowed with an average or even high emotive component.
Hamlet is clearly such a case. Here is his attitude to his mother. His father’s ghost turns to caution him:
But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her.
But Hamlet promises himself: Let me be cruel, not unnatural: I will speak daggers to her, but use none. Hence he orders his mother: Leave wringing of your hands: peace! Sit you down, and let me wring your heart. As he talks of Claudius’s crime, he cruelly shames and humiliates his mother, who begs him: O Hamlet, speak no more! Yet speak he does, forcing her to plead further: O, speak to me no more! These words like daggers enter in my ears. But Prince keeps going on about her shame even after she admits that thou hast cleft my heart in twain. At the end of the conversation, Hamlet sneeringly advises:
...despite of sense and secrecy,
Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
Let the birds fly, and like the famous ape
To try conclusions, in the basket creep
And break your own neck down.
Now let us look closely at Hamlet’s emotive coldness towards Ophelia. Early in the play, her father Polonius rebukes her:
…he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been most free and bounteous:
If it be so, as so 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution, I must tell you,
You do not understand yourself so clearly
As it behoves my daughter and your honour. <…>
Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool.
In Shakespeare’s day, "fool" also meant a "child", so another meaning if the phrase is "you’ll bring me a baby". Consider what loss of virginity and out-of-wedlock pregnancy meant in those days.
Ophelia is also cautioned by her brother Laertes:
Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmaster'd importunity.
However, these cautions arrived too late, since the virginity had already been lost, which can be inferred from Hamlet’s remarks to her father; and then, at the end of the play, from Ophelia’s own mad speeches. The Prince asks Polonius: O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou! (In the Bible, Jephthah had to sacrifice his daughter who bemoaned her fate to die a virgin.) Says Polonius: If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well. Hamlet counters: Nay, that follows not. Asks Polonius: What follows, then, my lord? Hamlet replies: Why, as by lot, God wot, and then, you know, it came to pass, as most like it was— <…> Conception is a blessing; but not as your daughter may conceive.
This is how Ophelia discloses her secret. Listening to her incoherent speeches, Claudius assumes she "conceits upon her father". Ophelia counters: Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they ask you what it means, say you this:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
We know that in one of the letters Ophelia got from Hamlet he confessed: I love thee best, o most best, believe it. Yet subsequently he told her:
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty. <…> Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. <…> You should not have believed me.
Thus Hamlet, who caused Ophelia’s loss of virginity, now rebukes her for it and goes on:
If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shall not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery.
(Some experts note that in Shakespeare’s day "nunnery" was common slang for "whorehouse", which renders Hamlet’s advice a double-entendre.)
At their next - and last – meeting that took place before and during the stage performance, Hamlet says the most cynical things to her, needles her viciously, and in general pulls no punches:
HAMLET: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
OPHELIA: No, my lord.
HAMLET: I mean, my head upon your lap?
OPHELIA: Ay, my lord.
HAMLET: Do you think I meant country matters?
OPHELIA: I think nothing, my lord.
HAMLET: That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs.
OPHELIA: You are keen, my lord, you are keen.
HAMLET: It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
This entire dialogue takes place in the presence of the whole royal court and traveling actors.
But these lines do not cover Hamlet’s whole emotive coldness and cynicism. At Ophelia’s funeral, Hamlet hears Laertes exclaim in grief (bear in mind that the latter’s father was killed by Hamlet, and his sister drowned herself): Oh, treble woe fall ten times treble on that cursed head, whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense deprived thee of!
Hamlet is the "cursed head" in question. Yet he is not about to blame himself; he steps up and pounces at Laertes:
Swounds, show me what thou'lt do.
Woo’t weep? Woo’t fight? Woo’t fast? Woo’t tear thyself?
Woo’t drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?
<…> Dost thou come here to whine?
After this tirade Hamlet turns and leaves. Actually, even after killing Polonius Hamlet shows no emotional remorse. This is what he says to the dead man:
Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
Prince ends on a thoroughly cold note: I'll lug the guts into the next room. <…> Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
On the contrary, in King Lear Shakespeare shows that a deep trauma may soften an emotionally cold person. Having lost everything and exiled by his daughters from his realm, finding shelter among the poor, Lear says to Fool: Come on, my boy: how dost, my boy? art cold? I am cold myself. <…> Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart that's sorry yet for thee.
The sight of beggars elicits this comment:
Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta'en
Too little care of this! <…>
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art.
The Bible presents numerous lessons in charity and the faith that a man’s soul can be softened. For example,
When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. (Deuteronomy 24:20)
Proverbs teach us:
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink (Proverbs 25:21); Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction; Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9); Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. (Proverbs 3:3); Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27) The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. (Proverbs 11:17) The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25).
Prophet Isaiah speaks of charity as a way of healing your soul:
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. <…> And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday (Isaiah 58:7, 8, 10)
Emmanuel Kant had a few interesting things to say about people with emotive coldness:
if nature has put little sympathy in the heart of this or that man; if he, supposed to be an upright man, is by temperament cold and indifferent to the sufferings of others <…> - and such a man would certainly not be the meanest product of nature - but if nature had not specially framed him for a philanthropist, would he not still find in himself a source from whence to give himself a far higher worth than that of a good-natured temperament could be? Unquestionably. It is just in this that the moral worth of the character is brought out which is incomparably the highest of all, namely, that he is beneficent, not from inclination, but from duty.
The creator of philosophically based moral imperative, Kant himself was an example of an emotively cold person. Perhaps this circumstance allowed him clearly to sort out a person’s actions according to his inclination to freewill actions, based on his reasoning capacity. This is Kant’s interpretation of the commandment to love thy neighbor:
love, as an affection, cannot be commanded <…>even though we are not impelled to it by any inclination- nay, are even repelled by a natural and unconquerable aversion. This is practical love and not pathological- a love which is seated in the will, and not in the propensions of sense- in principles of action and not of tender sympathy; and it is this love alone which can be commanded.
On the basis of such statements and the extreme independence of his own inclinations Kant demonstrated we can claim that even an emotively cold person can rise to the heights of morality.
Medium Emotive Component
You have a medium natural capacity for empathy and compassion. You can be sensitive and attentive towards those close to you; you can love art and nature. You are capable of gratitude. People with these qualities try to help those in trouble; they are fond of giving presents. They "live and let live". Yet medium emotive component is a rather sensitive quality. It can grow (often with age) to excessive compassion. On the other hand, it may lead to bitterness, when the person discovers that his good deeds were in vain.
Shakespeare has just the character for this component: Timon of Athens, the eponymous hero of the play, called "a most incomparable man, breathed". And here is what he says:
O you gods, think I, what need we have any friends, if we should ne'er have need of 'em? They were the most needless creatures living, should we ne'er have use for 'em, and would most resemble sweet instruments hung up in cases that keep their sounds to themselves. Why, I have often wished myself poorer, that I might come nearer to you. We are born to do benefits.
A wealthy man, Timon makes sizable money gifts. Upon getting an oral thank-you, he pronounces: I gave it freely ever; and there’s none can truly say he gives, if he receives.
He helps his friend Ventidius to get out of jail and reasons thus: I am not of that feather to shake off my friend when he must need me. I do know him a gentleman that well deserves a help: which he shall have: I'll pay the debt, and free him.
Thereupon Timon passes the word that he is expecting Ventidius over: "'Tis not enough to help the feeble up, but to support him after."
After a while, the rich Timon goes broke. He hopes his friends would help, but not one does. Then he invites them to a feast, but, instead of food, serves hot water in closed vessels. Enraged, he harangues his guests:
May you a better feast never behold,
You knot of mouth-friends I smoke and lukewarm water
Is your perfection. <…>
Burn, house! Sink, Athens! Henceforth hated be
Of Timon man and all humanity!
The Bible’s Joseph is also described as a man with a medium emotive component. His brothers come to see him, unaware that he is their younger brother whom many years ago they sold into slavery. They brought his younger brother Benjamin, since Joseph, the Pharaoh’s Vizier, had ordered that he be brought to Egypt.
And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son. And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. (Genesis 43:29)
Further, Judah, a brother of Joseph’s, tells:
And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. (Genesis 44:27-31)
<…> And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. (Genesis 45:4) <…> And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them. (Genesis 45:14)
Bear in mind that Joseph revealed himself to his brothers only upon subjecting them to certain tests and upon them passing these tests.
High Emotive Component
Your nature is rich in compassion and kind-heartedness. You are capable of altruistic deeds; you would avoid conflict in order to offend or hurt anybody. For you, it is natural to protect the weak and the needy and forgive their misdoings. You are peaceful, gentle, tender, and deeply loyal to those whom you select as the object of these feelings.
By nature you seem to be made for loving; more so than being loved. Your compassion and profound impressionability and sensitivity will make your love a profound long-lasting feeling.
Hard circumstances may have too much of an effect on you, causing feelings of commotion and desolation. Under this impact you may lose ability to resist the negative or troubling events in life. Perhaps you will simply begin to avoid them (sometimes to your disadvantage) or become overly pliable, easy for others to rule over. When you demand with that others live up to their duties, you will end up begging and pleading them. If after a prolonged period of such superpatience you finally gather up your courage and show firmness, others may take this negatively, since they have already developed a convenient habit of using you. Moreover, there is a danger of becoming a scapegoat.
In the situations where you need to offer firm consistent resistance, you may experience dismay and weakness caused by your contradictory feeling. Then you should turn to psychological care and/or autogenic training.
Shakespeare deals with the dangers of excessive emotive trait in the character of Desdemona in Othello. She loved Othello "for the dangers [he] had passed", while he "loved her that she did pity them." This is Othello’s version of the story: Her father loved me, oft invited me; still questioned me the story of my life from year to year -- the battles, sieges, fortunes that I have passed. <…> And often did beguile her of her tears when I did speak of some distressful stroke that my youth suffered. My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
Iago, a master of observation, spoke of Desdemona: …she is of so free, so kind, so apt, so blessed a disposition, she holds it a vice in her goodness not to do more than she is requested <…> … 'tis most easy the inclining Desdemona to subdue in any honest suit: she's framed as fruitful as the free elements.
Indeed, Desdemona eagerly takes on the case of Cassio who lost his position, especially since his request and behavior bespeak his loyalty to Othello and his deep sorrow. Cassio pleads with her: I do beseech you that by your virtuous means I may again exist, and be a member of his love whom I with all the office of my heart entirely honour: I would not be delay'd.
Desdemona sees that Cassio yearns to regain her husband’s favors, and so she swears:
I give thee warrant of thy place. Assure thee, if I do vow a friendship, I’ll perform it to the last article. <…> Be merry, Cassio; for thy solicitor shall rather die than give thy cause away.
And so she does live up to her promise: she begs and pleads with Othello to take Cassio back. Her arguments are based on love and compassion. She says that Cassio is …so humbled that he hath left part of his grief with me to suffer with him. <…> A man that all his time hath founded his good fortunes on your love, shared dangers with you—
Rapt in jealousy, Othello is rude to Desdemona – but she forgives him: "It is my wretched fortune.<…> Nay, heaven doth know." When her maid Emilia, well aware of Desdemona’s fidelity, says that
I will be hang'd, if some eternal villain,
Some busy and insinuating rogue,
Some cogging cozening slave, to get some office,
Have not devised this slander;
Desdemona only sighs in response: If any such there be, heaven pardon him!
Of Othello, Desdemona says, …by this light of heaven, I know not how I lost him. Here I kneel: <…> Unkindness may do much, and his unkindness may defeat my life, but never taint my love.
A story of love so deep, even bottomless, ends in a scene of horror. Desdemona prays Othello: "Kill me tomorrow—let me live tonight! <…> But half an hour! <…> But while I say one prayer!"
But her pleading falls on deaf ears – she is "smothered", as Sheakspeare put it. Her last words are, "A guiltless death I die". To Emilia’s question, "Oh, who hath done this deed?" she responds: Nobody. I myself. Farewell. Commend me to my kind lord. Oh, farewell!
Shakespeare’s works contain much evidence that overly soft-hearted people do not enjoy respect of those rude and strong. In Henry IV, the king remarks:
My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities,
And you have found me, for accordingly
You tread upon my patience. <…>... my condition,
Which hath been smooth as oil, soft as young down,
And therefore [I] lost that title of respect
Which the proud soul ne'er pays but to the proud.
In King Lear, Goneril says to her husband, Duke of Albany:
This milky gentleness and course of yours
Though I condemn not, yet, under pardon,
You are much more attask'd for want of wisdom
Than praised for harmful mildness.
The Old Testament is rich in texts of clemency:
He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor. (Proverbs 22:9) <…> By mercy and truth iniquity is purged. (Proverbs 16:6)
Jeremiah speaks of particular gentleness at one’s young age:
It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth
He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him.
He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. (Lamentations 3:27-30)
Philosophers differ on the subject of compassion, considering its flaws as well as good qualities. In Human, All Too Human, Nietzsche wrote:
Sympathetic natures, always helpful in a misfortune, are rarely the same ones who share our joy: when others are happy, they have nothing to do, become superfluous, do not feel in possession of their superiority, and therefore easily show dissatisfaction.
Spinoza posited that
"…he, who is easily touched with compassion, and is moved by another's sorrow or tears, often does something which he afterwards regrets ; partly because we can never be sure that an action caused by emotion is good, partly because we are easily deceived by false tears."
"To forgive and forget means to throw valuable experience out the window. Men are like children, in that, if you spoil them, they become naughty. Therefore it is well not to be too indulgent or charitable with anyone."
Jung writes convincingly:
"It is impermissible to fall into extremes – even into good ones. When you fall into the extremal so-called good, it loses its moral nature. It is not that it has turned into bad by itself; but once it has been fallen into, it generates bad results. Any form of chronic poisoning is bad, whether we talk about alcohol, morphine, or ideals. <…> Letting yourself go into extremes is impermissible.
When person with HIGH EMOTIVE COMPONENT cannot help to unhappy, sick, suffering people which appeal to him/her it is stressful situation for this person.
Low Anxious Component
Nature has made you a brave, fearless person, who tackles danger without effort and does not give in to panic. In extreme situations you act decisively, firmly, and rationally.
You can instill confidence and calmness in your love life and, if needed, can take risks for your partner’s sake. If you choose to, you can relieve your beloved of extra burden by taking them upon yourself, since for you they are not burdens at all.
Yet you may not anticipate dangers and troubles and may fail to take precautions. You may be able to overcome life’s obstacles, but you may not caution those close to you and turn out to be less caring. You may ignore advice or not bother asking others’ opinons at all and take risky steps without thinking, which may hurt you. You can also display impatience and lack of prudence in important situations.
Shakespeare’s Hotspur in Henry IV is utterly fearless. When he is warned: [It is] as full of peril and adventurous spirit as to o'er-walk a current roaring loud on the unsteadfast footing of a spear.
If he fall in, good night! or sink or swim:
Send danger from the east unto the west,
So honour cross it from the north to south,
And let them grapple: O, the blood more stirs
To rouse a lion than to start a hare
He gets a fair reply: "Imagination of some great exploit drives him beyond the bounds of patience."
Hotspur’s reaction to a letter warning him of danger: "I tell you, my lord fool, out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety."
Before the decisive battle, Hotspur demonstrates complete recklessness and total absence of fear. He is told of a huge enemy force facing his army. "No harm," Hotspur says coolly. "What’s more?"
More news is coming about the enemy’s overwhelming forces, about both the King who formed his own force and Prince Henry with his troops approaching the battlefield.
"Let them come," replies Hotspur.
The messenger brings important letters. Says Hotspur:
I cannot read them now.
O gentlemen, the time of life is short!<…>
An if we live, we live to tread on kings;
If die, brave death, when princes die with us!
He dies, and his army is routed.
In Troilus and Cressida, Cressida cautions: Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds safer footing than blind reason, stumbling without fear. To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
Medium Anxious Component
Medium anxiety means you can be moderately prudent and cautious. You are not prone to excessive risks or unfounded misgivings. Hardship may force you to be active and fill you with a desire to overcome them. In some situations, anxiety may upset your balance, but you can overcome it and come to resolve the problems facing you.
In Julius Caesar, this is the situation Brutus narrates before taking a vitally important and risky decision:
Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar,
I have not slept.
Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:
The Genius and the mortal instruments
Are then in council; and the state of man,
Like to a little kingdom, suffers then
The nature of an insurrection.
In Hamlet, Claudius experiences no small anxiety; yet it does not consume him, but stirs him into prompt action. He says of Hamlet:
There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger: which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England.
The moment Claudius learns that Hamlet killed Polonius, he becomes reasonable and prudent: But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed we must, with all our majesty and skill, both countenance and excuse.
He tries to overcome his mounting anxiety and addresses the Queen:
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Later on, in sight of the deranged Ophelia, Claudius lists all the troubles that may turn into yet worse disasters: When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.
On the subject of himself, he remarks correctly that … you must not think that we are made of stuff so flat and dull that we can let our beard be shook with danger and think it pastime.
In Richard III, Shakespeare demonstrates how skillfully the King suppresses his anxiety with logical reasoning before a decisive battle:
KING RICHARD III: Give me a calendar. Who saw the sun to-day?
RATCLIFF: Not I, my lord.
KING RICHARD III:
Then he disdains to shine; for by the book
He should have braved the east an hour ago
A black day will it be to somebody. <…>
Not shine to-day! Why, what is that to me
More than to Richmond? For the selfsame heaven
That frowns on me looks sadly upon him.
And he decisively engages his enemy.
High Anxious Component
This component may help you prevent risky or dangerous situations. Given a choice, you will act prudently and cautiously and choose the safest scenario. You will try to observe rules and regulations, especially when violations could do you harm. You know the art of tactical retreat, avoiding complications, and you will be always on guard, which is quite different from cowardice.
True, you may develop a habit of avoiding action that involves overcoming even the smallest obstacles. You may be depressed not just by real things, but by imaginary ones as well. Should your opponents get a hint of your lowered resistance capacity, they will attack you more vigorously. Your anxieties, doubts, and misgivings may render you vulnerable to panic. Your stirred-up anxieties may cause displeasure of others. You might well try to hide your anxieties with superficially confident behavior. Yet you will have to overcome your deep-seated anxieties first in order to make this look natural.
Periods of higher anxiety and sleeping disorders fall under personality disadaptation requiring psychological care, autogenic training, and perhaps medication.
Hamlet is a good example of high anxiety. First he vows to revenge his father, but then he is in no rush to do it and explains his delay as follows: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all. Further, he confesses his fear of death to himself: Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death.
He reflects: Now, whether it be bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple of thinking too precisely on th' event — a thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom and ever three parts coward.
He tries to find justification for himself:
Am I a coward?
Who calls me "villain"? Breaks my pate across?
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?
Tweaks me by the nose? Gives me the lie i' th' throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
'Swounds, I should take it.
Later, Prince tells his friend Horatio of the acute fear he experienced aboard the ship in the storm.
…in the dark
Groped I to find out them, had my desire,
Fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew
To mine own room again, making so bold
(My fears forgetting manners) to unseal
Their grand commission.
Prince’s panic shows well in the scene following his killing of Polonius. Right away, standing over the body, Hamlet says, "This man shall set me packing," and right away reminds his mother, "I must to England; you know that?" Shaken by the murder, the Queen says, "Alack, I had forgot: 'tis so concluded on." But Hamlet remembers and repeats three times, "For England!"
Fear and anxiety are the reasons why Hamlet is delaying his revenge – killing Claudius. However, there are other reasons, too. We should note that Hamlet’s decision to feign insanity, taken immediately after the vow, also speaks of his anxiety in the face of danger. He uses his act cannily. Hearing the noise behind the carpet in his mother’s bedroom, he bares his sword and strikes, thinking he is killing Claudius. "How now? A rat?" he says. "Dead, for a ducat, dead!" Yet a moment later he still blurts out to his mother that he thought it would be Claudius.
Macbeth, the eponymous hero of Shakespeare’s drama, is a vivid example of a man with heightened anxiety. According to Leonhard, "In the crucial moment, had it not been for Macbeth’s wife’s urging, the fear might have kept him from committing the murder. Yet his constant fear of someone’s revenge subsequently makes him a bloody tyrant." Macbeth tries to anticipate the consequences of his own planned and committed crimes.
If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips.
He reasons thus:
Are less than horrible imaginings.
My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man
That function is smothered in surmise,
And nothing is but what is not.
Soon, as he plunges into bloodshed, he remarks "I have almost forgot the taste of fears." Yet soon his anxiety-ridden nature prevails, and he has to admit that
Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air.
But now I am cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears
Finally, let us cite one of the most interesting and timely remarks made by Pericles in Pericles, Prince of Tyre: "…tyrants' fears decrease not, but grow faster than the years."
The Bible contains passages that treat anxity-prone individuals in a relatively laissez-faire manner. In Deuteronomy,
And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, what man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint as well as his heart. (Deuteronomy 20:8)
Similar sentiments are sounded in Judges:
Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand. (Judges 7:3)
Psalm 55 sings of fear and awe:
My heart is sore pained within me: and the terrors of death are fallen upon me Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.
Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. <…>
I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. (Psalm 55:4-8)
There is a very special fear – one of God – that is encouraged in the Bible. The Book of Job says:
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28)
The same thought is conveyed in Psalms:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalm 111:10)
In his Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus has an interesting thought on fear:
"A person is conscious only insofar he doesn’t hide his fears from himself. Ancient Athens had a temple of old age, and children were taken there."
Sigmund Freud acknowledged the existence of people with innate high anxiety:
"Of all the possibilities they choose the worst; they consider every mishap an omen of disaster, and interpret every uncertainty as a turn for the worse. We see the inclination towards such anticipation of disaster as a character trait among many people who cannot be called ill; they are considered fearful. <…> fears of darkness, thunder, and animals are perhaps built-in."
According to Sir Francis Bacon,
"Nature instilled fear in all living things, and this fear protects their life and essence, as it helps them avert and chase away the dangers. <…> The same nature has no sense of proportion, and panic fear is one that has no clear idea of its own basis".
Schopenhauer believed that
"A certain degree of timidity is even necessary in the world: fearfulness is merely its excessive degree. <…>We have an easier time living through an accident if we anticipate its likelihood in advance and, as we say, come to terms with it. The reason may be that before this accident arrives we consider it calmly as a simple possibility; we consider the scale of disaster clearly and from all sides, and thus at least see it as something finite and observable – and this is why its actual arrival will affect us no harder than its actual weight. <…> By definition, the faint of heart is one who begins to cower, becomes despondent, and starts howling when the clouds gather or at least merely show up on the horizon. To the contrary, we should adopt a maxim: ‘Do not give in to misfortune, but move to face it bravely’. As long as the outcome of a risky business is in doubt, as long as there is still a chance it will be favorable, one should not permit oneself to slide into despondency, but must think only about resisting it. Be firm in spirit and meet the coming misfortunes bravely."
Most stress-producing situation for High Anxious Component: uncertainty of event that is fraught with thread to life, well-being, and important aspects of one's activities.
Low Excitable Component
You have a great natural quality. You are not irritable. Only rarely do you blow a fuse, and even then you need a good reason for it; for example, someone has been testing your patience for a long time. Your blowups are both infrequent and small in scale. You can keep calm even when among nervous people in a stir. You are impervious to their nervousness. Since in general, you are hard to drive up the wall, it is easy for you to be tactful and composed.
The lack of irritability is a rare quality, yet those close to you may perceive it as indifference. They might say they never know whether you are content or not.
In love life, women (if you are a man) may, evoking old ways, rebuke you for lack of "manly" abruptness, firmness, or aggression.
Prince Hamlet is an example of a person with low excitability. He thinks this makes him passive and overly patient: But I am pigeon-livered and lack gall to make oppression bitter.
Indeed, even his affected blowups stem from his excitability, rather than anger. It is for a reason that Gertrude thus describes his condition following these blowups: Anon, as patient as the female dove when that her golden couplets are disclosed, his silence will sit drooping.
Indeed, as Hamlet says about himself, "I am not splenitive and rash".
Another non-excitable person is John of Gaunt in Richard II. He is unflappable; when his son Bolingbroke complains about being exiled for six years, John says in response: Thy grief is but thy absence for a time. <…> What is six winters? They are quickly gone. <…> Call it a travel that thou takest for pleasure.
Bolingbroke reveals his grief and suffering, but John responds with this sort of moralism:
The sullen passage of thy weary steps
Esteem as foil wherein thou art to set
The precious jewel of thy home return. <…>
All places that the eye of heaven visits
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens.
Moreover, he even rushes Bolingbroke to leave:
Come, come, my son, I’ll bring thee on thy way;
Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay.
In Timon of Athens, Senator speaks of importance of calm nature:
He's truly valiant that can wisely suffer
The worst that man can breathe, and make his wrongs
His outsides, to wear them like his raiment, carelessly,
And ne'er prefer his injuries to his heart,
To bring it into danger.
The Bible, too, praises repeatedly the advantages of a calm disposition:
Yielding pacifieth great offences. (Ecclesiastes, 10:4)
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. (Proverbs, 15:1)
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:4)
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone (Proverbs 25:15)
Medium Excitable Component
This score means that you can be irritable, but not often. You may be especially stirred up by limitations and bans and various conflict situations. You can voice your disagreement and discontent resolutely, but not necessarily in an abrupt form. You are definitely capable of holding back when you need to, yet you will feel tense on the inside.
Noble Brutus in Julius Caesar is clearly one with a medium excitability component. A man who cannot stand any trace of tyranny, Brutus listens patiently to Cassius’ provocative speeches on Caesar’s power.
Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
Brutus responds in a reserved manner.
That you do love me, I am nothing jealous.
What you would work me to, I have some aim.
How I have thought of this and of these times
I shall recount hereafter. For this present,
I would not, so with love I might entreat you,
Be any further moved. What you have said
I will consider, what you have to say
I will with patience hear, and find a time
Both meet to hear and answer such high things.
The ‘find a time’ phrase is fairly typical of people with a certain inclination towards irritability; it is a delayed reaction and an attempt to put out the problem. Sometimes they avoid communication, trying not to worry those close to them. This is the state of Brutus his wife Portia comments on:
Yesternight, at supper,
You suddenly arose and walked about,
Musing and sighing, with your arms across,
And when I asked you what the matter was,
You stared upon me with ungentle looks.
Here is a typical scene of two agitated warriors, Brutus and the slightly more irritable Cassius, getting into a conflict.
CASSIUS: Brutus, bay not me; I'll not endure it: you forget yourself, to hedge me in; I am a soldier.
BRUTUS: Go to; you are not, Cassius.
CASSIUS: I am.
BRUTUS: I say you are not.
CASSIUS: Urge me no more, I shall forget myself; have mind upon your health, tempt me no further.
BRUTUS: Hear me, for I will speak. Must I give way and room to your rash choler?
Shall I be frighted when a madman stares?
CASSIUS: O ye gods, ye gods! Must I endure all this?
BRUTUS: All this! Ay, more: fret till your proud heart break;<…>
CASSIUS: Have not you love enough to bear with me, hen that rash humour which my mother gave me makes me forgetful?
BRUTUS: Yes, Cassius; and, from henceforth, when you are over-earnest with your Brutus, he'll think your mother chides, and leave you so.
The interesting thing about this dialogue is that not only does it reveal Brutus’ medium irritability, but it shows Cassius’ high level of the same trait. In Brutus’ words Shakespeare asserts both the inherited nature of this trait (Cassius got it from his mother) and its forgivable aspect.
The Bible also takes a tolerant attitude to people somewhat irritable but not given to rage:
He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated (Proverbs 14:17)
High Excitable Component
Part of your nature is being impulsive and producing quick emotional reactions. You can be an ardent debater and defend your point of view with determination. While others, whether prudently or indifferently, may ignore unpleasant facts, you, by contrast, will voice displeasure or frustration, and in this way your words will have more of practical effect than others’. When involved in situations that require instant decisions, you will state your problems quickly and openly and may commit a desperate deed. If something gets in your way, you could be headstrong and ignore the consequences.
You are so much inclined to be irritable that you have a hard time holding back at mere objections, but especially when your freedom is limited or you are prevented from reaching your objectives. If you don’t have regular emotional relaxation (sports, psychological self-training, humor, physical work, hobbies, etc), your emotional decompensation will pile up, and, as a result, you will vent for a petty reason, and this venting will become disproportionate. By rushing your opinions, you will miss a chance to trade them with others and thus get the information you might need. Subsequently you will berate yourself for being too quick on the draw. Your impatience will prompt you to demand that everything be done exactly as you want. Otherwise you will act so gruffly and discontentedly that others might want to curry favor with you, just to stay out of trouble. This, however, will not make you popular. Those around you will describe you as a person who does not seek a chance to make up, is intolerant and overly demanding and abrupt.
In most cases very high excitability definitely requires psychological care, psychotherapy, autogenic training and/or medication. Unfortunately, of those with this characteristic, few are aware of it.
There are plenty of excitable characters in Shakespeare’s plays. Juliet’s father’s hot temper is described quite vividly. She tries to explain to him why she chose not to marry Paris. In response, her father rebukes her: How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
'Proud,' and 'I thank you,' and 'I thank you not;' and yet 'not proud,' mistress minion, you, thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, but fettle your fine joints 'gainst Thursday next,to go with Paris to Saint Peter's Church, or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither. Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out, you baggage!
Juliet begs him: Good father, I beseech you on my knees, hear me with patience but to speak a word.
And this is her father’s answer:
Hang thee, young baggage! Disobedient wretch!
I tell thee what: get thee to church o' Thursday,
Or never after look me in the face.
Speak not. Reply not. Do not answer me. <…>
Thursday is near; lay hand on heart, advise:
An you be mine, I'll give you to my friend;
And you be not, hang, beg, starve, die in the streets,
For, by my soul, I'll ne'er acknowledge thee.
The traditional opinion is that the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets was the main reason for Juliet’s death. Yet her father’s temper has to take some of the blame.
Most Shakespeare’s characters are rebuffed and rebuked for their lack of restraint. This is what Hotspur is told in Henry IV:
In faith, my lord, you are too willful-blame <…>
You must needs learn, lord, to amend this fault.
Though sometimes it show greatness, courage, blood—
And that’s the dearest grace it renders you—
Yet oftentimes it doth present harsh rage,
Defect of manners, want of government,
Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain,
The least of which, haunting a nobleman,
Loseth men’s hearts and leaves behind a stain
Upon the beauty of all parts besides,
Beguiling them of commendation.
In The Merchant of Venice, Bassanio cautions his friend Gratiano of the consequences of his easily agitated nature: Thou art too wild, too rude and bold of voice; <…> Pray thee, take pain to allay with some cold drops of modesty thy skipping spirit, lest through thy wild behavior I be misconstrued in the place I go to, and lose my hopes.
In The Taming of the Shrew, Katherine talks about anger harmful to female beauty:
A woman moved is like a fountain troubled,
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty,
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty
Will deign to sip or touch one drop of it.
King Lear is a famous quickly angered character in Shakespeare’s canon. In anger, he disowns his younger daughter Cordelia:
Here I disclaim all my paternal care,
Propinquity, and property of blood,
And as a stranger to my heart and me
Lear sends terrible curses to his another daughter, Goneril:
Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!
Dry up in her the organs of increase;
And from her derogate body never spring
A babe to honour her! <…>
Let it stamp wrinkles in her brow of youth;
With cadent tears fret channels in her cheeks;
Turn all her mother's pains and benefits
To laughter and contempt; that she may feel
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child!
In Coriolanus, one of Coriolanus’ enemies proposes to another to take advantage of the brave warrior’s impetuousity:
Put him to choler straight: he hath been used
Ever to conquer, and to have his worth
Of contradiction: being once chafed, he cannot
Be rein'd again to temperance; then he speaks
What's in his heart; and that is there which looks
With us to break his neck.
Here, Shakespeare describes people’s reaction to the quick anger in a person on whom they depend:
The angry spot doth glow on Caesar's brow,
And all the rest look like a chidden train:
Calpurnia's cheek is pale; and Cicero
Looks with such ferret and such fiery eyes
Says Shakespeare via Cassandra, the famed soothsayer:
The gods are deaf to hot and peevish vows:
They are polluted offerings, more abhorred
Than spotted livers in the sacrifice.
The Bible pays much attention to anger. Says Ecclesiastes:
And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?
All his days also he eateth in darkness, and he hath much sorrow and wrath with his sickness. (Ecclesiastes 5:16-17)
For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one (Job 5:2)
Proverbs contains many thoughts on anger:
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. (Proverbs 15:18)
For the churning of milk produces butter, and pressing the nose brings forth blood; so the churning of anger produces strife. (Proverbs 30:33)
An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. (Proverbs 29:22)
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
The Gospels also contain many admonitions:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath (Ephesians 4:26)
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (Ephesians 4:31)
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19)
According to de La Rochefoucauld:
We make no difference in the kinds of anger, although there is that which is light and almost innocent, which arises from warmth of complexion, temperament, and another very criminal, which is, to speak properly, the fury of pride.
To speak angrily to a person, to show your hatred by what you say or by the way you look, is an unnecessary proceeding--dangerous, foolish, ridiculous, and vulgar. Anger and hatred should never be shown otherwise than in what you do.
Most stress-producing situations for High Excitable Component: restrains, remarks, faint-finding, insurmountable obstacles.
Low Hyperthymic Component
This score means that you do not give youself lightly to your inner joys. Nor do luck and fortune endow you with full optimism and joie de vivre.
People with this component strike one as being serious and respectable. Their love partners often do not believe in the seriousness of their serious erotic feelings, since they don’t see its manifestations – open joy and delight.
The Duke in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure is an example of low hyperthymic component. His friend Escalus says that the Duke would be "Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at any thing which professed to make him rejoice: a gentleman of all temperance."
Of himself the Duke says: I do not relish well their loud applause and Aves vehement;
nor do I think the man of safe discretion that does affect it.
As the Duke tries to console a man awaiting his execution, he embodies the outlook of a person incapable of enjoying life to the fullest.
…Reason thus with life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences,
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool <…>
Thou art not noble;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness. <…>
Thou hast nor youth nor age,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid moe thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
When the Duke falls for Isabella, he reveals his feelings in a subdued way and his declaration of love is rather devoid of color: … Dear Isabel, I have a motion much imports your good; whereto if you'll a willing ear incline, what's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
The great biblical preacher Ecclesiastes also had a low hyperthymic component. The excerpts from his sermons are devoid of joy, but are mere reflections on gaiety and laughter that to him are "vanity of vanities".
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 1:14)
I said in mine heart, go to now, I will prove thee with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure: and, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, it is mad: and of mirth, what does it? (Ecclesiastes 2:1-2)
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had made, and on the labor that I had expended on it: and, behold, all was vanity and like grasping the wind, and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11)
It would be pertinent to cite Henry Beck, who compared Prince Hamlet to Ecclesiastes:
"I don’t remember who was it that said, Hamlet is Ecclesiastes in action; then he has nothing to do on this earth; life passes him by, but he takes no part in it and simply crosses his arms on his chest".
Indeed, even when Hamlet’s melancholy seems to be ebbing, he still cannot find any spark of optimism in himself: "A man's life's no more than to say 'One.'"
Medium Hyperthymic Component
Those who, like you, have this component, are optimists who believe in themselves and their fortune. They are full of energy, agility, and think on their feet. They are not turned off by problems; they know how to enjoy life and to crack a joke. They can see positive qualities where others can’t.
Such is Petruccio in The Taming of the Shrew. He tells his story in quick and clear terms:
Antonio, my father, is deceased;
And I have thrust myself into this maze,
Haply to wive and thrive as best I may:
Crowns in my purse I have and goods at home,
And so am come abroad to see the world.
He was offered a bride with a less than flattering description: "She is intolerable curst and shrewd and forward." Yet Petruccio would not lose his optimism. He believes in himself and is not thwarted by difficulties.
Why came I hither but to that intent?
Think you a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar chafed; with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
And heaven’s artillery thunder in the skies? <…>
And do you tell me of a woman’s tongue
That gives not half so great a blow to hear
As will a chestnut in a farmer’s fire?
This is Petruccio’s reasoning:
I am as peremptory as she proud-minded;
And where two raging fires meet together
They do consume the thing that feeds their fury:
Though little fire grows great with little wind,
Yet extreme gusts will blow out fire and all:
So I to her and so she yields to me;
For I am rough and woo not like a babe.
Once he is in love with Katherina, he does not mince his words:
…setting all this chat aside.
Thus in plain terms: your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife; your dowry 'greed on;
And, Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
Now, Kate, I am a husband for your turn;
For, by this light, whereby I see thy beauty,
Thy beauty, that doth make me like thee well,
Thou must be married to no man but me;
And they do – they become husband and wife.
In The Merchant of Venice, Gratiano is a character with a medium hyperthymic component. This is his reasoning:
Let me play the fool:
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come,
And let my liver rather heat with wine
Than my heart cool with mortifying groans.
Why should a man, whose blood is warm within,
Sit like his grandsire cut in alabaster? <…>
…who riseth from a feast
With that keen appetite that he sits down?
Where is the horse that doth untread again
His tedious measures with the unbated fire
That he did pace them first? All things that are,
Are with more spirit chased than enjoy'd.
Here Gratiano tells his friend Bassanio how insistently and eagerly he wooed his bride:
My eyes, my lord, can look as swift as yours:
You saw the mistress, I beheld the maid;
You loved, I loved for intermission.
No more pertains to me, my lord, than you.
Your fortune stood upon the casket there,
And so did mine too, as the matter falls;
For wooing here until I sweat again,
And sweating until my very roof was dry
With oaths of love, at last, if promise last,
I got a promise of this fair one here
To have her love, provided that your fortune
Achieved her mistress.
Hotspur, the fearless and optimistic warrior in Henry IV, sees the bright side in the situation where his fellow soldiers are losing hope for the victory. One of them finds out that Hotspur’s father fell sick and cannot join them: Your father's sickness is a maim to us. Yet Hotspur begs to differ: I rather of his absence make this use <…> …men must think, if we without his help can make a head to push against a kingdom, with his help we shall o'erturn it topsy-turvy down. Yet all goes well, yet all our joints are whole.
And he concludes: Up, and away! Our soldiers stand full fairly for the day.
High Hyperthymic Component
In your nature, natural joie de vivre, tremendous emergy, and an optimistic view of life combine with readiness to share joy, take initiative, and even a mind for business. Your joy is infectious and you face the life’s troubles cheerfully and light-heartedly.
People with a high hyperthymic component are optimists and jokers, cheerful, resourceful, and quick-witted. They are generally happy with life and themselves and active sex partners with abundant erotic fantasies and a broad view of what is acceptable.
Yet sometimes you may carelessly, making a joke, pass up on developments that you should have paid serious attention to. As you quickly flit between tasks without finishing them, you are apt to miss things and break a promise. Then your liveliness turns into a scatter-brain mode as you fly off in all directions. Then, in turn, you develop superficial judgments and becoming less critical. You may indulge in pipe dreams and becoming less prompt in honoring obligations. A combination of energy and playful mood often lead towards sexual adventures, at times with several partners and their frequent changes. Such attractions may be superficial, caused by a good mood and a desire to have fun.
Shakespeare’s Falstaff in Merry Wives of Windsor is a good example of high hyperthymic component. He is cheerful, talkative, inventive, and joke-cracking. Low on funds, he flirts with two women with rich husbands.
I have writ me here a letter to her [Mrs. Ford]: and here another to Page's wife, who even now gave me good eyes too <…>I will be cheater to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me; they shall be my East and West Indies, and I will trade to them both. <…> we will thrive, lads, we will thrive.
Instead of winning money, Falstaff meets with mockery and a merciless beating. Yet even this fails to break his stride: he continues joking and is quite happy with himself:
What tellest thou me of black and blue? I was beaten myself into all the colours of the rainbow; and I was like to be apprehended for the witch of Brentford…
Falstaff describes himself without false modesty:
A goodly portly man, i' faith, and a corpulent; of a cheerful look, a pleasing eye, and a most noble carriage, and, as I think, his age some fifty, or, by 'r Lady, inclining to three score; and now I remember me, his name is Falstaff. <…> If then the tree may be known by the fruit, as the fruit by the tree, then peremptorily I speak it: there is virtue in that Falstaff <…> Why, thou knowest I am as valiant as Hercules, <…> I shall think the better of myself, and thee, during my life—I for a valiant lion....
In Much Ado of Nothing, Beatrice’s hyperthymic component is much less pronounced than Falstaff’s, yet she has it in spades: always cheerful, jocular, with a rapier wit, and quite happy with herself. In one scene, Don Pedro promises her to get her a husband. Answers Beatrice: I would rather have one of your father’s getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Taken aback, Don Pedro offers himself as the candidate. But Beatrice is unflappable:
No, my lord, unless I might have another for working days. Your Grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech your Grace pardon me. I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.
DON PEDRO: Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out o' question you were born in a merry hour.
BEATRICE: No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.—Cousins, God give you joy!
DON PEDRO: By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
LEONATO: (her uncle) There’s little of the melancholy element in her, my lord.
She is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then, for I have heard my daughter say she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.
Leonato pleads with Beatrice not to go too far in her games and warns this might lead her to hell. Beatrice’s riposte:
BEATRICE: No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, "Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here’s no place for you maids." So deliver I up my apes and away to Saint Peter. For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Now for some examples of high hyperthymic component in the Bible. Proverbs caution:
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise .(Proverbs 10:19)
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. (Proverbs 21:5)
Ecclesiastes, untypically, praises joy in combination with industry:
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
Karl Leonhard writes about hyperthymic persons:
"They always regard life optimistically; they overcome sadness without much effort; in general, their life is not harsh. With higher-than-average restlessness, they succeed in work and creative endeavor. They can talk and tell stories nonstop, as long as someone is listening. Such people do not get boring; they are fun; their speech is full of wit and jokes and they never stay on one subject for long."
De Vauvenargues discusses pluses and minuses of cheerful disposition:
"Cheerfulness, more commensurate to our weakness, renders us trusting and brave, endows the merest trifles with sense and interest, and generates in us unconscious contentment with ourselves, our fortune, our mind, our station in life, and the world around us, even when our circumstances are woeful. <…> At times this internal contentment leads us to value our own qualities of rather dubious nature."
According to Schopenhauer,
"Good mood is the shortest way to happiness, since this wonderful quality is its own instant reward. He who is of good cheer constantly has a reason to be so – by virtue of being cheerful. Not a single other quality can measure up to any other good as this one can, while nothing can replace it either. A man can be young and handsome and rich and well-respected; if we are to evaluate his happiness, the key question is whether he is cheerful or not. Conversely, if he is cheerful, it makes no difference whether he is young or old, well-shaped or a hunchback, poor or rich – he is happy."
Low Demonstrative Component
You are naturally simple, straightforward, and sincere in showing your feelings. These endearing qualities endow you with charm and clarity; they will promote consistency of your behavior and trust you elicit in others.
Yet excessive openness, directness, lack of flexibility, and inability to retreat when it is called for may complicate your life. Your inability to conceal your feelings may harm in situations when such reticence is required. In some situation you may not completely realize when the other person is telling the truth or being cunning. Your emotional defenselessness can be used against you, since you are considered a guileless person.
In King Lear, Cordelia, sincere and direct, is an example of this quality. The king, promising her a sizable part of the inheritance, asks what she can say about the depth of her love for him. "Nothing, my lord," Cordelia says. "Nothing?" Lear asks, surprised.
"Nothing," Cordelia confirms. Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave my heart into my mouth: I love your majesty according to my bond; nor more nor less.
KING LEAR: How, how, Cordelia! Mend your speech a little, lest it may mar your fortunes.
CORDELIA: Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me: I return those duties back as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Cordelia is unable to understand that Lear is used to flattery and that mere truth is incomprehensible and unacceptable to him. He accuses her of lack of feeling, and then disowns and exiles her.
In another play, the eponymous character Coriolanus, a soldier and a patrician, is described thus: His nature is too noble for the world: he would not flatter Neptune for his trident, or Jove for’s power to thunder.
Coriolanus comes to the point when he needs to face the people to tell them about his feats and thus win them over. His mother Volumnia pleads with him:
I prithee now, my son,
Go to them, with this bonnet in thy hand;
And thus far having stretch'd it--here be with them--
Thy knee bussing the stones--for in such business
Action is eloquence <…> say to them,
Thou art their soldier, and being bred in broils
Hast not the soft way which, thou dost confess,
Were fit for thee to use as they to claim,
In asking their good loves, but thou wilt frame
Thyself, forsooth, hereafter theirs, so far
As thou hast power and person.
This is Coriolanus’ response: Must I go show them my unbarbed sconce? Must I with base tongue give my noble heart a lie that it must bear? <…> I will not do't, lest I surcease to honour mine own truth and by my body's action teach my mind a most inherent baseness.
Similarly lacking in flexibility is Troilus in Troilus and Cressida. His description is brief but expressive:
Not yet mature, yet matchless, firm of word,
Speaking in deeds and deedless in his tongue;
Not soon provoked nor being provoked soon calm'd:
His heart and hand both open and both free;
For what he has he gives, what thinks he shows.
Yet Troilus is aware of his nature’s flaws:
… alas, it is my vice, my fault:
Whiles others fish with craft for great opinion,
I with great truth catch mere simplicity;
Whilst some with cunning gild their copper crowns,
With truth and plainness I do wear mine bare.
This is what Proverbs says about straightforward people:
The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. (Proverbs 11:3); Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (Proverbs 32:2)
Medium Demonstrative Component
This component combines psychological flexibility, circumspection, an ability to adapt to people and situations, and showing tact and affability.
Depending on one’s objective, these qualities can be put to different uses, both good and bad. Such people don’t dwell on guilt feelings; with a little imagination and no effort, they can veer from the truth. Nonetheless, they remain largely self-critical. They know how to stop in time or retreat or do an about-face, if so required. Circumstances permitting, they appear to be amicable, self-satisfied, and have a high opinion of themselves. They make good orators; they sense their audience and know how to manipulate it. They tend to speak of themselves highly in a conversation and generally sound quite convincing.
In all likelihood, Prince Hamlet can be described as having a medium demonstrative component. He has artistic inclinations and a vivid imagination; he writes poetry, is interested in theater, and ad-libs his own lines in a stage play. Horatio jocularly remarks on Hamlet’s nature that as an actor he could earn "half a share". Prince himself is clear about distinguishing a real feeling from a staged one:
Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
And yet to an extent Hamlet succeeds in playing a madman. The very idea of feigning can only occur to those with a high or medium demonstrative component. (A low one makes pretending impossible, as a rule). Furthermore, Hamlet feels absolutely no guilt over killing Polonius; in fact, he says over the body: "heaven hath pleased it so". He promises to take responsibility for the death, but never goes back to this thought. When he sends his friends to a sure-fire death, he justifies himself: ...they did make love to this employment; they are not near my conscience; their defeat does by their own insinuation grow.
We can find Mark Antony, another character with a medium demonstrative component, in Julius Caesar. Power-hungry Caesar, seeking to bring to heel not only the plebs, but patricians as well, is killed by plotters; but Mark Antony is not among them. He yearns for power, but acts subtly and cautiously. He sends his servant to Brutus with a request to join the conspiracy. Then, allowed to make a speech at Caesar’s funeral, Antony describes Brutus as an honest and worthy person, and yet denounces him in his speech:
The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it. <...>
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man. <...>
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason.
As Antony sics the people on Brutus and conspirators, he hides his true intentions:
Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up
To such a sudden flood of mutiny.
They that have done this deed are honourable
<...>but were I Brutus,
And Brutus Antony, there were an Antony
Would ruffle up your spirits and put a tongue
In every wound of Caesar that should move
The stones of Rome to rise and mutiny.
Once he succeeds in turning the popular opinion against Brutus, left alone, he rejoices:
Now let it work. Mischief, thou art afoot, take thou what course thou wilt!
In another play, Antony and Cleopatra, Antony says he needs no flattery. He is critical, and his demonstrative component does not rise high. The messenger brings him bad news and remarks: The nature of bad news infect the teller. Antony responds:
When it concerns the fool or coward. On.
Things that are past are done, with me. ’Tis thus:
Who tells me true, though in his tale lie death,
I hear him as he flattered. <...>
...taunt my faults
With such full license as both truth and malice
Have power to utter. Oh, then we bring forth weeds
When our quick minds lie still, and our ills told us
Is as our earing.
The Steward in All’s Well that Ends Well displays similar self-criticism, as well as circumspection and tact. Here he addresses the Countess: Madam, the care I have had to even your content, I wish might be found in the calendar of my past endeavours; for then we wound our modesty and make foul the clearness of our deservings, when of ourselves we publish them.
Bolingbroke in Henry IV boasts of his skill to make a favorable impression. Thus he compares himself to the dethroned King Richard:
Had I so lavish of my presence been,
So common-hackney'd in the eyes of men,
So stale and cheap to vulgar company,
Opinion, that did help me to the crown,
Had still kept loyal to possession
And left me in reputeless banishment,
A fellow of no mark nor likelihood.
By being seldom seen, I could not stir
But like a comet I was wonder'd at;
That men would tell their children 'This is he;'
Others would say 'Where, which is Bolingbroke?'
And then I stole all courtesy from heaven,
And dress'd myself in such humility
That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts,
Loud shouts and salutations from their mouths,
Even in the presence of the crowned king.
Thus did I keep my person fresh and new;
My presence, like a robe pontifical,
Ne'er seen but wonder'd at: and so my state,
Seldom but sumptuous, showed like a feast
And won by rareness such solemnity.
One should take into account that medium (at least) demonstrative component is shared by all creative people, whether of artistic (actors, poets, etc.) or scientific bent. This component highly enriches their creative imagination. For people whose employment entails intensive communication (sales, management, other business-related careers), such traits of this component as courtesy, flexibility, and tact, come as natural assets.
High Demonstrative Component
Nature has made you a polite and pleasant person and endowed you with flexibility to find a right approach to people. You can overcome hardship without burdening yourself with long-term gloomy thoughts. You recover relatively quickly even after serious misfortunes. If you turned out to cause trouble to others, your memory will soon erase unpleasant thoughts from your conscious. You will be able to adjust to quickly changing circumstances.
With your ability for persuasion and self-persuasion, you will use your confident manners in order to easily convince others of your being in the right. They will believe you without reservations, especially since you can empathize and play along with their desires and flatter them timely and tactfully. Your rich imagination is not restrained by overly rigorous logic and consistent judgment. If you are an artist, the unrestrained quality of your thought process will be an asset. This is the area where you will satisfy your yearning of originality. Once you have achieved recognition or just made yourself a focus of attention (which you will be striving towards, whether consciously or not), you can be quite charming and perform effortlessly the role you have chosen for yourself. You know how to present yourself socially and instill in others a high mark for your personality.
You have a built-in tendency to trust your feelings. Analyzing and checking them is not as important for you. Hence in your love life you will be the sensitive side, demonstrating a high-level need of love, empathy, and sympathy. You will engage in intimacy somewhat slyly, without losing control and care of your well-being.
Yet with your high capacity to oust unpleasant thoughts from your conscious you may end up living your life trying to avoid all burdens and glide out of situations requiring effort or entailing responsibility.
People with this component tend to look for scapegoats, assume the victim status, and thus demand special treatment. At times their desire to draw attention can be exaggerated. This will be noted by others and interpreted as excessive desire to be liked, affected manners, or pretense.
In order to raise their prestige, highly demonstrative personalities are capable of not only innocent pranks, but also of taking credit for non-existing achievement. In the process, the border between the real and the imaginary washes out in their minds automatically, and they may believe in their own inventions. This causes lack of logic, and ignoring the consequences of their actions and words.
Occasionally, this behavior leads to conflicts and serious problems in communication with family and at work. That is one reason to use psychological care and autogenic training.
Shakespeare has a number of both male and female roles of this type. In Henry V, Glendower, fully believing in his special feature, declares: …at my nativity the front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, of burning cressets; and at my birth the frame and huge foundation of the earth shaked like a coward.
This causes the straightforward Hotspur to remark, quite reasonably: Why, so it would have done at the same season if your mother’s cat had but kittened, though yourself had never been born.
Glendower, ignoring the irony in Hotspur’s words, insists:
I say the earth did shake when I was born. <…>
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes,
The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds
Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.
These signs have marked me extraordinary,
And all the courses of my life do show
I am not in the roll of common men.
Where is he living, clipped in with the sea
That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales,
Which calls me pupil or hath read to me?
Yet, despite his bragging, Glendower widely enjoys well-deserved respect and love. Mortimer says of him: In faith, he is a worthy gentleman, exceedingly well read, and profited in strange concealment.
All these qualities combine in Glendower, which, incidentally, is quite possible for any person with high demonstrative component.
Another highly demonstrative character is Falstaff in Henry V, whose thinking is extraordinarily flexible and unrestrained. In order to save his life on the battlefield, he plays possum and reasons thus: Counterfeit? I lie, I am no counterfeit: to die, is to be a counterfeit; for he is but the counterfeit of a man who hath not the life of a man: but to counterfeit dying, when a man thereby liveth, is to be no counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of life indeed. The better part of valour is discretion; in the which better part I have saved my life.
Falstaff is inexhaustible when it comes to shifting the blame. When he wants to welsh on a debt, he reasons: 'Tis not due yet; I would be loath to pay him before his day. What need I be so forward with him that calls not on me? Well, 'tis no matter; honour pricks me on. Yea, but how if honour prick me off when I come on? How then? Can honour set to a leg? No: or an arm? No: or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? No. What is honour? A word. What is in that word honour? What is that honour? Air. A trim reckoning! <…>
As a result, Falstaff finds himself in court, where he is told by the judge: Sir John, Sir John, I am well acquainted with manner of wrenching the true cause the false way. It is not a confident brow, nor the throng of words that come with such than impudent sauciness from you, can thrust me from a level consideration.
Let us look at women with a high demonstrative component. King Lear’s daughters, competing for the greatest share of inheritance, declare their love for him in the most pompous terms:
Sir, I love you more than words can wield the matter;
Dearer than eye-sight, space, and liberty;
Beyond what can be valued, rich or rare;
No less than life, with grace, health, beauty, honour;
As much as child e'er loved, or father found;
A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable;
Beyond all manner of so much I love you.
Sir, I am made
Of the self-same metal that my sister is,
And prize me at her worth. In my true heart
I find she names my very deed of love;
Only she comes too short: that I profess
Myself an enemy to all other joys,
Which the most precious square of sense possesses;
And find I am alone felicitate
In your dear highness' love.
Used to flattery, Lear believes his daughters, for they know how to sound convincing.
High demonstrative component is revealed in extraordinarily flexible psyche, which in a sense becomes a psychological defense from hardship. A good example is Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, when she is brought the news that her lover Antony got married. "The most infectious pestilence upon thee!" Cleopatra screams at the messenger, and threatens him thus:
Horrible villain! or I'll spurn thine eyes
Like balls before me; I'll unhair thy head:
Thou shalt be whipp'd with wire, and stew'd in brine,
Smarting in lingering pickle.
Then she goes on to plead with him:
Say 'tis not so, a province I will give thee,
And make thy fortunes proud: the blow thou hadst
Shall make thy peace for moving me to rage;
And I will boot thee with what gift beside
Thy modesty can beg.
Yet the messenger insists on the truth, and so Cleopatra pulls a knife: "Rogue, thou hast lived too long." "Should I lie, madam?" asks Messenger in horror. "I would thou didst!" Cleopatra confirms.
The Messenger learns the lesson. Later, when Cleopatra interrogates him about Antony’s wife (earlier referred to as intelligent and beautiful), the Messenger lies, yet Cleopatra believes him and convinces herself of her clear advantage over her rival.
CLEOPATRA: Didst thou behold Octavia? <…> Is she as tall as me?
MESSENGER: She is not, madam.
CLEOPATRA: Didst hear her speak? Is she shrill-tongued or low?
MESSENGER: Madam, I heard her speak; she is low-voiced.
CLEOPATRA: That's not so good: he cannot like her long. <…> dull of tongue, and dwarfish! What majesty is in her gait? Remember, if e'er thou look'dst on majesty.
MESSENGER: She creeps: her motion and her station are as one; she shows a body rather than a life, a statue than a breather.
Eventually, Cleopatra pays the messenger: "I find thee most fit for business," and remarks to her maid: I repent me much that so I harried him. <…> The man hath seen some majesty, and should know.
Her well-schooled maid responds: Hath he seen majesty? Isis else defend, and serving you so long!
The Bible contains a number of admonishments for highly demonstrative persons:
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. (Proverbs 4:24)
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. (Proverbs 4:25)
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established (Proverbs 4:26)
Schopenhauer analyzes the self-praising tendency thus:
"No man ought to let the reins go quite loose, and show himself just as he is; for there are many evil and bestial sides to our nature which require to be hidden away out of sight; and this justifies the negative attitude of dissimulation, but it does not justify a positive feigning of qualities which are not there. It should also be remembered that affectation is recognized at once, even before it is clear what it is that is being affected.
Blaise Pascal wrote about imagination as one’s prevalent ability:
"It is that deceitful part in man, that mistress of error and falsity, the more deceptive that she is not always so; for she would be an infallible rule of truth, if she were an infallible rule of falsehood. But being most generally false, she gives no sign of her nature, impressing the same character on the true and the false.
I do not speak of fools, I speak of the wisest men; and it is among them that the imagination has the great gift of persuasion. Reason protests in vain; it cannot set a true value on things. <…>
This arrogant power blunts the senses, or quickens them; she has her fools and sages; and nothing vexes us more than to see that she fills her devotees with a satisfaction far more full and entire than does reason. Those who have a lively imagination are a great deal more pleased with themselves than the wise can reasonably be. They look down upon men with haughtiness; they argue with boldness and confidence, others with fear and diffidence; and this gaiety of countenance often gives them the advantage in the opinion of the hearers, such favour have the imaginary wise in the eyes of judges of like nature. Imagination cannot make fools wise; but she can make them happy, to the envy of reason which can only make its friends miserable; the one covers them with glory, the other with shame."
Most stress-producing situations for High Demonstrative Component: lack or absence of love, acknowledgement, and support from beloved, close friends and relatives.
This component means that you are naturally leaning towards reflection over acting. The second sign of this component is a limited need for communication. Therefore, you enter contact more willingly and more naturally only with those whose interests and attitudes are similar to yours. Also, you maintain contacts only when forced by circumstances. You don’t feel discomfort working in isolation. Only in solitude can you really focus on the problems you are trying to solve.
In love life, you are more likely to trust your thoughts than your feelings about your partner, due to your tendency to analyze relationships, eyeing them through the prism of your ideas and criticism. Thus you can be sufficiently thoughtful when you build your relationships on the basis of more than feelings. This endows you with a certain power and independence in love. On the other hand, according to Leonhard, introversion encourages erotic development, since an introvert’s "internal processing" enhances hopes and fears that often emerge in love relationships.
You also have to consider that your concentration solely on your concerns may lead to a situation when you will be reproached of aloofness, egoism, and lack of empathy. Especially the latter – ability to "co-experience" with another person – may be lower than that of others. Psychologists often talk about introverts’ reduced syntony, or inability to communicate on the same emotional wavelength.
Often, introverts do not try to be understood. It is as if they did not need feedback. They voice the end results of their reflections without taking into account that these have been processed (at this moment) by them, rather than by their interlocutor. Hegel called this "bare result" a "corpse that leaves a tendency behind".
You may be thought of as cold, absent, self-involved. You may lose those close to you due to insufficient attention to them and being overly lost in your own reflections.
This is what Jung wrote about introverts:
"An introvert generally develops his own opinion that he seems to be inserting between himself and objective reality. At first his reaction is aimed inside and not revealed outside. He seems to be hiding his reactions that, however, may be quite quick and deep. Since they are not revealed outside, an introvert produces an impression of being slow."
This image can be complemented by Leonhard’s description:
"He does not perceive the book content passively; he forms his own opinion. He selects the kind of literature that gives him an opportunity to delve into a given area. If he has a favorite pastime or a hobby, it is maintained by constant internal interest. If he works out, it also stems from certain calculations or considerations of his."
Prince Hamlet displays introvert traits, sometimes deep-seated ones. At one point, he says, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. For him, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so". But when propensity for reflection has grown fruitless, yet prevails over the need to act, the self-critical Hamlet exclaims: Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,' sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means to do't.
Once Hamlet is in a situation where firm and decisive action is required, unprepared, he says of himself:
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?
The prince finds the roots of his deliberation and inaction in his own nature:
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Introverts would be well advised to heed the words of De Vauvenargues:
"Be social, my friend; communication with people renders your mind natural and flexible, makes us more modest and conceding, suppresses vanity, teaches us to be sincere and unaffected, and at the same time arms us with common sense that is based on unassailable lessons of experience, rather than on conceptual illusions. Those who never go outside the frame of their own personae, grow sort of wooden: they avoid and fear people, since they don’t know them; they hide from society and themselves, and their souls are always under lock and key. Give your soul more freedom. <…> In time you will see the circle where you spent your youth gradually falling apart, while those who once made it drift further away, and your social sphere is being refreshed. Then you will enter your next circle prepared, and, should your destiny takes you where sociability is dangerous, you will by then have had enough experience to act on your own and do without support. You will learn to obtain use from people and defend yourself from them, you will know them – in short, you will acquire their wisdom that insular people attempted to acquire prematurely and that yielded them no profit.
Deep Introverted Component
This is a rare quality. Jung describes it in detail. According to him, an extreme introvert
"…usually appears awkward, clumsy, or deliberately restrained, and so it happens that due to his inaccessibility he unwittingly offends people. He turns out to be a victim of numerous misunderstandings, which occur not through injustice, but because he causes them himself. <…> He engirds himself with a barbed wire of difficulties, dense and impregnable, and he counters the world with a well-developed defensive system. He does not accept this world – at least not completely – since everything has to be conceived first and internally discussed according to his own critical criteria. Any reflections and thoughts of himself are pure bliss. His own world is a safe haven; a garden fenced, carefully tended, close to public and hidden from strangers’ eyes. His own company is his most preferred company. He feels at home in his own world, and he is the only one authorized to do any changes in it. <…> His relations with others are possible only on the condition of guaranteed security. Thus his psychological life takes place completely inside. And if there emerge difficulties and conflicts, all the doors and windows happen to be tightly shut. An introvert locks into himself with all his complexes, until he ends up in complete isolation. Despite all these peculiarities, in no way is an introvert a loss to society. His flight into himself is not a final self-abdication from the world, but a quest for peace, where solitude gives him an opportunity to make his contribution to community.
Leonhard believes that deep introverts
"…are often obsessed with ideas of change of life on earth. They are especially concerned with various mysteries and hard-to-solve issues around them. Their favorite food for thought is made of problems in religion, politics, psychology, or philosophy. However, excessive focusing on ideas is not conducive to and even gets in the way of specific activity. Average people’s actions are always aimed at an object. But when all your attention is aimed at internal processes, the beginning of action is delayed. In the latter case, the motivation stemming from the object loses its effectiveness and grows weak. Thus develops a link between emphatic inclination to reflection and reduced readiness to act. Further, this trait becomes a brake and a heavy burden for a person who needs to be active in life."
Russian philosopher Lev Shestov speaks of deep introverts:
"…often they form their own artificial ideal little world, nice and clean, with noble curses and even noble prayers. <…> In this world, denouncing the lies and castigating the sin in verse and prose bring joy and comfort to a high-minded soul. These oases, green and cool <…> are where Hamlets reside and opine.
Of Hamlet, Shestov writes:
"The Prince was busy constructing his soft pessimistic systems, but the moment he came into actual contact with just one side of real human life, his structures collapsed like so many card houses. He realizes and feels with his entire being how deep and important is the life that he, having learned to "reason", never learned to understand. For an instant, his life pulse throbbed in him, and bloodless skepticism was replaced by a clear understanding. Yet it didn’t last. Hamlet is not used to living an active life; he fears any existence but one that comes through "knowledge". <…> But he would not dare desire for himself the real knowledge, one ready to measure the depth of human life. He instantly feels that this task is alien to and not needed by him. He rejects this kind of knowledge. <…> Destiny beckons a person – but he flees its call. Instead of rush into whatever life gives you, Hamlet seeks peace and the lullabyes of dreamy philosophy. If philosophy is a science about life, then you can’t talk about it until you have gone through life."
Perhaps people with emphatic introverted qualities should be reminded of lines from Troilus and Cressida: …no man is the lord of any thing, though in and of him there be much consisting, till he communicate his parts to others.
Similar ideas are sharpened by Martin Buber:
"Our knowledge of ourselves must always and everywhere be complemented by what others know of us. <…> A man knows evil practically only to the extent that he knows himself; everything else he calls evil is no more than an illusion.
People with clearly reduced need of action might read the chart Introverted Component (it is useful for them) and find the following Bible admonitions useful too:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
Thus an introvert, and especially a deep one, faces a task of overcoming the negative traits preventing his/her socialization. In this, a person can be helped by psychological care, psychologists and psychotherapists.
Most stress-producing situations for Deep Introverted Component: events that demand immediate action that entails a lot of different people or require constant dealing with many not close others.
Extraverted (Ambiverted) Component
This is the same as medium-level of extraverted component, which means you are halfway between loners and highly sociable people. This trait will encourage your activity to be many-faced: you will have fun working in a group, yet, if need be, you can work by yourself as well. You can understand various types of people, both sociable and not, and in general socialize with them productively. You will be interested in both their routine everyday problems and their various intellectual and spiritual preoccupations.
Ambiverted component is well manifested in Brutus in Julius Caesar. He heads the conspiracy and then the army. He skillfully deals with a number of various people and keeps reading serious books even during a military campaign. What follows is a typical scene that reflects his interests and his talents for communication. On the eve of a decisive battle he is visited by two soldiers, Varro and Claudius, who are awaiting his command.
BRUTUS: I pray you, sirs, lie in my tent and sleep; it may be I shall raise you by and by on business to my brother Cassius.
VARRO: So please you, we will stand and watch your pleasure.
BRUTUS: I will not have it so. Lie down, good sirs. It may be I shall otherwise bethink me. Look, Lucius, here's the book I sought for so; I put it in the pocket of my gown.
LUCIUS: [his young servant]: I was sure your lordship did not give it me.
BRUTUS: Bear with me, good boy, I am much forgetful. <…> I trouble thee too much, but thou art willing.
All fall asleep save Brutus, who reads and quietly addresses Lucius:
I will not do thee so much wrong to wake thee.
If thou dost nod, thou break'st thy instrument;
I'll take it from thee; and, good boy, good night.
Let me see, let me see; is not the leaf turn'd down
Where I left reading?
Brutus pays attention to his soldiers and servant and friends. In the hardest moment of his life, when he is about to take a grave decision, his natural affability becomes tainted with gloom, but he immediately admits it. Cassius tells him:
Brutus, I do observe you now of late
I have not from your eyes that gentleness
And show of love as I was wont to have.
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.
Brutus responds in detail:
Be not deceived. If I have veiled my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am
Of late with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviors.
But let not therefore, my good friends, be grieved—
Among which number, Cassius, be you one—
Nor construe any further my neglect
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
Lord Polonius in Hamlet also possesses the ambiverted component. He keeps himself up to date, he knows the social mores well, and he gives his son Laertes, about to leave for France, advice that is typical for the person having ambiverted trait:
Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man <…>
This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
High Extraverted Component
Strong need of socializing is one of the most pronounced traits of your nature. You easily make friends and keep relations with multitudes. You are born for Facebook and other social networks. What you do is bound to be affected by current events, as you react to them actively. You may develop a solid practical approach to life, and you will be able to use your numerous contacts. You need constant outside stimuli, and so you will derive much pleasure from adventures and entertainment and involve your friends and relatives in these.
People with the high extraverted component take much interest in the life of others and feel at ease in a lively environment with both rich impressions and information, and they have fun being with friends. Pronounced extraverts have empathy; they elicit trust from others, a mutual motivation for communication – a kind of pleasant understanding with others that is not yet based on anything specific. This sort of behavior is pleasant and understandable; thus extraverts matter socially, with their attendance and needs taken into account.
Such extroverts have no trouble meeting love partners and find it natural to show interest in them. They can identify with their partners’ emotional state, especially in the falling-in-love stage.
You should remember your tendency to act without thinking in advance. Also, as a sociable person, you may turn out to be gullible and fail to treat others critically enough. You are bound to be influenced by others, become inconsistent and inconstant, and then do things that are contrary to your attitudes and intentions. You will sincerely regret such situations later, realizing they were caused by your hastiness and failure to think in advance.
According to Leonhard
"…extraverts do not know how to keep secrets; they are trusting and careless with people ‘with a friendly smile’. They are gullible, and, for an extrovert, each confidently delivered piece of information is an unassailable fact, even though it would take a moment’s reflection and consideration of facts to have doubts about the information’s reliability. These people become loudspeakers for their respective environments. Yet their opinions are not firm, since they don’t process them internally. New information with a different take on facts can easily overturn everything in their conscience. Extraverts’ spontaneous reactions to external stimuli are conditioned by their external orientation. Whatever draws their attention at the given moment easily becomes prevalent and leads to actions prompted exclusively by the outside situation."
Many psychologists believe that pronounced extraverts are bound to change love partners and thus involuntarily cause suffering or plunging into adventures, making contacts that they don’t really need very much. They may be inconsiderate as they pump a partner for detail, asking about things that should be left alone.
The protagonist of Timon of Athens is a rich man and a typical extravert. He admits he loves giving feasts to socialize with his numerous friends. His worlds: I take all and your several visitations so kind to heart, 'tis not enough to give; methinks, I could deal kingdoms to my friends, and ne'er be weary.
Then, the situation changes; Timon is broke. Still, he reasons: And, in some sort, these wants of mine are crown'd, that I account them blessings; for by these shall I try friends: you shall perceive how you mistake my fortunes; I am wealthy in my friends.
He says to his steward Flavius:
No villanous bounty yet hath pass'd my heart;
Unwisely, not ignobly, have I given.
Why dost thou weep? Canst thou the conscience lack,
To think I shall lack friends? Secure thy heart;
If I would broach the vessels of my love,
And try the argument of hearts by borrowing,
Men and men's fortunes could I frankly use
As I can bid thee speak.
Alas, not one friend of Timon’s came to his rescue.
The Book of Exodus has serious admonishment for pronounced extroverts:
Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: (Exodus 23:2)
Other biblical admonishments for extraverts:
Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee. (Proverbs 25:17)
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. (Proverbs 21:23)
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)
He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. (Proverbs 13:3)
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. (Proverbs 17:27)
Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away. (Proverbs 25:10)
Most stress-producing situations for High Extraverted Component: events that entail long-term social isolation, impossibility to be active and exchange current information, lack of fun as music, TV, computer games, internet, etc.
Low Cyclothymic Component
You have low scores on two nature components – hyperthymic and dysthymic – and this results in you being in a calm and balanced mood – no radical ups or downs. This is a rare quality, inherent in people who are naturally wise.
This is what Hamlet says to his friend Horatio: …thou hast been as one, in suff'ring all, that suffers nothing; a man that Fortune's buffets and rewards hast ta'en with equal thanks.
People like Horatio are judicious and insufficiently active throughout their lives. Of course, this applies to cases when other components are not strongly pronounced, either. According to Hamlet, this is the background of a person whose blood and judgment are so well commeddled that they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger to sound what stop she please.
Yet lack of full-fledged joys and griefs often renders a person insufficiently self-motivated. Hence he might be reproached of indifference, while he takes into account everything, though without displaying interest emotionally.
This is what Horatio appears to be like throughout the play. He often plays along with Hamlet and does not get in the way of events. He remains estranged even when Prince tells him of his friends Guildenstern and Rosenkrantz whom he, Hamlet, sent to their certain death. Horatio knows well that neither of the two is especially guilty of anything. On Claudius’ orders, they merely accompanied Hamlet and carried a sealed letter to the King of England, whose content they were not aware of. Besides, Hamlet never told them that Claudius killed his father; only Horatio was privy to that secret. Now Hamlet tells him how he switched the letter, asking Wilt thou know the effect of what I wrote?
HORATIO: Ay, good my lord.
HAMLET: He should the bearers put to sudden death, not shriving-time allow'd.
HORATIO: How was this seal'd?
HAMLET: Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father's signet in my purse.
HORATIO: So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
Hamlet finishes the dialogue with a calllous phrase: …they did make love to this employment; they are not near my conscience.
Even then Horatio remains calm and changes the subject: Why, what a king is this!
Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come
In further evil?
What do we have here? Hamlet is sharing his serious doubts with his friend – but the latter shrugs it off with a casual Horatio’s remark: It must be shortly known to him from England that is the issue of the business there.
Elsewhere Horatio plays along with Hamlet. The Prince says:
HAMLET: Rashly— and praised be rashness for it: let us know our indiscretion sometimes serves us well when our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us there’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.
HORATIO: That is most certain.
Horatio’s answer is noncommittal, and a completely different version of events is entirely possible. In another famous scene, Hamlet examines a skull at the cemetery and asks Horatio a simple question about Alexander the Great, clearly expecting to be agreed with:
HAMLET: Do thou think Alexander looked on this fashion in the earth?
HORATIO: Even so.
HAMLET: And smelt so? Pah!
HORATIO: Even so, my lord.
At the closing of the play Horatio promises the dying Hamlet to tell the world what happened. But, since he was not involved in either joys or the woes of the events, Horatio can report only the facts.
And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
How these things came about: so shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I
This is what Schopenhauer wrote about low cyclothymic component:
"A man of sublime character will accordingly consider men in a purely objective way, and not with reference to the relations which they might have to this will; he will, for example, observe their faults, even their hatred and injustice to himself, without being himself excited to hatred; he will behold their happiness without envy; he will recognize their good qualities without desiring any close relations with them; he will perceive the beauty of women, but he will not desire them. His personal happiness or unhappiness will not greatly affect him; he will rather be as Hamlet describes Horatio."
Medium Cyclothymic Component
You have medium scores on two nature components – hyperthymic and dysthymic. You have psychological power and energy and you can be deeply upset about misfortunes and rejoice over lucky moments, and all of this without going to extremes. Moreover, average hyperthymic and dysthymic components seem to complement each other, creating, according to Leonhard, a syntonic temper – a fairly stable version of the norm.
Yet tempestuous events may enhance this or that component. For example, Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra: we see his emotional power, optimism, and high self-esteem in the happy hours of his life, as well as his ability to suffer deeply from life’s misfortunes.
In the relatively peaceful periods of life Antony is quite balanced. Here is the dialogue between Cleopatra and her courtier Alexas:
CLEOPATRA: What, was he sad or merry?
ALEXAS: Like to the time o' the year between the extremes of hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry.
CLEOPATRA: He was not sad, for he would shine on those that make their looks by his; he was not merry, which seem'd to tell them his remembrance lay in Egypt with his joy; but between both: o heavenly mingle!
This "mingle" exactly corresponds to the medium cyclothymic component.
Further, despite the great risks of the coming battle, Mark Antony is positive and full of confidence: Come, let's have one other gaudy night: call to me all my sad captains; fill our bowls once more; let's mock the midnight bell. <…> The next time I do fight, I'll make death love me; for I will contend even with his pestilent scythe.
After the battle, as he addresses Cleopatra, he speaks of himself thus:
Behold this man;
Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand:
Kiss it, my warrior: he hath fought to-day
As if a god, in hate of mankind, had
Destroy'd in such a shape.
But then things change, and Antony suffers a crushing defeat. He realizes that the new situation is shameful, irrevocable, and fatal for him. He sums it up:
No more a soldier: bruised pieces, go;
You have been nobly borne. From me awhile. <…>
So it must be, for now
All length is torture: since the torch is out,
Lie down, and stray no farthe.
And so Antony commits suicide by falling on his sword. He does so in full emotional clarity without a touch of despair and say: Thou then wouldst kill me: do't; the time is come: thou strikest not me, 'tis Caesar thou defeat'st.
Although his wound is fatal, he finds it in himself to console Cleopatra: The miserable change now at my end lament nor sorrow at; but please your thoughts in feeding them with those my former fortunes,
In his dying moment, he is concerned with the future of his comrades-in-arms: Friends, be gone: you shall have letters from me to some friends that will sweep your way for you. Pray you, look not sad, nor make replies of loathness: take the hint which my despair proclaims.
He also tries to give them emotional support: Do not please sharp fate to grace it with your sorrows: bid that welcome which comes to punish us, and we punish it seeming to bear it lightly.
Thus the end of Antony and Cleopatra describes particular hardships that are rare for an ordinary person. Antony had to fall on his sword, as befit a Roman warrior to save is honor in the face of a humiliating defeat.
However, even a reader with a medium cyclothymic component may encounter special situations in life. Any thoughts of suicide directly indicate a need to see a specialist.
High Cyclothymic Component
You have high scores on both hyperthymic and dysthymic components. This means that 1) your sorrows are always followed by joys, and vice versa; 2) these changes are hard-wired in your nature; and 3) your mood will change differently within different time spans. Some people can have a cycle within a day, while it may take others weeks and months. There are also seasonal changes: lows in winter/fall and highs in spring/summer. Some mood changes are tied to changes in weather. Such fluctuations may be heightened or evened by circumstances.
At times, a combination of a natural psychological fall and traumatizing circumstances may lead to a deep stress and on to a depression; then you should go see a specialist.
Bottom line is, you must develop a state of preparedness for mood changes and remember they might push you towards wrong life decisions. This means you should bide your time and delay taking a serious decision till your mood evens up (it will). You should also take advantage of your emotional ups in order to perform the already planned tasks, rather than delay them. Finally, you should not waste your inspiration moments on the trifles you can do when you are down. If there is any comfort, such seesaw moods are typical of a number of outstanding personalities. On occasion a combination of natural psychological decline and traumatizing circumstances results in a profound stress that leads to depression and suicidal thoughts, which definitely calls for psychiatric help.
In Much Ado about Nothing, Don John, who is prone to seesaw moods, speaks of himself: I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause and smile at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and claw no man in his humour.
In response, his follower Conrade responds: Yea, but you must not make the full show of this till you may do it without controlment.
He also suggests that Don John should hear reason.
DON JOHN: And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?
CONRADE: If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.
In Richard II, the King’s quick and deep mood change is obvious, just as its effect on his decisions and life. He returns to his kingdom in an upbeat mood:
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand,
Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs:
As a long-parted mother with her child
Plays fondly with her tears and smiles in meeting,
So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth
And do thee favours with my royal hands.
His mood is dampened by Duke of Aumerle: We are too remiss; whilst Bolingbroke, through our security, grows strong and great in substance and in power.
But in this mood, King Richard would not be hurried:
Not all the water in the rough rude sea
Can wash the balm off from an anointed king;
The breath of worldly men cannot depose
The deputy elected by the Lord:<…>
God for his Richard hath in heavenly pay
A glorious angel.
Alas, part of Richard’s army goes over to Bolingbroke’s side, and this is where his mood fails him.
But now the blood of twenty thousand men
Did triumph in my face, and they are fled;
And, till so much blood thither come again,
Have I not reason to look pale and dead?
All souls that will be safe fly from my side,
For time hath set a blot upon my pride.
But time set a blot not on his pride, but on his delay and carelessness, which were the cause of his upbeat mood.
Part I. Why was SECUNMIR made? Of what? And how is it made?
Following a great man’s thoughts is the most fun science.
In your honest opinion, do we ever really have
what is called choice?(…) Yes, I believe
we do have a measure of choice, but much less
then people think. Within the limit of our destiny
we are free to choose. What one chooses or wishes
is always in accordance with one’s character.
Only what is quite certain is at the same time exoteric, understandable,
and fit to be studied and become common knowledge.
There is a great deal of popular psychological tests that engage various aspects of our lives. Almost every week we see new ones in Internet and print media. Therefore, it is logical to ask: how is this test better than the rest? I provide a detailed answer to this question in the short history of SECUNMIR. I would like to caution that the Proof chapter is largely addressed to experts and those non-experts who enjoy searching the truth throughout texts filled with scientific data, terms, and quotes.
But first, a few details. In modern psychology, a person has two sets of traits that communicate with each other yet have different origins. Professor Steven Pinker (Harvard University) writes: "Personality and socialization aren't the same thing." So I am talking about a separation between natural/psychological traits and social/psychological ones. When I discuss a person’s character, personality, and nature, I mean their basic natural/psychological traits. The "twin" method, which has become widely known, provides a reliable or statistically justifiable basis for divorcing the traits conditioned by person’s social medium and life experience from ones provided by nature. And when we come to psychological traits that are variants of the norm, a combination of two methods, twin and testing, is desirable.
Thus, in my many years of practice as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and psychologist, comparing my empiric experience with published data, I detected a number of contradictions in various respectable sources that work on problems of personality and related sensitivity to stress. This is what Freud has to say on the subject:
"We cannot ascertain precisely how determinism in our lives is divided between the "needs" of our constitution (psychological and sexual ones) and "incidents" of our childhood; but in general the importance of our early childhood cannot be in doubt. <…> the experiences of the first five years play a decisive role that nothing that happened later can compete with. <…> these early impressions are affirmed despite all the influences of the mature life stage."
Carl Jung maintains that the personal traits are embedded much earlier:
Potentially, a person has an integrated personal design since his birth. <…> environment does not gift a personality to become such, but merely reveals what was embedded in it. <…> Of course there is no concrete content, yet it is provided a priori via inheriting or pre-formed functional predilection. <…> Such system of functions is a tool <…> that actively places experiments in order. <…> The soul is no more a tabula rasa than mind is."
We should note an important detail in Jung’s words. He writes that "a certain psychological functional complex is best defined as a ‘personality’, and our everyday experience entitles us as much to talk about exterior personality as to admit the existence of the interior one." Jung defines the interior psychological face as anima/psyche/soul and adds that its properties also affect sexual nature.
Why is it so important to decide which of the two is right? Perhaps because, as they come from two opposite concepts, they point to different sources of widespread stress-producing nerve disorders, including depressions that lead to suicide attempts. According to Freud, neuroses originate, always and everywhere, in early childhood impressions. According to Jung, neuroses are demonstrations of certain specific character traits. However, neither scientist succeeded in preventing neuroses nor answered the question: What specific character traits are especially stress-sensitive? This sort of knowledge makes individualized psychological prevention impossible. Besides, we need a clear and sufficiently delicate psychological tool that reveals specificity and degree of sensitivity to stress for each individual.
These ideas had been around for some time. Finally, Jung’s psychological type classification became the basis for unified test to determine various personal traits. In 1944, Jungians Thomas Gray, Jane Wheelwright, and Joseph Wheelwright published and widely distributed a questionnaire that measured six scales of Jungian classification: introversion-extraversion, sensing-intuition, and thinking-feeling. In 1962, the test, called GUT for short, was improved by two Jungians, Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers. They added a new dimension, judgment - perception, which gave them an opportunity to elicit sixteen personality types. The test was called for short MBTI. Thus, the structure of MBTI does not give the opportunity to elicit innate stress-sensitive traits.
The FFM test, NEO -PI-R -1, NEO - PI -R - 3, and CATTELL's test contain a lot of questions related to psycho/social sphere. Perhaps, this is a reason why four psychologists (Rottman BM, Ahn WK, Sanislow CA, and Kim NS) from Yale University (2009 year) determined that "FFM descriptors may be more ambiguous than the criteria of the DMS-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and therefore be less able to convey important clinical details than DMS-IV." In 2002 scientists from different Universities (Kupfer D et al., Widiger TA, Simonsen E, First MB et al., Rounsaville BJ et al.) wrote in their articles about a clear need for dimensional models to be developed and their utility compared with that of existing typologies in one or more limited fields, such as personality. Later, in 2007, psychologists from Texas A and M University, Hopwood C.H. et al. wrote the article "Personality traits predict current and future functioning comparably for individuals with major depressive and personality disorders." Summary: "In the study the contribution of normative personality traits to functioning is presented for two groups of patients, one with major depression and a second with personality disorders. The data suggest that personality traits are significant and equally relevant predictors of functioning for both groups." In other research by Trull TJ, Tragesser SL, Solhan M, and Schwartz - Mette R, psychologists from University of Missouri, (2007) indicated: "Although there may be some initial resistance to the incorporation of the dimensional models in future diagnostic manuals (Fifth Edition), researchers and clinicians are expected to benefit from the more reliable and valid portrayal of personality pathology."
But this model already exists, and German psychologists and psychiatrists use Leonhard's concept of accentuated personality. In the article, "Personality, accentuated traits and personality disorders. A contribution to dimensional diagnosis of personality disorders" (Nervenarzd, 2002, Mar; 73(3): 247 - 254) Pukrop R, Steinmeyer EM, Woschnik M, Czernik A, Matties H, Sass H, and Klosterkotter J. inform that they investigated the validity of Leonhard's concept of accentuated personalities that define a conceptual link between normal personality dimensions and personality disorders. Summary: "Leonhard's concept of accentuated personalities can be recommended for application in dimensional models of personality and personality disorders."
Earlier, in 1964, Hans Eysenck, a prominent psychologist, tackled this problem by creating his own questionnaire to measure the following parameters: introversion-extraversion and neuroticism-stability. Applying his test in researching twins, Eysenck and his assistants established with statistical reliability that these parameters depend by 80% on genetic factors. This test could show the level of neuroticism but does not determine the kind of this predisposition: depression, anxiety and so on.
Eysenck paid special attention to informing society of achievements made by psychologists and others specialists who work with problems of personality, character, and stress sensitivity. He talked about the scale of the problem and cited impressive statistical data. He wrote:
"About 10 percent of so-called ‘normal’ population suffers from high-level emotional disorders, while another 20 percent have psychological disorders in milder form, though this is exactly what makes them turn for help to therapists and sometimes prevents them from leading normal lives, studying and working."
In describing the perspectives of his test, Eysenck especially insisted that his method of studying people is more objective than the methods used by descriptive psychology, the subject of discussion not only among psychiatrists and psychologists, but among writers, philosophers, and other people who study humanity. Indeed, the new science, experimental psychology, consumed tons of information amassed by descriptive psychology and then added unified tests, rating system, and an opportunity to reproduce and repeat experiments, and thus became a true scientific breakthrough.
I should also be amiss not to mention Eysenck’s special contribution to science – the IQ test he created. With regard to intelligence, he wrote that in principle people could be selected for responsible positions on the basis of testing and exam results, rather than by mere election. In this connection, he quoted an interesting insight from Paul Horst:
"Why can’t we demand of our congressmen and senators exhaustive knowledge of science, economy, sociology, political science, etc.? Perhaps no one will consider too demanding if we insist that a Presidential candidate had knowledge of forces that affect the health of our national structure and that he should show his command of these forces. Thus we can begin to solve the problem of improving the system of governing in this country – if we insist on measuring the abilities and select only the most capable ones for leading positions."
President may have to have special character qualities that Plutarch wrote back long ago:
"…firmness and affability are a statesman’s chief traits. <…> A person who wishes to embark on a state career, must most of all avoid inflated conceit – ‘inseparable companion of solitude’, as Plato put it – since he has to do with people, and he has to be patient, though some will mock him viciously for it."
It is pertinent to quote from Albert Einstein’s letter of rejecting the offer to become the President of Israel. "All my life I have dealt with objective matters," he wrote, "hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function. For these reasons alone I do not fit to perform high duties required in this position."
Naturally, a high-ranking executive (or even not so high-ranking) should not score high on the neurosis scale – that is, predisposition to nervous breakdowns. Yet Eysenck’s allows us to elicit version for only four personal parameters, which is not a lot.
A major step forward was made with the questionnaire created by E. Littmann and H. G. Schmieschek in 1982 ( E. Littmann, H. G. Schmieschek - Analyse und revision der langformder des fragebodens zur erfassung akzentuieter personlichkeit - szug in sinne Leonhards. - Psychiatrie, Neurologie and Medizinishe Psycholugie. - Leipzig, 1982, Jan, #34 ( 1 ), p. 32 - 45 (in German).
E. Littmann, H. G. Schmieschek - Analysis and revision of the long form of a questionnaire for determination of accentuated personality traits according to Leonhard. Psychiatr. Neurol. and Med Psychol. (Leipzig) 1982 Jan; 34(1), 32 - 45.
It was designated for testing eleven accentuated personal traits. I added one more parameter to it and called it heuristic component. As a result, SUM contains twelve parameters. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. The Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire is based upon the concept of accentuated personalities offered by prominent scientist Carl Leonhard. You can find the detailed description in his monograph "Accentuated Personalilties", which deals with highly pronounced – extreme – variants of the norm. Leonhard distinguishes the following character accentuations: anankastic – rigid – excitable – anxious – emotive – demonstrative and extra-introverted, and the following accentuations of temper: affect-exalted, cyclothymic, hyperthymic, and dysthymic. I am using Leonhard’s work for a popular description of these accentuations and heuristic component in the Nature Components chapter.
Insisting on his view of accentuation as variants of the norm, Leonhard writes:
"With another interpretation we would be forced to conclude that only an average person should be considered normal. <…> Yet there are persons whose originality makes them stand out, and this conclusion would force us to take them outside the norm. Also, this heading would include the category of people who are termed "personalities" in a positive sense, while emphasizing their vividly original psychological makeup. <…> Accentuated personalities potentially contain the possibilities for both positive social achievements and negative social charge. Because some accentuated personalities have gone through hardships, we may see them in the negative light, but it is possible that under different circumstances they would have become outstanding people."
Russian psychiatrist and psychologist Andrey Lichko formulated these thoughts more clearly and tersely. He defined accentuations as "extreme variants of norm, which accompany selective vulnerability to certain psychogenic influences while solid and even high stability vis-vis others." In essence, accentuations are what Petr Gannushkin described as latent psychopathies. By the way, their brief descriptions, quite close to corresponding reflections of accentuated components in SUM, can be found in International Classification of Diseases, which terms psychopathies as personality disorders.
According to Leonhard, Lichko, and other researchers, 50% of various countries’ populations are made of accentuated persons. As for those devoid of accentuality, Leonhard asks: "What is the prediction, then? What is the evaluation of their condition?" He answers his own question:
"We can say without doubt that such a person will be saved an up-and-down path of a sickly person, an oddball or a loser, yet it is unlikely that he will distinguish himself in particular ways either."
Leonhard also believes that "it is not always easy to draw a clear line between the traits that form an accentuated personality and the ones defining average variations of an individual. These latter' manifestations are so insignificant as to escape observation." Nonetheless he believes that "individual traits that do not reach their extreme expression and represent a certain template are built-in innately and compose human nature."
As for accentuation, he writes that
"I don’t deal with the problem as to how much of their character structure parents pass on to their children while still in childhood. First of all, this would have to be ascertained at the earliest age, since at school age, for example, we already see right and left the same formed traits as with the adults. Yet no one did this kind of comparison yet."
Curiously, the wish to separate innate psychological traits from acquired ones was voiced as early as 18th century. This is what De Vauvenargues wrote:
The main innate dispositions of every creature of reason constitute what we call his nature. Long-term habits can change these initial dispositions. <…> Yet, before habits, a human being already has a soul distinguished by certain dispositions; therefore, anyone who reduces everything to convictions and habits does not know what he is talking about: any habit presupposes existence of nature. <…> It is indeed not easy to separate traits of nature from consequences of education: the traits are so numerous and complex that reason wearies from searching them out.
On the basis of the above, I decided to conduct twins testing to find out to what extent both the template and accentuated traits are conditioned genetically. But instead of the observation method used by Leonhard, I decided to use the experimental psychological one. To this end, I altered the Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire: in some questions I moved the notional accents from social-psychological to nature-psychological ones. E.g., I replaced "Is your career very important to you?" with "Can you say that you usually pursue your targets despite the obstacles?" In other changes, I took into account a psychologically valuable insight by Vladimir Solovyov, who wrote in his essay, Joseph Brodsky, American Essayist, that "What we see in the mirror is not us but merely us looking at ourselves in the mirror." I hope I succeeded in having SECUNMIR readers seeing exactly themselves in the mirror.
The main result of twins testing was the statistically reliable evidence that each of the twelve nature components studied, regardless of level of intensity, depends by 80 percent, give or take 15 percent, on genetic factors. Thus, only 20% (±15%) is left for life experience and environment.
That is why I call all investigated traits (accentuated and not accentuated) NATURE COMPONENTS.
This result (80% of heritability influences) considerably exceeds the data obtained in various twin studies using FFM.
We can assume that a higher heritability index achieved in my twin research is due to several reasons:
1) The phrasing of Secunmir’s test questions was based on the assumption that each of 12 nature components is homogenous, i.e. none of them includes traits of another, and potentially represents mono-syndromes of a certain personality or neurological disorders. In modifying the questionnaire, among other things, I took into account Leonhard’s justified criticism of Eysenck for having placed certain traits of hyperthymic temperament in the diagnostics of extravertion.To the point, the traits of FFM and NEO PR -1 may be constructed as a combination of definite natural components in their different expressions. For example, AGREEABLENESS could be formed with these components: 1) medium or high Emotive, 2) low or medium Rigid, 3) medium or high Hyperthymic, 4) Ambiverted or Extraverted.
2) I also modified the questions from Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire that dealt with socio-psychological realm and replaced them with ones eliciting mostly natural-psychological traits.
3) The twin group contained no teenagers, since according to Lichko, in this age period the genetic influence goes down, ceding the ground to environment.
4) In defining concordance I took into account that in repeated testing of healthy single-born and healthy twins, the numbers they scored in components deviated within 1 - 2 points. Therefore I considered as concordant the monozygotic and dizygotic pairs that scored the same points in each component or else have difference between both twin results did not exceed two points.
5) The research excluded twin pairs that during the preliminary interview reported that either one of them or both are in stress situation.
The results of the twin research can be found in the following sources:
1) Ôåëüäìàí (Äåí) Í. Á., Àêèëîâ À. Ò. "Ãåíåòè÷åñêèé àñïåêò àêöåíòóàöèé õàðàêòåðà ïî äàííûì ïñèõîëîãè÷åñêîãî èññëåäîâàíèÿ." – Ìåäèöèíñêèé æóðíàë Óçáåêèñòàíà. Òàøêåíò, 1985, ¹9, ñ. 54 - 56 (in Russian).
Feldman (nee Den), N. B., and Akilov A.T. "Genetic Aspect of Character Accentuations Based on Psychological Research". Uzbekistan Medical Journal. Tashkent, 1985, v.9 (54 - 56).
2) Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Îñîáåííîñòè òåìïåðàìåíòà è õàðàêòåðà ó ìîíî è äèçèãîòíûõ áëèçíåöîâ". Ïîïóëÿöèîííàÿ ñòðóêòóðà è íàñëåäñòâåííûå áîëåçíè. Òàøêåíò, 1986, ñ. 97 – 100 (in Russian).
Feldman, N. B. "Characteristics of Temper and Character in Mono- and Dizygotic Twins." Population Structure and Inherited Diseases. Tashkent, 1986 (97-100).
3) Áëåéõåð Â. Ì., Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Íàñëåäóåìîñòü àêöåíòóàöèé õàðàêòåðà ïî äàííûì ïñèõîëîãè÷åñêîãî èññëåäîâàíèÿ áëèçíåöîâ." Ìàòåðèàëû òðåòüåãî ñúåçäà íåâðîïàòîëîãîâ è ïñèõèàòðîâ Áåëîðóññèè. Ìèíñê, 1986, ñ. 253 – 254 (in Russian).
Bleycher, V. M and Feldman, N. B. "Heritability of Character Accentuations Based on Psychological Studies of Twins". Proceedings of the 3rd Belorussia Neurology Congress. Minsk, 1986 (253 - 254).
Thus my twins investigation confirmed Leonhard’s thesis of innateness of non-accentuated traits and established that accentuated ones, too, are largely natural-psychological. This brought me to accept Jung’s position that a man is born with a "ready sketch" of his nature. As for Freud’s doctrine of early childhood experience’s determining influence on the nature and the personality on the whole, I consider it erroneous.
I did not set out to engage in substantive criticism of Freud: I side with Eysenck, who in his book Fact and Fiction in Psychology quotes James Conant: "No volume of factual refutation will suffice to destroy any theory in science or medicine; for that you will need another, a more productive theory". Who knows – might my modest research and conception lead to the development of just such theory? We still have a long way to go towards establishing specific genetic and biological substances that are responsible for each of twelve nature components. Yet such substances can be assumed to exit and make up the psycho-biological basis of human nature and soul (psyche). In this connection, there was an interesting article in Russian, "Êðàñîòà è ìàòåìàòè÷åñêèé èíòåëëåêò" - "Beauty and Mathematical Intellect", whose author Leonid Perlovsky, Harvard University scientist used modern research in Physics, Mathematics and Semiotics to arrive at the mind's inherent nature and "the soul's biological basis". Probably, a philosopher may say that the identified high genetic conditionality of components would seem to confirm their a priori nature in the spirit of Immanuel Kant.
I am not ruling out that Freud, too, might have been interested in my research. He did write in his time that
"One has to be patient and wait for further means and opportunities for research. One also has to be ready to abandon the path we have been treading for some time, if we discover that it is not leading to anything good."
Freud believed that "the theoretical superstructure of psychoanalysis can be discarded or changed without regrets or losses as soon as its invalidity is proven." Moreover, he claimed that "in the future, hysteria and nerve disorders could be treated with chemicals without making psychological impact." As for inheriting psychological traits, he wrote:
"There is no critical doubt about manifestation of innate predisposition, but analytical experience forces us to concede that purely incidental childhood experiences can produce libido fixations. I don’t see here any theoretical problems. <…> Does admitting the inheriting factor belittle the role of experience? Don’t the two factors join in the most effective form?"
However, he admitted with regret:
"Our situation has been made more complicated by the modern attitudes of biology, which does not wish to know anything about descendants inheriting acquired properties."
These attitudes, or, to be more exact, genetic laws, have still not been refuted (this is not about mutations). But Freud’s famous fundamental statement "The experiences of the first five years play a crucial role in life that prevails over everything else at later stages" is refuted by the results of twins testing, since life experience accounts for no more than 25 to 30 percent in the formation of the psychological parameters studied.
There is the piquant joke about non-inheritance of acquired traits. Prominent geneticist Vladimir Efroimson once remarked that one could conduct reputable experiments by cutting the tails of many generations of mice, but there is already an experiment that is greater in scale: for thousands of years, girls become women, yet remain virgins at birth…
My twins-test results have subsequently been confirmed by many authoritative sources. In particular, this applies to the component that I call heuristic (intuition, need of novelty, metaphoric thinking). In 1995, two groups of scientists, Israelis at Herzog Memorial in Jerusalem and Ben Gurion University at Beersheba and Americans at National health Institute (Nature Genetics, XII, 1995), identified a gene responsible for a person’s aspiration towards novelty. In the second case, the May 1996 issue of Psychological Science journal featured an article by David Lykken and Auke Tellegen entitled "Happiness Is a Stochastic Phenomenon". In studying twin pairs, the authors established that the ability to feel happy (a vivid hyperthymic trait) is for the most past genetically determined. There are very deep investigations of twins by American professor Thomas Bouchard. His results show high level of genetic factors in expressing personality traits.The group of scientists from Minnesota University write in the article "Personality similarity in twins reared apart and together" (Journal of Personality and Social psychology): "Contrary to widely held beliefs, the overall contribution of a common family environment component was small and negligible for all but 2 of 14 personality measures." And "Heritability estimated by full model ranged from 39 to 58."
In passing, there is very interesting research performed by Arizona University scientists. They found "the quantitative evidence of profound similarity in the personality structure of human and chimpanzees." We may accept these results as a confirmation of the idea about natural/psychological traits in humans.
The last few years have seen a wide and growing number of publications on the connection between various psychological traits and human gene structure. Thus, in 2005 four scientists from University of California ( Stain MB, Fallin MD, Schork NJ, Gelenter J) found that two of the SNPs (VAL/MET) and rs737865) were significantly associated with low extraversion and high neuroticism. In 2009, Lea K. Krugel and four coauthors determined genetic variation in dopaminergic neuromodulation influences the ability to rapidly and flexibly adapt decisions. Two years later Shelly E. Taylor and Shimon Saphire-Bernstein (University of California) found that people who had one or two copies of the OXTR gene with "A" allele were less optimistic, had lower self-esteem than people with two 2G alleles. In addition, the A allele was linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms. In the same year, Martin A. Kohli and the group of his colleagues (Hussman Institute of Human Genomic, University of Miami) detected a risk gene (SLC6A15) for major depression. Tim Klusken and his nine coworkers - researchers reported significant variation in neural correlates of fear conditioning as a function of 5HTTLPR genotype (2011). The international research team , which included academics from Harvard, NYU, the University of California and University College, London have identified a genotype, called rs4950, which appears to be associated with the passing of leadership ability down through generations (2013). The researchers consider that although leadership should still be thought of predominantly as a skill to be developed, genetics - in particular the rs4950 genotype can also play a significant role in predicting who is more likely to occupy a leadership role.
The reader can find one of the most complete lists of genetic researches in "The Other Side of Evolution" by Vassily Velkov (section "Our Destiny is in Our Genes"). Summing up, Velkov writes that modern models describing the genetic mechanisms of personal traits are of probabilistic, rather than deterministic, nature. This is the angle one should use in viewing the results of SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST as well.
Realizing the prospective viability of the twins test data, I set out to determine the interrelations between accentuation and stress sensitivity; that is, predisposition to nervous and some physical disorders. To this end, I tested large groups of both ill and healthy subjects and subjected the results to objectification.
The first step to solve the problem was using the Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire - which I previously modified - for testing healthy subjects. The results were evaluated by using a special yardstick – a set of thirty seven cards, each describing main signs one of thirty seven nature components, both accentuated and non-accentuated. Relatives or friends of the tested individual were offered four combinations of such cards. One of them contained the combination specific to the testee. The testee’s self-characterization matched that done by his relatives and friends in 82 percent of non-accentuated cases and in 95 percent of accentuated ones.
In 1) "Practical Pathopsychology: A Manual for Physicians and Medical Psychologists" ISBN 5 - 85880 - 281 - 8 (Rostov-na-Donu: Phoenix, 1996), authors V.M.Bleykher, I.V.Kruk, and S.N.Bokov write that Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire was adapted and standardizes by V.M. Bleykher and N.B. Feldman (1985) and that the match between the testing results and the data on the selected cards used as benchmarks indicates the high precision of the questionnaire (p.160).
Áëåéõåð Â. Ì., Êðóê È. Â. È Áîêîâ "Ïðàêòè÷åñêàÿ ïàòîïñèõîëîãèÿ: Ðóêîâîäñòâî äëÿ âðà÷åé è ìåäèöèíñêèõ ïñèõîëîãîâ". Ðîñòîâ - íà - Äîíó, 1996, (in Russian).
Here are other publications on testing healthy subjects:
2) Áëåéõåð Â. Ì., Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Àïðîáàöèÿ îïðîñíèêà äëÿ âûÿâëåíèÿ ëè÷íîñòíûõ àêöåíòóàöèé". Âðà÷åáíîå äåëî. Êèåâ, 1985, ñ.84 – 85 (in Russian).
Bleycher, V. M and Feldman, N. B. "Testing a Questionnaire to Determine Personality Accentuations". Vrachebnoye Delo. Kiev, 1985 (84 - 85).
3) Ìóðòàëèáîâ Ø. À., Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á., Ôåëüäìàí Ý. È. "Íîâûå ñïîñîáû ýêñïðåññ – äèàãíîñòèêè àêöåíòóàöèé õàðàêòåðà è ïîãðàíè÷íûõ íåðâíî – ïñèõè÷åñêèõ ðàññòðîéñòâ." Ìåòîäè÷åñêèå ðåêîìåíäàöèè. Òàøêåíò, 1987, ( in Russian).
Murtalibov, S.A., Feldman, N.B., Feldman E. I. "New Methods of Instant Exclusion of Accentuation of Character and Borderline Nervous and Psychological Disorders". Methodic Recommendations. Tashkent, 1987.
At the second stage of the experiment, several patient groups were tested, and then juxtaposed and compared to groups of healthy subjects.
The patient groups were formed on the basis of the diagnoses that were posted in clinical conditions by independent specialists. Statistical processing of the material was done by professionals who based it on the primary digital testing data that I provided (just as in my twins tests). Then I carefully rechecked all the results.
The results showed that accentuated components had been observed in 46 percent of men and 54 percent of women in the healthy population; in cases of various nervous disorders and psychosomatic illnesses, the numbers reached 70 to 80 percent, which is reliably higher than in the group of healthy persons.
This suggests a well-founded conclusion: people with accentuated traits are vulnerable to stress-producing disorders at a considerably higher rate than those whose nature components are manifested at an average or lower rate.
Further, comparing forms of nervous disorders and types of accentuated components, I found a fair amount of evidence to support Jung’s thesis that various neuroses are intensified personal traits. For example, statistically reliable tests of male patients with depressive neurotic disorders showed that dysthymic accentuation, whose main typical trait is predisposition to lower mood, is more common than among healthy ones. I discovered similar relations between other forms of accentuated components and neuroses forms.
While working on the book, I emphasized predisposition to depression and the risk of suicide attempts, since I was aware that the number of depressive patients is growing in many countries. The American Association of Suicidology reports that every 17 minutes an American commits suicide and suicide is 11th most frequent source of death in the US. According to World Health Organization, by 2020 depression will pass heart disease as a source of death.
My analysis of triggering causes of most nervous disorders revealed that each accentuated component has its own Achilles’ heel, which – and this is quite important – begins "hurting" in the socially meaningful and particularly important situations for a given individual. This table reflects this specific relation:
|Accentuation Type||Most stress-producing situations|
|Anankastic||The need to take an important decision in the absence of certainty of positive outcome.|
|Affect - Exalted||Sudden wrecking of hopes and plans. |
|Rigid||Impossibility to get out of a humiliating position.|
|Dysthymic||Large-scale failures or a series of small-scale ones. Lack of concrete stimulating prospects.|
|Anxious ||Uncertainty of situation that is fraught with threat to life, well-being, and important aspects of one’s activities.|
|Excitable||Restraints, remarks, fault-finding, insurmountable obstacles.|
|Demonstrative||Lack or absence of love, acknowledgement, and support from close friends and relatives .|
|Introverted||Situations that: a) demand immediate action that entails others; b) require constant dealing with others.|
|Extraverted||Situations that entail long-term social isolation, impossibility to be active and exchange current information, lack of fun as music, TV, computer games, etc.|
I have also established characteristic combinations of nature components among patients with physical disorders (while comparing them among themselves and to healthy patients). Patients with stomach and duodenal ulcers more often have a combination of introverted and dysthymic components. Ischemic heart disease is associated with rigid and excitable components, while bronchial asthma, with high anankastic component. Particular anxiety is common to all three diseases. These traits remind of cardiac, ulcer, and asthma types described by Flanders Dunbar who used Freud’s concept of personality formation as the basis. Digital data on predisposition to nervous disorders and physical diseases are reflected in Pattern section, while taking into account the intensity of the components scored by each testee.
The findings were published in the following articles:
1) Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Èññëåäîâàíèå ëè÷íîñòíûõ àêöåíòóàöèé ó áîëüíûõ ÿçâåííîé áîëåçíüþ äâåíàäöàòèï¸ðñòíîé êèøêè è áðîíõèàëüíîé àñòìîé." Àêòóàëüíûå ïðîáëåìû, ñîâðåìåííûå äîñòèæåíèÿ ïñèõîíåâðîëîãèè, èõ ìåäèöèíñêî - òåõíè÷åñêèå àñïåêòû â îñíîâíûõ ðàçäåëàõ è ïðàêòèêå ìåäèöèíû. Õàðüêîâ, 1985, ñ. 209 – 210.
Feldman, N. B. "Studies of Personality Accentuation in Duodenal Ulcer and Bronchial Asthma". Vital Issues and Modern Achievements in Psycho-Neurology and Their Medical and Technical Aspects in Main Areas of Medicine and Medical Practice. Kharkov, 1985 (209 – 210).
2) Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Ñïåöèôè÷íîñòü ïðåìîðáèäíûõ òèïîâ ëè÷íîñòíîé àêöåíòóàöèè ïðè íåêîòîðûõ ïñèõîñîìàòè÷åñêèõ çàáîëåâàíèÿõ è íåâðàñòåíèè". Ìåäèöèíñêèé æóðíàë Óçáåêèñòàíà, 1986, 4, ñ. 29 – 32 (in Russian).
Feldman, N. B. "Characteristics of Pre-Morbid Types of Personality Accentuation in Psychosomatic and Neurasthenia Cases". Uzbekistan Medical Journal, 1986, v.4 (29 - 32).
3) Áëåéõåð Â. Ì., Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Îñîáåííîñòè ëè÷íîñòíûõ àêöåíòóàöèé êàê ôàêòîðà ïðåäðàñïîëîæåíèÿ ê íåêîòîðûì ïñèõîñîìàòè÷åñêèì çàáîëåâàíèÿì". Æóðíàë íåâðîïàòîëîãèè è ïñèõèàòðèè, Ìîñêâà, 1988, ¹3, ñ.101 -104 (in Russian).
Bleycher, V. M and Feldman, N. B. "Characteristics of Personality Accentuation as a Predisposing Factor in Certain Psychosomatic Disorders". Neurology and Psychiatry Journal, Moscow, 1988, v. 3 (101 - 104)
Since Leonhard had already described accentuated traits, I decided to identify the template traits, despite his opinion that they are evasive, since a full psychological portrait must include all its components and their nuances. Besides, about 50% population has template traits and no accentuated ones.
The questionnaire I used contains twelve nature components and is based on the ten-point system, where scores of -1, -2, -3 and 7, 8, 9 are considered a manifestation of accentuation or a clear tendency towards it. The rest of the scores I divided into low (0, 1, 2, 3) and medium (4, 5, 6). As a result, SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST "gives out" (raise 3 to the 12) thousands combinations, or psychological portraits.
In studying nature components with low and medium scores, I discovered that certain scientists voice doubt that people who have only "medium" or "template" – i.e., non-accentuated traits – could end up blindly believing in power of genes, or their decisive role in everything, and become passive and indifferent in society. Scientists set this type against famous super-activists, who are considered clearly accentuated persons or passionaries (according to Lev Gumilyov).
Yet as I closely reviewed the cases where traits did not reach the accentuation level, I saw quite a few interesting and socially meaningful types. For example, a person combining low anxiety with medium anankastic component: courageous but judicious. While someone with medium scores on all the twelve components is emotionally stable and manifests many positive traits of accentuated people and seem to be devoid of their negative ones. The Nature Components chapter features such medium cases as Joseph in the Bible, Shakespearian Brutus, Marc Antony, and other prominent persons. Thus I cannot agree with Leonhard’s thesis that people with "template" traits do not particularly distinguish themselves in a prominent positive sense.
The twins research led to a rather clear idea of internal compensators, the role played by both accentuated (as per Leonhard) and non-accentuated components. In my experience one of more characteristic examples of non-accentuated components’ compensatory effect had two 20-year-old disygotic twins, who, according to genetic laws, had 50 percent common genetic material, which was confirmed by psychological testing. Both were predisposed to depression; both have dysthymic score of 9. Suddenly their father died. One of the brothers developed situational depression. The question is, How did the second brother turn out to be stress-resistant? After deducting all possible reasons, we were left with one: healthy brother had compensators that the sick one didn’t – hyperthymic component with a score of 5 and anxiety component with a score of 2. The ill twin scored 1 and 6, respectively.
I could also evaluate the meaning of non-accentuated components while researching families whose members graciously provided me with detailed information about their two or three generations. In this experiment, besides standard SECUNMIR, I used the Littmann-Schmieschek questionnaire, which I modified for children (11 - 12) and for teenagers.
The results were published:
Ôåëüäìàí Í. Á. "Àïðîáàöèÿ îïðîñíèêà äëÿ âûÿâëåíèÿ ëè÷íîñòíûõ àêöåíòóàöèé ó äåòåé è ïîäðîñòêîâ". Àêòóàëüíûå ïðîáëåìû, ñîâðåìåííûå äîñòèæåíèÿ â ïñèõîíåâðîëîãèè, èõ ìåäèêî - òåõíè÷åñêèå àñïåêòû â îñíîâíûõ ðàçäåëàõ è ïðàêòèêå ìåäèöèíû. Õàðüêîâ, 1985, ñ. 207 – 209 (in Russian).
Feldman, N. B. "Testing a Questionnaire to Reveal Personality Accentuation in Children and Adolescents." Vital Issues and Modern Achievements in Psycho-Neurology and Their Medical and Technical Aspects in Main Areas of Medicine and Medical Practice. Kharkov, 1985 (207 - 209)
The results of family testing clearly indicated that children by nature actually "take after" one of the parents, though it still remains to be explored which components are transmitted by dominant type and which ones by recessive one. Of special interest are the results reached by Thomas Bouchard, which claim that the influence of the family environment on the personality traits does not exceed 10 percent (Genes, Environment, and Personality, VI, 1994).
Philosophers also wrote on the resemblances between parents’ and children’s natures. Nietzsche, for example:
Parents live on. Unresolved dissonances in the relation of the character and disposition of the parents continue to reverberate in the nature of the child, and constitute his inner sufferings.
Although every newborn enters life fresh and joyous and enjoys it as a gift, we can hardly call it a gift. Its brand-new existence is paid for by the old age and death of a creature that has lived out its age, that though died, but still contained an indestructible embryo, and both make one single creature. To show a bridge between them is to solve a grand mystery. <…> if parents’ traits are revived in their children, it means they have overcome death.
During family testing it became clear that using SUM makes it possible to show why "good" parents can have "bad" children. In the table below, six components are chosen for clarity’s sake. Mother is disposed towards irritability and scored 8 on the excitable component. Yet she is rather soft and pitying, with 6 on the emotive component; she is also prone to doubt and lacks self-confidence – 6 on the anankastic component. Also, she concedes easily, with rigidity at a mere 3. Thus her accentuated excitable component is compensated by most of other components.
S C O R E S
Father, too, has only one accentuated component – dysthymic with a score of 8. Yet he scored 6 in rigid component, which allows him to be insistent and overcome low moods that stem from dysthymic component. Besides, he scored 6 on hyperthymic component (vivacity, good mood), which helps even and soften dysthymic traits. Low score on anankastic component (3) makes him firm and decisive.
Now let us take a look at their son. He has two accentuated components: excitable (8) from his mother and dysthymic (8) from his father. His excitable component (irritability) is only 3 points and is not compensated by emotive component, unlike in his mother’s case. Nor is his dysthymic trait compensated by his hyperthymic trait (3 points) or his rigidity (also 3). As a result, the son is an irritable person perennially in a bad mood. Against this background, his low emotive and anankastic components (pitiless, never doubting) scores – 3 points each – make him a harsh person – a "bad" son with "good" parents.
However, it is not all that simple. Repeated twins and family research, with a 3- to 5-year interval, showed that, all things being relatively equal, the score number is not stable and may fluctuate within 1-2 points (not more than that). Therefore, under different influences, the son’s excitable and dysthymic components may go down to 6 points, and his hyperthymic, rigid, emotive, and anankastic components go up to 5 points. And that doesn’t make the son "bad".
In the Patterns, the individual being tested will find not only the results pertaining to his predisposition to medical disorders, but also such sections as Professional Inclinations, Interpersonal Relation Models, and Erotic Potential. In order to generate the data reflecting various digital versions of these traits, I conducted special standardized tests of different groups. It is quite evident that these three parameters formed by specific combinations of 11 to 12 components are likely to be less reliable than the separate nature components they are made up of. Each component may turn out to be one or two points higher or lower. Besides, manifestation of all three parameters, especially in interpersonal relationships, largely depends on moral attitudes. Also, the points indicating the degree of predisposition to disease are based on the diagnoses made by clinical practitioners, while Professional Inclinations, Interpersonal Relation Models, and Erotic Potential had to be compiled without such objective data. Yet Patterns can be as useful as the compass: it is better to have a reference point reliable 70 percent of the time than none at all.
I will not go into detail here, so as to spare the reader the voluminous calculations. But I am happy to state that, first, the results I obtained confirm Jung’s observation that one’s personal traits affect one’s sexual nature. In my research, these are combination of given nature components and various erotic behavior patterns. Second, my data agree with Leonhard’s observation about the frequent combination of high exalted and demonstrative components with artistically inclined persons. The statistical analysis in Professional Inclinations, a part of Patterns chapter, does not contradict Leonhard’s following observations:
"… a tendency embedded in a person by nature interacts with the selected career; moreover, a person selects a career often because it corresponds to his individual inclinations."
As for innate professional inclinations, interesting opinions were voiced by Thomas Harrison, the CEO of Diversified Agency Services, the world's largest group of marketing services companies. In his book Instinct: Tapping Your Entrepreneurial DNA to Achieve Your Business Goals[/i], Harrison claims that "in this area of human endeavor, genetically inherited personal traits are important as well." Among those he mentions abilities to communicate and to draw allies, need for innovation, etc.
The reader will notice that throughout the book I use quotes from outstanding thinkers, psychologists, and philosophers. Since they came to conclusions similar to mine (way before I did, too), I am pleased to quote, rather than to paraphrase, them. I am also pleased to jump on their venerable bandwagon with the results of my work that confirm their thoughts. I am also interested in the reader seeing the precious "little bricks" that make up the SECUNMIR house. (Which doesn’t mean that I accept fully all the concepts of the authors I quote.) I hope that my fellow scientists will also want to jump not only on that bandwagon, but also to join me in my SECUNMIR house with its modest "bricks" that need further careful and comprehensive work. To the point to say that there are very interesting resent researches which develop accentuated personality conception:
1) THE INFLUENCE OF PERSONALITY ACCENTUATION ON DRUG ADDICTION AMONG STUDENTS. Elena Aleksandrovna Cheverikina et. al. - American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology – 2014. Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 168-173.
2) Psychiatric Controversies in Epilepsy. Andres Kanner, Steven C. Schachter – 2008 - Academic Press. "... Self-report questionnaires reveal accentuated personality traits in the ..."
3) Comprehensive Handbook of Alcohol Related Pathology – Edited by Victor R. Preedy, Ronald Ross Watson - 2004 – Science Direct. "… whenever premorbidly accentuated personality traits were present ... "
4) Offender Profiling: An Introduction to the Sociopsychological Analysis of Violent Crime. - George B. Palermo, Richard N. Kocsis - 2005 - Political Science, Charles C. Thomas. "... from any neurotic illnesses or have any accentuated personality traits."
5) Development and Psychopathology / Volume 22 / Issue 02 / May 2010, pp 433-451 Copyright © Cambridge University Press. Personal-accentuation and contextual-amplification models of pubertal timing: Predicting youth depression - Karen D. Rudolpha and Wendy - Troop-Gordona University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign - North Dakota State University.
6) International Classification and Diagnosis: Critical Experience and Future Direction. Edited by Juan E. Mezzich, T. Bedirhan Ustun - 2002 - S Karger AG. "... Although 'accentuated personality traits' are given a code in the 'Z' chapter of ..."
7) Personality Disorders: Recognition and Clinical Management. - Jonathan H. Dowson, Adrian T. Grounds - 2006 – Cambridge University Press . "... or following a severe psychiatric illness); and 'accentuation of personality traits'."
8) Anxiety and Mood Disorders following Traumatic Brain Injury. Rudi Coetzer - 2010 – Karnas Book. "… for example, pointed out that sometimes pre-morbid personality traits may be accentuated by traumatic brain injury… "
9) Dimensiunile accentuate iile lor cu principalii factori ai personalitatii. - RJAP - 2009 - T Constantin et. al. Revista de Psychologie Aplicata, 2009, Vol. 11, Nr 1, 49-59. "… measure developed after Karl Leonhard's model of accentuated personality traits and other three personality scales measuring the Big Five factors."
10) PUKROP R. ; STEINMEYER E. M. ; WOSCHNIK M. ; CZERNIK A. ; MATTHIES H. ; SASS H. ; KLOSTERKOOTTER J. – Nervenarzt - 2002, vol. 73, no 3, pp. 247-254. " … The concept of accentuated personalities could be validated for six out of nine tested continua and can be recommended for application in dimensional models of personality and personality disorders."
11) Accentuated personality traits in patients with functional dyspepsia. – A. Svintsitsky, K. Revenok, S. Malyarov, I. Korendovych. - Conference: EAPM 2014, At Sibiu, Romania, Volume: Psychologische Medizin, ISSN 1014-8167, suppl. 2014.
Further, I considered that the "bricks" need to be complemented with perceptive writer quotes, since writers belong with practitioners of descriptive psychology. Therefore, having used scientific and statistical methods to study the nature components, I decided to seek support from humanities. To this end, I studied the Bible and Shakespeare as time-tested authoritative sources of artistic/psychological portraits. Then, as I discovered in these works parallels to the genetic concept of human nature, as well as beautiful and instructive examples, I decided to include these numerous and sometimes lengthy texts in my book. I believe that this method of presentation will inspire in the reader more trust and understanding than brief examples with author’s detailed interpretation. I also took into account that SECUNMIR describes variants of psychological norm, and Shakespeare’s examples are more convincing than the author’s "cases from practice". Finally, quoted Shakespearean texts are vivid artistic illustrations – "descriptions" and additions – to the scientific-looking and dryish "mirror" reflections that I show the reader.
Before I embarked on literary borrowing, I naturally posed a tricky question: "Can one use whole blocks of information from other works – citing the source, of course?" The best justification I found in Goethe’s works:
"My Mephistopheles sings a song of Shakespeare; and why should he not? Why should I give myself the trouble to compose a new song, when Shakespeare’s was just the right one, saying exactly what was necessary?"
Goethe uses other examples:
"Walter Scott used a scene from my Egmont, and he had a right to do so, and, as he did it with understanding, it is to be praised. Lord Byron’s The Deformed Transformed is a continuation of my Mephistopheles. And this is good! If he had chased originality and tried to avoid it, it would have come out worse."
Moreover, the Bard himself borrowed prodigiously from other authors: Thomas More, Edward Hall, Peter Hollingshead, Saxo Grammis forced aticus, Plutarch, Francois de Belfort, Thomas Kyd, Giraldi Cintio, Matteo Bandello, and others.
Having thus solved the borrowing issue, I fearlessly went on to embed lengthy quotes from the Bible and Shakespeare in SUM. As I proceeded, I was reassured that, indeed, "In the Bible, one can find anything", and I saw that there was nothing old about the Old Testament – the text is most timely, both from psychological and instructive viewpoints. I saw that Wagner was right ("Shakespeare expressed the whole infinity of human nature"), and so was Schiller ("Shakespeare described each human trait separately"). In Joyce’s Ulysses I came across this line: "After God, no one has created more than Shakespeare". I was also drawn to Pushkin’s lines:
"Shakespeare understood passions; while Goethe understood the mores. <…> Every man loves, hates, rejoices, saddens – but each in his own way – just read Shakespeare. <…> Read Shakespeare: this is my constant refrain."
And I agree with Lev Shestov’s words:
Shakespeare is too huge to get around him. Every critic is forced to take him into account and give his best to make his worldview agree with Shakespeare’s.
I saw why Shakespeare has been acknowledged the greatest writer of the second millennium, which also means a brilliant psychologist – in the field of descriptive psychology.
Shakespeare is the most filmed author, with 309 film adaptations of his works. No other great writer can beat him in popularity – only the Bible is read as much. Vladimir Gippius, Russian poet and critic, wrote on the subject:
"Shakespeare as Bible. <…> As artistic and internal religious phenomena at the same time, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses are not mere religion, but artistic creations of striking force and terseness. Same with Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, Othello, Ophelia, Cordelia, Desdemona – are all works of art of extraordinary precision and expressiveness."
Joseph Brodsky, the Nobel Prize winner in poetry, said in an interview that he prefers to read Shakespeare’s plays and reflect on them, rather than see them on stage, and that "today any Shakespeare play is essentially part of enlightenment. Even at a college production of, say, Measure for Measure, the audience will not understand half what they hear onstage."
Curiously, psychological depth of Shakespeare’s characters has long drawn attention not only from literary critics, but from scientists as well. In 1885 Oscar Wilde wrote in Henry IV in Oxford, "I know that there are many who considers Shakespeare is more for the study than for the stage". Hundred years later, in a New York Times Book Review article, Harold Bloom wrote that "today perhaps we need more a Shakespearean interpretation of Freud than a Freudian one of Shakespeare." I could not agree more, since, unlike Freud’s doctrine, which claims the first years of human life to be the source of one’s nature, Shakespeare’s opus is all about inheriting positive and negative traits. For example, in Antony and Cleopatra, Lepidus interprets Antony’s psychological flaws as inherited and stable:
His faults in him seem as the spots of heaven,
More fiery by night's blackness; hereditary,
Rather than purchased; what he cannot change,
Than what he chooses.
In All’s Well that Ends Well, the Countess, while admiring Elena’s merits, specifies: "Her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair gifts fairer".
In Coriolanus, Aufidius speaks of the hero’s immutable nature: His nature in that's no changeling; and I must excuse what cannot be amended.
Similarly speaks Citizen: "What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him."
In "Merchant of Venice" we read: "Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time: some that will evermore peep through their eyes and laugh like parrots at a bag-piper, and other of such vinegar aspect that they'll not show their teeth in way of smile."
Biron in Love’s Labors Lost talks of stability of innate emotions:
Necessity will make us all forsworn
Three thousand times within this three years' space;
For every man with his affects is born,
Not by might master'd but by special grace.
Also, in Troilus and Cressida, as Ulysses speaks to Ajax of his nature, he praises nature more than nurture:
Thank the heavens, lord, thou art of sweet composure;
Praise him that got thee, she that gave thee suck:
Famed be thy tutor, and thy parts of nature
Thrice famed, beyond all erudition.
There is another important aspect of Shakespeare’s works. They refer to a special mirror – a reflection – that enables a person to know the truth of his merits and flaws. In Julius Caesar, Cassius asks Brutus: Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
BRUTUS: No, Cassius; for the eye sees not itself,
But by reflection, by some other things.
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. <…>
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
Shakespeare has a number of passages that call for the need "to know thyself", including these two from Hamlet: "to know a man well, were to know himself" and "Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." In Timon of Athens, Shakespeare is more categorical, if not outright rude, when he has Apemantus address his servants:
All Servants: What are we, Apemantus?
All Servants: Why?
APEMANTUS: That you ask me what you are, and do not know yourselves.
Equally categorical is Ulysses who speaks of Ajax in Troilus and Cressida:
Heavens, what a man is there! a very horse, that has he knows not what.
Shakespeare’s idea of self-knowledge is echoed by Biblical texts. Job pleads with God:
How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin. (Job 13:23)
Says Psalm 19 (12-13):
Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me.
St. Paul says that man cannot measure and know himself:
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (Corinthians II, 10:12)
I would also like to quote from St. Augustin, as well as the reaction to his words from Dmitry Bykov, a prominent Russian poet and critic:
"’Lord, if I saw myself, then I would see You’ – I don’t know anything better in the world literature than this phrase from St. Augustine."
I listed above my reasons to turn to the Bible, but I should also mention my long-time desire to gain an insight into the complex character of Hamlet. After all, the play itself is chock-full of biblical motifs and allusions and some critics even call it a religious drama.
Before we move on to the next chapter, I decided - overcoming my natural shyness (it was not very difficult) - to offer for your reading pleasure a recent letter from my colleague concerning this book:
" I read Nelly Den's ( Neli Feldman's) SECUNMIR book with a great deal of interest and pleasure. I also took the highly perceptive test.
'I fully agree with the high marks accorded this book by Vladimir Levi in his FOREWORD. I would also like to note the following: This FOREWORD largely addresses a broad reading audience. This is in keeping with SECUNMIR author's main objective - encouraging the highest possible numbers of readers to test their individual psychological characteristics. Yet Dr. Den also spared no effort in gaining the attention of the experts. The PROOF chapter even cites a list of specific scientific articles that reflect the results of extensive research that is a part of the author's dissertation.
'As a practicing psychologist and psychotherapist with twenty years' experience, I would found certain data in both: these articles and SECUNMIR that is new for psychological science. I am convinced that the author's profound development of Leonhard's accentuated personality concept will be of particular interest to English-speaking scientists and practitioners, since this productive concept has yet to receive the acknowledgement in English - speaking world as it deserves. Yet according to modern statistics published in various countries, every other person in the world can be classified as accentuated, i.e. located in unsteady borderline state between the psychological norm and neurological disorder.
Let me list the author's main findings:
1) For the first time, the accentuated personality characteristics described by Carl Leonhard have been complemented by well-described non-accentuated characteristics, i.e. ones faintly pronounced and reaching mid-level intensity.
2) For the first time, using the twin method and psychological testing, it has been established that twelve personality traits, both accentuated and pronounces on middle and low level, are genetically conditioned to a high degree. Thus the author refers to them as "natural components".
3) The continuum that is thus formed - from faintly pronounced components to mid-level and then accentuated ones on the borderline of norm and disorder - allows a new approach to human personality. As a result of this continuum, SECUNMIR -TEST contains thousands psychological reflections, or portraits (by comparison, the widely used MBTI with its 94 questions produces only 16 combinations, or portraits).
4) For the first time, the author developed a system of psychological compensators that dilute accentuation. These are certain both accentuated and non accentuated natural components inherent to the given individual.
5) The same questionnaire (102 questions) that was used to reveal the natural components served as basis for special PATTERN that contains twenty four psychological parameters. These are various professional and psycho-erotic inclinations, models of interpersonal relations, and predisposition to depression and other disorders. As a result, the testee receives highly individualized information on his or her psychological characteristics (12 natural components + 24 PATTERN characteristics).
6) According to the SECUNMIR TEST, no its characteristics are set in stone. Specifically, the natural component testing results fluctuate within 1 - 2 points, while PATTERN results do so within 15 to 20 %. This makes the SECUNMIR methods as fluid as life itself and does not turn the testing results into a verdict of life.
Of special interest is psychological analysis of Hamlet, where the author uses SECUNMIR test to reveal his personal characteristics. As a result, what we have is a literary essey of sorts, which resolves important psychological, moral, philosophical, and religious issues. It is especially interesting to read about the author shifting the accent from the traditional TO BE OR NOT TO BE to WHETHER 'TIS NOBLER.
'All the conclusions in the book are well-argumented and thoroughly tested. As you read, you feel that the author substantiates her conclusions not for reader alone, but for herself as well. I am refer to the extensive quoting of Shakespeare in the chapter on Hamlet and the thirty-seven chapters dedicated to various natural components. In order to locate the quotes , the author had to conduct a great deal of research and profoundly immerse in Shakespeare's world.
'I am convinced that SECUNMIR TEST is a quality psychological tool that can and must be widely used for prevention purposes, as it presents the tested reader with a finely individualized and useful book. It should also be widely used as a practical tool by psychologists, psychotherapists, and other specialists in human problems.
'In conclusion I should note that Dr. Den, a practicing physician, embarked on extensive research on the basis of her own scientific idea - all of her own, without grants or any other support - and brought it to fruition. In fact, she has created a new psychological test that in many aspects surpasses various other personality tests."
Part II. What is Nobler? Hamlet and Us.
A man is God’s way to abdicate responsibility
and put it on the shoulders of homo sapiens.
By using his powers single-sided way,
an individual will inevitably delude himself.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
Few literary works have been analyzed with such intensity as The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark – it was written about by psychologists, literary critics, jurists, historians, philosophers, and others. There is Shakespeare Quarterly, a journal published in Washington, DC, where one of five issues is dedicated to bibliography of books and articles on Hamlet. In the last fifty years alone, over 1,000 books and papers have been published on the subject. Yet as Bernhard ten Brink remarked over a century ago, "Hamlet remains a mystery, though an irresistible one, since it is not something invented mystery, but, rather, one that stems from the nature of things."
Even more impressive are the words of Irish critic Edward Dowden:
Shakespeare created a mystery that remained an element of thought that always excites it yet never quite explains it. Therefore one cannot presume that an idea or a magical phrase might solve the problems presented by this drama, or suddenly illuminate all of its dark spots. <…> There’s much that escapes research and drives it astray."
Russian psychologist Lev Vygodsky claimed that "Hamlet’s mystery had to be accepted as such; it needed to be felt, sensed, and no attempts to solve it should be taken."
Danish critic Georg Brandes thought that "Hamlet had plenty mysteries and contradictions, but the play’s attraction is largely conditioned by this very darkness."
Russian critic Vassily Rosanov held an opposite view: "Hamlet poses eternal questions–of life and death, the meaning of the world and the meaning of human existence – that trouble both philosophers and ordinary people, and it does so more clearly, deeply, and comprehensively than any other Shakespeare's play."
T.S. Eliot believes that "the mysteriousness of the tragedy is conditioned by a problem that Shakespeare could not solve."
Father Pavel Florensky also claims that "not only for Hamlet, but for his real father – Shakespeare, that is – the expanse ahead of them was illuminated only in brief moments." By "expanse" Florensky means the task confronting Hamlet that he – Florensky – formulated thus: "a premature attempt to move mankind to a new consciousness, from paganism to Christianity."
Critics point out other "flaws" in the play: "Shakespeare never owned the play completely and did not control freely its components" (Henry Beck). There was also a technical problem – with no curtain on stages at the time, "there was no one to take away the dead bodies that accumulated on stage <…> thus in Hamlet shows up Fortinbras, completely unnecessary except for ordering to take away the bodies." (Boris Silversvan)
In fact, whole monologues in the tragedy were considered "redundant" – in particular, the one on so-called "immoderation", delivered a few minutes before meeting the Ghost, where Prince ponders on "the o'ergrowth of some complexion, oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason".
Some critics wrote about lack of foreshadowing for Hamlet’s decisiveness to call Claudius right after Hertrude’s death. This is how critic Alexei Bartoshevich describes David Warner playing Hamlet in this scene: "At the end, facing close death, Hamlet is suddenly seized with fever of action. With cruelty that arrived suddenly from quarters unknown he grabbed Laertes’ throat and vengefully poured the poison in Claudius’ ear: let the murderer suffer the same death as his victim."
Other critics wondered about Gertrude’s remark of Hamlet: "He’s fat, and scant of breath". They don’t see how this phrase from the last scene relates to the preceding text.
Critics and thinkers differed in their opinions of the Prince. Leo Tolstoy, for example:
"Shakespeare took an old story, quite nice in its way <…> and used it for his drama. <…> In the legend, Hamlet’s persona is quite clear. <…> Yet Shakespeare has Hamlet deliver the speeches that the author wants him to deliver and do things that the author needs to set up showy scenes, and, as a result, destroys everything that makes up Hamlet in the legend. Throughout the play, Hamlet does not do the things that he might want to do, but what the author needs him to do: now he is terrified by his father’s ghost, now he is mocking it, calling it a mole; now he loves Ophelia, now he teases her, and so on. It is thoroughly impossible to explain Hamlet’s actions and speeches and thus ascribe him a character of any kind."
Alexander Anikst considers Hamlet "not a literary character <…> but a live person whom we see in all the entirety and complexity of his nature."
This is what Goethe wrote:
"A great deed imposed on the soul that finds it beyond his power. <…> A beautiful, pure, noble, highly moral creature, devoid of power of feeling that makes a hero, dies under the burden that can be neither shouldered nor shaken."
Other critics also consider Hamlet as a tragedy of lack of strength and will, yet remark that some scenes depict the Prince’s traits of completely different kind and indicate that he does not hesitate for moral reasons. In particular, Lev Shestov writes:
"Where Hamlet’s vital interests come into conflict, he does not ponder, since nothing holds him back. He fights pirates and sends two friends of his youth to a certain death in England. There is no Hamlet the Procrastinator here. Here he doesn’t ask himself ‘whether 'tis nobler’ and which is better, suffer or take arms."
Critic Vladimir Volkenshteyn considers all the monologues where Hamlet reproaches himself for lack of decisiveness as the hero whipping himself into action and believes that they are evidence of his strength. This is echoed by the critics who claim that Hamlet was alone fighting the whole royal court.
In his classic novel The Precipice Russian writer Ivan Goncharov has his character Rayevsky maintain:
"Everybody is a Hamlet sometimes. <…> The so-called "freewill" can play a joke on anybody! – There is no such thing as freewill, but there is a paralysis of will – yes, this can happen. But what they call will, this illusory force, this is not at the disposal of the gentleman, the "ruler of nature" - it is subject to some outside laws and acts according to them without asking his consent. Like consciousness, it only reminds of itself when the person has already done the wrong thing."
Hegel found Hamlet indecisive, yet added that "he questions not the act itself but the manner of its execution".
Lev Vygodsky writes that
"in killing Polonius and in the fight with Laertes Hamlet is alienated from himself; he was not himself as he did these (and other) things; they were not done by Hamlet; his odd absent-mindedness that puts him under the power of some force, his madness, his "eclipse". <…> he seems to be taken out of himself."
According to Oscar Wilde,
"Hamlet is dreamer. And he is called upon to act. He has nature of poet. And he is asked to grapple with the common complexity of cause and effect, with life in its practical realization. <...> Hamlet has all the imagination and irresolution of the Northern nations."
Nietzsche found common ground between Hamlet and men of antiquity:
"Both once saw the essence of things correctly; they came to knowledge – and they were put off from acting; since their acts can change nothing in the eternal essence of things, they view the suggestion to set this world – which fell off its hinges - on the right track as ridiculous and shameful. Knowledge kills action; the action needs the cover of illusion – this is Hamlet’s science. <…> True knowledge – the view that penetrates the horrifying truth – here gain advantage over every motive that urges for action."
Hans Eysenck considers three main hypotheses to explain the "sphinx of world letters". He writes that the first one sees the problem of accomplishing the task that Hamlet faces in his deeply introverted temper that "is not suitable for effective action of any kind". Further, Eysenck claims that
"Hamlet never had a simple view of any problem; he always saw a whole set of various aspects and possible explanations. Therefore, not one specific mode of action appeared certain and evident to him, hence his skepticism and thinking ability tended to paralyze his behavior in real life."
According to the second hypothesis, it is the scale of the task itself that is the reason for Hamlet’s foot-dragging. Overthrowing the king without losing your own life is a daunting task. And then there’s a third hypothesis posited by well-known psychoanalyst Edward Jones:
"If this is not about his (Hamlet’s) inability to act in general or about the incredible complexity of the task in hand, then the essence must lie in the third possibility; namely, a distinctive feature of the task that makes it loathsome to him. Deep inside, Hamlet does not want to do it, and this conclusion seems so obvious that it’s hard to see how any critical reader failed to see it."
Jones believes that Hamlet suffers from Oedipus complex and delays performing his duty because by killing his father and marrying his mother Claudius acted on his own – Hamlet’s – unconscious desire.
Lev Vygodsky thus sums up the research on Hamlet:
"All the research contains an attempt to solve the puzzle posed by Shakespeare, which can be phrased like this: why Hamlet who must kill the king immediately after talking to Ghost cannot do it; thus the whole tragedy is the story of his inaction.
Yet in my opinion Prince did not have at all to kill Claudius immediately after talking to the Ghost. Let’s see: what is Shakespeare’s Ghost? This same question is posed in Joyce’s Ulysses. The answer, "He is a ghost, a shadow now, the wind by Elsinore's rocks or what you will, the sea's voice, a voice heard only in the heart of him who is the substance of his shadow" – is not satisfactory. We need to know what the creator himself - Shakespeare - meant by this "shadow" and in general by whatever happens in the play.
The first characters to see the Ghost are two guards, Marcellus and Bernardo. They tell about it to Horatio, who, just like his friend Hamlet, studies or works at Wittenberg University, Germany’s largest school. Marcellus says to Bernardo:
Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
And then Horatio says, "Tush, tush, 'twill not appear." But of course! At Wittenberg University, students read Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft and King James’ Demonology, works that taught distrusting ghosts and spirits. True, upon seeing Ghost, Horatio is smitten with "fear and wonder" and tells it to "stay", and then says, "A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye." Yet as the Ghost is to take his exit in silence, Horatio asks Marcellus, in a very mortal-like manner, to detain him; Marcellus calmly asks, "Shall I strike at it with my partisan?"
So what is Ghost, as far as Hamlet is concerned? When he learns from Horatio that the latter along with two guards saw Ghost, the Prince is confused; he admits it is strange and asks Horatio that he keep it a secret. But when he sees Ghost for himself, he exclaims:
"Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou comest in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee"
Immediately thereafter, Hamlet tells Horatio and the guards: "Touching this vision here, it is a honest ghost." Yet a moment later, hearing Ghost’s words from underground, Hamlet calls him "an old mole" and "a worthy pioneer". The latter, in the Bard’s times, was a reference to the Devil, which suggests that the Prince is not quite sure about Ghost’s identity and at the end of the scene even says he will go and pray. We should take into account that in Shakespeare’s description Hamlet is a religious person who several times reminds us of God and religious teachings. Since these include Thou Shalt Not Kill and Thou Shalt not Avenge, for Hamlet a reference to "prayer" is a reminder, conscious or not, of these commandments. While in a state of affect Prince vowed to avenge his father, in Act III he hears Actor-king's words:
Most necessary 'tis that we forget
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
What to ourselves in passion we propose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose.
Moreover, Ghost himself did not demand instant revenge. His words, "howsoever thou pursuest this act", are another argument to support the claim that Hamlet was not to kill Claudius right away after the meeting. Further, the Prince’s doubts are reasonable:
The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me.
Tormented by such doubts, could Prince raise his hand on Claudius? A rhetorical question. "I'll have grounds more relative than this," he says as he stages "The Mousetrap" – a test for Claudius. Once he is convinced of the latter’s guilt, Hamlet is ready for revenge; but he finds Clauius in prayer and therefore asks himself:
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge. <…>
…and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
Hamlet remember that his father was poisoned by Claudius; the death was sudden, and he was
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd,
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head –
that is, without being absolved of his sins. According to Shaekspeare’s time’s beliefs, the King could get into hell or the purgatory. This is how Ghost puts it:
I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away.
Hamlet does not need Claudius merely dead – he needs full revenge. He explains this delay and clearly defines the task facing him:
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes.
(Incidentally, in the letter to the King of England, Hamlet, using Claudius’ name, orders that Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern be put to "sudden death, not shriving-time allow'd". It should also be mentioned that they are his closest friends from his youth.)
Indeed, as soon as (Hamlet assumes) Claudius finds himself behind the arras in the Queen’s bedroom, Hamlet strikes. Yet, by mistake, he kills Polonius. Then, new situations determine his course of action. He does promise his mother to take responsibility for Polonius’ death; instead, he hastily flees to England, where he is being sent by Claudius, allegedly for his own security. Here Hamlet’s and his uncle’s wishes coincide: leave Denmark as quick as possible.
Now Hamlet is really in trouble, since Polonius has already realized that he, Claudius, was the planned victim of the killing, rather than Polonius. Thus Prince’s task is more complex: now he wants to take avenge, stay alive, and, moreover, become the king.
Incidentally, there are two more candidates for the throne in the play. Accompanied by a mob, Laertes bursts into Claudius’ chambers to the yells of accompanying mob: "Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!" And towards the end of the play, Fortinbras speaks of his legitimate claim, too.
Hamlet voices his desire in hints and in roundabout ways: "…of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so." Curiously, here Hamlet leaks the truth about his playing the fool as he engages in word play with air and heir. Thus in fact he says, I live as an heir instead of taking the throne.
In a conversation with friends he admits: I lack advancement.
Rosencrantz protests: How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself for your succession in Denmark?
While the grass grows, says the Prince, the horse starves.
Later, addressing Horatio, Hamlet talks about Claudius as a man who became an obstacle "between the election and my hopes". And then at Ophelia’s funeral, with the whole court present, King Claudius included, he proclaims: This is I, Hamlet the Dane, i.e. King of Denmark. Finally, dying Hamlet thinks about his predestination to become the King, and, before he closes his eyes, he speaks of a possible election of Fortinbras to the throne and gives the latter his support.
In order to understand why and how slow Hamlet is in his revenge, we can analyze his situation in the time frame, especially since the author provides us with clear clues. (By the way, it is actually revenge; even in Shakespeare’s lifetime in 1602 "Hamlet" was featured in the publishing catalogue as Hamlet’s Revenge.)
Hamlet shows his distrust of Claudius early in the play. Of his mother’s marriage to him he says: It is not nor it cannot come to good: but break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue. Their marriage seems suspiciously hasty to him – a mere two months’ period since the king’s death. Then, waiting for his meeting with Ghost, Hamlet remarks: all is not well; I doubt some foul play. Finally, he is told by Ghost of Claudius’ murder his father. O my prophetic soul! My uncle! He exclaims. The meeting stirs him deeply. Now that his suspicions panned out, he vows revenge.
About the same time his beloved Ophelia suddenly breaks off contacts with him. Yet, despite a whole row of psychologically incidents, and a mere two months after meeting the Ghost (four months after his father’s funeral, and during the Mousetrap performance Ophelia says two "twice two months" have passed), Hamlet attempts to kill Claudius.
Why wouldn’t he give himself a mere two months’ grace – a time for well-founded doubts and a quest for truth? One, he is very proud, revengeful, ambitious, in his own words, and two, he hates Claudius who took away his throne and yearns for his death.
But there are reasons why Hamlet stalls. In route to England he meets an army twenty thousand strong,
Led by a delicate and tender prince [Fortinbras],
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare.
And Hamlet realizes that, unlike Fortinbras, he cannot overcome "some craven scruple of thinking too precisely on the event.".
Shakespeare points out another reason for Hamlet’s restraint. In the most famous monologue of the tragedy,
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
Hamlet’s answer to the question is of utmost importance, especially with Ghost asking him: "If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not." But Hamlet talks about suicide and asks rhetorical questions, repeating the verb to bear:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes <…>
…who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus the fear of death stops Hamlet – yet he arrives at a completely different conclusion:
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.
Hamlet has no native hue of resolution; to the contrary, he is predisposed to doubts and indecision. As for conscience (or reflection), while it may temporarily put a brake on our action, it is far from making "cowards of us all". Therefore, Hamlet clearly advances, realizing during his meeting Fortinbras’ army that his reflection "hath but one part wisdom and ever three parts coward". Thus Prince arrives at a simple truth: this is not just about his nature, but also about the choice: "taking arms" or "bearing", and bearing cowardly. After all, the Fortinbras who faces him is not a born warrior; Hamlet admits that he is "delicate and tender". Nonetheless, Fortinbras "makes mouths at the invisible event"; he acts firmly and consistently, and he wins.
Hamlet, meanwhile, returns to Denmark and reports to Claudius in a letter that he landed "naked", that is, utterly defenseless, exposing both cheeks to be smacked. He never remembers his noble ambitious impulse ("The time is out of joint <…> I was born to set it right!")
Now, on to the problem – the secret that Shakespeare clearly delineated in the very beginning of the play. A few minutes before the fateful meeting with Ghost, Hamlet goes on a riff about the human nature’s innate traits:
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,--
Their virtues else--be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo--
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault.
There are Shakespeare's words about natural traits of the character ("Timon of Athens"):
"... Twinn'd brothers of one womb,
Whose procreation, residence, and birth,
Scarce is dividant, touch them with several fortunes;
The greater scorns the lesser: not nature,
To whom all sore lay siege, can bear great fortune,
But by contempt of nature.")
At the very end of the tragedy the dying Hamlet speaks of the "wounded name" he will leave behind if Horatio fails to tell his story. Thus the beginning and the end of the tragedy click together, and the question emerges clearly: on the one hand, a person does not seem to be guilty of the inborn trait of his nature that "breaks down the pales and forts of reason"; on the other, even "that particular fault" taints him in the public eye, and "oft it chances" (the scale of the problem!) Thus, is this person guilty or not? The psychological problem transforms itself into a moral and ethical one. We may read about it in Jung's "Late thoughts": "Moral judgment is always present and carries with it characteristic psychological consequences. I have pointed out many times that as in the past, so in the future the wrong we have done, thought, or intended will wreak its vengeance on our soul." And then Jung tells about individual responsibility and remind Jesus words from apocryphal logion (Codex Bezae ad Lucam (6,4): "Man, if thou knowest what thou dost, thou art blessed; but if thou knowest not, thou art accursed and a transgressor of the law."
By the time Chesterton’s “Hamlet and the Psycho-analyst” was written (1923) the popular press had discovered Freud, and the problem of Hamlet was attractive as an illustration of how the Freudian theory could be applied. I offer to read the very interesting quotations from this Chesterton’s assay: “… there is one incidental moral in the matter that seems to me topical and rather arresting. It concerns the idea of punishment. The psycho-analyst continues to buzz in a mysterious manner round the problem of Hamlet… Shakespeare did believe in the struggle between duty and inclination. The critic instinctively avoids the admission that Hamlet’ was a struggle between duty and inclination; and tries to substitute a struggle between consciousness and subconsciousness. He gives Hamlet a complex to avoid giving him a conscience … He is driven to this because he will not even take seriously the simple and, if you will, primitive morality upon which the tragedy is built. For what morality involves three moral propositions from which the whole of morbid modern subconsciousness does really recoils as from ugly jar of pain. These principles are: first, that it may be our main business to do the right thing even when we detest doing it; second, that the right thing may involve punishing some person, especially some powerful person; third, that the process of punishment may take the form of fighting and killing. . . . That it actually might be the duty of a young man to risk his own life, much against his own inclination, by drawing a sword and killing a tyrant, that is an idea instinctively avoided by this particular mood of modern times. That is why tyrants have such a good time in modern times.”
We see throughout the play Hamlet takes turns accusing and justifying himself (not according to the law). As he admits his unseemly deeds, Hamlet psychologizes them, as if ruling out his guilt. He opened a letter addressed to someone else – "My fears forgetting manners" (fear again!) Then he wrote a new letter, where, using Claudius’ name, he ordered the execution of his friends. His explanation: Being thus be-netted round with villainies, - ere I could make a prologue to my brains, they had begun the play. And more - Hamlet says (about his friends): "They are not near my conscience." So this speech shows that Hamlet does not want to recognize the unpleasant truth about himself. A similar situation is in Shakespeare's "Timon of Athens". The main character of this play does not want to hear Apemantus's truthful words about his (Timon's) guests - flatterers and hypocrites. Apemantus explains that it is the consequence of Timon's vanity. And then Shakespeare gives to Apemantus a phrase that has almost the same sense as Jesus words from the apocryphal logion:
" Thou wilt not hear me now; thou shall not then:
I'll lock thy heaven from thee.
O, what men's ear should be
To counsel death, but not to flattery!"
In Hamlet’s words, people are "fools of nature" (Russian critic Morozov sees other possible interpretations: "toys in the hands of nature", or "born fools", i.e. people are fooled by nature since they are completely ruled by its laws) and "passion’s slaves". As such, a man is an obedient tool in the hands of fate. As Prince puts it:
"…blest are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well commingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please. Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart."
But Hamlet is twice a slave: in pondering which is nobler, to bear or take arms, he submits both to circumstances and the negative impulses of his nature. Moreover, "'tis a question left us yet to prove, whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love." Since Hamlet is a slave both to his nature and his destiny, his love is also dependent on them. After all, he writes to Ophelia: "I love thee best <…> 'Thine evermore <…> whilst this machine is to him".
Hamlet senses that the "machine" of his nature may stop obeying him – or his reason, that is. When he meets with Ophelia and says, I love thee not, it is a sign that the "machine" is no longer his. He also compares himself to a musical instrument: "you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass <…> Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me."
French critic Hippolyte Taine also wrote on the "machine" quality of Shakespeare’s characters:
"If Shakespeare wrote psychology, he would echo the words of Jean-Etienne Domenigue Esquirol: a man is a nerve machine, controlled by the temper, disposed towards hallucinations, drawn by unbridled passions, an essentially unreasonable mix of an animal and a poet that has dust instead of reason; its only support and leader is its imagination; accident leads a man through very specific and complex circumstances to grief, crime, madness, and death."
Nonetheless, Hamlet has not always been a slave to his nature, or, rather, its flaws. This is how Ophelia sees him before "a noble mind is here o'erthrown":
"The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword;
The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
The observed of all observers"
This is why I put the "machine" quality in quotation marks and thus disagree with German philosopher Friedrich Schelling who believed that Shakespeare endowed the nature of his characters, including Hamlet, "with such fateful force that it can no longer combine with freedom, but, rather, exists as an insuperable necessity".
Nor am I dazzled with Hamlet’s lengthy apologia to Laertes, especially since a few minutes earlier, he says of Laertes, "the bravery of his grief did put me into a towering passion". This is what he says to Laertes now:
Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows,
And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,
That might your nature, honour and exception
[We should note that through Hamlet, and later through Laertes, Shakespeare identifies sense of honor and natural feelings, which in modern psychology are referred to as psychosocial and natural/psychological qualities, respectively.]
I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.
Hamlet’s words clearly are related to those of St. Paul in 1 Romans (7:15-20, 24):
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. <…> For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. <…> O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Thus Paul wishes to get rid of the body of this death, while Hamlet claims madness to clear himself. Yet Prince could also remember the following from the Bible:
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. (Genesis 4:7)
The last phrase in Prince’s apologia reminds of a line in Proverbs:
As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,
so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, am not I in sport? (Proverbs 26:18).
This is what Shakespeare unequivocally accuses Hamlet of. Laertes’ response is quite reasonable, though not without a trace of hypocrisy: I am satisfied in nature, whose motive, in this case, should stir me most to my revenge: but in my terms of honour I stand aloof.
Hamlet, too, thinks: Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, but greatly to find quarrel in a straw when honour's at the stake.
Yet after posing the question "whether ‘tis nobler", Hamlet turns out the complete opposite of a genuine tragic hero who "acts at his own initiative and does not let anyone else act and decide for him. If he acted on his own, then he is willing to accept the blame and responsibility" (Hegel).
Nietzsche voices a similar thought in Antichrist:
But if there is anything essentially unevangelical, it is surely the concept of the hero. What the Gospels make instinctive is precisely the reverse of all heroic struggles, of all taste for conflict: the very incapacity for resistance is here converted into something moral…
A man of heroic nature will not accentuate something inside himself that his conscious persona is forced to submit to as inevitable. Shakespeare did write that
"…he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused."
These are Hamlet’s words. He also speaks of other things guided by reason (unconsciously reminding us of the saying, Habit is a second nature)
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock or livery,
That aptly is put on. <…>
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either [master ] the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency.
Iago voices similar thoughts in Othello:
"'tis in ourselves that we are thus
or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which
our wills are gardeners: <…> either to have it sterile
with idleness, or manured with industry, why, the
power and corrigible authority of this lies in our
wills. If the balance of our lives had not one
scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the
blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us
to most preposterous conclusions…"
Hamlet has an innate ability to reason and analyze, but he never developed a habit of acting. By the end of the play, his deep reflections lead him to a new conclusion: "readiness is all". It is fitting to remember that elsewhere Shakespeare also talks about preparing to overcome obstacles. In King Lear, Edgar says,
"Men must endure their going hence even as their coming hither. Ripeness is all."
Yet Prince, from the very beginning of the play on, never displays this quality. Remember, when Ghost asks to be heard out, Hamlet is all ears. But the very first reminder of the duty to avenge elicits his cry: "What?" However, his "readiness" that emerges towards the end of the play is not exactly a motivation to act, but, rather, a fatalistic submission to accept death that is borne out of his reflection, for this is how he explains it: "Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?"
Therefore, in countering Fortinbras to Hamlet, Shakespeare leads us to the understanding of "whether 'tis nobler <…> to suffer<…> Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?"
Hamlet is not the only play where Shakespeare ponders on this. In Richard II, Bishop of Carlisle persuades the King to overcome his fear and strike at the enemy:
"To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe,
And so your follies fight against yourself.
Fear and be slain; no worse can come to fight:
And fight and die is death destroying death;
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath."
Similar thoughts are voiced by Alcibiades in Timon of Athens:
Why do fond men expose themselves to battle,
And not endure all threats? sleep upon't,
And let the foes quietly cut their throats,
Without repugnancy? If there be
Such valour in the bearing, what make we
Coriolanus, a patrician and a warrior, speaks of his right to take arms:
… extremity was the trier of spirits;
That common chances common men could bear;
That when the sea was calm all boats alike
Show'd mastership in floating; fortune's blows,
When most struck home, being gentle wounded, craves
A noble cunning…
In Richard II, Shakespeare clearly defines patience. John of Gaunt refuses to punish his brother’s killer:
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven;
Who, when they see the hours ripe on earth,
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads.
In response to this gospel-like non-resistance, Duchess, the victim’s widow, disagrees:
Call it not patience, Gaunt; it is despair:
In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter'd,
Thou showest the naked pathway to thy life,
Teaching stern murder how to butcher thee:
That which in mean men we intitle patience
Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts.
But, back to Hamlet. It is clear that Prince is not the only one who prefers patience to taking arms; so does Ophelia, who is submission personified. She loves Hamlet, and she sees that he is in grief after his father’s death and he remains a prince instead of becoming a king. At this moment she concedes to her father’s demand to break off seeing Hamlet; but then she agrees to see him, aware that their conversation will be eavesdropped by Claudius and Polonius. Later, already disturbed and deranged, she says:
I hope all will be well. We must be patient: <…> God ha' mercy on his soul! And of all Christian souls, I pray God.
As for the kind of patience specific to Hamlet, we can find the final answer in the cemetery scene. Prince exclaims at the sight of the gravedigger treat the skull dug out of the ground: …why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery?
He is talking about the suffering of a skull! Clearly, Shakespeare takes the idea of total patience ad absurdum.
It is especially instructive to note that Hamlet is brimming with biblical allusions. Early in the play, Laertes remarks that "as this temple waxes, the inward service of the mind and soul grows wide withal."
Thus Shakespeare leads us into the world of Holy Scriptures, where soul is a most important category:
Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently (Deuteronomy 4:9)
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Besides, when speaking of the "temple", Laertes had in mind the body:
Jesus answered and said unto them, destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. <…> He spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:19-21)
Hamlet addresses Ophelia:
"Virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it".
Compare the New Testament:
"For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?" (Romans 11:24)
Many other Hamlet thoughts are rife with biblical allusions: "…there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come…"
In Gospel According to St. Matthew (10:29):
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
In the same Gospel we read (13:38):
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one.
For Hamlet, too, the world is "an unweeded garden, that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely."
(Bear in mind that in Shakespeare’s concept Hamlet himself is not unlike a weed, but we will discuss this later.)
More examples: Prince’s words the dread of something after death, the undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveller returns are clearly inspired by the biblical text:
Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death. (Job 10:21)
Hamlet is a Christian in that he believes in the immortal soul. He does not fear Ghost: And for my soul, what can it do to that, being a thing immortal as itself?
He remembers the commandment Thou Shalt Not Kill. He exclaims: Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd his canon 'gainst self-slaughter!
Late in the play, the gravediggers discuss the Christian rules of burying suicides.
We should note that in Hamlet, as in some of his other plays, Shakespeare critiques some religious rules. In Richard II, he is forthright:
"…thoughts of things divine…are intermix'd
With scruples and do set the word itself
Against the word:
As thus, 'Come, little ones,' and then again,
'It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a small needle's eye.'
In The Merchant of Venice he writes: In religion, what damned error, but some sober brow will bless it and approve it with a text, hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
Hamlet, however, is filled with contradictions: to bear or to take arms, to avenge or not to avenge, to forgive or not to forgive. The last contradiction is revealed in Claudius’ prayer. On the one hand,
What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
On the other hand, my fault is past. But then again,
But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the same way, the problem of retribution and forgiveness has been solved by Shakespeare in the play "Measure for Measure." Vincento the Duke summed up the court hearing between Claudio and Angelo:
"The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
"An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!"
Hast still pays hast, and leisure for leisure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure."
With regard to Hamlet’s religious motifs, Russian critic Vyacheslav Ivanov senses the spirit of the Old Testament in it (the fear of God):
As they say in the Bible, one definitely feels the hand of God in Hamlet. It is no purgatory catharsis of a Greek tragedy, but the fear of God; the tragedy evokes a feeling of God’s presence."
Ivanov also claims that the play portrays the Christian world: "…the whole tragedy develops under the ceaselessly weighing and ascending sign of absence of will over it – the cross."
Indeed (except for the urge of revenge that never leaves Hamlet, of course), the Prince of Denmark does not resist evil and relies on God’s will. A similar position is described by Fridrich Gorenshteyn in his novel "The Psalm":
"…you can fight a powerful evildoer with non-violent means, as Jeremiah taught – the position bolstered seven centuries later by Jesus, descendant of Judah. Yet the only way to save yourself is as Jeremiah stipulated: give your evildoer everything but keep your soul as a trophy."
Gorenshteyn also mentions that
"In The Gospel According to St. Matthew (5:17-18), Jesus says directly that he came to execute Moses’ law; but as of verse 21, he changes his tune; until, finally, verses 38 and 39 say unequivocally: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil."
So what is the guidance provided by Moses’ law? Gorenshteyn opines:
"Exodus contains a famous scene. In fear of Pharaoh, hot on their trail, sons of Israel, instead of taking arms - which constitutes action – address God with a prayer and Moses with curses for having roused them to take arms – to act – and thus distracted them from the prayer. And so the great prophet’s heart took a leap and he addressed the praying people with a promise of God’s mercy for their prayer. ‘And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day.’
‘And then God had to teach Moses a lesson. And the LORD said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. In other words, God’s divine plan is not enough; the man himself has to rise to the level of God’s plan; otherwise nothing will come to pass."
And so Hamlet bears and reflects. What about Laertes? How is he fighting? What are his moral and religious guidelines?
To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
Laertes learns from Claudius that Hamlet is guilty of his father’s death. "[I’ll] cut his throat i' the church," he exclaims, and agrees to Claudius’ offer to pick surreptitiously a sharpened blade and kill Hamlet during the fencing match. But this is not enough for Laertes. His words: I bought an unction of a mountebank, so mortal that, but dip a knife in it, where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare, collected from all simples that have virtue under the moon, can save the thing from death that is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point with this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly, it may be death.
Philosopher Grigory Pomerantz writes about a similar actions in his book Open to Abyss: "Evil is borne of frenzy in the fight for your own conception of good <…> of the froth on your lips."
Fortinbras’ actions appear to be well-planned, flexible, and insistent. At first he keeps demanding that Claudius return him the lands lost by his father. Then he raises an army to take them back by force. But then his elderly ailing uncle asks him not to raise arms against fellow Danes, but move against Poland instead, Fortinbras changes his plans accordingly. Then, as his army passes through Denmark, he pays diplomatic respect to King Claudius. He tells his captain:
Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
Fortinbras orders that his army "Go softly on". There must be a special reason why at the end of the day, of all three candidates to the throne, it is Fortinbras who survives the bloodshed, and in all likelihood will become the king. Fortinbras fights for "a straw when honour's at the stake". As critic Valeria Novodvorskaya justly remarks, he acts "according to the human and sober British tradition <…> and is the person who secures and heralds the triumph of virtue". The good that comes from the Norwegian prince "does not step on the chest of the fallen enemy but reflects like light from his battle flags" (Pomerantz). At the very end of the play Fortinbras orders that his soldiers raise the dead Hamlet on the shield and says that Hamlet was likely to be a good king.
Let us go back to the play’s signature piece – To Be Or Not To Be. In the four hundred years of the play’s existence, various directors cut various lines (after all, the complete running time of the play is over four hours – always a challenge for a producer), but this one has been untouchable. Yet the phenomenally popular opening line has come to dominate the rest of the text that concerned nobility. This is what Schopenhauer wrote:
"In essence, Hamlet’s world-famous soliloquy is reduced to the following: ‘Our condition is so grievous that a state of full nonbeing is surely preferable. If suicide could really guarantee that, and we were really facing the alternative "to be or not to be" in the full sense of the word, then it [suicide] should undoubtedly be preferred as a highly desirable conclusion’".
This alternative, unburdened by reflection about "To be or not to be" has been known since antiquity. In describing the events that took place several centuries B.C.E., Herodotes has King Xerxes ponder as follows:
"If at every unexpected incident you decided to consider all potential drastic consequences, you would never accomplish anything. It is better to risk everything and experience half the dangers than fear future losses in advance. Also, if you debate every possibility and fail to arrive at the right path, you will make a mistake, just as your enemy will. So one is no better than the other. Can a man know the right path? I don’t think so. Luck runs with him who decides to act. But he who only speculates and goes slowly can hardly win."
These thoughts are close to Hamlet’s, but by posing the question "whether ‘tis nobler" Shakespeare raised the problem to a higher moral and ethical level. In effect, in the early seventeenth century Shakespeare spoke of nobility as pure moral good, reflected in good will that, according Immanuel Kant (1785 year), "is good not due to being usable in achieving a certain set objective, <...> yet thanks to its purity and absolute value." In its religious aspect the play seeks an answer to the question: "Is Christian nonviolent response to evil nobler than the Old Testament’s position that preceded and contradicted it?"
Martin Buber generalized these positions in his "Two Types of Faith", writing that
"… a principle that would forbid to fight the perpetrator of injustice at all <…> would expand the sphere of injustice in the world and be unacceptable for sincere followers of the Old Testament".
Another aspect of Prince Hamlet is his so-called madness. The critics have never reached a consensus whether this "madness" was a complete fake, or Shakespeare portrayed a person with a psychological disorder who fakes madness.
In the early scenes of the play Claudius and Gertrude discuss the extended melancholy that Hamlet has been suffering from, following his father’s sudden death (it has been two months since the funeral). Yet there are other important reasons for this condition: the Prince lost a chance to become King and is unhappy with the hasty incestuous marriage between his mother and his uncle (such marriages were considered incestuous in those days). Hamlet is gloomy. Left alone, he even talks about suicide. Nonetheless, as the play proceeds, he is clearly active mentally: although there is a tinge of melancholia to his deep reflections, it does not dominate them. Hamlet talks about being physically active and fencing training all the time while Laertes was away in France.
The next important scene is the meeting of Prince and Ghost. This is where madness enters the picture. Horatio argues with Hamlet not to follow Ghost – what if the latter will "assume some other horrible form, which might deprive your sovereignty of reason and draw you into madness?"
Following this meeting, Hamlet demands of its witnesses:
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,
How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on,
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall <…> note
That you know aught of me: this not to do,
So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear.
Later in the play, Hamlet’s "transformation" is referred to. Claudius and Gertrude ask Guildenstern and Rosenkrantz: To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather, so much as from occasion you may glean, whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him.
Yet the friends fail to satisfy the request:
ROSENCRANTZ : He does confess he feels himself distracted; but from what cause he will by no means speak.
GUILDENSTERN: Nor do we find him forward to be sounded, but, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof, when we would bring him on to some confession of his true state.
Hamlet assures his mother as well: I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft. And he is clearly feigning madness when he says to his friends: My uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.<…> I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Nonetheless, Hamlet never feigns madness when he is tete-a-tete with Horatio. How can it be otherwise? He warned Horatio of his intention to "put an antic disposition on" (to act like mad man). Moreover, as he quickly changes his behavior, Hamlet even warns his friend he is about to deceive Claudius. Before the Mousetrap performance, as he sees Claudius enter with his courtiers, Prince says to Horatio, "I must be idle".
Claudius and Polonius eavesdrop on Hamlet and Ophelia’s meeting that they set up; afterwards, Claudius concludes: …his affections do not that way tend; nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little, was not like madness.
We should pay special attention to Polonius’ words about Hamlet: Though this be madness, yet there is method in't. What is this method? Simple: he spits out his contempt for interlocutors in the form he could not afford in a "sane" state.
Incidentally, could these "words, words, words" be taken to be a sign of Hamlet’s power and his "war on the whole court", as some critics believe? Here are some lines to illustrate both "the method" and "the war". When Hamlet meets Polonius, he pretends not to recognize him.
LORD POLONIUS: Do you know me, my lord?
HAMLET: Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.
LORD POLONIUS: Not I, my lord.
HAMLET: Then I would you were so honest a man.
When Polonius asks Hamlet what he is reading, he responds thus: Slanders, sir: for the satirical rogue says here that old men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams:
Mocking the elderly Polonius who cannot object, Hamlet asks:
HAMLET: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
LORD POLONIUS: By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
HAMLET: Methinks it is like a weasel.
LORD POLONIUS: It is backed like a weasel.
HAMLET: Or like a whale?
LORD POLONIUS: Very like a whale.
In another short but expressive exchange, Hamlet asks Polonius if the latter has ever performed at school.
LORD POLONIUS: That did I, my lord; and was accounted a good actor.
HAMLET: What did you enact?
LORD POLONIUS: I did enact Julius Caesar: I was killed i' the Capitol; Brutus killed me.
HAMLET: It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf.
Ophelia is not spared, either. "If thou wilt need marry," she is being told, "marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them." In Hamlet’s book, all women deserve reproof: God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no more on't; it hath made me mad.
(The last phrase here again bespeaks Hamlet’s feigned madness.)
Another target of Hamlet’s mockery, as much as Polonius, is courtier Osric. "Put your bonnet to his right use," Hamlet tells him, indicating the hat he is holding in his hand; "'tis for the head."
OSRIC: I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
HAMLET: No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
OSRIC: It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
HAMLET: But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
OSRIC: Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as 'twere,--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter,--
HAMLET: I beseech you, remember—
HAMLET moves him to put on his hat, Hamlet says to Horatio concerning Osric: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'tis a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Thus Hamlet in fact treats both Osric and his servants – "beasts" – as mud.
And here are some global-scale generalizations coming from Hamlet: "[man is] quintessence of dust." <…> "use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?" <…> "to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand." <…> We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us.
Yet none of this is enough for Hamlet. This is what he makes of Alexander the Great:
Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
So, the bottom line: all are fallen, mixed with mud and ashes, and the greatest warrior is a barrel stopper.
What does Ophelia have to say about Hamlet’s "madness"?
O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! <…> quite, quite down! <…> that noble and most sovereign reason, like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh.
Ophelia, a Christian, is facing Prince Hamlet who used to love her, but no longer does. He despises all, for we are all "arrant knaves". For Ophelia, he is a godless man, for
Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:15)
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
Ophelia’s reference to "sweet bells" that "jangled, out of tune and harsh", also comes from the Gospels:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
So: Prince has no love. (Vygodsky puts it as "Hamlet does not love humans".) This is why Ophelia does not talk about Hamlet’s illness as madness. Rather, she is talking about his moral and religious fall, for he is violating one of the most basic commandments: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18, St. Mark, 12:31). This is why she exclaims: "O, help him, you sweet heavens! <…> Heavenly power, restore him!"
A few words about Ghost. It is worth noting that Horatio and the guards, Bernardo and Marcellus, consider it perfectly normal to engage Ghost in a dialogue:
BERNARDO: It would be spoke to.<…>
HORATIO: What art thou that usurp'st this time of night, together with that fair and warlike form in which the majesty of buried Denmark did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
<…> Exit Ghost
MARCELLUS: 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
HORATIO: I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion! If thou hast any sound, or use of voice, speak to me:
When Ghost once again leaves in silence, Horatio remarks: Let us impart what we have seen to-night into young Hamlet; for, upon my life, this spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
And that’s what happens. In the presence of Horatio and Marcellus, Ghost "beckons Hamlet", which is noted by Horatio who addresses Hamlet: It beckons you to go away with it, as if it some impartment did desire to you alone.
Thus, in Shakespeare’s design, Ghost shows up on stage with the sole purpose to reveal his secret to Hamlet.
Shakespeare’s works are rife with ghosts and spirits. Macbeth opens with the conversation among three witches, then seen by Banquo and Macbeth. The former suggests these are three ghosts. Later the play features panoply of ghosts: bloodied child, a head in a helmet, eight kings, and Banquo’s ghost (killed by Macbeth). Richard III has speaking ghosts of little princes, Henry VI, Clarissa, Edward, Rivers, Buckingham, and Lady Anne, all showing up to see the eponymous hero. In Julius Caesar, before the decisive battle Brutus sees the ghost who introduces himself as "Thy evil spirit, Brutus."
We should bear in mind that in Shakespeare’s time (he was born in 1564, the year of Michelangelo’s death, and died in 1616, when Galileo went on trial), and in medieval Denmark to boot, ghosts and spirits were widely believed in. After meeting Ghost, Horatio exclaims: "O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!" Answers Hamlet:
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Finally, the last and perhaps the most convincing argument that Hamlet is not a patient with hallucinatitons and delirium: in seeking the truth he stages a psycholigocal experiment, a theater production of Mousetrap. He adds his own lines that will be performed in front of Claudius and the rest of the cast. He tells Horatio of Ghost’s words and asks him "with the very comment of thy soul" to observe Claudius during the scene when one brother poisons the other and then seduces the victim’s wife. So:
Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt
Do not itself unkennel in one speech,
It is a damned ghost that we have seen,
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy.
Claudius unconsciously betrays himself and thus fails the test. Horatio confirms the revelation to Hamlet. This, to remove all doubt, is followed by the scene of Claudius by himself, praying and confessing the murder of his own brother.
And yet the play speaks of some other madness – we could term it "sane madness", perhaps. This is what Vygodsky had to say about it:
"This is how we could formulate this (perhaps it is not scientific, but it is understandable in an artistic sense – literature accustomed us to it!): Hamlet is not a madman, by any means, yet his condition could be termed as madness; we could paraphrase William Kuzen - madness is the "divine side of reason" - and claim that every tragic hero is mad in this way."
In explaining his idea further, Vygodsky quotes from Briet de Buamon: "Hamlet is no madman <…> but he has already entered the first stage leading to the abyss of insanity. All his speeches and deeds that tend towards executing the vow he imposed on himself indicate that he is fully in control of his senses.
This passage curiously combines "fully in control of his senses" and "the first stage leading to the abyss of insanity". This sends us back to "oft it chances in particular men", "o'ergrowth of some complexion oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason", and carrying <…> the stamp of one defect, being nature's livery, or fortune's star.
All these quotes are from Hamlet’s speech delivered minutes before meeting Ghost.
Finally, after analyzing Hamlet’s nature with descriptive psychological methods, let us take a look at his nature through the prism of SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST. The first question to pose: Why, only a few minutes after the vow to avenge his father, Hamlet already talks about his "own poor part" and "what so poor a man as Hamlet is" and exclaims, "the time is out of joint – o cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right!"
Thus let us review the results of testing Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, listed below.
Interpersonal Relation Models
Art and Literature
Predisposition to Disease
Ischemic Heart Disease
Neuroses with irritability
I suggest that you read closely all the eleven texts describing the features of Hamlet’s components (click on each one in the table). We can assume he answered every question needed for self-testing. Why not? Remember: Shakespeare writes that Prince left Wittenberg University to attend his father’s funeral – and thus makes him his own contemporary. After all, this school was founded only in XVI century. Thus, describing medieval Denmark that England pays to taxes, Shakespeare makes a shift of several centuries. Alexei Bartoshevich makes interesting related remarks in his monography, devoted to numerous Shakespeare stage productions at different times. He cites Polish critic Jan Kott: "…the whole issue is: what books were in the hands of Hamlets of various eras and generations. In Shakespeare’s time the prince undoubtedly read Montaigne; in the romantic era, Werther. We could go on with the game and say that Olivier’s Hamlet read Freud, and Jean-Claude Barrault’s, Sartre.
If we continue the game, we could also dream that modern Hamlet will be interested in this book, since he is a scientist, too; he calls Horatio "fellow student", and elsewhere Shakespeare uses the word "student" in the meaning of "scientist".
If Hamlet were to turn to the digital results of his Pattern in the Interpersonal Relation Models section, he would see the answer to the question above: his predisposition to be a fighter is a mere fifteen percent. No wonder Prince senses he is not born for the battle, and his nature does not predispose him to fight a powerful rival like Claudius in a real-life situation. Prince is born to be a scientist – his natural predisposition to scientific research is 100 percent – and the war of ideas is something he can handle. It is interesting that according to Oscar Wilde "Hamlet is essentially a scholar of the Revival of Learning."
Curiously, not one character talking about Hamlet’s "madness" ever suggests he should see a doctor. By contrast, the moment Lady Macbeth starts somnambulating and trying to wash off the imaginary blood spot on her hand, a doctor is called immediately. True, the problem of psychological disorders was not yet developed in Shakespeare’s day. In famous The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), its author Robert Burton does now distinguish between low spirits caused by love troubles and clinical depression. Later, too, Goethe would remark, "Whatever they say, Hamlet weighs on your heart as a grave problem". Leonhard wrote, calling for professional psychological correction of such deviations: "Neither intellect nor goodwill can prevail where everything else, especially personal affects, works against them."
But things could have turned out differently if Hamlet had known his flaws – his Achilles’ heel – in advance and had deliberately applied necessary strategy even before his father’s death. The idea itself is not new. Edward Dowden wrote: "Prince of Denmark plunged too deep in the realm of pure ideas, but if he found a strong character – a friend – his melancholy could dissipate, he would ascent into the light and firm realm of fact, and he would not hesitate on his path."
Indeed, Hamlet is a deep introvert. He is lonely, and he doesn’t even try to find an ally. He misses a chance to form a union with Fortinbras. He never uses Claudius’ letter containing the order to the British King to execute Hamlet immediately without trial. He merely gives it to Horatio: "read it at more leisure". Prince never intends to present it as written evidence to his loving mother and the court.
As for his constant companion Horatio, he is "neither hot nor cold"; he is contemplative and passive. For example, he could advise Hamlet after the return from England that he not face killer Claudius defenseless, and insist on Prince’s immediate return to Wittenberg. By the way, a modern psychologist may well interpret Hammlet’s return to Elsinore as a serious sign of self-destructive behavior: a desolate, tormented person shows up of his own free will to face someone who already ordered his death and, being fully in power, will try to kill him again.
Let us turn again to the eleven components where Hamlet’s nature is analyzed. Now that you have a full picture of all the components, you may disagree with Leo Tolstoy who believed that "it is impossible to ascribe him [Hamlet] any character." A detailed description of Hamlet’s low emotive component will refute Tolstoy’s claim that Hamlet "does not what he may want, but what his author needs, <…> now he loves Ophelia, now he mocks her", etc.
Shakespeare’s critics’ remarks that the final scene of Hamlet killing Claudius is not foreshadowed also become unconvincing. After all, Hamlet gets to witness the death of his mother who has a chance to tell him she has been poisoned. He hears Laertes say:
Hamlet, Hamlet, thou art slain; no medicine in the world can do thee good; in thee there is not half an hour of life; <…> the king, the king's to blame.
At a moment like this Prince does not really have time for "thinking too precisely on the event". Death is already in him; doubts and fears are leaving him, while the yearning of revenge is boiling up with revived deathly power: he cannot, he must not die before he dealt revenge to Claudius. "Then, venom, to thy work!" he exclaims as he strikes his enemy with a poisoned blade. This is it: "let the murderer suffer the same death as his victim" (Bartoshevich) - or, rather, several victims, since Hamlet strikes Claudius with "a treacherous instrument" – as the King intended to kill Hamlet with Laertes’ hand.
As Hamlet pours poison into Claudius – "thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane" – he avenges both his parents. But the key word here is "damned", since Hamlet finally executes his own kind of revenge. At this moment, as Hamlet desired, Claudius experiences a more horrid hent: when he [Claudius] is <…> about some act that has no relish of salvation in't; <…> And that his soul may be as damn'd and black as hell, whereto it goes.
Thus Hamlet failed to set the time right, i.e. bring justice. He spent too much time on "some craven scruple of thinking too precisely on the event" and would not take a firm solution so as to implement it consistently. As a result, he is directly or indirectly culpable for the deaths of Polonius, Ophelia, Gertrude, Rosenkrantz, Guildenstern, and his own. It is hard not to agree with Martin Buber who writes in Images of Good and Evil that "Deepening and affirmation of inability to take decision is a decision in favor of evil. <…> all our refusals to decide, all the moments when we were guilty of not doing the right thing, are evil."
Yes, Hamlet struck the decisive blow too late; he turned out "duller <…> than the fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf", as Ghost cautioned him early in the play. In the middle of the play, Hamlet himself says, "Do not spread the compost on the weeds, to make them ranker" and reproaches his mother for her marriage to Claudius, "Could you <…> feed, and batten on this moor?" Further, more of the same imagery: "Whilst rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen <...> for in the fatness of these pursy times virtue itself of vice must pardon beg <...> the bloat king."
The Bible, too, repeatedly uses the "fat" image to mean "immoral": [The wicked] are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked (Jeremiah 5:28) The proud have forged a lie against me: <…> Their heart is as fat as grease (Psalms 119:69-70)
After such references, one of Queen’s last phrases about her son does not come as surprise: He's fat. Indeed, this is how Hamlet is, both inside and outside (Vladimir Nabokov had the reason to call him "dull and fat"). This refutes the argument made by Robert Nye who believes this Shakespeare's remark to be a late and only insert made by the author to accommodate solid Dick Burbage who performed the part of Hamlet. In Act I, in one of Hamlet’s soliloquies he talks about his "too too solid flesh". And in a scene towards the end he says to Osric: "methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion."
Now it is the time to draw the conclusion. Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in 1600-01, when heresy was serious business: Giordano Bruno who had actually lectured at Wittenberg was burned at the stake in 1600. Yet in Hamlet, permeated with religious allusions, Shakespeare dares criticize the Gospels’ "resist not evil" and proves that patience and obedience to "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" leads to nonbeing and death. He claims that "’tis nobler" not to avenge but "to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them. This is the path "to be". How should it be pursued? "Go softly on".
Shakespeare is against universal forgiveness: "May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?" He believes that the manifestations of "the o'ergrowth of some complexion, oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason" are unpardonable, especially when they slight his honor or insult that of others, as well as in cases of deliberate hostility, absence of love, and disrespect. Shakespeare poses the question: "What should we do?" – We are "fools of nature" and "passion slaves" – and, as he believes in "Godlike reason", he answers: "to know a man well, were to know himself"; we must develop personal "readiness" for struggle and "customs" that "can change the stamp of nature".
I hope I have been able to disclose the mystery of Hamlet, this "sphinx of world literature" by subjecting his NATURE COMPONENTS to the analysis from the positions provided by SECUNMIR PERSONALITY TEST. In the process, I discovered that not one soliloquy, phrase, or character, turned out to be "redundant", for they all served to support the solution of psychological, moral, and religious problems that Shakespeare in his greatness posed and resolved.
NEW MULTI-FACTOR PERSONALITY TEST AND ANTI-STRESS RECOMMENDATIONS. SHORT VERSION OF SECUNMIR. NO REGISTRATION NEEDED