Oct 132016

“We’re all mad here.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


All in our different ways…

We understand that people differ from each other, not just by the way we look, but by many ways in which our brains work. This is good. I think a great strength of Humanity lays here. And I think for the communities of the future to be happier and more resilient, we need to study those differences and any dynamics they case in the relationships between people. This is something to use proactively in community building on many levels.

At the moment I am into the book “Make Your Sensitivity Work for You” by Alice Muir.

The book gives some practical advise on being a highly sensitive person – like many people are, me included. It is great that the book says there is nothing wrong with being sensitive and sensitivity comes as a part of a package of useful traits, often including also being intuitive, very perceptive, empathic, good listener, understanding, enthusiastic, interested in people, sympathetic, committed, a deep thinker, creative, imaginative, intelligent, reliable, trustworthy, good at seeing others point of view, aware of subtleties, different scenarios and consequences

Time to pat yourself on the head if you are sensitive – except that (I think) there are many shades and varieties of sensitivity with different traits and the traits themselves could be on different stages of development. But, I guess, it is a trait of modern psychology – even if nowadays they acknowledge that there is big variety within “normal”, they still fail to sort the details. I wish there would be a chapter on Jungian cognitive functions here – they are an approximation of course, but better to have one than no analysis at all.

There’s however a chapter on what could make somebody sensitive which, on the level of gut feeling, seems wrong to me. This is big profound rewiring of the brain by events, some of which are not even very traumatic. Can this really happen, especially later in life?

As far as I can understand here is an ongoing debate about nature versus nurture in us humans.  Steven Pinker fights the notion of the “blank slate” human in his book with the same name:




People are born a bit different to each other and, again, here lies our strength, not weakness.

An interesting perspective on the differences is in one in the Johnathan Fields’ podcast: the split between helpers and makers among us. I think it is a great observation. The source of so much struggle and guilt: “I should be helping someone, when I just want to create!” or “I should be making something while I just want to help! ”.

We all should stop beating ourselves for what we are and concentrate on how can we work together for everyone’s benefit.

Oct 152015

I am very keen on studying people’s personalities and I think that to build a happy stable community everybody need to know of all sorts of differences in perception and behavior which stream from differences in personality.

Some types are naturally more flexible, others are more commanding. We need them all, but it is very important to make sure that the project won’t get completely taken over by a few. There is a good article (don’t bother about jargon type names) on the 16personalities.com website:

“There is a tendency to overcompensate when something we value is missing. Let’s say in this scenario, the thing missing is organization in the company – art can be a messy business. A Sentinel may become extremely rigid in response to what he sees as a lack of regard for the rules. A lot of “coloring outside of the lines” would not be unusual among Explorers. The Sentinel’s rigidity would be overcompensation by the Sentinel in an attempt to get control over the “lawless” environment he finds himself in.

However, we know from experience that dictators are rarely welcomed among free-spirits. It may be necessary for our Sentinel to be adaptive and to adopt a less rigid attitude if he really needs the job. Adapting, in this case, might mean survival. The question then becomes: Can the Sentinel take their extreme organization back a notch so as to function better among the free-wheeling artists? Can he stay true to his core self and the traits where he functions best while adapting to the quirks of a certain workplace? If he can stay true to himself while squelching his rigidity, it might save him a job. What is the cost of not being more adaptive?

Or, on the other hand, it might also indicate it’s time to find a new place to work that doesn’t feel quite so much like a madhouse. Either way, the situation requires a decision by the Sentinel about how he approaches this particular environment and how he’ll adapt (or not adapt) to it.

So, adaptation is one way in which we might get along better with the world around us. We need to remind that we are always adapting and that some adaptation is healthy. It’s part of what happens in a society made up of differing personalities and beliefs. We end up compromising by necessity. It’s inescapable. How else we will get along with others if we demand only our own way? Sometimes we just have to suck it up and change our behavior to make things work.

However, while adapting is often necessary, we should always be vigilant for fear that we might over-adapt at the expense of our happiness. When we give up our strengths to adapt, then we’ve gone too far. There is nothing more miserable than being in a place where we don’t fundamentally fit.”

I personally seen a community project which looked a bit like this example and it definitely has some misunderstanding going on. We need to build our intentional community in a way so different personalities would work in harmony not in discord.