Creating a new website

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve created a web hosting account with bluehost.com last Thursday so I can develop websites using WordPress. This site that you are viewing now is hosted by Automatic, which allows people to host blogs powered by WordPress. There are two major drawbacks to this arrangement:

  1. I can not make any money from advertising. Automatic has to make their money, so money from any ads that show up on wordpress.com goes to Automatic
  2. I do not have access to all the WordPress files, therefore, customization options are limited.

I’ve had a Windows hosting account with hostek.com and have used that for benshelden.com but that has remained unused for quite a while.  I tried setting up WordPress on this account but could not get it to work with the multisite option. WordPress is built primarily for the Linux operating system to be used with the Apache web server. Microsoft has adapted WordPress so that it will run on the Windows operating system with the IIS (Internet Information Services) web server, but I was spending too much time trying to get the multisite option to work. I could get one blog to work fine, but I was unsuccessful in getting multiple blogs to work. Also, the documentation on getting multisite to work on Windows was spotty and conflicting. Since WordPress works better on Linux and WordPress sites is less of a specialty for hostek than for bluehost, that is why I’ve started a hosting account with bluehost.

I’ll continue to post here until I am ready for my grand opening on my new site.  A website only has one opportunity for a “Grand Opening” and if it does not impress, people do not return.

Categories: about this blog

The Guardian Ideal Type

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Members of this ideal type could be describes as having a “Security Seeking Personality”. They are alert to the dangers involved with living and on guard against those dangers. They standing watch playing the role of the social protector.They are natural worriers so they tend to be pessimistic about the future. They believe that pain and suffering  is unavoidable, so people must endure patiently and nobly. However, this tendency to worry also makes them very observant to what is going on around them. They are ideal caretakers, whether it is people, animals, materials, or plants.

A sense of duty is ingrained in their personality. As a result, they often do thankless but crucial jobs that may only be noticed when they are not done. They feel appreciated when others express gratitude for what they have done for them.

Guardians trust in tradition because those things that are traditional have withstood the test of time. They regard companies and corporations as necessary social institutions that allow people to provide for themselves and their families, so they are attracted to commerce – the exchange of goods and services. They believe strongly in working hard, accumulating assets, and being thrifty. They feel responsible for the morality of whatever groups they are involved in, whether it be their family, their friends, or whatever organization they belong. They desire to be in charge – to be the head of an important and respectable institution where they can exercise authority how they believe it should be.

They believe cooperation, compliance, conformity, and obedience is necessary for society to function. As a result, they have faith in regulation as the cornerstone of society. They are more interested in rule making and enforcement than any other type. They take pride in jobs that enforce the rules of the society (like law enforcement).

These are down-to-earth people. They talk about concrete topics that have to do with everyday life, like something they just bought or the weather, etc. The will talk about abstract concepts to be polite but will try to steer the conversation back to something more sensible. Because their focus is on what is sensible and observable and because they feel so attached to other members of society, they are able to remember people’s names, birthdays, the names of a person’s family members, and other details about people’s lives.

When talking, they move from one topic to another associatively. When they think of something, no matter if it has nothing to do with what is being talked about at that moment, they mention it. This often reminds others of something else and they mention that. Each person is speaking of what has to do with themselves in their life but no single topic is covered for very long. In other words, they are experts at small talk.

They thing good of themselves when they present themselves as dependable, trustworthy, and responsible. They gain self-confidence  in being respected by other people. They respect themselves when they help other people. They feel obligated to serve and become disgusted with themselves if they become dependent on the charity of others. They feel the need to be the caretaker and not the one being cared for. They definitely feel more blessed to give than to receive.

Categories: Defining Happiness

The Artisan Ideal Type

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment

The Artisan Ideal Type has what Marvin Zuckerman, an American psychologist, would describe a “Sensation Seeking Personality”. They looks for experiences that excites their senses. They want to be stimulated. They likes to hear loud music, wear colorful clothes, enjoy spicy food and strong drink. They  want variety and have their lives filled with new sensations and experiences. They want to do things on a whim, what they feel like doing at the moment. They are excitable and can tolerate a lot of excitement for long periods of time. They want to make an impact and be noticed. When you think of an artisan, think Las Vegas.

Artisans are impulsive. They want to be impulsive and are happiest when they are following their impulses. They live in the moment. They act because the actions are fun at that moment. They do not think far into the future but concentrate on the next moment and are optimistic about it because they believe that luck is coming their way.

They see life as a gamble with no larger pattern to it. Sometimes they win, sometimes, they lose, so it goes. They do not dwell on misforture.

They are likely to talk about what is going on presently and what is happening in front of them. They talk about what can be seen and felt. If they can not observe it and handle it, they are not interested. To them, abstract thought is a waste of time. They like to use colorful words and current slang and like speaking in a way that sound pleasant to the ear. Their normal way of speaking  is filled with specific  details but not much planning. They tend not to generalize.

Artisans are interested in doing what works for them. Something must be immediately useful to interest an artisan. They concentrate on what is happening in the real world and what works and do not worry as much on being diplomatic or on moral principles or why something is happening. What is important is whatever works. They work with what is available, use what works, and abandons whatever does not work. They are tactical; good at acting in a way that improves their situation at that moment.

They think good about themselves when they are engaged in graceful action and their greatest source of embarrassment is when they perform some action awkwardly. They see themselves as extremely bold and daring and respect boldness and bravery in others. Many of them go after jobs where bold physical action is involved. They base their self-confidence on their ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Categories: Defining Happiness

What A Person Pursues Often Depends On Their Personality

January 18, 2012 Leave a comment

People will pursue happiness differently depending upon their personality because different personalities have different beliefs on what will make them happy. That raises the question of how to tie personality to happiness pursuits. Everyone has a different personality, but it is impossible to examine everybody’s personality. What is needed is a conceptual tool to represent the personalities with outlooks and desires in common. A conceptual tools commonly used in sociology to represent groups of people for the purpose of drawing conclusions is the ideal type. An ideal type describes a typical subject, i.e. a rationally build formal stereotype,  to serve as a model for analysis.

To examine in future journal entries how personality can influence the pursuit of happiness, I’ll be using four ideal types taken from the four temperaments described by David Keirsey in his book Please Understand Me II.

Introduction to Four Temperaments Theory

A person’s personality is a product of their temperament and character. Temperament is the part of personality that a person is born with; it is how a person is pre-disposed to act. Inborn differences in temperament is evident to anyone who has had more than one child. Ask any parent and they will tell you about how each of their children had different personalities from the beginning. Parents quickly notice differences in how each of their child acts before their behavior can be attributed to how they are raised, what they have experienced, or to ideas to which they are exposed. A person’s personality is not only shaped by their innate temperament but also by their environment and culture, their experiences, to what they have been exposed,  the interests that they have pursued and the belief system they have chosen.  What emerges is the person’s character, i.e., the features and traits that distinguish one person from another.

Writings on differences in personalities among people can be found as early as 370 B.C. At that time, the Greek physician Hippocrates believed that human behaviors and moods could be explained by the balance of a person’s bodily fluids determined their personality. This is referred to as Humoralism, or the doctrine of the four temperaments.

The Greek physician Galen of Pergamon  (131–201 AD)followed in  Hippocrates footsteps and popularized humoralism through his writings. If a person’s bodily fluids consisted primarily of blood, the person was described as Sanguine, i.e. optimistic. If a person’s black bile or gall predominated, the person was thought to be “Melancholic”, i.e. , melancholy in temperament. If a person’s yellow bile predominated, the person was considered to be “Choleric”, i.e., passionate. If a person’s bodily fluids were mostly phlegm, then the person was thought to be calm.

The belief that the bodily fluids influences personality was abandoned long ago, but the idea that individuals are predisposed to develop into one of four different personality configurations  has survived for over two thousand years. By the early part of the twentieth century close to five thousand reports on temperament and character had been identified.  A large portion of these observations present four different temperaments that look similar to the original four temperaments theory presented by Hippocrates.

Other writings on the four temperaments:

  • Plato described four kinds of character (artisan, guardian, idealist, and rational) in The Republic that correspond to the temperaments described by Galen.
  • Aristotle argued that the mass of men find happiness in either sensual pleasure, acquiring assets, moral virtue, or logical investigation.
  • Paracelsus, a mid-sixteenth century Viennese physician characterized human beings as either “Salamanders” (impulsive and changeable), “Gnomes” (industrious and guarded), “Nymphs” (inspired and passionate), or “Sylphs” (curious and calm).
  • Erich Adickes,  a German philosopher, introduced  his concept of Four World-Views in 1907. Those four world-views are Dogmatic (or Doctrinaire), Agnostic (or skeptical), Traditional, and Innovative

In 1921, Carl Jung put forth in his book Psychological Typesthat people have a multitude of instincts that drive them and grouped these instincts into archetypes, i.e.  a model of a type of personality. He said that people had a natural inclination toward either extraversion or introversion combined with a preference for one of the following psychological functions:  thinking, feeling, sensation, or intuition. A person’s preference for a given function can be used to associate a person with a archetype.

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers expanded on Jung’s theories to develop the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) during World War II. It is the most widely used personality test in the world and is used to identify to which of sixteen types describes a person’s personality.

Inspired by Isabel Briggs Myers, David Keirsey started making his own investigations into different types of personality.

Keirsey recognized these very brief sixteen descriptions as being accurate, mirroring his observations as school psychologist, and used these descriptions as a basis for a greatly expanded and modified form of the sixteen types of his own. Keirsey organized these types into the four temperaments descended from the original four temperaments presented by Hippocrates. Keirsey provided his own definitions of the sixteen types, and related them to the four temperaments  based on his studies of anthropology, biology, ethology, psychology, and sociology. Keirsey has divided each temperament into 4 roles, which explains how there can be four temperaments and sixteen types. For the four temperaments, he uses the terms that Plato used in The Republic for the four different types of character – Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational. In his book Please Understand Me II he has a questionnaire (the Keirsey Temperment Sorter II) that can be used to determine which of the four temperaments and sixteen types a person belongs by their answers to the questionnaire. The book describes  each temperament and future journal entries will use these descriptions to describe these as ideal types that will be used in still morefuture journal entries.

I’ll list my references for this journal entry in the near future.

Categories: Defining Happiness

What a Person Pursues To Be Happy Often Depends On The Situation

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Introduction To Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow published an influential paper in Psychological Review called “A Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943.  He created this theory using what he felt were the known facts from clinical experience and observation but felt that more research needed to be done on the subject of human motivation.  The theory introduced in this paper are commonly referred to as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He presented this theory as a suggested framework for future research and its conclusions should be evaluated, not so much on facts available or evidence presented, but on research to be done.  Even so, this theory is commonly taught to students studying behavior (e.g.,psychology, sociology) and to marketing students. It continues to be cited widely in textbooks.1 The theory is that some desires take priority over other desires and a desire that is higher in the hierarchy of needs will be mostly ignored until the desires lower on the hierarchy of needs are satisfied.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Physiological needs occupy the lowest level (i.e. the most dominant) on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. They are the basic requirements for survival like food, water, shelter, clothing and sleep. A person who is lacking food, safety, love, and esteem would most probably hunger for food more strongly than for anything else. For the man who is extremely and dangerously hungry, no other interests exist but food. He dreams food, he remembers food, he thinks about food, he emotes only about food, he perceives only food and he wants only food.

Once the physiological needs are satisfied, other (and ‘higher’) needs emerge and these dominate the person’s attention. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still ‘higher’) needs emerge and so on. There are five sets of needs in total (Physiological, safety,love, self-worth, and self-actualization). A need does not need to be totally satisfied until the next need emerges. The more a need is satisfied, the more the person’s attention is alerted to the next need in the hierarchy. Maslow assigned arbitrary figures to make this point by saying that an average person might have 85 percent of his physiological needs satisfied, 70 percent of his safety needs satisfied, 50 of his love needs satisfied, 40 percent of his safety needs satisfied, and 10 percent of his self-actualization needs at a certain point in time. As one need becomes more satisfied, the next need on the hierarchy will occupy more of his attention (but not all of it).

The next set of needs on the hierarchy after the physiological needs are satisfied are the safety needs. The need to feel safe and secure. The self-preservation instinct occupies a person’s attention and he is unlikely to concern himself about anything else until he feels safe and secure. When a man no longer feels endangered, he is freed to concentrate on needs higher in the hierarchy.

Once the physiological and safety needs are satisfied, the person will look for love. He will desire to develop relationships with people and will desire to feel part of a group. He’ll want a group of friends or maybe look for a mate with which to spend his life. He will direct his energy toward belonging.

Once a person has taken care of his basic (physiological) needs, feels safe and secure, and has developed a connection with other human beings, he will pursue a feeling of self-worth and self-esteem. He wants to be a person that he can respect. He wants to feel confident that he can successfully do what he attempts to do. He wants to have a good self-image. He does not want to feel inferior to others. To get this feeling of self-worth, he will attempt to accomplish goals that are important to him. He pursues a sense of accomplishment and the rewards that come with accomplishment. What will give a person a sense of accomplishment depends upon that person and his temperament.

After the person has satisfied the self-esteem needs, he may feel a desire to become the person he feels he was born to be. This is referred to as the need for self-actualization. It is to become everything that one is capable of becoming. Not all people will feel this need, it depends on that person’s temperament.

Abraham Maslow stated that there are people to whom the  hierarchy of needs does not apply, but these people are the exceptions. Some put the desire for self-esteem before love. Some people have a desire to create or have ideas that they give a greater priority to than the basic needs. Some people have been struggling to meet the basic needs for so long that their aspirations remain at a more basic level even after reaching that level. Sociopaths do not have the love needs.

Comments On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Subsequent studies have found that all the needs (Physiological, safety, love, self-esteem, and self-actualization) exist simultaneously. You can get benefits from fulfillment of a need even if a more basic need has not been fulfilled. Here are some examples.

  • Even if someone is hungry, they they still want to feel safe and to be loved.
  • A person can find satisfaction in accomplishment (self-worth or self-actualization) even if they do not feel safe.

Also, Maslow’s hierarchy does not take feelings of empathy into account or a person’s religious beliefs. The strength of Maslow’s hierarchy is that it puts into words common observances that people have made in their lives and in the lives of other people. It is not hard to imagine the following:

  • A person who is sick and in pain is more concerned about making the pain stop than being promoted at work.
  • A person concerns himself with making a living before he looks for a mate.
  • A person who has fought hard and ruthlessly to become successful in business becomes a philanthropist.
  • A person who is unemployed stops looking for the ideal job and is just concerned with whatever job they can get.

In Conclusion

What a person believes will make him happy is often influenced by the situation they are in. A person is likely to focus their attention on their immediate needs and those needs will occupy most of their attention. Their pursuit of happiness could be shaped by the desire to fulfill the needs that are predominant in their mind at that point in time. They may choose to ignore factors that do not pertain to their current situation.

1.Kenrick, Douglas T. , Vladas Griskeviciu, Steven L. Neuberg, and Mark Schaller, “Renovating the Pyramid of Needs: Contemporary Extensions Built Upon Ancient Foundations”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161123/, (accessed December 18, 2011).

Defining Happiness And The Feelings That Contribute to It

January 6, 2012 Leave a comment

In the Summa Theologiae (a work of systematic theology that is one of the major works used in studying for the priesthood in the Catholic church), Saint Thomas Aquinas states that every living thing naturally develops toward  a state of completion know as the last end. Those things that possess reason attempt to move themselves toward that state of completion and those things that lack reason gravitate toward their state of completion by natural inclination. Every being has within itself a natural tendency whereby its activity is directed towards the perfection of its own nature (which is the state of completion).  Man is rational so he directs his actions toward reaching his state of completion – the state of being happy.  Happiness is the goal of every person. What he believes will make him happy may be incorrect, but he is pursuing happiness nevertheless.1

Dictionary.com defines happiness as “the quality or state of being happy”.2  Happiness is a combination of feelings that result in a positive feeling of well-being. Happiness can vary in intensity, purity, and duration. Pure happiness is where all feelings are positive; there are no negative feelings present. It is bliss.

In the same way that iron is attracted to a magnet, people are born with the desire to be happy. It is their goal (with some conditions). Even the desire to go to heaven and be in the presence of God can be explained by the desire to be happy. Being in heaven represents pure, everlasting happiness (i.e., bliss).

Feelings That Contribute To Happinessa

I’ve listed feelings associated with happiness below. The variety of feelings that are associated with happiness illustrate the many forms of happiness that can be pursued. When a person is pursuing happiness, they are pursuing one of these feelings.  Depending on which feelings a person puts the most priority on and the feelings that a person feels are obtainable, a person will plan their life  toward obtaining these feelings.

Feelings Experienced In The Present

A feeling of Joy is elation caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying. In Christian circles, it refers to a happiness based in firm confidence that all is well in the long term because God is in charge, regardless of the circumstances.3

A feeling of Exhilaration is a pleasant feeling of excitement.

A feeling of Ecstasy is a state of exalted delight often characterized by a loss of self-control and a sense of being carried away by overwhelming pleasant emotions.

A feeling of Sensual Gratification is where pleasure is experienced from sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste.

A feeling of being Thrilled is a sudden sharp feeling of excitement.

A feeling of Gladness is the feeling that results from the gratification of a wish or from satisfaction with immediate circumstances.

A feeling of Mirth is a feeling of spontaneous amusement often expressed in laughter.

A feeling of Glee is a feeling of  high spirits or exultation, often manifested in playful or ecstatic gestures.

A feeling of Jollity is a feeling of easy and sociable gaiety.

A feeling of Joviality is a feeling of mellow merriment generated by socializing with people who are hearty, generous, benevolent, and high-spirited.

A feeling of Exuberance is a feeling of overflowing with eager enjoyment.

A feeling of Amusement is a feeling of delight at being entertained.

A feeling of Comfort is a state of ease and satisfaction with freedom from pain and anxiety.

A feeling of Flow is the state of total immersion in a task that is challenging yet closely matched to a person’s abilities. It is sometimes referred to as “being in the zone”.4

A feeling of Love is an intense, unselfish feeling of affection for the object of the love. (This is an abbreviated definition because the term is so vast that it requires a separate study that would distract from the topic of defining happiness).

A feeling of Purpose is a calm, secure feeling a person has of knowing the reason they exist, what they are meant to do in their life, and where they fit in the grand scheme of things.

A feeling of Integrity is the reassuring feeling a person has that the image that they are presenting of themselves to others correctly corresponds to the truth and that they are living according to their values and are not hypocrites.

A feeling of Belonging is a warm secure feeling of being part of and being accepted by a larger group.

Feelings About The Past

A feeling of Accomplishment or Achievement is the reassuring feeling that a person gets from being successful in completing a task (to which a person has attributed value) or obtaining a goal (to which a person has attributed value).

A feeling of Satisfaction is the restful feeling that a desire, need, want or expectation has been fulfilled.

A feeling of Contentment is a peaceful feeling of being emotionally satisfied with one’s life as it is at that moment in time.

A feeling of Serenity is the absence of mental stress or anxiety.

Feelings About The Future

A feeling of Hope is the feeling of anticipation of obtaining the fulfillment of a desire in the future.

A feeling of Optimism is feeling that the applicable event or events will unfold favorably.

A feeling of Confidence is the feeling that he or she has what is necessary to succeed.

A feeling of Trust is a feeling of assurance in the honesty and reliability of the trusted.

A feeling of Faith is a strong, unshakeable belief in what is believed.

1. Schoch, Richard W., The secrets of happiness: three thousand years of searching for the good life.(New York: Scribner, 2006),.129-130; Aquinas, Thomas, “SUMMA THEOLOGICA: Man’s last end (Prima Secundae Partis, Q. 1).” NEW ADVENT: Home. http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2001.htm (accessed December 5, 2011);”CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Teleology.”, NEW ADVENT: Home, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14474a.htm (accessed December 4, 2011).
2. Dictionary.com, “Define Happiness at Dictionary.com.”, Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/happiness (accessed November 9, 2011).
a.  Sources for the definitions of these terms come from an amalgamation of definitions found at the following websites: http://dictionary.reference.com, http://http://www.thefreedictionary.com, http://http://www.merriam-webster.com
3. “Joy vs Happiness”, StudyJesus Homepage, http://www.studyjesus.com/more/devos/joyvshappy.htm (accessed November 17, 2011).
4.Haidt, Jonathan. The happiness hypothesis: finding modern truth in ancient wisdom (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 95.

Categories: Defining Happiness

What the book will be about

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

It has been awhile since my last post. I started researching and writing the book and discovered that I needed to work on solidifying what the book is going to be about. I expect and have planned for the book will evolve in ways that I can not foresee in the present. Having said that, I found that it is too easy to get distracted and spend too much time researching and writing about topics that will not fit with the direction of the book.

Through my research, I’ve discovered that to focus on the different forms of optimism would be too narrow of a focus. Optimism is just a portion of a broader worldview and do understand the different forms of optimism, you must understand the worldviews. To understand the worldviews, I go back to their origins and trace their progressions through history. Every worldview is built upon built upon previous views of the world, even if those who subscribe to the worldview are unaware of where the aspects of their belief system originated.

This book concentrates on the mental outlooks of Americans. To cover the mental outlooks around the world is outside the scope of this book and the American experience so greatly influences an American’s outlook on life. This will become more apparent as I go through the history of these mental outlooks.

The book will cover the worldview of the Puritans and how they left a cultural residue upon America. Cultural residue refers to values and beliefs that persist when the worldview that the values originated the values disappears.

The book will discuss the changing and increasing variation of religious belief through the progression of American history. It will discuss the New Thought movement and its influence upon American culture. It will progress up to the present day and show the belief foundations behind the empowerment industry (for example, Tony Robbins). It will discuss the influence of philosophies upon worldviews.

The book will discuss the influence of these various outlooks on life in the field of psychology (primarily positive psychology and humanistic psychology) and the resulting treatments developed. It will also cover results of tests and surveys done by psychologists and compare the findings and interpretations of the results to the various mental outlooks.

The book will examine the various outlooks to find how each outlook answers all or some of  the following questions:

  • In what should a person base their hope?
  • What should a person want to accomplish?
  • What should be his priorities?
  • How does a person mentally hope to accomplish their goal?
  • How should a person define success?
  • How should a person handle success mentally?
  • How should a person position themselves for success mentally?
  • How should a person handle disappointment mentally?
  • How should a person handle adversity mentally?
  • How should a person view humanity?
    • The meaning of this question will become more apparent as you read the book.
  • What should a person believe concerning the spiritual realm?
    • How does this affect the person’s mental outlook?
  • How should a person handle the emotion of guilt?
  • What should a person’s views be on work and vocation and on money?
  • What should a person’s views be on health and healing?
  • How should a person mentally handle grief?
  • How should a person view the future?
  • How should a person handle prosecution mentally?
  • What should be a person’s feeling of obligation toward other people?
  • What should be a person’s view toward forgiveness?
  • How should a person mourn?
  • How should a person obtain and handle contentment?
  • What should be a person’s view toward sacrifice?
  • How should a person handle fear and anger?

This post will better guide me in writing the book. After tweaking, it will also serve as an introduction to the book.

Thank you for reading!

Categories: Uncategorized
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