Personality itself is a process. As you negotiate your environment bits and bundles of information are brought into play to help you negotiate the moment. A process of organizing of bits and bundles will occur. Information deemed useful by the system will ‘emerge’ to assist you. It is probable that you will notice some things, not others. It is probable that you will have some thoughts, not others, some feelings, not others. In the event of difficulty we can fight our patterns (good luck) or we can explore the kind of processing that occurs giving rise to a high probability that some kinds of thoughts will occur.
Quite simply, your personality is what you see, following ‘behind the scenes’ processing of your experience, given the organizing process active in the moment. Your ability to distinguish the personality of your friends is entirely due to your experience of the activity of their processing system. You enjoy your friends in direct proportion to the relative predictability of their thoughts and feelings and your idiosyncratic response to the fruit of that processing. Personality, as patterns, predisposing us to have some thoughts, rather than others, to have some feelings rather than others, to laugh at some jokes rather than others, operates as a constraint. Given my patterns (personality), I’m not likely to buy a Hummer anytime soon.
Frequent reference to probabilites above nudges us towards exploration of the quantum processing capabilities of the human brain. Quantum theory addresses itself to exploration of the relationship between the potential and the real. Calculations are possible, given knowledge of variables in play, that permit prediction of events to a high percentage likelihood. That is, a high percentage likelihood, not a 100% likelihood. There is uncertainty.
Interestingly, there is a great deal of uncertainty built into many systems in the brain. It is reasonable to conclude that the built-in uncertainty is there for a reason; exercise of what we like to call ‘free will’ comes to mind. If the built-in uncertainty creates the conditions for exercise of free will, (a kind of overiding of otherwise predetermined tendencies) it calls into question the wisdom of use of drug treatments designed to reduce uncertainty; might we be minimizing the window of opportunity to exercise free will. Hmmn.
Popular treatments of quantum theory emphasize the very interesting role of uncertainty as it may be observerved in our physical world. However let us remember, there is a great deal of ‘relative’ certainty. Planets move in pretty predictable orbits. It’s likely my house will stand tomorrow. This high degree of predictability is the basis for deterministic theories of causation. The model presented herein errs on the side of psychological determinism in an effort to enrich our understanding of how historical events increase the likelihood of ‘emergence’ of particular personality ‘traits’ (make that ‘patterns’). As we know particular personality ‘traits’ (patterns) are associated with frequent ‘qualities of experience’. As we know some qualities of experience may take the form of so-called ‘mental disorders’.