I read somewhere that character could be defined as "attributes that determine a person's moral and ethical actions and reactions". I usually make up my own definitions, especially that when I did a quick search, the word character could be defined in over 20 different ways. Here I mean attitude toward life and others, our reactions, our actions. These need to be kept in check, this is the mark of order in any society.
Some people are nice by nature and nothing seems to affect them no matter what. They never get angry, they never argue, they never even raise their voice. I'm not sure how many of this kind of human beings go on to achieve great things in this world. It seems that the ones achieving great things are more argumentative, shouting all the time, taking control over any situation, pushing others out of their way in order to get where they feel they need to go. I could be wrong.
I would think that the first time you meet someone, you can usually already tell what their character is and their attitude toward life and others. This is when you usually experience some fears that it might not go as planned if you have to work with this person, or joy that making this person a big part of your life might actually bring you some much desired peace and tranquillity.
I have always admired calm people, with a positive outlook toward everything. I am pessimistic by nature, easily bothered, sometimes and quite often angry, ready to bark and bite, I snap at people a lot. My mom was the same, my sister as well, definitely one of my aunts, and perhaps my grandfather. It must be hereditary.
I have seen my mother break out of it though, after her divorce, when she was living with another instable man who could explode at any moment with horrible consequences. It was like someone took my mom and replaced her with someone else, as if he had broken her will. She was crying all the time, speaking softly, lying in order to keep everything and everyone peaceful. Once the man was out of the picture, my mom sort of got back to normal, but she was definitely changed and a bit more human. Was it positive then?
I wonder what it would take to break me like this, to change me from a force of nature filled with pretence, to a frail and weak human being willing to let anyone walk all over me, take advantage of me, humiliate me without me exploding or creating a fuss. I don't think it would be possible in my case, or dear me, what a nightmare I would have to go through to change my nature.
The character of a person can change, however it is a long process and usually will require some radical conditioning, or some unorthodox tactic to weaken the mind, until the victim takes its place, obeys, becomes humble against every fibre in his or her body. Like this infamous "Think First" programme designed to get prisoners to think before they act, or even speak.
If this kind of brainwashing actually works, sometimes it will be temporary, other times it can last forever, but then somehow we could say that this person has become a pale shadow of who he or she used to be, and something must have been lost in the process. Some sort of necessary mind control device to help people from going mental, and once again find their way in a Court of Justice.
You're not a coward, you'll never be a coward, and hence, you are condemned to be before the Judge over and over again until such time that you get the message: you have to be a coward! You have to be a weak mind to function in our society. Don't you ever forget it. It could save you your freedom, the most important thing ever in this world. Learn to become a sheep, to fall in line, and you'll be just fine.
The problem is always in the extremes. If you are well balanced, then most likely you will not need to change, you will never let any situation get out of hand, no one will think you need a session with a psychiatrist or an anger management course. Of course there will be the odd exception, however if it doesn't happen regularly, and if you are generally of good character, then you will get away with it.
If you're a softy by nature, that anyone can humiliate you without it affecting you in the slightest, and you can act as if nothing happened in situations when I would most likely explode, then perhaps you are not alive and also deserve to see a psychologist, or someone to graph you a spine. Because let's face it, how and who could truly go about life, working in a small office packed with 20 to 30 people all wired up and stressed to the limit, and yet feel nothing and get out at the end of the day unscathed?
These people must be disconnected from life, they must feel nothing, or perhaps they feel it hard but somehow succeed in keeping it all inside, and maybe they never need to vent any frustration either. Or, the anger is exploding in the comfort of their own home, driving their family half mad.
It is hard to comprehend, being so submissive, and yet, this is what I have always aspired to be. Somehow I could only be like that if I was far removed from the nightmare going on around me, but how could I be removed from my own existence? Perhaps their mind is just too preoccupied with other personal matters which somehow make working in an office a walk in the park.
I work in a Court at the moment, I read all day these cases where the character of the defendants will most likely decide their fate. If the defendant can prove that he or she is of good character, his or her sentence can be much lighter. This is when I start reading all these self-confessions from defendants filled with lies about their character, when they have been in and out our Court many times for something like at least two decades, and no one in their right mind could believe that they are of good character.
The more tragic it is, the more starving and sick children there are, the more I disconnect and would be ready to send the defendant to prison for an eternity. Fortunately however they fool the judges and juries almost all the time, and so a few good letters from friends, family and employers go a long way to help you establish your good character. Could you even get these letters from the people around you if you were in trouble right now? We can still fool the system, but how convincing are your lies?
Most of these defendants are another extreme case, as many of them are of bad character, relatively speaking of course, and they simply cannot help themselves, just like me I suppose. I am not an extreme case, I am however far from being well balanced. So it is more likely for me to enter into arguments, be in a bad mood, snap at people and sometimes be blunt and ruder than most others around me. Don't get in my way or I'll bite your head off!
I can also most of the time be really nice, happy go lucky, even when I am dying inside. I have become a master at hiding my true feelings and the storm constantly raging inside of me. I never ever speak my mind, I know there are consequences. I have learnt to be patient, reasonable, fair, good, listen, do what I am told, all the positive stuff.
When people cross the line though, especially after a series of unfortunate events which would justify my out of proportion reaction, when really there is never any justification in any of these situations, I cannot help myself, I will cross the line as well, much further. We're all a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any moment, and apparently we all need to be cured from that, conformism is the word here. Never speak your mind! Think first, of the consequences. They can never be worth it.
This tactic is a well known one to management, they would not hesitate to dig at you on a daily basis, with futile little stabs until you react in such a way that you cross the point of no return and you are almost out the door, one way or another.
It is wonderful for me to be able tonight to sit down to analyse it in such a cerebral way, but in the heat of the moment, no philosophy will save you against people exploiting your character to their advantage. Being aware of it though makes it much easier to realise how see through people can be, and somehow their little digs to get you to explode don't affect you so much. You know what they are doing.
Everyone should read at least a few good psychology books in order to find out for themselves their character, and most especially the character of others. It is illuminating how we can so easily read people, understand their motivation, see their actions and what are the consequences they hope for. It is perhaps the only way to help that bad character of yours from getting you in places you perhaps would not like to be.
There is no need for psychology books however, I haven't got the time and the courage to read them myself, I would not expect you to do it. There are a few easy questions you should always ask yourself though. Why is this person acting and reacting the way he or she does? What is his or her true motivation here? What is the problem exactly? What are the solutions that this person has found? What other solutions are there? How can I easily get out of this? How should I react to this? Perhaps I should not react at all? Yes, best course of action, never react at all. Becoming a pale shadow of oneself is the only way forward. No personality, no opinions, no words. Becoming a "Yes Sir" type of person, is the only acceptable way.
Then you might start to see the manipulation being exerted upon you, and if you are clever about it, after assessing what the true situation is, then maybe you can manipulate it to your own advantage. Sometimes it works, sometimes it will defuse a situation, other times you will and/or they will explode, as such is our collective character. And don't be fooled by some misplaced compassion followed by a "but", it is a sure sign that this compassion is a tactic against you to manipulate you into becoming a softy, a weaker mind, until they can control everything the way they want.
You have to go about life understanding everything that is going on in the mind of others, see them all as enemies from time to time, sometimes friends if the circumstances permit it somehow, but you can never trust anyone and you have to be cerebral about it, over analyse everything in the cold light of day, and then develop your plan of action in order to avoid explosions.
It is like saying that one has to avoid extremes in order to remain well balanced, or else, you can rest assure, you will suffer the consequences, you might end up having no other choice but to become a pale shadow of yourself, somehow they will break your will.
Or you could find yourself at the other extreme where no one will actually be able to speak to you anymore without a blood bath ensuing. And then, you might as well move alone to the top of a mountain somewhere, because you will be declared incapable to function in society. Another place is prison, but you will not be alone there, this little psychology will be forever enhanced then. One way or another, you will learn to play the submissive game.
It is not easy to remain of good character, or at least well balanced. It is quite easy to be of bad character, as it seems so natural and instinctive to many of us. It is not desirable either to change our character against our will. If you were not born with such a great and loveable personality, blind to the evil nature of most people you will meet in your life, you have to make all the efforts in the world to keep calm under all circumstances. Learn to analyse the characters of others, learn to manipulate them before they manipulate you.
So I guess the real conclusion here ultimately, is that in this world, to be of good character is just not possible, as everyone is either an empty shell or of bad character, and you will only survive if you truly understand and accept that fact, and act consequently. You have to avoid putting yourself in such situations where finally they will have the right by law to control your mind. Mind control is always ever present in anyone's life. So learn to control yourself before they get the right to control you.
"Without irony, this life would hardly be worth living."