1. Self Asserting

Like the articles on Tension Force and the balance of Progressive to Conservative, this is about the population pattern spread of personality types that defines the way a group behaves. Although it might seem like I’m simply being pro-self-transcendence, this isn’t a moralistic issue and there are unexpected outcomes. And while it clearly overlaps a teensy bit on the subject of right and left-wing politics it only has a solid connection to that out at the edges where the saints and sociopaths hang out. It’s hard to talk about this without paying the most attention to the extremes but the wide middle of this spectrum is in “normal” range. A healthy happy person probably has a good balance, but there’s more than one kind of happy you can be.

There are satisfactions that come from looking out for number 1 and the kind of people who make a point of only looking out for number 1 assume that these are the real and even ultimate satisfactions. Coincidentally, Donald Trump is an exaggerated archetype of this point of view. There are obviously rewards for self-assertion but self-transcendence on behalf of something you love can be a full time high, filling you with renewed energy. Only in people who are cartoonishly on one side of this spectrum or the other are these traits expressed as absolutes. Trump is cartoonishly self-asserting in the manner of a spoiled child. But self-assertion is more than short term self-indulgence, it also powers your serious goals and ambitions. It’s the oomph of aspiration. Gandhi and M.L.K. would have gotten nowhere without it. Any poor, hardworking kid who made something of themselves, has used this power. Actually Gandhi and MLK were well supplied with both impulses, it doesn’t HAVE to be just one or the other.

Here we start to encounter those unexpected outcomes. In fact, consider this: Have more of the horrors and tragedies of the human race come through self-asserting behavior or self-transcending behavior? Self-transcending can be beautiful and saintly but it also drove the selfless nazi and it drives the true believer ISIL volunteer. Extreme self-assertion might rob banks or investors. But for true horror and cruelty, self-transcendence is the big winner. Selfishness doesn’t generate armies of minions. There is no genocide without people who give up everything to kill whoever the great plan points to. Giving yourself wholly to a powerful cause is a transcendent experience and also, in the abstract, an amoral one. In MLK it was moral, but only because of the framework of that transcendence. Passionately pursuing a personal goal is also amoral. The internal values of the goal determine the good or ill.

The strongly self-asserting are often callously disinterested in what happens to anyone they don’t personally know and love. Dick Cheney for example only began giving a damn about gay and lesbian rights because his daughter came out. If she hadn’t, he never would have seen any point in supporting that position, after all, what was in it for him? Strong self asserters aren’t necessarily aggressive or intense but the bottom line important question for them is “How does this affect me?”