Personality and Personal Growth

Dr. V. George Mathew, Ph.D.

The personality of an individual can be described in terms of how much Inertia (Thamas), Activation (Rajas) and Stability (Sathwa)  he has.   Inertia is uncontrolled inactivity and social withdrawal.  Activation is compulsive over-activity both physical and social.  Stability is freedom and flexibility.

A stable person can act or not act,  be in the midst of people or  be alone as he chooses or as the situation demands. The personality of an individual is the result of a large number of causative factors.  Heredity is cumulative ancestral experience over past generations  of the individual.  Climate influences personality.  Hot climate produces Inertia, Cold climate induces Activation and a moderate climate  favors  Stability.  Food also influences  temperament.  Too much of cereals tends to increase Inertia,  hot, spicy, non-vegetarian food produces Activation and raw food (fruits and vegetables) is conducive for Stability.  Temperament is contagious.  You tend to develop the characteristics of people with whom you associate.  The  way  a  child is reared at home influences his personality.  The socio-political system also influences personality.  Social
oppression and oppressive forms of government and the laissez-faire situation,  lawlessness, etc. induce Inertia in people.  People tend to have Activated temperament in highly competitive societies.  Real democracy and the type of economic system which may be called benevolent market economy favors the development of Stability.

Self-realization is the result of pure  Stability.  Stability increases when the other
two components of personality, namely Inertia and Activation decrease.  Pure Stability leads to Transcendence. A whole lot of confusion has arisen as a result of not differentiating between people with different types of personality while prescribing practices for self-realization.  What practice is best for person depends on his personality.  People with high Inertia have to take up a practice to decrease their Inertia, while people with a high degree of Activation have to attempt to  decrease their Activation.

People with high Inertia have to practice morality.  They must learn to be punctual,
meticulously keep their word, be honest and truthful, etc.  People with high Inertia generally are group dependent and therefore they must gradually learn to develop autonomy by moving away from their social support group by travelling, being alone, etc.   A person with high Inertia can develop Stability without necessarily   developing Activation.



Individuals with high Activation should develop the habit of channellising their
energy into altruistic channels.  They should practice social service.  They should get rid of their dogmatism and narrow group identifications by serving groups of people other than their own, learn religious philosophies other than their own, etc.

Practice of awareness and mediation  are effective depending on the degree of
Stability a person already has.  Mediation will be very effective for a person with at least a moderate amount of Stability.  A very high degree of Stability makes meditation superfluous.  Only pratice of awareness  is required.

Ultimately,  Stability is freedom from fear.  When fear leads to withdrawal
and inhibition, it is expressed as Inertia and when the same fear is manifested as compensatory aggression and self-aggrandizement, it becomes Activation.  Pure Stability is absolute courage and freedom from conditionalities and dependencies.