In continuing to work on my personality map, I realized something highly intuitive, but not immediately obvious on an intellectual level. Given the four main categories of the levels of complexity of thought – first, second, third, and fourth person perspectives, also called physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual ways of thinking – and splitting them into just two sets (for a map with two axis), it turns out to be more useful to split them into
1. first and fourth
2. second and third
Why would this be? Perhaps because reality isn’t linear! :-) Reality is kind of triangular, according to Buckminster Fuller, at least when contracted into the most compact, interconnected individual unit (such as a single human self.) In 3D that’s a tetrahedron, and in 2D it’s a triangle.
So in the two dimensions that the personality map is using, three is the largest number of different points (small circles, essentially) that you can have where all of the different points are connected (immediately adjacent to one another). Think about three of the new US pennies (with their Captain America shields facing up, because we’re all superheroes now!), if you place them down on a table all sitting flat on the surface, and you pack them together as tightly as possible, it makes a triangle! In addition (literally), it happens to be physically impossible for you to add another penny to the set, and still have each penny touch every other penny. Unless… you put the fourth penny on top of one of the first three pennies. Of course, this means that you’ve broken into the third dimension a tiny bit, but since we are trying to compress a 3D personality into a 2D map, this stacking process works ideally for our purposes.
This all means that you can look at the levels of complexity of consciousness – physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual – which are all connected within the human brain, as a small, triangle-shaped spiral that folds over on itself, overlapping the fourth section onto the first section, like some kind of pointy ouroboros.
Then, we can divide the four elements of the self into two halves that are quantitively equal, but qualitatively different. The vertical pile of two “end” pennies/elements becomes one set, and the two middle pennies/elements becomes the other set.
So, first person physical and fourth person spiritual become the “internal” elements of the self, being accessed by the “un”conscious parts of the self (the more primitive levels of consciousness) as intuition. Physical awareness gives one access to the personal history of the body’s states through the body’s own senses, and then spiritual awareness gives one access to the evolutionary history of life itself via the body’s DNA. And then second person emotional and third person intellectual become the “external” elements of the self, being accessed by the (higher) conscious parts of the self using social interaction. Emotional awareness gives one the history of one’s closest companion using mirror neurons (which allow one to fairly accurately experience the same states as someone else one feels connected to). And intellectual awareness gives one access to the history of one’s closest social group (be it a small or large community) by combining data from different individuals within the group in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.
So internal focus is the level of motivation we have for openly expanding the ideas we have in our mind~body. On my map, the more we are enthusiastic about breaking our own deepest thoughts and feelings down into many different parts, the higher we will be placed on the y axis. The more we prefer to keep our thoughts and feelings simple and few in number, the lower we will be placed in the y axis. While external focus is the level of motivation we have for openly expanding our social interactions. The more we are enthusiastic about breaking up our social relationships into many different parts (people), the higher we will be placed on the x axis. And the more we prefer to keep our social interactions simple and few in number, the lower we will be placed on the x axis.
I’ve chosen to use my 2D map of the different general types of brain functions with three divisions for each axis because this way the map allows us to, if we want, sort the types of personalities into a quite manageable set of different categories, primarily for organizational purposes — teachers, organizational leaders, governments, etc. Of course you can always divide up each axis into as many segments as you want, and have as many axis as you want (as in the DSM, used by many psychologists), but having a three by three grid gives us the most amount of detail for the most fully understandable map that is mathematically possible in 2D. (It’s understood that the human brain has the capacity to keep in mind seven, plus or minus two, different ideas at the same time. So nine is the absolute max number of categories for humans to be able to think about at one time and still have a good awareness of them all successfully.
My map is also useful for individuals who want to see where they might best fit into society, based on their typical motivations. Each type is necessary for a fully functioning society, so no matter where one is in this map, they’re valuable! And when an individual has their physiological needs met (high quality food, water, air, warmth, light, and freedom of expression), they will be able to serve society well.
To get a closer look at the latest version of my personality map, click on the picture below…