• Anshul Kapoor

Thumb-rule for Holistic, Unbiased Self-Assessment

All of us have specific opinions, philosophies and traits that we identify and define ourselves with. More often than not, these ‘features’ of personality are not chosen consciously. They develop across time and with experiences hence making every person different on this level. A natural consequence of this subjective development is the difference or even contradiction of these features across individuals. We have all witnessed situations where another’s opinion or trait seemed unreasonable to us but it was obviously reasonable to that person. Unfortunately this brings about a conflict at times. Fortunately it also brings about the possibility for self-assessment for the humbler ones, for the ones that have not abandoned a need to grow.

But then this self-assessment — as a mandatory feature for those with a thirst to develop — is also dependent on mentioned features of personality. How do you examine and correct a fault while studying it with a faulty lens? This article strives to overcome this limitation to some extent and present an alternative way to assess oneself without being biased by personality features; to help assess whether one’s traits and tendencies, ideas and opinions are productive or counterproductive to oneself and overall human society.

Nature is the best teacher and to develop an insight into this alternative way, it is prudent to understand some basics about magnetism. Yes! Magnetic properties of ferromagnetic (iron-like) materials can help explain how individual tendencies affect the overall human society.

· Every atom in a ferromagnetic substance is a tiny magnet. Every person in a society is a tiny force — in form of an opinion or trait or tendency. · In the substance, when tiny atomic magnets are randomly aligned, they balance each other hence making it magnetically neutral on macroscopic scale. In the society, when tiny personal forces — although not random — are balanced by each other, they make society a neutral, stagnated place. · If the atomic magnets are not balanced against each other, they develop a net magnetism and the substance exhibits overall magnetism in a specific direction. In a society, when forces are not balanced and any type of force — in form of a tendency or trait or opinion — becomes the net resultant, the society moves and develops in that direction. But the movement of society is rather slow due to obvious contractions and cancellation of these forces. · When all the tiny magnets of a substance are absolutely aligned, they make a strong magnetic force. If all tiny individual forces of a human society will be absolutely aligned, they will create a strong movement for human society.

Usually one’s negative or positive features are balanced by the overall society, like that for a tiny atomic magnet. Hence the individual never realizes the constructive or destructive nature of these features. Coming back to self-assessment, if you want to assess if any specific personality feature — that applies a tiny force on the society in a specific direction — is productive or counterproductive, apply that feature — qualitatively and quantitatively — to all individuals of the society and assess its macroscopic effect on society. If done correctly, a strong movement in society will be observed in positive or negative direction — hence showing the true nature of the feature.

For instance, if you think it is justifiable to stop communicating with those who may have unintentionally hurt you, imagine what the world would look like if everybody followed that principle. It might appear justified in a personal, emotionally driven sense but does the extrapolated effect on society appear productive? It should be an obvious sign of one’s error, if a happy life and society cannot be imagined if others were exactly like oneself.

Ironically, this thumb rule may allow for self-assessment while creating a distance with the self, enabling a possibility of thought without the taint of unnecessary emotion.

But for those who choose to not deploy their will, this may become just another helpful tool rusting in the repository of their mind; among tools collected from all sorts of sources rusting under the a sheet of ignorance and inaction. Will is what allows you to decide the direction in which your force is applied — for the movement of oneself and the society.

The luxury of ‘go with the flow’ is endowed only to those who understand and are content with the direction of flow.

Most of us today, do not care to assess or influence this direction as far as a personal satisfaction is achievable. And the cost of this ignorance is expected to be paid by members of future society; the society that is being designed today. Just like people today are paying for the ignorance of their predecessors that designed the present day society. Those you consciously afford to carry such selfishness should understand that they are in no position to complain about the present world or its flaws.