Monthly Archives: March 2020

Subjectifying the other

How do we do it? By taming the following:

  • Male gaze
  • Outgroup demonization
  • Fundamental attribution error (FAE) – reactively judging oneself–including one’s efforts–as superior, and others’ as inferior

Outgroup demonization is turned inside-out into (“outto”?) ingroup angelification.

The ideal opposite of FAE is FAC, i.e. fundamental attribution correction. Through FAC, we fundamentally attribute correctly, viewing oneself and others as innately, humanly equal and democratic!

Character-strengthening

In yesterday’s post, I laid out positive psychology’s six virtues. Each virtue (wisdom; courage; humanity; justice; temperance; and transcendence) consists of three to five character strengths.

Each of these character strengths can technically be considered a “sub-virtue”. Let’s assume that maximizing at least half of each virtue’s sub-components–or achieving medium competence in each sub-virtue–leads to attainment of the higher virtue(s).

Wisdom’s character strengths are: creativity; curiosity; open-mindedness; love of learning; and perspective.

Courage’s sub-virtues are bravery; persistence; integrity; and vitality.

Humanity’s are love, kindness, and social intelligence.

Justice’s are citizenry, fairness, and leadership.

Temperance’s sub-virtues are forgiveness/mercy; humility/modesty; prudence; and self-regulation.

Finally, transcendence’s character strengths are: appreciation; gratitude; hope; humor and playfulness; and spirituality.

Building on each of these 24 aspects of one’s character leads to its ultimate strengthening! How does one build on them–all the way from creativity to spirituality? And: Is it better to focus on a few sub-virtues…or to balance them all equally?

A virtuous life

How does one lead a life of virtue, or what Seligman calls the “good life”?

Positive psychologists distinguish between six virtues. These are wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. The virtuous person, then, must be wise; courageous; humane; just; temperate; and/or transcendent.

What does each of the six virtues consist of? Each virtue is further divided into 24 character strengths. Being virtuous thus means having a strong character.

Building strength of character–while requisite for cultivating virtue–may be more diverse and nuanced!

Good and pleasant lives

Seligman equated the good life with the life of virtue. The pleasant life is happy in the normal, “Hollywood” sense.

How do the good, pleasant, and meaningful lives lead to ultimate well-being?

Positive psychology recognizes the PERMA model of well-being. PERMA is broken down into positive emotion (P), engagement (E), relationships (R), meaning (M), and achievement (A).

The pleasant life consists in a lot of positive emotion, P. Where does this leave the good life of virtue?