The Hypocrisy of Personality Psychology
The people who push "personal growth," claiming it to lead to compassion, and prosecute "personality disorders" under the claim that these result in non-compassionate conduct, are the same people who themselves think and operate in ways that are in no way compassionate. These people think in the barbaric terms of "adequacy" and more barbaric terms of "winners and losers." And many of their directions have been to destroy arrangements and lifestyles that are genuinely compassionate while pushing people into adaptations that are completely lacking in compassion.
The ways of thinking of which I speak are not only lacking in compassion; they are also thoroughly self-defeating. No human being is an adequate physical match for a tiger; he uses better technology to outsmart the tiger and in so doing advances the lot of humankind. And in clinging to the barbaric lie of "adequacy" the practicioner of these attitudes pathologizes what took humanity from caveman to man on the moon.
As for the "winners and losers" idea, many of humanity's greatest contributors would be seen by the practicioners of this idea as losers. I've even heard the term applied to the most powerful man in the history of the world - Jesus Christ. For that matter, I've heard Jesus Christ be accused of having three personality disorders - sociopathic, narcissistic and histrionic. And yet many of these same people who have these beliefs claim to be Christian.
In "The Road Less Taken," the Protestant psychologist Scott Peck referred to a friend of his who was talking about sexism and racism as being fixated on things that hindered him. This is of course ridiculous (how can sexism and racism negatively affect the prospects of a white American man?) But what Scott Peck has started has been formative to the worst qualities of the time that followed, and that is: Misrepresenting concern for the well-being of the world as "whining" or "blaming" and the lack of such concern as personal responsibility. And this resulted, logically, in a grossly diminished action to address global well-being, with predictably disastrous results that we are seeing around us at this time.
Simply to put, you cannot have "compassion" in the same sentence with "adequacy," "inadequacy," "winner" or "loser." The latter concepts result in malicious, abusive conduct on a far greater scale than anything that can be ascribed to anyone with a personality disorder. The entire population is tricked into being malicious and abusive; and that results in a level of abuses that no single sociopath or narcissist would be able to achieve.
Wherever there is a conception of growth, the question to ask is, "Into what?" The person who pursues the Objectivist conception of personal growth will grow into something very different from the person who pursues the Communist conception of personal growth. The same will be the case with different branches of Christianity, or with Buddhism, or with Islam. The end result will be in all cases a direct function of the ideology. And I am not impressed with, nor do I find promising, what personality psychology states on these matters or with what it has produced in most of its followers.
In cases where good things did come out, they can generally be accredited to the goodness of the persons involved. In the same way, there have been people who have taken even things as bad as Islam, right-wing Christianity or Soviet Communism into positive directions; and in most cases the credit for that belongs with the person, not the ideology. Along with these people there have been more people who've taken these things into horrendous directions. We of course see the same thing with personality psychology. That some people have taken it to a good place is credit to them personally, not to the ideology that they have espoused. Many more have taken this psychology and continue to take it to horrible places, and the people around them - as well as the countries in which they practice it - suffer as a result.
Personality psychology has resulted in inquisitions and witch hunts against the very kind of people who have it within themselves to make meaningful contributions or to improve matters. And the final loser from this has been humanity itself. With voices of ingenuity, like voices outside the groupthink, having been silenced, wrongful decisions are made at every level of society. And that is as bad for the world as it is for the people who come at the receiving end of these attacks.