Time of Trouble, Time of Trial, Turn to Memphis, Pray a While

This page written circa 22 October, 2003.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is to be governor of California, entertainment potential if I ever heard of it. The seriously intense Republicans are voicing (as a worry) the very thought that encourages me to endorse Arnie, namely that he is a Democrat in Republican clothes; after all, he supports abortion and gay rights, very uncontrolling. Nevertheless, he is a Republican, right wing, who should appreciate the inescapable need for incentive. He could turn out to be my kind of politician, if he is any good at it, as distinct from the jackals in waistcoats that currently run the White House.

When first an undergraduate I studied mathematics and psychology. In psychology a favourite topic was personality. In mathematics we were learning about vector spaces and I realised that personality was one. The first thing you want to know about a vector space is the minimum dimension of a spanning set. A spanning set is a group of elements, a linear combination of which can yield any member of the vector space. Nobody in psychology in the 1970s could agree as to how many different aspects of personality you needed to know in order to completely characterise someone's personality.

I now read in a New Scientist about the "famous five". It seems that psychologists now agree that the dimension of the space of personality is five. The article notes that there are several "big five" models, but that they all measure essentially the same thing. This is precsely what is predicted by the theory of vector spaces---there may be many possible basis sets (minimal spanning sets), but all yield the same set of elements.
One model offers the follwing five dimensions:
(1) Neuroticism; measures emotional stability, with `anxious, self-concious, moody, low self-esteem' at one extreme, `easy-going, sanguine, at ease' at the other;
(2) Extroversion; measures happiness, energy, interpersonal skills with `approachable, gregarious, assertive' at one end, `introverted, submissive, reserved' at the other;
(3) Openness; measuring one's openness to experience, with `liking novelty, creative' at one end, and people who are `conventional, routine, with a strong sense of right and wrong' at the other;
(4) Conscientiousness; measuring one's degree of organisation, with `motivated, disciplined, trustworthy' folks at one extreme, `unruly, easily distracted' folks at the other;
(5) Agreeableness; describing how one relates to others, with high scorers being `compassionate, friendly and warm', low scorers being `shy, critical and egocentric'

I think I'm easy to peg on (1)--(4). The last might see disagreement. I will put my hand up to being critical and egocentric, but I do not think I have ever been shy, and I am, or I was once, compassionate. I reflected once to Melissa that I thought empathy to have been my greatest weakness; I guess my perception of compassion as a weakness arises from the conflict with egocentricity. If you are going to be a "good" Republican, you have to balance these.

What I like about America is her deep view of the purpose of laws: Here the laws are put in place more to protect the individual from the state, not as in the British/Australian case, to protect the state from the individual. Valuing the individual also involves recognising the need for incentive, which tends to lead to greater difference between haves and have-nots.

I have always believed it wiser to vote for the party with competent politicians rather than the party that benefits you. In recent times, it seems to have been the left wing that fielded the superior politicians. As I lean progressively right (or rather I have been pushed) this presents a dilemma.

A leader should be competent, easy-going, assertive, creative, motivated, critical and, I guess necessarily, egocentric. No Divine Wind comes to save the modern state, your own people driving an economic engine leads to supremacy, and incentive is what drives them.

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