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Plato sees personality development as a way to happiness; judging by his Myth of the Cave where he reveals the pursuit of knowledge, seeking wisdom, and having a passion for truth as the forms of people’s self-perfection. This is how he understands the passion for truth and seeking wisdom in the context of personality development. For instance, He compares the reality of the world to a grim cave, where people live in an underworld cave deprived of sunlight. One’s destiny is at the top of this cave and as one reaches it, the glaring sun takes away one’s sight and reality becomes elusive for he or she cannot see; this is an allegory of one’s personal development.
Critics like William Turner have dismissed Plato’s argument as ‘world ideas’, it is evident that one should strive to acquire a true understanding of reality, so he can see what really exists in the world but not what he wishes to see. However, Plato’s allegory insinuates that a person cannot be happy while the people surrounding him are unhappy and personality development cannot be viewed as a notion separate from ethical thinking and moral values.
In Coming to the Awareness of Language, Malcolm X feels desperate in prison because he cannot read and understand books. However, one can come out of this prison by learning how to read thus developing a personality as Malcolm X who developed his by reading a dictionary. The desire to write letters to the acquaintances who live immorally drives Malcolm X for he wants them to develop their moral values by converting to Islam religion.
Robert Lake Medicine Grizzly Bear, in his Indian Father’s Plea, raises the problem of personality development contemplating on education process in American public schools. He calls for values-based education and practical learning opportunities for Indian children, as well as ways to deepen cultural, social, and historical awareness as a way of personal development. Robert’s son cannot succeed in his personality development unless his teacher changes his outlook and this can be reached by promoting values-based education and a cooperative approach, whose ground is cultural, social, and historical awareness of those who teach.
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King in his I have a Dream address, encourages his black brothers and sisters to move to the moral heights while peacefully struggling for equality with peace and respect as absolute good; hence, strengthening ethical thinking of an individual, as well a values-based approach to life.
George Orwell, in Shooting an Elephant, describes the moral pain of the hero who fails to pursue the path of self-perfection; that is, ‘doing good’ to other people, as a personality development even if it means death to the hero. Moreover, Orwell raises the problem of a person’s seeking wisdom where he looks at personality as contemplation on the thing someone did contrary to his wish or as pains of remorse; in this case, Orwell’s mistakes brought a seed of wisdom to his personality.
Personality development theme is common for all five primary sources being researched. The term ‘personality development’ consists of a number of notions, which are committed to seeking wisdom and finding the truth, values-based approach to life, aesthetic development, deepening cultural, global, social and historical awareness, developing effective communication skills, solving problems in a creative way, along with ethical and logical thinking development.