0244 – Character Strengths

Last week I took the VIA Survey of Character Strengths, a 240-question (!) survey that helps to determine what your strengths are. Took me 25 minutes to do, but totally worth it.

Your Top Strength

Perspective (wisdom)
Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.
Your Second Strength

Gratitude
You are aware of the good things that happen to you, and you never take them for granted. Your friends and family members know that you are a grateful person because you always take the time to express your thanks.
Your Third Strength

Judgment, critical thinking, and open-mindedness
Thinking things through and examining them from all sides are important aspects of who you are. You do not jump to conclusions, and you rely only on solid evidence to make your decisions. You are able to change your mind.
Your Fourth Strength

Caution, prudence, and discretion
You are a careful person, and your choices are consistently prudent ones. You do not say or do things that you might later regret.
Your Fifth Strength

Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith
You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.

Interesting huh. I thought spirituality would be my top one. Well, it probably used to be, but I guess people change. I changed a lot over the past couple years, and as I continue to struggle to find who I am and where I belong, it is really interesting to read about my ‘strengths’. Certainly boosts the ego if it does nothing else.

Well, in positive psychology, they say you should be aware of your strengths and use them to your advantage in your life. So looks like I’ll be doing a lot of thinking and analyzing. ha. story of my life.

Anyway, if you’re bored, take the test. I’d be interested to hear about it tooooo.

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0243 – The World as in Dogville

So I see that I’ve already broken my post-a-week pledge. lol. Oh well. Since when do I keep new year’s resolutions anyway.

Back to the point.. So earlier this year I went snooping around the internet for ‘top movies that make you think about life.’ And it led me to many lists containing such movies. I just watched one today called Dogville, which completely blew my mind. Here’s an interesting quote: “Damn if I didn’t completely forget to hate Dogville, and if I wasn’t, three hours later, completely blown out of my little mind and right into the screening room next door…. You wanna see what our town is like? Here it is, in all its mean, petty, horrible smallness. It’s not particularly about American meanness or pettiness or smallness, though some have accused von Trier of being anti-American — it’s about human meanness, etc. The only thing “anti” about Dogville is that it might be called an anti-epic — an ambitious movie with a big cast and a marathon runtime that’s about how small and insular and selfish people can be, about the miserable depths to which human beings can sink in their cruelty to others. Nationality’s got nothing to do with it, though the ability to wield power over other human beings might, and so there might be some pertinent application to America as a whole right now. But everyone will — or should — recognize the universality of this, the worst side of humanity.”
So it made me think about humanity. What is our true nature?

I’ve mentioned many times in my blog, in my essays and to many people that we may be inherently good. Yet, Dogville just makes the tendency for selfishness and cruelty feel alarmingly palpable. We sometimes imagine revenge, and we sometimes pursue it. Sometimes, evil takes over our mind – too easily I shall add.

So are we supposed to do something about that? Are we supposed to overcome that evil? Or should we let things be, simply because evil exists in this world? Is it enough to not be evil, or do we each have the responsibility to stop evil from happening?

These are the questions I ask of myself and the world. Are we Dogville?

Provoking quote from Dogville:

Grace: So I’m arrogant. I’m arrogant because I forgive people?
The Big Man: My God. Can’t you see how condescending you are when you say that? You have this preconceived notion that nobody, listen, that nobody can’t possibly attain the same high ethical standards as you, so you exonerate them. I can not think of anything more arrogant than that. You… you forgive others with excuses that you would never in the world permit for yourself.”