But if one examines the character traits that are undeniably positive without any reference to any religion however remote, one finds that the culturally radicalized consistently champion negative traits in pursuit of goals which they imbue with relativist moral overtones.
There has been actual psychological study of those characteristics that are positive, without regard to religious or relativist dogmas or stigmas. The study cited here was done as a counterbalance to the usual studies of “what’s wrong” types of characteristics, i.e. mental disturbances or aberrations.
The list of positive traits, preceded by the list of criteria, in full:
The Criteria What qualifies as a personal character strength, and how do you know if one is really yours? The researchers discuss many aspects of their methods and those of scientific psychology in the past. In A Primer in Positive Psychology (2007), Peterson explains:Many of the above characteristics are also accepted as positive by the polarized Left; those uncontroversial characteristics are not considered threats. Certain categories would have to be eliminated if one considers Alinski's ethics to supersede all others. And Philosophical Materialists would not accept a "transcendence" category.I believe that people possess signature strengths akin to what Allport (1961) identified decades ago as personal traits. These are strengths of character that a person owns, celebrates, and frequently exercises. In our interviews with adults, we find that almost everyone can readily identify a handful of strengths as very much their own, typically between two and five.
Peterson goes on to present a list they used in 2004 summarizing their "possible criteria for signature strengths":*a sense of ownership and authenticity ("this is the real me") vis-a-vis the strengthThe list of personal character strengths is not set in stone. Like other scientific theories it is subject to change as evidence is evaluated over time. Here are the 24 strengths of character at present, grouped in 6 categories of virtues:
*a feeling of excitement while displaying it, particularly at first
*a rapid learning curve as themes are attached to the strength and practiced continuous learning of new ways to enact the strength
*a sense of yearning to act in accordance with the strength
*a feeling of inevitability in using the strength, as if one cannot be stopped or dissuaded from its display
*the discovery of the strength as owned in an epiphany
*invigoration rather than exhaustion when using the strength
*the creation and pursuit of fundamental projects that revolve around the strength intrinsic motivation to use the strength
Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge: Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge1. Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things.
2. Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; exploring and discovering.
3. Open-mindedness [judgment, critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; weighing all evidence fairly.
[ed. note: I think this should have been labelled "rationality"].
4. Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally.
5. Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that make sense to oneself and to other people.
Strengths of Courage: Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external and internal6. Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; acting on convictions even if unpopular
7. Persistence [perseverance, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles
8. Integrity [authenticity, honesty]: Presenting oneself in a genuine way; taking responsibility for one's feeling and actions.
9. Vitality [zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.
Strengths of Humanity: interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others10. Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated.Strengths of Justice: civic strengths that underlie healthy community life
11. Kindness [generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, "niceness"]: Doing favors and good deeds for others.
12. Social intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself.13. Citizenship [social responsibility, loyalty, teamwork]: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group.
14. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others.
15. Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same maintain time good relations within the group.
Strengths of Temperance: strengths that protect against excess16. Forgiveness and mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful.Strengths of Transcendence: strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning
17. Humility / Modesty: Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is.
18. Prudence: Being careful about one's choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted.
19. Self-regulation [self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one's appetites and emotions.20. Appreciation of beauty and excellence [awe, wonder, elevation]: Appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life.
21. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful of the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks.
22. Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.
23. Humor [playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side.
24. Spirituality [religiousness, faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, the meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe.
And some of the characteristics above are acceptable to the polarized Left for their own use, but not for use by others. An example of this is “humor”, if one considers ridicule to be humor. Ridicule is a staple of the Left. However, the Left considers the counter-ridicule of an Ann Coulter to be an outrage and immoral, worthy of being silenced. In fact, moral outrage is a Leftist character trait.
Another example of polarized viewpoints on the characteristics is that of “hope”. For the Left, hope means the desire for a socialist, egalitarian future where they are the elite and are not subject to socialism or egalitarianism. For others, hope might mean the liberty to pursue whatever they wish, without the moral and political intercession of the Left.
So it is necessary to take care in the application of the principles.
Some of these are difficult, no matter the viewpoint. Case in point, number 12, “Social Intelligence”. In order to be aware of another’s motivations, it is necessary to compare his words to his actions and then to attempt to divine his motivations based on the congruence or lack of congruence of actions to words. This requires the use of other characteristics, such as integrity and open-mindedness (rationality). Further, it requires the prior education in the roots and characteristics of rationality and how congruence works to prevent false conclusions.
This list is, by the authors claim, not the last word. But it is a very good start.
However I must question, is it not possible to declare certain of these to be absolute? Is not integrity absolutely a positive characteristic? And what about the unmentioned characteristics of trustworthiness, reliability, and honesty? It seems that even though the list is fairly robust, it is still relativist in some regards; there are truly some character traits that are incorrigibly positive, regardless of dogma launched against them.
I forgot to mention Intellectual humility. It is the opposite of the onerous intellectual smugness that accompanies dogmatic intellectualism. Perhaps it is a subcategory of "integrity"; I think it deserves its own category.