…ink about categories of people. If you see a picture of a minister and then a picture of a prison inmate, you’ll probably assume they have very different characters. But, Ross and Nisbett wrote:Clerics and criminals rarely face an identical or equivalent set of situational challenges. Rather, they place themselves, and are placed by others, in situations that differ precisely in ways that induce clergy to look, act, feel, and think rather consistently like clergy and that induce criminals to look, act, feel, and think like criminals. It’s possible to take the point …

Consider “personality”. The times in my life when I have felt like an “introvert” and the times in my life when I have felt like an “extrovert”, similarly1.

This is a fun area to muse about because it seems fruitful both in technocratic nudgey ways and in deeper spiritual insight ways – in dimensions relevant to Society and to The Individual.

  1. People always talk about how these categories are stable over time, but so are lots of things! A history of trauma is stable over time. Your socioeconomic status may be stable over time. If you work in the same kind of job, a lot of things about your daily life are stable over time.