As part of my graduate program in counseling I have to write a personal theory, which includes process and goals of therapy, explanations for personality, psychopathology, etc. The first part, however, forms the basis for everything else: the nature of the person. I have been working on it for a while, trying to pin down exactly what I believe about the human race, and what is true about people across time and cultures. Here is what I have, with brief explanations:
1-We are eternal.
The basic essence of who we are (i.e. intelligence) has always existed. We have been developing for eternity.
2-We are naturally compassionate and gentle, but seek to avoid suffering.
We are born with a predisposition to be kind and non-aggressive. However, sometimes in our pursuit of avoiding suffering we act aggressively or in negative ways towards others and ourselves.
3-We are a combination of our being, our spirit, heredity, and sociality.
Our being (intelligence) is our basic essence. We received traits of our mother and father (God) when we were given spirits, and from our earthly parents when we were born. We are also influenced by our environment. These four aspects make up who we are now.
4-We need choice, structure, and attachment to grow.
We cannot grow as much when our ability to choose is restricted. Consistent structure of some form (e.g. values, commandments, morals, etc.) is necessary to prevent chaos. We must also possess secure attachment to at least one other person. Significant disruption of any of these areas may result in neuroses, psychopathology, suffering, and essentially, damnation. This is why I believe in a Savior. One who can fix what breaks.
Are any of these points confusing or too simple? What do you think makes up a person?