Religious Leader Jim Jones’s Psychobiography Free Essay

Introduction

Some notable historical figures capture the public’s attention and remain long in the people’s memory due to their extraordinary personalities and actions. Cult is one of the fascinating topics because it simultaneously intrigues and scares the audience. The ability to gather a group of people and organize the community that would believe and follow whatever the leader said and make it the priority is truly impressive. However, most cult leaders rarely genuinely care for people and overuse their power over them for personal benefit. Jim Jones is one of the memorable representatives because, by the end of his leadership, he made about 900 of his people commit suicide (Guinn, 2017). No regular person would ever attempt to perform such a horrific act, but some people’s minds work differently. Thus, this psychobiography aims to describe Jim Jones’ personality based on the big five models and analyze the reasons behind his actions and personal traits.

Background

Jim Jones has been in a regular family with a working mother and a father with a disability. He went to school and was interested in religion. His mother despised local churches and confessions, while all the citizens were devoted to the churches, so eventually, Jim was curious about them. Jim demonstrated behavior different from the boys in his town, such as never engaging in fights, loving attention, manipulating people, and holding funerals for dead animals (Guinn, 2017). Jones was also good at oratory and eventually decided to become a priest. Being a very charismatic and charming individual, who could easily make an impression of a deep bond with each person, the leader gained loyal followers.

Later, Jim created a community called People’s Temple in Jonestown, where individuals were completely separated from their regular lives, families, and homes and could only operate within the community. Jones controlled the members and used them for material goods, managing their finances and demanding generous donations for the People’s Temple. This story tragically ended after the mass suicide that included over 900 people considering Jim Jones, some of whom were children (Guinn, 2017). Finally, Jim Jones demonstrated signs of neuroticism such as constant stress, anxiety, and worries about everything. One example is his fear of losing the community, leading to his tragic end and massive suicide.

Big Five Personality Model

In order to get a better perspective on a cult leader’s personality, it is useful to apply the Big Five personality traits model. He was highly open, supported by his desire to try new activities and formats, such as studying to be a priest and creating people’s temples. Jim was completely focused on managing the challenges and was extremely creative when it required a solution to the problem. However, Jones did not act as a conscientious person in the community. While the leader tried maintaining order and structure, he did not take care of the people, mistreated them, and sometimes put them in dangerous situations. Jim lacked scores in agreeableness because he was manipulative, ignored others’ problems and needs, and only cared about his wellbeing (Martin, 2019). Jim achieved that because of his high extraversion, love for attention, and outstanding skills in bonding with people and making himself likable to the public.

Explanatory Framework

Some possible reasons could explain why Jim eventually developed his characteristics and became the person who was capable of the horrific actions. Most of the human personality forms in the period of childhood, and Jones is no exception. His narcissistic disorder is more likely started to develop because of the lack of love that Jim received during his upbringing. His mother never had time to care for the child, and the father barely participated in the son’s life (Guinn, 2017). Moreover, for some period, Jones’ mother would not allow him to come home before she returned from work, and he was left alone and starving on the streets. In addition, Jim’s mother demonstrated improper behavior and even encouraged her child to steal candies from the shop, considering it a demonstration of a strong personality.

There is also a possibility that regarding his religious interest, Jim developed it from the women from the neighborhood who tried to care for him while his mother was at work. Since they were all from different churches, he quickly learned that sharing their interest, mirroring their emotions, and flattering them could provide additional benefits to him from a person (Martin, 2019). That was the moment when Jones started to manipulate people actively. Narcissistic personality disorder, in general, mostly comes from the lack of love and emptiness that the child feels due to the cold and distant parents (Martin, 2019). Maternal approval of some of Jones’s inappropriate actions also made him crave attention through special activities, not necessarily good ones, and made Jim feel less lonely and rejected.

Conclusion

Overall, Jim Jones’ predisposition to develop narcissistic personality disorder from early childhood. Distant parents, encouragement of misbehaving, and lack of love and attention from the family contributed significantly to his character building. In addition, the influence of religion allowed Jim to embrace his uniqueness and receive attention from the public. However, considering the Big Five personality model, Jones was low in conciseness and agreeableness, which implied that Jim actively manipulated people for his benefit and did not care about their feelings. In total, all those factors built a foundation for creating Jim Jones’ personality and led to further negative consequences for others.

References

Guinn, J. (2017). The road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and peoples temple. Simon and Schuster.

Martin, T. (2019). Jim Jones: A Case Study in the Relationship Between Antisocial and Narcissistic Personality Disorders.

Sternberg’s Approach To Intelligence Definition

A completely definitive and accurate summary of intelligence is nearly impossible to achieve. However, it is vital to note that any effective definition of intelligence recognizes the diversity and various functionalities of the concept. As such, this report’s selected definition of intelligence is related to Robert Sternberg’s research (Sternberg, 2020). According to Sternberg, intelligence can be perceived as “mental activity directed toward purposive adaptation to, selection, and shaping of real-world environments relevant to one’s life.” Sternberg denotes analytical, creative, and practical intelligence to be of specific significance when coming to understanding the thought processes of others. These three areas inform adaptation, decision-making, and application of information to practical settings.

Analytical intelligence refers to the process that facilitates the evaluation of information and problem-solving. Sternberg defines intelligence as academic and can be measured by an IQ test. As it is also related to the componential subtheory, it is involved with retaining information, pattern recognition, and the application of theoretical information within practical issues (Mitana et al., 2019). The componential subtheory refers to a diverse set of mechanics that contribute to intelligence. These can include meta-components, performance components, and knowledge-acquisition components. As such, it can be seen as the more standard measure of intelligence that is based on academics, skills, and aptitudes. While it is vital and all individuals present varied levels of analytical intelligence, it is only one component of an individual’s general intelligence.

The creative intelligence element is primarily concerned with the formulation of novel and unique ideas. No ideas are entirely original, but certain individuals are more adept at the introduction of utilizing existing information in handling new issues or managing previously unfamiliar settings. Creative intelligence is driven by Sternberg’s experiential subtheory, a potential process through which experiences can range from novel to automated. This continuum, therefore, reflects the creative intelligence of an individual. The theoretical form of intelligence can be observed at the extremes of the theory’s spectrum (Sternberg & Chowkase, 2021). In the case that the individual is met with the completely novel end of the spectrum, their response becomes definitive of their creative intelligence. On the opposite end, in cases of familiar experiences, the individual responds to a task or situation with automation.

The final component includes practical intelligence. In Sternberg’s own words, it is a skill that allows for interaction with a daily and practical world. It can be visualized through successful interaction within the external environment. It also encompasses an individual’s adaptability to an environment that is susceptible to change. It relates to the contextual sub-theory which implies that intelligence is ingrained in an individual’s environment (Hedlund, 2020). As such, practical intelligence is a result of processes by which individuals function in everyday settings. This includes adaptability, the selection of an environment, and the shaping of space to fit one’s needs and desires.

There are some flaws in that theory that may damage its credibility. First, it is not based on any empirical data whatsoever. Second, it does not have any numerical means of measuring intelligence, as opposed to IQ and other ideas surrounding intelligence. Third, although analytical intelligence is perceived as something that helps people make decisions, there is a small issue. A connection between surviving, staying out of prison and analytical intelligence has been found. The capability of avoiding trouble and life threatening events are related to so-called “street smarts”, as opposed to “book smarts”. Moreover, this theory does not consider the diversity in behavioral and ethnic differences and how they affect the three intelligence elements. Nonetheless, modern research shows that these factors resonate with its functions, especially the creative and analytical ones. Creative and applied abilities play a rather significant role as valuable indicators of students who are academically successful (Sabbah & Aldin, 2022). This means that empirical data actually does demonstrate that there is a fluctuation in the dominance of the kind of intelligence that may be of great importance for victorious students.

However, there are some advantages in Sternberg’s theory as well. Primarily, it helped affect a new wave of intelligence theory with the help of unusual and new means of reviewing intelligence. It can serve as a reminder that academic achievement is not the sole definer of intelligence. Even if one does not have great analytical skills, it does not make one unintelligent (Forsythe, 2019). Finally, the basis of Sternberg’s theory is that intelligence is fluid and can change in the process of a lifetime. People can acquire intelligence as they become older, overcome problems and get used to new situations in their lives. Thus, in spite of the theory’s flaws, it has had a great influence on how intelligence is perceived and assessed.

References

Forsythe, F. (2019). Sternberg’s Triarchic theory of intelligence and what it reveals. Learning Mind.

Hedlund, J. (2020). Practical intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of intelligence (pp. 736–755). Cambridge University Press.

Mitana, J. M., Muwagga, A. M., & Ssempala, C. (2019). Assessment for successful intelligence: A paradigm shift in classroom practice. International Journal of Educational Research Review, 4(1), 106-115.

Sabbah, S. S., & Aldin, A. M. A. (2022). Distinctive behavioral characteristics of outstanding students in the light of Triarchic theory of intelligence from the point of view of students and their teachers. International Journal of Health Sciences, 6(1), 8624–8639.

Sternberg, R. J. (2020). The augmented theory of successful intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of intelligence (pp. 679–708). Cambridge University Press.

Sternberg, R. J., & Chowkase, A. (2021). When we teach for positive creativity, what exactly do we teach for? Education Science, 11(5), 237.

Contemporary Human Resource Practices

This paper will discuss the topic of contemporary human resource practices. Nowadays, HR managers shift from traditional HR management, focused on handling labor relations, to strategic HR management, which aims to align HR practices with long-term corporate goals. Strategic HR managers recognize that people are the most valuable organizational resource; therefore, contemporary HR practices are directed toward managing people in such a way as to convert human capital into organizational value. The strategic approach to HR management can be seen in various HR functions, such as hiring, talent development, retention, and compensation. For example, HR managers have begun to realize that financial compensation is not enough for hiring and retaining the best possible candidates, especially when budget constraints exist (Instant Financial, 2022). Hence, they have to develop novel practices to turn employees into valuable corporate assets.

There are several contemporary HR practices used to hire and retain talent. One of them is to provide employees with greater flexibility (Instant Financial, 2022). This practice has become especially relevant after the pandemic because many companies had to shift to remote work, which is more flexible than in-office work. For example, when working from home, employees can adjust their workday length and choose their schedules. Another practice is providing constructive feedback, which is important because it keeps employees engaged in their work (Instant Financial, 2022). For instance, workers are likely to be more interested in the company’s goals if they receive continuous constructive feedback on how well they meet performance standards and what skills they could improve to perform better. One more practice is recognition and appreciation; a lack of appreciation is one of the three most common reasons for leaving a job (Instant Financial, 2022). In contrast, when organizations award well-performing employees with pay raises, promotions, or bonuses, it increases their loyalty and motivates them to work for the advantage of the company.

Reference

Instant Financial. (2022). Beyond money: Creative strategies to attract and retain employees. HR Drive.

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