The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity
by: William A. Therivel, PhD
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-GAM/DP Synopsis
-GAM Introduction
-DP Introduction
-GAM/DP Summary
-Mozart and not Salieri
-Personality Families
-Berlin's Hedgehogs & Foxes
-James Joyce - Fox
-Newton's Personality Styles
-Gifted and Talented
-GAM's Marginal Men
-GAM's Heidegger
-GAM's Nietzsche
-GAM's Nathaniel Hawthorne
-German Ethnopsychology
-Japanese Ethnopsychology
-French Ethnopsychology
-Spanish Ethnopsychology
-Chinese Ethnopsychology
-Argentine Ethnopsychology
-Byzantium's Creativity
-Venice's Creativity
-Chaucer's Griselda
-Western Medicine's Origins
-Individual Growth by Thinking GxAxMxDP
William A. Therivel
William Therivel
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-High Creativity Unmasked
-Studying Power
-Studying National Characters
-Studying National Creativity
Biography of Author

Eric Newton's painters/sculptors personality styles are discussed in
Therivel's GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity.

GAM's Personality Styles versus Eric Newton's Personality Styles

The above is the title of chapter 2 of volume 3 of William A. Therivel's The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity (G stands for genetic endowment, A for assistances of youth, M for misfortunes of youth, DP for division of power, UP for unity of power). For an introduction to the GAM part of the theory click "Introduction to GAM"; for an introduction to the DP part click on "Introduction to DP".
In this website, the reader is also offered a shortcut: The GAM/DP Synopsis and an expanded version, The GAM/DP Summary of volumes 1 through 4.

Hereafter I report a few pages from this chapter which could be read with profit after what is said in this web site on the GAM theory and Isaiah Berlin's Hedgehogs and Foxes:

     In chapter 9, vol.1, I explained why, according to GAM, a person becomes a Berlinian hedgehog or fox (for an explanation click on Berlin's Hedgehogs and Foxes). At the same time, I compared Berlin (and my explanation) to a similar division by George Kennedy (1963) between thinkers who emphasized goals and absolute standards and talked much about truth [in essence, hedgehogs], and those for whom these concepts seemed shadowy or imaginary, and who found certainty only in the process of life and the present moment [in essence foxes].
     Here, I would like to present a similar causal explanation for the three "Newtonian" families of personal artistic styles: Classic, Romantic and Realist. The art critic Eric Newton, former Slade Professor of fine arts at Oxford, is the author of several books, among these: European Painting and Sculpture (1956), The Arts of Man (1960), The meaning of beauty (1962), The Romantic Rebellion (1964). In 1957, Newton gave five talks for the British Broadcasting Corporation on "Style and Vision in Art". In these talks, he discussed three major families of personal style (Classic, Romantic, and Realist) each the expression of a basic temperament. These personal styles or 'personal visions' are then integrated with or superimposed upon the vision of the period in which they lived, be it Renaissance or Baroque.
     In his analysis of the Classic painters, Newton said: "They see their world as something imperfect but also as something that is always aiming at a perfection which they themselves undertake to find... The Classic artist always seems to say: 'This is the world as it would be if I could redesign it.'" (p. 552).
     This definition by Newton could be used verbatim for the GAM universalists. I did not use the word "classic" for this challenged family because of its formality and link to the art of the Greeks and the Romans. Universalist seemed to me to better express the universal vision that the members of this personality family have: their search for ultimate principles, for a higher order of things, a universal brotherhood, a supreme law, a supreme deity. Yet, Classic could have been my next choice.
     For Newton, Raphael is the epitome of the Classic painter. It so happens, and not by coincidence, that Raphael's mother died when the boy was eight, and his father when he was eleven, thereby causing him to develop into a GAM universalist. Other Classic artists mentioned by Newton are David, Canova, and Seurat: David lost his father at the age of nine, Canova his father at the age of four, and Seurat encountered much paternal absence in his youth. Claude Lorrain is not among Newton's examples, but he is as Classic as Raphael and Canova. He is "the best known and one of the greatest masters of ideal-landscape painting, an art form that seeks to present a view of nature more beautiful and harmonious than nature itself" (Kitson, 1978, p.694):. Claude Lorrain lost both parents when he was twelve years old. It seems therefore that the same cause (early parental death, category A) gives origin to a GAM universalist, and to persons-in particular painters or sculptors-with a Classic personal style. Said differently, a GAM universalist painter will paint in a Newtonian Classic personal style.
     Newton mentioned in his article only two non-painter Classic personalities: Plato and Racine. On the first, he wrote: "Plato, like Seurat, brooding on the quintessence of beauty, decided that its secret lay not in copying the beautiful but in pure mathematics. That its true symbols were 'straight lines and circles or solid forms produced by lathes and rulers'" (p. 554).
     We don't know much about the youth of Plato, but it would seem that his father died early: "[Plato] was the son of Ariston and Perictione.... Perictione apparently married as her second husband her uncle Pyrilampes, a prominent supporter of Pericles; and Plato was probably chiefly brought up in his house" (Taylor & Merlan, 1973, p. 20). In turn, Racine lost his mother at the age of one, and his father at the age of three.

     Moving to persons closer to us in time, we detect that same fundamental universalist approach in the contemporary English philosopher Richard Hare, who lost his father at the age of ten and his mother at the age of fifteen, and taught at Balliol College, Oxford, from 1947 to 1966. In him, we once again find that top priority is given to an all encompassing high, and true, orderly vision. Revealing are Hare's own words: "The moral concepts have two properties which, together, suffice to produce a logic for moral argument. The first is the one which the philosophers call 'universality', which means, roughly, that any moral judgement I make about a case, I must make about any precisely similar case. The second property which I think moral judgements have is the one called 'prescriptivity'..." (1978, p. 331). Hare, in this, epitomizes the attitude of the universalist. His is not the transient, the humorous, the romantic, the day-to-day attitude. Instead, the absolute validity and importance of his discoveries lead to 'prescriptivity', to clear moral rules and laws. In this we are reminded that, for Plato, the legislator is at the pinnacle of society.
     In the same direction "despite the enduring impact of his theory of knowledge, Hume [who lost his father at the age of 3] seems to have considered himself chiefly as a moralist" (Jessop, 1978, p. 1192). This, essentially, is what every universalist is: a moralist. Knowledge or art are never for their own sake; they are part of a higher scheme of salvation.

Newton's second personal artistic style is Romanticism, about which he wrote:

In art, three qualities seem to me at the heart of it: first, mystery (e.g. the mystery of moonlight as opposed to the clarity of sunlight); secondly, heightened personal emotion (e.g. all forms of intense human love and all forms of terror-fear of thunderstorms, or of crags and precipices); thirdly, a refusal to conform to law (e.g. elopements, abnormalities, the whole realm of the unfamiliar or the rebellious). I am aware that this is a rather ramshackle way of conducting a serious enquiry into Romantic style or modes of expression, but there is something in romanticism itself that tempts one to be rather slipshod. Classicism is a central position, and therefore a reliable and definable one. Romanticism is, literally, eccentric and can crop up anywhere and in any form. (p. 593)

Finally, Newton's third personal artistic style is Realism: "The Realist is content with life as it is, accepting it gladly without wanting to idealize it [Classicism]or to emotionalize it [Romanticism]" (p. 468). For Newton, Velázquez is the exemplar Realist:

In the portraits of Philip IV in the National Gallery there is no feeling that an important sitter is challenging the insight of a serious artist. The king is seen as only a great painter could see him, without a trace of exaggeration and with no thought of flattery. Yet it is not photography. Velázquez has a comment to make. Not only "I accept the world as I see it" but "I am supremely interested in the world as I find it. I have no wish to improve it or to penetrate beneath the surface, for that surface is sufficiently exciting in its own right to occupy the whole of my considerable attention". (p. 629)

From all the books I read on Velázquez, I would classify him as GAM dedicated: who-as discussed in chapter 3, vol. 1-have been shaped by good parental assistances and no major misfortunes, and are "enlightened conservatives; sociable, realistic, mature; have many old and new friends; strong family and community ties; in academe, and the arts, they work within the system."
     In his articles, Newton mentioned the following Romantic artists: Brueghel, Rowlandson, Bosch, Turner, Rembrandt, Blake, Rubens, Michelangelo, El Greco, Piero di Cosimo, Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Grünewald, Altdorfer, Francis Bacon, Sutherland, Watteau, Delacroix, Géricault, Van Gogh, Edward Munch, Soutine, Kokotschka, Derain, Dufy, Vlaminck, Matisse, Pollock, Hartung, Soulages, Mathieu, Caravaggio, Picasso. Such a long list (and it could have easily been longer) was to be expected, given the fact that there are few Classic painters, and even fewer Realist.
     Seen from the point of view of the GAM theory, once we exclude the dedicated (Realist) painters, and the universalist and architect (Classic), all the others, from GAM 3 (seeker) to GAM 14 (trapper) must be (and are) Newtonian Romantics.
     In the above list of Romantic painters, all the giants, that I have been able to study, thanks to the availability of sufficient information on their youth, are challenged personalities, as discussed in this and previous volumes: Rubens (alchemist), Michelangelo (universalist & alchemist); Francis Bacon (radiologist); Edward Munch (miner); Picasso (alchemist).
     Sadly, for many others, there is not sufficient information on their youth, for instance on Brueghel, Bosch, Rembrandt, El Greco, Grünewald; yet enough is known on them and their art to see them as challenged personalities from #3 seeker to # 14 trapper.

In summary, the following table of correspondence can be drawn:

Newton's Personality Style GAM Personality Family
Classic Universalist and Architect
Romantic Seeker to Trapper
Realist Dedicated

     Understandably, the correspondence of Newton's personality styles with the Berlinian classification of thinkers is only partial, because not all hedgehogs are Classic: indeed many Berlinian hedgehogs (according to GAM) would not be Newtonian Classic but Romantic (the seekers, the reformers, and many leadsmen). Clearly the two, Berlin and Newton, had different interests and different classification criteria, and so does yours truly.
     It is important to use these classification for an added layer of understanding, and not for pigeonholing people. In the case of Berlin, he used the hedgehog/fox classification for his discussion of Tolstoy who, in Berlin's mind was a fox who believed to be a hedgehog.. In the case of Newton, his labels of personal artistic style (Classic, Romantic, Realist), plus a period vision label (e.g. High Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerism, Impressionism, Cubism, Surrealism) can definitely sharpen the discourse, and final understanding and love for the artists under study.
     In my case, I hope that by linking the GAM classification to those of Berlin or Newton one can establish a vivid bridge between the creative works on one side and personality and biography on the other (personality in its broader sense, and biography as an explanation of the personality and his/her creativity potential and drive): a bridge to be crossed in both directions, from GAM to a better understanding of works and their creator, and from these back to an improved understanding of the GAM theory of personality and creativity.

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