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Dark Core of Personality in ballad and folklore

Jack Campin 02 Oct 18 - 11:37 AM
keberoxu 02 Oct 18 - 11:51 AM
Joe Offer 02 Oct 18 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,Rev Bayes 02 Oct 18 - 08:15 PM
Jack Campin 03 Oct 18 - 03:48 AM
keberoxu 03 Oct 18 - 02:14 PM
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Subject: The Dark Core
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Oct 18 - 11:37 AM

I could have put this in BS, but it describes so much in ballad and folklore that it may better to leave it here for a bit; folksong doesn't distinguish between minutely specific varieties of human nastiness, and it looks like psychology shouldn't either.

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Subject: RE: The Dark Core
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Oct 18 - 11:51 AM

Denmark and Germany. There's a combination.

That's where the research comes from, according to my
quick-and-dirty speed-read of the article.

These are both countries in which not only music,
but dramas and sagas/stories are highly valued.

I am just studying a fellow from the turn of the
eighteenth to the nineteenth century,
named Jens Baggesen, a poet and author. Danish born,
but Denmark was too small for him, and in the meantime
Germany had an enlightenment going on, so he wanted in.
His poetry is still read and sung as well.
Baggesen is not a "dark-core" personality, though;
his affliction was relationships, he couldn't live without one,
and it makes for a lot of melancholy intense poetry.

Martin Carthy spoke in an interview about
a man who came up after a performance and spoke with him.
Carthy's set list included a ballad about incest.
The man who came up to speak to him, was a professional in
the counseling and psychology/social work spectrum,
and the man was greatly struck by the accuracy of
the observations in that ballad and how well they fit
the very people he counselled who were abuse victims.

So Jack is spot-on there.

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Subject: RE: BS: The Dark Core of Personality
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Oct 18 - 01:33 PM

Very interesting, Jack, but I probably can't justify keeping it in the music section for very long. We'll see where the thread goes. I've often wondered why some people have such a dark view of life, and how I've come through with a fairly optimistic perspective. Here's an excerpt I like:

As the new research reveals, the common denominator of all dark traits, the D-factor, can be defined as the general tendency to maximize one's individual utility -- disregarding, accepting, or malevolently provoking disutility for others -- , accompanied by beliefs that serve as justifications.

In other words, all dark traits can be traced back to the general tendency of placing one's own goals and interests over those of others even to the extent of taking pleasure in hurting other's -- along with a host of beliefs that serve as justifications and thus prevent feelings of guilt, shame, or the like. The research shows that dark traits in general can be understood as instances of this common core -- although they may differ in which aspects are predominant (e.g., the justifications-aspect is very strong in narcissism whereas the aspect of malevolently provoking disutility is the main feature of sadism) .

Ingo Zettler, Professor of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen, and two German colleagues, Morten Moshagen from Ulm University and Benjamin E. Hilbig from the University of Koblenz-Landau, have demonstrated how this common denominator is present in nine of the most commonly studied dark personality traits:

  • Egoism: an excessive preoccupation with one's own advantage at the expense of others and the community
  • Machiavellianism: a manipulative, callous attitude and a belief that the ends justify the means
  • Moral disengagement: cognitive processing style that allow behaving unethically without feeling distress
  • Narcissism: excessive self-absorption, a sense of superiority, and an extreme need for attention from others
  • Psychological entitlement: a recurring belief that one is better than others and deserves better treatment
  • Psychopathy: lack of empathy and self-control, combined with impulsive behaviour
  • Sadism: a desire to inflict mental or physical harm on others for one's own pleasure or to benefit oneself
  • Self-interest: a desire to further and highlight one's own social and financial status
  • Spitefulness: destructiveness and willingness to cause harm to others, even if one harms oneself in the process

In a series of studies with more than 2,500 people, the researchers asked to what extent people agreed or disagreed with statements such as "It is hard to get ahead without cutting corners here and there.," "It is sometimes worth a little suffering on my part to see others receive the punishment they deserve.," or "I know that I am special because everyone keeps telling me so." In addition, they studied other self-reported tendencies and behaviors such as aggression or impulsivity and objective measures of selfish and unethical behaviour.

Now that Susan Friedman has published her "Body Count" book, maybe she'd like to augment that study with an analysis of how these dark traits appear in the Child Ballads.

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Subject: RE: Dark Core of Personality in ballad and folklore
From: GUEST,Rev Bayes
Date: 02 Oct 18 - 08:15 PM

> the man was greatly struck by the accuracy of the observations in that ballad and how well they fit the very people he counselled

Sometimes I am struck by how new perspectives throw a shaft of light on old songs. I was recently listening to some song where a woman slays her husband and is seen covered in blood and laughing and singing gaily. The natural interpretation of the text is, ooh, that evil woman, what lies in peoples hearts, etc etc.

Later that day I read this:

Paints the same text in quite a different light.

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Subject: RE: Dark Core of Personality in ballad and folklore
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 03:48 AM

Barbara Allen seems an example of a "dark core" type who couldn't be further pigeonholed.

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Subject: RE: Dark Core of Personality in ballad and folklore
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 02:14 PM

Martin Carthy's lifelong fascination, love/hate attachment, to
"Prince Heathen" is possibly apropos here.

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